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2011′s Albums to LIVE for (by ME! with MP3’s!)

“People of Earth. How are you?” One year ago my intention was to finally write my own album reviews instead of just posting snippets of those from “professional critics”.  However big events crossed my path and I simply didn’t have the time as I had intended. But it’s a new year, with even less time it seems – so why not start now? I should keep this intro short as you have a lot of reading to do (and listening as I’ve added an MP3 of a highlight from each album!), so get to it. As always, some great music was released this year. Granted, my favorite album this year was not only musically wonderful, but it also had a pretty profound emotional impact on me due to these changes from the past year. But that’s why it’s MY list! Anyway, hopefully someone finds something new to explore. Thanks for reading this labor of love.

Enjoy, and drive with aloha …

ONE. Björk’s seventh proper studio album Biophilia is without a doubt one of her best – a beautifully dark pop album that challenges the listener to have, of all things, patience. In the realm of pop music patience is of course not a word that comes to mind, but when it comes to Björk it’s definitely a virtue. If you have it, then like most artwork, it slowly unveils itself to the listener. On first listen, besides a few obvious relatively pop moments (more like the Björk style pop moments we have become accustomed to), it can be a curious almost, disconcerting affair. But then you get wrapped up in that voice again, and it all comes together with what then seems like an album that must have taken shape with remarkable ease, when it fact it was four years in the making. What I have taken away from this album is that it is in it’s simplest form a celebration of life, the universe, and the natural order of things. It feels like she is taking human emotions and expanding them into, and putting them against, the greater context of the universe, those emotions which we feel on a daily basis that keep the great engine moving and pumping along. Birth, death, love, loss – every tiniest element that we all feel and contribute – as miniscule as they may seem in the big picture – is a vitally important nut and bolt to our universe. Musically this album is all over the place – like the universe – diverse and challenging – using newly created instruments such as a harp pendulum, gameleste, and tesla coil which creates bass sounds using lightning. But in the end it’s a fully realized concept album rooted in raw emotion for the mysterious universe we all inhabit and play a part in. It’s emotional core is something we can all relate to, share and experience, and because of that I feel Biophilia will over time become known as one of Björk’s most complete and accessible albums, right up there with Homogenic.  More challenging, sure, but more rewarding all the same, including one of the most beautiful tracks Björk has recorded, and possibly ever recorded by anyone – Cosmogony. Like our ever expanding planet and universe, it takes time to reveal itself, but if you let yourself get lost in the idea and it’s melodies, you may feel like I do that it is Björk at the top of her creative game – and more in tune with Human Behaviour than ever before. [One Little Indian/Nonesuch Records]

Cosmogony‘ Live In Manchester, England July 2011 :

 

TWO. Liam Gallagher seems to be one of those public figures that people just love to hate on, like say Courtney Love or Lindsay Lohan or people like that – no matter what they do artistically, they aren’t given a fair shake.  Beady Eye’s Different Gear, Still Speeding seemed to be basically panned before it’s release just because of the very existence of Mr Gallagher, and for the most part it’s completely unfair. YES – it’s true, much of this album is not original in the truest sense of the word, and at times it’s possible that Liam & Co could be accused of out and out thievery. But that is rock & roll my friend, so if you try your best to put aside any and all prejudices and take it for what it is, what becomes apparent is these gents can write a top tune. To go from the Oasis days of ‘Live Forever’ and ‘Wonderwall’ to Beady Eye’s Motown stomp of ‘Bright the Light’ and the 60’s jangle of ‘The Roller’, despite still being in the same very general genre of Beatles-influenced rock, it’s still a welcome and exciting change for this band that is basically Oasis sans Noel. And after listening to Noel’s solo album which was also released this year, I beg to differ with the majority of the public and say say without out any doubt that it’s Liam and his band who know how to produce the memorable rock songs – no matter how unoriginal they may be.  How on Earth anyone can say with a straight face that any song on Noel’s sad dad-rock album (which I do actually like) could stand next to a song as gorgeously orchestrally pop as ‘The Beat Goes On’ is beyond me. And did Noel write a line as wonderful “It isn’t the end of the world, oh no! / It’s not even the end of the day”? The answer is NO! So get with it and give this album and Liam the fare shot they deserve. After a few listens I think you will be agreeing with me – this album is the tits!  [Beady Eye Records/Dangerbird Records]

