6. Timber Timbre - Timber Timbre
A mysterious, deep, and dark album, Timber Timbre's self titled album features simple but moving folk songs. The music explores emotions and themes that many artists are not able to go near. Asking questions such as "Will you beg for forgiveness?/Will you pray to be saved?/Will you choke your children when they spit in your face?" just give a glimpse at the themes explored in this album. The songs can be uncomfortable at times, yet there is great craftsmanship and beauty behind each carefully written lyric.
Favourites: Demon Host, No Bold Villian, We'll Find Out
7. The xx - xx
This abum is almost the anti-Merriweather Post Pavilion. The album features simple guitars, simple drums, quiet vocals, and simple silence to make a spectacular album. There isn't one particular element of the album that stands out, yet it is easy to get lost in the music. The female and male vocals going back and forth working together in fine form. It is hard to describe what it is that makes this album so special, yet it is.
Favourites: Intro, Islands, Shelter
8. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
When this album came out in January, many hailed it as a strong contender for album of the year. Fast forward almost 12 months and this album is at the top of many year end lists (exclaim, Spin, surely pitchfork). This album is not for the faint of heart. The vocals, the sampled loops, the noises, everything is done with great detail. The creative burst of this album can be overwhelming at first, but after a few listens the power of this album really grows. At times some songs can seem to long and overindulgent, but it is definitely an album to behold.
Favourites: Summertime Clothes, Bluish, My Girls, Brother Sport
9. U2 - No Line On The Horizon
This seemed to be a love it or hate it album. Some viewed it as their best album for many years, while the usual U2 haters used it as more fodder in their cannon of hate. It certainly is not a "safe" album, although a song like Get On Your Boots did sound like they were trying too hard to make a Vertigo/Elevation type of song. The album was also overshadowed by the colossal world tour that accompanied it. However a 7 plus minute song three songs in shows that U2 are not constrained by trying to make radio friendly songs, but instead are allowed to let their creativity pour out how they see fit. Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois returned on this album, contributing guitars and vocals at various points. While Bono's voice may not be what it once is, he still delivers a passionate effort, and the Edge continues to provide his classic guitar sounds. This album sounds like a band making the music that they want to make, and something they are proud of, even if everybody does not like it.
Favourites: Moment of Surrender, No Line on the Horizon, Cedars of Lebanon
10. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
This French band has been kicking around as long as Coldplay, yet it wasn't until the release of the single 1901 that the music world really took notice. The blogosphere was all over this song, and then the album was released. And the hype did not die down, receiving critical acclaim and picking up a new multitude of fans in the process. The entire album is filled with catchy songs making it easy to get into, yet months later it still remains fresh and exciting. When making those playlists of music that you love but your friend might not necessarily know, be sure to chuck on a song like 1901 or Lisztomania.
Favourites: 1901, Lisztomania