A little change of pace this week, here is my five favorite records to come out in the first half of this year.
- Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest (No other album on this list gets as much rotation as this one. This was the Grizzly Bear album that I had been waiting for, less droning and more amazing upbeat music. The Department of Eagles reminds me more of the last few GB albums, Veckatimest is pure pop bliss. “Two Weeks” will be a contender for song of the year and each week I find a new addiction.)
- Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (This is the only disc that has given Grizzly Bear a challenge to their throne. Such an upbeat tightly packed pop album. Songs like “Lisztomania” and “1901” embed themselves into your brain. This band has an incredible ability to write strong hooks on what would otherwise be standard pop songs. Lead singer Thomas Mars knows how to use his voice at every turn to drive home the moment.)
- Passion Pit – Manners (Is this a dance album? Sure it could be, but for me it plays as a nice soundtrack to a great summer or a nice cool evening. Finding a balance between annoying and drab, Passion Pit couples higher pitch vocals with borderline 80’s beats which separately would sound awful but together they are a marriage made in dance heaven. Check out “To Kingdom Come” and “Little Secrets”.)
- Doom – Born Like This ( Born Like This is not MF Doom’s best work but I was so excited to have new Doom material that I gobbled this album up. Don’t get me wrong this album has a lot of really great stuff “Ballskin” and “Gazzillion Ear” that rank up there with the best of his work, but he has set such a high bar for himself with his previous albums that I have a hard time keeping that in mind. For any fan of indie hip hop, this disc is a welcome addition.)
- Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career (It is the return of The Sundays! I kid, but this 50’s sounding album has some of the same elements that made The Sundays one of my guilty pleasures back in the 90’s. Great vocals, catchy pop music that makes you feel pretty damn good (for the most part). Even the sad songs like “James” are great as it almost sounds as if she is singing directly to the listener. For a so cute it’s lovable song check out “The Sweetest Thing” and start making a fun mix tape for you girlfriend.)
I haven’t listened to enough of 2009’s releases yet to bestow upon our readers a list like this.
I think that Phoenix record does not disappoint: Great production, great songs, dope single. I thought “It’s never been like that was not their strongest record so it was good to see them come out with this to follow up.