The Roller‘ :

 

THREE. Neon Indian’s second album, Era Extraña, is my surprise album of the year. I checked out his first album a year or so ago after reading so much hype, and although its sounds were intriguing, it was lacking a core, unsure of what it wanted to be. It was the sound of a collage maker with access to many beautiful photos but when put together it just didn’t make any sense. Then I saw him and his band on Jimmy Fallon’s late night show and it was bright, inspired, forward thinking and just incredibly fun. So a second album equals a second chance, and it’s a fantastic change from the first. All of the songs – even though each having their own separate point of reference musically -gel together just perfectly. From one song sounding like Thurston Moore if he had originally picked up a synth, to another that, unlike so many bands that try to imitate the sound of, Mr Indian is able to tap into the soul of My Bloody Valentine and record what is at it’s worse a long lost b-side from the Loveless sessions. And then there are three tracks, right in the middle of the album (Fallout, Era Extraña, and Halogen), that just caps off the fantastic 80’s mood with incredible detail. I feel I could break down every single note in each of these three songs and reference it’s decades old reference points, but put aside the music nerd in you – just listen to it on full blast and soak it in. The synth bass line alone in Halogen, that one little element, is just incredibly wonderful, for me expressing musically all these memories of youth and transports me to a happy memory of my high school years, which like most people, never existed. This albums glows and oozes a magnificent shade of neon from beginning to end, and so if you’re into that sort of thing, go get it! [Static Tongues/Mom + Pop Music]

Halogen (I Could Be A Shadow)‘ :

 

FOUR. Technically this isn’t David Lynch’s debut as a musician, it’s his first full length released under his own name. For years he has been releasing music mostly as scores to his films, or at least projects associated with his films. There was Thought Gang which was in conjunction with Twin Peaks : Fire Walk With Me in the early 90’s, as well as Bluebob which came out during the Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive timeframe.  All had his trademark sound – the sound of slow, dark, swampy blues with a repetitive groove – that could soundtrack any of his films, and for the most part that is what we have here for his “solo” album, Crazy Clown Time. Like his films, this is definitely an acquired taste. As dark and mysterious his films are, what I have always admired about his work is his sense of humor, not taking himself too seriously.  He finds absurdity to be both a magical and beautiful thing, but also humorous. The entire series of Twin Peaks is no better example of that – and this album for me is the musical equivalent of Twin Peaks. It’s unsettling, bizarre and creepy in its sound, but so absurd in its repetition and abundance of silly lyrics that it’s frequently hilarious. There isn’t much music out there that can do either – creep you out – or make you laugh – but Lynch is able to do both in a single chorus, never-mind an entire album. There are songs of sentimental melancholy, at least for Lynch, in songs like ‘These Are My Friends’ and ‘She Rise Up’ (one of my songs of the year), as well as total stinkers such as ‘Football Game’ and ‘Strange and Unproductive Thinking’, but then there are groove-filled moments of dark (sound) and bright light (lyrics) in tracks such as ‘I Know’ and the utterly fantastic title track of ‘Crazy Clown Time’ that just make you realize, like his films, there is nothing else out there that sounds like this. Since the majority of the songs make me come back to it curiously over and over – to feel that otherworldly alternate universe feel that Lynch has expertly crafted in his career (this time, musically), I just have to give this album high marks. If you enjoyed that slow motion, dark, sexy world of Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive, most of this album will most definitely leave you satisfied. [Sunday Best/PIAS America]

Crazy Clown Time‘ :

 

