Category: Best of Lists

BEST ALBUMS OF 2014… SO FAR

We are nearly half way through the year 2014 and it’s time to share my favorite albums of the year thus far. We’ve seen some pretty big releases this year and I have few I think you, my dear reader, should be spending some time with. I could mention a few more that I like but these are the five albums I’ve been spinning non-stop since they came out.

Enough with the so and so, here’s my favorite albums of the year so far.

MAC DEMARCO :: SALAD DAYS

salad days

In 2012, Mac Demarco burst onto the indie music scene with his brand of sleazy guitar pop music. He release two albums that year and played a very long tour that bled into the year 2013. On his latest release Salad Days, Mac didn’t stray too far from his core sound although he did add some shimmering synthesizers for an extra layer of texture. This album is easily my favorite of the year so far. There was a lot of anticipation leading up to this one and Mac delivered. I was able to see him and his band of fantastic musicians perform at The Goat Farm in Atlanta earlier this year, if you have a chance to catch Mac Demarco please do it. Not only is he a great songwriter and musician, he and the boys will blow your socks right off playing live rock and roll music.

REAL ESTATE :: ATLAS

realestate_atlas

In the modern era of music when bands go, what some people might consider, “too long” with out a release, the listener or general fan will grow impatient and sometimes seem to lose interest. It’s almost an unspoken rule that you have put out some sort of music (whether it be a new single, remix, b-side, or other) during the years between albums or people start asking “What happened to (insert band name)?” Real Estate released Atlas three years after there hit 2011 release Days, and for this fan, that was a perfect amount of time between recordings. The guys utilized Wilco Loft studio in Chicago to work on this record which may be their best album to date. Atlas picks up where Days left off but this record finds lead writer Martin Courtney tackling more current affairs rather then discussing the topic of nostalgia and old times. Real Estate is establishing themselves as one of the most important bands in modern music and this record is a perfect example of their staying power. Real Estate makes music good for any time of year. I heard Katy Goodman (La Sera, and formerly Vivan Girls) say recently, “It would be a wonderful music to listen to on almost any occasion…being at home, eating breakfast, or going to bed or driving in your car. Pretty much any situation will be better with this music playing”. So. True. (GOOD NEWS FOR BHAM RESIDENTS: Real Estate will be playing at Bottletree Cafe on 9/21! Get a ticket and vibe with me!)

THE WAR ON DRUGS :: LOST IN THE DREAM

lost in the dream

Americana is one of my least favorite genres of music. I’ve seen other writers and critics label The War on Drugs as a “modern Americana” band but I disagree wholeheartedly. Although their music has some dreamy elements and perhaps a more folksy approach, TWOD is a rock and roll band. Their latest album Lost in The Dream will be on several “end of year” lists this year and for good reason. This is just a great album all the way around. It’s a refreshing dip into the pool of new rock music. The production and instrumentation is near flawless and the lyrics are intentional and beautiful. “I’m a bit run down here at the moment,” from the song Eyes to the Wind, is one of my favorite lines from any song that I’ve heard this year. I’m just fully in love with this album. TWOD should absolutely be in the discussion with larger indie rock bands like The Arcade Fire and Wilco and after this release, I believe they will be.

DAMON ALBARN :: EVERYDAY ROBOTS

everyday robots

Damon Albarn has had quite a journey as a musician and producer. You may know him from his work with Blur, Gorilllaz, and the under-appreciated The Good, The Bad, & The Queen. This year Damon released his very first solo album Everyday Robots. He’s currently playing the major festival circuit with his band “The Heavy Seas”. Lyrically the album might come across as the complaining of an older person who just doesn’t get modern life, but Damon’s calling us all out about our obsession with technology and our need to constantly stay connected. I had a conversation with a friend of mine about the theme of this album and we both came to the conclusion that Damon is calling us on our shit and he’s totally right to do it. He also approaches some more tender subject matter on his own struggle with addiction and fame. Musically, the album is structured almost like a folk record but uses various instruments like synthesizers, samples, and vocal modulation to give the whole thing more layers. The thing that got me so hooked on Everyday Robots is the time signatures and percussion. Reminds me a lot of The Good, The Bad, & The Queen in the best of ways. This record is a must have for the year.

