50 – 41 – http://www.ishitmusic.com/?p=122
40) Ween – Caesar 1 & 2
- The New Hope boys haven’t released anything formally since 2007, so for the Ween-freaks like me out there, this collection of demos from the Quebec era provides quite the fix. First put out on Mickey Melchiondo’s (Deaner’s) facebook page, the amount of never-before-heard-or-released tracks that are friggin’ awesome here proves just how prolific these guys really are. “Eulogy for David Anderson” – fucking beautiful. “You Can Go Shit in Your Hat” – dope as all hell. “Hello Johnny” and “Wide Open” – why the hell didn’t they release these?!? Thanks Dean.
39) Neon Indian – Era Extraña
- When I first heard “Should Have Taken Acid With You” 2 years ago, I figured Neon Indian was going to evolve into a dub-step mess of synthesizer patches by 2011. But instead of taking the easy way out, Alan Palomo put his head back down, wrote some waaaaay better tunes, and found a way to make all those patches sound epically classy. Good lyrics, good beats, and a truly fun use of modern sound – I’m on board for the rest of his ride.
38) Givers – In Light
- A group of Louisiana sub-brooklynites make music that half draws from Phoenix and half from Paul Simon’s African skies vibe. But don’t think about how that first Vampire Weekend really got annoying after multiple listens – Givers go deeper in stacking of melodic layers, have a killer guitarist, and aren’t afraid to intelligently slow things down when they want to. I’m going to listen to this album a lot in 2012.
37) Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawler/ The Dream
- This San Francisco garage-rock attack force is like Iggy Pop with better chord changes. Loyal to the melodic vengeance of pre-punk punk-rock, this is the kind of band that your friends who don’t like punk-rock will be like “Oh, I dig this though.” While your friends who love punk rock will be like, “Maybe not as sloppy as I’m used to, but I like this shit a lot.” It’s better to just call it rock and roll.
36) Starfucker – Reptilians
- It’s hard to make an acoustic guitar sound cool in a quasi-electronica band, but the opening cut from Reptilians make it seem essential for Portland’s Starfucker. Think Beta Band turned up a few notches, focused more on potentially danceable grooves, and not afraid to have a shit-load of glitchy tweek noises cycling in the background. The album turns into more of a dance-party as it goes along, but there’s a lot of potential for this horribly named band to go deep – soon.
35) Wilco – The Whole Love
- I’m one of those people who loves Wilco but thought the last album kinda blew chunks for the first time in their career. It wasn’t bad, it just featured the most non-memorable songs in the band’s history – it was cliché Dad rock. Then I heard “Art of Almost” and let out an enormous sigh. Again, the whole cycle of songs isn’t nearly as strong as what they used to release, but there’s a solid handful of ridiculously good songs on The Whole Love. It’s definitely not the album that’s gonna win any new fans, but it definitely will keep the old ones happy.
34) Real Estate – Days
- More and more lately this album has been reminding me of Echo and The Bunnymen. It’s because Real Estate not only has that same space-folk feel, but also has the same drive to keep things from getting too boring. The beats, the melodies, and the reverb are all the things that put this album on my top 50 and keep The Fleet Foxes out of it. “It’s Real” has been cycling in my head many a morning the past few months.
33) Floating Action – Desert Etiquette
- Shit, somebody forgot to tell Seth Kaufman that stupid puns are always crappy ideas for album titles…moving on. There’s a late-50’s beach-rock swing that is the basis of Floating Action, and that Kaufman is constantly gaining more indelible control of. This is the perfect music for a backyard party in the summer – or at least for drinking a beer before 5 on a weekday during the winter. It’ll be interesting to see how long this band remains so seriously underrated.
32) Destroyer – Kaputt
- I figured Destroyer was a new side project for Dan Bejar of The New Pornographers to get his yacht-rock coke-funk passions out, but turns out he’s been releasing stuff with this act since the 90’s. Either way, all 9 tracks on the album are classics that will make you want to drink Zimas in the sun. You’ll hear one track and think there’s no way he can keep up that cool-ass groove for the whole record, but boy does he.
31) TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light
- What happened, did people just get tired of talking about how great this band is? After Rolling Stone put 2008’s Dear Science as their album of the year, it’s like people don’t want to admit that TV on the Radio are as important as they actually are. Nobody is crafting rock in such epic rhythmic syncopation these days, and Light is probably their finest work to date. And despite bassist Gerard Smith’s passing, these guys still have a lot of soul left in them to unleash on the world.
The deeper I seep into the new Destroyer album, the more I worry I’m going to wake up in 1982. This is only further evidence that Daniel Bejar needs to focus less on less on his other, less pop-savvy band The New Pornographers, and rather keep a one-track mind on pumping out the dreamy yacht-funk that is captured on last week’s release, Kaputt.
And I’ll say it right now, I hate Steely Dan. Yep, just hate em’ – kinda think they’re two of the most soulless crafters of pop in the history of the game. Don’t try to argue – I can’t be swayed. But regardless, I only mention this because it means I thus have a rather elevated and critical ear for the drifty funk-for-yacht grooves. And with a rather large pallet of hipsters crafting just such sounds at a relatively frequent pace as of late, again my tastes are rather attuned. It takes just the right blend of subtle irony, and true embrace of your inner slickness for me to shout your praise. But if Destroyer knows anything, it’s that when you really hit that groove right, you are legally binded to make a video with girls in 80′s leotards amidst some modern, nerdy twist. Grum of Super Furry Animals went off the same lesson-plan last year. Here’s the two together – headbands required for viewing.