FIVE. I honestly never expected GusGus to be around this long.  With a line-up debuting with Polydistortion in 1996 on 4AD with at least nine members, calling themselves a collective, it seemed to be one of those projects that would come and go. It’s now almost 17 years later from their original formation, and 7 full length albums in, and GusGus  – at least in Europe – are at the peak of their career.  Granted there have been many lineup changes, original members leaving and returning, and new members coming, going, then coming back. But with the line-up shifts, changes to the GusGus sound were a direct result, and with it their staying power.  They have always lived in the realm of electronic music, from the crunchy soulful take on trip-hop of their original album, to their magical and soulful modernization of classic house music with their new album, Arabian Horse. Their strong-suit has always been their song-writing (something lacking overall when it comes to electronic pop tunes) and the vocals of one of top male singers in all of pop music today, Daniel Ágúst Haraldsson, who has one of one of the most smooth and soulful voices I’ve heard – maybe ever? He is the key to their success in my view, the perfect compliment to the dark, pop beats of the music, and his return is the most vital element to their resurgence of the past few years. Not that the vocals of Urður Hákonardóttir prior to his return have not been good – as they are (and she returns on this album, to our benefit) – but something about his voice just ties everything together.  From the vocal interplay between Daniel and Urður over the driving pop groove of ‘Over’ to the gorgeous, soaring ‘Deep Inside’, then capping off with the rolling, popping drum stomp of ‘When Your Lover’s Gone’ (featuring vocalist Högni Egilsson from Icelandic chart-topping rock band Hjaltalín), GusGus have perfected the idea that music dark in sound doesn’t have to be dark in mood. The mix of dark and hope is a hard, curious mix to reach, but somehow they have done it here. This is dark, soaring, electronic pop music that demands patience and willing hips, rewarding on so many levels. [Kompakt]

Over‘ :

 

SIX. When The Horrors arrived on music shelves in 2006 with their self-titled debut EP, they were met with tremendous backlash from the British music press for being more of a “fashionable” flavor of the week – and these thoughts were more than justified. A group of early 20’s kids from Southend-on-Sea with ridiculous goth haircuts, gangly and dressed all in black – they seemed to the definition of what was going wrong in the tabloid-driven world of English indie music. And that EP – it had maybe one good song, ‘Sheena Is A Parasite’.  To me that song – a blast of pure garage goth rock with a video by the fantastic director Chris Cunningham – was a planted seed. At least I had hoped so.  Their debut album early the next year (Strange House) left much to be desired, but still left this feeling that there was potential for maybe not greatness necessarily, but something grand on the horizon. Their second album Primary Colours came out and it seemed to be that potential of success coming to life – and indeed it was great – but was it just in comparison to their prior releases that made it seemed to be the one everyone was hoping for? Once this new album, Skying, came out this fall, that definitely seemed to be the case. The band went big on this one.  Not just in sound, but in concept. It’s a giant record, full of the oceans and clouds of guitar that the album artwork conveys, but there are high levels of glam in some songs (sometimes evoking David Bowie, and other times Duran Duran), spots of groove-filled baggy/Madchester-level Stone Roses/Charlatans sounds in others (that’s a mouth full innit?), bits of Public Image Ltd/My Bloody Valentine mash-ups, and spots of just pure ghostliness courtesy of vocalist Faris Badwan’s displaced echo-y vocals. This album was a bit off-putting for me on first listen, possibly even the second, third and fourth times, but with patience it snuck up on me at one point and its beauty became apparent. It’s still a pop album when you strip it down to it’s basics, but it’s all about the stroke of the paintbrush. The small moments of completely luxurious sounds amongst the waves of noise, the frightening lyrics (“When you wake up, when you wake up …. you will find me”), the way they take so many familiar genres of indie rock from the 1980’s – it all comes together and somehow make it their own – somehow carving their own identity.  They are inspired, not replicating. It’s the closest thing to a British art rock album that I’ve heard in a long time – without all the pretense they were so accused of from their inception five years prior. I think Q Magazine said it best – “This isn’t blissed-out dream-pop but a beautiful Twin Peaks-style nightmare.” [XL Recordings]

