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5. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Some Loud Thunder
There is no sitting in the fence with CYHSY. You either love them or hate them. I understand the arguments, he can’t sing, the lyrics are reasonably banal and there is little to speak of in the musical arrangements. I don’t care, I love them and for me Some Loud Thunder picked off right where their debut left off. Alec Ounsworth still has the ability to transfix my imagination in a way few vocalists can. My only criticism of the album is the ridiculous low fi version of Underwater (You and Me) which Ounsworth did a far better job of on an unofficial EP release. Had it made it the album, it would have been the standout.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Mama Won’t You Keep Those Castles in the Air and Burning
4. Andrew Bird – Armchair Apochrypha
While I expressed my disappointment at Andrew Bird’s follow up to 2005’s Mysterious Production of Eggs I was careful to include many disclaimers. While I thought the tone and feel had suffered at the hand of meticulous production Bird’s work is still of such an exceptional quality to warrant its place in the top 10. Bird is just quite simply one of the greatest performing artists of our generation. Enough said.
Andrew Bird – Plasticities
3. Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sunk
While I have never had great affection for the previous 2000 Modest Mouse albums, this gem provided my surprise for the year. For the first time ever I got what the fuss is about and started to understand why Modest Mouse have been on top of the indie rock game since I was in long socks and short pants. While they have probably moved away from their hard core (a testament to the fact that I liked the album) the band has been at the core of independent music for so long expanding their appeal was almost inevitable. Well a few more Modest Mouse fans can’t hurt.
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Modest Mouse – Fly Trapped In a Jar
2. Panda Bear – Person Pitch
If one were to perceive all music as an infinite universe of galaxies, solar systems, planets and stars, one could navigate its vastness in a spacecraft or perhaps more randomly, on the back of a cold and flaming comet. No matter where these vehicles of taste ventured, there would exist at any given time a small constellation or even a single planet that felt most appropriate. Panda Bear inhabits this constellation. Read the review here.
Panda Bear – Bros
1. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
DON: While I almost certain that the Muso is going to launch into a verbose, flowery explanation of all things wonderful about Neon Bible I will just say this. It is as close to perfection as any album I have heard in the last year. Quite an unpopular stand is that it rises to Funeral’s potential and then far outstrips it. Simply the best album of the year so far. Full stop.
MUSO: No verbosity here. It has only grown in my estimation since I wrote the review.