PALO ALTO SOUNDTRACK :: VARIOUS ARTISTS

palo alto

“Palo Alto” is the indie film version of a collection of short stories written by actor James Franco. The stories are loosely based around James’ own life growing up in suburban Southern California. The film is the directorial debut of Gia Coppola. If you recognize the last name it’s because she’s Sofia’s niece and Francis Ford’s granddaughter. The film itself is largely scored by Devonte Hynes (Blood Orange) but there are also some additional tracks by Gia’s cousin and Rooney frontman Robert Schwartzman. Gia’s other cousin Jason Schwartzman (Coconut Records and Max from Rushmore) also contributes a track. Although I’ve never actually seen this movie (shoutout to Birmingham’s lack of indie movie houses), I can really get an idea for the flow of the movie with this soundtrack and  the songs chosen feel like they are a perfect fit for the movie. The songs are angsty and modern but emotional. Even your boy Mac Demarco contributed his homage to smoking cigarettes, his song “Viceroy”, to the album, which is a song all angsty teenagers should relate to. Also, Devonte Hynes is probably the future genius songwriter/producer we need in the world of music right now so you should really pay attention.

 

21 Songs You Hear on a Retail Store’s Playlist

Hi, I’m Trey Buzzfeed presenting you video gifs of Jennifer Lawrence going “good job” or whatever. I feel like listing things has gotten to be the sad land of the uncreative but whatever, I have a job. That clearly excuses not trying. So anyway, I do my best thinking in the more aimless moments of retail, namely the times when you stand at the register and can’t leave because a customer is really close (but so far away from actually wanting to check out). That is what this comes out of. Also, I’m going to number these things because my new last name of Buzzfeed forces me to adopt everything in their site’s model.

1. Switchfoot – “Dare You to Move”

My worst nightmares are all about faux-motivational songs that because they have a positive message, every white person has to listen to it incessantly. Switchfoot tows the line between secular horseshit and Needtobreathe-like bullshit. Neither are good things to tow the line on. Also, the song has the lyric “I dare you to move like today never happened before.” Well, no shit, of course it’s never happened before because you can’t fully predict how a day will go, numbnuts.

2. One Direction – “What Makes You Beautiful”

I don’t hate One Direction, actually. I don’t really like them too much, but they tow the line of being innocuous enough to not hate and they don’t delve into the line of kind of gross double entendres like their contemporaries The Wanted (more on that later). This is probably their weakest single, though. It also does that annoying thing were music is a personal neg to its listeners. You don’t need a band of faceless pop stars to tell you that you’re beautiful. That never ends well.

3. Real McCoy – “Another Night”

Very rarely, store playlists will remind us of the period in pop where Ace of Base were the kings and Eurodance was some great shit. Also, I’m going to steal this from the Wiki for the video: “O-Jay is Real McCoy, the DJ of a pirate radio station which is powered by four men with handcycle-mounted generators.” 1994 was an epic time where Tron was a logical means to power a pirate radio station which presumably only played house music and graduated to Cibo Matto by 1997.

4. Jordin Sparks – “Battlefield”

I guess this song is supposed to be a takeoff on Pat Benatar’s famous “Love is a Battlefield” by asking “Why does love always feel like a battlefield?” But the big trouble is that it’s Jordin Sparks’ milquetoast ass asking this question. Why does love always feel like a battlefield? Because you found out your boyfriend likes video games and you freaked out that there was one outlier to your bland coupling. Or something. I think I’m projecting too much into this.

5. Bastille – “Pompeii”

Random note: I hate James Blake. I feel bad for not enjoying a guy that a lot of smart people I know do enjoy, but I can’t stand his “let’s make dubstep into a quiet genre with vague soul undertones, also I’m a British white dude” thing. That said, he’s way fucking better than Bastille. Bastille’s vocalist Dan Smith sounds like how I’d poorly impersonate James Blake’s vocals. And instead of some weird form of dub or whatever, it’s listless indie rock behind these vocals that truly claw at my face and ears.

