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2011 dellrock top 73 albums
paladisiac
Here are my favorite top 73 albums of 2011. This time around i'm providing the "raw data" i compiled listening to these albums over-and-over again. Enjoy if interested...


01 middle brother - middle brother
TOP TRACKS = 111111 = 6/12 = 0.500
daydreaming, thanks for nothing , middle brother, portland , me me me, someday
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/12 = 0.083
million dollar bill [almost "blood and guts"]
CLUNKERS = 0 [almost "mom and dad"]

This album reminds me of a less-stylishly-lavished monsters of folk album, but its understated scope and delivery underlines its touching appeal. Also, like monsters of folk, this "supergroup" is made up of lead members of other bands, although since the most "popular" is deer tick, i think "semisupergroup" might be more appropriate. Regardless, many of these songs are quite affecting.


02 peter bjorn & john - gimme some
TOP TRACKS = 1111 = 4/11 = 0.364
second chance, eyes, (may seem) macabre, don't let it cool off
VERY GOOD = 111 = 3/11 = 0.273
tomorrow has to wait, dig a little deeper, lies
CLUNKERS = 0

Between Hot Chip and Peter Bjorn & John, this is as pop as IDM can be, all while using "live" instruments for the most part. Hit songs abound!


03 the decemberists - the king is dead
TOP TRACKS = 1111 = 4/10 = 0.400
calamity song, rox in the box, down by the water, this is why we fight
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/10 = 0.200
don't carry it all, all arise!
CLUNKERS = 0

This is the best R.E.M. album since "new adventures in hi-fi" proving Michael Stipe should definitely work with Gillian Welch. Its only blemish is its lack of scope compared to "hazards of love" or "crane wife"; otherwise, this is about as much of a pop gem as their early albums.


04 cut copy - zonoscope
TOP TRACKS = 11 = 2/11 = 0.182
need you now, take me over
VERY GOOD = 11111 = 5/11 = 0.455
pharoahs & pyramids, blink and you'll miss a revolution, this is all we've got, alisa [close to TOP TRACK], hanging on to every heartbeat ["sun god" ALMOST]
CLUNKERS = 0

I hear a lot of early 90s techno, a la psychosonic, in "zonoscope", more a broadly coherent statement than their last album. It'll be a difficult task deciding whether this is better than "in ghost colors" or not.


05 the rapture - in the grace of your love
TOP TRACKS = 11 = 2/11 = 0.182
miss you , how deep is your love?
VERY GOOD = 11111 = 5/11 = 0.455
[almost "sail away"] come back to me, never die again, rollercoaster, children, can you find a way?
CLUNKERS = 0

Drifting a little further from dance punk (of their debut album which i'm not a big fan of) straight into dance territory, the head-bobbin' beats don't stop. Some lyrics are simplistic, but they're simply cutting to the core of the beat and the hook.


06 tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l
TOP TRACKS = 111 = 3/10 = 0.300
my country, gangsta, bizness,
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/10 = 0.200
es-so, "you, yes, you" ["doorstep" & "killa" are close]
CLUNKERS = 0 [ALMOST "wolly wolly gong"]

Quirky and off-kilter but always with a good sense of rhythm, the tuneyards is both dense and sophomoric at times. This makes for a fun but challenging listen, and you know when you use the word "challenging" that it's at least somewhat off-putting.


[DROP OFF]

07 dj quik - the book of david
TOP TRACKS = 1 = 1/16 = 0.063
do today
VERY GOOD = 111111111 = 9/16 = 0.563
fire and brimstone, ghetto rendezvous, killer dope, real women, poppin', hydromatic, across the map, nobody, so compton
CLUNKERS = 0

DJ Quik has mastered old school hip-hop production value, lyrical content and delivery, with shout-outs to eazy-e and hammer and guest appearances by the likes of ice cube and jon b. He's often compared to dr. dre (and lifts a dre sample on "flow for sale"), but from what i've heard off of dre's latest album, quik has finally-and-easily eclipsed dre's skills. (Maybe mega-popularity results in staid skills?)


