Tag Archive for 'fun'

The Best Albums of 2012

This past year (well past by this point might I add) provided us with a slew of good to great music. There were new albums from Ben Gibbard, Muse, The Killers, and B.o.B. to name a few. They all made solid efforts in 2012, but they didn’t quite crack the top ten albums. Below is my list, long overdue.


01: Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal

From the opening of the first track you can almost sense that this is a special effort. There is a quiet intensity, a captivating beauty, that threads through every melody and harmony on this wonderful debut album from Iceland. By the time you get to the final track you’re only thought will be to press play again.

mp3 : Of Monsters and Men – Yellow Light


02: The Lumineers – The Lumineers

Another brilliant debut album on the list. Bursting with raw emotion and well written lyrical vignettes this album is filled with driving drumbeats and folk fueled romance. Although a few of their tracks are more aligned with radio friendly airtime it’s when they slow down that their true talent shines through.

mp3 : The Lumineers – Submarines


03: John Samson – Provincial

Many of the songs that appear on his debut solo effort closely mirror his top shelf work with The Weakerthans. While some reviewers this past year found this off-putting I find John Samson’s lyrical storytelling to be just as captivating with or without his regular band.

mp3 : John Samson – Heart of the Continent


04: Mumford and Sons – Babel

Not much needs to be written about this band or this album. They’ve grown up from an indie darling quartet to a full on success recognized the world over. This album is a worthy continuation of their career.

mp3 : Mumford and Sons – Where are You Now


05: Sufjan Stevens – Silver and Gold

I know; this is a Christmas album that’s actually a collection of five separate EP’s that were written over half a decade and they just happened to be released as a box set in 2012. I know all the reasons that this technically shouldn’t be on a list, but the entire collection is simply so good that it can’t be relegated to one month of listening every year. On top of that you can listen to each EP in chronological order and follow along with the evolution of his musical style.

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Christmas in the Room


06: The Walkmen – Heaven

On this album The Walkmen continue their waffling between being effortlessly cool and trying really hard to channel Bob Dylan. The magic is when both of those efforts combine into a single glorious song. This is their best album since Bows + Arrows.

mp3 : The Walkmen – Line by Line


07: Beach House – Bloom

Although not quite as captivating as their previous effort (Teen Dream) their latest effort provides the same breathy vocals and building crescendos that have become their trademark.  This music would fit in almost any scenario.

mp3 : Beach House – Myth


08: Matt & Kim – Lightning

If you didn’t feel like dancing you will after a single listen to this album.  Or you might have a seizure.  It’s honestly a tossup.  Matt & Kim put out a solid album this time around and their one weakness (vocals on slower tracks) is kept to a minimum this time around.

mp3 : Matt & Kim – Now


09: fun. – Some Nights

It began for most people when their song We Are Young was featured prominently in a primetime commercial (possibly debuted during the Big Game?)  If you were daring enough to jump into the full album from that snippet you would find yourself treated to a modern day pop musical; complete with letters to moms, hanging out with friends, and pleas to find true love.

mp3 : fun. – All Alright


10: Jack White – Blunderbuss

I feel like I’m breaking an unwritten rule putting Jack’s first solo album this far down my list.  The problem is that for every brilliant track on the album, there is another track that reminds you how great Jack White is when he’s surrounded by other creative people.  This is a solid album, but it’s not his best effort.  I’ll go ahead and label it the Josh Ritter effect whereby an album starts off brilliantly and then veers into head scratching territory.

mp3 : Jack White – Freedom at 21

 

Fun album Some Nights

The latest album from Nate Ruess’ latest effort, Some Nights (amazon) (itunes), is very easy to summarize.  Just imagine if Freddie Mercury and Paul Simon had a baby that grew up in the eighties.  Then that baby mined their collective database of melodies, drum beats, and creative pop songwriting.  Oh, and at some point they became sublimely infatuated with musicals.  That would sum up this album.

mp3 : Fun – Some Nights
mp3 : Fun – All Alright

There are moments throughout the album that make it almost feel as if it was tailor made to be part of a larger stage musical.  A few songs actually break down into spoken word, almost everything is told from a first person narrative (with true chorus backup vocals), and it’s obvious Nate really misses his mom.  He talks about her on a few tracks.  It’s like this grown up Mercury/Simon lovechild went off to camp and decided to write an album.  Except that they’re all circling thirty.

What smacks most oddly throughout the entire album is just how well it all works.  It feels like a run away train wreck of an album that somehow caterwauls into a musical that you can listen to over and over again.  Perhaps it’s the simplicity of the hooks or the pure sugar rush of admitting pop isn’t dead.  Perhaps the band mines just enough from their aforementioned fathers to keep us interested and a bit nostalgic.  Perhaps it’s something else entirely.  At the end of the day this album is simple genuine fun and is worth a listen.

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BOTR vol 19

And we’re back!  It’s time for another installment of Best of the Remix.  I have slowly been compiling remixes that are worth a listen over the last few months and below is my curated list.  As always, enjoy the music.

mp3 : Adele vs. Daft Punk – Something About The Fire (Carlos Serrano Mix)
mp3 : Calvin Harris – Let’s Go (Calvin Harris Remix)
mp3 : Childish Gambino – Heartbeat (No Pets Allowed Remix)
mp3 : David Guetta feat Usher – Without You (HOHME Bootleg Remix)
mp3 : Eminem – Lose Yourself (Cry Wolf Remix)
mp3 : Fun – We Are Young (Alvin Risk Remix)
mp3 : Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know (Coyote Kisses Remix)
mp3 : Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know (DAEMONMusic Remix)
mp3 : Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know (Meridian Remix)
mp3 : Housse De Racket – Chateau (Hey Champ Remix)
mp3 : Little Dragon – Little Man (Vindata Remix)
mp3 : Michael Jackson – Maria (Hype Jones Remix)
mp3 : Zedd – Stars Come Out (Datsik Remix)

For some reason I decided that I really enjoyed remixes of Gotye this time around.  The Childish Gambino track is included because the kid can flow.  His content is a bit crass for my taste, but his lyrics and storytelling are impressive.  The Eminem track has the most shocking bass drop of all of this volume; I’m still not sure if I truly like it.  The Housse de Racket track is sublime while the Michael Jackson is simply brilliant.

Make sure you listen to the remix from DAEMONMusic above.  The lyric layering at 3:45 is well done.  Also, randomly turns out that I went to high school with this guy and his remix talent has been growing over time.  You can check out his soundcloud page here.

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