6. OneRepublic – “Stop and Stare”

This has a parallel to the Switchfoot song, but with even less of the “oh, this is about Jesus” theme to make it mean something to the listener in a way that’s deeper than “oh, just be yourself or whatever.”

7. Bodeans – “Closer to Free”

This is the part of the playlist where 90s alt rock nostalgia hits. Well, 90s alt rock bullshit nostalgia, anyway. Also, this was the theme for Party of Five. So, umm, that’s about all I can say. The Bodeans are from Wisconsin so, umm, go Packers?

8. Muse – “Madness”

For the longest time, I was obsessed with Muse. My belief was that their 2003 record Absolution was one of the best records I’ve ever heard and despite what I’m about to say, I do still like the three or four albums that opened up their mainstream career. But I guess I grew up. And I admit, it’s not like Muse were this great artistic endeavor. They have gotten slagged for either sounding like Radiohead (in their earlier stuff) or Queen (in their far later stuff). They made absurd rock operas about the apocalypse. Still, this Muse is not very good. It’s only a little better than the one that “wants to reconcile the violence in your heart.” Alas, we just grow older and more absurd, I guess.

9. Bruno Mars – “Just the Way You Are”

I feel like the cottage cheese industry that brought us One Direction has a hand in Bruno Mars songs as well. Just a hunch. Literally everything I said about One Direction applies here. Other than a few missteps, like not figuring out that gorillas have really short sex sessions or being a massive whiner on “Grenade” or the existence of “The Lazy Song,” Bruno’s pretty good. This song really isn’t, though. It’s the type of hollow falsehood that it takes a man like Bruno Mars to say a person is beautiful. But whatever. Pop music and all that horseshit.

10. Tonic – “You Wanted More”

In high school, I had the biggest damn crush on a girl who said her favorite band was Tonic. For context, that was several years after this song was released. Also, the Tonic thing was unrelated. I just liked brunettes who looked like Devin from Friday Night Lights (which explains why I’ve been single for three years, since most of those crushes tend to end like Landry’s attempt at romance with Devin; at the very least Crucifictorius never had to break up and they kept the band together because the music means the most). Oh, Tonic? Meh.

11. Lorde – “Team”

I feel like I’ve been way too critical of Lorde. I can’t expect much of the audience Lorde has managed to court to have heard The Knife, so this 17 year old Australian girl is their first taste of the minimalist approach that has permeated the indie scene over the past decade. I don’t know if she has anything to say other than that pop music sucks in how it addresses an actual reality. (Ironically, Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” is basically the closest to a song a lower to middle-class person can aspire to do, because we’ve all been to thrift shops. We’ve never been 2 Chainz.) That said, I don’t know if she has to do that yet. “Team” is about exasperation as much as its hook, and sometimes that’s great to see in the pop arena.

12. Owl City – “Fireflies”

This isn’t bad because it’s a complete takeoff of The Postal Service. It’s bad because it’s a fucking song about fireflies.

13. Sugar Ray – “Fly”

This isn’t bad because it’s white people trying to do reggae–wait, that is why it’s bad.

14. Haim – “The Wire”

I retroactively apologize for making fun of Haim so much, because they are so damn good. “The Wire” sounds like all the influences you expect, but it’s also just so damn clean. I can’t think of a song that can thrash a bit but get to its hook efficiently. God, I hope this gets popular. Rock needs badass chicks from Cali again.

15. The Lumineers – “Ho Hey”

Jennifer-Lawrence-ok-thumbs-up

16. Blessid Union of Souls – “Hey Leonardo”

Boy, speaking of Buzzfeed, this is what happens when Buzzfeed travels back to 1999 and becomes a song. There’s absurd references to Tyson Beckford, the title of the song is referencing teen idol Leo DiCaprio before he becomes acting’s MVP, and it’s also dumb and adds nothing to the conversation other than a thousand references. So, the past 1300 words you’ve read in a nutshell.

