Another year has passed us by. A cold spring led to a cold summer, which led to a colder winter. Presidential nominations were won and RRSPs were lost. But more importantly, twelve months worth of music was released, meaning that it is up to us to sort through the trash and decide on what were ultimately the best albums of the year.
This year, The Medium in conjunction with CFRE Radio, decided to provide you with our list of what we thought defined the year in music.
Frenetic and constant, No Age borrows elements of Shoegaze and punk, incorporating catchy melodies underneath layers of distortion and fuzz. Changes are quick, yet the songs retain their misty flow playing off the synthetic bleed of the noise tracks. The album is vast and thoughtful and is an impressive release, especially considering they are a two-piece. (Taken from a review in Issue 1)
The third studio album released by Portihead (their first in eleven years), Third, shows a different side of the group — less focused on triphop and with a darker, more industrial edge. Their new-found psychedelic edge is accompanied by shrieks and squeals on the synth and a plethora of other instrumentals. Widespread and encompassing, its a return to music worthy of the Portishead name.
One of the more popular trends of the year was the surge in folk inspired rock, and no band did it better than Fleet Foxes. Their self titled LP a long with their Sun Giant EP had a wide set of influences ranging from Jerry Garcia
jams to modern indie rock, all tiedup in a neat little bow. Plus the harmonies were the best heard in years.
Possibly the best pop record of the year, Oracular Spectacular is an assault on the senses. Streams of psychedelica float past while tight, synth-or i ent ed hooks rol l on through. The content is fun and whimsical , but still sexy and catchy. The members are odd in their neo-hippie kind of way, but can they ever make you dance.
Good ol rock meets good ol indie. Strong music with strong lyrics with a strong performance equals a strong record, to the power of four. Zoomer takes you on a musical journey through mystical landscapes filled with makebelieve and times past. The tension is undeniable and is what makes music so good
Beck is incapable of releasing a bad record. Most people are aware of this, but those who arent should take a listen to Modern Guilt. Sounding nothing like classic Beck yet somehow retaining that Beck feel, Modern Guilt is a modern spin on rock. Strongly influenced by surf music (the next big thing — and you heard it here first) Beck infuses traditional rock with a foreboding evil lurking edge, which makes for an interesting and appealing effort.
Montreal post-punks Duchess Says released their long-awaited debut full-length this year, Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs. Fierce industrial rhythms paired with broken synths and arpeggiating guitars turn this album from a simple hard-rock number to a musical complexity. Minimalism is key here ladies.
Soft Airplane is an insight into the life of VanGaalen. The sometimes brooding singer/songwriters mellow concoction of acoustic guitar and synth expe r iment s i s only accentuated by his lyrics and, of course, good looks. References to rural life and the woods are frequently used and the delicacy of the songs is matched by the deep intent found throughout the record.
When you are not hearing them on television commercials Ratatat are busy rocking the hell out of packed concert halls. This feeling extends to their newest record, LP3, which was made for you to dance/rave to. Apa r t f rom be ing some of the catchiest music ever created (much of which was inspired by the video game Zelda), LP3 is pure fun, on a compact disc.
Fashionable electro-house New- Wavers Cut Copy released their second full-length album this year, the anticipated In Ghost Colours. While not being ironically 80s or blog house, Cut Copy enjoy the use of synthesizers, hook-infested choruses, summer pop, and long walks on the beach. But seriously, think of this album as a rave by the seaside. Breezy, rhythmic, and fun. This is why Cut Copy is so successful.
The Cool Kids are just that — cool…uhm, kids. While most current hip-hoppers are turning to the realism of the streets and complexity of their beats to invoke trueness, the Cool Kids take a different approach, one more easily understood by much of the youth that consumes hip-hop today. Focusing on having fun, getting the prom queen, and wearing fly kicks. Isnt that how hip-hop started anyways?
Written by: Michael DiLeo and Tenni Gharakanian.