December 17th, 2012
I wanted to write something about a very specific genre of music videos that seems to pop up every few years and has only continued to increase in popularity as special effects costs get lower and the techniques get more accessible. This music video type can be found in genres ranging from electronica to rock and beyond. The trope common to all the music videos I’m discussing is the use of the ethereal geometric volume
An ethereal geometric volume is a plot device similar to something like Hitchcock’s MacGuffin where it can simply exist as a polygonal device to move the plot along without it really being explained what this volume really is.
These devices can be the main characters, a representation of an omnipotent force, a terror, an alien invasion. They can be Cubes, Pyramids, and Spheres or broken polygonal shapes. They can be shattered to bits and oh..good lord, they float and hover like nobody’s business.
Let’s start at n=4..the PYRAMID
Pyramid Example #1: M83 – “Wait” – 2012
Pyramid as Spaceship
Pyramid Example #2: Frank Ocean – “Pyramids” – 2012
Pyramid as Structure and 2d John Mayer guitar solo background
Now let’s step forward into n=6…the CUBE
Cube example #1: Phantogram – Don’t Move – 2012
Cube as ethereal looming terror (with shatter!)
Cube example #2: Battles – Atlas – 2007
Cube as floating spaceship stage (low-rez…anyone have an HD link for this vid?)
Cube example #3: Mew – Introducing Palace Players – 2009
Cubes as alien lifeforms
Cube Example #4: M83 – We Own the Sky – 2009
Cubes as alien life forms (with shatter!)
Cube Example #5: Kid606 – Sometimes – 2006
Cubes as alien life forms (also with shatter…)
And then finally n= infinity…the SPHERE
Sphere example #1: The Antlers – Bear – 2010
Sphere as relationship burden/unborn child
(Hemi)Sphere Example #2: Denali – Hold your breath – 2003
Sphere as strange alien invasion of a river jam session
December 16th, 2012
I’ve been doing a top 10 albums list since at least 2004 (see below for previous years lists). This year was another weird one for me in terms of discovering new music. The desire to purchase physical CD’s is at an all time low, so it was a big digital year for me. I started using Spotify a lot more than MP3s and my iTunes library even. That caused me to listen a little less on the go since I didn’t always have the mp3′s with me in subways and things like that…I think certain albums didn’t quite get the full time they deserved, but it was still an amazing year. Let me know if you have any suggestions for stuff to check out in the comments.
This year wasn’t as exciting for me for music videos but I’m sure I’m forgetting a few gems…I will post a follow up eventually.
Many of these albums are on a spotify playlist where I’m keeping albums I’m interested in. If you’d like to check them out in an easy to digest format, please check out or subscribe to my Ambient Signal~ spotify playlist: AmbientSignal~
Here is my list of favorites and notables in a slightly particular order at the top and less particular towards the bottom.
Top Albums (Bottom ones don’t mean they are bad albums, just that I liked them a little less in relativity to the others):
~~~~~Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan
Favorite tracks: Just from Chevron, Socialites, Swing Lo Magellan
I have not been a huge fan of Dirty Projectors in the past, but I think this album toned them down enough to make them within reach for me. Shows some fantastic, varied musicianship the whole way through without feeling like it is all over the place.
~~~~~Freelance Whales – Diluvia
Favorite tracks: Dig into Waves, Red Star, Follow Through
The content of the album is a little hard to grasp or relate to because it’s mostly about space travel and ethereal BIG universal things, but the music has a lot of really fun things to let your musical mind play with and I found myself returning very often. Their album in 2010 was my top album that year so it was great to see them return so strongly in their sophomore effort.
~~~~~Why? – Mumps, etc.
Favorite tracks: Sod in the Seed, White English, Strawberries
This album actually manages to beat out Alopecia for my favorite Why? album so far which is a rare feat…especially when I originally considered Alopecia to be such a fantastic piece.
