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  • Best Albums of 2011 - Part Three

    14 Dic 2011, 14:28

    3. Los Campesinos!
    Hello Sadness
    Originally I made sure this will be in the top three because I own every vinyl from them, yet the more I listen to this the more I realise that favouritism isn’t the reason why its third but simply it’s because it is a brilliant album. ‘Hello Sadness’ continues with the dark fuelled indie pop and it certainly doesn’t hold back, neither does frontman Gareth Campesinos! who is certain to make sure that if you are breaking up you may as well be fucking dead. Each song carries forth his personalised self-loathing lyrics which prove the reason why he is consistently cited as one of the best lyricists currently. The title track has Gareth repeating the same four lines as the guitar slowly raises, the bass line hums and progressively shatters glass windows into a blast of self-hate and feedback rhythm. “Your tongue the tide/your lips the shore /I am the jetsam overboard,” now tell me how heartbreaking that sounds. Los Camp has thrown away their twee-like attitude (coloured vinyl) and has matured into a group who – like on ‘The Black Bird, the Dark Slope’ – believe that they are doomed. Because in the end don’t we want to embrace sadness?

    2. Panda Bear
    Tomboy
    One of the best albums of 09 was Animal Collective’s ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’ which held their trademarked experimental sound yet it was easily embraceable with a pop aesthetic. Panda Bear (whom is a member of AnCo) continues his solo career which deeply plants him as king of the supposed “chill-wave” genre and sprouts forth a collection of dreamy, surfy and ambience array of classic songs. Going back to an electric guitar ‘Slow Motion’ transcends on a wave of surrounding synths and a muffled drum that continues to inspire psychedelic echoes. The title track builds with his harmonic voice which has a spiral of synths and ‘Surfer’s Hymn’ continues with his beautifully layered inviting voice that resonates into a bouncy orchestral performance. An album that is built on a dreamy laid back atmosphere funnily enough manages to get your feet moving as every song just stands out perfectly.

    1. EMA
    Past Life Martyred Saints
    Every song is a confession and every knife wound is a statement. Erika M. Anderson is EMA and she is doing to noise rock what Patti Smith did to punk, Anderson is crafting it as her own field building up a wall of noise and then crashing it down. “Fuck California!/You made me boring” EMA begins before confessing everything she is sorry for to the sound of single sorry notes on piano and to the backdrop of a whiny guitar building up, and the deep echo of a drum. Everyone sees California as a magical city but all Erika M. Anderson sees is a place that “corrupted us with your sexuality” before crying out in calm state that “I’m just twenty-two/ I don’t mind dying”. The stand-out is ‘Marked’ it can only be described as full of tears. EMA’s voice sounds drowned in sorrow as her wispy voice sounds as if she is cutting herself to pieces “I wish that every time he touched me he left a mark” she croons into a state of emotional breakdown. Every song is filled with emotion even the noisy ‘Butterfly Knife’ which she screams in a confusing maze of fast paced guitar “twenty kisses with a butterfly knife”. This is Erika M. Anderson’s solo endeavour after the breakup of her folk-noise band Gowns and it is beyond exceptional; she has done everything herself in a traditional lo-fi trademark. If you are going to the Laneway Festival go and watch her perform, because when I listened to Past Life Martyred Saints for the first time I had to choke down my tears and that is what Erika M. Anderson wants you to do. You experience her pain, her pleasure and her ferocity.
  • Best Albums of 2011 - Part Two

    14 Dic 2011, 4:30

    7. Girls
    Father, Son, Holy Ghost
    Christopher Owens doesn’t know whats happening on the outside world and he doesn’t even know what the internet is. Stuck in the cult Children of God he eventually escapes turning to a life of drugs until he is found by a millionaire, staring Joseph Gordon Levitt and Emma Banks. Okay well its not becoming a move but that is the life of Girls frontman Chris Owens, you’ve got hand some respect to him. This album is a throwback to classic rock still retaining its San-Franciscan surf-vibe; with lyrics that can melt the heart “I went and found the modern world/ but I miss the way life was/when you were my girl”. Every single song is a classic and maintains its home styled pop from their debut. The fast paced ‘Honey Bunny’ Owens confesses to a backing choir that girls dislike his method drug taking and on ‘Vomit’ it literally sounds like fear has gotten to him as the song gradually gets more complex. Seriously go out and get this album.

