Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Top Albums of 2012: Late Edition

So it took me a while to get through music this year, so I'm a little late on this post--but better late than never.

25. Band of Horses - Mirage Rock

24. Beach House - Bloom

23. Santigold - Master of My Make-Believe

22. Metric - Synthetica

21. Grizzly Bear - Shields

20. Chromatics - Kill for Love

19. Grimes - Visions

18. Frank Ocean - channel ORANGE

17. Two Door Cinema Club - Beacon

16. Diiv - Oshin

15. Kendrick Lamar - good kid, M.A.A.D. city

14. The Shins - Port of Morrow

13. Passion Pit - Gossamer

12. Mumford and Sons - Babel

11. Allah Las - Allah Las

10. Nick Waterhouse - Time's All Gone

9. Hot Chip - In Our Heads

8. Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits

7. Japandroids - Celebration Rock

6. Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams

5. Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold

4. Tame Impala - Lonerism

3. Jack White - Blunderbuss

2. Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory

1. Alabama Shakes - Alabama Shakes

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top Albums of 2011

This is my first post in over a year, but I figure its probably best to keep the list tradition up if nothing else. So without further adieu, here is my list for the top 25 albums of 2011. I should also note that the first 5-7 albums were HIGHLY interchangeable; meaning 2010 was a highly top heavy music year. Also, sorry this is two months late...

25. The Kills - Blood Pressures

Given that Karen O and Yeah Yeah Yeahs didn't release an album this year, this will be the surrogate hard rocking female lead singer substitute album of the year. All that aside, this is a great album that's made me go revisit their past albums. This isn't going to blow your socks off during the first listen, but after a few listens you start to realize Alison Mosshart isn't faking this, she's damn good.

Top Tracks: Future Starts Slow, The Last Goodbye, Satellite

24. Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness

Quickly becoming one of my favorite bands out there by continuing to put out fantastic album after fantastic album, Los Campesinos! didn't quite keep up with their previously established momentum; but this is still a damn good album. I'm not quite sure if it's their proximity, musically, to a combination of The New Pornographers and The Polyphonic Spree, but this collection of Welsh pop stars puts out damn good much so even Budweiser enlisted them for a series of commercials, including this awesome one...for whatever that's worth.

Top Tracks: By Your Hand, Hello Sadness, To Tundra

23. The Strokes - Angles

This is their first album since they took an "extensive break" in 2008, and though this doesn't reach the levels that Is This It and Room on Fire set, it's certainly a step in the right direction. There are some vintage-Strokes songs on this album that remind you they've still got that talent that once crowned them the new "saviors of rock", but it's bogged down by a few filler tracks between. All in all, it's a great album and I'm glad to have one of my favorite bands back together making great music...although Julian Casablancas did put out a killer solo album in 2009.

Top Tracks: Under Cover of Darkness, Taken for a Fool, Two Kinds of Happiness

22. Wild Flag - Wild Flag

This says it's a pie chart, it's shaped like a square. Who did that?

I mentioned before that with Karen O's absence this year Alison Mosshart would be the fill-in this year; however, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs comparisons are probably a lot more accurate to Wild Flag. This album is reminiscent of early 90s punk with a twist of greaser rock, but what really distinguishes them is the fact that Mary Timony can wail on the guitar.

Top Tracks: Romance, Short Version, Endless Talk

21. The Decemberists - The King is Dead

A more Americana album than their typical folk almost-Irish style, however it remains as hyper-literate as ever. It's not my favorite of their catalog, but it remains a great album.

Best Tracks: Rox in the Box, This is Why We Fight, Down by the Water

20. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

Let me start by saying this is a great album, and if this was Fleet Foxes first album this would be a hell of a first album. Okay, that's out of the way. This was one of my biggest disappointments of the year, after their self titled album in 2008 (which was #5 on my top 25 that year) I really had high hopes for this sophomore effort. I'm hoping this is one of those cases of growing to love it over time, but I can say that it just doesn't stand up against their first album.

Top Tracks: Helplessness Blues, Grown Ocean, Sim Sala Bim

19. Frank Turner - England, Keep my Bones

Now who'd have thought, that after all, something as simple as rock n' roll would save us all...

Another late comer to my music listening in 2011, but I've had about five tracks from this album in fairly constant replay on the iPhone over the past several weeks. This album reminds me of a British Bruce Springsteen with a twist of Flogging Molly and The Hold Steady. It's really a great album that's pretty hard not to listen to and find at least a few tracks you'd really like.