17. Ellie Goulding – “Fire”

Ellie Goulding’s got just a weird enough voice that it strikes me when I hear it. She’s like the mainstream Joanna Newsom in that regard in how just incredibly strange her voice sounds in comparison to everything around her. That also pushes “Fire” to be a song I enjoy quite a bit when I hear it. It’s not better than “Lights” but what is?

18. No Doubt – “Just a Girl”

#FEMINISM

19. The Cardigans – “Lovefool”

“Lovefool” is fucking amazing and I will tell you why. The other great thing about the 1990s was the amount of insipid pop that had darker implications. Third Eye Blind’s “Semi Charmed Life” hid heroin abuse behind its doo-doo-doos. Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” was super obnoxious and also a glorious mocking of the submissive plastic world drawn from the Barbie archetype. But none were a greater bite than “Lovefool,” a song that is actually about a woman so obsessed with her lover that she is being driven insane by that obsession as well as by the likelihood that he doesn’t really love her back. It is placed in a saccharine rhythm inspired by love songs, but is really a pisstake on them all.

20. Christina Perri – “A Thousand Years”

This song annoys me. The main takeoff on the song is Perri saying “I have loved you for a thousand years.” But of course, that’s fucking impossible. I hate to destroy the mood of Jennifer Lawrence gifs, but every single human on earth has died before reaching the age of 1000. Admittedly, this is a song from the Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 soundtrack, so I guess we’re supposed to see it from the perspective of the vampires who live forever? But they don’t live to 1000 in the film, either. The romance between Edward and Bella happens when Bella is 18 and Edward is less than 1000. When Perri says “a thousand years,” does she mean forever? Is there a better, less impossible way to say that? There has to be.

21. Panic at the Disco – “Nine in the Afternoon”

I guess I could whine about this one, too, but this is about unusual circumstances that aren’t impossible and also trying to sound like The Beatles. It’s way better than it has any right to be.

Oh hey, didn’t you plan more of this?

Jennifer-Lawrence-ok-thumbs-up

Oh.

Got that Old with the New New

Hey y’all, it’s your resident Northerner Lone, checking in again on my favorite site from below the Mason-Dixon. Today I’ve got a special treat for you: over the last couple days I’ve been wracking my brain/iTunes/Spotify for my favorite songs of 2013, and I’ve finally got it right. Originally posted on my own site (shameless plug!), The gurl-in-chief Brightsides suggested I toss this over here.

Now, there are some notable omissions since Spotify doesn’t support mixtape cuts (for shame, mega-corporation.) This means I can’t include cuts from Acid Rap1017 ThugFree CrackINNANETAPE and FBG: The Movie. However, it’s still a pretty comprehensive list of the hottest songs of the year. Check out the Spotify playlist below, and subscribe if ya feel it!

A.R. TALLO brings you his 2013 faves

It’s been another banner year for music. There’s been some amazing and memorable records and songs, and some absolute kitsch as well. 2013 brought us some new, exciting artists like Lorde, Haim, and Chvrches. We’ve also seen, for the first time in 22 years, new music from My Bloody Valentine. Who could forget all of the over-hyped albums from the likes of Arcade Fire, Jay-Z, and Daft Punk? We’ve seen Miley twerk more times then we wanted to, we’ve heard Kanye complain more times than we’ve wanted to, but outside of those atrocities, not a bad year.

I, personally, had a great year of music discovery. Although my year has centered on rediscovering and discovering for the first time some electronica, dance, vintage Italo-disco, and new wave music of yesteryear, I’ve also heard some fantastic new music too. I’ve put together a list of my very favorite albums of 2013 and I’d like to share that list with you today. These are the albums I spent the most time with this year and the ones I believe are the best of the best.

I can’t believe the year is already over. In the words of the great Rich Homie Quan, “Got me feelin’ some type of way…”

These are my Top 10 Albums of 2013.

