February was a musical statement. The top 3 albums this month were from artists who defined a sound. No one sounds like them, and everyone wants to sound like them.
A varied bunch of musical styles and very talented musicians. Let’s check out the top 3 albums of February.
3. Radiohead – King of Limbs
Just like Sufjan Steven’s and his announcement of Age of Adz a week before its release, we get a huge announcement last week of Radiohead’s newest material and its release date; Saturday February 19th, 2011.
However, this is a digital only release, with the proper full blown release coming in March. It doesn’t stop there. The full release features the following:
- Two clear 10″ vinyl records in a purpose-built record sleeve.
- A compact disc.
- Many large sheets of artwork, 625 tiny pieces of artwork and a full-colour piece of oxo-degradeable plastic to hold it all together.
- The Newspaper Album comes with a digital download that is compatible with all good digital media players.
- The Newspaper Album will be shipped from Monday 9th May 2011 you can, however, enjoy the download now.
- Orders placed on or after 21st February 2011 (UK time) will ship from 1st June 2011
- Shipping is included in the prices shown.
- One lucky owner of the digital version of The King Of Limbs, purchased from this website, will receive a signed 2 track 12″ vinyl.”
No doubt, the minds of Radiohead are again challenging the music industry. Brian Eno talked about this in an interview with Pitchfork how albums in CD format are becoming null because the listener can have “electronic” A.D.D. and get one track only from the artist, or have millions in front of them to bounce around.
An album is no more an album, but singles. With this idea however, it’s pushing the envelope to the listener, and making them realize what albums used to be when pressed on vinyl; a true art collection. Now that we talked about this interesting vein Radiohead undertook, lets get back to the music.
Radiohead. The name either rings bells to their favorite album by them, or “ew”. There really is no common ground.
The members of Radiohead are absolute geniuses (see the 01 10 playlist, a hidden recording secretly recorded from 2 albums made 10 years apart). This new album though is Radiohead at their best and furthering their unique ambient/rock/alternative sound.
There’s a reason why no one says, “Radiohead reminds me of..” but instead, “This band sounds like Radiohead”.
They constantly strive for perfection and they take their time to make sure everything is buffed out. This album has shown that they are amazing musicians who can craft wonderful work. The art rock kings are back after their critically acclaimed album “In Rainbows”. Enjoy.
2. Glassjaw – Our Color Green (the singles)/ Coloring Book EP
And they’re back. The new material from the warriors that killed “Adidas rock” (Korn, P.O.D. etc.) is finally here. After what seemed like the new version of Chinese Democracy in false promises of new material, it finally surfaces.
January 1st saw the release of “Our Color Green” that was an EP of all the singles released at the end of last year. Their new sound seems to be a perfect balance between their debut Everything You Wanted To Know About Silence and their Warner Bros. record label jaggernaut Worship in Tribute (2002).
In the year since the release of Worship and Tribute the band broke apart and did side projects. Daryl Palumbo ventured into melodic pop rock with the hit group Head Automatica and slowly recorded new Glassjaw material with co-founder Justin Beck.
I am so glad they’re back. Let me tell you why. Without them, we’d have no Taking Back Sunday, Thursday, or Brand New. That New York scene I dare say would’ve taken longer to birth if it wasn’t for Glassjaw. Their sound is so unique and the reason why so many fans were split on Worship and Tribute is because the sound was all over the place…but it worked.
On these new EPs we hear a mature collective 4 piece group that has learned making music is an art. It’s weird to say that when they are a post hardcore band. However, there is less screaming here. It is added for emphasis in flavoring the lyrical content to showcase emotion. Otherwise, Daryl’s voice is spot on.
It’s amazing how his voice really works with its vibrato. If the guy was actually trained classically, he’d have a good operatic voice. And the drums. Oh. My. Goodness. I haven’t been this excited about drums since Saosin’s 7 track EP, with Anthony Green, “Translating The Name”. The drums lapse in and out of time, using intricate rhythmic patterns reminiscent of the Hispanic flavor Mars Volta used. The drum work is super intricate. The polyrhythms make it sound like there are two drummers. The rhythms are so intricate and complicated, but sonically it sounds simple because he makes it so natural.