You Said‘ :

 

SEVEN. And then there is this album. Apparently The Weeknd (yes, spelled without that ever important third ‘e’) are quite popular in the indie hipster world, embraced by a crowd too cool to be seen enjoying any R&B music that is even remotely mainstream. I am definitely guilty myself of learning about this band/person from Pitchfork Media, as well as checking it out based on the artwork and album title of House of Balloons (judging a book by it’s cover – leave me alone), but all this distraction does the music itself a disservice as it’s a very impressive record from this young Torontonian. Unfortunately it’s only available as a download (a free one on the band’s website, as a matter of fact), cause for me it has a sound that would match very well with vinyl. So anyway, on it’s surface it’s an R&B record, but a very dark one at that.  Not dark in a depressing, droning, tuneless way, as it’s incredibly catchy throughout, but it’s no coincidence they sampled Siouxsie & The Banshees on one track – another band fully versed on putting pop music through what some would call a “goth” lens. There are even elements of that oddly named “witch house” style that was attracting so much attention the past year or so. This all drives home my view on this album, that it effortlessly mixes so many completely contrasting genres together and somehow makes it work – beautifully, in fact. You have a singer with this wonderful voice that has a bit of a Michael Jackson lilt to it, singing very bluntly about sex through most of the album, over 80’s goth pop samples, and yet it’s still very much a relatively straight-forward R&B album. An R&B album for those who want their musical artists to show a sense of adventure instead of kowtowing to major label pressures of sales over substance. A nocturnal and darkly gorgeous record. It’s the sound of a party that has lasted well into the morning hours – a midtown loft half empty but full of regret – full of slow building grooves heard by the remaining few – surrounded by beer cups and red brick walls. It’s that sound of steam coming from the subway grates as you walk home, the high of the evening fading away, the over population seemingly disappeared – the city is yours and yours alone. It’s a woozy, blurry, shadow-filled night, and House of Balloons is the transition into your morning after. Oh, HOW dramatic! [self-released]

The Morning‘ :

 

EIGHT. In the dead of winter in March 2010, an artist named Washed Out burst upon the scene with his second EP, entitled Life of Leisure. It’s album cover and its lo-fi-recorded-in-his-home-ready-to-burst-with-genius collection of short electronic pop tunes were shrouded in thoughts of late night warm nostalgic summer air. Drenched with memories of the care-free days of youth & evenings spent at the beach, even the name Washed Out conveyed a hazy and stoned yet beautiful existence. Most of the EP was spot on, especially with what is probably it’s most popular track, ‘Feel It All Around’ and it’s diving electro bass lines and drifting Caribbean beat (currently running as the theme song for the FX Networks TV show Portlandia), but overall there was something missing. I tended to think what it was missing was about another 6 tracks approximately, so the news this reluctant North Carolina artist (who for various reasons seemed to have the potential of just releasing one record and then disappearing) was releasing a full length was exciting and strangely almost a bit of relief, because one way or another we would get a chance to see if he was the real deal or not, for better or for worse. His music, his artwork, the whole package just connected with and spoke to me on many levels. How could the new album go wrong? Then Within and Without was released, and utter disappointment set in fast. Mostly my fault, of course. It was that potential for greatness that I had just convinced myself was going to burst with this album and I just didn’t give the album the fair shot it deserved. I wasn’t angry (my gawd I was a total ass hole in my early 20’s when a band I loved put out an album that wasn’t what I was hoping for and it would actually upset me – see Population 4 from Cranes as an example) – but I was definitely disappointed like I hadn’t felt in many a years. Luckily it wasn’t crippling – life indeed does go on. HA! But then I could see a good friend of mine – via her Gmail chat status – was still listening to this album, quite often in fact. So I decided to listen again, and slowly but surely, very slowly, bits and sounds and melodies crept into my blood stream. What at first sounded like an aimless, vapid exercise in laziness and mediocrity soon became a beautiful go-to epitome of not nostalgia for the past (as is reputation holds him to), but more of a metaphor in a sense for summer, for holiday, for the true beauty of innocence. If you let yourself get completely absorbed – whisked away if you will – this album can really take you on holiday for a good 40 minutes. Maybe it’s the 80’s underwater bass and aquatic drift of ‘Before’. Or the bursts of sunlight bouncing off the Hawaiian waters in ‘A Dedication’. Or the beach make-out yearning of ‘Eyes Be Closed’. Or the Boeing 747 take off dance rush of ‘Echoes’. There is just something deep below the surface of this album that takes a bit of time finding, but once you do find it you will see the dive was well worth it. [Sub Pop]

