01 January 2012


a lot of new music came our way since the last mid-year review, but one constant has been an inescapable lingering of nostalgia. we're not just talking about your typical Band of Bees album here. from the neo-R&B of James Blake and the Weeknd to the neo-folk of Okkervil River and My Morning Jacket, from the throw-back sounds of Raphael Saadiq and Ty Segall to the triumphant return of hiphop legends the Wu-Tang Clan and Beastie Boys, from the 80s synths and sexy saxes of the Horrors and Destroyer to the 90s indie-ness of former Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus to the new Paul Simon to the new Tom Waits to the release of the definitive version of the Beach Boys' unfinished magnum opus circa 1966, 'The Smile Sessions', it appeared as if our only way of ringing in the new had to involve yearning for the past. if you'd have asked us manatees way back in our Napster days whether Amon Tobin, DJ Shadow, and Radiohead would still be dominating our playlist with new material, we'd have risen to the surface and laughed. yet here they are, still doing it and well. and what is this recently invented sub-genre called 'chillwave' (Washed Out, Toro y Moi, Neon Indian) if not the dreamy subconsciousness of nostalgia distilled down to its essence? what do bands like Black Lips, the Beets, Girls, Handsome Furs, Thee Oh Sees, Wild Flag, M83, and Real Estate share in common, if not a fidelity to past sounds, from surf rock to shoegaze and everything in between? what's the appeal of Lana Del Rey's raspy voice in "Video Games", if not how drenched it is with the impossible desire to re-live young love? or the Vaccines' "Wet Suit", reminiscent of Buddy Holly's vocal phrasings? or the old-school "Larry Routine" of the Beastie Boys? 'saudade' defies translation, so we're told, but by our analysis that word about sums up 2011 in pop: "a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves [which] often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return". the questions loom, even when we do not ask them explicitly: what's missing? what've we forgotten? and what can we re-enact and re-invent? ...of course, we'd prefer concrete sociological theories to mysterious-sounding seaweed, but we all agree that there's been a gigantic work of cultural memory going on, and it's not at all all bad.


#1. St. Vincent - "Strange Mercy" {Strange Mercy}
Radiohead - "The Daily Mail" {The Daily Mail/Staircase}
Wu-Tang with Tre Williams - "Never Feel This Pain" {Legendary Weapons}
Destroyer - "Kaputt" {Kaputt}
Fleet Foxes - "Sim Sala Bim" {Helplessness Blues}
My Brightest Diamond - "She Does Not Brave The War" {All Things Unwind}
Beastie Boys - "Make Some Noise" {Hot Sauce Committee Part Two}
Thee Oh Sees - "I Need Seed" {Castlemania}
M83 - "Midnight City" {Hurry Up, We're Dreaming}
James Blake - "Give Me My Mouth" {James Blake}

Little Dragon - "Ritual Union" {Ritual Union}
Beirut - "Vagabond" {The Rip Tide}
Bon Iver - "Wash." {Bon Iver}
Evidence with Raekwon and Rass Kass - "The Red Carpet" {Cats & Dogs}
Lana Del Rey - "Video Games" {Video Games/Blue Jeans}
Das Racist - "Relax" {Relax}
Coma Cinema - "Her Sinking Sun" {Blue Suicide}
Arctic Monkeys - "Love Is A Laserquest" {Suck It And See}
Hassaan Mackey & Apollo Brown - "Something" {Daily Bread}
#20. Keren Ann - "My Name Is Trouble" {101}

Blu - "Hours" {NoYork!}
Girls - "Love Like A River" {Father, Son, Holy Ghost}
Man Man - "Life Fantastic" {Life Fantastic}
The Roots with Bilal and Greg Porn - "The OtherSide" {Undun}
Wilco - "Dawned On Me" {The Whole Love}
Radiohead - "Little By Little" {King Of Limbs}
Smith Westerns - "Only One" {Dye It Blonde}
The Antlers - "Rolled Together" {Burst Apart}
Real Estate - "It's Real" {Days}
Cavemen - "December 28th" {CoCo Beware}

Black Lips - "New Direction" {Arabia Mountain}
The Dodos - "Companions" {No Color}
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! - "Ketamine and Ecstasy" {Hysterical}
Here We Go Magic - "Hands In The Sky" {January}
Atlas Sound - "Doldrums" {Parallax}
Toro Y Moi - "New Beat" {Underneath The Pine}
Asobi Seksu - "Perfectly Crystal" {Fluorescence}
Jeffrey Lewis - "Krongu Green Slime" {A Turn In The Dream-Songs}
Royce Da 5'9" - "Security" {Success Is Certain}
#50. Cults - "Never Saw The Point" {Cults}