    6. Thao & Mirah
    Thao & Mirah
    Thao who could be compared as Karen O’s younger sister and Mirah who reminds me of Emily Haines (Metric) too much. Both sensational indie darlings have finally gotten together to do to the indie scene as Simon & Garfunkel did to the hippies. The serene ‘Little Cup’ has a sensational guitar riff that finally explodes into colourful confetti and ‘Teeth’ has a confessional Thao who croons her way through a stream of handclaps and foot stomping. This album has been listened to as a post-party playlist on the train going home as energy still flows electrically as both of their personalities meld into one beautiful glistening dew drop.

    5. Feist
    Metals
    Fuck you Steve Jobs! Chances you’re probably familiar with Feist’s hit back in 07 ‘1, 2, 3, 4’ which was used as the flag-ship song for iTunes, regardless of this her previous album is superb. But Leslie Feist knew that she didn’t want to stay in the spotlight of simple pop so she didn’t touch the guitar for three years and she went back to complexity with ‘Metals’ where her song-writing skills are as meaningful as her guitar playing. With a backing chorus and orchestral brass ‘Graveyard’ explodes into an elegant wave of bliss and ‘How Come You Never Go There’ has Feist pleading with a rolling piano. It may be because of the six posters of her in my bedroom but it’s too easy to fall in love with her.

    4. James Blake
    James Blake
    One of the guys I’ll turn gay for is James Blake purely for his voice (and his amazing hair), which cannot be confined to a single genre sounding ethereal and a throwback to soul. This is his debut album which takes the best works from his previous EP’s and turns them into something moveable and transcending. Plenty of clashing of snares, a piano that often sounds submerged under crystalline water and his voice…oh his voice. With a cover of Feist’s ‘Limit to Your Love’ he turns it into a simple piano which has his voice full of sorrow as he adds multiple layers and the classic ‘Unluck’ proves that trip-hop/dubstep is something that only the beautiful can do. And his voice, seriously I will sell my first-born to just have him say to me “Declan, lets take off all our clothes and I’ll show you the LIMIT to MY love”.
  • Best Albums of 2011 - Part One

    12 Dic 2011, 8:49

    Another year gone along with a whole stack of albums and singles too, some for the better (Rebecca Black anyone?) and others that will never leave your head (Kreayshawn’s ‘Gucci Gucci’ is on repeat). But in my opinion “oh-eleven” has been the best year of music, not the year of music but just music in general. I have come across so many great bands, closing into the triple digits for my vinyl collection, surpassed a milestone for my CD’s and best of all Nick Cave spat on me.

    Like all the other websites and other media publications I have decided to publish the ‘Top Ten Albums of 2011’ for you to say to yourself “That is a good album” or more than likely “What’s this shit and where is myLady Gaga?” So when you’re at the local record stores (you still buy music right?) pick out one of these albums and say that I sent you, and watch the confused look on their face.

    10. Jay-Z and Kanye West
    Watch the Throne
    Erotic dreams often never come true unless you are Ryan Gosling or a teenaged Ryan Gosling but one of my own dreams have come true, Kanye West and Jay-Z the world’s two biggest and influential rappers released an album together. From the first track ‘No Church In The Wild’ you can picture both of them driving through mansion covered streets with diamond studded segways. ‘Otis’ uses Otis Redding vocal samples combines it with bragging of the finer lifestyle and ‘N*ggas in Paris’ forced me to escape my pasty skin to perform the song in front of my stereotypical white family. It’s an album that has the juxtaposing egos of a rude too rich man and a married man who perhaps doesn’t want to settle down just yet.

    9. Cut Copy
    Zonoscope
    Gotye can have his “400’000 viewers” Aria award for all I care, one of Australia’s critically acclaimed acts is Cut Copy who manages to surge electricity through their listeners with their post-dance-punk and electronic dance crazy songs. A contender for best album art of the year and a summer album that will hopefully replace the poorly chosen Hottest 100, it has the ability to wish you had fifty synths like them. Did someone say 15 minute song with an eight minute synth solo? The final song ‘Sun God’ will leave you playing air synths which for once, will never be frowned upon.

    8. Fleet Foxes
    Helplessness Blues
    If you listen to the awful corporate produced Mumford & Sons or the “every song must sound the same” Boy & Bear, stop please before the ghost of young Bob Dylan kills you. Following from their flawless self-titled debut in 08, the bearded Robin Pecknold and his fellow friends with perfectly crafted facial hair bring forth an album infused with folk, paranoid tales and their famous harmonies. With rollicking plucking of banjos and acoustic guitars in ‘Bedouin Dress’ and ‘The Plains/Bitter Dancer’ to the more electric ‘Helplessness Blues’ Fleet Foxes never shy away from creating perfectly harmonised folk, that manage to bring forth a vintage atmosphere full of beards.