And so its the end of the year again (or the start) and we have listened to an awful lot of music, the people here. And two of us managed to churn out some words on what we consider as our favorite albums of 2011. So enjoy, hope it proves to function both as a tip sheet and as a salute to good music.
05. Little Dragon – Ritual Union (Peacefrog Records)
Those first two tracks, ‘Ritual Union’ and ‘Little Man’, I mean, stop the album, you just can’t beat that. Those two songs have me completely entranced, and honestly I couldn’t tell you how any of the other songs go until I hear them, because my whole mind just gets consumed by the best one-two opening punch since yonkers. Singer Yakumi Nagano, on the title track, heart wrenchingly narrates about “Ritual unions got me in trouble again”, about the contradictory feelings of marriage versus love and lust. I’ve played that song to death , I really have.
And if that isn’t enough, they just about manage to honour the mixtape golden rule (first song must be great, second song must be even better) with ‘Little Man’, of which I love the instrumentation so much. Fast paced, it has got this anxiety to it, this energy, this rawness. And the delivery of Nagano fits in perfectly with that. “Something missing in your smile / something missing in your soul”, and perhaps this should be the Occupy Wall Street anthem, because I feel those two things might have something or another to do with money. The rest of the album is just bonus after that, but what a bonus it still is. It doesn’t beat out the opening tunes of this album, but honestly, nothing this year really does, and that dynamic duo makes you just want to listen to this album over and over again.
Seconds (vocal version) by Little Dragon
05. CANT - Dreams come true (Terrible records)
With most side projects, I don’t really get the point. They sound marginally the same as the original band, with a slightly different line-up, and don’t seem to do anything they couldn’t have done using the original line-up. With CANT, it’s surprisingly different. Chris Taylor, the angelic apparition playing bass/clarinet/flute and doing backing vocals in the rather wonderful indie/folk band Grizzly Bear, decided this year it was time for GB side project that trumps Department of Eagles. And whatever you might expect from a multi-instrumentalist like Taylor, it probably wouldn’t be this album. Especially in a live setting, it’s outright danceable, with it’s beat driven songs and admirable guitar riffs played by Taylor-produced Blood Orange.
The only recognizable feature is Taylor’s voice, which fits remarkably well both Grizzly Bear tracks as it does with this mixture of electro and experimental folk. What’s maybe even more surprising is Chris Taylor’s modesty and apparent apprehension on stage. He seems genuinely surprised Grizzly Bear fans like this side of the musical spectrum as well, and seems a bit hesitant to be the centre of attention for once. But with tracks ‘Believe’ and title track ‘Dreams Come True’ there’s no reason to be shy. With a bit of practice this might even outshine Grizzly Bear itself.
02 Believe by Transdreamer Records