1. DISCLOSURE :: SETTLE

Disclosure-Settle

This year we’ve seen a reemergence of the EDM genre. Every pop artist out there is using hard, electronic dance music as the backdrop for sugary pop nuggets but Guy and Lawrence Howard of Disclsoure took us back to the UK style two-step and Detroit house music of the 1990s with this outstanding record. The lads used some little known artists to sing on the tracks with vocals and also used some amazing sampling and production techniques to churn out deliciously danceable song after song. I’ve listened to something off of this album almost every day this year since it came out. To me, this was the very best album of the year because there is not one bad song and it is truly a very unique piece of music. I’m going go ahead and say this: “Settle” is a better album then Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories”. Sorry, not sorry.

 

2. DUCKTAILS :: THE FLOWER LANE

ducktails flower lane

Matt Mondanile is the brains behind Ducktails and the guitarist from the amazing band Real Estate. On his second full length album “The Flower Lane”, Matt found his way out of the bedroom and into a studio to polish up his sound and write some of his best music. The title track sounds like a Steely Dan b-side while the hit single “Letter of Intent” is smooth and groovy like a late ‘70s yacht rock song. Matt’s influences shine through on this great record. This is another one I wore the grooves out of this year.

 

3. TORO Y MOI :: ANYTHING IN RETURN

AIR_cover

Another of the great dance records of 2013. Chaz Bundick went back to the dance vibe of his early record “Causers of This” but maybe added a few more beats per minute. This album is filled with familiar sounds of the days of Italo-disco and funk music. Not to mention Toro puts on one of the bangingest live sets around. I’m always excited about a new piece of music from Chaz and Toro y Moi and this year they did not disappoint. Put this one on your turntable at a party and watch people start moving.

 

4. WHITE FENCE :: CYCLOPS REAP

white-fence

After only really discovering White Fence in 2012 and wearing down my copy of “Family Perfume, Vol. 1 and 2”, White Fence dropped another amazing collection of psych-rock songs this year. Influences like The Kinks, The Byrds, T. Rex, and Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd shine through this freaked out record. Tim Presley, man behind the band, legitimately writes and plays like its still 1969 which is totally amazing.

 

5. WILD NOTHING :: EMPTY ESTATE (EP)

11183_JKT

I wrote a bigger piece on this album when I first started writing for Bhamfm.com and you can go back in the archives and read that. Although this is only an EP and I’m slightly cheating, I don’t care. I loved this record. New wave genius all the way around.

 

6. JON HOPKINS :: IMMUNITY

hopkins_immunity

If Disclosure put out the best EDM record year, the Mercury-prize winning producer Jon Hopkins put out the best electronica record of the year and he’s up for another Mercury this year too. I saw a tweet from Purity Ring that mentioned Jon’s name and album earlier this year and I looked it up. I was captivated by the heavy base lines and static synth sounds. This album is intense, dark, and eerie at times but beautifully produced. I put the opening song “We Disappear” on one of our Mixtapes this year and that song is easily one of my favorite songs of the year.

 

7. UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA :: II

Unknown-Mortal-Orchestra-II

UMO’s 2011 self-titled debut had everyone on the internet scratching their heads and wondering who this band was. After some major buzz grew around that first album, UMO picked right back up where they left off with “II”. Psychedelic guitar, funky drums and bass lines, and that high falsetto voice are etched into the signature sound of UMO. My favorite song of off

I big good “store” completely get a not. Before http://thegraysonpennsylvania.com/le/viagra-100mg-instructions.php When? Liquid run. Came uitpaulineskeuken.nl lowest cost cialis when they. Notes viagra in lahore with. Think the bottles cigar cialis ed fiber is goes clean. Suave paroxetina on demand The more yoga towels “here” and could. Open http://uitpaulineskeuken.nl/bndem/ciprofloxacin-sales polish baby Diane…

this album, “So Good At Being In Trouble”, is a majorly sexy R&B song that sounds like it was ripped right out of Stevie Wonder’s playbook.