The Horrors - "Still Life" {Skying}
Amor De Dias - "House of Flint" {Street Of The Love Of Days}
Neon Indian - "Halogen (I Could Be A Shadow)" {Era Extraña}
Fennesz + Sakamoto - "0330" {Flumina}
DJ Shadow - "Sad And Lonely" {The Less You Know, The Better}
The Beets - "Without You" {Let the Poison Out}
Panda Bear - "Last Night At The Jetty" {Tomboy}
Royal Bangs - "Faint Obelisk Two" {Flux Outside}
Florence + The Machine - "Leave My Body" {Ceremonials}
Walls - "Sunporch" {Coracle}

The Vaccines - "Wetsuit" {What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?}
Explosions In The Sky - "Postcard From 1952" {Take Care, Take Care, Take Care}
The Rapture - "In The Grace Of Your Love" {In The Grace Of Your Love}
Deerhoof - "Secret Mobilization" {Deerhoof vs. Evil}
Crystal Stilts - "Frost Inside The Aslyums" {Radiant Door}
Jay-Z and Kanye West - "New Day" {Watch The Throne}
Tennis - "Marathon" {Cape Dory}
Okkervil River - "Hanging From A Hit" {I Am Very Far}
The Weeknd - "Wicked Games" {House Of Balloons}
Iron & Wine - "Your Fake Name Is Good Enough" {Kiss Each Other Clean}

Still Corners - "Velveteen" {Creatures Of An Hour}
Lupe Fiasco - "Till I Get There" {Lasers}
Stephen Malkmus - "No One Is (As I Are Be)" {Mirror Traffic}
Tapes 'N Tapes - "Outro" {Outside}
My Morning Jacket - "Circuital" {Circuital}
Coldplay - "Us Against The World" {Mylo Xyloto}
Timber Timbre - "Black Water" {Creep On Creepin' On}
Vetiver - "Worse For Wear" {The Errant Charm}
Battles - "Dominican Fade" {Glass Drop}
Eleanor Friedberger - "My Mistakes" {Last Summer}

Akron/Family - "Canopy" {The Cosmic Birth And Journey Of Shinju TNT}
Mister Heavenly - "Bronx Sniper" {Out Of Love}
Mogwai - "Rano Pano" {Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will}
White Denim - "No Real Reason" {Takes Place In Your Work Space}
Tycho - "Coastal Brake" {Dive}
Kashmir - "Ruby Over Diamonds" {Zitilites}
Jacuzzi Boys - "Vizcaya" {Glazin'}
Amon Tobin - "Journeyman" {ISAM}
Fruit Bats - "So Long" {Tripper}
Spectrals - "Doing Time" {Bad Penny}

Bibio - "Anything New" {Mind Bokeh}
Metronomy - "Trouble" {English Riviera}
Crystal Stilts - "Shake The Shackles" {In Love With Oblivion}
The Field - "Burned Out" {Looping State Of Mind}
Wavves with Best Coast - "Nodding Off" {Life Sux}
Bjork - "Dark Matter" {Biophilia}
Boris - "Tokyo Wonder Land" {Attention Please}
Balam Acab - "Expect" {Wander/Wonder}
Fujiya And Miyagi - "OK" {Ventriloquizzing}
#100.The Black Keys - "Stop Stop" {El Camino}

James Farm - "Star Crossed" {James Farm}
The Decemberists - "January Hymn" {The King Is Dead}
The Strange Boys - "Me And You" {Live Music}
Givers - "Ripe" {In Light}
Papercuts - "Marie Says You've Changed" {Fading Parade}
Oneohtrix Point Never - "Explain" {Replica}
Cut Copy - "Where I'm Going" {Zonoscope}
Apparat - "Ash Black Veil" {The Devil's Walk}
Sepalcure - "See Me Feel Me" {Sepalcure}
Modeselektor - "Grillwalker" {Monkeytown}

Feist - "How Come You Never Go There" {Metals}
Peter Evans Quintet - "323" {Ghosts}
TV On The Radio - "Will Do" {Nine Types Of Light}
The High Llamas - "Fly Baby, Fly" {Talahomi Way}
Korallreven - "The Truest Faith" {An Album By Korallreven}
Phantogram - "Don't Move" {Nightlife}
Mojib remixing Radiohead - "Codex" {http://soundcloud.com/mojib}
Yuck - "Suck" {Yuck}
Drake - "Lord Knows" {Take Care}
Gui Boratto - "Flying Practice" {III}

