Thursday, July 14

Christmas in July

It's no surprise that music junkies love to out-geek each other with their latest music finds. Friendly ones will even share some of their treasures with others in hopes that they fall in love with what they hear. So what happens when the Beach Sounds duo spends the afternoon arguing over their favorite albums of 2011 (so far)? Here it is, eager readers:

Starting the summer off on all the right notes, Cults gets you in the mood for picnics at the park, balcony bbqs and bike rides with actual sunlight! Blending the surf from the Beach Boys, the sass from Best Coast, and the heartache from Girls, Cults comes across as eclectic, to say the least. It's relatable, enticing and exciting, each song leaves you wanting to hear the next and the simple melody leaves you singing it in the shower. Jordy Kasko of The Tune put it best, "If not Album Of The Year, it's at least Album Of The Summer."

2. Gang Gang Dance
   Eye Contact
With their fifth effort, Gang Gang Dance releases a delightful symphony of blips and beats that is too irresistible to pass up. It starts with an 11+ minute opus of woozie, discordant synth leads that build up to form an entrancing, cohesive melody, an idea that seems to foreshadow the feelings on the rest of the album. At moments it's unpredictable, like a roller coaster, and other times its structured and melodic like a pop song.  Although it may feel like an extension of their '08 release Saint Dyphna, Eye Contact is fresh enough to stick around with you and leave you wanting more, in a good way.

3. Foster the People
When's the last time a talented, no-gimmick pop band made it big in L.A.? Who knows. All we know is the strapping boys in Foster have undeniably swept away pop lovers everywhere with their infectious debut album. They initially found success upon their release of a three-track EP, a feat few can say they've accomplished. If you're looking for the perfect blend of synth, tambourines, multiple percussion sets, and fun falsetto, pick up this delightful album.

4. Patrick Wolf
 It's sweet, sincere, catchy and the perfect summer album. Trading in the dirty synth beats of The Bachelor for more symphonic, melodic instruments, Lupercalia is proof of Wolf's artistic evolution. Speaking of love,  loss and even San Francisco (!),  this record has something for every bleeding heart romantic in the Bay Area.

5.  The Antlers 
    Burst Apart
Named one Spinner's Top 10 Albums of 2011 and Best Music by Pitchfork, this New York based band has won me over once more upon their release of the dark and haunting Burst Apart. I'd seen them open for Editors back in 2009 and I couldn't help thinking their sound was incredibly intimate and unfit for an impersonal venue like the Warfield. To my surprise then and later at the Sasquatch Music Festival, Peter Silberman and company swept the audience away with harrowing, empty hallway vocals and at times heavy guitar entwined with ethereal dream sounds.

6. Destroyer
It's 7 something, you're driving in a convertible with the wind tossing your hair everywhere, the ocean is to your left and the sun's just about to set, where are you? Your listening to Destroyer's new album, in your room, with the lights off! Destroyer has a strange ability to take it's listener on a voyage. With their 9th release, they seem to have grown more complex and tasteful with age. Adding even more complexity to the increasingly prevalent Canadian music seem (Bieber fever!), Kaputt is definitely worth your attention, and then some.

7. The Decemberists
    The King is Dead 
Sure, the folky, forest-fumed genre is beginning to lose it's appeal. The Decemberists show those scruffy rookies how it's done with a solid and powerful folk album from beginning to end. It gets honky tonky, it gets whimsically acoustic, and Colin Meloy's effortless talent in storytelling shines throughout.

8. Cold Cave
    Cherish The Light Years
Sophomore slump? Don't think so. Cold Cave's second LP, Cherish the Light Years, has everything their first effort was missing: it's hard, edgy, powerful, and above all else, apologetically dancey! Taking a few cards from lead singer Wesley Eisold's former hardcore outfit, Give Up the Ghost, Cherish jumps right into the action and never looks back. But unfortunately just like their former release, Cherish often feels more like New Order than an original dance album.

9. Fucked Up
    David Comes To Life
It's time to fuck shit up, who brought the beer? Fucked Up has a special place in my heart, being one of, if not the only credible and recognizable hardcore outfits in the indie community, they have a knack of turning skeptics into believers. It's hard to get respect when most of your listeners are pubescent boys, that's a given, but Fucked Up manage to inject a sense of sophistication into David. It's smart, upbeat and meticulously crafted, all descriptions unanimously absent from modern hardcore.

10. The Rosebuds
      Loud Planes Fly Low
Imagine how aggressive and rage fueled a divorce album might sound like. That's not what this is. Using their personal life as a positive platform for their new album, Loud Planes is a far cry from bitter and is better described as cathartic, heartfelt, and true to their progressive need to improve their music.

11. Fitz and The Tantrums
      Pickin Up the Pieces
      Beach music, folk, indie, reinvented hardcore, what's next? How about some gold old fashioned funk and soul? Don't try looking for their hipster cred on Pitchfork-- While those folks are busy looking for the incredibly inaccessible, Fitz works hard to bring listeners young and old with endless tours and festival appearances. Listen below, and feel free to unleash your funky self.


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