The 10 Best Non Hip-Hop Albums of the Half Year
Image Via Natalie Dee
In case, you were wondering, I do have a pair of boombox pants and yes, they're quite comfortable.
10. King Khan & The Shrines-The Supreme Genius Of.... (tie)
If my review of Khan's Pitchfork Fest set didn't convince you, this interview that ran today should seal the deal as to why Khan should be your new favorite person in the whole wide world (take that Brian Williams, you telegenic newsman, you.) The guy writes great songs, he wears a cape, a gold Josephine Baker cap and says that there is nothing wrong with having sex with a unspecified type of cheese, presumably swiss.
Download: MP3: King Khan & The Shrines-"Welfare Bread"
10. Daptone Records 7" Collection Vol. 2
New "old" funk collection from lights-out Daptone label sounds like it could've been made in the late 60s or early 70s. Do you like The J.B.'s, Aretha Franklin and Booker T & The MG's? Of course you do. You'll like this.
9. Vampire Weekend-Vampire Weekend
I understand and even empathize with the backlash. Vampire Weekend's media image is annoying, but hey, it worked and more importantly, so did their debut which comes stacked with great pop song after great pop song. Are they the band of their generation? I sort of hope not. But this is a nice start.
8. Sic Alps-US E.Z.
Shabby, lo-fi psychedelic rock from San Francisco, Sic Alps scrape the bubblegum from under the counter and amplify it into a dirty, distorted, muddle of noise. 14 songs in 28 minutes, in that short span you feel like you've drank a half-dozen Jacks, talked some shit, got knocked down, popped back up, sat at the barstool and ordered one more round through a mouthful of broken teeth.
7. Wolf Parade-At Mt. Zoomer
Best album from the best band that no one cares about because they're "so 2005." In many ways this builds on Apologies to the Queen Mary, with both Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug continuing to grow as songwriters and Dante DeCaro providing an added heft and depth to their sound.
Download: MP3: Wolf Parade-"Call It a Ritual"
6. Hercules & Love Affair-Hercules & Love Affair
Did I just go with the trendy token art-disco pick from a trendy DFA band featuring Antony from Antony & The Johnsons to get picked first for the music writer's pick-up basketball game (if only that existed)? Who knows? All I know is that this is the first disco CD I've actively wanted to listen to since a brief infatuation with the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack in the 8th Grade. That works for me.
Download: MP3: Hercules & The Love Affair-"Hercules Theme" (Left-Click)
5. The Kills-Midnight Boom
The Kills make blues played by a duo who confused Siouxsie Sioux for Robert Johnson. Music free of inhibition. Whiskey-warped, hair-pulling, dirty noise. Midnight Boom, their third record marks Allison "VV" Mosshart's ascent to the title of rock's best front-woman and more importantly, the only one who doesn't look retarded in leopard.
4. Islands-Arms Way
In the course of Arm's Way's hour-plus run time, Islands hit everything from concert hall symphony to stoner-prog, rum cocktail calypso to hair-cut indie to dizzy Sondheim-esque rambles. Hell, they even sample “A Quick One While He’s Away,” from original pranksters of genre-swiping, The Who. Lyrically, Nick Diamonds’ songs continue a morbid fascination with death, violent ocean metaphors and considerations of evil. Songs include “Creeper,” “We Swim” “I Feel Evil Creeping In,” and “Vertigo (If It’s a Crime).” To his credit, they retain a sort of sonic levity that never feels tacky and a sly playfulness that would ostensibly leaden songs with a similarly grim subject matter.
Download: MP3: Islands-"The Arm"
The best rock/rap album ever made. Somewhere, a Chocolate Covered Starfish Named Hot Dog is crying. Or something.
Somehow, Portishead are so good that this is their worst album and I still consider it the second best non-rap record of the year. Maybe it has something to do with my allegiance to having heard them for the first time, sampled on "Kiss of the Black Widow" from Bobby Digital. Or maybe, I just smoke too much. Either way, Third is an ethereal, ice-cold nod.
1. Erykah Badu-New Amerykah Part One (4th World War)explain it here. But really, this post from Floodwatch, detailing the battle between his ID and Ego on the subject of New Amerykah nails it perfectly.
MP3: Erykah Badu-"The Healer" (Left-Click)
The Hold Steady-Stay Positive, Brightblack Morninglight-Motion to Rejoin, Lindstrom-Where You Go, I Go Too, The Black Keys-Attack N' Release, Black Mountain-In the Future, Dodos, Visiter, Crystal Castles-Crystal Castles, Flying Lotus-Los Angeles, My Morning Jacket-Evil Urges, Times New Viking-Rip It Off
Health-Health/Disco, White Denim-Exposio, Tobacco-Fucked Up Friends, No Age-Nouns, Crystal Antlers-Crystal Antlers, Beach House-Devotion, Beck-Modern Guilt, Le Switch-Hit the Sides and Work the Middle, Mezzanine Owls-Mezzanine Owls EP, The Raconteurs-Consolers of the Lonely, Sebastian Tellier-Sexuality, Lykke Li-Youth Novels, Santogold-Santogold, Karl Malcoun & The Hectors-Sahara Swing, Dosh-Wolves and Wishes