It’s been a rich year for new music. I’ll warn you in advance that a lot of this (with notable exceptions) is pretty mellow. Can’t help it. This Psychedelic Folk Scene is definitely the new wave in music!!
1. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues : Of course. Been waiting for ages. While it is not as strong as the first album, in my opinion having weaker melodies, it is still a great album that’s growing on me quickly.
2. Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean : This one does have great melodies. It has a consistent strength and diversity. Every song is a keeper.
3. Bruno Mars – Doo Wap Hooligans : This isn’t my regular fare, but from the first time that I heard this I was struck by the strength of the song writing, especially the catchy lyrics. I’m hearing the album all over the place now.
4. Decemberists – The King Is Dead : The last Decemberists album, The Hazards of Love, was an ambitious and complex concept album. This one is a more straight forward collection of songs. But all of them are good, and half of them are great.
5. Black Dub – Black Dub : This new project by Daniel Lanois and company is a fantastically produced collection and a great assortment of musical styles.
6. Adelle – 21 : Another chart topper that caught my attention. Adele is two parts Alison Moyet and one part Joss Stone.
7. Bright Eyes – The People’s Key : Conner Oberst doing what he does best. After a number of collaboration albums, it’s nice to have him back focused on his own writing in Bright Eyes.
8. John Grant – The Queen of Denmark : An ambitious double album of minimalistic tunes, showing great dexterity and some very pointed lyrics.
Those are my selections for the first half of the year. The top three or four really tied in their standing. And the year’s only just begun!!
Destroyer, Twilight Singers, P.J. Harvey, The Strokes, The Vaccines.
The Robbie Robertson album wasn’t all bad, but it was a bit tepid coming from someone who once produced one of my favorite all time albums.