internationally renowned boaster's favorites of 2011






The clerks at the house of irb have been steadily working through the submission for 2011's best of list. These efforts have been more difficult than in past years and as a result we have had to call in additional resources to handle the influx of goodness. Further, a mis-delivered pallet of Galo boxed wine has resulted in a significant drop in productivity. That coupled with our office manager disappearing for 3 days has left us screeching in at the last moment with our official list. In no particular order except for the first 3.....

Portugal, the man: In the Mountain, In the Cloud. If this was the only new album for 2011 I would have called it a great year. This year's Miike Snow + MGMT.

Tegan and Sara: Get Along. Not new material yet so refreshing and full of energy. I've possibly already overplayed this one.

Radiohead: The King of Limbs. Familiar but different. Always epic.

tUne-yArDs: WHOKILL. Loved Gangsta when it came out and the full release help up to that standard. A very welcome departure from everything else out there.

Tinariwen: Tassilli. makes sense that people leaving in the desert would come up with such simple yet rich sounds.

Beirut: Rip Tide. No big departures which is good. I love everything they do.

The Kills: Blood Pressures. As this came out earlier in the year I had forgotten how great it was. Several re-listens have me back on board in a big way.

The Drums: Portamento. 2 yr running on my top list. I think it is OK to like happy music with quirky lyrics.

Ryan Adams: Ashes & Fire. There were several alt country artists catching me this year but this was the best.

The Antlers: Burst Apart. So much good music to boast to this year.

Could've been on the list: Wild Flag, M83, Lykki Ki, head and the heart, Shabazz Palaces, Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter,Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside......

Also, in the category of not new but new to me:
Joan as Police Woman: The deep field.

And with that, we here at the house of irb wish you all a pleasant afternoon regardless of the time you read this.

irb
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internationally renowned boaster's favorites of 2010



As much as I was underwhelmed with 2009's new releases, 2010 has been crazy good, good enough for two strong years.  It's been fun and impossible to try to keep up with everything that is going on right now.  I'm loving the noise/post punk resurgence as well as the 80's throwback.   What is really exciting is that so many of the top albums are first releases.  Already looking forward to the follow up releases in 2011.  Maybe the only negative for me is the lack of world beats on my list.  It is probably more due to my exposure than actual music produced.   I trust the BWS will turn in many good nuggets here.

Anyway,  here is my master list, broken down by genre and  with the top ten in bold.  The list is so solid that in a different frame of mind I could easily pick ten others.

irb
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Old School DJ
Cut Chemist - The Audience's listening
dan le sac - the logic of chance
gorilaz -plastic beach

Folk or other music that I listen to when sad or drunk or wearing handmade leather shoes
Isobela Campbell and Mark Lanegan - hawk
Ray LaMontagne - God willing..
the tallest man on earth - the wild hunt
bob dylan -the bootleg series
frightened rabbit -winter of mixed drinks

With the masses
broken bells -
deerhunter -halcyon digest
arcade fire -suburbs
mgmt - congratulations
spoon -transference

Loud
titus andronicus - the monitor
The Dead Weather - sea of cowards

the black keys -brothers

post punk
surfer blood -astro coast
sleigh bells -treats
cloud nothings - turning on
The soft pack  - the soft pack


World
asmara all stars - eritrea's got soul

British glam or similar
magic bullets - magic bullets
the drums - the drums
caribou  - swim

Electronica
girl talk -all day
Massive Attack - heligoland
lcd soundsystem - this is happening

gotan project -tango 3.0
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The Podcast Cafe's Favorite Music of 2009

Top 10 Favorite Albums of 2009
The xx, Phoenix, Iron & Wine, Miike Smith, Neko Case & the Japandroids receive valuable multiple vote-points in annual renowned world-famous poll of the SBWS tastemakers -- Nirvana roars back, P. Jam snoozes and Big Debate over Wilco (The Album)



DJ Fundi:

Fever Ray's "Fever Ray"
Welder's "Vines and Streams"
The xx's "xx"
Heyoka's "Gate Code"
Cymbals Eat Guitars' "Why There Are Mountains"
The Cave Singers' "Welcome Joy"
Built to Spill's "There is No Enemy"
Dirty Projectors' "Bitte Orca"
Tinariwen's "Imidiwan"
ill.gates' "Autopirate"

A mix of genres served in good proportion: electronica/whomp/dub (4), guitar rock (2), weird folk (1), avant-garde pop (2) and African (1). Very pleased with each one of these and expect to listen to them for the ages. Most of the artists are brand new to me, so maybe I'm still in the honeymoon phase? Built to Spill is the only oldie but goodie to me, and I was stoked to hear Doug & Co. roar back with a solid album full of beauty, heartache and soaring guitar solos.

Honorable mentions:

Sonic Youth's "The Eternal"
"5: 5 Years of Hyperdub" compilation
Andras Schiff's "Bach: Six Partitas"
Neko Case's "Middle Cyclone"
DJ/Rupture's "Solar Life Raft"
Nosaj Thing's "Drift"
The Mountain Goats' "The Life of the World to Come"
Iron & Wine's "Around the Well"
Yim Yames "Tribute To George Harrison"
Bon Iver "Blood Bank"
"Dark was the Night" compilation

Most Disappointing:

Pearl Jam's "Backspacer"
To my ears, the blandest and most predictable album they've ever made -- I tried very hard to like it. Still love the boys but most of this this just sounds limp and plodding and too predictable. Instead of Backspacer, check out the band playing ferociously in peak form in 1994 at Wolfgang's Vault -- one of the best, most energetic and passionate rock performances ever, methinks.
Wilco's "Wilco (The Album)"
Not a bad album per se, only that Wilco has set the bar so damn high for themselves and I was over this one after 2 or 3 listens.
Bob Dylan "Together Through Life"
Ditto Dylan -- the first average album after a decade of amazing late-period releases.