Top Tracks - I Still Believe, Glory Hallelujah, Peggy Sang the Blues (Acoustic), Wanderlust

18. The Vaccines - What Did you Expect from the Vaccines?

From what I remember this was one of the more anticipated albums of 2011 coming into the year. It's a great rock album that sounds completely familiar and yet completely different at the same time. At one moment its borrowing sounds from Interpol (Post Break-Up Sex) the next song they're borrowing from 60's pop-rock (Norgaard). There's a lot to take in on this album, and it's a pretty satisfying listening experience overall, I'm very excited to hear what their sophomore effort sounds like.

Top Tracks - Post Break-Up Sex, If You Wanna, Wolf Pack

17. Wilco - The Whole Love

What's that? Do I know this is a Wilco album? Yes, yes I do. Come again? Oh, yes I meant to have it outside of my top ten this year. Well, for the first time since I've started with these lists (2006), I've placed a Wilco album out of the top ten. Why you ask? Simple. It sounds like they're running a formula to develop their songs at this point. Now I should clarify as this formula still somehow generates some damn good songs, but come on guys. I long for the days of ELT and Jesus, etc. And I don't know if this is just a really strong year for music, or if I have yet to identify with this album, or something else but for those who don't know Wilco is one of the "Sweet Six" top bands in my life, so this is kind of a big deal...One Sunday Morning is a helluva track still though.

Top Tracks: I Might, One Sunday Morning, Born Alone

16. Das Racist - Relax

"B*tches lickin' on the d*ck like it's Mr. Softee..."

Remember these guys? "I'm at the Pizza Hut, I'm at the Taco Bell..." Then they grew up a little and somehow roped Jay-Z into their first full album. Now here we are with their second full release and while it isn't quite as good as Sit Down, Man it's pretty effing amazing. I can't think of another group like these guys. You can't really tell if they're serious with lyrics like "Yo, I'm good at rapping..." but then they blow you away with songs like Power. They're a pretty polarizing band but I find it pretty hard not to love them.

Top Tracks - Power, Rainbow in the Dark, Brand New Dance

15. Peter Bjorn and John - Gimme Some

The originators of my theory that all you need to do is have a good hook with whistling in a song and you'll have a hit on your hands with Young Folks. Now it seems there's a ton of bands that have adopted that whistle model, the most recent of course being Foster the People. This is a great follow up after what I considered a flop in 2008's Living Thing. It's nice to see them getting back to their melodic roots.

Top Tracks - Dig A Little Deeper, Second Chance, Eyes

14. Black Lips - Arabia Mountain

These guys have been on my radar for a while, and I still to this day regret not seeing them for $7 at the Galaxy Theater last year. This is another solid album from a great rock band that continues to put out good solid rock albums. Mostly a mix of Black Kids with The Black Keys and a little bit of NROP. Another member of the Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" philosophy, but maybe the least appreciated member.

Top Tracks: Modern Art, Don't Mess Up My Baby, Raw Meat

13. Sonny and the Sunsets - Hit After Hit

Bow, bow, bow, bow, bow...

One of a few first time entries to the Top Albums of the Year list, Sonny and the Sunsets was a late comer to my listening this year, but since the first listen it has been in heavy regular rotation on Spotify. This is an excellent example of one of the major trends in Pop/Rock music--the "surf revival". It's hard not to hear echoes of Brian Wilson or Bo Diddley when listening to this album.

Top Tracks: Reflections on Youth, She Plays Yo Yo with My Mind, Girls Beware

12. Radiohead - The King of Limbs

It's Radiohead. Really that's about it. It's not my favorite album by them by any means, but I know without a doubt if I ranked it lower I'd want it ranked higher two years from now when this album really sinks in with me. There's certainly some great tracks here but compared to In Rainbows I think it's a step back...for now.

Top Tracks: Lotus Flower, Morning Mr Magpie, Bloom

11. Bright Eyes - The People's Key

Conor Oberst has been a bit off the radar for a while, after going solo and suspending Bright Eyes a year or so back. He's back and basically picked up right where 2007's Cassadaga left off, but reinfused with those great depressing sounding lyrics and crescendos he's been so great at cranking out since Fevers and Mirrors. Anyone who's been a fan of their past albums will be pretty happy with this one, it's good to have them back.

