Music authority comes from those who have expertised in criticism, have written serious music journalism and have stood for years in the industry. We base our taste from them, or at least compare theirs on our own, and in a way improve our playlist due to their influence. A small blog like mine has nothing to boast but the passion it has for music itself, closely knitted with the love of words. While I was tempted to make my quintessential Best of the Year list, I had thought of letting a group of people share their own instead. The project of asking musicians, directors, artists and writers (from the US, Canada, Russia, Sweden, France, Switzerland, the Philippines, Australia, Iceland and Norway) for this yearender project has been a great experience, and I feel deeply honored that they took the time to work on their submissions. Who can give better insight of what a year it has been for music than the people who closely or relatively worked, in one way or another, with music for production, employment and inspiration. While it can be an almighty task to dish out a list on my behalf, it is more remarkable to know what these people have listened to instead.
Now with this humbling experience, here is the 2011 Best Album Picks.
The Devil’s Walk | Apparat. Highly emotive pieces which Apparat portrays kindly as piano and custom electronic sounds evolve into very musical tracks which I enjoyed listening very much.
Mind Blowing | Moderat. Again Aparat’s evolution into Moderat drags that nostalgia present in its tracks, emotional at the same time and sometimes kindly uplifting. Surprisingly addictive.
6th And the Baronne | UNLV. A rap band that acknowledges the rhythmic pilars of the bouce sthetics more melodic now. A standard for the early 90′s and promisingly full of new beats.Cool.
Velociraptor | Kasabian. Marvelous musicians to travel with the different musicscapes they portray in their songs. Simply amazing.
Surf Noir | Beat Connection. Uprising tropical sounds, soft and beautiful, inspiring voices I like and a good attempt of grooves in my opinion. Extrovert.And>> Stereo MC’s “Emperor’s Nightingale”- new dimesion for a fresh electronic london totem of hiphop, best rated- always high. Outstanding.
W H O K I L L | tUnE-yArDs. In my opinion this is the most interesting album of 2011. Merrill Garbus is inventive and outlandish and it shows through her music. W H O K I L L is full with layered and playful rhythms and her odd ukulele. Nothing else would fit as perfectly though.
Civilian | Wye Oak. Someone once told that Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner is a female version of Kurt Cobain. That comparison has really grown on me since. Her songwriting is timeless. She creates intense and mystifying harmonies that contrast with deep keys and pounding drums. It results in a beautiful full sound that envelops space. It’s chill inducing at times.
Kaputt | Destroyer. Dan Bejar is such a cooky person and, similarly to Merrill of tUnE-yArDs, it shines through in Bejar’s music. He creates this free-flyingly upbeat compilation that incorporates styles of jazz, ambient, 80s’ pop, and David Bowie-esque avant-guarde rock. I’ll be playing record for a long, long time.
The Cowboy’s Prayer | Mutual Benefit. This is actually just half of a cassette tape. I was so blown away at the beauty of these songs. It’s such simple songwriting and basic instrumentation, but the production is unbelievable. It reminded me a lot of The Microphones’ It Was Hot, We Stayed In The Water. Excellent harmonies and beautifully flowing melodies and swaying feels. It’s also pretty nostalgic at times, reminds me of some better times.
Galactic Melt | Com Truise. One of the most exciting nights I’ve had this year is when I interviewed Com Truise before a show. I was so pumped to see this guy work. His synths are so perfect and futuristic. I also can’t get enough of his deep percussive sounds; they really push his music.
Bas As Me | Tom Waits. Slight southern vibe, bright metallics, thicker haze of smoke, and the ever-present haunting presence of Mr. Waits. He never disappoints. “New Year’s Eve” is a vesper gem.
Red EP | Weekend. These guys are from my home-town in the Bay Area. So young, so smart, with such meticulous manipulation of sound. They are wise beyond their years and they know what they’re doing. They’ll be around for a long, long time.
Drive- OST | Various Artists. Man, where did this even come from? This just came out of nowhere. Cliff Martinez’s neon, synthetic, and darkly humored ode to the 80s. Love it. It pumps me up.
Metals | Feist. I’ve been waiting for her return since her huge explosion with The Reminder. This record doesn’t disappoint, invokes new colors and emotions, but still is the warm, vintage quilt on my cold winter flesh that I originally fell in love with.
Bon Iver, Bon Iver | Bon Iver. He’s a genius. Everyone wants to be Justin Vernon, just like everyone wanted to be Bob Dylan.
