Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
They stripped back the excesses of the disappointing Neon Bible to write, not just songs but an ALBUM…the art-form the mp3 generation has started ignored. This is an album that has to be listened from start to finish to be appreciated, an album that generation needs. The Arcade Fire were in danger of being ‘overhyped’, but with this album, they are now ‘essential’.
Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky
14 years after 1996’s Soundtracks for the Blind, M. Gira reformed Swans. Its a slightly different beast now as he bring in some of the style of his post-Swans project, Angels of Light into the mix. It still challenging listen like all of M. Gira work. The pieces are meditative and takes time to build up. When they reach a climax, its a hard rhythmic pounding sound. Like meditation, you’ll either love it or hate it, but if you stick with it, you might gain enlightenment! Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another 14 years.
Kylesa – Spiral Shadows
Spiral Shadows is one helluva catchy album. Sludge-metal-psychedelic jams filled with riffs that stick in your mind. 5th album in, they’ve fined tuned the guitar sounds, the interplay of the vocals of Philip Cope and Laura Pleasants, the tricky two drummer set-up, everything layers together to produce to glorious head banging sludge fest! Their best album to date.
The National – High Violet
This band is like wine that gets better with age. The instrumentation is simple yet beautiful (strummed/shimmery guitars/piano and keyboard placed at the right moments). Vocalist’s Matt Berninger’s lyrics (You and your sister live in a Lemonworld, I want to sit in and die in Lemonworld, I was afraid I’d eat your brains, Cause I’m evil in Conversation 16, etc) sneaks out of the music at different points to grab your attention. But the true star is drummer Bryan Devendorf whose drum composition sets them apart from other bands.