At the end of this year, so perhaps I’m not too early in putting in some calls for ‘album of the year’. Irrespective, six months down already, and there have been some ripper albums. Here’s my selection from the first six months of this year.
Jack White – Blunderbuss
Wow. What a record. It’s no surprise that this is making an appearance as one of my favorite albums of this year. Jack may have flown the coop that was the “White Stripes” moniker, but has instead brought out his most diverse record yet. This fusion of saloon, rock, and blues is perfectly melded in this record. From album opener “Missing Pieces” to the most White Stripes reminiscent track “Sixteen Saltines” to saloon/country fusion “Love Interruption”, White’s legendary voice and musicianship are demonstrated, and I’m sure that I along with many others will witness a wonderful display of talent at his Splendour in the Grass sideshows next month.
Beach House – Bloom
This may be the most talked about record of the year, at least in my circle of friends. I must confess to not being too familiar with indie stalwart Beach House prior to this year. If you’re looking to get into the band Bloom is as good a place to start as any. A solid piece of musical work, this record is one that all music fans should have in their collection. The harmonizing, ethereal guitar tone which creates a beautiful amalgamation of sound drives the album in a similar direction to the next record on my list.
The Maccabees – Given to the Wild
My, my, my what a change of pace for these indie rockers of yesteryear. From twangy guitars and unimaginative riffs, to a beautiful sound-scape that wraps around your head in a completely non-affronting manner but embroils you in its message. Having witnessed them perform most of this at Groovin’ the Moo earlier this year, I was unsure of their ability to pull it off live. Let me tell you they can. The epic sound is somehow created by three guitars and five very talented musicians. With no dull moments, beginning to end, the Maccabees latest effort is one to add to the record collection.
Grimes – Visions
This is it. The electronic album of the year. Grimes has come along and revolutionised what is going to be happening in dance-pop music for the next ten years. She has managed to take what is stigmatized as a trashy genre, and created beauty. Of particular note is the second track on the record, “Genesis” which creates a magical blend of Eurasian beats that mesmerize and unwind. This could be my album of the year, hoping very hard for a Parklife appearance from this lass.
Smashing Pumpkins – Oceania
Alright, so I’m predictable. But this record, as I said yesterday, is more than deserving of a place on this list. It is the Pumpkins defining work, the album that I believe will stand by them as their career best. Corgan need not worry about not playing the old hits at his Splendour shows this year, because there are stacks of killer tracks on this record.
Some Honourable Mentions
So I couldn’t include every album I loved in the top, here are some others worth checking out.
Django Django – Django Django
DZ Deathrays – Bloodstreams
Sigur Ros – Valtari
Hot Chip – In Our Heads
Julia Stone – By the Horns
Not everything can be as good as we wanted it to be. Here are some of the records I didn’t enjoy as much as I hoped.
John Mayer – Born and Raised
Lana Del Rey – Born to Die
Bleeding Knees Club – Nothing to Do
The Shins – Port of Morrow
These albums are by no means, the worst, nor necessarily bad. Just albums that I expected more from and was ultimately disappointed with.
Disagree? Let me know! Something I should have heard that didn’t make an appearance? Also let me know! Comment away my pretties!