Saturday, December 1, 2012

Top 20 albums of 2012

Air: Le Voyage Dans La Lune

Belbury Poly: The Belbury Tales

Chilly Gonzales: Solo Piano II

Dinosaur Jr.: I Bet on Sky

Godspeed You! Black Emperor: 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

Grimes: Visions

Holy Other: Held

Mac DeMarco: Rock and Roll Nightclub

Millionyoung: Amanecer

Momus: Bibliotek

Musette: Drape Me in Velvet

Plinth: Collected Machine Music

Ryan Power: I Don't Want to Die

Salyu x Salyu: s(o)un(d)beams+

Stereo Total: Cactus Versus Brezel

Tame Impala: Lonerism

Wild Nothing: Nocturne

Windy & Carl: We Will Always Be


Friday, December 9, 2011

Top 20 albums of 2011

Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto: Summvs
The fifth installment of their 'virus series' proves once again that less can be more.
Alva Noto's subtle electronic glitches provide a warm backdrop for Ryuichi Sakamoto's sparse and emotive piano accompanyment.

Balam Acab: Wander-Wonder

This album has somewhat of a cinematic feel.
Haunting and beautiful atmospheres are coupled with abstract beats and strange, processed vocals.
I feel like I hear something new every time I listen to it.
Wait - this guy is only 20?!

Chilly Gonzales: The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales

Guiness World Record holder and self-proclaimed musical genius, Chilly Gonzales (in collaboration with his brother, composer Christophe Beck) creates the world's first orchestral hip-hop record.
And guess what!
It's amazing!

Com Truise: Galactic Melt

Retro-futurism is taken to the next level.
Slick production with tricky beats and consistently interesting melodies.
This is the audio equivalent of 1980s vector graphics.
Throw on your VR helmet and simulate dancing!

David Lynch: Crazy Clown Time

David Lynch made an album and as you'd expect, it is weird as hell.
Listen to it.

Groundislava: Groundislava

Tight beats, nice melodies and a healthy dose of 8-bit nostalgia.
The collaborations with singer, Jake Weary are definite standouts.
A strong debut.
Can't wait to see what's next.

J. Mascis: Several Shades of Why

Dinosaur Jr. frontman, J. Mascis delivers his first solo acoustic record since 1996's "Martin + Me".
I can't help but wonder why he waited so long.
It just feels so right.

Jonwayne: Bowser

8-bit synths and grimy beats that would rust your favorite rapper's grill.
Can you listen to this without mean mugging?
I bet you can't.

Kurt Vile: Smoke Ring for My Halo

Kurt Vile delivers yet again.
His "Constant Hitmaker" album was my soundtrack to the last two winters.
This one is sure to have me out in the greenhouse again making pancakes.
Yeah, it's that kind of record!

M83: Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

M83's new double disc is easily the most epic album of the year.
You know this already.
You downloaded the leak too!

Millionyoung: Replicants

After dropping 2 solid EPs in 2009, Chillwave frontrunner, Millionyoung delivers his first full length - and it's great!
Think Spuds MacKenzie swapping the booze for exotic juices and lounging in the sun with his friends.
Isn't that a nice thought?

Momus & John Henriksson: The Thunderclown

Less than a year since the (also great) "Hypnoprism" was released, comes "The Thunderclown".
The dark themes presented here almost seem pleasant when backed by the warped, crackling additions of sampling wizard, John Henriksson.
It's that unlabeled record your grandfather would listen to when he finally had the house to himself.
This album will baffle historians!

Pure X: Pleasure

The past few years have been chock full of lo-fi artists with reverberated vocals.
I've been guilty of it myself.
But hey - these guys have pretty much mastered that sound.
This here's a gem.

Shlohmo: Bad Vibes

This album moves at a crawling pace, but it's subtleties are rewarding.
Good for adding that extra gloom to a rainy day.
This isn't the most convincing write up, is it?

Stephen Malkmus: Mirror Traffic

Stephen Malkmus put out another rock record and of course I'm a huge sucker for it.
Beck's production adds a little (but not too much) flare to the already quirky palate.
Get a load of those slide guitars!

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger: La Carotte Bleue

Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl revisit a few songs from last year's "Acoustic Sessions" and breathe new life into them.
But not without introducing us to a few new ditties from their repertoire.
Most notably, a cover of the Gainsbourg/Bardot tune "Comic Strip", which harkens back to Lennon's Cibo Matto days.

The High Llamas: Talahomi Way

The High Llamas continue their tradition of breezy, Brian Wilson-worshipping chamber pop.
Is that a bad thing?
If it ain't broke - don't fix it.
This album is great from start to finish.

The Marshmallow Kisses: Ciao! Baby

Hong Kong indie pop duo, The Marshmallow Kisses put out the cutest record of the year.
Have you heard it yet?
It will melt you into a puddle of sweet, sweet syrup!

Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts

Thurston Moore expands on the tone set with "Trees Outside the Academy", essentially ripening it.
Gentle and intimate, with rich orchestration.
With Beck's production assistance, the songs sound fuller and more grand.
They must be proud of this one!

Washed Out: Within and Without

This was on constant rotation in the summer.
If Washed Out is any indication of where pop music is headed, I think I'll be perfectly okay with that.
For best results, listen while bicycling or group swimming.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yukihiro Takahashi - 1981 - Neuromantic

One of many solo outings by Yellow Magic Orchestra's Yukihiro Takahasi.
On this release he has assistance from his bandmates in YMO and members of Roxy Music.
Slick, stylish and dreamy.
The closing track "Something in the Air" is a real treat.

Here's the video:

Grab the album up here.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Optiganally Yours - 1998 - Spotlight On

Rob Crow and Pea Hix make dreamy, whimsical pop songs centering around the Optigan organs of the 70s. This album has a real timeless feel. Unlike anything I've heard, aside from their other album! Don't pass it up!

Get it here.

Here's the video for "Mr. Wilson":

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tatsuhiko Asano - 2008 - Spacewatch

In 2008 Tatsuhiko Asano released the follow-up to his debut masterpiece, 'Genny Haniver', which I posted here last June.
This album is more of the same, but in this case, it's a good thing!
Emotive, full of beautiful textures and truly memorable.
You're going to want this in your collection!

Get it here.

Here's a video for "Vermilion":