DevoLT’s Top 15 Albums
This was a super difficult decision, much more than in the past years. Apparently, this was an excellent year for music! You’ll notice by my long list of honorable mentions that I had a lot of trouble narrowing it down!
Girl Talk: All Day
Wild Nothing: Gemini
The Thermals: Personal Life
Active Child: Curtis Lane EP
Robyn: Body Talk
Cee-Lo Green: The Lady Killer
El Guincho: Pop Negro
The Radio Dept: Clinging to a Scheme
Drum roll please….
15. Hot Chip: One Life Stand
While it’s true I love pretty much anything these guys release and they are definitely one of my favorite bands to see live, this album is actually good. It’s full of solid, danceable tunes (see “One Life Stand” and “We Have Love”) as well as beautiful “slow jams” like “Brothers” and “Slush.”
14. Matthew Dear: Black City
This deep, dark, beautiful album is creepy and stunning at the same time. A departure from Dear’s usual techno-dance style, this album actually makes you think while you tap your feet.
13. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: Before Today
This album is weird and unique in the best ways. But not too weird that you can’t sing along: “L’estat (acc. to the widow’s maid)” is a new take (or is it old?) on pop and “Round and Round” has so much variety in one song but yet it is still obviously one unit. Great album for a subway ride or a party.
12. Best Coast: Crazy For You
Bethany Cosentino’s new band made a splash with their surf-happy music and boyfriend-related lyrics. I pretty much can’t get the whole album out of my head for days after I listen to it, and that doesn’t bother me one bit.
11. Janelle Monáe: The ArchAndroid
Monáe’s debut full-length is a huge undertaking that paid off. It begins and ends with orchestral overtures and the middle is chock-full of fantastic songs. What more can you ask for?
10. LCD Soundsystem: This is Happening
Can James Murphy and Co. do no wrong? Seems like it, with this latest offering, which starts off with a slow build and then knocks it out of the park, and that’s just within the first song.
9. Das Racist: Sit Down, Man
These guys from Brooklyn came on the scene last year with their single “Combination pizza Hut and Taco Bell” and I basically wrote them off as a purveyor of silly but amusing songs to get attention. Boy was I wrong. They released two mix tapes this year, this one being the second, and both are clever and funny without trying too hard. Oh, and did I mention they released both as free downloads?
8. Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings: I Learned the Hard Way
God I love this woman. I am so thrilled she is finally getting the recognition she deserves, and let me just say that this album is a solid entry into the annals of Motown and R&B, and goddamn her voice is fabulous!
7. Arcade Fire: The Suburbs
These guys have grown and matured since they first rose to popularity in 2004 and they now present themselves as semi-adults ruminating on that life and all it brings. This album could have been trite and clichéd, but thankfully it’s not.
6. Big Boi: Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
I was surprised by how much I liked this album. Songs like “Shutterbugg,” “Follow Us” and “Tangerine” are instant hip-hop classics and I found myself grooving to this album on the very first listen.
5. Caribou: Swim
Another old favorite, Caribou (aka Dan Snaith) will always be super talented to me and he proves that yet again with this release. From catchy songs with interesting effects (“Odessa” and “Kaili”) to danceable tunes with minimal lyrics (“Bowls” and “Hannibal”). Snaith truly is wunderkind and his music is unique and new.
4. Beach House: Teen Dream
When I bought and enjoyed Beach House’s first album in 2006 I didn’t think they’d be a band that would stay with me over several years; I thought I would tire of their sound because they wouldn’t be able to build on it. Again, I was wrong. With this album, their third, they sound polished and entrancing, and anything but boring, which is how I feel some people assume their music is before giving it a good listen. Give it a good listen!
3. ceo: White Magic
This is Eric Berglund of the Tough Alliance’s solo project and what a project it is. I love Tough Alliance, and you can tell these are related, but ceo is definitely it’s own thing. It shares Tough Alliance’s precision–to quote Pitchfork, “There’s an understanding of hooks and pop structure here that almost seems only available to the Swedish,” but the lyrics and melodies are more positive and joyful, as in “Illuminata” and “Come With Me.”
2. Kanye West: My Dark Twisted Fantasy
I know, it’s expected at this point…this album is on pretty much every media outlet’s Top Album list. But yes, it really is that good. People love to hate Kanye, but personally, I love to love him. You should try it, and you can start with this album.
1. The Drums: The Drums
This is the album that I listened to the most this year, it just seemed to always fit my mood. The songs are smart and catchy and Jonathan Pierce’s voice is like nothing I’ve ever heard before–and I mean that in a good way. I can’t even call out a few songs as special–I love them all!
Entry filed under: Album Review, Bands We Like, DevoLT, Jams. Tags: Active Child, Ariel Pink, Beach House, Best Coast, Big Boi, Caribou, Cee-Lo, ceo, Das Racist, El Guincho, Girl Talk, Hot Chip, Janelle Monae, Kanye West, LCD Soundsystem, Matthew Dear, Radio Dept, Robyn, Sharon Jones, The Drums, Thermals, Wild Nothing.