~~~~~Helio Sequence – Negotiations
Favorite tracks: October, One More Time, The Measure
Hadn’t heard from these guys in years but was very pleased to get this amazing follow up from their 2008 Keep Your Eyes Ahead
~~~~Alt-J( ∆ ) – An Awesome Wave
Favorite tracks: Tesselate, Matilda, Breezeblocks
This was one of those random finds that came out of a tumble through random music blogs and I was very intrigued right off the bat. His unusual voice isn’t for everyone, but there are some really interesting musical moments hidden in there. The most interesting thing about this album for me: drums are prominently featured but there is very little use of cymbals and no use of crash at all.
~~~Sun Airway – Soft Fall
Favorite tracks: Black Noise, Close
Had the pleasure of listening to this one early on and pitching a music video for Close. The album has a nice flow all the way through and some great repeating motifs that only come through on multiple listens.
~~~Beach House – Bloom
Favorite tracks: Myths, Lazuli
~~Lymbyc Systym – Symbolyst
Favorite tracks: Prairie School, Nightfall, Falling Together
~~Purity Ring – Shrines
Favorite track: Fine Shrines
~~Grizzly Bear – Shields
Favorite tracks: Yet Again, Simple Answer
Notable as well:
~Hammock – Departure Songs
~Album Leaf – Forward/Return
~Sigur Ros – Valtari
~Balmorhea – Strangers
~Cat Power – Sun
~Menomena – Moms
~Dntel – Aimlessness
~Ramona Falls – Prophet
Most anticipated albums of 2013: The Velvet Teen (recorded), Son Lux (not sure), Hooray For Earth (recording), Braids (recording I think), Blue Hawaii (releases in january), Annuals (touring..that’s something), Phantogram (recording/recorded I think)
October 10th, 2012
Kyle McDonald and I had been wanting to work together on a music video for a long time and I knew he was a big fan of the band as well so I asked him to join forces with me to come up with something for “Prairie School”, the first track on the new album.
I had been playing a little bit with a lens I pulled off a PS3eye camera and found that it fit perfectly over the lens on my iPhone camera and gave me ridiculous magnification. When the option to pitch on the video came around I really wanted to put this microscopic world to good use, and Prairie School was a perfect option for that. The song had a rapid energy, a brightness but also a sense of smallness without bounds (if that makes any sense). We got a really strong kind of retro-futuristic science video vibe from the song at first and offered up something that would be a mix of filming and software to provide a sort of abstract journey from big to small, as a sort of homage to the amazing 1977 Eames short film “Powers of 10″
We also worked through a way of breaking up the song into some kind of narrative that would match the variations in the song. The song had some very clear sections that we wanted to hit with big changes in visual mood. When working on videos I like to make a chart of the song that helps me understand and visualize the entire structure and the spacing between big moments. Here is the diagram that Kyle and I worked off of when coming up with the structure for the video (click the image for big version).
The majority of the time spent making the video was just a lot of exploration. I shot a ton of stuff up close and it was never really easy to tell if something was going to be boring or gorgeous underneath the tiny lens. In all I shot about 40gb of footage and about 300 individual clips for the video. In all, i would say i shot about 80% of the video on my iPhone, about 15% on my DSLR and 5% on a 500x USB microscope. In all the time spent exploring this microscopic world we realized that staying small made more sense and offered some compelling options on it’s own. Some of our original ideas for expanding to larger worlds ended up being a little time-prohibitive, even though they seemed like they might work out at first. We were initially going to zoom out of grass in a park which would then somehow expand to some high resolution 3D maps of NYC. Here is a demo version from Kyle of what that would have looked like:
Also to cover up what might have been some odd production value in the expansion, we played around with the idea of making the video something like what an 8th grader of 2082 might make as a video for his futuristic science class. Things would have had different graphical or textual overlays attached to them, giving bogus explanations and distance scales for what you were seeing in this abstract microscopic world. This idea got pulled in favor of a more organic direction. Here are some mockups of what we were thinking the eventually scrapped overlays might look like.