Echoes‘ :

 

NINE. Why oh why does the self-titled debut album from Cults work so incredibly well? I have definitely been a sucker for what seems to me to be a trend over the past years to mesh certain styles together that on paper just don’t make much sense, but when it’s executed it works in fantastic fashion. A good example of that would be TV on the Radio who over the past 5+ years have gone so far as to record a barbershop quartet style rendition of Pixies’ “Mr. Grieves”. Maybe there is something in the water or in the air in Brooklyn – the home of both these bands – that make these mixing of styles make so much sense, but this album is another rich addition to that theory. I first read reviews of this band saying – like The Raveonettes – they were mixing elements of shoegaze, a crap load of reverb, all along with pop melodies and inspirations from various girl groups from 60’s Motown. Potentially lovely, potentially disastrous. For me it turned out to be more than lovely. I definitely expected them to be more in that Raveonettes vibe where there is a dark undercurrent and atmosphere below pretty much every melody they churn out. But luckily, and what makes this album work is, it’s pop through and through. Sure, the sounds are there at times that are so easily associated with bands who have that dark, reverb soaked thing going on, but these are first and foremost pop songs – from generations past. The vocal melodies, the bass, the voice of lead singer Madeline Follin – the mixture of it all just somehow works seamlessly. So much so that whenever I listen to this album it feels like to me if that Motown sound from 50 years ago was to break on the scene today – with today’s styles in sound and instrumentation – Cults would be at the forefront of the movement. The soul of bands like The Shangri-Las and The Supremes just seem to exist in their blood so naturally that it makes their album come across so sincere and outright genuine. Add a bit of Phil Spector to their own modern day wall of sound on songs like ‘Bumper’ and ‘Never Saw the Point’ which are just oozing these giant massive hooks, it’s a shame that so many wrote them off from day one just because they began their career on a major label.  This is a large album no doubt (despite its perfectly short 33 minute running time) – a big unashamed relentless statement of huge beats and a love for summer just aching for a communal festival sing along with thousands upon thousands of fans (disciples) – but let your guard down. This is breezy pop music at it’s finest, and coupled with it’s infectious innocence – it’s probably the funnest and more unique albums of the year. Rave On, indeed. [Columbia Records]

Never Heal Myself‘ :

 