08 the mountain goats - all eternals deck
TOP TRACKS = 111 = 3/13 = 0.231
damn these vampires , estate sale sign, never quite free
VERY GOOD = 111 = 3/13 = 0.231
beautiful gas mask, prowl great cain, for charles bronson
CLUNKERS = 0

Far-removed from his lo-fi beginnings, john darnielle still draws character sketches like nobody's bizniss. Highlights are "damn these vampires" and "never quite free".


09 the throne - watch the throne
TOP TRACKS = 1 = 1/12 = 0.083
that's my b|tch
VERY GOOD = 111111 = 6/12 = 0.500
no church in the wild, lift off, niggas in paris, otis, who gon stop me? [almost TOP TRACK], made in america
CLUNKERS = 0

Kanye's on a roll. His production and rapping are still TNotch. It's surprising that Jay-Z's sometimes lazy delivery is what brings this album down, but his rhymes are still the sharpest since "american gangster". If you loved Kanye's last album, pick this up -- he still brings his newfound edge.


10 iron & wine - kiss each other clean
TOP TRACKS = 11 = 2/10 = 0.200
monkeys uptown , your fake name is good enough for me
VERY GOOD = 111 = 3/10 = 0.300
tree by the river, rabbit will run, glad man singing
CLUNKERS = 0

Here's another former "lo-fi" artist who has since embellished his work masterfully in the studio. i like the horns, especially the spazzy-jazzy horns at the end of "2011 best track" long-play nominee "your fake name is good enough for me", or the playful horns in "big burned hand".


11 junior boys - it's all true
TOP TRACKS = 11 = 2/9 = 0.222
itchy fingers , banana ripple
VERY GOOD = 111 = 3/9 = 0.333
a truly happy ending, second chance, ep
CLUNKERS = 0

This is one of those albums pleasant and catchy enough to sleep to, like slipping underneath the ripples off a tropical island beach.


12 girls - father, son, holy ghost.
TOP TRACKS = 1 = 1/11 = 0.091
vomit
VERY GOOD = 11111 = 5/11 = 0.455 [a couple were close to TOP TRACKS]
honey bunny, alex, die, how can i say i love you?, magic,
CLUNKERS = 0 [almost "forgiveness"]

With a mix of surfer rock, sort of psychedelic, sort of indie pop and hints of 70s prog, girls come through with a more thorough "album" than their debut. It's a painful confessional at times, but worth the time on the couch with your headphones on. They make use of background harmonies like the killers on "all these things that i've done".


13 radiohead - king of limbs
TOP TRACKS = 11 = 2/8 = 0.250
morning mr. magpie , lotus flower
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/8 = 0.125
[almost "little by little"] separator [barely]
CLUNKERS = 0

When the song "creep" and album "pablo honey" came out, i didn't bother buying the album. i thought they'd be a "one hit wonder". I was obviously wrong on that assertion, but after buying that album years later as a radiohead completist, i found just an average album in the then-current alt-rock mode attempting to flesh out their sound. There are a couple other good tracks, the the guitar-check loser anthem easily stands out.

17 years and many reinventions later and now we have radiohead dubstep, recalling "amnesiac"'s take on electronica and the lyrical stance of "in rainbows" but with less obvious hooks and more subversion of beats and structure. I see this as a transitional album, one which i don't often find myself reaching for, and the first radiohead album since "pablo honey" not to be listed as my favorite album of the year when compiling my favs at new year's.


14 the pains of being pure at heart - belong
TOP TRACKS = 1 = 1/10 = 0.100
heart in my heartbreak
VERY GOOD = 11111 = 5/10 = 0.500
belong, heaven's gonna happen now, the body, even in dreams, my terrible friend
CLUNKERS = 0

"belong" often reminds me of the pumpkins' "siamese dream" with that guarded vulnerability and rocking undercurrent. A slightly shoegazing version of churning-guitar pumpkins is what this album reminds me of, along with mid-career cure.


