We have always been huge fans of Beirut, but it wasn’t until we saw them live at Outside Lands, playing their new album The Rip Tide, that we have become mega supporters. Opening with “A Candle’s Fire” and closing with “Port Of Call”, Beirut have shown they can continue to explore pop and classical European music without sounding stale or tired.
One of the most underrated bands of the past decade, The Clientele continually put out solid records with plenty of reverb and 60s influence, and 2005′s Strange Geometry was the album that began their foray into more pop songs. The British band opens with “Since K Got Over Me,” and closes with the great “Six of Spades.” Magical stuff. Fall has begun.
When you are in your early 20s, with this kind of command for nostalgic pop, you have talent. Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum is a talent. We don’t know much about his Wild Nothing project, except that his album, Gemini, has been a constant on our record player over the past two weeks. It opens with “Live In Dreams,” and closes with the title track, “Gemini.” Enjoy.
When we heard that Sub Pop, the pinnacle of all that is right about independent music, signed its first hip-hop act, it was both great news and interesting news; but luckily it was Shabazz Palaces. Led by a former Digable Planets member, Palaces have delivered one of the highlights of 2011 with Black Up, a true imaginary hip-hop event that makes this Odd Future stuff seem like child’s play. It opens with “Free Press and Curl” and closes with “Swerve.”
We didn’t ever really want to love TV On the Radio, but all it took was 2006′s “Return to Cookie Mountain,” and the opening notes to “I Was A Lover” that convinced us that this was one of the most special bands of our generation. And here are the opening and closing tracks of this album.
We went on a sort of left field choice from a left-field pop music group, The Books, and their 2003 mini-epic, The Lemon of Pink. The music isn’t for everyone, but it grew on us, and the music is a journey through tiny sound bits, organic instruments, and experimental editing. It starts with the track “The Lemon of Pink,” and even though the real closer, “PS” is 55 seconds of awesome, but we went with the second to last, “That Right Ain’t Shit.”
Our goal in 2011 was to listen to something new, and Floating Points has been something new, even though this EP is a few years old now. The London artist, who is likened to Flying Lotus, makes some nice interesting beats and noises, and on this EP, opens with “Vacuum Boogie” and closes with “Argonaut.”
Any band from Columbia University who opens their debut album with the lyrics “I see a Mansard roof through the trees,” is going to get “that” label. But when you write really solid, interesting songs, including “Mansard Roof” and “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance,” all the backlash sort of doesn’t make sense anymore.
There isn’t much to say about MF Doom other than the fact that he is one of the most talented cats in all of music, not just hip-hop. And through all the albums and projects he has worked on in the past 10+ years, his debut, Operation: Doomsday remains our all-time favorite. Music wise, it opens with “Doomsday,” and closes with the ’80′s cartoon ode, “I Hear Voices, Pt 1.” Enjoy.
The Unicorns were a great band that disbanded and led to other so-so bands, but the best was Clues, and their debut, “ClUeS” has some major indie, pop-rock highlights to it, including lead track ‘Haarp’ and last track ‘Let’s Get Strong.’ Enjoy.