Smother | Wild Beasts . Such a unique sound, this is a very special album start to finish.
Past is Prologue | Tycho. So relaxing and yet so profound.
The English Rivierea | Metronomy. Always makes me wanna groove, I love this record.
Hurry Up We’re Dreaming | M83. Their most epic sounding album yet, this one is out of this world.
The Devil’s Walk | Apparat. This guy has something very special to say. I love hearing it.
Strange Negotiations | David Bazan. It happens every few years. You’re going about your business, reading the blogs, collecting albums for your year-end list. Lots of really cool new stuff. Then you hear Bazan’s new record and all of a sudden all those A+ albums feel like C’s. Seems like some people wrote off Pedro The Lion because of the Christian thing. I guess it can be hard to maintain perspective as a listener. The downside of music press is that sometimes it gets you to stop listening. This guy’s doing the best work of his career and some of the best writing of any contemporary songwriter. Bar none. He actually gives a shit and he’s thought about it hard enough to be able to say something and say it in a meaningful way. I’m not aware of anybody else today who does this better than Bazan. Also, the riff in in “Eating Paper” is almost enough to make me believe in electric guitar again, which is no modest feat.
Bon Iver, Bon Iver | Bon Iver. There is no excuse for a self-titled album. Nothing says “I just couldn’t be bothered” more than using your band name as an album title. That said, this album doesn’t have everything that “For Emma” had and God bless it for that. I loved “For Emma”, but I wouldn’t love it nearly as much if he had just re-released it a couple years later under a different title. With this one he re-contextualizes himself a bit, remains endlessly satisfying and still builds and maintains a mood throughout the course of a record that, sonically, varies wildly. The invention, the wealth of musical ideas throughout this record, is really something wonderful. And it just fucking feels right.
Helplessness Blues | Fleet Foxes. Once you get past a certain age it’s easy to get stuck thinking that you should be less earnest, less forceful in what you’re trying to say, because you don’t know anything. And that’s true. You don’t know anything. You gleaned no objective truth from getting drunk in that movie theater last night, or from telling that girl that she’s “in law school for the wrong reasons.” But very few great things ever came from pursuing objective truth in art. It’s a red herring. Fleet Foxes took what they were already doing well and drilled deeper into it. It feels like Robin Pecknold got further into his own head, put some very useful blinders on. I don’t think “Helplessness Blues” gives a shit whether or not I like it. And it shouldn’t. It knows what’s important to it and is unabashed.
Lenses Alien | Cymbals Eat Guitars. This asshole. This fucking asshole. He describes the backseat of a car and all of a sudden I feel like a finally know what America means. Or something. That probably sounds silly, but love makes you do and say silly things (and 90% of the things I love are records, on account of the fact that I’m a nerd and an asshole. It strikes me that a lot of the experience of listening to this one has to do with movement. It kind of takes off, right from “Rifle Eyesight”, and it’s up to you to catch up by the time it reaches “Gary Condit”. Hook-wise, it’s actually a very tight record, it just doesn’t ruminate on those hooks and constantly reiterate itself like so many self-consciously “catchy” records do. It just keeps barreling ahead. If you listen to it enough, though, it’ll occasionally stop for you to catch up. The seconds between 1:00 and 1:15 of “Definite Darkness” will lie still and let you live in them for a while. The opening 42-second chunk of “Plainclothes” will feel like a complete statement in and of itself. Also, guitar. Fucking electric guitar.
Tomboy | Panda Bear. Oh, Jesus Christ. Didn’t it feel like you’d been waiting forever outside that little house in Concord, CA, pacing and shivering forever in the rain, until finally Grandma opened the door and wrapped a bone-dry quilt around you? The answer is yes. Yes, it did. Yup. “Hypnotic” and “darker than the last one” and all that bullshit. It’s all true but not necessarily important. It’s all about how it feels like there’s a reason for this to be here. It’s about how all these ideas would be squandered if they were in the hands of somebody lacking Noah Lennox’s taste. It’s all about how this is as well-executed as it is well-conceived. And, above all else, it’s all about the fact that, no matter how hard I try, it still takes days to get the coda of “Alsatian Darn” out of my system.
