Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Year in Popular Music 2012: Album Highlights In The New Year

From Kurt Wagner, one expects brilliance.  With Mr. M, ballooning expectations need not be pricked and left to float sullenly back down to Earth. Deliverance!

Nottingham's gloomiest storytellers triumphantly return.

Lately, I genuflect at her genre-smushing, pop-deconstructionist altar and writhe like a Pentecostal minister with a rattlesnake in his knickers.  Having a rough day? Throw this one on.

Mr. Cohen is nearly an octogenarian.  If only all old people were this cool and productive.

 Put a bird on it.  Nellie is obsessed with the holy warbles of this amplified pastoral folk outfit.

Continuing with the avian theme, this may be Bird's finest album.  Full of sizzling fiddle, his trademark whistle, and bookish, sensible songwriting.  A bit darker than his other undertakings, but a nice listen throughout.

A wistful, sonically gentle offering from the Great Northwest.  The expressively pretty lo-fi piano/guitar work is offset by thematic content that would make Burroughs blush.

 More gifts from Seattle.  Jurado has made a strikingly cohesive album that fits almost any temperament.

 The funniest dude in Nashville strikes again...

Raw, arid, violin-driven post-rock from the Outback. Another unsettling Cormac McCarthian soundscape (think Blood Meridian) from Warren Ellis and crew.

Drifting back to my days at Clayton Middle School, these final two albums celebrate youthful angst, but in a canny, more-than-three-power-chords sort of way.  I haven't had so much fun shouting along to music since Fall Silent's heyday in the late Nineties.  The first two tracks on the Cloud Nothings offering are viscerally penetrating.

Lambchop. Mr. M | Tindersticks. This Something Rain | Grimes. Visions | Leonard Cohen. Old Ideas | Bowerbirds. The Clearing | Andrew Bird. Break It Yourself | Perfume Genius. Put Your Back N 2 It | Damien Jurado. Maraqopa | Todd Snider. Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables | Dirty Three. Toward The Low Sun | Cloud Nothings. Attack On Memory | Ceremony. Zoo

1 comment:

Capenwray said...

Ther're all good but I especially love the Dirty Three track.