Listen to a free podcast featuring much of the music listed above on the
main Podcast Cafe episodes page.

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Dub Marcus "K-Pop" Keeney:

Top 15 in somewhat order -- (parenthese is a good track to check out)

The xx - The xx - (crystalized)
Julian Casablancas - Phrazes for the Young (Out of the blue)
Japandroids - Post-Nothing (The boys are leaving town)
Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Lisztomania)
Bombay Bicycle Club - I had the blues but shook them loose (What If)
St. Vincent - Actor - (marrow)
Wilco - Wilco (wilco - the song)
Tegan and Sara - Sainthood  -(alligator)
The Avett Brothers -   I and Love and You- (I and Love and You)
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone   (this tornado loves you)
The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love (The Hazards of Love Pt1)
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion  - (My Girls)
Miike Snow - Miike Snow   (animal)
U2 - No Line on the Horizon (Magnificent)
Vieux Farka Toure - Fondo    (sarama)
 
Honorable mention

The Big Pink, Atlas Sound, Amadou & Mariam, brakesbrakesbrakes, Robyn Hitchcock (Live in NY I often dream of trains)
 
Couple comments
Japandroids is just pure post-punk, there is just something about this album that makes we want to grab a smashing stick and go to work, but not with anger, rather pure joy and a smile on my face.
The Decemberists album deserves the full listen with headphones, not single tracks, for it is what I would dub Storybook Folk at its best. 
Animal Collective is somewhere between ...And you will know us by the trail of the dead...and pink floyd.  So many layers in their songs I get lost and love it.
The Avett Brothers - Many of you know my long standing obstinance to country (and hesh too but that is a different story) but this album is just great song writing, plus I am a sucker for a banjo (The January Wedding.)
Neko Case has now entered my pantheon of female singers that make me swoon.  She is a mix of Tracy Thorn and Margo Timmins.
Phoenix - admitedly I am a little tired of this album nowadays, but I couldn't get enough when this first came out early in the year. Great pop that makes my bouncing leg step it up a notch.
Bombay Bicycle Club - ditto - these guys have to be fantastic live. 
Miike Snow - where they hell did they come from? Some Nordic country that Dille will have to affirm but do give them a listen, I promise you will want to stand up and march.
U2 - I know Bono's crooning can be a bit much but there are a number of tracks on this album that harken back to the glory days (Joshua Tree) mostly due to the Edge.  Definitely my guilty pleasure of the year.
Vieux Farka Toure - just like his father, this reverb fender hypnotizes me and is pure brilliance in my opinion.

Don't take my word on any of this, listen for yourself:
http://www.rhapsody.com/myrhapsody/playlists?playlistid=mp.139569964

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The Internationally Renowned Boaster:

This has been a tricky year to come up with a top 10. There are tons of really good new releases but none that I felt were far and away better than the rest. The most epic of all was the Nirvana live album. Even some that are in my top 10 I don't see being on my regular rotation like so many top 10's in the past.  As evidence to this point, in the KEXP top 90.3 albums of the decade only two were from 2009.  Some of my favorite '09 releases do not even qualify as new albums (one live, two  b-side comps and one EP).   I even went back through many of the "consensus" top albums to make sure I wasn't just in some strange socialistic music rut where everything is equal. I still don't get the fascination with Merriweather post pavilion.  Very few releases were completely solid from the first song to the last.  Too many had what I would call filler. Another example, Mos Def's "Ecstatic" has some great songs but also has some pure cheese. Anyway, before you call bullshit on my entire "2009 -the year of parody" theory, have a gander at what wheat I have separated from the chaff, in no specific order:
 
Japandroids - post nothing (I new it was special when 80% of the people I turned on to it hated it.)
Julian Plenti - Julian Plenti is....Skyscraper
The xx-xx
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Its Blitz
Nirvana - Live at Redding (this I will be listening to for the rest of my life)
Iron and Wine - Around the Well
Shabazz Palaces - Of Light
Staff Bebda Bilili - Tres Tres fort
Amadou and Miriam - Welcome to Mali
Miike Snow -Miike Snow
Modest Mouse - No One's First and You're Last
 
I am not going to give any honorable mentions as that could include countless credible albums. I will say that I do agree with K-Pop that the Decemberists latest is worthy, specifically the "Wanting Comes In Waves" track. 
 
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UPDATE: late entry by Mr. Kevin Koga
 
Steinski-What Does it All Mean
James Pants-Welcome
El Michels Affair-Enter the 37th Chamber
Major Lazer- Guns Don’t Kill People Lazers Do
Ben Sollee- Learning to Bend
K’Naan- album
Diplo- Decent Work for Decent Pay
Raphael Saadiq- The Way I See It
Common- Universal Mind Control
Tom Waits- Glitter and Doom

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Did we miss anything? Leave
your favorite albums of 2009 in the comments. Peace.
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