The footage also didn’t have the necessary internal movement to really match the energy of the song, so we experimented with overlaying different content on top of the footage I was getting. I had a lot of old stuff I had been recording for a couple years, but I had some footage I got in 2011 at an optical illusion museum in Edinburgh. They had some awesome stuff there, but I got a ton of nice 60fps footage of the electrical arcs of a tesla ball.
We also really liked the look of screen pixels when they were blown up to be really big. They were great punctuation marks for the drum heavy parts of the song. Kyle wrote a couple Processing sketches that gave me some great RGB line microscopic motion to film off my own screen. Here are links to the source code for the sketches I filmed for the video:
As I worked with the footage, I realized I was getting sucked into the visuals of this familiar but alien world. Also all of this material exploration had given me a really personal connection with all of the footage which I feel shaped the story a little bit. Each time I filmed was this new experience with a previously familiar object, but I was experiencing it all through a screen even though it was right in front of me. The same screen I use to experience or learn about many other things I’ve never actually physically been present for, but it was still here as a barrier or a gateway. The experience of rubbing dirt in your fingers versus seeing blown up footage of the dirt getting into your nails and skin folds, just witnessing the same action on a different scales.
When working with such abstract footage it can be a challenge to shape it into something that flows together, especially when you’re not sure where you’re going (not always necessary). I didn’t want it to just be a bunch of gorgeous footage clumped together, I wanted it to have some kind of thrust or direction to it. A continuous progression like in “Powers of 10″ started to not make as much sense because the middle section of the song really held a different world than the bookending sections.
If I had to give a description about the video’s story, it would be something like “a loose narrative about an experience learning about real physical things versus learning about them on a screen.” The video starts with this really unfamiliar but engaging materials (literally just shots of my laptop and touching the speaker grill on the laptop), and these flashes of light give an extra burst of energy to the drums and other sections. This first area still has energy, but it doesn’t have a lot of color to it. In the middle section of the song, you see a lot more interaction with the recognizable natural world and there is more color and texture there. The flashes of light are still there in full force. In the end section, the de-saturated and more organic worlds start to mix with more shots of pixellated things on a screen, and finally you see the hand from earlier touching things on a screen instead of real life. In the end I wanted there to be just a little bit of ambiguity about where the world of the video just occurred, real life or on a screen. I don’t know if I really pulled that message off the right way, but it was hard to dance around it without getting too heavy handed.
The editing process for the video was really intense. This was one of those videos where I started to figure out that I have an editing “style” by now, but now I’ll have to see if I can change that around for whatever my next video is. I’ve been a fan of doing meticulous editing with music ever since I started with Final Cut (now in Premiere), and I can get into a pretty good groove with the material. It’s still a very different feeling than working with the material live, but it can be really nice to get in there and bring out certain parts of the song you really want to highlight.
Below is a super large image of my entire Premiere timeline for the video (click for full readable size to get an idea of the types of materials I was actually filming. Image size: 400px x 26000px).
I ended up shooting, dropping things in and seeing what worked and then going back and shooting more. I probably had 6-8 different established shooting periods where I collected the majority of the footage, and sometimes I just had my lens on me and would shoot stuff if it looked like it might be really unusual looking close up. It was a very different process than having to set up established shooting schedules…just being able to shoot on the fly for the video was an unusual experience. It definitely made the editing process a little more arduous. The whole video probably went through about 2 or 3 different versions before it settled into its final form. All in all, a really fun and tiring process, but I’m really happy with the result.
December 20th, 2011
(no particular order)
Bon Iver – Calgary (really awesome environment..love the reveal at the end)
Battles – My Machines (amazingly done single shot video)
Hooray For Earth – True Loves (this needs to be made into a movie)
No Age – Fever Dreaming (another good single shot video)
Battles – Ice Cream (all over the place, but the styling is pretty great)
Adele – Rolling in the Deep (some of the shots are really incredible)
Swedish House Mafia – Save the world (what a simple idea..but brilliant)
Oh what the hell:
Katy Perry – TGIF
December 20th, 2011
Hm..haven’t gotten to post here very recently unfortunately, but this is a special tradition of mine. Despite that fact that only a few people read these, it’s kind of fun to have these for my own reference..just to ground my future self and be like ‘whoa..you liked that album that much in 2006??’
