Ween-At the Cat's Cradle, 1992(MVD Audio)
This live recording from right after "Pure Guava" came out catches Ween in their prime with just the two original members of Ween performing with a DAT machine, which is basically the bass, drum machine, and other noises on a recorded backing track that Ween sings and plays guitar to. The sheer nerdiness of these early shows is perfectly captured with this live album, it's like catching two nerdy as hell best friends making the exact inside joke filled music they want to make with no compromises, except it's all done in front of a small club audience that I can't help but be ridiculously jealous of.
Nirvana-Live At Reading(DGC)
Much like the Ween album this captures a band right in their prime as a live act and stuck in between their commercial break through and their critical triumph. Whereas Ween is all goof and fun this album is a pure perfected tight aural assault. Every song brims with energy and exuberance. You can tell they know they are great at this point in their career and the audience eats up everything. This is how a live album should sound no wait scratch that, this is how a live show should be played.
To be honest I still don't really LOVE this album, I like it, it's boring as shit but oddly enough that's ok, the album flows really well in a kind of boring way, somewhat akin to the classic Yo La Tengo albums without actually being as good as those. Don't get me wrong this is good, just not amazing, not great, it just is and i'm ok with that.
Tyondai Braxton-Central Market(Warp)
This was the sound of an artist taking all their previous musical output and influence and throwing it all up on a wall to see what sticks, a lot of it does, a little bit doesn't but at least this asshole was TRYING in year where it sounded like a lot of people weren't. This was a wild ass ride for anyone into modern classical, van dyke parks, disney scores, Zappa, and the Fiery Furnaces. Extremely annoying to some, inspirational to others.
Lightning Bolt-Earthly Delights(Load)
It's a new Lightning Bolt album, it'a awesome, they add some more metal and country to the mix but yeah, it's Lightning Bolt through and through, thanks guys for making me drive my car a little more recklessly when I'm listening.
Animal Collective-Fall Be Kind EP(Domino)
5 songs apparently left off of Merriweather, I can see why because they are inherently different. It's basically them doing a disney musical song for the first track, a stoney hip hop inspired grateful dead psych jam for the second track 2 chilled out tracks after that and what could have been a great Person Pitch outtake by Panda Bear as the closing track, it's really good and an awesome way to end a year.
Black Mold-Snow Blindness Is Crystal Antz(Flemish Eye)
The Best electronic/lo-fi/experimental/hip hop album of the year, all done by Chad VanGaalen. This album has some new sounds on it without a whiff of pretension, just having fun with some synths and some samplers and a damn good imagination.
Julian Casablancas-Phrazes For the Young(RCA)
The first solo album by the lead singer of the Strokes. It's good, reminds me a little of poppy Eno mixed with some good 80s synth based music like Orchestral Maneuveurs in the Dark. His vocals are a great mix of lazy and energetic. The Lyrics are all pretty dark and interesting, so yeah the best thing a Strokes member has done.
Flaming Lips-Embryonic(Warner Bros)
Left field fuck you noise jam album from a band I was beginning to hate for what they were doing. I hope no birkenstock wearing, coachella attending, fucktard on ecstacy ever likes this album it's not for them, it's for us.
Earlier in the year Aquarius put this out and said they were the best pop band in San Francisco, I listened and they were right.Probably the best thing they recommended all year. This is pop punk done without a hint of irony or regret. It's 44 tracks of perfect 2 minute pop songs.
Michachu and the Shapes-Jewellery(Rough Trade)
Take a young inventive musical genius, pair her with Matthew Herbert and you get some kind of electronic Indie pop album that sounds like what i wish Deerhoof were putting out currently. It's like the Raincoats met Lily allen and said fuck it to commerciality.
Them Crooked Vultures-Self Titled(DGC/Interscope)
Dave Grohl on drums, John Paul Jones on bass/synth, Josh Homme on guitar and vocals, and I'm killed.
Future Of the Left-Travels With Myself and Another(4AD)
Their best work since Mclusky, this had all of the nasty spite and cynicism of their past records and this time it was even catchier and meaner, hard to explain an album that just rips from start to finish.
This was the best pop based music made this year, super modern r n b influenced, dorky as shit and completely wussy, but catchy as shit. autotune, guest appearences by shitty Dirty Projectors members, Vampire weekend connections, horrible indie pop connections, but my god does it work.
Pissed Jeans-King Of Jeans(Subpop)
My favorite pissed off band currently making music, this album hates you and everything you stand for. This album is the perfect way to end a shitty day. To me this album represents the complete antithesis to the dirty scummy shitty city I live in.
Animal Collective-Merriweather Post Pavilion(Domino)
And this represents everything good about this city I live in, wait scratch that, the world we live in. This album has every shade of emotion, mood, musical style, feel, blah blah blah. It is a modern masterpiece that will be remembered for years to come, this is one we can tell our children about. IT IS JUST GREAT.
hope you all had fun