Thursday, November 24, 2011

Frequent Spins (2011.6)

This will be the long overdue final installment of Frequent Spins for 2011. In fact, it will be a bit of a catchup post, after which I'll move on to attempting to rank the best albums of the year, as usual.

Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire
The man formerly known as the hardest working singer-songwriter in alt-country (whatever that is) produces an album that hearkens back to his ultimate solo effort, Heartbreaker, and this one might be almost as good as that masterpiece.

Richard Buckner - Our Blood
Buckner churns out another solid, if unspectacular, collection of hauntingly poetic Americana.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Hysterical
They'll probably never again capture the magic of their debut release, but this album is a bit of a return to prominence after their disappointing sophomore effort.

Crooked Fingers - Breaks in the Armor
Returns to form have been a common theme in my Frequent Spins posts this year, and the latest from Crooked Fingers lands firmly in that category. After the significant drop-off that was Forfeit/Fortune, Breaks in the Armor makes me, once again, optimistic that former Archers of Loaf leader Eric Bachmann hasn't lost it.

The Jayhawks - Mockingbird Time
If you're a reader of this blog, then you probably kind of saw this one coming.

M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
I haven't been blogging much lately, and that trend probably won't change in the near future. But, I have been thinking more and more about good music that would appeal to young children. Among this album's highlights is "Raconte-Moi Une Histoire" (English translation: "Tell Me a Story"), a brightly optimistic song that fully captures the essence of the innocence of youth.

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Mirror Traffic
Quite possibly the former Pavement front-man's best solo release to date.

Mates of State
- Mountaintops
I don't know about everyone, but I have a tendency to forever associate certain songs with events—in my life and otherwise—that were occurring at the time I was listening to them. In my mind, "Mistakes" will forever remind me of Joe Paterno.

Tom Waits - Bad As Me
I've never been a huge Waits fan. Of course, that's not to say I'm anti-Waits either. But, it's just that I've never really loved anything he's done before, or maybe I just haven't tried hard enough. This effort doesn't necessarily make me a convert, but it has me wondering if I've been missing out.

Wilco - The Whole Love
Ranking Wilco's albums from best to worst has always been difficult for me, but here goes:
  1. Being There
  2. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
  3. Summerteeth
  4. The Whole Love
  5. A.M.
  6. Wilco (The Album)
  7. Sky Blue Sky
  8. A Ghost is Born
So, that would make The Whole Love Wilco's best album since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I know I've got more to be thankful for this year than ever.

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