The methods of how people approach music and my own getting older has made the idea of viewing the best in music on a yearly basis to be old fashioned. As you drift out of the “free money” demographic, it becomes unlikely that you can keep up without being a paid media critic/blogger.
Another element of selection, besides the year criteria, is how can you choose an album that you have just got to be the best of year? It seems to me that you have to live with it for at least month before you claim it as the best. Impact is key yet you really have to live with a piece of music before judging it. This element will become harder or more obvious as we have to spread our dollar and attention thinner and thinner.
Enough quantifying, here’s more music that made my year
Hype has the opposite effect on me. However Kurt Vile‘s connection to The War on Drugs made me take the leap.I must admit that I was not immediately taken with Smoke Ring for My Halo. And yet the hooks dug in quick. Its spin on psych flecked folk rock manages to be both sleepy and taut. If I got into earlier it would place higher.
Last year, I decided to figure out what all this Kinks talk was about. And I finally made contact with Muswell Hillbillies this summer. What took me so long? The interaction between British and American styles creates a perfect backdrop for Ray Davies’cynicism and humorously defiant lyrics. Deserves its classic status.
Loudin Wainwright III is an acquired taste. His voice, his tact on folk rock, and his sense of humor is not for everyone. I am at a loss to place this in the continuum of 70s singer-songwriters. Slanting towards early Prine or possibly a really cynical/sarcastic Chapin, I guess. Unique.
The Great Destroyer was my entry point into the discography of Low.The album contains multitudes: the trio offers variety. The ability to be expansive while maintaining an identity is not an easy feat. A bittersweet (or just plain bitter)strand runs through the lyrics. I think anyone who enjoys good 90s indie should give it a listen. A depressed Mid-Western Yo La Tengo? (Too inside?)
For me, Liars‘ Sisterworld cemented the band’s reputation in my mind. The art/noise rock here is wonderfully balanced between menace and humor. They have outstripped their influences and turned into an adjective. Adventurous yet swinging!
February update – The final part of Fugue Sounds never happened. In short, listen to Califone – they are fantastic! And spin a Jesus and Mary Chain album every once and awhile. They are also fantastic. Expand by digging back as much as by keeping up. Keep the dream alive, folks.