Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Most Important Albums of the Year 15-11

Port O'Brien

I saw this band in the fall at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill. It’s a small venue with couches and usually draws small crowds. But Port O’Brien and Sea Wolf packed this place and got everyone on their feet. They put on a good live show. The album contains a plethora of superb songs. The lead singer's voice is one of the best indie rock voices out there today. I do prefer his voice to the girl's (who plays banjo) but when singing together they are quite a dynamic duo. This album is better than All We Could Do Was Sing, and that was great album.
Key Tracks: “My Will Is Good” and “Leap Year”

Grizzly Bear
The build-up of this album was beyond any other disc I have ever seen. With such high praise, as the possibility of being the album of the year and the decade before it came out, it was hard to not check this album out. It wasn’t as musically wholesome as I imagined it to be, I don’t know, I just didn’t see the light when I listened to this album. They are such a chill/mellow band you have to crank the volume when you’re listening to them, or you just might fall asleep. This album contains two incredible songs that make the album, as a whole, quality.
Key Tracks: “Two Weeks” and “While We Wait for the Others”

The Heavy
The House That Dirt Built

The Heavy is a blues band infused with a punk guitar and an ensemble of horns. Minus the guitar, they could easily be mistaken for a band straight out of the 40’s. Their sound is slowed down and more bluesy than that of Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears. Their sound is few and far between these days. The lead singer will remind you of prince or a less enthusiastic James Brown. I had to go with three key tracks on this album, you know they’re getting good now.
Key Tracks: “Short Change Hero,” “How You Like Me Now,” and “No Time”

Lonnie Walker
These Times Old Times Master

Saw these guys at Local 506 in Chapel Hill in early December. They played an hour long set at the Daily Tar Heel’s Diversions Party. It was a good set, seemed like they got in a good amount of songs. I found “Compass Comforts” on Ear Farm’s Top 10 NC Bands You Should Hear Now back in August and recognized that song at the concert but didn’t recognize anything else except that it was all good stuff. Just about everyone compares Lonnie Walker with Bob Dylan, which YES, it is a good comparison. I feel like his voice is a little reminiscent of the lead singer of The Presidents of the United States of America with a kind of folk twang to it. This album isn’t well known outside of NC but those that have heard it, praise it.
Key Tracks: “Grape Juice,” “Compass Comforts,” and “Summertime”

Empire of the Sun
Walking on a Dream

It’s very hard to put words to this music. I will say that this was one of the first songs I found on MOKB. The costumes (well I hope they are costumes) are great and fit well with this music. This eclectic duo put out a great synth-heavy album which received higher praise overseas than the US. This is not surprising because it is great in all its pop/electronic glory. The group governs the synthesizer and uses it in such different manners if you compare “Swordfish Hotkiss Night” an almost techno/trance track and “Standing on the Shore,” a pop anthem. Overall a great album from a clever group of musical dudes.
Key Tracks: "We are the People" and "Walking on a Dream"

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