Best Albums of the Year, So Far (In No Particular Order)

Vampire Weekend – Contra

Vampire Weekend have taken their signature sound of catchy pop, afro-rhythms and pretentious punk and stepped it up a notch. The band have matured significantly since their 2008 self-title debut and have shown that Contra is anything but a sophomore slump.

Sleigh Bells – Treats

Sleigh Bells is one of the biggest buzz bands of the moment. They are a boy girl group made up of Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss. Miller provides crushing guitars so distorted you’re ears will bleed, combined with drum line style beats and electro-pop goodness. Krauss’ lovely voice and melodies provide a nice contrast to the music, but don’t be fooled, she has a fierce side as well. You’ll not want to miss this album!

MGMT – Congratulations

Everyone wanted MGMT’s second album to be filled with danceable pop hits like “Kids”, “Electric Feel” and “Time to Pretend” from their 2007 debut. Instead they went in a very different direction by recording what amounts to a psychedelic album. Congratulations doesn’t have a single dull moment and don’t worry, there are plenty of hooks to go around.

Laura Veirs – July Flame

July Flame was my first exposure to Laura Veirs and I couldn’t be more impressed. She has a unique singing style and has created a collection of songs that have both folk and orchestral elements. To lump her in with the mediocrity that is the “female singer-song-writer” genre would be an insult. But a singer-song-writer she is and she’s one of the best out there regardless of gender.

Jónsi – Go

Jón Þór Birgisson a.k.a. Jónsi decided to record a solo album while his band Sigur Rós is on hiatus. Go has the same epic qualites of a Sigur Rós album but is much more rhythmic and upbeat. It also has a pop sensibility making it accessible to a broader audience. Even if you’ve never quite been on board with Sigur Rós you should still check out this album, you will not be disappointed.

Jeremy Messersmith – The Reluctant Graveyard

Jeremy Messersmith is the kind of song writer who is very deliberate about how he approaches an album. His third release has a decidedly full band sound and harkens back to the pop and rock sounds of the 1960s. Thematically the album is about death, but despite the dark subject matter the album manages to be upbeat and chipper. This is Jeremy Messersmith at his best. I can’t imagine anyone not liking this album.

The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards

In his review of Sea of Cowards Tom Breihan of Pitchfork had this to say, “It’s a heavy, snarly, physical rock album, and it feels like the work of people so secure in their ass-kicking abilities that they don’t have to sweat the details.” Enough said!

(Sorry I haven’t been posting much lately, computer time is at a premium in our house, plus I’m lazy and I tend to psych myself out a lot when it comes to writing. Anyways I hope to start posting more regularly… we’ll see.)