It's been a trying day. I was able to narrowly escape an editorial cleansing. Lots of nail biting, smoking cigarettes, and overall turmoil. I survived, however, and will live another day in the dying industry of print publication. All that being said, I'd be remiss not to highlight the albums of the year. I'll undoubtedly leave some out by accident, but here they are in no particular order.
1. TV on the Radio - Dear Science - May be my vote for album of the year (yes, I agree with Spin). For once they didn't blow their load in the first half of the album. Funk elements, undeniable swagger, enough catchiness to asphyxiate a young child. Perfect.
2. Fleet Foxes - S/T - Justin and I bought this together the same day at Shake-It because we're lovers. Melodies that'll melt your damn heart. They pull that shit off live too. A slice of pop heaven.
3. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges - I'm getting the big boys out of the way first. Not my favorite album of theirs by any means. They tightened the songs up, which I think is kind of sad, but Jim James knows how to deliver a dizzying, hypnotic delight.
4. Los Campesinos - Hold on Now, Youngster & We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed - These upstart Welsh boys and girls released two albums this year. Sprawling pop songs with catchy fucking hooks all backed by spiteful lyrics. Both albums are great.
5. Beach House - Devotion - I don't care if this duo is mind numbingly boring live. This album pours fruity, Skittle-like dream pop everywhere and I'll eat it all up...every single time.
6. Titus Andronicus - The Airing of Grievances - Angst through and through, but done with a slight, condescending smirk. Distorted, cracked vocals hanging over dirtiness. Just really, really good.
7. Racebannon - Racebannon IV: Acid or Blood - My vote for best album cover of the year. Look it up. Less insane than previous Racebannon albums, but still fucking nuts. A little bit more order to the chaos making it feel more plotted and demonic, if that makes any sense.
8. Spiritualized - Songs in A&E - I actually haven't listened to this as much as I should. However, I want Jason Pierce to be my older, strung out brother who comes to family gatherings, never takes his sunglasses off, and appears to have a tick in every conceivable part of his body. Yeah, that's what I want.
9. Plants & Animals - Parc Avenue - Did this album get its just due? A little wacky, a little Queen-ish, but damn catchy. I could listen to the song "Feedback in the Field" and whistle that damn melody until I went nuts.
10. Night Marchers - See You in Magic - John Reis makes magic every time. No Drive Like Jehu or Hot Snakes, but still...I just really like John Reis and that's why this album's in here.
11. Fucked Up - The Chemistry of Common Life - I recently saw these guys live and the rather large singer (Damian Abraham) stripped down to his boxers, did the "mangina," and then broke up a fistfight between a bouncer and some 17 year old kid. That's how shows should be. Future of hardcore? Maybe not, but they sure have something figured out.
12. Blitzen Trapper - Furr - I called it when Wild Mountain Nation came out. Didn't I? They recently did a show I went to at Schubas and sold it out. Next stop, Empty Bottle a few months away. Their next album will be a big deal. This one's the big buzz maker.
13. Arms Exploding - Ruminari - My friends are in this band, and I like this album a lot. Not just because they're in the band either. I swear. I happen to know the people in the band, and they happen to be my friends.
14. Howlin' Rain - Magnificent Friend - Psychedelic, classic rock with all the trimmings. Perfect for a sunny day sitting on the porch with some beers and a couple of your loser friends.
There's more, but this seems like a good place to stop. Plus, I can't really think of anymore off the top of my head, and I don't feel like sifting through my CDs, records, and Itunes.