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So far the Shins, Beach House and Japandroids are tops for me. The Beach House album is gorgeous. The Japandroids is great but it feels like Post-Nothing pt. 2.

 

that is my issue with the new Japandroids too... i feel like it's a cleaner/bigger sounding Post Nothing with not as great of hooks/tunes.

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#1 by a mile -- Father John Misty Fear Fun

 

Others bubbling up:

 

Sharon Van Etten

Shearwater

Alabama Shakes

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Cleaners From Venus - Stopping Train

All you fans of Syd Barrett, Robyn Hitchcock, XTC, Kinks, et. al.: take notice. A collection of outtakes, b-sides, etc. from Martin Newell and company is always worth a listen. First listen, only a few songs in, and it's a wonderful bunch of homespun English pop (not "Britpop").

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Surprised there's no mention of Dr. Dog. Yes Be The Void is not their best record, but I have enjoyed it very much. It's a much more raw, free sound compared to their other material.. Definitely one of my favorites of 2012.

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that is my issue with the new Japandroids too... i feel like it's a cleaner/bigger sounding Post Nothing with not as great of hooks/tunes.

 

I honestly don't know how much longer they can stretch their sound...and I don't see them doing another album. I have enjoyed the singles series and have been anticipating the album for a while. Don't get me wrong, I like it a lot, but I can't help but feel somewhat disappointed by the results. I think it was kind of a cop-out by adding Younger Us to the album, albeit a re-recorded version. It's my favorite Japandroid song and perfectly encapsulates their sound/feel, but I have had that song for almost 2 years now. I guess I set my hopes too high...

 

On a related note, the single/album were waiting on me this afternoon when I got home from work.

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Surprised there's no mention of Dr. Dog. Yes Be The Void is not their best record, but I have enjoyed it very much. It's a much more raw, free sound compared to their other material.. Definitely one of my favorites of 2012.

They are opening for Wilco later on this year.

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They are opening for Wilco later on this year.

 

Yeah, that's going to be an awesome bill... Pretty much a dream show of mine, although a little too far for me to make the journey.

 

The Wilco's will have to bring their A-game or Dr. Dog could potentially blow them off the stage... ;)

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I honestly don't know how much longer they can stretch their sound...and I don't see them doing another album. I have enjoyed the singles series and have been anticipating the album for a while. Don't get me wrong, I like it a lot, but I can't help but feel somewhat disappointed by the results. I think it was kind of a cop-out by adding Younger Us to the album, albeit a re-recorded version. It's my favorite Japandroid song and perfectly encapsulates their sound/feel, but I have had that song for almost 2 years now. I guess I set my hopes too high...

 

On a related note, the single/album were waiting on me this afternoon when I got home from work.

 

not that they're *THAT* similar, but check out this Technicolor Teeth album:

 

http://technicolorteeth.bandcamp.com/

 

in particular these tracks 'Station Wagon', 'Chrystalline', and 'Kiss Lighter FM'. been loving their record lately. it's like a great mix of Dinosaur Jr.'s sludge, Wavves surf pop and maybe een some GBV lo-fi, all with quite catchy hooks often still too. production isn't great obviously, but it works for me.

 

personally i like this way more than the new Cloud Nothings album as far as 90's rehash sounding records go.

 

#1 by a mile -- Father John Misty Fear Fun

 

Others bubbling up:

 

Sharon Van Etten

Shearwater

Alabama Shakes

 

def agree on FJM + SVE, top 5 for sure for me.

 

Shearwater i can't really take Jonathan's voice on record, but live they're quite captivating. they were killer opening for St. Vincent few weeks back so i need to revisit Animal Joy again. and while i'm pretty ho-hum on the Shakes album, but can't wait to see them in August.

