Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stefan's Top 10 of 2011 (Updated)

Yeah I’m actually doing with it.

13. Dyme Def - Yuk The World

Dyme Def - Yuk The World by Diamond Media 360

For me this is not the year of socially conscious hip-hop. This is the year of swag! or whatever it is the cool kids say now days. I normally don’t like groups like Dyme Def but I think these guys are fun with their hard beats and irrelevant rhymes. This album is heavily influenced by the 90s. Just listen to it and have fun.

12.  State of the Artist - Slopes

State Of The Artist ft. Fidget "Bloint" by MembersOnly206

It is nice to see an album by these Seattle guys where they don’t have a million guest appearances on each song. They went to town on some smooth jazz samples. I am pretty sure they even sampled Kenny G.

11.  Death Cab for Cutie - Codes and Keys

For some reason I don’t like any of their music before their album “Plans” but since then I have loved ‘em. I don’t think their sound has changed that much overall but their newer music clicks with me. I couldn’t find a version of this song with quality audio.

10.  The Roots - Undun

Seriously, what other hip-hop group has consistently made great albums for as long as these guys? The Roots are true musicians and you can see them grow and develop with each album. This is hip-hop with real music...I am pretty confident that this album and the Black Keys’ would be a lot higher on my list if they came out more than a week ago.

9.  The Black Keys - El Camino

The Black Keys fall into the category of “Can’t Do No Wrong.” Their albums are always good. I really have enjoyed them working with Danger Mouse, their music blends well with hip-hop (see Blackroc). Like I said before...this would be higher if it was released earlier.

8.  Wale - Ambition

This album took a couple of listens but it has grown on me. He definitely isn’t rapping about Seinfeld anymore but the talent is still there and Maybach Music and Rick Ross are a guilty pleasure of mine. I am a bigger fan of his mix-tapes but he still has talent and while this is more pop oriented...I like it.

7.  Josh Garrels - Love & War & The Sea In Between

From Portland, Mr.Garrels signs songs as if he were an old sailor or a pioneer...the songs seem to come from another time period. With influences from the past there are definitely influences from the present with sounds of hip-hop, Jose Gonzales and Dispatch. I am pretty sure he is a Christian singer/songwriter but don’t let that turn you off, the music is good. Oh yeah, you can download the album for free at his website...

6.  TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light

Nine Types of Light could have been part two of their album “Dear Science,” as the sound is so similar but that is fine with me. They have a good thing going. I agree with Tanner about Tunde Adebimpe, his voice is awesome.

5.  Bon Iver - Bon Iver

BON IVER "Holocene" from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.

I have listened to this album so many times...this is one of my favorite albums to listen to while reading (total humblebrag, I am one of those that likes to read books!) I mentioned before that I never really know what he is singing about or even the lyrics but his voice blends perfectly with the music. I also am a huge fan of his cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me”

4/5  Blue Scholars - Cinemetropolis

I can't believe I didn't have this on my list...I have worked on this list for a couple of days and I forgot that this album came out this year...DAMNIT!  Blue Scholars are the godfathers of modern 206 hip-hop.  They have led the way for people like Macklemore, Fresh Espresso, Mad Rad, etc.  Sabzi's production has continued to grow and his use of samples seems to be less and less.  While Blue Scholars have opened doors for many other local hip-hop artists they are certainly not above being influenced by their peers.  This album has some of the same synthesizer sounds that Mad Rad uses.  Prometheus Brown and Sabzi sound best when working together.  Great music.

4.  Foster the People - Torches

Hipster pop! This album is fun even if it is extremely trendy. I agree with Tanner a bit that I could look back on this album and like it more for sentimental reasons in the future. I have probably listened to this album more than any other though over the year.

3.  Jason Isbell - Here We Rest

A great great album...Jason Isbell is a fantastic songwriter who has really come into his own since leaving the Drive-By Truckers. This is definitely his best album yet (he has made a total of three). He is a great guitarist but has put that aside on this album and put his energies into the writing and the overall song, not just one instrument. Fantastic stuff. His video for Alabama Pines is kind of depressing though...

2.  Mayer Hawthorne - How Do You Do

Mr. Cohen makes music that is heavily influenced by The Temptations, Hall & Oats and Percy Sledge (to name a few, the list could go on and on). While being influenced by such classic artists one can also hear the modern influences of hip-hop. From start to finish this album is just good music. If there was one song that played everytime I walked into a room it would be “Henny and Gingerale.”

1.  Ryan Adams - Ashes and Fire

The peak of 2011! Going back to his beginnings and away from his Love is Hell/Rock n Roll period Mr.Adams hardly uses an electric guitar and keeps the music simple. Ryan Adams is like Jason Isbell, a brilliant songwriter. This album focuses on the songwriting...some songs sound a bit like Bob Dylan (but thank goodness Ryan Adams’ voice doesn’t sound like Dylan) but they are definitely all Ryan Adams. A great album from start to finish and the best of 2011.

If you disagree with me on any of these you are wrong.

1 comment:

Tanner said...

I had never heard of that Josh Garrels guy but I will check him out.

I can't believe I forgot to put Mayer Hawthorne on at least my honorable mention...

Nice reviews!