50 Words For Snow | Kate Bush
Alien Observer / Dream Loss | Grouper
Wander/ Wonder | Balam Acab
Civilian | Wye Oak
Replica | Oneohtrix Point Never
Tracks of the Year
“Four Walls”- Massive Attack vs Burial. Nice collaboration of two great musicians. A 12 minutes track with an unbelievable atmosphere, which fills the every last part of your body. (Leo)
“Airport Blues”- Arms and Sleepers. Probably my favourite track throughout the year. I like almost all their songs, but this track stands apart. (Alex)
“Little Smoke”- This Will Destroy You. Very gloomy and tense track. I enjoyed this release a lot. (Alex)
“Re-wired”- Kasabian. Hit me! Harder! I’m getting re-wired! (Eugene)
Days | Real Estate. The album cover of Days sets a backdrop for what listeners should expect from Real Estate: simplicity. The songs are by no means extravagant; rather, there’s an effortless feeling of subtlety that shapes the entirety of the album. Although the band took to the studio for their second release, there’s still a lo-fi quality to the record that gives listeners both a sense of longing and relaxation, a wonderful mix for an audience.
Idle Labor | Craft Spells. Led by lead singer Justin Vallesteros, Craft Spells enters the fray of the dream pop world. Vallesteros provides a sense of nonchalance to his vocals that’s reminiscent at times of Morrissey and Ian Curtis that is backed by an 80’s sound. You guessed it: it’s synthy and it’s dreamy. Highlights such as “Party Talk” and “Ramona” are sure to be stuck in your head for a week. It’s an ethereal work all the way through.
Underneath the Pine | Toro Y Moi. Within the first minute of album opener, you realize that this is different. No longer is Chaz Bundick confined to the “chillwave” genre he helped popularize in 2010 with Causers of This. With Underneath the Pine, you have something that is vastly distinctive from Toro y Moi’s previous work. Bundick learns to build upon his skill of musical arrangement, this time with less electronics and now with more real instrumentation. There’s certainly a classic, jazzy feeling to Underneath the Pine that separates itself from its predecessor album. It’s an unexpected turn for Bundick, who I expected to stay the course of chillwave, but it’s a welcome one that focuses on the balance of musicianship and ambiance.
Native Speaker | Braids. Braids happens to be my favorite musical discovery of the year. Tinged with the same DNA of bands like Animal Collective and Yeasayer, Braids blends a unique mix of experimental pop with an almost orchestral, echoic feel. Loops and blending guitars send forth, and in comes one of the most intriguing lead singers I have heard in awhile, Raphaelle Standell-Preston, who is armed with percussive vocals and clever lyrics. Native Speaker is an album that is almost meant to be on repeat, with long-winded songs that focus on key repetitive phrases. But this record is by no means monotonous. Braids spans a great amount of ground of sonic territory that leaves you wanting more, in a good way.
Hoods on the Water Tower | Spendora Colt. Splendora Colt is Wesley Hartley’s newest musical masterpiece. Living currently in Maine, Wesley is in my humble opinion the greatest songwriter breathing oxygen on the planet earth. Also check out “Wesley Hartley and the Traveling Tree’s two albums, “Don’t Peel Your Bloomers Off Just Yet” and “Narrow Gauge Quad Trains” which are also masterpieces. Two Pick’s: “Timber Switch” and “Wild Cat’s Pride”
Mammoth Swoon | Lady Lamb The BeeKeeper. Lady Lamb the Beekeeper is a gift from another place, something subconscious. This album is a collection of 17 amazing songs in many different sonic scape’s and fidelities. Aly Spaltro’s (who lives in Brooklyn, NY via Portland, ME) words are like words from a spirit born many, many times over. Her songs are an emotional unravelling for me. Naked and unashamed, beautifully broken and beautifully human. Two Picks: “The Nothing Part Two” and “Between Two Trees”
Texas Hold Me | The Milkman’s Union. The Milkman’s Union is another wonderful band from Maine. Well what can I say, I listen to these guys on repeat for weeks sometimes. Henry Jamison’s songwriting, voice and guitar work along with Peter McLaughlin’s percussion make for a beautiful and timeless experience. The Texas Hold Me 7″ is two song collection, that is truly timeless. I know that when I’m 80 I’ll still be listening to these songs. Also check out Henry Jamison’s debut solo work Telos EP released this year as well. Two Picks: “Texas Hold Me” and “Little Bird”
Smart Flesh | The Low Anthem. The Low Anthem’s latest release Smart Flesh is my favorite of theirs so far. They all play multiple instruments, they all sing, and they are just an amazing band. I had the pleasure of seeing them in a smaller room last year in Portland’s SPACE Gallery and it was an incredibly moving experience. Two Picks: “Boeing 737″ and “Smart Flesh”
Bad as Me | Tom Waits. I’m a huge Tom Waits fan. Bad As Me is another notch in the belt for this living legend. Need I say more? Two Picks: “Hell Broke Luce” and “Pay Me”
Pleasure | Pure X. This is an LP of drugged out slo-motion, psych drift that had me mesmerised more than any other release in 2011. Really got inside my head and heart.
