1. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimist
Earlier this year, Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead declared that Grizzly Bear is his favourite band. Call it the Oprah effect, but now everybody wants in on the Grizzly Bear action. Jay-Z was spotted at one of their shows this summer, and even Michale McDonald of the Doobie Brothers lent his vocals for a b-side version of While You Wait For The Others. Basically Grizzly Bear, the indie darlings, made it huge this year. The first single Two Weeks had a power of its own, the opening piano notes, the catchy chorus, the harmonizing vocals. After being stuck in the heads of indie hipsters and not so indie hipsters for weeks the album finally dropped. But don't drop it too hard, since each and every note in the song is carefully crafted. The timing of each wave of percussion, each set of harmonizing vocals, every pluck on the bass. While it is apparent great care was taken in the recording of the album, this in no way detracts from the grandness of the whole thing. While You Wait For The Others is proof of this, one of the best overall songs of the year. While the album may not click on the first listen, a few listens in show why this album has spurred on a new group of Grizzly Bear fans.
Favourites: While You Wait For The Others, Two Weeks, Southern Point, Foreground
2. Metric - Fantasies
Some albums take a few listens to make their impact. But not Fantasies. Metric bring their A-game to the table delivering over forty straight minutes of pop with meaning, rock with soul, and the sounds of finely crafted songs. The album opens up with the first single Help I'm Alive, almost a cry to show that this album is alive, that there is something behind the drums, bass, guitars, and vocals. Don't blink, as soon as its over it is straight into Sick Muse continuing the themes of love, real love, mirages of love, and finally stadium love. Metric is at their finest here, with a healthy mix of guitar and synth sounds. Emily is in peak form delivering some of her best lyrics of her career, including the unforgettable question of "Who would you rather be: the Beatles or the Rolling Stones" in Gimme Sympathy.
Favourites: Sick Muse, Blindness, Satellite Mind