Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
One of those albums I kept hearing about before I listened to it. I thought it was overhyped, but I was wrong. Do I feel kind of lame for putting it at the top of my list when it’s on the top of everyone else’s list too? Yes, kind of lame, thanks for asking. I mean, no! Not lame at all. Listen to it. It’s amazing.
School of Seven Bells – Alpinisms
I was very tempted to put this at number one, but I felt I couldn’t because I discovered them so recently. Nevertheless, this has quickly become an album that I’m returning to again and again. I discover something new and exciting every time I listen to it.
David Byrne & Brian Eno – Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
Did I want another My Life in the Bush of Ghosts? Yes. Did I get it? No. Do I love it anyway? I do, but it took a while to grow on me. Once it did I realized that even if the album isn’t ground-breaking, it’s one that I’ll be listening to for a long time to come. This was also a perfect model for how to release an album. I had listened to the entire album several times before I bought it. When I bought it, I received the mp3s and flac files immediately. The CD was released and arrived in the post few months later. Not only did they make it easy for me to decide if I liked the album without having to buy it or break the law, they made it easy to get the digital files in the format I wanted. Maybe it was ground-breaking, after all.
White Denim – Workout Holiday
These guys were one of those record store discoveries. I was browsing in Resident in Brighton when this album came on. After three songs I was hooked. I immediately bought the CD and haven’t looked back since. Every song is energetic and fun, and they’re from Austin.
African Scream Contest
This is a compilation of psychedelic funk from Togo and Benin in the 70s. Every single track is amazing. Imagine James Brown on acid or Os Mutantes out of Africa. Aw, screw it, don’t imagine anything. Just listen to this.
The Seedy Seeds – Count the Days
I absolutely love this album. They remind me of some of the Elephant 6 bands, specifically Apples in Stereo and Dressy Bessy. Only with more Casio keyboards and a kind of bluegrass edge. I keep listening to them, usually when I just need something to make me smile.
Flight of the Conchords – Flight of the Conchords
Not only are they hilarious, but they are today’s preeminent musical chameleons. My personal favorite – Boom – makes me smile because it reminds me of Yellowman. Of course, their Bowie impersonations are fantastic, too.
Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs
This album didn’t make a huge impression on me. I thought it wasn’t nearly as strong as previous Death Cab albums (e.g. Plans and We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes). Then Joanne managed to get us tickets to see them live. Seeing them perform I Will Posses Your Heart changed all that. This album is more subtle than previous albums, but has now become one of my favorite Death Cab albums.
Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
Another album that I almost didn’t put here because I got sick and tired of hearing about it, but I keep coming back to the album. It’s another one I love listening to, and it makes me smile. Especially when they’re doing their homage to Peter Gabriel. (It gets even better when Peter Gabiel covers Vampire Weekend.)
Blitzen Trapper – Furr
Another recent discovery. I considered putting it higher on the list. The whole album is pretty good, but the title track is probably my favorite track of the entire year. In fact, it is so perfect it’s fast becoming one of my favorite songs of all time.