Felt | Nils Frahm. Frahm released this mainly piano-led collection of songs that is superbly recorded, full of creaks and breathing that draws you right inside his minima, ambient classical-drone compositions.
Dedication | Zomby. A return to more dubstep territory for Zomby but with a nod to other current trends like witch house thrown into the mix. This is all over the place and a welcome relief from too many electronic albums that treaded the same water on every track.
Meet The Decline EP | Downliners Sekt. A real surprise find courtesy of the Utility Fog radio show on Sydney, Australia’s Fbi Radio. These guys release everything for free on their website and their attention to detail and sonic depth in their music is brilliant. Zombi | Escape Velocity – Escapism and guilty pleasures never sounded so good as this in 2011. Full of 70s and 80s synth dispatches, these guys have live drums mixed in with the electronics, It’s a fun adrenalin rush and a good way to clean the palette after listening to darker, droning sounds.
Thora Wukk | Robag Wruhme. Constantly played this wonderful LP since it came out. Robag’s humour shines through in this flawless production.
New History Warefare Vol. 2: Judges | Colin Stetson. Compelling, visceral LP, complete opposite to the microbeat/building layers approach to making music.
Space Is Only Noise | Nicolas Jaar. Young Producer. I saw him at the Melt! Festival in Germany this year. He is wonderful live. He can sing and like James Blake is not afraid to us space/silence for great effect.
Passed Me By | Andy Stott. Hard, hard techno that doesn’t leave me cold. One of two superb EPs from him this year.
III | Gui Boratto. Lush and plump. Another producer I saw at Melt! in July.
I think all five of these albums were stand-outs for me in 2011 because of the production. I love each album for its own reasons, be it more lyrically, musically or production-wise.
Metals | Feist. I think the production on Metals is pretty near perfect..the epic drums, harmonies, and distorted lead guitar and vocals.
W H O K I L L | tUnE-yArDs. It was a really energetic, tasteful, studio follow-up to tune-yards first release. It didn’t lose any power in it’s more polished state..
The Riptide | Beirut. It is just Beirut at it’s best. Beautiful vocals and harmonies, horns and percussion.
Burst Apart | The Antlers. It is beautiful and dreamy, and the vocals are perfect.
Strange Mercy | St. Vincent. It has filthy guitar and tight percussion that I’m always drawn to in St. Vincent’s music.
The Earth Is A Man | The Earth Is A Man. Lovely guitar harmonies. Really inventive and poppy for post rock instrumentals. I love this.
The Rising Of The Lights | William D Drake. Great songwriting again and some really inspiring chord progressions. Classy stuff.
King Of Limbs | Radiohead. Not quite up to the heights of In Rainbows but still some genuinely interesting stuff. Reminds me of Talking Heads’ Remain In The Light which is always a good thing. Took a few listens to get into.
Dear Lord, No Deal | Knifeworld. Really innovative arrangements and the epic HMS Washout may just be my track of the year.
The Whole Love | Wilco. Sublime songwriting and Nels Cline is a genius guitar player.
There was also lots of old stuff I discovered thats old this year. Cardiacs catalogue, Bernard Herrmann’s North By Northwest OST, and the John Williams/John Etheridge duets album.
BBNG | BAD BAD NOT GOOD. A really cool fusion of Hip-hop and Jazz music. Very talented three piece ensemble. It’s also free!
Number B | Kindercastle. A huge 16 band that has beautiful melodies and arrangements. Super upbeat and catchy.
Long Straws | Whipping Wind. A great little rock EP with flavorful splashes of horns and noise. From my home of London, Ontario.
The Best There Was | Handsome Dan and His Gallimaufry. Songs full of humour and wit. Great and catchy also from my home.
Helplessness Blues | Fleet Foxes. Great songs about reflection. A solid album all around.
