Alright, so with the year half done I thought I might take this opportunity to review the best records that I've heard thus far in the year. If you think I might have missed something, or you would like to share your thoughts on the half-year in music, feel free to post a comment.
First and foremost:
Man Man- Rabbit Habits
Lurking behind the circus-show front this Philly based band puts up is a wounded showman in the form of Honus Honus. While the music may be bizarre, the lyrics are positively devastating. Songs like the title track and "East Eats or Dirty Doctor Galapogos" both paint the portraits of relationships gone wrong in the form or three minute pop songs of the absurd, while the eight-plus minute opus "Dear Jackie" is an existential ("there ain't no God here/ far as I can see") masterwork about a female Jack the Ripper told from the perspective of a victim. Amazing. This record is hands down the best record of the year, thus far.
Old 97's- Blame It On Gravity
Rhett Miller and Co. are back in top form with their latest release. Keeping the balance between outright pop and the best that country music has to offer, these Texas lads have used whatever additional notoriety a spotlight in a major Hollywood film (the not-so-spectacular Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Aniston vehicle "The Break-Up") brings and put their best foot foreword with Blame It On Gravity. Their best work since Satellite Rides, and that is saying something.
Bob Mould- District Line
Bob Mould, the angry young man behind seminal 80s band Husker Du, has returned with his seventh solo offering. It's kind of an amalgamation of all the different styles and genres Mould has explored over his career with Husker Du, Sugar and as a solo performer. Inevitably the bedrock of the album is in solidly crafted guitar driven pop, but it is a satisfying journey to take, and the album sounds cohesive despite the disparate nature of the styles at play here. I real gem that slipped past.
New Sigur Ros
Actually typing out the name of Sigur Ros' latest offering is a pain in the ass, so I will just refer to it as I did. It is, like all Sigur Ros albums, real damn pretty, but unlike ever other Sigur Ros album it is also real damn upbeat. I'm not sure I like the otherworldly soundscapes on display on their new album as I did on (), but being able to top that album is a really tall order, and even though their new album doesn't quite reach the epic heights of those coming before it, a good Sigur Ros album is better than most of the other albums put out recently.
This could legit go on forever. I was having an argument with a friend on this very subject a week or so ago. His contention was that most of the albums that have been released thus far in the year have been sub-par. I actually can think of ever more worthwhile releases, how about Portishead's Three or Spiritualized's Songs in A&E ? The Black Keys' latest is pretty spectacular, along with the new Wolf Parade. I mean, even the new albums from Coldplay and Panic at the Disco passed whatever expectations I might have had for them.
What do you think about the year in music so far? Good or bad?