I realize that for this section I might need to make a few purchases. (Note: I picked up number 7 after I wrote this).
10: Spoon: They Want My Soul
I’m not the first to say this (it seems a running theme in all their reviews and listings in the best-of lists) but Spoon is the most consistent band in rock. Each album delivers what you expect from a Spoon album while at the same time constantly surprising you. If you have followed this list and don’t recognize any bands on it, this is the one to start with. They won’t disappoint.
- Grouper: Ruins
Most albums I look up the lyrics to get the full idea of the album. I refuse to do that with this one. Gothic and dreamy, it’s a perfect album to listen to while alone with a cup of tea or trying to fall asleep. It’s more of a document to a certain period in someone’s life including the beep of the microwave.
- Lydia Loveless: Somewhere Else
This is the best country release that no one heard. Yet, it is more than a country album, it’s also a rock album, a punk album. In fact, classifying good music is often stupid because good albums, like this one, defy classification. Like Taylor Swift, ex-boyfriends can be targets like on the song “Chris Issak” about a boyfriend who used to sing that singers songs to her. Unlike Taylor Swift, she can write a depressing song about “Head.” But, I haven’t heard the new Taylor Swift album so I may be wrong.
- Pallbearer: Foundations of Burden.
I discovered Pallbearer a few years ago, but forgot about them. Then I saw them open for Deafheaven. Deafheaven is one of my favorite bands and they were just as good as them that night. Their version of doom metal is slow, melodic, and, of course, heavy. I worry about their guitar sting budget. On the first album, the leader singer, Brett Campbell, tried to hard to reach certain sounds. On this one, he only tries to sound like himself. This is the album for people who love heavy music but also like good vocals such as Black Sabbath. If the 14 year old version of myself had heard this album, I would have grown out my hair, converted my wardrobe to Iron Maiden T-shirts, and learned how to play bass guitar.
- Strand of Oaks: Heal
“Goshen ‘97” is the best opening song on album this year. J. Mascis provides some of his finest guitar work in years on this song. It’s such a good song not only does Timothy Showalter, the main force behind Strand of Oaks, makes a cheesy lyric such as “That’s where the magic began” not only work, but essential to the song. The rest of the album explores different music styles all successful. The next best song “JM” is a haunting tribute to one of Stand of Oaks idols, Jason Molina. Strand of Oaks will be playing at my favorite New Orleans festival this year, Hogs for the Cause. . Considering Drive-By Tuckers will also be there, this is the show I can’t wait to see.
Tomorrow the top five.