Seasons Greetings My Merry Music Lovers,
The time is here, for my albums of the year. Sorry, Christmas makes me feel like rhyming. Anyways, I have finished my schooling and can once again indulge in the things I love (music, books other than textbooks etc). After much deliberation I have come up with a list of my top albums of the year. Like my list of my favourite songs of the year, the list is simply all my listens added up to see what I listened to the most throughout the year. I’m not saying these are the “best” albums, just my favourite. I think it’s pretty obvious what my album of the year is judging by my previous two lists (EPs and songs) and the picture at the top of this post which depicts a pretty fleet looking fox, but if you haven’t already figured it out, take a look:
20. Noah & The Whale – Peaceful The World Lays Me Down
To start us off is the debut album by a talented little group of music makers from England, Noah & The Whale. I love pretty much every song on the album, and Laura Marling’s beautiful voice sparkles here and there throughout the album, making it shine ever brighter. A promising start for these guys and I hope to hear a lot more from them in the future. I had the privilege of seeing them play live in New York City and wow what a show.
19. Tyler Ramsey – A Long Dream About Swimming Across The Sea
Next is an album that I listen to every time I have had the need to just take a step back and calm down a little while. It is by guitar extraordinaire Tyler Ramsey. Ramsey also serves as one of Band of Horses’ guitarist. A truly talented musician and a great debut album by him.
18. Laura Marling – Alas I Cannot Swim
If you don’t know who Laura Marling is by now you must be living under a rock. Her debut album is just pure beauty, and she is only 18 years old. I can’t wait to see what she will have for us next. In her spare time she has been making guest appearances on the albums of some pretty awesome bands. Mystery Jets, Noah & The Whale and Mumford & Sons have all collaborated with Marling and it seems as if everything she touches turns to gold.
17. Plants & Animals – Parc Avenue
This one is the debut album from my fellow Montrealers, Plants & Animals. I fell in love with this album over the summer while I was interning in New York City. I remember strolling down 3rd avenue on bright sunny days listening to Parc Avenue. Good times. Ok I’ll stop being cheesy now. Seriously, this album is pretty incredible and if you haven’t already, you should give it a listen.
Plants & Animals – Feedback In The Field
16. Department of Eagles – In Ear Park
Number 16 on my list is by a band called Department of Eagles. If you are a fan of Grizzly Bear, then Department of Eagles is right up your alley. You see, the bands share the same lead singer, Daniel Rossen, and because of this have a similar sound. There are obviously differences between the two bands but I was really impressed with this album. “No One Does It Like You” is among my absolute favourite songs of the year.
Department of Eagles – No One Does It Like You
15. Horse Feathers – House With No Home
Number 15 is just a beautiful album that I listened to to death this year by a band called Horse Feathers.
Horse Feathers – This is What
14. Vampire Weekend – Self Titled
Vampire Weekend was another one of my bands of the summer. It’s funny, when I first listened to this album I wasn’t that impressed. Maybe I just felt like it didn’t live up to the hype. Then one day I just got it and it quickly became one of my favourites of the year.
13. The Dears – Missiles
The Dears are back and better than ever on their newest LP, MISSILES. The band has been completely rebuilt from the ground up, while keeping the foundation of Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak and adding an array of talented musicians from all different places. What we are left with is a group of seriously talented musicians who have created a really great album. This may in fact be my favourite Dears record to date.
12. Ratatat – LP3
I waited for this album to come out for so long that when it did come out I was so excited that I listened to it non-stop for weeks. That being said, it is quite the album. I don’t know how it ranks among the other two Ratatat albums but it is definately a fresh new sound for them that makes this album stand apart from the other two.
11. Blitzen Trapper – Furr
This was an album that I was reluctant to listen to at first, because I wasn’t crazy about Blitzen Trapper’s first release. But after hearing a couple of songs on satellite radio I decided to give it a try. I was happy I did because this album is pretty amazing. I had the chance to see them play when I went to see Fleet Foxes opening for them awhile ago, but I left after Fleet Foxes’ performance. Looks like that was a bad decision on my part.
Blitzen Trapper – Furr
10. Dr. Dog – Fate
Number 10 on my list is Dr. Dog’s album Fate. This is just an amazing album from start to finish. The highlights on it for me would have to be “The Old Days” and “The Breeze”, but every song on this album is worth a listen. Just an all around solid album.
9. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
You won’t find too many top album lists without this album on it. Bon Iver exploded onto the scene this year. Songs like “Flume” and “Skinny Love” have been permanently on my mind as I often find myself singing or humming them to myself. You can see how much bigger they got within the year. The first time I saw them play was at a small venue in Montreal called The Cabaret. A few weeks ago I saw them play in New York City at the prestigious City Hall, one of two sold out back to back shows at the same venue. By the way, have you seen the awesome design they did for YBP?
8. The Dodos – Visiter
Even though The Dodos album cover looks like it was created by a child, the album itself is as far from childish as it gets. These songs are rife with emotion, lead by the incredible guitar playing of Meric Long and Logan Kroeber’s tribal drumming. And as good as they sound on the album, you have to see them live to fully appreciate them. I was lucky enough to do so and all I have to say is…”The Season”.
7. Born Ruffians – Red, Yellow & Blue
I’m not sure how popular this album was because I don’t know that many people who listen to Born Ruffians but I was in love with this album the second I heard it and I am still in love with it today. “Little Garcon” is probably my favourite, but the rest of the album is great as well.
Born Ruffians – Barnacle Goose
5. Man Man – Rabbit Habits
What could possibly be bad about a new Man Man album? It seems as if these guys just get better and better with time. Their first album was okay, their second was great and their newest album, Rabbit Habits is stellar. What I love about Man Man is that they always keep you guessing. For example, who expected that amazing xylaphone action in “The ballad of Butterbeans”? This is another example of a band that is great on the album and even more amazing live. If you have a chance to see these guys live you must do so.
Man Man – The Ballad of Butter Beans
4. Pinback – Autumn of the Seraphs
This was arguably my most anticipated albums of the year. Pinback has been one of my all-time favourite bands for a long time now and the idea of a new Pinback album just gets my hyped. I don’t know if this album will go down as one of my favourite Pinback albums, but it is definitely worth a whole bunch of listens.
Pinback – Bouquet
3. Pete & The Pirates – Little Death
Number 3 on my list is a wonderful little album by some awesome Brits that go by the name of Pete & The Pirates. I really became obsessed with the album for a good while this year. I’m not sure what makes these guys so likable. Their music is just exciting. They might be my favourite British band of the year. They also have two new songs on their myspace page called “Blood Gets Thin” and “Jenny” that are worth a listen, check it out.
2. The Hush Sound – Goodbye Blues
The Hush Sound at number 2. Who would have thought. Their first two albums reminded me too much of Panic at the Disco, but on their newest album, Goodbye Blues, lead singer Greta Salpeter takes the reins and is featured much more prominently then the band’s other male singer. They may be too poppy for some, but I love it and think they are well deserving of my number 2 slot.
The Hush Sound – Break The Sky
1. Fleet Foxes – Self Titled
Fleet Who? Ya right. This has been the year of the Foxes. Throughout the year we have been treated to one of the best EPs of the year, in the Sun Giant EP, as well as an amazing debut self-titled LP by Fleet Foxes. Songs like “Mykonos”, “White Winter Hymnal”, “Your Protector” and “Oliver James” have been on continuous repeat throughout the year and I was lucky enough to see them play live twice in Montreal. I’m so excited about this band and what will come from them in the future.
Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal
Fleet Foxes – He Doesn’t Know Why
So there you have it. Fleet Foxes sweep the series. They have produced my favourite EP, LP and song of the year. I’m so happy for these guys. Now I would like to pay tribute to a few more albums that either just missed the top 20 or were released too soon to be a part of this year’s list. Here are some albums that deserve honorable mention…
Yeasayer – All Hour Symbols
Girl Talk – Feed The Animals
Santogold – Santogold
The Tallest Man on Earth – Shallow Graves
Alaska in Winter – Holidays
The Welcome Wagon – Welcome to the Welcome Wagon
Tv On The Radio – Dear Science
Radiohead – In Rainbows
Now that you know pretty much everything that I listened to throughout the year it’s your turn! What are your top albums of the year? I’m sure there’s plenty I’ve forgotten.
Until next week…
–The Middle Distance Runner
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