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10 Favorite Albums of the Year (So Far)
Daft Punk Random Access Memories
Random Access Memories, the fourth proper studio album from Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo delivers a mix of disco, soft rock, prog-pop, Broadway-style pop and of course, their stadium-dance sound. The series of songs takes the listener on a cohesive trip through different decades with an extreme attention to detail.
The Knife Shaking the Habitual
The Knife waited seven years to release a proper follow-up to the mysterious electro-pop album Silent Shout. Shaking the Habitual includes peculiar pop songs set against industrial rhythms. It is the Knife's most political, ambitious and accomplished album to date.
Justin Timberlake The 20/20 Experience
On his first album since 2006, The 20/20 Experience, Justin Timberlake explores his range, mixing up different genres and traditional song structures. The 20/20 Experience is more ambitious and judicious than his first album, Justified, and more consistent than his sophomore release, FutureSex/LoveSounds. The title implies a certain clarity of vision which he accomplishes on this third studio album.
Woman, the first album by the enigmatic duo, Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal, radiates tenderness, grace, sensuality and innocence. There is Milosh’s voice, a gorgeous countertenor that many listeners have mistaken for a woman’s. Rhye’s arrangements involve many elements (strings, horns, synths) but use each only sparingly in order to give Milosh’s vocals the floor.There is also a mystery behind this band and it is undoubtedly by design. The pair refuse to say where the group’s name come from and their full names don’t appear anywhere in the liner notes of their debut album which makes them all the more intriguing.
The Flaming Lips The Terror
The Flaming Lips' career spans more than 30 years, with many prominent achievements along the way. Their latest achievement, The Terror, is a tremendous and somewhat dark record that shows that this veteran group still has a sense of musical wonder that many younger bands are unable sustain beyond an album or two.
DJ Koze Amygdala
DJ Koze is a German-based based producer named Stefan Kozalla. On his latest album he takes you on a bold tour around techno's luminescent edges. It is definitely one of the quirkiest and most captivating albums of the year so far.
Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires of the City
This is a well thought-out album. The lyrics are great and the music that accompanies brings you to unexpected places. It is a more grown-up album compared to their two previous releases. There is more air, spontaneity and dynamics on this record and the themes are much more serious. Anyone who has been unsure about this band should give this album a spin.
Laura Mvula Sing To The Moon
Laura Mvula's debut album, Sing To The Moon, is instrumentally packed, timelessly produced, agreeably breezy and totally indifferent to genre. Laura attended Birmingham Conservatoire and you can hear her formal training on Sing To The Moon. Her voice is classically beautiful but there’s enough eccentricity to keep it interesting throughout the album.
Foxygen We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic
We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic is the second release from L.A. duo, Sam France and Jonathan Rado. Their latest release channels Mick Jagger, Lou Reed, and The Kinks but with a playfulness. Richard Swift, the producer of Ambassadors, follows the band's songwriting cues wherever they may lead in order to create their particular sound. It doesn't hurt that France is a perspicacious storyteller and lyricist.
Laura Marling Once I Was An Eagle
Once I Was An Eagle is a dark, angry and cunning folk album made over ten days with just a cellist and carefully-placed drums, piano and organ providing accompaniment. It is amazing that Laura is only 23 years old and making such honest music that is able to sift through the detritus of her past.