Here are the ten CDs that have really made me happy over the last half-year.
Including my bliss-out of the week: slow with horns, by Dan Deacon, from the album "Bromst"
The rules are simple: I must have discovered the CD sometime in the last six months. I don't care if some of them are old news to you, and I also don't care if some of them don't float your boat, for any reason. They make me happy, and that's enough. In no particular order:
6. Bill Callahan - Sometimes I Wish I were an Eagle. Rich, deep voice, gentle arrangements, quirky lyrics: so much to like in a really, really nice, intriguing but relaxing Sunday afternoon album. Favorite song: "Rococo Zephyr" for having a Rococo Zephyr as a character in the song. Here's another song from the album, on Youtube.
I've talked enough about TV On The Radio that I won't write about it here.
4. Dan Deacon - Bromst - some artists have music good for parties. Dan Deacon's music sounds like the instruments are having a party. Favorite track on the album: "Slow With Horns". "Wham City" from "Spiderman of the Rings" is a better song than any on Bromst, the newer one, but Bromst wins out for more consistent awesomenity.
listen to Dan Deacon on his Myspace Page.
9. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion - the whole album is a big, noisy, fun bliss-out. Here's one track with a pretty trippy video, too. Stars AND bubbles.
Bat For Lashes - Two Suns
1. Camper Van Beethoven - Key Lime Pie - a classic from the 1989, a solid songwriting effort with wit and that something extra that makes you want to listen to it again a week later, and snags lines and phrases in your head.
7. Jamie Cullum - Twentysomething - best Jeff Buckley song I've heard by Not Jeff Buckley so far: Lover, You Should Have Come Over. High and Dry gets a nice, mellow jazz version that reveals the song's strong songwriting.
Jang SaIk 장사익 -- 하늘가는 길 the song 찔레꽃 is just heartbreaking.
2. Mugison - Mugiboogie - wacky, weird, noisy and then touching. This album is all over the map, and continuously intriguing, if a bit inaccessible. You really, seriously never know which instrument or sound is going to jump out of a corner and startle you next.
The Music Tapes - Music for Clouds and Tornadoes
3. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - Naturally - wins by a nose over 100 Days, 100 Nights, because of the song "Stranded in your Love" an awesome, awful, co-dependent duet, which unfortunately isn't on Youtube. Here's the title track from 100 Days, 100 Nights, which contains all the reasons you should love Sharon Jones: she's a throwback to that old '70s motown sound, that rich, fat sound, the swaggering Aretha Franklin swing. The power, the heat, all that!
5. Sufjan Stevens - Songs for Christmas - Vol. 1-5. I wrote about these before, so I won't now.
8. Swan Lake - Enemy Mine - creaky, articulate, odd but compelling, Swan Lake is the team-up of two indie rock-superstars. Their first album was uneven, as if they hadn't figured out how to sound TOGETHER yet, but this one is a really nice, tight effort from Spencer Krug (a favorite of mine from Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown, who brings something sweeping yet childlike to his instrumentals) and Dan Bejar (of Destroyer, the awesome The New Pornographers, who brings verve and wit to his lyrics) Here's a nice track with a claustrophobic feeling that suddenly opens into one of those great bridges that Spencer Krug pops off with startling frequency. (at 2:00)
10. - The Walkmen - You & Me - didn't impress me at first, but it's been growing on me more and more. Another solid album from top to bottom, that's got some strong songwriting (I'm a sucker for good songwritine) and an atmosphere all its own. The emotive but slightly adrift vocals, and then frantic, mounting choruses and bridges, create a nice counterpoint. There's a lot of open space in here. In the New Year is a good track that shows off their strengths.
11. (bonus:) Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space - Broken Heart - sweeping orchestral spiritual sadness. After the hypnotic repetitions of intro song "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space," this is the one that actually carries the album off INTO space.
There. Enjoy that for now.