Top Tracks: Shell Games, Jejune Stars, Ladder Song

10. Mayer Hawthorne - How Do You Do?

So long, you did me wrong...

Another solid piece in the growing movement of the modern Motown revival. Pretty hard not to love this album from first listen. Also a great video below, if that's what Mr. & Mrs. Smith was really like I might have been a little more interested the first time around...

Best Tracks: The Walk, You Called Me, Hooked

09. The Features - Wilderness

A great band out of Tennessee that brings a bit of that North Mississippi All Stars southern drawl to a more contemporary style of rock. The lead singer sounds a lot like Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, etc.) so I have a bit of an extra soft spot for this band given my love of Soundgarden in a previous life. These guys should certainly appeal to anyone who's a fan of Tapes N' Tapes, Cold War Kids, Raconteurs, etc. I suggest giving it a few listens before judging it for yourself, I know I had to...yet another "grower". Sorry for the video below, turns out I can't find a music video for them.

Top Tracks: Kids, Rambo, Big Mama Gonna Whip Us Good

08. Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde

When I first heard this album, I thought this is a guaranteed lock for album of the year, and depending on what type of mood I'm in it really could be. Another member of the "who the hell is this band" club for me prior to this year, this album has been in regular rotation on Spotify for me for a solid year. They don't really sound like any one band in particular, but they do sound like a congregation of a lot of the top bands out there right now. This was one of those good from the first listen albums for me, hopefully you find it the same.

Top Tracks: Weekend, End of the Night, Only One, Smile, Dye the World...(whole album)

07. Battles - Gloss Drop

This was the early contender for my album of the year, not to say that there's anything wrong with it now that would have caused it to drop to #7, as I've said before these top 7 albums really were highly interchangeable. These guys are pioneers in what I coined to be the genre of NROP (Noise, Rock-Pop) with 2007's Mirrored. They're back with Gloss Drop picking up right where they left off. There's some seriously fantastic tracks on this album and it's another great piece in their NROP catalog. Just a warning, the video below looks like it could be NSFW but it's all good.

Top Tracks: Ice Cream, Africastle, Dominican Fade

06. A.A. Bondy - Believers

This was supposed to be Radiohead's spot, where are they and who the hell is this? This, is what I consider to be one of the most talented bands only recently discovered by me. I've been listening to this album for a solid four months and I'll be honest, this will be in my rotation for years to come. I've recently begun listening to their older stuff and I love that too. I'm not sure what it is that really does it for me with this band, but the ambiance and overall feeling you get by listening to them is highly effective. Seriously get out and grab this album ASAP.

Top Tracks: Down in the Fire (Lost Sea), The Heart is Willing, Surfer King

05. Sondre Lerche - Sondre Lerche

This year's award for highest ranked folkish type musician goes to a Norwegian. This is a great album from start to finish, a few overall standouts, but really just solid from track to track. He borrows well from his past contemporaries in Ben Folds that ilk, while managing to keep the songs and overall sound from sounding dated. Also he does a great cover of a Pete Townshend song.

Top Tracks: Domino, Richochet, Coliseum Town

04. Tune-Yards - W H O K I L L

What's a boy to do if he'll never be a gangsta...

Perfect example of why the top seven or so albums on this list are so highly interchangeable--at least to me. This albums f*cking crushes it, BUT I still couldn't convince myself to put it ahead of Watch the Throne. Depending on the week this could be my most listened, or even one week my only listened to, album. This album is like a combination of Vampire Weekend with M.I.A. and Das Racist, in other words it's real f*cking sweet.

Top Tracks: Gangsta, Powa, My Country, Bizness

03. Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch the Throne

What she order? Fish Fillet?

Really? If you have to ask why this is this high you've got bigger problems and rather than reading this worthless drivel you should be searching on WebMD, going to the ailment discovery section, click on the person's head, and then sort diseases by rarity because chances are you're missing something. From the start of this album it kicks your ass right in the earhole. My ONLY real issue with this whole album is track 2 Lift Off, it's incredibly weak relative to the rest of the songs and is actually highly disruptive to the flow of the rest of the album. If it weren't for the second half of the album's drop off relative to the first half this would have to be the consensus number one album of the year, but either way #3 ain't that cray.

