Albums 2011 that I like (so far)
The Cave Singers, No Witch
David Lowery, The Palace Guards
East River Pipe, We Live in Rented Rooms
Radiohead, The King of Limbs
Banjo or Freakout, Banjo or Freakout
The Decemberists, The King Is Dead
Iron & Wine, Kiss Each Other Clean
The Low Anthem, Smart Flesh
Upcoming albums I’m looking forward to:
Peter, Bjorn & John, Gimme Some
R.E.M. Collapse Into Now
A couple big surprises so far this year:
First, I was certain the Radiohead wouldn’t be great. I just had a feeling. And then it came out and it’s absolutely excellent. It’s too short, and one song (“Feral”) is something of a throw-away, but the seven remaining songs are top shelf Radiohead. If it’s not my favorite album of the year, then something absolutely amazing must be heading my way.
The other big surprise was how much I really like the new albums from The Cave Singers and Destroyer. I really like them. Knowing both bands a little, I was interested in what they’d do this year, but I wasn’t putting them on my To Get Exited About list. And now, they’re right up there at the top. Go figure. Did they change or did I? (Probably a little of both. Certainly Destroyer changed . . . but The Cave Singers seem to be doing mostly what they've always done, I suddenly just like it a whole lot more.)
The East River Pipe and David Lowery (Cracker / Camper Van Beethoven) were just what I thought they’d be. Very good continuances of the sorts of things they do. If you’ve ever liked either, you’ll like these. East River Pipe (which is really one guy, FM Cornog) is settling down a bit. The songs are a bit more relaxed, longer, and less absolutely drug-life soaked, so for me, this is probably my favorite ERP album. David Lowery plays mostly within the Cracker idiom here, but he allows himself a little looser, more casual delivery, which makes sense, as he’s been recording this album off and on for over a decade.
I’m not thinking as much about The Decemberists, The Low Anthem, and Iron & Wine as I thought I would. The albums aren’t bad, I’m just not rushing back to hear them again. Maybe that has more to do with how excellent the other albums are? They’re just being overshadowed? Maybe as time goes on, I’ll get more interested in them. The same with the new Lucinda Williams album, Blessed. And that's doubly too bad, because once again, when it comes to the music I listen to, it's very much a story of what white boys are up to. This depresses me. Is it because of the genre? Are women and non-whites not interested in making this kind of music? Or is it somethign else?
(In a side note, this last week at The Laurel Review, we did a little research in the files and found out that yes, over my eight years here, 55 or so percent of the things we've published are by males, but we also found out that over 60% of our submissions are from males.)
On the near horizon:
Also I’ve heard several new tracks from Peter, Bjorn & John and R.E.M., which has me quite exited for what the albums are going to be like.
I’m looking forward to riding a meteor into a star . . .
and then what?