15 the roots - undun
TOP TRACKS = 1 = 1/14 = [SEGUE ADJUSTED, LAST SUITE OF 4 COUNTED AS 2] 1/11 = 0.091
kool on
VERY GOOD = 11111 = 5/14 = [SEGUE ADJUSTED, LAST SUITE OF 4 COUNTED AS 2] 5/11 = 0.455
one time, the OtherSide, stomp, lighthouse, tip the scale
CLUNKERS =

This is a tough album to judge. It starts with a short instrumental and closes on 4 short mostly-instrumentals (inspired by a sufjan stevens track), and in-between is 30 minutes of dark ?uestlove poetry in the style of the first half of last year's "how i got over?". I've read it's a concept piece of a man dying, starting with his death telling his story chronologically backwards. Overall, it's a brooding, mostly-midtempo album which doesn't hit the highs of "how i got over?", mostly because it doesn't try to capture the energy of happiness. What works, works well, so i wish there was more.

(I had difficulty ranking this given the last 4 songs are one big instrumental suite of 4 parts. Add on the opening instrumental track, and trying to appreciate this as a concept album, and this made for a tough ranking. I like all of these instrumentals, the suite works well especially, but nothing outstanding.)


16 cults - cults
TOP TRACKS = 11 = 2/11 = 0.182
abducted, bumper
VERY GOOD = 1111 = 4/11 = 0.364
go outside, most wanted, oh my god, never saw the point
CLUNKERS = 0

At times reminding me of a lighter pretty girls make graves, I like the lead singer's voice, how the simple, catchy songs propel forward effortlessly, as all the best 60s/70s r&b girl groups did...and i like that xylophone (or xylo-sounding synth).


[DROP OFF]

17 lloyd - king of hearts
TOP TRACKS = 1 = 1/14 = [SEGUE ADJUSTED] 1/13 = 0.077
dedication to my ex (miss that)
VERY GOOD = 111111 = 6/14 = [SEGUE ADJUSTED] 6/13 = 0.462
cupid, luv me girl, jigsaw, be the one, shake it 4 daddy, you 2
CLUNKERS = 0

Welcome this rival to the-dream -- smooth samples, dark synths, swooning vocals, fine hooks and even some Tnotch guest appearances -- even down to his michael jackson vocal resemblence (on some tracks). ... but as for prince, the-dream still owns the formerly-known-artist's old sound.


18 foster the people - torches
TOP TRACKS = 1 = 1/10 = 0.100
pumped up kicks ,
VERY GOOD = 1111 = 4/10 = 0.400
helena beat, call it what you want , i would do anything for you, houdini
CLUNKERS = 0

This is wussy indie dance pop, music that could easily slip onto the radio alongside early MGMT and peter bjorn & john. This is breezy, summertime music, quite shallow and ready-made-to-please, often hung in falsetto and gimmicky effects. i lose howie heim man-points for even knowing of this band. But yet it works well, like a poppier and happier belle & sebastian. i could easily be greatly annoyed with this album in half a year, but for now, i'm eating this candy up.


19 holy ghost! - holy ghost!
TOP TRACKS = 11 = 2/10 = 0.200
hold on , some children
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/10 = 0.200
jam for jerry, slow motion
CLUNKERS = 0

On the same label as lcd soundsystem, they're more like the light, italian disco version, crossed with some of mgmt or pheonix's flair. i guess "hold on" was released a few years ago as a single, and holy ghost! was wise to pop that on their debut because it's the standout track, although the one with michael mcdonald is curiously catchy (even though i can't understand some of the words).


20 wilco - the whole love
TOP TRACKS = 11 = 2/12 = 0.167
art of almost , i might
VERY GOOD = 111 = 3/12 = 0.250
dawned on me, standing o, one sunday morning (song for jane smiley's boyfriend)
CLUNKERS = 0

In my opinion, Wilco lost its experimenting creative edge and slid a bit towards adult contemporary fare on albums "sky blue sky" and "wilco (the album)". There were a couple songs like "bull black nova" and "impossible germany" that stretched the new, adult wilco sound, but for the most part, they sounded more like a band fine in where it was at, ready to put out solid rock shows and nothing more. i long for "summerteeth", "yankee hotel foxtrot" and "a ghost is born" (despite its overreaching guitar feedback).