Top Tracks: No Church in the Wild, Ni**as in Paris, Otis, Gotta Have It

02. Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost

One of my early favorites of the year, I still have it in heavy rotation even several months later. A lot of highly listenable songs and a lot of variety on styling from song to song, this couples very well with their last effort Album but is a much more musically impressive effort. This is most likely a polarizing choice but after spending so much time with this list I couldn't knock this down any lower so this is where she be. I suggest popping this on and playing it loud from beginning to end, then repeating. It's fantastic.

Top Tracks: Vomit, Die, Honey Bunny, Forgiveness

01. Bon Iver - Bon Iver

Admittedly I'm a late comer to this band, and given my relative from my old home to his current home (Minneapolis to Eau Claire) this is somewhat surprising. I had mentioned back in 2009 that their song Blood Bank was one of my top songs of the year, #15 to be exact, but either didn't follow up with them much or forgot about them until this year. This is easily my most listened to album of the year, and a highly memorable listen. This album gives me the same listening experience I get when listening to Sigur Ros albums--though not sung in hopelandic. I think the video shown here for Holocene is highly fitting and captures the beauty of the song (and really the rest of the album) with simplicity. It's certainly what I would classify as a "grower" but it's a fantastic album that you'll be grateful you allowed to metastasize into your rotation.

Top Tracks: Perth, Minnesota, WI, Holocene, Lisbon, OH

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 25 Albums of 2010

So it's been a long time since I've put anything up, but you had to know that this was coming: 2010 List Season!

I noticed this year my list is more full of hip-hop than in previous years, I'm not sure if that's my taste shifting or this being an exceptional year for it. Either way I like it.

And without further ado here it is:

25. Band of Horses - Infinite Arms

One of my favorite bands of the 00's, this isn't their best effort. That being said given most years it was certainly strong enough to push a top 10 spot; however, this year is just too strong. Good but not great.

24. MGMT - Congratulations

This might be one of the more polarizing albums of the year, and I'll admit it took me a while to get on board. I had to include this video for this title track because it reminds me of Tatooine on LSD. Though this is a much slower album than their now classic 2008 Oracular Spectacular, there's certainly value here and I recommend you check it out.

23. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

One of my favorite albums of the year at the beginning of the summer, it began to wear on me a bit by the time fall came. I'm not sure if I listened to it too much over too short of a time or maybe it was just drowned out by all the other outstanding albums in 2010, either way this is a great album and a welcome return by one of the more innovative bands around.

22. Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt

I'm not sure this album is for everyone, mostly due to his nasal/folksy sounding voice; however, if you don't mind it I highly recommend this to anyone who likes strong songwriting and 1960's folk rock "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard" sounds channeling Bon Iver, Dave Matthews, or even sometimes Bob Dylan. I'm a big fan.

21. Broken Bells - Broken Bells

The ONLY reason this album is so low on the list is due to its short length, or maybe its the perceived short length; either way I need about 10 more tracks. Danger Mouse continues to be the most active member of the music industry to this day and adds another excellent addition to his resume. I will have to say that this album did leave me wanting a new Shins album though...

20. Titus Andronicus - The Monitor

This is the first time I've really listened to one of their albums, and I'll admit it's because I read that Craig Finn (The Hold Steady) made an appearance. Goddamn this is good stuff though, high energy Punk/Rock/Indie feel with a bit of melodrama and great lyrics. Oh yeah, and Craig Finn reading Walt Whitman at the end of the above song...that never hurts.

19. Beach House - Teen Dream

A solid entry into the NROP (Noise/Rock/Pop) category that made its resurgence in 2008, this a what I consider a good "driving album". What I mean by that is simply, if you've got a long distance to drive and have already burned through your "Pump Up" music, this is a good chill album, especially when driving through the Mojave Desert. If you're into the NROP stuff you probably already know this album well, but if not I'd give it a go. Plus this video is super creepy.

18. Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager

2010 has proved to be one of the strongest Hip-Hop years in the past decade. Kid Cudi, who I consider to be one of the more underrated "mainstream" rappers out there, put out the sequel to his 2009 Man on the Moon: The End of Day. Additionally he teamed up with Best Coast and Vampire Weekend members to put out one of the year's best singles All Summer. Simply put go get this album if you're Hip-Hop inclined.

