Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Top 10 for 2011

My Top 10 of 2011 - a/k/a my once yearly posting! (And it's oh so late!)

10. Cut Copy - Zonoscope - when it comes to electro dance, I like mine Australian. A good, not great, third LP from the Cutters. Other than "Sun God," nothing really stands out, but overall it's a good album.

9. Fred Falke - Part IV - when it comes to electro house, I like mine French. I've always been a fan of Falke (especially his collaborations with Alan Braxe), and I'm glad to see a full-length from him. As you would expect, Part IV is full of sweeping synths and groovy bass lines. Falke's 2011 remixes were great as well, especially for Metronomy's "The Look."

8. The Naked and Famous - Passive Me Aggressive You - Nice indie rock from New Zealand with alternating male/female vocals. "Young Blood" is clearly the winner of the tracks here.

7. Class Actress - Rapprocher - A good follow-up to the Journal of Ardency EP and overall a consistently good album, although I don't think any of the tracks are as standout as those on the EP. Still, great electro-pop with sultry vocals.

6. The New Division - The Rookie EP and Shadows - Great electro-pop, on both the EP and the debut album. Definitely an early to mid career Depeche Mode sound. Lovin' "Starfield" and "Opium."

5. Still Corners - Creatures of an Hour - A rich etherial, slightly shoegaze, sound with breathy vocals. "Into the Trees" and "Endless Summer" are standout tracks.

4. The Rapture - In the Grace of Your Love - So glad to see The Rapture back, and back to their old tricks. Even with the loss of Matty Safer, the band puts together a great album of danceable rock. "How Deep Is Your Love" practically demands that you get up and move.

3. Foster The People - Torches - I think everyone jumped on Foster The People by the end of the year. How can you not like "Pumped Up Kicks"? I like Torches a lot, but hate when the best tracks on a debut LP are those that appeared on the prior EP (here, "Helena Beat" and "Kicks").

2. Friendly Fires - Pala - They really grew into their sound with this album. Such a step up from an overall consistency standpoint from their self-titled debut. "Hurting" and "Helpless" are absurdly good.

1. Thievery Corporation - Culture of Fear - Quite possibly Thievery's best yet - solid tracks from start to finish. Still the same downtempo/dub/chillout/bossa sound, but done well. "Tower Seven," "Fragments" and 'Stargazer" are three of their best tracks ever. It's really been a Thievery year for me, as I've repeatedly been listening to their earlier stuff as well - things like "Lebanese Blonde" and "38:45 A Thievery Number."

Honorable Mentions:

Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto - not bad overall, but not great either. "Paradise" is quite good, but the rest feels over-produced. I'd love to see a song like "Shiver" written again, but I think Coldplay is too big for that now.

Today The Moon, Tomorrow the Sun - WILDFIRE - Not sure how I missed these guys, but their latest, WILDFIRE, is very expressive, in your face indie rock, and if you ever wanted more Metric, TTMTTS are your band.

Liam and Noel - Different Gear, Still Speeding and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - if you take the 5 best songs from each album and put them together, do you get an Oasis album? Hopefully, as I found both of these efforts lacking. A few good tracks to pick out though - such "Roller" from Liam and "AKA ... What a Life!" from Noely G.

Radiohead - King of Limbs - I love Radiohead, but it's hard for me to get excited about everything they put out nowadays, including King of Limbs (which does have good moments).

Stand-Out Tracks Otherwise Not Set Forth Above:

Beastie Boys - "Don't Play a Game That I Can't Win" - love this reggae roller.

Chase & Status - "Blind Faith" - I love the epicness of this track.

Craft Spells - "After This Moment" - A nice, poppy groove.

Cults - "Go Outside" - How can anyone not like this summery sing-song?

Dum Dum Girls - "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" - hard for me to like a Smiths cover, especially one of my favorite Smiths songs, but Dum Dum did a great job here - the harmonizing is quite nice.

Fonda - "Better Days" - A nice shoegaze throw-back (Lush meets School of Seven Bells perhaps)
Lana Del Rey - "Blue Jeans (Penguin Prison Remix)" - The remix really added a nice groove.

Little Dragon - "Crystalfilm" - sultry electro-pop - very similar to Class Actress actually, but with a cool Swedish vibe, of course (and god how I love "Feathers" from their last album)

Moving Units - "Until She Said" - Happy to have Moving Units back, again with their groovy dance rock

Mr. Little Jeans - "The Suburbs" - A hauntingly beautiful cover.

The Strokes - "Under The Cover of Darkness" - Nice to see The Strokes back with what they do best.

TV On the Radio - "Will Do" - I couldn't stop listening to this song when I first picked it up - such a beautiful expression of sound.

Vanessa Carlton - "Green Grass of Spring" - not normally an artist found in my collection, but this song is so good, it makes me want to cry.

Rediscovered or got back into in 2011:

Interpol - I really rekindled my love with Interpol this year. They've always been my "New York" band - they were up and coming when I moved to NYC and became the "it" band pretty much immediately after. I forgot how much I loved them.