Enter "the whole love" which pushes at their current boundaries a little more, and is all the better for it, nicely summed up on opening track "art of almost". Nels Cline brings the shredder too, which augments a bunch of the songs, like on "standing o".


21 sloan - the double cross
TOP TRACKS = 1 = 1/12 = 0.083
it's plain to see
VERY GOOD = 11111 = 5/12 = 0.417
["follow the leader" close] the answer was you, unkind, shadow of love, beverly terrace, traces
CLUNKERS = 0

This is indie pop in the apples of stereo and nada surf realm. Each confection comes packed with a catchy chorus and chorus harmonies. The album flies by as a collection of quick hooks as most songs are around 3 minutes or less. They remind me of apples in stereo for their predilection to short-n-sweet pop.


22 stevie jackson - (i can't get no) stevie jackson
TOP TRACKS = 11 = 2/12 = 0.167
"just, just so to the point" , where do all the good girls go?
VERY GOOD = 111 = 3/12 = 0.250
try me, dead man's fall, [almost "man of god"] , press send
CLUNKERS = 0

Belle & Sebastian member makes his own twee-ish indie pop. It's not as clever or catchy as B&S but he still retains enough of their charm to be worth a listen by himself. This twee cornball sometimes is a little too cornball, like with the mariachi horns and dove cooing, but it's still more endearing than annoying.


23 digitalism - i love you, dude
TOP TRACKS = 11 = 2/10 = 0.200
2 hearts , circles
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/10 = 0.200
forrest gump, reeperbahn
CLUNKERS = 0

More electronica in the mold of early cut copy and 00s french house. Some fun tracks in there. Some near-instrumentals/instrumentals should've been fleshed out more.


[DROP OFF]

24 big k.r.i.t. - return of 4eva
TOP TRACKS = 1 = 1/21 = [skit adjusted] 1/20 = 0.050
dreamin'
VERY GOOD = 1111111 = 7/21 = [VG skit adjusted] 7/20 = 0.350
rise and shine, r4 theme song, my sub, sookie now, american rapstar, lions and lambs, time machine
CLUNKERS = 0 [album goes on a bit long]

His raps tend to lean anthemic and uplifting, his delivery powerful and smooth. Very positive point of view, but reminds me of 2pac when he takes a tougher stance (like on "made alot"). As hoppin' as "4eva" is all the way through, it goes on a bit long.


25 opeth - heritage
TOP TRACKS = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 1111 = 4/10 = [minus INTRO] 4/9 = 0.444
the devil's orchard, slither, haxprocess, "the lines in your hand" [ending of "folklore" rocks]
CLUNKERS = 0

i really like everything about opeth except the gruff, growling voice that pops up about half the time on all of their albums...until now. There's no growl on this one, so i can enjoy the explosive, prog metal that "heritage" brings. i like the musical range -- there are places on this supposedly prog-metal album where it sounds closer to folk rock.


26 dawes - nothing is wrong
TOP TRACK = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 11111 = 5/11 = 0.455
time spent in los angeles, if i wanted someone, coming back to a man, fire away, million dollar bill
CLUNKERS = 0

Found Dawes by the way of Middle Brother, and this album shares song "million dollar bill" in common. Good americana-tinged (with harmonica) alt-rock.


27 feist - metals
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 11111 = 5/12 = 0.417
graveyard, how come you never go there, a commotion, bittersweet melodies, the circle married the line
CLUNKERS = 0

This is feist with gnarly teeth, in as much as feist can have gnarly teeth. There are no obvious pop standouts like ipod tune "1 2 3 4". "metals" is both less poppy, more complicated and grander in vision. She's a lil bluesy on this album, especially the first few tracks.


