A little later than we had planned, but here is the second instalment of the best albums of the year to date.
15. Frog Eyes – Tears of the Valedictorian
The Canuck triumvirate of Krug, Behar and Mercer has done more to expand my musical landscape than many others in recent years. While previous Frog Eyes releases have seemed overly idiosyncratic and needlessly complex it is probably the education I have received at the hands of the Swan Lakers over the last two years that have opened my mind up to the beauty of Mercer’s music. Mercer’s ability to create phrases of lyrical splendor amongst a tumultuous backdrop of instrumental accompaniment will keep me hanging on his every word for years to come.
Frog Eyes – Bushels
14. Battles – Mirrored
I never went through a math rock phase. The rigid structural conformity, seemingly staccato rhythms and asymmetrical beats always seemed too much like self-imposed strangulation for me to really enjoy it. With Mirrored though, Battles have returned me to a genre that seemed lost. I stumble knowingly toward a cliché when I say that John Stanier’s drums are the heart of what makes Battles exceptional, but it is the sunny melodies and hopelessly contorted lyrics that makes this album stand out from the math that I’ve heard before.
Battles – Atlas
13. Dan Deacon – Spiderman of the Rings
Spiderman of the Rings trades in few half measures and small steps. Deacon’s complete insanity prefers subtraction rather than the addition of layers and the result is an animated (literally) cacophony that unfolds with spectacular precision. Read our review here.
Dan Deacon – Wham City
12. Sibot – In With The Old
The sole South African representative in the bunch; this veteran of the SA music scene I has finally made the album we have been waiting for. While his projects have varied from hip hop acts to the jazz kaleidoscope that is Closet Snare, Sibot’s solo work has always been teetering on the brink of true success. With a more restrained performance and some inspired sampling In With The Old may just be the album to make Sibot the house hold name we all know he should be. Read our review here.
Sibot – Bang on the Drum (feat Spoek Mathambo)
11. Map of Africa – Map of Africa
Sweaty, jazzy, soulful, funky, grinding, psych- rock. However you want to classify this heaving monster, the adjectives are unlikely to reflect the fact that Map of Africa is DJ Harvey and Thomas Bullock, better known for their house and electroclash forays respectively. Rock will rule the dancefloor.