Ravedeath, 1972 | Tim Hecker
Replica | Oneohtrix Point Never
Outmind | Matthew David
Common Era | Belong
Through Donkey Jaw | Amen Dunes
Bon Iver, Bon Iver | Bon Iver
Parallax | Atlas Sound
Tomboy | Panda Bear
James Blake | James Blake
Girls On Medication (Remixes) | Caged Animals
The Very Best | Brad Paisley. I heard about this guy through Robert Ashley, who is a huge fan, apparently. The lyrics are so direct and the humor weaves so nicely into the music, though Paisley never seems like a “joke” artist. A hard thing to do.
Pirates | Rickie Lee Jones .I listened to this record when I was 11 and then just came back to it recently. Nostalgic indulgence.
Continuum | John Mayer. The highest quality soft rock-blues songwriting around these days.
In At The Deep End | Roll Deep. An unabashedly ecstatic moment in the history of grime. Wiley is the life coach of hip-hop.
Feeling Is Believing | Erroll Garner. Garner’s fingers have the subtle lilt of classical with the rhythmic feel of ragtime. I love how he grunts while he plays.
Dedication // Nothing | Zomby. The most inspirational artist out there. His releases this year, Dedication LP and Nothing EP are a must have in one’s music collection.
Tomboy | Panda Bear. Panda Bear can do no wrong. Whatever sound he touches, he makes it into something beyond words can express. This album shows it perfectly. It’s brilliant.
Black Bvs // CDR | Glass Teeth. I’ve always been fascinated by Glass Teeth’s productions. Glass Teeth captures a moment in life and makes an enchanting sound out of it. This can be heard on the Black Bvs EP and CDR. Very talented.
VVOVV // Forever Cruising | Poor Spirits. One word: #nobaddays . Or maybe a few…. This band never fails to surprise me. It’s a fairly productive act that this year alone has given us in 2 separate LPs memorable sounds, lyrics and phrases.
From Now On Let’s | White Rainbow. One of the most talented and hardworking artist out there. He always delivers amazing music such as on “From Now On Let’sIt’s one of those artist you can’t put in a box, always doing something unexpected.
Electronic Dream | Araabmuzik. This year’s discovery. Personally, it feels like he came out of nowhere. Love the way he floats between trance and hip hop in Electronic Dream.
Ghost Town | Owen
Bon Iver | Bon Iver
Coat of Arms | Caravella
Take Care, Take Care, Take Care | Explosions in the Sky
The Lack Long After | Piano’s Become the Teeth
The River | CFCF. Anything herzog-inspired is welcome.
Korallreven | Korallreven. Reminiscent of damon albarn’s mali music project, though less complex but more pleasurable.
Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming | M83. They still know how to party, they still know how to cry.
Primate | Tarsius. Diego Mapa and Jay Gapasin, two geniuses making music.
Enough Thunder | James Blake. Warm up for next bomb.
Top Tracks of 2011
“Midnight City“ | M83. My slut mom is a bastard wife and I’m disappointed.
“All I Want Is You” | Justin Bieber. God dam your the freemason version of my grandma.
“Cinema” |Skrillex. Fuck my gay WASP stepmom.
“Swag Jerry Rice” | Lil B. Punch my Sack. I wish i was a dog haveing sex with a rhino.
“Bring Me the Horizon” | Blessed With a Curse. Castrate my horse-like wife.. He’s a necrophile and I hate him.
Bon Iver | Bon Iver. To me, best record of the year. Justin Vernon, the man behind Bon Iver, was brave enough to transform the music behind his project and suprise everyone with a colorful, and almost orcherstral album. I think this album will referred to as “influential” in a few years to come by many , if it isnt happening today already.
The Whole Love | Wilco. It is amazing how after so many years, a band can come out with such a fresh, innovative, yet simple and straight forward record. Think Beatles (White album era) meeting Radiohead (In Rainbows era), with a touch of folk and a touch of garage. Brilliant.
Bad As Me | Tom Waits. This is my hero. And his blend of musical madness gets crazier and crazier. Old blues, hip hop, folk, rock, garage, jazz…just shake them all up and you have an absolute genius.
Birds | Arrow Meet Francis. This small, home-recorded EP from my buddy Dick Pettersson (former In These Woods) really got me stuck to it for a while. Sometimes you dont need much more than an acoustic guitar and passionate vocals to craft a record that can find a spot in somebody’s heart. For the record, I started a band with Dick and we’ll be out with some music sometime in 2012.
King of Limbs | Radiohead. I love the feeling that Radiohead give me, as a band. “We are free to do whatever we want, how and when we want” is the overall vibe for me behind this record, its promotion and the way that the band runs their “business”.