28 drive-by truckers - go-go boots
TOP TRACKS = 11 = 2/14 = 0.143
everybody needs love , the weakest man
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/14 = 0.143
assholes, pulaski
CLUNKERS = 0 [the album goes on a bit long]

Drive-by Truckers consistently put out southern-influenced, country-inflected, bar band rock. Nothing really spectacular, and it goes on a bit long at 14 tracks, but solid regardless.


29 wild flag - wild flag
TOP TRACKS = 1 = 1/10 = 0.100
romance
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/10 = 0.200
boom, future crimes [almost "racehorse" if it didn't go on too long]
CLUNKERS = 0

Girl punk (circa 90s-00s) with new wave pop sensibilities (circa go-gos) rock out in style on this album with one ex-member from sleater-kinney.


30 library voices - summer of lust
TOP TRACKS = 1 = 1/12 = [intro/outro ADJUSTED] 1/10 = 0.100
reluctant readers make reluctant lovers
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/12 = [intro/outro ADJUSTED] 2/10 = 0.200
if raymond carver was..., be my juliette greco paris 1949,
CLUNKERS = 0

Upbeat indie pop that sometimes reminds me of a twee panic at the disco!. I like it despite of, and because of, its wussy qualities.


[DROP OFF]

31 thee oh sees - castlemania
TOP TRACKS = 1 = 1/16 = 0.063
i need seed,
VERY GOOD = 111 = 3/16 = 0.188
stinking cloud, pleasure blimps, aa warm breeze
CLUNKERS = 0

Their quirks remind me of the unicorns with a more low-key noise/punk edge a la wavves, disjointedly uniform like sleigh bells songs. If you're used to pop radio, this is not that.


32 the black keys - el camino
TOP TRACKS = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 1111 = 4/11 = 0.364
lonely boy, dead and gone, run right back, stop stop [a couple others were close]
CLUNKERS = 0

The black keys angle toward ole fashioned rock'n'roll on their latest set. Production is clean and crisp, and there are plenty of sing-along choruses (some with nice harmonies).


33 bjork - biophilia
TOP TRACKS = 1 = 1/10 = 0.100
crystalline
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/10 = 0.100
cosmogony, [parts of "mutual core"]
CLUNKERS = 0 [a couple of these tracks are a bit languid/listless]

Bjork's always trying something different, this time she harkens back to the sound of her first few albums by using some brand new instrument creations. It's still bjork, and when tracks work, like "crystalline", they work well. i just wish she'd try more uptempo numbers like that -- a lot of tracks are slower, abstract numbers that lack enough cohesion to elicit repeat listens.


34 handsome furs - sound kapital
TOP TRACKS = = 0/9 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 111 = 3/9 = 0.333
when i get back, damage, what about us
CLUNKERS = 0

i like this synth-rock album where all songs propel forward as fun rockers, but prefer the best of what this guy's other band "wolf parade" has to offer.


35 destroyer - kaputt
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 111 = 3/9 = 0.333
"suicide demo for kara walker", kaputt, song for america
CLUNKERS = 0 [about half of "bay of pigs" is very good, the other half so-so-meh.]

Destroyer takes on new age, soft rock, smooth jazz, prog and r&b to moderate success. It's a bit weird to hear this amalgamation from this indie rock darling, but it works surprisingly well. If Sade was male, this is how Sade would "rock out".



[DROP OFF]

36 araabMUZIK - electronic dream
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 111 = 3/11 = 0.273 [a couple others are close]
streetz tonight, golden touch, let it go
CLUNKERS = 0 [but "you are now listening to araabmuzik"]

Playing like a DJ set, this album is difficult to pinpoint appreciation on a track-by-track basis. Music like this, girl talk and the avalanches is to be experienced as a whole for full affect. On the surface, this is simple, sleek, dance/techno music; but as a whole, it makes for a cool, dreamy immersion into synthetic dance sounds, funky in a way to feel like hip-hop at times.


37 pj harvey - let england shake
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 111 = 3/12 = 0.250
the glorious land, the words that make maketh murder, [almost "bitter branches"] written on the forehead
CLUNKERS = 0

Passionate and sympathetic, PJ Harvey delivers an upbeat reprieve from her tedious, piano-driven "white chalk". She rocks out more and the songs are better for it.


