In case you missed it, here’s a demo of a new song by The xx called Open Eyes.
A good rule of thumb for making a year-end list: Ask yourself will you still play this album in a year or two? That thinking has me rating Thee Oh Sees much higher than Tune-Yards on this year’s best albums list. Even though WHOKILL is a really interesting album, Thee Oh Sees are just a whole lot more fun.
Click here for the rest of the list, Nos. 21-40. Here’s my top 20 of 2011:
20. Ty Segall – Goodbye Bread: A much more refined offering than last year’s scorcher Melted.
19. Dum Dum Girls – Only in Dreams: It’s maybe better than the band’s first album — great old-school, girl group rock.
18. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake: Framing war through images of World War I’s toll on England, this is one of the greatest albums she’s made in years.
17. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong: These guys bring the rock for their second album. No, really.
16. Fucked Up – David Comes to Life: Forget that it’s a concept album — or a punk rock opera. It’s just as hard as the older stuff.
There was so much good music released in 2011 that I find it’s actually hard to confine a list to the top 40. These are some of the albums that struck me as interesting, exciting or irresistible.
I’ll count down from 40 to 1 in two posts.
40. Bass Drum of Death – GB City: This is such a fun debut from two guys from Mississippi. It rocks hard.
39. The Obits – Moody, Standard and Poor: Indie vet Rick Froberg plays stripped down, loud rock ‘n’ roll.
38. Male Bonding – Endless Now: Great second album from these London punks.
37. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lenses Alien: Band pays respectable homage to Pavement.
36. The Babies – The Babies: What do you get when you cross Woods with the Vivian Girls? A pretty boss album.
Wilco kicked off a week full of performances in Chicago with a big show at the Civic Opera House Monday night. Playing almost 30 songs, the band ran through its catalog from A.M. to its newest album, The Whole Love. The band drew heavily from both The Whole Love and the classic Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, playing more than half the songs off each album. (Only one song from the brilliant Summerteeth was played – Shot in the Arm.) The new songs worked their way into the set seamlessly alongside Wilco classics. Almost every song seemed to be played with added vigor, contributing to an even bigger sound in the acoustically blessed venue. The stage’s wintery backdrop gave the show a theatrical feel.
It was a great start to what promises to be an exciting string of shows in Wilco’s hometown. The two-hour concert was punctuated by two encores. For the final encore, opener Nick Lowe joined the band to play his late ’70s hit Cruel to Be Kind and Mavis Staples came out to sing You Are Not Alone from her Jeff Tweedy-produced album from last year. To finish up, Staples and Lowe joined Wilco for a cover of The Band’s song The Weight, sending boomers in the audience into a frenzy.
XRT just posted a clip of the first song from last night’s show, One Sunday Morning, on YouTube:
For last night’s set list, click here.
Wilco’s The Whole Love isn’t as cohesive as the band’s two best albums, Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Indeed, it doesn’t rank among the very best Wilco albums, but it is the strongest release the band has put out in years. Rather than a thematic offering, The Whole Love seems like more of a collection of songs spanning the band’s various styles over the years. There’s nothing wrong with that. I like the album so much that it will rank second on my list of top albums this year behind Girls’ Father, Son, Holy Ghost. (Look for the list this week.)
Wilco starts a five-night stand in Chicago tonight, playing the Civic Opera House. I’m excited about the show as this is a new and unorthodox venue. The band previously played some great shows at another historic setting, Auditorium Theatre, several years ago. After tonight, Wilco plays the Riv, the Vic, Metro and Lincoln Hall. Nick Lowe opens tonight. There will be different opening acts throughout the week.
From the first song on Deer Tick’s new album Divine Providence, you can tell this is going to be a departure from the rootsy sound of Born on Flag Day. Divine Providence is mostly a party album with plenty of highs and lows, and a bit of twang.
Check out the new video for the single Main Street off the new album.
Check out the trippy homage to the former governor of California in this video for Gauntlet Hair’s Top Bunk. The song appears on Gauntlet Hair’s self-titled debut, which just came out in October.