The greatest quality of a record is it’s ability to be listened to multiple times and never grow old. Not all can do this, but for those that can, they make for powerful life forces, repeat plays, and an annoyance to those who do not UNDERSTAND HOW AWESOME THIS ALBUM IS! Well, that’s how I feel about these selections; I’ve spun them many times, and by spun I mean listen on my iPod, and they’ve never tattered or worn out and presented with hours of enjoyment, even if the songs are bleak. As realities shift, here are my favorite albums of the year…so far.
Who’s Feeling Young Now by Punch Brothers
I never thought I’d be putting a bluegrass album on here, but it’s so much fun, and surprisingly poppy for an album of the type. It’s not exactly forging a new genre, but it is taking the two, and pushing them together in an awkward, but beautiful kiss. Some of it may remind of Nickel Creek, but this is pushing that concept to new directions, with a band that I still believe is one of the most well played out there today. They know each other well, that is a mark of a great band, and it shows in these songs.
4. awE naturalE by THEESatisfaction
Everyone will remember these talented women from Shabazz Palaces’ hit record Black Up. That became Sub-Pop records first hip-hop album, and a year later, we were blessed with this album, awE naturalE. The experimentation here, with classic 70’s R&B, funk, and soul is refreshing, considering that many hip-hop artists choose that era for inspiration. They don’t do the typical sampling here, they experiment with it, right down to vocal stylings. I’ve described this album as being laced with MSG, and I still feel that strongly about it, I can’t get enough of it, I listen to it at least once every few weeks, it’s THAT great. Imense thanks to Anthony Fantano, it’s his review that led me to this group.
3. Zammuto by Zammuto
Zammuto is electronic music for people who don’t like electronic music. Sounds weird, right? But the experimentation is so much fun, the titles to many of these songs are so witty and hilarious, and…AND this music is really smart. The melodies are created from anything to chopped up vocals to simple guitar riffs. This record is FUCKING BRILLIANT. Satisfy your curiosity and just listen to it already.
2. Fear Fun by Father John Misty
Fear Fun is Joshua Tillman’s novel, in music form. It plays out, in a Fear and Loathing/Naked Lunch kind of way from the artwork, to the characters, to the complete concept. It’s familiar themes, but that’s the way it is with every piece of pop culture, it’s just how you craft them that brings forth originality. Ever listened to a book on tape? Well you haven’t heard one like this.
1. The Ghost of John Henry by Sci-Fi Romance
When I reviewed this album I declared it my favorite of the year. That still holds, and it will throughout the year. The very human story of a man that no one knows existed is a perfect piece of art and music. It’s what I turn to on a crappy day to help make me feel better, it’s one I recommend to friends when they ask: “got any new music to recommend?” It’s the album I’ve listened to most this year (12 times.). I can’t form words to tell you exactly how I feel, and that’s what I love about it! It makes me feel so many things, I’ve cried, I’ve cheered, I’ve pulled the headphones in closer to hear every lyric sung, note played, and every emotion felt. I’ve lived in this album, and pictured myself in the characters shoes. It’s almost like that perfect book, your favorite book. This is one of my favorite stories and I can’t thank Vance Kotrla, Jody Stark, and Kurt Bloom enough for what they have done.