I've recently gone on a music binge lately, grabbing up a bunch of new releases and plowing through them.
I've been pleased with a lot of it and bet that some of it will end up on my "best of" list come the end of the year. Let's look at some of the highlights.
British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
I loved BSP's "Open Season" and was looking forward to "...Rock Music." The band took the anthem rock to another level on the album with songs such as "All In It" and "Waving Flags." And although the second half of "...Rock Music" is weaker than the first, the strength of the aforementioned early tracks plus "No Lucifer" and "Lights Out for Darker Skies" makes up for it. Another solid release from a consistently good band.
Cadence Weapon - Afterparty Babies
Toeing a number of genre lines (electronic, rap, geek rap, spoken word), Cadence Weapon's debut "Breaking Kayfabe" had me hooked on his use of video game blips, clever rhymes and unique delivery. "Afterparty Babies" isn't great, but has higher highs than "Kayfabe." From the acapella opener "Do I Miss My Friends?" to the infectiously catchy "Real Estate," Cadence Weapon's varied style is still ever present on the album. It will be interesting to see what he can do on album number three - I have a feeling the best is yet to come.
Fuck Buttons - Street Horrrsing
The safest bet to be at the top of my end of year list, "Street Horrrsing" is dutifully feeding my addiction to noise. With six tracks clocking in at nearly 50 minutes, the album is a dense, slowly building monster. "Sweet Love for Planet Earth" and "Bright Tomorrow" are simply glorious - each lulling the listener to sleep before blowing his/her head off. The scratchy vocoder-filtered vocals, cheap sounding keyboards and fuzzed out guitars make for what I think will be the best noise album of the year.
Santogold - S/T
I think everything you need to know about Santogold can be gleaned from her video for "L.E.S. Artistes." That song is one of my favorite of the year so far and a great opener, for not only the album, but the musical career of Santogold. Her influences are many and that shows in the range of the tracks. "L.E.S. Artistes" and "You'll Find a Way" turn up the badass chick factor up to 11, while "I'm A Lady" and "My Superman" slow it down for a nice change of pace. The album is scatter-brained, yet cohesive. You may find yourself saying "is this really the same album?" and loving it at the same time.
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
Are Cut Copy doing anything with electronic music that hasn't been done before? Not that I can hear. But does that matter in the least? Absolutely not. Sounding at times like Depeche Mode or Daft Punk, Cut Copy brings a noticeable sense of life to this sometimes cold sounding genre. The heavy use of bass and guitars in harmony with synth and organic vocals makes for a great electronic record. "Lights and Music," "Unforgettable Season" and "Hearts on Fire" are some of the best dance/electronic tracks you'll hear this year.
And some individual tracks I have been loving:
Atmosphere - "You"
Crystal Castles - "Untrust Us"
Lykke Li - "Breaking It Up"
No Age - "Teen Creeps"
Portishead - "Machine Gun"
Destroyer - "My Favorite Year"
Los Campesinos - "Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks"
thanks to Hype Machine for the links and being an awesome site.