38 vaccines - what did you expect from the vaccines?
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 111 = 3/11 = 0.273
if you wanna, post break-up sex, all in white
CLUNKERS = 0

Harken back 5 years ago to artists like bloc party, franz ferdinand and razorlight and you'll have a good idea where this album's coming from, with a little oasis-like smarm for good measure. It's briskly paced with a bunch of fun, upbeat rockers not displaying (or needing to) any depth until the last track's secret song piano ballad.


39 bright eyes - the people's key
TOP TRACKS = 0/10 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/10 = 0.200
jejune stars, one for you one for me
CLUNKERS = 0 [but the spoken-word samples are tired]

While i like this bright eyes album, it's the least inventive and compelling of his bright eyes monoker. Maybe the wunderkid has lost the fire and has slipped into the creative sterility of old age. Of course, he suffers from the same affliction that the decemberists and the mountain goats do -- comparing current albums to a past catalog of great albums.


40 rich aucoin - we're all dying to live
TOP TRACKS = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 111 = 3/22 = [SEGUE (1111) ADJUSTED] 3/18 = 0.167
"brian wilson is a.l.i.v.e.", the greatest secret in the world, ["watching, wishing, waiting" close] "undead, pt.1"
CLUNKERS = 0 [last "song" unnecessary though]

Rich is a funkier sufjan stevens (with wide harmonies and orchestral chimes) and a more effects-laden version of andrew bird (with some subdued vocals and tongue-in-cheek wit). Sometimes the synthetic fun approaches cut copy, but it's a wide-open pop fun a la brian wilson (who is named-checked on 1 track). And then a heavy guitar kicks in and i lose all reference points.. (ok, if you liked sufjan's last album, you'll like this.) For 22 tracks, none of these songs wear out their welcome.


41 telekinesis - 12 desperate straight lines
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0/12 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/12 = 0.167
please ask for help, car crash
CLUNKERS = 0

Telekinesis turns to early 90s alt-pop to inform their 2nd album, straddling between the gin blossoms, stone temple pilots, james and nada surf at times with positive results, always propelling forward, with some additional flavor a la the cure as well.


42 my morning jacket - circuital
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/10 = 0.200
holdin on to black metal, first light
CLUNKERS = 0

Yet another classy, cavernous-feeling indie rock album from mmj.


43 st. vincent - strange mercy
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/11 = 0.182
cruel, surgeon,
CLUNKERS = 0

Delicate and dark, words and harsh backing instrumentation lash against vincent's pretty and disarming voice and delivery.


44 the war on drugs - slave ambient
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/12 = [SEGUE ADJUSTED] 2/11 = 0.182
i was there, your love is calling my name
CLUNKERS = 0

This is probably what you would hear if you asked to hear "today's indie rock". In parts evoking indie staples like arcade fire and broken social scene, and past favorites like the verve, they show a mastery of the subject material. The pop angle doesn't shine through though, so while these songs feel rockin', the melodies don't stick in the noggin so much.


45 stephen malkmus & the jicks - mirror traffic
TOP TRACKS = = 0/15
VERY GOOD = 111 = 3/15 = 0.200
senator, stick figures in love, forever 28
CLUNKERS = 0

Stephen's refocused lyrically and offers more "hooks" this time around, but there isn't too much of a change -- if you're liked his past post-pavement works, you'll like this one. This is indie rock.


46 katy b - on a mission
TOP TRACKS = 0
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/12 = 0.167
power on me, go away, ["broken record" is close]
CLUNKERS = 0

She reminds me of a less-sage robyn with less attitude. Her power vocals charge atop electronic samples from house to techno. (I appreciate the prodigy sample in "go away".) On "disappear" she reminds me a bit of beyonce. Compliments in both references.


47 smith westerns - dye it blonde
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/10 = 0.200
all die young, end of the night
CLUNKERS = 0

Some big star -influenced type of indie rock/pop. It's faintly shoegazy, but mostly some jangly indie pop with some warm studio atmospherics.


