…continued from 2011: The Year in Music (part I)
The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar
The Big Roar is a massive, relentless mushroom cloud of an album and it’s one of my favorites from this year to crank up to 11 when I’m PO’d at the neighbors. Highlights from our feature/review from April 2011:
Layers of whirling, fuzzed-out guitarscapes… Ritzy Bryan’s feminine vocals, as confident as they are, add a delicate texture and a welcome sense of innocence… a gutsy and confident first entry that lives up to its substantial hype and delivers on every count with a side of in-your-face bravado to spare…. full of clever indie-pop hooks (“Austere”,” Cradle”) and epic, emotive soundscapes (“Whirring”, “The Greatest Light”)
P.J. Harvey – Let England Shake
“The damp grey filthiness of ages, fog rolling down behind the mountains and on the graveyards and dead sea captains”
Polly Jean Harvey spawned her fair share of detractors when she fired off her eighth full-length back in February, but I’m guessing that she’s ok with that. PJ’s no delicate flower. She’s got something to say on Let England Shake, and she doesn’t pull any punches on what might be her most political–and approachable–album to date. This is Harvey at her best as she channels her raw, visceral anger and frustration at the current state of her homeland (and the world?) through her sombre songs sweetly sung.
Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal
I was first introduced to the sweet guy/girl harmonic sing-alongs from Iceland’s ‘Of Monsters and Men’ late last year when influential DJ Kevin Cole of Seattle’s KEXP 90.3FM returned from the Iceland Airwaves music festival with the following video…
One month later, OM&M won the Músíktilraunir Prize, Iceland’s most prestigious music award and their music began to see heavy rotation on a few radio stations around the US. The band released their charming debut LP My Head Is An Animal in Iceland last summer and, having just signed to Universal, it will be available in the US (and worldwide) very soon. Trust me… go get it. Listen. Repeat. Nuffsaid?
Beirut – The Rip Tide
Zach Condon’s Beirut blends traditional indie rock with baroque and world music elements in their simplistic but irresistibly thoughtful three-minute pop songs. Their third full-length effort, The Rip Tide, manages to find that difficult balance of adventurous instrumentation and sweet simplicity by avoiding the over-indulgence that haunted their previous releases. Condon possesses one of the most distinctive and compelling voices in popular music today and The Rip Tide presents to us, at under 33 minutes, just a glimpse of what’s to come from the quickly maturing–and very talented–young songwriter.
Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi – Rome
This collaboration between producer/multi-instrumentalist Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton (Gnarls Barkley, Broken Bells) and Italian film scorer Daniele Luppi was inspired by the music from classic spaghetti westerns of the mid 1960′s, specifically those of Sergio Leone (music by Ennio Morricone). In fact, Luppi recruited many of the musicians who worked with Morricone on those original scoring sessions for the films to perform on Rome. Norah Jones and Jack White perform flawless vocals on many of the songs but the real stars of Rome are the atmospheric instrumental tracks with their mysterious, ethereal strings, celesta and syncopated guitar. Other-worldly vocalizations are courtesy of legendary Italian soprano Edda Dell’Orso.
continue to our top 3 albums of 2011!!