Archive | June, 2010

Top 12 Summer Albums

13 Jun

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It’s officially summer. And it’s officially time to break out of your iPod routine and beef up your iTunes with new music. I love Justin and Rhianna and Beyonce as much as anyone, but here are twelve albums I’ve been digging lately that will hopefully expand your musical horizons:

High Violet, The National

The National’s fifth album is surely to secure the indie rock band’s place firmly in the mainstream. Although prominent on the underground scene for the better part of a decade, The National started getting real attention when Obama used “Fake Empire” (from the Boxer album) as part of his presidential campaign. Frontman Matt Berninger has a distinctively sad, soulful voice that we just swoon over. Check out the video for “Bloodbuzz Ohio”:

Forgiveness Rock Record, Broken Social Scene

From top to bottom, this is one of the best full albums I’ve heard in a long time. A Canadian musical collective that at one point wavered from six to 19 members (alums include Feist and Metric), the group now has a core of nine folks who focus on “baroque pop.” Their experimental, orchestral sound can be considered chaotic, but I think it’s gorgeous. Check out Spinner’s live version of “World Sick”.

This Is Happening, LCD Soundsystem

I have a slight obsession with LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, who exudes punk rock existentialism with nice guy attitude. Murphy is a perfectionist about sound, texture and lyrics, and it shows through here. Supposedly LCD’s last album, I highly recommend you check it out..

The ArchAndroid, Janelle Monae

This is one crazy ass hip hop R&B record, if you can really place it into either of those genres. Monae moved to New York with the intentions of working on Broadway, but instead wound up working with Outkast, who produced this album. As an epic 70-minute orchestration that tells the story of an ArchAndroid.  It takes some getting used to, but I’m loving it. There’s even a trailer for the album:

Cosmogramma, Flying Lotus

An experimental music producer from California, Flying Lotus combines dance, jazz, electronic, and R&B that easily appeals to the house music and indie rock crowds. He’s known for the bumper music on Adult Swim, so if you like that, you’ll love this.

Clinging to a Scheme, The Radio Dept.

An indie rock band from Sweden, The Radio Dept. is dream pop at its best.

Teen Dream, Beach House

Another dream pop sensation hailing from Maryland. Their self-titled debut was named 16th best album of 2006 by Pitchfork Media. Great beach music. (Yep, I made that joke. But seriously, it is great beach music).

Broken Bells, Broken Bells

Rock featuring the Danger Mouse producer, The Shins vocalist, pretty violins and ambient rock.

Body Talk Pt. 1, Robyn

Another Swedish import, and this is one bad ass Swedish gal. “Dancing On My Own” is the song you’ll listen to over and over and then get sick of it and then revisit a year later and think, hey, that WAS good.

Exile on Main Street (Remastered Edition), The Rolling Stones

What’s 1972 is new again. Arguably the best Stones album (and that’s arguing a lot), this Remastered edition, offers alternative takes on songs and refined sound. Plunder My Soul, Mick.

Gemini, Wild Nothing

I’m really into dream pop these days, and Wild Nothing hits the nail on the head with it’s debut album. Similar to The Radio Dept. in reinventing 80s sounds in a modern way.

Conditions, The Temper Trap

From Melbourne, Australia, The Temper Trap’s debut album Conditions isn’t exactly new – it’s been around since October 2009 – but I can’t get enough of it. “Sweet Disposition” made a prominent entrance in the trailer for last summer’s 500 Days of Summer and I absolutely love the epic, atmospheric sounds.

Anything to add? What do you think of my selection? Let me know!

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