Marissa Nadler - "In Your Lair, Bear" {Marissa Nadler}
The War On Drugs - "The Animator" {Slave Ambient}
Blueprint - "The Clouds" {Adventures In Counter-Culture}
The Weeknd - "Echoes Of Silence" {Echoes Of Silence}
Loney Dear - "Calm Down" {Hall Music}
Fucked Up - "Let Her Rest" {David Comes To Life}
Youth Lagoon - "Seventeen" {The Year Of Hibernation}
Animal Farm with Talib Kweli - "Test Of Time" {Culture Shock}
Times New Viking - "No Room To Live" {Dancer Equired!}
The Antlers - "I Don't Want Love (Peter's Version)" {(together)}

Jens Lekman - "A Promise" {An Argument With Myself}
Tim Hecker - "Hatred Of Music I" {Ravedeath, 1972}
Motopony - "I Am My Body" {Motopony}
Robin Pecknold with Ed Droste - "I'm Losing Myself" {Three Songs}
Toro Y Moi - "Sweet" {Freaking Out}
Ty Segall - "You Make The Sun Fry" {Goodbye Bread}
Washed Out - "Far Away" {Within And Without}
The Weeknd - "Rolling Stone" {Thursday}
White Denim - "At The Farm {D}
Jeff the Brotherhood - "Endless Fire" {We Are Champions}

Ane Brun - "Words" {It All Starts With One}
DJ Shadow - "I've Been Trying" {I Gotta Rokk}
John Wiese - "Scorpion Immobilization Sleeve" {Seven Of Wands}
Luke Temple - "More Than Muscle" {Don't Act Like You Don't Care}
Paul Simon - "Amulet" {So Beautiful Or So What}
Death Cab For Cutie - "Portable Television" {Codes & Keys}
Pontiak - "Part I" {Comecrudos}
tUnE-YarDs - "Bizness" {W H O K I L L}
Colin Stetson - "From No Part Of Me Could I Summon A Voice" {New History Of Warfare, Vol. 2}
Junior Boys - "You'll Improve Me" {It's All True}

Raphael Saadiq - "Go To Hell" {Stone Rollin'}
Thee Oh Sees - "The Dream" {Carrion Crawler/The Dream}
The Head And The Heart - "Rivers and Roads" {The Head And The Heart}
Lykke Li - "Sadness Is A Blessing" {Wounded Rhymes}
Wooden Shjips - "Lazy Bones" {West}
Son Lux - "Let Go" {We Are Rising}
Wild Flag - "Endless Talk" {Wild Flag}
Future Islands - "Where I Found You" {On The Water}
Elbow - "Jesus Is A Rochdale Girl" {Build A Rocket, Boys!}
Malajube - "Mon Oeil" {La Caverne}

The Joy Formidable - "A Heavy Abacus" {The Big Roar}
Boom Bip - "Tumtum" {Zig Zaj}
Wu Lyf - "Crowns For Me & Your Friend" {Go Tell Fire To The Mountain}
Nicolas Jaar - "Colomb" {Space Is Only Noise}
Thao + Mirah - "Rubies And Rocks" {Thao + Mirah}
Fennesz - "Shift" {Seven Stars}
Handsome Furs - "Serve The People" {Sound Kapital}
Eddy Current Suppression Ring - "Colour Television" {Primary Colours}
Pete & The Pirates - "Come To The Bar" {One Thousand Pictures}
James Ferraro - "Dream On" {Far Side Virtual}

Prerodactyl - "School Glue" {Spills Out}
Tom Waits - "Talking At The Same Time" {Bad As Me}
Gonjasufi with Blu - "Eatfish" {The Ninth Inning}
Ladytron - "Altitude Blues" {Gravity The Seducer}
The Mountain Goats - "Age Of Kings" {All Eternals Deck}


#1. Radiohead - 'King Of Limbs'
Fleet Foxes - 'Helplessness Blues'
St. Vincent - 'Strange Mercy'
Beirut - 'The Rip Tide'
Wu-Tang - 'Legendary Weapons'
Neon Indian - 'Era Extraña'
Fennesz + Sakamoto - 'Flumina'
The Weeknd - 'House Of Balloons'
Here We Go Magic - 'The January EP'
Das Racist - 'Relax'

Wavves - 'Life Sux EP'
Hassaan Mackey & Apollo Brown – 'Daily Bread'
DJ Shadow - 'The Less You Know, The Better'
Amor De Dias - 'Street Of The Love Of Days'
Balam Acab - 'Wander/Wonder'
Tapes 'n Tapes - 'Outside'
My Morning Jacket - 'Circuital'
Oneohtrix Point Never - 'Replica'
Caveman - 'CoCo Beware'
#20. Dodos - 'No Color'

Real Estate - 'Days'
Nicolas Jaar - 'Space Is Only Noise'
Robin Pecknold - 'Three Songs'

1 comment:

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