I try and keep criteria similar each year, but nothing really beats out those gut feeling albums…the ones where you are like ‘Ok..that’s in the top 3 for sure..no matter what happens.’ Other criteria are things like how much I listened to the album, and perceived originality.
This was also the first full year where I didn’t have access to WRPI and it’s constant stream of new music, so I was much more reliant on word of mouth and what I could glean from popular websites. That said, I didn’t get to listen to as much new music over the last year as I had in the past few years, but I think my list still has some really strong pieces in it.
Let’s get to it!
12. Starfucker – Reptilian
Not a bad return for this Portland band. Their debut was really great, and this delivered a few good hits. These guys know how to handle a really simple pop melody.
Key Track: Julius
11. Feist – Metals
A certain special someone really enjoys this album and would have it as her #1. It feels a little less colorful to me than The Reminder did, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable…just a different experience.
Key Tracks: The Bad in Eachother, How come you never go there?
10. The Dodos – No Color
I haven’t been into their previous work that much, but this one slowly worked its way into my listening cycle in February and March and I found myself becoming interested in more and more of the songs on the album. The album felt much more cohesive to me and was a good one to digest all at once.
Key Tracks: Black Night, Good, Don’t Try and Hide It.
9. Phantogram – Nightlife EP
Of course I’m just a little bit biased on this one if you know me well… Phantogram returns with some of their newest material is almost 3 years. I have been doing visuals for them since 2008 so I am quite familiar with their first set of songs by now. These new songs gave me a fresh perspective on a band that I hope continues to do amazing work…now I just need to hold out for another full length.
Key Tracks: Don’t Move (really one of their greatest songs since…ever), 16 Years
8. Talkdemonic – The Ruins
The Pacific-Northwesterners, Talkdemonic, return with a really solid offering. It’s perfect music to sit and analyze, or to have in the background while you get some work done. In this album they offer an even more refined sound of viola, drums and synth from their other albums (still all instrumental). Ruins even sees them toying with slightly longer song structures (one track cracks the 5 minute mark, which is impressive for a band that averages about 2 minutes per track). This album sees a return to some of their amazingly inventive drumbeats that we saw a lot of in Beat Romantic. Overall, the album have a cohesiveness, but it carries some of the dark melancholy of Eyes at Half Mast, but with a more determined/powerful undercurrent.
Key Tracks: Ruins, Slumber Verses, City Sleep.
7. Son Lux – We Are Rising
As part of a challenge issued from NPR, Son Lux wrote and recorded an entire album in 28 days during the month of February. He documented the whole process, and it was really great to be able to follow along with the creative flow of an artist I really admire. It doesn’t have the cohesive/overarching structure/polish feeling I got out of his incredible 2008 album At War with Walls and Mazes, but it has a lot of really interesting moments strewn throughout that make it a great piece…and I’m not looking for the same kind of meticulous detail in an album made in only 28 days anyway, hah. If only I could communicate how much anticipation I had to finally hear the entire version of “All the Right Things” after hearing an early small sample of the giant drop from the NPR blog..it’s still an amazing sonic moment to hear. The insane polyrhythms going on in “Let Go” are another example of an artist that is really in control of his sonic world.
Key Tracks: All the Right Things, Let Go, Flickers, Rising
6. The Antlers – Burst Apart
The Antler’s previous album, Hospice, seemed like it was all over the place for a while. I felt like there was much less buzz around this album, but that it was still well received. This one felt much less like a concept album, and more like they were writing to make songs that would be a little more stage appropriate. Hospice was a brilliant album, but didn’t necessarily translate to live performances in the same way. I kept returning to the album, and every time a new song would stick out to me or I would find another stuck in my head at certain points.
Key Tracks: Parentheses, No Widow, Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out.