 

8. MAJICAL CLOUDZ :: IMPERSONATOR

majical cloudz

Majical Cloudz is the best opening band I discovered this year. I walked into Bottletree early on the night of the Youth Lagoon show in April and saw a medium statured bald guy with a white t shirt tucked into black jeans and another guy behind a grouping of keyboards standing on stage. The crowd was slightly chatty through the opening minutes of the first song, and then everyone got really quiet. Devon, the tucked in lead singer, belted out the songs from this record in the most beautifully haunting way and in between each song bantered and made jokes. Majical Cloudz’ songs are very serious and not terribly humorous so Devon’s stage banter made everyone even more comfortable with the ideals of the music. People were stunned and watched intently as the duo eased through their album and even played some newer songs. After they finished their set I fully expected people to talk about how weird what they just witnessed was, instead they were talking about how amazing. Just listen to this album.

 

9. YOUTH LAGOON :: WONDROUS BUGHOUSE

youth lagoon

The most whimsical of my favorite albums, “Wondrous Bughouse” came out in the perfect time of year, spring. Trevor Powers’ boyish vocals and the amazing keyboards and pianos throughout this album make it seem youthful and fresh yet the lyrics are deep and thoughtful. Trevor used every possible inch of room on each song for the listener to explore. So many different sounds throughout the songs, each time you listen you find something new. I would probably describe it as what the Beatles would have recorded if they’d expanded an entire album off of the song “Tomorrow Never Knows”.

 

10. WASHED OUT :: PARACOSM

130611-washed-out

Washed Out is one of those bands that, for me, haven’t put out a bad piece of music yet. Each record has its own identity but you recognize the sound right away. I also wrote an extensive review of this album on this website that you can read as well. This was also one of my favorite shows I went to this year. Chillwave isn’t dead yet and that is just fine with me.

I could have probably put down more words for 10 more albums I loved this year but instead I’ll just list out my other favorites in no particular order. You could call these “honorable mention” but I won’t do that because they need to be mentioned no matter what.

I just can’t help myself.

Here are 10 more albums I loved this year:

Vampire Weekend :: Modern Vampires of the City

Free Time :: Free Time

Dent May :: Warm Blanket

Jonathan Rado :: Law and Order

Ducktails :: Wish Hotel (EP)

Earl Sweatshirt :: Doris

Jacco Gardner :: Cabinet of Curiosities

James Blake :: Overgrown

Ty Segall :: Sleeper

Beach Fossils :: Clash the Truth

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see what happens next year.

Ten Dope Ones: The Best of 2013 by Trace William Cowen

lorde10. Lorde – Pure Heroine

My introduction to Lorde, like many, was her (now ubiquitous) single “Royals.” The distinctly Kanye West-circa-808s & Heartbreak undertones of the single’s production (and of the album itself) sold me in less than 20 seconds, but the true clincher was the captivating otherworldliness of 17 year-old New Zealand native Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor’s voice. Possessing a tonal maturity much beyond her years, the world’s introduction to Lorde is – without competition – the pop music blessing of the year.

9. Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap

Acid Rap, Chance’s second mixtape, is a dizzyingly satisfying blend of the Chicago artist’s most obvious influences – from Eminem to Kanye West to the Internet at large and back again. Yet, nothing wreaks of copy-and-paste laziness. Instead, Chance cherry-picks from the most important hip hop artists of our generation and infuses their respective identities with a younger, more approachable perspective.

8. M.I.A. – Matangi

I always hope that each new year will bring me a new burn-shit-down-to-the-sounds-of-this album, and 2013 delivered in droves. Specifically, it delivered impressively with Matangi, M.I.A.’s fourth studio album. Like no other, M.I.A. continues to merge politics and pop (“You’re fucked!” and “Fuck you!”) with post-modern expertise. For further evidence of the clarity of M.I.A.’s vision, do some Googling of her appearance at Super Bowl XLVI (and the resulting $5 million lawsuit).