48 das racist - relax
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/14 = 0.143
michael jackson, girl,
CLUNKERS = 0

Differing delivery styles bringing "internet-savvy" rhymes. Their flat vocals, when not pounding out witty rhymes, come off a little stale.


49 fleet foxes - helpessness blues
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/12 = 0.167
helplessness blues, grown ocean
CLUNKERS = 0

They're relying less on their majestic harmonies on this album. Sure, the harmonies are still there, but are more of a backdrop to songs now, not a powerhouse harmonic frontal assault as on their debut.


50 old 97's - the grand theater volume 2
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/13 = 0.154
CLUNKERS = 0

The old 97's have settled into their brand of indie rock. Good album, but i think past glories will not be revisited. (However, i never heard "volume 1" and heard that was pretty good.)


51 terius nash - 1977
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/11 = 0.182
CLUNKERS = 0 [1 close]

This is the-dream under a more personalized moniker. This guy has the ability to put out something as funky and poppin' as prince in prince's prime, as he did often on his last the-dream album, but he doesn't hit that sweet spot as much as terius nash on "1977". There are some good ideas here, but they're either too personalized to be too relatable or not fully-fleshed out. It's good, but there's a reason why he gave this album away for free on the internets.


52 modeselektor - monkeytown
TOP TRACKS = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/11 = 0.091
pretentious friends [feat. busdriver]
CLUNKERS =

Electronica reminded me of 2009's kid 606 album, but subtler and with more guests, like thom yorke and busdriver.


53 lil b - i'm gay (i'm happy)
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/12 = 0.083
CLUNKERS = 0

Nice, laid-back reflection of the times, mostly as positive as the album title suggests.


54. ryan adams - ashes & fire
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/11 = 0.091
lucky now,
CLUNKERS = 0 [but a bit middling in parts]

"best ryan adams album since 'gold', recalls mood of 'heartbreaker'" or something like that is what i've read on a few sites. These songs are tame, mid-to-low tempo acoustic-guitar-based ryan adams heart-tuggers without enough lyrical or plaintive vocal substance to actually tug the heart. They're all good songs, but after "faithless street", "heartbreaker", "gold" and even the first two collaborations with the cardinals, i expect more out of my favorite artists like ryan adams. He might be past his peak, which is a shame since he has the insight, attitude and balls to let loose some gems.


55 the dodos - no color
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/9 = 0.111
CLUNKERS = 0

Good indie rock. i think the much better debut was a fluke.


56 cities aviv - digital lows
TOP TRACKS = 0
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/12 = [SKIT ADJUST] 1/11 = 0.091
CLUNKERS = 0

i like how playful this guy is with samples. His rhymes are good, but the backing music featuring the likes of gil-scott heron, steely dan and depeche mode is what stands out.


57 okkervil river - i am very far
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/11 = 0.091
CLUNKERS = 0

Not as complicated as their last pseudo-concept album, this one drops the pretense and simply rocks out as okkervil river can. It sounds a little more delicate and grand than past (dark) albums (like "black sheep boy"), but it's a welcome change.


58 devotchka - 100 lovers
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/12 = 0.083
CLUNKERS = 0

Ragged string-based, spanish-inflected indie folk/rock. Quite subtley smooth in delivery.


59 m83 - hurry up, we're dreaming
TOP TRACKS = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 111 = 3/22 = 0.137
intro, midnight city, ok pal,
CLUNKERS = 0 ["splendor" almost]

This is a very bright, electronic album with an equal focus on album vs songs, and it seems to fly by even at 22 tracks. Remarkable 80s synth-pop influence.


60 paul simon - so beautiful or so what
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/10 = 0.100
CLUNKERS = 0

This is paul simon as the paul simon you remember with no big surprise musical change of direction. You're not going to catch him working with Jack White or Orbital. This is good, old-school paul simon music.


61 tv on the radio - nine types of light
TOP TRACKS = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/10 ["second song" close] = 0.100
"no future shock"
CLUNKERS = 0

TVOTR still pumps out good, off-beat alt-rock jams, but they seem to have lost the creative edge of their debut. They can still pen catchy tunes, but the days of "wolf like me" and "staring at the sun" seem only a memory.


