1.The War on Drugs, "Slave Ambient"
- The perfect road trip album. It flows together so naturally- without seeming monochromatic. "Slave Ambient" has real staying power - I imagine I will be playing this album many years from now.
2.Timber Timbre "Creep on Creepin' On"
- Similar to "Slave Ambient", this album has very well considered transitions from track to track - making a re-listenable, cohesive album overall. A bit of a nod to Nick Cave - but less sinister. It seems like this album did not get the recognition it deserved on other lists this year.
3.Kurt Vile, "Smoke Ring for my Halo"
- Similar in tone to the War on Drugs (his former band), but a little more laid back. Great lyrics too.
4.James Blake (self titled)
- Tracks like, "The Wilhelm Scream" are really exceptional, but as an entire album there are tracks that don't grab me in the same way. If I were to make this list in June this year I would have put this at the top, but I've listened to it a bit less over time.
- Chilled out with a bit of an 80s vibe, but still upbeat and even danceable.
- A beautiful layered choral work. Really exceptional.
- Music for a dimly lit smokey bar in a black and white movie.
- "Part III" has become our new mountain-driving anthem. Listen below -the first track on my favorite tracks of the year mix.
- A great album to sing along to.
- A huge electronically based double album with all kinds of ups and downs. Some songs are pumped up and dancey (as in "hurry up"), others more dreamlike (also like the title of the album implies). Looking forward to their live show in the Spring of 2012.
- Definitely one of the best live shows I saw this year.
- Edgier and more tense than her previous albums - and much more memorable to me.
- Very confident and composed performers whose voices are just as powerful live as they are on the album.
- Two projects by the same Denver-based guy- Jeffrey Wentworth Stevens, who is now going by just Morriconez - sounds like (as he recently put it), "a cloud of dust rollin' across the desert." Looking forward to a full-length in 2012. In the mean time you can get these on bandcamp from the artist for free.
- Exceptional singer-songwriter music from Sweden.
- PJ Harvey, "Let England Shake" (I was late to this one- it's still sinking in)
- Hard Mix, "Defaults"
- Chrysta Bell, "This Train" (produced by David Lynch and much better than his own disappointing release this year)
- Die Jungen, "$", "As Long as You Want", "Just a Dream" eps
- Liturgy, "Aesthetica"
1. A Winged Victory for the Sullen (self titled)
2. Dustin O'Halloran, "Lumiere"
3. Caretaker, "An Empty Bliss Beyond This World"
4. Black Eagle Child, "Pages on a Plane" + "Lobelia" (you can find my artwork on the "Pages on a Plane" LP)
5. Black Swan, "The Quiet Divide"
6. Field Rotation, "Acoustic Tales"
7. Christina Vantzou, "No. 1"
8. Johann Johannsson, "The Miner's Hymns"
9. Aria Rostami, "Form"
10. Ryonkt, "North Small Town"
- Stag Hare, "Spirit Canoes"
Colorado Based bands/artists/performers I enjoyed this year:
Adam Cayton-Holland (comedy)
Jeffery Wentworth Stevens/Morriconez +George and Caplin
Bonnie Gregory/The Horse Latitudes
Some of the best live shows I saw this year:
Arcade Fire, The War on Drugs, Lovers, Givers, Horse Latitudes, Liturgy, Wye Oak, Dressy Bessy/the Babysitters, Hedia, Adam Cayton-Holland, and Anthony Jeselnik.
My favorite movies of the year:
1. Another Earth
2. Martha Marcy May Marlene
5. Tree of Life
Favorites from 2010, 2009 , and 2008.