Old Man, Take a look at my list, mine’s a lot like yours is.
My list does indeed employ genre quotas and, yes, heavy metal does have an actionable case against me this year.
•6 downloaded albums, 4 physical versions
•7 Americans, 3 Internationals
•1 artist my Mom had heard of, although, to be fair, I didn’t ask about Fucked Up
•4 that I actually got paid to write about
•1 archival release on my list (my self-imposed limit, otherwise it’d be moldy oldie overload)
1. Love Is Overtaking Me, Arthur Russell (Audika)
• While I was familiar with his minimalist cello pieces and artsy disco tracks, this release revealed a completely different dimension to Russell’s body of work. These laid-back, countrified singer songwriter songs- imagine an avant garde Dan Fogelberg- show that Russell never completely left his Oskaloosa, IA hometown.
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Arthur Russell, “I Couldn’t Say It to Your Face”
2. The Bake Sale, Cool Kids (Chocolate Industries)
• Hyped to hell, this EP was just asking for a premature backlash. However, I thought the easygoing, homemade sound (somewhere between the sparseness of Clipse and the juvenile hi-jinx of the Pharcyde) was too likeable to dismiss.
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Cool Kids, “A Little Bit Cooler”
3. Where You Go I Go Too, Lindstrøm (Smalltown Supersound)
• Hands-down, the most listened-to release on my list. Even though Shannon Zimmerman seemed underwhelmed by it in his CP review, the In Through the Out Door reference made it a must buy. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint and proved to be a zenith for progtronica.
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Lindstrøm, “Long Way Home”
4. The Renaissance, Q-Tip (Universal Motown)
• A very refreshing release that arrived without any expectations. I go on at length about its adult contemporary awesomeness in the upcoming print issue.
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Q-Tip, “Won’t Trade”
5. Harps and Angels, Randy Newman (Nonesuch)
• Perhaps it’s because of or in spite of the fact that I now watch two to three Pixar movies a week, but Newman’s voice has both the authoritative wisdom of an elder statesman and the casualness of an old friend. Plus, as proved on “Korean Parents,” he can still push the race button like nobody else.
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Randy Newman, “Korean Parents”
6. Stay Positive, The Hold Steady (Vagrant)
• Jesus Christ, I get so much shit for liking these guys. I love listening to them. Almost as much as I like being able to cram classic rock references into my articles about them.
7. Pro Tools, GZA (Babygrande)
• It’s fairly amazing how nobody seemed to care about this release. The best Wu-related release since Ghostface’s Fishscale, Pro Tools is wonderful showcase for GZA’s ever-evolving lyrical skills.
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GZA, “Life Is a Movie (feat. RZA & Irfane Khan-Acito)”
8 The Chemistry of Common Life, Fucked Up (Matador)
• Burton was somewhat positive in his review for the CP, but I guess they didn’t make his cut. Perhaps if these Canucks’ publicity still featured them in the woods wielding medieval cutlery. Of course, the name is a fucking problem, as well.
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Fucked Up, “Black Albino Bones”
9. The Evangelist, Robert Forster (Yep Roc)
• I’ve got an expanded blurb on this one in the upcoming print edition. Can somebody say ,”tease?”
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Robert Forster, “Let Your Light In, Babe”
10. Nouns, No Age (Sub Pop)
• No Age takes the best and noisiest elements of 90s rock that were the soundtrack of my ill spent childhood (read: my twenties).
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No Age, “Teen Creeps”