Albums you may have missed this year…
- By Tom Noonan -
- Apr 23, 2012
In case you’ve been spending too much time listening to The Shins’ new album, attempting to get out of work to go to SXSW, or trying to figure out whether or not you like the post-hype Odd Future, here’s a list of six exceptional albums you may have missed from this year:
Cloud Nothings – ‘Attack on Memory’
At first it seems calculated, but, at its heart, ‘Attack on Memory’ is charmingly reckless. The third album by these Cleveland basement punks is as tight as a Coen Brothers plot with enough punch packed within to knock you directly on your ass. The highlight here is the surprising earworm “Stay Useless”, a song with pop potential that still sounds like its coming from the basement. Maybe it’s time for these guys to come upstairs.
Mark Lanegan Band – ‘Blues Funeral’
In this wandering, growling tour de force, Mark Lanegan employs all the production tips he learned from his sessions with Queens of the Stone Age to create perfectly polished blues. The album’s lead track, “The Gravedigger’s Song”, perfectly contrasts an aggressive pulsing riff with Lanegan’s reserved snarl. From there, Lanegan roams freely around his new, polished terrain with exceptional results.
The Men – ‘Open Your Heart’
‘Open Your Heart’ is an album that also serves as a requiem for all the instruments broken while recording it. It’s never tender. It’s never sweet. It’s all balls to the wall rock. This album is so unrelenting that the slowed down “Country Strong” may seem like a sigh of relief, but the energy here results in an album that could double as an IED Machine. Once it has your heart rate at capacity, ‘Open Your Heart’ is quick to live up to its name. It’ll get to your heart as long it doesn’t make it burst.
Simone Felice – ‘Simone Felice’
Simone Felice started playing music with his brothers in a New York City subway, and his solo debut finds Simone unadorned with all the amenities his brothers have recently found so inviting. On tracks like “New York Times” and “Gimme All You Got”, Simone seems uninterested with the hype surrounding Bon Iver and manages to out-melancholy the cabin-dwelling folk god. A Grammy may not be next for Simone Felice, but a somewhat inexplicable friendship with a famous rapper would be nice.
Band of Skulls – ‘Sweet Sour’
Almost three years after releasing their criminally underrated debut, Band of Skulls seem to be recording with a well-positioned chip on their shoulder. Their second album, ‘Sweet Sour’, manages not to get bogged down in going big and remains simple in all the right ways. It features the same mixture of breakneck rock and roll with a few moments of excellently distilled warmth fans displayed on their debut. In a world without The White Stripes, these frill-less stompers are something to hold onto.
Wooden Sky – ‘Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon A Sun’
On their third album, The Wooden Sky are as gloomy and self-referential as ever, but amid lead singer Gavin Gardener’s despair lie undeniable alt-folk gems that make this record impossible to turn away from. These guys are close with The Rural Alberta Advantage because of shared Canadian roots. This friendship makes a lot of sense because on ‘Every Child’, The Wooden Sky sounds like a band poised to breakthrough.
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