(Again, no real order, see last year’s here.)
Third album from this most exciting of bands. They stretch out without losing anything. The palette is slightly different this time around, but with the same glacial results. (Less Unwound, more Joy Division, but even that’s not fair to them.)
These two actually put out two records this year, and it’s tough to pick just one. They should have just released the whole thing as one. Most *older* artists look bad trying to keep up with the current; Eno reminds us he invented this stuff.
Too bad Kozelek’s 6th grader online bullshit will be what’s remembered this year. He happened to make the best album of his career so far. The level of personal detail (not sordid, but explanatory) gives these songs a power I’ve not experienced before.
Damn. Some artists make soul music that sounds like older soul music while some try to update the sound. Sharon Jones simply is. I doubt she even thinks about it, it’s just what she does. “Retreat” and “Stranger to My Happiness” are classic soul anthems that could sit alongside anything from any era.
For some reason, every OTHER album this band makes blows me away. Fantastic bizarre instrumentation and grooves and rhythms all their own. Check them out; their music is far too adventurous to ever crack whatever the mainstream is anymore.
So her last album was a quiet affair about magic and evil, and this is synthy, Krauty and still very magical. Dense, dynamic and glorious. Proof that the best things sometimes happen under the radar.
For those who appreciate non-masterbatory guitar playing. Intricate, nearly-African vamps of amazing interlocking instrumentation that actually comprise some of the best SONGS I’ve heard this year.
This is not my mandatory Pollard entry! GBV collapses yet again; they make another fine album; sure, but this is where the action is. Circus Devils actually out King-Crimson themselves and make the damn strangest but fun record I’ve heard all year.
Wow, timing really is everything. The mastery of the genre of soul is exquisite here, but the real trick is the way it sounds. The arrangements are classic but the production is new, things don’t sit where they sat before. Hope we don’t have to wait 14 years for the follow-up…
I’m gonna be honest, I was over this album pretty quick, but damn if I didn’t love it real good for a couple of days…