Sunday, December 17, 2017

31. Lo Tom

31. Lo Tom - Lo Tom

This is a new side project from David Bazan of Pedro the Lion. T.W. Walsh from Pedro also joins him on guitar as well as two old friends from Starflyer 59. This is a great rock and roll album and I have to thank Colin Stringer for introducing me to it. I love when people recommend bands to me that turn out to be my new favorites.



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32. Fleet Foxes

32. Fleet Foxes - Crack Up

Fleet Foxes is back with their third album. We've had to wait six long years for this guy, but it was well worth the wait. Robin Pecknold is not short on the sweeping harmonies that make these foxes fleet. My favorite song on the album is the epic Third of May / Odaigahara clocking in at a mere 8:45 and captivating every second. I was pretty worried about this album when it came out and instead it's been incredibly compelling.



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Saturday, December 16, 2017

33. The National

33. The National - Sleep Well Beast

On The National's seventh album, Matt Beringer takes us down less than anthemic territory into a more raw, unsettling sound. Many of these songs were written with his wife by his side and with the truthfulness of these lyrics, as only Matt Beringer can do, it makes you respect the hell out of their relationship. That must require an incredible honesty and vulnerability.



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Friday, December 15, 2017

34. Vagabon

34. Vagabon - Infinite Worlds

Vagabon is Laetitia Tamko. A Cameroon transplant in New York, Laetitia graduated college in 2015 and really only did music as a side project. But, destiny led her to produce this album, very slowly to much acclaim. This is Indie Rock at its finest. Impressively intimate with a strong musical backdrop, it is easy to get lost in this brief trek through emotion. The only reason this isn't higher in the charts is because that's how good shit is about to get.



https://soundcloud.com/fatherdaughter/the-embers

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

35. Black Lips

35. Black Lips - Satan's Graffiti or God's Art?

This is Black Lips eighth album and acts as a concept album. That's probably what pulled me in. I generally listen to Black Lips albums and enjoy them, but usually not enough to make the Top 50. This one was different. Apparently, they are in a new line-up and having been a psychedelic experimental band for some time, this romp into seeming coherence seemed like the next step. There's a lot of great stuff in this album, including a Beatles cover, so give it a chance and spend some time with it.



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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

36. Octopus Project

36. Octopus Project - Memory Mirror

This may be the most lyrical Octopus Project album out to date. It continues in their wildly experimental avant-pop sound. I remember the first time I saw these guys live and it's one of those experiences that has endeared me to the band for eternity. Things like sampling the sound of a champagne cork popping on Small Hundred or the swirling electronics that envelope Wrong Gong are what keep me coming back to this album and this band. They play here frequently and if you haven't seen them live yet, make it a point, it's a dance party like no other. Check out the preview video in true OP fashion below...


The Octopus Project - Memory Mirror from The Octopus Project on Vimeo.


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Monday, December 11, 2017

37. Thundercat

37. Thundercat - Drunk

Equal parts soul, funk, R&B and punk, Thundercat's third album is a masterpiece. The fusion of styles followed by his insane bass playing make for a romp through the 70's with an incredible attention to modernity. This is a light-hearted album with crazy bass lines, but my favorite part would have to be the inclusion of Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins on 'Show You The Way', which is in the video below.



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38. Valerie June

38. Valerie June - The Order of Time

Oh how I love this woman. After meeting her after shows, she is always one of the nicest, sweetest people in the world. This is her second album after that incredible debut, Pushin' Against a Stone, which you can see here. If you haven't sat down with Valerie June, make it a date now. Her music is infectious and her gospelesque vocals will have you singing along in no time.



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Sunday, December 10, 2017

39. The Shins

39. The Shins - Heartworms

It's really only the fifth album from James Mercer's The Shins. Instantly classic and new all at once, this album is his second album since returning after a decade, and this one is five years since Port of Morrow, which I wrote about here. Part of the reason there's been such a gap is that Mercer fired all his bandmates. He has done numerous side projects in the last decade, but now the 'band' is a man of one.



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40. Slowdive

40. Slowdive - Slowdive

It's not often you see a band return after 22 years, and usually the effort is less than praiseworthy. On the shoegaze band's newest self-titled, they achieve majestic glory. Neil Halstead, one of the songwriters and vocalists went on after their last album to form the incredible Mojave 3 and also had a short solo stint. Remember when I talk about a band saving their self-titled album for their masterpiece? While the Slowdive of old is fantastic, this added maturity and excellence has only brought about an album that delivers.



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41. Surfer Blood

41. Surfer Blood - Snowdonia

This is Surfer Blood's fourth album. Surfer Blood has had its share of afflictions. John Paul Pitts arrested for domestic violence in 2013 and their guitarist dying of stomach cancer at the ripe age of 27 just last year. These sort of calamities would normally bury a band, after all, it's hard enough to keep a band together as it is. But they return with an album of rather surf heavy, jangly pop rock that I found immensely refreshing from the beleaguered band.



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Saturday, December 9, 2017

42. Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, James McAlister

42. Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, James McAlister - Planetarium

This sprawling work is a composition about our solar system arranged by composer, Nico Muhly. However, Sufjan Stevens seems to add a lot of his style and lyrics to the pieces, with James McAlister collaborating on percussion and Bryce Dressner of The National handling the guitars. At first I thought this album was quaint, but the more I have listened to it, the more I love it. It's definitely worth listening to as an ambient, background album, but the lyrics and Sufjan style songs are worth listening to attentively. Check out the video below from the last track, Mercury.





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43. Waxahatchee

43. Waxahatchee - Out in the Storm

Katie Crutchfield returns on her fourth album as Waxahatchee with a rousing, in your face sound. What attracted me to this artist initially was the intimacy with a heavy backhand of music that still remained incredibly subtle. She made this list with her last album, Ivy Tripp, here. Out in the Storm is the realization of an artist who has evolved from humble, raw beginnings and holding onto those as production values get better and therefore the impact of her voice and lyrics still shine through.



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Thursday, December 7, 2017

44. Sheer Mag

44. Sheer Mag - Need To Feel Your Love

Unfortunately I was out of town when this band came through OKC in October. I hope you got to see them. Four of the five band members went to New York Purchase and Tina Halladay is the powerful lead. The Philadelphia based band harbor some ELO, Styx, Violent Femmes, and Queen in their up-front, powerful style. This album is a must hear before the year is over. You can listen to the entire album from their Bandcamp page below.





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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

45. Phoebe Bridgers

45. Phoebe Bridgers - Stranger in the Alps

I love when an artist pulls me into their world with a whisper. Phoebe's songs are intimate and immediate. They make me want to put on headphones and get lost for a day. This is the 23 year old's debut album and she shows an amazing maturity in her music and lyrics for being so young. She toured with Pinegrove this year, another artist who cuts to the core. Check out her website below....phoebefuckingbridgers.com!



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