5. Bright Eyes – The People’s Key
I always have a soft spot for Bright Eyes. It usually takes me a while to adjust to the new albums, but I just keep giving them a try until they really click with me. This album had some similarities to the previous, Cassadaga, but had some more electric/rock tracks mixed in than usual and with an unusual almost alt-country sci-fi theme to it. The album didn’t give me a “Lover I Don’t Have to Love,” or a “Lime Tree,” or a “Lua”, but what was important for me is that it still ended up being an album that only a band like Bright Eyes could make.
Key Tracks: Beginner’s Mind, Ladder Song, Approximate Sunlight
Oh goodness this was an album I was waiting for. Mirrored was definitely a great album, but it seemed very far from their EP C/B EP days that originally drew me to them. They lost one of their core members, but still managed to crank out some really amazing pieces. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the single, Ice Cream, at first but that has easily become one of my favorites from the album. The real standout for me is “Futura,” a song that has a really great texture and shape to it…not to mention one of the best drum solos I’ve ever heard. Do yourself a favor and check out their video for My Machines as well.
Key Tracks: Futura, Ice Cream, My Machines
3. Braids – Native Speaker
This is a strange album for me because technically I was listening to it in 2010 because I was hard at work on my first commissioned music video. Braids is one of the few bands that has really successfully won me over with a live show before hearing their recorded tracks. After seeing them for the first time I went up to them and told them I really wanted to work with them for visuals or whatever they wanted. This album will always have a special place for me because of how all of that worked out. It’s definitely a bizarre album in retrospect, but it has a lot of really unique soundscape moments and I’m already really looking forward to their next effort. Oh yeah, I think this album wins best album art for me, too.
Key Tracks: Lemonade, Plath Heart, Glass Deers
2. Hooray For Earth – True Loves
Another album I have a really personal connection to. Someone had offered me the chance to throw together a ton of visuals in a week for this album, and I took it without knowing a whole lot about them. I had heard Hooray for Earth’s debut EP, Momo, but it didn’t stick with me too much. After many repeated listens while working on their visuals I started to notice “Hey..these songs are amazing!” The whole album has a great cohesiveness to it. It has a great heavy and dimensional sound to it with a very interesting color palette. It’s strange how accurate album covers start to feel to me when listening to an album over and over.
Key Tracks: Realize It’s Not the Sun, True Loves, Black Trees
1. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
I was very late to the party on the previous Bon Iver album, but I have been following a lot of his other projects (Volcano Choir, Gayngs) so I was really curious about what he would be returning with this time. On the first listen-through’s on albums I’m sort of subconsciously searching for that one song that is like “Ok, this is going to be my favorite track” but this album made that really difficult. I had to give each song sort of it’s own few days in the spotlight. The only knock I really had for it was that it seemed much more like a winter album so it was strange to see it come out mid-spring..so it should be interesting to see how it is in the dead of winter. There isn’t a whole lot more I can say about this album that hasn’t already been raved about all over the internets, but it definitely deserves a listen.
Key Tracks: Calgary, Michicant, Holocene
No particular order this year, but these are some of my favorites I’ve heard this year:
Phantogram – Don’t Move
Bon Iver – Michicant
M83 – Midnight City
Bright Eyes – Beginner’s Mind
The Antlers – Parentheses
Battles – Futura
Son Lux – Let Go
Feist – The bad in eachother
Starfucker – Julius
Braids – Lemonade
April 23rd, 2011
This video came out about a week ago on NME.com but I wanted to make sure I put it up here as well.
After seeing my video for Braids, Banjo or Freakoutt approached me about doing a video for his upcoming single “Idiot Rain.” My process for this video was much easier than it was for the Braids video. Since the song had a more straightforward structure it was fitting to transcribe more of a narrative to it. The entire video only took 6 days to make, from shooting to completion. I had done some test shots and such beforehand, but it was amazing to me that everything fell into place so quickly…especially when I did camera, editing and post production/effects. It was just nice to have a cohesive idea right off the bat. Also nice to have a super helpful set of friends to blow a saturday walking around Red Hook with a suitcase and a dog.
