If 2009 started off hard and heavy with a series of awesome records (for the record: yes it did), “2010 so far” is a bit underwhelming for me personally. That isn’t to say there aren’t a few solid records now which have made my regular rotation.
The Knife – Tomorrow, In A Year. Leave it to The Knife to not disappoint! I didn’t know what to expect when I heard (over a year ago) that their next project was to accompany an opera about Charles Darwin (that was being produced by a Danish experimental theatre group), but I expected to be pleased. Having under a dozen listens under my belt it’s difficult to try and write anything resembling a proper review of this, because it’s actually quite layered and complex. I may or may not attempt something like that later, but for now I can say for sure – I love this and highly recommend you check it out! It is definitely the most unique record I have heard in I can’t say how long! Buy it here.
Eels - Endtimes is the last record (so far) I have found this year which immediately drew me in. It documents Mark Everett’s (he IS Eels) 2005 divorce with his wife and the feelings which ensued. It’s some heavy stuff, definitely not something you should expect to throw on at work to quickly pass the time while coding. This is definitely a highly recommended record, though. Check it out now [full album stream on myspace], or buy it here.
Beach House - Teen Dream. I don’t have a ton to say about this record, except that I am appreciating it more than their previous work, and it seems to be continually growing on me with each lesson. More later? Buy it here.
Four Tet – There Is Love In You is filled with dreamy reverberated percussive samplings, warm and hypnotic synth hooks, and a nice selection of processed vocals which serve both to tie together the nine tracks and add a layer of emotions to what might otherwise be complete abstraction. This isn’t strictly dance music but there are definitely elements of that, with some intermingled segments of house tempo 4/4 showing up on tracks like ‘This Unfolds’ while others such as ‘Plastic People’ pretty much operating exclusively in that vein. Recommended – buy it here.
Yeti Lane‘s self titled debut is an example of why I am paying (slightly) closer attention lately to European bands (they’re French!) lately. It’s Beatles-esque psychedelia with a good dose of what apparently is my favorite (its taken me years to realize this) genre: newgaze (or nu gaze). That’s “new” (post-2000?) shoegaze. I recently thought of this term and after googling it was disheartened to find someone had already thought of it and in fact started a last.fm group dedicated to the idea (and here I thought I was so clever). In any case, check them out if you like that sort of thing buy it here). And by the way, don’t mistake my having placed “nu gaze” just after mentioning these guys are European as some sort of intended statement. Mosts of the groups emerging in this genre are coming out of the US.
Other stuff I’m enjoying (but not obsessing over):
Get Well Soon – Vexations. These guys seriously wowed me with their first record Rest Now, Weary Head! You Will Get Well Soon so I had very high expectations/hopes for this one. Although it hasn’t quite lived up to them, this is a solid record and I recommend it to fans of their earlier stuff.
Efterklang – Magic Chairs. I have heard good things about these guys before, but this was my introduction to their music, and I dig. Looking forward to checking out (what has been described as quite varied) back catalog soon.
Good Shoes – No Hope, No Future. Maybe the only upbeat(ish) record so far of 2010 I have found/dug. Did I miss out on some mutual agreement that everyone else was going to release slow and quiet records from now on? I hope not, and after hearing Good Shoes I’m optimistic someone will be rocking out real soon (Snowden, I’m looking your way).
Then there’s the stuff I’m not really digging.
Everyone is going on about Yeasayer. I am a naysayer. I dislike the dude’s voice, and for me that’s easily enough to kill it. Hot Chip’s latest One Life Stand is just as disappointing as Made In The Dark (which I insist should have stayed in the dark – OH SNAP). These guys are a bit of a mystery to me having shown such weak efforts after 2006′s The Warning which is, to put it quite simply, amazing. I hope they get it together soon. Vampire Weekend – Contra. Meh. A multitude of other recommendations have come my way and been dismissed as mediocre at best. If anyone has a tip, I’d love to hear from you.
–more quite soon–