This playlist is all over the damn place. It is a collection of my two favorite songs (decided pretty much arbitrarily) from some of the albums that I enjoyed listening to in the last year (also decided pretty much arbitrarily). The order is totally random, because I can’t commit enough to call any of these albums my favorite, let alone rank all 29 of them.
Grizzly Bear, Shields
If I HAD to pick one album that was my absolute favorite album from this year, there is a good chance that it would be this one. It was about three years since Veckatimest by the time Shields was released – enough time to get to know an album pretty intimately. I was a little worried that, having listened to Veckatimest so many times, I wouldn’t be able to love Shields in the same way.
False. Shields is downright incredible: simultaneously tender, but forceful; heartbreakingly sad, but shimmering and bright; deceptively simple, but bafflingly complex. Some review I read on it somewhere described it something like (#ImNotAJournalist #NotLookingUpTheSource) “having songs that lurch in several different directions at once”. On songs like “What’s Wrong”, that is especially true. It vacillates between soft and plinky piano and orchestral rock bombast, but somehow it just feels right.
Foxygen, Take the Kids Off Broadway
Speaking of bands that take off in a million directions at once…
Foxygen are relative newcomers on the Jagjaguar label, the home of Bon Iver, and Dinosaur Jr, among others. The band cultivates a vintage, classic rock aesthetic with a modern bend that is unlike anything else I’ve heard. Listening to Foxygen’s singer, Sam France, spitting lyrics with more conviction than any 22 year old should be able to, you would think he might be Mick Jagger’s long lost son.
If I were a concert promoter, I would book these guys for a Denver show today.
I don’t quite know where to place Conveyor. Experimental orchestral psychedelic dream pop seems about right, but I need about 87 more verbs to pin down their style. Conveyor has this irresistible heady blend of rhythmic, chanting lyrics, and spot on vocal harmonies, laid on top of gorgeous soundscapes. Conveyor is the band’s first full length album, and I can only see then getting better with age.
Edit: This post was listed on LargeheartedBoy’s Year End Master List. Go check out some of the others!