Like most of my videos I’m not sure if I could explain any deeper meaning behind this video…but I think it offers some interesting interpretations.
January 27th, 2011
Whew…after over a month of hard work shooting, editing and shooting and editing, my video for Braids’ song Plath Heart has finally been released into the wild. It is my very first official music video and I’m really excited that I got to work with such a talented group.
This video really embodied ‘experimental’ for me, mostly due to how I approached the project. The song has a very unusual structure to me, so it was very hard to fit a kind of story line to it. I was stuck initially when trying to figure out the visual piece of the song. Luckily, after meeting with the band, I was able to pick out a few phrases and ideas that they claimed they could ‘see’ as part of the song. Some of the key phrases that stuck out were “metallic”, “detailed”, “birth” and “tunnel”. I also asked for what they saw as the color palette of the song, and stuck to that as much as possible.
Then for weeks I played around with strange filming techniques and materials. I ended up with about 2 hours of footage by the end of everything. I wanted to keep the video as immediate as possible, to stick to some of my expertise as a live visualist. I spent hours just laying down clips that I had shot and just sort of building everything from the ground up, without a clear vision of where I was going to end up. In some ways, I think that helped the piece, but it made it incredibly difficult to start off. I wanted to be able to communicate something powerful without putting together a complete “storyline” in my head, so that I could match the way I felt about the song. I’m so used to just letting things happen by chance, so it was hard to come back and apply a little more control to a piece. A lot of things were still kept to chance…strangely enough, even through 13 different versions and edits, the first 40 seconds or so ended up staying the same from the very first version.
I wish I had some photos of how i got some of the shots I did, some of it would be pretty comical. Instead of ruining the magic for the whole thing, I’ll explain one of the main shots. Even I was surprised about how the ‘water’/'flashing lights sections turned out since they looked so otherworldly, but it was a very simple setup. For that shot, all I did was set my camera pointing up on my record player and turned it on…and then dangled some tinsel which was backlit by a flashlight. That random experiment ended up being the bookends of the entire video. I’m glad I had to make this video around the holidays, because I was able to stock up on things like tinsel, battery powered christmas lights and other unusual metallic materials. Another shot involved macro shooting of a glass bowl of milky water that happened to fit perfectly on top of my desk lamp.
Overall I feel really satisfied with the way the video came out. It was a battle between editing for microscopic musical events while keeping a view on the larger picture. In the end it was a lot of shuffling around different events until it became very fluid. I couldn’t really explain the ‘story’ in words if you asked me, but I’d say most music videos I like would get a similar comment from me. In the end, the video is open to a lot of different interpretations, just like the song.
Some really great reviews coming in about the video…so many different interpretations that I haven’t even imagined. From an analysis of Sylvia Plath’s relationships, and sasquatch’s intestines to just traveling down a “hairy tube”
December 29th, 2010
It’s been odd putting together my list this year. The last 6 years, I was music director at my college radio station, and would always post my list on our old blog. I was also exposed to about 40 new cd’s every week, so it became easy to get exposed to new stuff. Now out of school, it has become difficult to stay up on all of the new stuff as consistently. I did spend about half the year though so I still got a decent dose of most things.
