2 years ago
I’ve surprisingly been really up on new music lately, so I wanted to offer some thoughts on some of the notable releases (for me at least) of 2011:
Augustana - Augustana: More folksy, less piano driven, less lyrically creative than the previous albums. Yet for some reason, it just hits the right note for me. “Borrowed Time” is a classic Augustana song.
Bright Eyes - The People’s Key: Seeing these songs performed live alongside the other songs from their catalog only cemented the strength of this album. The talking heads are a bit jarring (but still an Oberst staple) but the album has a melodic, agreeable tone. The percussion drives this album so well. Oberst is like a fine wine, gets better with age. Definitely one of my favorites of the year.
Eisley - The Valley: It’s good, it’s Eisley, but it’s lacking. Eisley to me felt like this angelic group of females in the past, but in this album they felt more like fallen angels (totally lame I know). I can’t say if that is a good or bad thing, but while some songs “Mr. Moon”, “Kind” are wonderful, some just leave me feeling unfulfilled. I understand that the band went through some darker personal stuff, but it came across too angsty and wasn’t channeled in a way musically that they were capable of.
Emery - We Do What We Want: Despite the dumb title, this is the best Emery album since The Question and The Weak’s End. I will say that this album made me realize how much I’m over the whole screaming thing in music, but I loved the vocalization so much that I got myself through it. Besides, it’s good workout music.
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues: Great indie/folk album. I will say that this is my first introduction to this band, and I couldn’t be more satisfied. Solid album all the way through. Creative instrumentation and beautiful vocals.
Foo Fighters - Wasting Light: They wanted to rock out, and they did. I mean, it’s the Foo Fighters, they do many things well and this is an album of them turning it up to “11” and going crazy. Gotta love it.
Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math: I talked about this on Twitter a bit yesterday. The album is beautifully crafted and just amazing, but it lacks a certain… passion? energy? that I’ve come to know from MO. This release may need more time in my ears, because I’m confused by it.
Panic! At The Disco - Vices and Virtues: This one got a lot of spin from me. This is definitely a guilty pleasure. There is nothing mindblowing about it, it just works. “The Calendar” is just a great pop song.
Sum 41 - Screaming Bloody Murder: Listened a few times, nothing caught my attention. Stick a fork in these guys.
Unwritten Law - Swan: This was a jumble of that sex, drugs, rock band that is so fun and the more serious Elva group. For some reason it worked. I can’t ever understand why I like this band so much, but this album just made me think, “Hell Yeah!”
There ya go.