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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Albums that rocked our world

    Except for “”Pop Up Video””, “”best of”” lists were the only reason we tuned in to VH1 as kids. A good “”best of”” list, such as “”Best Videos of the ’90s”” or “”Best One-Hit Wonders,”” incites controversy, wraps up a genre and gives us a tingly, feel-good warmth inside our abdomens.

    This is not one of those lists. I don’t have fashion designers, music biz representatives, supermodels or Hal Sparks to comment on my selections, but I have been listening to a lot of music this year.

    Here are some of my favorites.

    1. Animal Collective – Feels
    The greatest part about this groundbreaking release is that it’s not so groundbreaking when you listen to the rest of this Baltimore band’s discography. Although Animal Collective’s seventh album is considered mild compared to older releases, Feels is breaking new territory in indie rock. Random tempo shifts and disjointed noises coincide with Arcade Fire-like shimmering guitars, creating a weird but uplifting sound. Although not every track on the latest album is devastatingly strong, the highlights, “”Grass”” and “”Did You See the Words,”” make up for the inconsistencies. Listen to this for the future.

    2. Mates of State – Bring it Back
    This album may not exactly be groundbreaking like Feels, but it’s strong and catchy instead. The Kansas couple that specializes in keyboard and drum set pop songs sounds like a poppier Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer from “”Saturday Night Live.”” Except all of their songs are cool.

    3. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
    This British band has taken the entire world by storm and is earning rave reviews from international magazines like Rolling Stone. Their debut album is all about rock and makes no qualms about it. Every song has hard-hitting guitars, banging drums and a gutsy, powerful voice. The Arctic Monkeys aren’t doing anything new, but they’re doing the old really well.

    4. The Flaming Lips – At War With the Mystics
    This Oklahoma band just cannot go wrong. Every album they produce out of their more-than-20-year career is new and exciting, not to mention creatively distinct from everything in the world. Their mix of psychedelia, Eastern rhythms, Southern rock and space noises is both listenable and entertaining. While the album has lulls in the middle (mainly instrumentals) the beginning and end are strong.

    5. Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere
    This album may have just come out last week, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less classic. Rappers Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo have produced a funkadelic soul album of the likes of Marvin Gaye, except completely fresh. Complicated rhythms, horns and a soulful voice puncture the album, making each song capable of being a single.

    6. The Streets – The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living
    Speaking of rap, this British superstar is staying true to his original fan base and creating yet another genre-defying hip-hop masterpiece. Except this time, Mike Skinner has to come to terms with his newfound fan base and sings about the pitfalls of stardom. As if there are any. But Skinner still uses unorthodox choruses and minor keys to create the distinguished dissonance that we know and love him for.

    7. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Show Your Bones
    This sophomore album shows Karen O and the band breaking out of their previous New York art-rock demeanor and turning into more polished and theatrical rock stars. Some of the tracks have hints of Southern blues and folk, reminding me of an expanded version of The White Stripes. Tracks like “”Gold Lion”” and “”Phenomenon”” are examples of their new maturity in musicianship.

    8. Destroyer – Destroyer’s Rubies
    This guy may be weird, but he’s an awesome musician. The one time I saw him in person, he was stumbling drunk at the Rialto Theatre, opening up for the New Pornographers. You had no idea what he was singing the entire time, but that’s part of his intrigue. His latest album is making waves across the music industry because of its extremely catchy choruses and powerful guitar playing.

    9. Hard Fi – Stars of CCTV
    The Clash may be dead, but that doesn’t mean punk rock is. Okay, maybe it is, but you wouldn’t know it by Hard Fi’s stunning debut album. They play three-chord punk like Sid Vicious never died, or like Johnny Rotten wasn’t an asshole. If you enjoy sticking it to the man and complaining about not having enough money to live, you’ll love this band.

    10. Belle and Sebastian – The Life Pursuit
    What can be said that hasn’t been said about this band? Belle and Sebastian makes great pop melodies that are fun to sing along to and even more fun to apply to your life. Vocalist Stuart Murdoch’s singsong voice flies over light guitars and twinkling melodies to create a carefree atmosphere, telling stories and voicing day-to-day qualms about life.

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