It’s always hard to give myself a sort of grading rubric for ordering the albums, but it’s a combination of gut feeling, total playcount, and album consistency (i.e. one good song does not make a great album), originality, and whether I listened to it for longer than a week
1. Freelance Whales – Weathervanes
Now, this album sort of came out in 2009, but it was picked up by Frenchkiss and given a proper release this year, so I’m counting it. This is an album that fits a lot of good situations, and I’ve always enjoyed listening to it all the way through…even months afterward. On top of that it has several standout tracks for me for shorter listening bursts. Suggested tracks: Broken Horse, Ghosting and We Could be Friends
2. Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz
I caught onto Illinoise a bit late in the game, and didn’t really listen to any of the in between stuff that Sufjan Steven’s put out, but this one was just an immediate hit for me. I listened to it several times in a row as soon as I got it and was struck by the unusual range of things going on inside of each song. The 25minute track at the end even turned out to be one of my favorite songs on the album. Suggested tracks: I Want to be Well, Age of Adz, Impossible Soul
3. Phantogram – Eyelid Movies
Now, of course this one is a bit of a given for me. Even after listening to the album way too many times while working on their live set videos, it still has a special place for me musically. I still listening to it and love going to the live shows, even though I’ve essentially been listening to the album for almost 2 years now. Really looking forward to them cranking out some new material soon. Suggested tracks: Let me go, Turn it off, When I’m Small
4. Beach House – Teen Dream
Previously, I hadn’t really counted myself as a Beach House fan, but this album just caught me in a weird way. It took a little getting used to, but it definitely became a sort of go-to album to put on when doing work or other activities. I’m still listening to it even though it came out way back in January. Suggested tracks: Walk in the park, Silver Soul, Take Care
5. The Books – The Way Out
Most albums from The Books for me have only a couple songs that I really fall in love with, but with their most recent album, I was able to love almost every song. There was a consistency there that really appealed to me, even though the songs change character quite a bit. There really isn’t another band that sounds quite like The Books, and in this album they managed to push their sound that much more. Suggested tracks: I didn’t know that, All you need is a wall, Thirty Incoming
6. Land of Talk – Cloak and Cipher
I was really encouraged by Land of talk’s 2009 EP Fun and Laughter and was really eager about getting a full album of those kinds of songs. I think they delivered with Cloak and Cipher. Although nothing quite came up to my favorite track “A Series of Small Flames,” I think I picked a few up for the vault. Suggested tracks: Quarry Hymns, Color Me Badd
7. Gayngs – Relayted
What at first felt like a sort of joke album, ended up really sticking with me a lot more than I thought it would. Suggested tracks: A Gaudy Side of Town, Faded High, The Walker
8. Hammock – Chasing after shadows, living with the ghosts
Probably my favorite ambient group of all time. I had been a little disappointed in their previous two albums, but this one felt like a real return to form for me. Their debut, Kenotic, is one of my favorite albums ever. In a way, this album it felt like “Kenotic part 2″ but with a more mature sound.
Suggested tracks: The Backward Step, Tristia, Breathturn
9. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
On most everyone’s list this year. I wasn’t very captivated by it at first, but I felt myself sort of drawn in by everyone else’s enthusiasm and ended up finding a new favorite track every few days. Suggested tracks: We used to wait, The Suburbs
10. The Velvet Teen – No Star EP
So excited for their upcoming full length. I’ve been waiting for something, anything, since their amazing 2006 album Cum Laude, and this is the first whisper that had come out. I have listened to the entire EP 14 times since it came out only 2 months ago, not a bad track on it. Hoping to finish an unofficial video for the title track in the next few weeks.
11. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
12. Menomena – Mines
13. Typhoon – Hunger and Thirst
14. Jonsi – Go
15. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record
16. The Album leaf – A Chorus of Storytellers
17. School of Seven Bells – Disconnect from Desire
Best songs (In a sort of order…)
For me there wasn’t necessarily a “My Girls” or “Two Weeks” this year, but there were definitely some that I ended up playing way more than others.
The Velvet Teen – No Star
Sufjan Stevens -Impossible Soul
Typhoon – CPR/Claws pt. 2
Beach house – Walk in the Park
Phantogram – Let me go
Menomena – Tithe
Land of Talk – Quary Hymns
The Books – All you need is a wall
Broken Social Scene – All to All
Annuals – Loxtep
Gayngs – Gaudy Side of Town
Hammock – The Backward Step
Most anticipated albums of 2011
Braids – Native Speaker (January)
Bright Eyes – The Peoples Key (February)
The Get up kids – There are rules (January) …sure why not
The Velvet Teen (rumored)
Starfucker (early 2011)
Radical Face (rumored)
Phantogram EP 2 (Working on it?)
Wish list: Sigur Ros, Son Lux, Talkdemonic, Azeda Booth