Saturday, 30 April 2011

What I'm listening to in April 2011

Due to the fact I never get to talk about a large amount of music I enjoy on this blog (A bunch of great albums with high scores wouldn't be very interesting) I've decided to compile my favourite albums, singles, EP's, etc. over the past month, mostly to recommend them as they all have something to offer. They're listed in no particular order, from memory if anything else. I might mention these elsewhere, the door isn't closed because I've listed something here. Recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks.

Top 3 albums:
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (stream here)

Those who were concerned that Fleet Foxes would be unable to match their astonishing debut album can rest assured. Helplessness Blues is every bit as magnificent as it's predeccessor, on the grand, epic scale ("The Shrine / An Arguement", "Grown Ocean"), as well as the intimate and contemplative ("Blue Spotted Tail", "Helplessness Blues"). Every detail, instrument and vocal sound close to perfection; diverse yet consistently awesome, and a warm and natural progression for Robin Pecknold and co.. Helplessness Blues sounds much more like a journey and an adventure than Fleet Foxes, with many songs taking several turns in volume and tone yet remaining engaging and compelling. A truly great album, earthly yet ethereal, Helplessness Blues demands to be heard for years to come.

tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l

The second album from Merril Garbus's unique Afro-pop project expands greatly on the lo-fi recordings of her debut BiRd-BrAiNs, which in retrospect sound sorely limited compared with w h o k i l l. The new album was recorded in the studio with the assistance of bassist Nate Brenner, resulting in an accomplished, mature, powerful yet playful album, integrating hip-hop beats, rock and funk into the mix. Garbus's voice is very striking and dynamic, as she addresses violence, race, gender, sexual desires and parenthood. Nate Brenner's presence is felt most on "Gangsta", complementing aggressive drum beats and distorted vocal loops; the music feels immediate, confrontational and empowering. The single "Bizness" is perhaps the best infusion of all these elements, and although the album as a whole may not be every person's idea of fun, w h o k i l l is a bold, uncompromising statement.

Times New Viking - Dancer Equired

There's no way I should enjoy this album as much as I do. Times New Viking are usually associated with the "shitgaze" genre, attemping to create the poorest recording quality possible, however for Dancer Equired the Ohio three-piece have made at least some effort to clear up their sound. Vocalists Beth Murphy and Adam Elliott are often flat, and sound like a a tuneless Kim Deal and Robert Pollard respectively, but due to the nature of the music that dosen't put me off in the slightest. There are a number of less well-writen songs agreed, and since the album finishes at 31 minutes it would make sense to cut those and relabel Dancer Equired as an EP, but there are many fantastic songs, particularly in the final quarter beginning with "Fuck Her Tears". I would even go as far to call Dancer Equired Times New Viking's Halcyon Digest. Give it a try.

Explosions in the Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Commitee Pt. 2
The Antlers - Burst Apart
Thao & Mirah - Thao & Mirah
Prefuse 73 - The Only She Chapters
Cut Copy - Zonoscope
Big K.R.I.T. - Return Of 4Eva
Frank Ocean - Nostalgia/Ultra
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Belong
TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light
Metronomy - The English Riviera
Jamie Woon - Mirrorwriting
Clams Casino - Clams Casino
Bill callahan - Apocalypse
Crystal Stilts - In Love With Oblivion
Burial - Street Halo (EP)
Dum Dum Girls - He Gets Me High (EP)
Mono/Poly - Manifestations (EP)

Cults - Go Outside/Abducted
Kate Bush - Deeper Understanding
Fucked Up - The Other Shoe/A Little Death/Ship of Fools
My Morning Jacket - Circuital/Holdin on to Black Metal
Radiohead - Supercollider/The Butcher
Brian Eno/Rick Holland - Glitch
Death Cab For Cutie - You Are a Tourist/Home is a Fire/Some Boys
Beyoncé - Run the World (Girls)
Lady Gaga - Born This Way/Judas
Foo Fighters - Rope
The Joy Formidable - Whirring
The Morning Benders - Better in Blue
The Go! Team - Buy Nothing Day (feat. Bethany Consentino)
Kurt Vile - Baby's Arms/Jesus Fever
Cold Cave - The Great Pan is Dead
Bass Drum of Death - Young Pros

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