Let England Shake | PJ Harvey. I’ve always liked P.J Harvey but this album just grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. The instruments all sound amazing and the songs themselves are just so well written and performed so simply and beautifully. PJ’s voice sounds almost angelic on this album. I became rather obsessed with the sound of the guitar on this album. I spent hours trying to figure what guitar she was playing when I saw a video of her playing these songs. I managed to figure it out though!
Happy Soup | Baxter Dury. I had listened to one of his previous albums a few years ago and had almost forgotten about him. I gave Happy Soup a listen because I had read a few good things about it on Twitter. I fell in love with the laid back vibe, the imperfect bass and the rough simplicity of the songs. I don’t generally listen to this kind of music but it’s been spinning on my car stereo for while now!
The Rip Tide | Beirut. I‘ve been a big Beirut fan since they released their first album, The Gulag Orkestar. This album has less of the ‘Balkany’ influence but I think the songs are wonderfully written and that Zach’s voice has matured a lot. It’s definitely closer to indie-pop than the previous albums but I don’t care, I like indie pop!
Days | Real Estate. I saw a lot of hype around this band, which is generally a bad sign but I decided to give it a listen nonetheless, mainly because I thought the name was sort of refreshing, almost an antithesis of all those animal names bands go for nowadays! The music was really refreshing as well. Like a modern day version of The Smiths.
Dark Mean | Dark Mean. This is a Canadian band I discovered about a year ago. Some of these songs were on their previous EP’s but they’ve managed to re-record them with more energy and cohesion. It’s nowhere near as cool as the bands you’ll hear about on Pitchfork, but it’s good music that will still be good next year, and the year after!
Let England Shake | PJ Harvey. PJ’s the best. In my eyes, she can do no wrong. I listened to this almost exclusively for a few weeks. It’s the only 2011 release that I can say I was obsessed with. There was one morning drive into work where I think I listened to the “The Last Living Rose” and “In The Dark Places” like ten or fifteen times.
Slave Ambient | The War On Drugs. I really love this record. I only got around to listening to it about a month ago, but I love everything about it. I love those albums where I ask myself how did he make this? It doesn’t happen with every album I love, only a handful and this is definitely one of them. There are just layers upon layers of sound but everything is clear and there is space. It’s never muddled. It’s something that I am constantly working on getting better at in regards to my own music.
Parallax | Atlas Sound. “Mona Lisa” is such a great track. It’s been stuck in my head for a few days now. Bradford Cox is really becoming one of the best songwriters out there or I guess he already is one of the best. I love everything that he’s done. Seeing Atlas Sound for the first time on December 17th…can’t wait.
Nine Types of Light | TV On The Radio. This one was a real grower for me, but after about the fifth listen everything kind of fell into place. They’re really one of the best bands of our generation. I was kind of nervous for this album because I didn’t really love Dear Science. I kind of missed the murky, swampy style of early TVOTR. I thought Dear Science had a bit too much of a slick, shiny L.A. studio sound. This album has that same sound but for some reason I just like this batch of songs more. Commander David Andrew Sitek just keeps getting better and better at producing. I hope they never stop making music together.
The King of Limbs | Radiohead. This was the first Radiohead album that didn’t take over my life. Then I saw the live performance on From The Basement and it took over my life. I listened to this a bunch on headphones before I would go to sleep. Lotus Flower is very, very complex yet super catchy. These guys are good at that.
Fever | Stay. Twisted dark sinister trance music like a backwards nightmare played through the mind of an evil dwarf.
Instrumentals | Clams Casino. Beats distorted and smashed up, canyons of reverb and vocal samples layered with spoken word like someone in the nextroom left the TV on. Hipper than anything else this year and it seems he hasn’t moved out of first gear yet.
LiveLoveA$AP | A$AP ROCKY. Swagger to burn and refreshing as hell. A$AP produced this years definitive hip hop mix tape. Presume Kanye style greatness for the near future.
Contact | Gang Gang Dance. At first a tough record but worth the effort as each listen reveals another layer of abstracted strangeness from these multicultural artband weirdos!
Thee Physical | Pictureplane. An absolute celebration of sample culture. Joyeous use of early 90s dance music. The definitive party album.
I Could Do Whatever If I Wanted | Snowing
You Can Just Leave It All Behind | Prawn
Days | Real Estate
Ghost Town | Owen
To The Treetops | Team Me
Bon Iver | Bon Iver