17. Spoon - Transference

One of the great bands of the '00s puts out its first album of the '10s (that's right, right?), and while not their best effort its certainly a welcome addition to their Canon. They say emulation is the sincerest form of flattery, perhaps in this case though emulation is the reason this album didn't quite click like their past efforts. It seems these days there's about ten or so mainstream Spoon "sound-alikes", and while that's indicative of their influence on modern music it has slightly diluted their own efforts.

16. Atmosphere - To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy

Being that I hail originally from Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul rap will always have a soft spot for me. Sometimes there are albums I like from these rappers simply because of their intrinsic reminiscent value, other times there are legit rap albums coming out of the Twin Cities--this is certainly a case of the latter. At this point, I'm fairly certain Atmosphere will never garner the mainstream radio play and praise he deserves, and maybe it's because of his relative lack of "hooks" on his tracks but anyone who's into hip-hop or rap will find this album hard not to love.

15. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today

I made the mistake earlier this year of skipping out on seeing these guys for about $12 at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa, I won't be doing that again. This is another of those NROP lo-fi bands that have become all the rage with the youngin's these days, but there are also tinges of MGMT and The Flaming Lips psychadellica in their music. Be warned if you're tripping balls you might want to skip the YouTube clip above.

14. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot : The Son of Chico Dusty

Maybe it's bias from going to college in the early 00's but looking back, besides maybe Phish and DMB, was there a more memorable soundtrack besides Aquemini and Stankonia? It's been a while since Outkast has released an album (I'm not sure I count Idlewild given it's a soundtrack essentially), and frankly I think they've been missed. Now while this isn't a full blown Outkast album because of the absence of Andre 3000, I think it certainly whets the appetite for a new one...though I think the odds are slim.

13. Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More

Labeled as an English "folk-band", though that may be debatable, this foursome broke through the mainstream radio with an unlikely profanity-dubbed smash hit Little Lion Man. While this is a great song, and certainly the most approachable with it's Crazy Game of Poker-esque jamming and wailing bridge, it's just one of many on this album. Truthfully I may have listened to this album more than any album of the year, and while I can certainly recognize its musical faults (simplicity and repetition being two of the glaring ones), I can't look past how addicting it is. I blame the banjo...

12. Das Racist - Sit Down, Man

The creators of the infamous/awesome Combination Pizza Hut & Taco Bell of 2009, this Brooklyn duo sarcastically put out one of the year's best rap albums. With lyrics like:

Meet me where I beat beats, drop street heat
I'm on the block like street meat
Call me Dwight Schrute from the way that I eat beats

It's sometimes hard to take them seriously. Whether they're serious or not they've put out some damn good songs on this album. Somehow this year Pitchfork gave this album an 8.7, which is weird for a website that hates all music that isn't Lil' Wayne or some electronic band no one's heard of yet, and maybe that's a reason not to like these guys...I didn't let it stop me though.

11. The Walkmen - Lisbon

One of the last vestiges of what I consider to be the true rock bands of the 00's. Keeping with their tradition of channeling The Cure, The Strokes, and U2 while putting their raw twist on it, Lisbon is a fantastic alt-rock album and what I consider to be their best since 2004's Bow and Arrows.

10. No Age - Everything in Between

When I first listened to "Glitter", the track above, I half expected them to break into a cover of Twisted Sister's "We're not Gonna Take it". I have a feeling in ten years I'll be listening to more No Age then maybe any band from the past five years. It's amazing to me that there are only two members to this band and they can maintain such a BIG sound in many of their songs. They're still a staple at The Smell in downtown Los Angeles, though I have yet to attend I hope to change that soon.

09. The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever

A departure from their norms, The Hold Steady, have struggled to maintain their mainstream success of "Boys and Girls in America". Many critics panned this album, it garnered a paltry 6.2 from, but I certainly don't agree. This is just another strong entry into The Hold Steady catalog, and it may be the most Springsteen-inspired yet. I think the major issue with the critics is the growing theme of Craig Finn singing on more songs over the past few albums rather than simply "free style" speaking. Guess what though, The Hold Steady has been pretty consistent since about 3 albums ago so this sudden criticism of them no longer being "raw" is kind of bogus. Craig Finn is still awesome.