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Sun Kil Moon - Among The Leaves

Father John Misty - Fear Fun

Guided by Voices - Class Clown Eats a UFO

Advance Base - A Shut-in's Prayer

Jay Farrar/Will Johnson/Jim James/Anders Parker - New Multitudes

Rufus Wainwright - Out of The Game

David Myhr - Soundshine

Chuck Prophet - Temple Beautiful

Smash Palace - Do It Again

Damien Jurado - Maraqopa

Peter Bruntnell - Ringo woz ere

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These are records I've given a fair listen to so far and how much I've enjoyed them:

 

Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself (B+ High expectations mostly met)

Beach House - Bloom (B+ See above)

Father John Misty - Fear Fun (B Solid record and one I actually prefer to Fleet Foxes' most recent release)

Grimes - Visions (B- Was really digging this initially but I've cooled on it a bit)

Japandroids - Celebration Rock (A- Really fun rock and roll)

Julia Holter - Ekstasis (A Prettyprettypretty)

Lambchop - Mr. M (B+ Honestly my first exposure to Lambchop but I love it. Bill Callahan-esque, or is it the other way around?)

Lotus Plaza - Spooky Action at a Distance (B I've always enjoyed his songs on Deerhunter records, here's an album's worth)

Polica - Give You the Ghost (A- My Minneapolis bias might be showing but this is a really fresh debut)

Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light (A Right up there with the best-of so far. Just great songs)

Ty Segall and White Fence - Hair (A- Wild, loud, crunchy)

 

Still waiting on the new Dirty Projectors record. I've got a feeling it's going to be the one.

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Joe Walsh-Analog Man

 

not bad. it's produced by jeff lynn so it sounds like full moon fever production for walsh :)

Least. Favorite. Producer.

Every production sounds the same. Like Jeff Lynne.

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Jay Farrar/Will Johnson/Jim James/Anders Parker - New Multitudes

 

 

Crap. How'd I forget that one? So awesome.

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This one comes out today and I am really looking forward to picking it up:

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Kelly Hogan is one of the finest and most musically astute vocalists working in American popular music' date=' but this seems to be better understood by her peers than the general public. Hogan cut a pair of fine albums for Bloodshot Records near the turn of the millennium, but they failed to find an audience, and she has since become best known for her fine work as Neko Case's backing vocalist, while she's performed with an array of artists from Tortoise, the Drive-By Truckers, and the Mekons to Amy Ray,Jakob Dylan, and Mavis Staples. Given her busy schedule working with others, it seemed an open question if Hogan would ever get around to making another record of her own, but I Like to Keep Myself in Pain not only puts her in the spotlight where she belongs, it's an instant classic that's as strong as any record that she's appeared on, no small achievement given her résumé. For I Like to Keep Myself in Pain, Hogan asked a number of her favorite songwriters to contribute tunes for the project, and they responded with some first-class material; "Ways of the World" by the late Vic Chesnutt is a Southern gothic that could have come from the pen of Bobbie Gentry; "We Can't Have Nice Things" by Jack Pendarvis & Andrew Bird is a pointed study of love and strife; "Daddy's Little Girl" by M. Ward is an epic-scale fantasy seen through the eyes of Frank Sinatra, and "Plant White Roses" is a marvelous countrypolitain weeper from Stephen Merritt. Hogan was also fortunate enough to recruit a superb studio band for these sessions, including legendary keyboardist Booker T. Jones, guitarist Scott Ligon(a frequent collaborator with Terry Adams and NRBQ), bassist Gabriel Roth (one of Sharon Jones' Dap-Kings), and drummer James Gadson (who has worked with everyone from Ray Charles to Paul McCartney), who navigate the music's stylistic shifts with imagination and a sure hand. But this album is truly Hogan's triumph; she has a marvelous voice, to be certain, but just as importantly, she possesses a rare gift for inhabiting the characters of these songs, and her performances here are both musically satisfying and emotionally compelling, finding the truth at the heart of each song and never letting it go. Hogan also works brilliantly with her accompanists, fitting artfully into the arrangements rather than riding herd over them. At a time when the ability to freakishly bend a note has become the standard by which many judge a vocalist, Hogan's style is refreshingly simple, honest, and strikes its target on every track; whether she's tackling country, pop, supper-club blues, or uptempo R&B, she can sing it right and make you a believer, and I Like to Keep Myself in Pain is the triumphant showcase her talent has deserved for far too long.
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Just picked up that Kelly Hogan album. Does it live up to the 4.5-star review that I quoted above? Can't really say after only one listen, but I can say that it is goddamn good and I am glad that I grabbed it. We'll see how it grows with me. I can see it growing into a 4.5-star album. For sure. Should make my year-end top 5, even in a year this strong.

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