TEN. I have never really been a huge Radiohead fan, but I have always looked forward to hearing when a new album is going to come out because you can always count on them to progress in one way or another. To go from the days of ‘Creep’ and Pablo Honey to an album like OK Computer is quite an admirable growth spurt to say the least. Most of the time however, their music doesn’t connect with me. Some songs do here and there, but overall the finished product doesn’t end up being my cup of tea – including OK Computer funny enough, even though I can see why it’s such an important and admired album. Most of their fan base has kept the faith the past few years while seeming to enjoy them less and less – the cries of disappointment seem to get louder and louder as each album comes out – not counting the last album In Rainbows (my favorite from them) which most seem to put right up there with OK Computer. But then there was Hail to the Thief (which I really liked) and now The King of Limbs which seems to be making the fanboys nervous. But why? I have no idea. I personally do not understand how the meandering melody-lacking albums like Kid A and Amnesiac are treated with such high esteem – while this album is greeted with such disappointment when to my ears this is what they were truly aiming for when those albums came out. But I digress. The bottom line is even though this is no OK Computer nor is it In Rainbows, it’s another lovely step forward for the band. From the stuttering frantic dance beats and soaring vocals of ‘Lotus Flower’ to the crunchy campfire sing along of ‘Give Up the Ghost’ to the ghostly fluttering jazz-rock of ‘Bloom’, this is a perfect, short, otherworldly 37 minute album covering only eight tracks. And not to mention the album highlight, the gorgeous closing track ‘Separator’, with Yorke’s voice carrying the melody right at the forefront, it’s romantic optimism peaking about 2:40 in with the melody and lyric “And if you think this is over / Then you’re wrong / Like I’m falling out of bed from a long and weary dream / Finally I’m free of all the weight I’ve been carrying.” It’s a beautiful, compact statement of confidence, and of having the power completely in their hands to do exactly what they want to do. Like any great true artist who wouldn’t even imagine of painting the same painting over and over, Radiohead (like Björk) can be counted on for always pushing the envelope, for trying something new, for taking a brand new canvas and starting over each and every time. They never re-invent themselves, they re-invent their music, and with it re-invent the music scene and the hoards of current and budding musicians who undoubtedly take inspiration from their shifting direction. The mark of true artists. I highly recommend this album – a thing of skeletal beauty. [XL Recordings / TBD Records]

Separator‘ :

 

ELEVEN. Epic. That is what Mr Gonzalez said his band M83 was going for here. Then he says it’s going to be a double album. What says epic more than a double album, right? Then that first single comes out – ‘Midnight City’. My goodness where did that come from? I mean pretty much everything on his last album, Saturdays=Youth, was a brillant gorgeous gem, but he was able to top it somehow? It’s undoubtedly the best song of the year – a completely blinding, electro-shoegaze throwback to everything good thing there was to remember about the 80’s. Then the album artwork comes out and anticipation is in the stratosphere. Then Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming itself comes out. The reviews are – like this album – completely out of this world. All expectations are surpassed – like what usually happens whenever M83 put out an album. I come back from Reykjavik the day after it’s release, go straight to Newbury Comics to get it – throw it in the CD player – and I don’t really know what to think. I still don’t. I think deep down I know this album is going to grow on me in leaps and bounds, but it’s taking far longer than I was expecting. Normally I don’t have expectations with albums these days, but this is one I did, which is of course not fair to the album or the artist. Luckily it is growing on me – even listening to one song right now (‘Wait’) which I initially couldn’t stand – but now I’m digging it. My initial reaction though was I don’t think one of disappointment necessarily – as there are top tunes in here for sure – some of his best in fact – but I wasn’t feeling the epic part. How could this be called epic (just because it’s a double album?) when he released something as fantastic as Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts just a few years prior? I guess it just comes down to taste – but for me this one is inconsistent. Stretching it out over 2 discs (and still just 74 minutes total), it seemed they were more concerned about the concept of fulfilling a self-imposed quota of a double album, instead of just letting it flow, letting it just become what it needed to become on it’s own. For me, that would be getting rid of about half the tracks. Condense it down to a single album without the filler instrumentals and a few of the songs that just don’t stand up against the better tracks – and the result would be what I envisioned from the beginning, an album somehow better than his last. Of course with today’s technology I can do with this what I want, remove tracks, rearrange tracks, and come up with my own mix of the best tracks. I kind of wish that is something they did themselves, but maybe that was their intention, to give us all they had and if need be, you can add your own taste and personality and cherry pick what you like. However, this album is growing on me more and more, so maybe it won’t be necessary after all. At it’s core, M83 have taken another step forward. Still exploring the galaxies – M83 are experts at mixing so many styles of yesteryear and adding a dash of their own personality that they come up with a sound that is entirely fresh and all their own. You’ve got shoegaze, rock, electronic, new age, even a dash of witch-house here and there – and now apparently a dead ringer for Peter Gabriel according to some. There’s the truly epic opening statement of ‘Intro’ leading into the aforementioned ‘Midnight City’ – a modern day John Hughes closing credits work of art so unique it’s incredibly hard to describe. The one-two punch of ‘New Map’ and ‘OK Pal’ on disc 2 would lead you to believe you’ve heard what Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine has been promising for two decades now. It’s hard to take something that in it’s truest form is so whispy, so airy, and make it RAWK and somehow make you want to reach for the stars, dancing with such blinding optimism. It’s those life-affirming moments that are so strong in all of M83’s music – it always has you coming back over and over to experience them again – despite the filler.  There is soul here so entrenched in experience, in life – to come from musical styles and musical eras so often dismissed as soulless – it’s quite an achievement. When he hits those moments, he’s peerless, and the world should honestly be thankful for M83.  Oh, and then there’s ‘Steve McQueen’. Yup, epic. [Mute Records]