62 yuck - yuck
TOP TRACKS = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/12 = 0.083
shook down
CLUNKERS = 0

Jangly, distorted indie rock influenced by the pavement and pumpkins (and maybe big star and the wrens?), among others, sounds about like what you'd hear nowadays. They sound better when they turn down the guitars and are vocally more prominent in the mix.


63 neon indian - era extrana
TOP TRACKS = 0
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/12 = [SEGUE ADJUSTED] 1/11 = 0.091
CLUNKERS = 0

Bubbly and wispy, this electronic-flavored indie pop breezes by quickly.


64 amos lee - mission bell
TOP TRACKS = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/12 = 0.083
flower
CLUNKERS = 0

Soulful, rock/pop pensively streams out of atop acoustic guitar. There's nothing fancy here, but no need for frills either, as this straight ahead folk rock feels good, produced by calexico's Joey Burns which is probably why it clicks so well with me.


65 gillian welch - the harrow & the harvest
TOP TRACKS = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 1 = 1/10 = 0.100
the way it goes,
CLUNKERS = 0

This is supposed to be her best album since "time (the revelator)" -- too bad i don't have that other one, because this album is pretty nice in telling its its rootsy-alt-country, americana story. Between this and her accompanying vocals on the new decemberists album, she's had quite the year.


66 megafaun - megafaun
TOP TRACKS = 0.00 = [CLUNKER ADJUSTED] -0.077
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/13 = 0.154
these words, second friend,
CLUNKERS = 1 = 1/13 = -0.077 ["get right" goes on a bit long and instrumental "isodora" is close]
you are the light

I think of my morning jacket when i think of this album, and maybe a tinge of CSN. But they bring more effects for a dense layer permeating throughout, sometimes cacophonous like on "these words".


67 bonnie "prince" billy - wolfroy goes to town
TOP TRACKS = 0 = [CLUNKER ADJUSTED] = -0.100
VERY GOOD = 11 = 2/10 = 0.200
no mercy, quail and dumplings
CLUNKERS = 1/10 = -0.100
there will be spring

Lo-fi folk from bonnie "prince" billy. Nothing new to see here.


68 thurston moore - demolished thoughts
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0/9 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 0 = 0.000
CLUNKERS = 0

Sonic Youth frontman solo album is fairly laid-back, comes with strings and well-placed backing vocals. Good production from beck. It's a good album; unfortunately, no track stands out and the album doesn't really stand out as well. Sounds contradictory -- it's the difference between randy moss & chris carter just before carter retired.


69 braids - native speaker
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 0 = 0/7 = 0.000
CLUNKERS = 0

Good atmospheric, indie pop with nice female lead vocals.


70 kurt vile - smoke ring for my halo
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = = 0/10 = 0.000
CLUNKERS = 0

Like a boy and his puppy, rocking songwriters cherish their guitar, and that's what you hear from this album. And i do like the guitar work, quite subtle and sometimes atmospheric. The laid-back feel on this boy-and-his-guitar album feels like a less-glossy version of the new thurston moore disc. Neither are mind-blowing, but both are evenly & consistently pleasurable, like petting the family dog resting beside you.


71 beirut - the riptide
TOP TRACKS = 0
VERY GOOD = 0 = 0/9 = 0.000
[almost "sante fe"]
CLUNKERS = 0

Indie baroque pop. Reminds me of andrew bird or sufjan stevens at times.


72 twin sister - in heaven
TOP TRACKS = 0
VERY GOOD = 0/10
CLUNKERS = 0

Pleasant-enough indie (twee) pop.


73 fujiya & miyagi - ventriloquizzing
TOP TRACKS = 0 = 0.000
VERY GOOD = 0 = 0/11 = 0.000
CLUNKERS = 0

Indie dance with an emphasis on pop, this album isn't as good as predecessors. Their general low-key delivery is more a distraction on an album with less hooks.

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