My overwrought semi-yearly round-up of what might be the best records of the year so far!Liars
I have listened to this album somewhere between 20 and 40 times. I cursed at my computer when it was not downloading fast enough. I cradled it in my arms when I bought it, put it on as soon as was humanly possible and lay on my bed and stared at the photographs contained within. I am still discovering something new with every listen. Goodnight Everything has lyrics?
I mostly find that I'm imagining myself in a black boiler suit with a badge that looks a lot like the front cover of the album, marching behind Angus. Some sort of religion, maybe a cult. I'm not sure what we're about to do. I would be fine with anything. If only, for a second, I could stop finding myself lost (finding myself lost?) then maybe I could work out what it is I like about it, or whether I do like
it at all, or whether it's something else completely. What is it I'm supposed to be doing!? I don't know, but I do worry that if I find myself listening to this in the supermarket and somebody gets on the wrong side of me, cuts me off with their trolley or bursts a milk carton nearby, I might lose it. "Kill em all!" Oh man.
Catch me on a normal day and I might tell you that the guitar on one track is incredible or the bassline blows me away or that the rhythms are great or that their depiction of L.A. is one of the greatest records of city life ever
, but mostly I think I will probably just mumble incoherently and jump up and down and bubble at the mouth and pass out. I don't really remember the last time I saw them. I punched a lot and stepped on some guy's foot.
If I hold my hand up way high, and we say that Sisterworld is where my hand is, everything else this year is shoulder-height and below.Gayngs
69bpm across all 11 tracks. Based entirely on 10cc's I'm Not in Love. Justin Vernon rapping. Dessa. P.O.S.. Mike Noyce. If you don't want to listen yet, you probably won't like it. It takes everything I think I might not like and coats it in so much sex appeal that I start to wonder whether I really know myself at all. Is sleazy saxophone really
that uncool? No. Did I really hate Careless Whisper that much? I seem to recall now that I really love that song. Autotune? Essential. When do I get to the redeeming features of this album? I don't! That's it! Slap bass. Slap bass!
Normally I am all about the personal attachment. I want to be able to put songs on themed mixtapes and I want to know every word and be able to play every part. These two records, whilst having great songs, are very much get-lost-in-the-feeling records. Can you even play half the noises they make on this record? They are probably just the sounds that emit from a room when you get people who are far too smooth standing far too close to each other.
These records have really changed my idea of what an album needs in order to get under my skin, and I love that. Plus they're not indie rock and I don't think there's an acoustic guitar on either of them, which is crazy for me. Close second for my favourite album of this year so far.
After these two, it's a little less clear cut.Joanna Newsom
- Have One on Me
Wow. Some of the songs on this are mindblowing. Like, seriously. I enjoy them for their sound and her voice alone as much as I enjoy most of my favourite songs but then you get the lyric booklet and you read the lyrics and you just can't imagine how some of the stories could ever fit to music. And then you listen and it's effortless. I worry that perhaps it's a little too smart, but that is probably just because I have not yet been able to listen enough times for all two hours and four minutes to sink in. It might take me until 2015 to fully realise how much I love this, but I've got time.Quasi
- American Gong
I almost wrote 'Quasi - Little White Horse' then. That's probably enough of a review. Try to find a more playful bassline! Seriously though, it's albums like these that make me remember how great guitars are and how people really do not abuse guitars as much as they should be abused. Needless to say, Janet's powering away as usual, the lyrics are fantastic and the addition of a permanent bassist has given them a real kick. Such a kick. There are times when you need to hear a song like Everything & Nothing at All. Sam Coomes seems to be going through our roughest times constantly, but the feeling you get after listening to this is "It'll be OK. Rock out." And that's not the easiest thing to do.CocoRosie
- Grey Oceans
Owen Pallett said something about CocoRosie being really bad for quantitative reviews because they are awful but also essential and awesome (he was far more eloquent.) I have to agree. If you were to put on a song like Hopscotch and start ridiculing me, I would probably freeze up and keep quiet. I think it's one of the ultimate cases of personality being the dealbreaker and really coming through in the music. I doubt there are many people who don't have an opinion on these guys. That aside, this is one of the most downright beautiful and heartbreaking albums I have enjoyed this year. The title track, ohhh. The title track. It gives me a stomach ache. I would probably have said this was another atmosphere-record but seeing it live, the songs really had individual personalities and I kind of cling on to that feeling while I'm listening. But I also just find myself internally passing out and floating on clouds in my head. I just don't know.Dessa
- A Badly Broken Code
Dessa speaks to me on a level no other musician does. That's not to say it's on a deeper level or that I think she's the best at anything she does (although she might well be), it's just that she says things so many others don't, or can't. And perhaps that's because it is a rap record and therefore there is a lot more freedom when it comes to lyrical structure (and also number of words!) but maybe it is also because she is a lady and therefore I feel I can ~personally relate~.
This is a great debut album, but the fact I had to put "debut" in there sort of implies that I think she could do a lot better. The lyrics on this are probably at about 80% on my expectations-of-Dessa scale and the beats, well, I would prefer if they all sounded like 551 from the False Hopes EP. But back to the lyrics. Internal rhyming! "The guilt he'll say is killing him / He's wilted in the middle and / He knows how bad he acted / Knows he can't have you back and the fact is" Running metaphors! Referencing your own band! I love it when people reference their own bands. That bit in Step Aside when Corin's like "Janet! Carrie! Can you feel it!" and in Lift when Thom's like "We've been trying to reach you, Thom." That's why I think Crew is a great song, no matter how tacky it might seem. "Dot net 'cause somebody already had the dot com." Classic. Doomtree dot net.
Other albums that I have either enjoyed immensely but-not-as-immensely-as-the-albums-above or that I have not yet listened to enough but-definitely-have-potential-for-awesomeness include but are not limited to: White Hinterland
- KairosBeach House
- Teen DreamOwen Pallett
- HeartlandBroken Social Scene
- Forgiveness Rock RecordThe New Pornographers
- TogetherFrog Eyes
- Paul's Tomb: A TriumphFour Tet
- There Is Love in YouLCD Soundsystem
- This Is Happening
If you find yourself thinking "What about ___?" please let me know.