Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ra Ra Riot: The Orchard

The Syracuse, New York, sextet released their successful debut in 2008, and the follow-up effort, The Orchard dropped in late August.  "We both had doubts, / We're both in doubt," croons lead singer Wes Miles on the opening track.  Welp, that makes three of us.  My first few listens sensed a sonic sophomore slump, but after spinning the album a dozen times, I became convinced that it wasn't a slump so much as failure to match or eclipse the debut.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Arcade Fire: The Suburbs

If you haven't already heard about Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, then try displacing the rock under which you've been living.  This album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, which, to my recollection, may be the first time an indie album has debuted (or even reached) number one on the charts.  There have certainly been plenty of deserving records that never reached that mark, but this album has earned its success.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jónsi: Go

Jón "Jónsi" Þór Birgisson might be best known as "the Sigur Rós guy that sings words I can't understand and plays his guitar with a bow."  Well, that's not incorrect, but Jónsi has definitely made a name for himself with his solo/debut album, Go.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chiddy Bang: The Preview

Chidera "Chiddy" Anamege and Noah "Xaphoon Jones" Beresin were both attending Philadelphia's Drexel University.  They got together and made a mixtape of a few songs that featured Chiddy rhyming over existing songs that Xaphoon put together with some fresh beats.  The story might have ended there just ten years ago, but in true Internet Age fashion, they put the songs up on a Myspace (remember those AwEsOmE FlAsHiNg BaCkGrOuNdS?), got discovered by a blog, who then put out their original mixtape (and their follow-up mixtape), and somewhere in there the kids from Drexel scored a record deal from EMI/Virgin, eventually putting out The Preview.  Niiice.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Phosphorescent: Here's to Taking It Easy

Phosphorescent, one of the many, many bands to emerge from Athens, Georgia, didn't register on my radar until last year, when they put out an album of Willie Nelson covers.  I'm not particularly a fan of the bearded, bandaned, pot-smoking Texan, so Phosphoresent's 2010 effort, Here's to Taking It Easy, wasn't one of the albums I marked on my calendar before its release in May (possibly the year's best month, musically speaking, with one - two - three - four - five - six -- and now seven -- good albums)... but it should have been.