Twenty Twenty Twenty Four

Hours to go or something.

Quickly approaching the deadline for making this favorite’s list so lets give the short summary idea another shot.  Here’s the list of other albums I thought were above average enjoyable this year.

Menomena – Moms:  The band lost the “creative” one of the group, Brent Knopf.  It seems like it made the remaining guys kind of hit the reset button.  While Moms may not be as diverse (or dense) as their last few albums this is still a very musically stimulating album, very much in the same vein as the rest of their work.  Losing a founding member seems to have caused them to pare down and refocus.  The result is a tighter, catchier version of the group.  This album was probably heavily overlooked, but if you talked to me within the last half of the year I probably mentioned how much I enjoyed this album.  Hopefully, the refocus will prompt a more prolific output compared to previous releases as I’m already excited for what’s next.

Passion Pit – Gossamer:  This album was met with skepticism by me at first.  However, instead of finding the assumed evolution into a full on pop group this album took a direction towards being more stripped down.  Sure, they’re an electronic music group, so that is obviously a very part of their music writing recipe.  However I was surprised to see a heavy dose raw  vocal parts (I always disliked the use of electronic distortion on the lyrics in their first album), and less electronically augmented portions of their songs.  This album proved that the group can make music that is not just a product of studio tools, but could take their songs to an acoustic setting without losing anything.  The last track of the album, “Where We Belong” definitely made my favorites of the year … an epic+.

Death Grips – The Money Store:  This is my vote for favorite new group this year.  Another year, another side project for Zach Hill.  Hill’s drumming isn’t as prominent as his other bands, but that’s because this band is clearly on a different level than anything else around.  It’s hard to describe the type of music the group makes.  I guess it’s rap/hip-hop as the lyrics are basically screamed at the listener.  The music is a disturbing sonic assault on the ears.  When the group wants to they venture into the pop atmosphere.  When they do it’s usually in the form of an absolute banger.  Check the single below, and if you haven’t heard of these guys I urge you to venture on, but be sure to wear your seatbelt.

Crystal Castles – III: They keep doing what they do.  They keep making albums I can’t stop listening to.  This album fucking rules.

Grizzly Bear – Shields:  Much like their Brooklyn friends and counterparts, Dirty Projectors this album finds the group honing their style into well crafted pop songs.  This is by far their easiest to swallow and catchiest album.  Considering the praise they’ve garnered for releases in the past it’s hard for me to understand how this didn’t end up more highly regarded by the online music blogging community.  But I guess making good rock music can’t live up to making really boring R&B albums for white kids these days.

Foxygen – Take the Kids Off Broadway:  Ok, they only have this EP out.  Ok, they blatantly rip off The Rolling Stones.  This album is still awesome, fun, and made by an actual band that plays actual instruments!!! Imagine that.  I highly recommend checking them out.

The rest of the list below was already covered in my ‘half year’ review posted here.  You’ll notice that some of the albums on that list aren’t below which basically means I didn’t find their staying power strong enough to merit mention

Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls … after the hype machine slowed down it was easier to get behind this group.  The album is good.  I hope I get a chance to see them live.

Hospitality – Self Titled: This album is great great great great great great great good great and good.  I can put this on any time and it will make me smile. Another ‘hope to see’ band.

Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself: A. Bird is getting less dark and depressing and more folksy. It’s ok because it’s still great.

Howler – America Give Up:  Hoping for more good things in the future from this young pseudo punk band from sunny Minnesota.

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