It’s a true blessing when a drummer realizes that his instrument is actually a melodic voice with emphasis on rhythm. It’s then even more of a miracle when you have a drummer and a bassist that work together as unified voice. It really is impressive how they gel this time around as a collective unit. If you’re looking for a new rock cd that really drives, this is it. Get it. Look for a full length release sometime this year. It looks like they are reliving their old motto; “Guns Don’t Kill People… Glassjaw Does. Let Glassjaw Sort ‘Em Out.”
*Note: Coloring Book EP is only available at their live shows and it’s free. You may be able to find it online for free or being sold on websites.
1. James Blake – James Blake
I’ve been dying for this to officially release. I can’t tell you how excited I am for this album. If Outkast’s Stankonia defined the next 10 years in music, I’m predicting this will change electronic music for the next decade. Such a big claim, but I can back it up.
If you’ve been following my articles, I mentioned in my top 50 with the review of How To Dress Well that Burial’s sophmore album was a huge, important factor in 2006 with its light electronic dub sound emulating insomnia. James Blake is from the dubstep/electronic group Mount Kimbie and his solo work is amazing.
Lyrically, its sparse but the depth in it is vast. The sound is heavy, but open. It’s dark without being too dark, and its loud without being annoying. On his self titled debut, James Blake has nailed emotion with music right on the head. The best way to describe his sound is blues, jazz, dubstep mixed together with masculine warm tone vocals. The soundscapes he produces are amazing. The drumming is light, accented just as dubstep would be (accent on 3, and the offbeat of 3), but complimenting the blips and squeaks of the synth work.
There is way too much to say about this album. The best example of the contrasting styles of this album is in the first single, the cover of Feist’s “Limit To Your Love”. The jazz piano, the bass drop, the voice, all combined to make a memorable cover. There isn’t a track on it at all I can’t say I don’t like. At. All.
The best moment of the album is “Lindesfarne I” and how it transitions beautifully into “Lindesfarne II”. It’s gorgeous, beautiful, perfect. When it leaked in Janaury, my first thought after listening once was “Holy cow, I just found my top album of the year”. That’s scary to say because last time that happened was Animal Collective’s powerhouse “Merriweather Post Pavillion”. And that was a feat in itself.
Out of all of these albums listed, do listen to this. It’s the future right in front of us, take a glimpse. Buckle up.
James Blake – James Blake
The Go! Team – Rolling Blackouts
And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead… – Tao Of The Dead
Cut Copy – Zonoscope
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Bright Eyes – The People’s Key
The Dears – Degeneration Street
Devotchka – 100 lovers
The Low Anthem – Smart Flesh
Tahiti 80 – The Past The Present & The Possible
Toro Y Moi – Underneath the Pine
Radiohead – King of Limbs
Glassjaw – Coloring Book EP
Drop Kick Murphys – Going Out In Style
Those Dancing Days – Daydreams and Nightmares
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
Dance Gavin Dance – Downtown Battle Mountain Pt. II
Lupe Fiasco – Lasers
Jennifer Hudson – I Remember Me
The Dodos – No Color
Noah and the Whale – LIFEGOESON
Beady Eye – Different Gear, Still Speeding
Eisley – The Valley
Lupo Fiasco – Lasers
The Dodos – No Color
The Strokes – Angels
Bibio – Mind Bokeh
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Belong
Britney Spears – Femme Fatale
Noah And The Whale – Last Night On Earth
Wiz Khalifa – Rolling Papers
YELLE – Safari Disco Club
The Kills – Blood Pressures
Panda Bear – Tomboy
Emilie Simon – The Big Machine
Foo Fighters – Wasted Light
Thursday – No Devolucion
Vivian Girls – Share The Joy
I’m From Barcelona – Forever Today