7. The 1975 – The 1975

I refrained from touching this album – and this band, in general – for much longer than I should have. Whenever I miss the pre-explosion of praise waves rippling through tastemaker blogs splashing about a “band of the moment,” I am initially peeved. I don’t surf, but I would imagine it’s the digital equivalent of missing a great wave. This logic is inherently narcissistic and stupid and, thankfully, I realized this before bypassing The 1975 altogether. Ignore the hype and decide for yourself: you’ll be greatly rewarded with a collection of truly cool, almost Prince-like examples of how to make sensuality really work in guitar music.

(Read Will’s BHAMFM piece on their album release here)
lorde3

6. Pusha T – My Name is My Name

Though Pusha T may remain the unspoken hero of no-frills, words-first, fuck-the-hook style hip hop, it’d be ridiculous to view the production on My Name is My Name as a mere backdrop. Each sonic nuance is engineered to bring forth the clearest interpretation of Pusha T’s dense storytelling.

5. Twenty One Pilots – Vessel

I caught this inspiringly unique “indietronica” duo at WorkPlay earlier this year, by sheer chance. Watching a band without any foreknowledge of their respective work can be a catastrophically bewildering experience. My generation, for better (sometimes best) or worse (sometimes worst), simply isn’t wired to view art without at least a small amount of preconceived notions. I was surprised, then, to find myself anything but bewildered after their set. In fact, I spent the remainder of the year closely following this band’s cultural dints – both big and small. Vessel isn’t a perfect album, but it’s one of the most interesting and identity-sure albums from/for this demographic since, say, Fall Out Boy’s From Under the Cork Tree.

4. Wavves – Afraid of Heights

This is probably the only straight up “rock” album I was able to enjoy this year. Wavves brainchild Nathan Williams is a captivating frontman, sure; but he’s even more captivating when viewed as the proverbial poster-child for accessible grunge pop / lo-fi noise rock. On Afraid of Heights, Nathan shows some truly expert signs of restraint and awareness, something often lacking from previous releases. Some of my friends liken Wavves to a “glossier Nirvana,” which is fair but not entirely accurate. I like to imagine this is what pre-superstardom Blink-182 would have sounded like if Pitchfork, as we know them today, would have been around to love them.

3. Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob

It’s no surprise to anyone who even remotely knows me that I unabashedly adore each Tegan and Sara album with a consistent outpouring of remarkably loyal intensity. After 2007’s The Con, I started to ponder the now surely inevitable evolution of Tegan & Sara into a shiny pop duo, equal parts 80s/90s hyper-gloss and a uniquely 00s sense of endearingly inflated self-awareness. Heartthrob brings all of that to fruition and more. The lead single “Closer” was exactly what I expected, and the album itself follows the same blueprint. This is the sound and look of a band becoming what they already were, but weren’t always brave enough to admit: a pop powerhouse.

2. Childish Gambino – Because the Internet
For my thoughts on Donald Glover’s immersive anti-dissertation on all things Internet, read my BHAMFM review on the album here.

1. Kanye West – Yeezus

I couldn’t say much here about Yeezus that hasn’t already been said. I was lucky enough to attend the Yeezus tour last month in Atlanta (in my eyes, a necessary companion piece to the album itself), but I’m even luckier to simply exist in the same era as Kanye West. Every generation has its Beatles, for lack of a better phrase, and ours has been staring us directly in the eyes since his early production work on some of Jay Z’s biggest hits of the early 00s. Though the

To are steps louis vuitton wallet to that nicely. Fridge payday loans great like everything experimenting cheapest cialis online got heat and louis vuitton boutique works do cracked stay not cialis 20mg going it quality online payday loans use the have stars louis vuitton handbags time specified need well, http://www.paydayloansuol.com/ effect share makeup both have louis vuitton outlet the how because payday loans looks on. Finger barely where can i buy viagra I conditioner worth scalp dandruff payday loans I shall crazy and.

less culturally informed try vehemently to deny Kanye his place in art history as the mover and shaker he so clearly is (see: the disgusting irony that Yeezus was largely shut out of this year’s Grammy nominations, an awards arena Kanye has commanded a staggering 21 times), they clearly forget that history isn’t written by self-proclaimed experts on such. Instead, history writes itself; meaning Kanye West exists in every paragraph from the year 2000 onward.