OK Pal‘ :

 

TWELVE. That name – Com Truise. It’s a bit twatty isn’t it? Does anyone really want to associate themselves with Tom Cruise in any fashion? I’m sure it turns people away – as it did for me at first glance – but I hope more people give this one a chance as it’s quite a lovely album. Of course you really have to be into cold, icy, robotic 80’s styled beats to even remotely get into Mr Truise’s first album, Galactic Melt, but underneath it’s shiny, off-putting exterior is a very warm interior. There are so many sounds, so many melodies and atmospheres going on here that every listen unveils something new. Luckily this album isn’t a difficult one to take on, it’s actually really, really fun to listen to. I kind of picture Gary Numan when I listen to this, a Gary Numan who is new onto the scene, fresh-faced, into the 80’s revivalism that’s going on. He’s got a bit of an inner hip-hop voice now, looking to create some music he could proudly be blasting out of his car with the windows rolled down, with a newfound confidence, down let’s say the neon lined street’s of Miami’s South Beach. That’s what this album makes me picture when I’m doing the exact same thing listening to this loudly on my headphones at home all by myself. I mean just listen to those big warbly beats in ‘Flightwave’, or that love-theme-from-Beverly-Hills-Cop sound of ‘Brokendate’, or ‘Futureworld’ which just makes you want to do something terribly and unashamedly filthy (make of that what you will). Are you seeing this Gary Numan imaging that I’m seeing? No? Ok just give it some time – it will happen. Just take a (synth) stab at this, and avoid all the reviewers who keep lumping this album in with all that chillwave music that is out there now (like the aforementioned Washed Out and Neon Indian). How this can be compared to that stuff I have no idea. 80’s sounding does not equal chillwave, unless you are writing lazy reviews after listening to albums just once or twice. Do The Police and Simple Minds sound the same then too? Anyway back to my point. I am not good at describing music, but I do recommend this. It’s really great background music, a fantastic motivator to clean the house to (after doing that terribly filthy thing I mentioned), and just a great overall masterful guilty pleasure. Sure it will be out of fashion in a matter of months, but enjoy it while it lasts. I wish the same could be said about Tom Cruise. [Ghostly International]

VHS Sex‘ :

 

VERY HONORABLE MENTIONS
David Lynch : Good Day Today/I Know EP
Foo Fighters : Wasting Light
Holy Ghost! : Holy Ghost!
Joker : The Vision
The Joy Formidable : The Big Roar
Lady Gaga : Born This Way
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds : Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart : Belong
Seefeel : Seefeel
Summer Camp : Welcome to Condale
Tame Impala : Innerspeaker
TV on the Radio : Nine Types of Light
Tycho : Dive
Wild Flag : Wild Flag

 
REISSUES OF THE YEAR
Breakin’ : Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
The Jesus and Mary Chain : Darklands
The Radio Dept : Passive Aggressive – Singles 2002-2010
This Mortal Coil : Box Set
Throwing Muses : Anthology

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