08. Black Keys - Brothers

Speaking of duos delivering huge sounds, #9 belongs to one of the best in the business. The garage rock phenomenon has long since morphed into the lo-fi movement performed by the likes of No Age and Dr. Dog, but there are still a few staples remaining from it--particularly The Black Keys and The White Stripes. Though its hard to not to make comparisons between the two they really are very different in their musical styles, especially of late. The Black Keys have managed to stay true to their garage/bar-band/guitar driven rock and roll while The White Stripes have taken a more experimental course. The Black Keys are using their inner Chris Robinson and The Black Crowes this time around and I'll be the first one to say, though I'm most certainly not the first (in fact there's a distinct chance I may be the LAST of the year), that it works like a charm. Well done guys.

07 The National - High Violet

This really was a banner year for my favorite bands apparently. The National put out yet another outstanding album this year, I'm not sure what more to say. These guys continue to put out some of the best albums of the year every time they release a new one, I love it. I've got my fingers crossed for a The National and the LA Philharmonic collaboration concert at the Hollywood Bowl next year...that's not too much to ask right?

06. The Morning Benders - Big Echo

I reviewed this album in January and said then I was pretty sure this was going to be a top album of mine back then, well it nearly cracked the top 5. I wont delve into further detail on this besides saying that it's worn well over the year, they're a great concert, and here's my previous review.

05. Arcade Fire - Suburbs

Anyone who knows my musical tastes knows that there are six bands that come before all others: The White Stripes, Arcade Fire, The Flaming Lips, Wilco, Sigur Ros, and LCD Soundsystem, so it should be no surprise to see one of the "sweet six" in the top five albums of the year. That being said, I'm not sure this is their best album. It is definitely great, but when comparing to "Neon Bible" and "Funeral" those two are pretty tough to top, so they've kind of dug themselves a hole. Most people reading this by now will have listened to this album repetitiously, and have developed their own opinions of it but let me just say that it had been many years before I was so excitedly anticipating the release of an album, and I certainly wasn't let down.

04. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

I'll go on record as saying I wasn't a big "808s and Heartbreaks" fan, the overuse of autotune took away from the album to the point that it was distracting. "Graduation" was outstanding and remains one of the best hip-hop albums of all time, and "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" takes a step back in that direction. Never known for being a modest, rational, non-douchey guy Kanye's talent outweighs all of these criticisms and never before has he had such free reign to experiment as he did on this album. Though this is only at the #4 spot on my Top 25, I have a feeling I lowballed this one, it's just that there's too many damn good albums this year!

03. Local Natives - Gorilla Manor

Remember those Spoon "sound-alikes" I was referring to before, well here's a great example, especially in song linked above. This is one of those albums that you'll listen through the first time, love it, stash it, get it in your head, wait a few weeks, wonder who sing's that song that's ingrained in your brain, remember who go back to it, rinse and repeat. Local Natives blend their best Spoon impression with the afro-pop stylings of Vampire Weekend and throw in a little Bon Iver and orchestra to create one hell of a debut album. I'm very excited to hear more.

02. LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening

James Murphy, you son of a bitch, you do it to me every time, I'm not supposed to like techno or electronic rock or whatever the hell classification of music this is. Even though that's true this is perhaps the best and most underrated band of the 00's, a blend of techno/rock/pop that's cutting edge and fresh on each of their now three full length albums. "Dance Yrself Clean" was basically on an infinite loop over the course of the year and I don't really see any reason to stop with that. If you aren't a huge fan this might be their toughest to break into; however, I promise it's well worth it. With rumors of their inevitable dissolution always popping into my music news feed one has to wonder how many more albums they'll release before becoming the next in a long line of band's that people wish made "just one more album". Personally I'm hoping for a long drawn out slow drug riddled fade into the sunset, but I'm a little selfish I guess.

01. Vampire Weekend - Contra

Two for two. They've released two albums, their self-titled Vampire Weekend in 2008 and this year's Contra. These guys are freaks of nature. Very rarely, if ever, does a band come out with two albums as strong as their first two efforts. My take on them has always been good, they are certainly not free of their critics who say they're "too smart for their own good", but guess what. F*ck you, and enjoy it because this could be Nickelback, would you rather more Nickelbacks? No? Okay then...This video sort of signaled their full blown acceptance into the mainstream meme with cameos by about ten (at least) recognizable celebrities. I really could have picked any song on this album to post here as an example of their music since nearly every song on the album is as strong as the next. Here's to hoping their next album stays atop the Power Rankings whenever it's finally released.