Don't mind Jess plagiarizing herelf, but she's gonna quote her blurb in The L Magazine's top 25 album list, (which you should all check out as well, even though it's not as cool as this list because Jens is only #6 and not #1)
Every song on Kortedala joyously unfolds like the start of a newfound love affair, replete with all the smitten excitement, endearing awkwardness and the good kind of nervousness that any worthwhile relationship naturally entails. With its swirling retro-pop samples seamlessly integrated into the Swedish troubadour’s distinctly contemporary tales of romantic melancholy, it’s hard not to be won over by his lyrical wit, aw-shucks charm and total lack of irony. Whether he’s slicing up avocados, getting a haircut or flirting with a deaf girl, Jens effortlessly transforms those mundane little moments into the stuff that magical glockenspiel-laden epiphanies are made of. Doing what few albums this year (or any year) could accomplish: Kortedala inspires, reaffirming life and restoring faith in that crazy little thing called love, for even the most cynical. Don’t let anyone stand in your way.
The audio equivalent of a rich, satisfying novel.
Creepy and joyous, all at the same time: Wolf's broad-reaching voice and lyrics take back seat to impressive layers of Rachmaninoff-inspired pop compositions as colorful as the packaging.
Radiohead: In Rainbows (11)
7. Of Montreal: Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (10.3)
Epic and operatic and tongue in cheek and melancholy and oh-so-very Rufus.
Ted Leo & the Pharmacists: Living With the Living (10)
9. Magnolia Electric Co.: Sojourner (9.6)
A more mature sounding recording that doesn't sacrifice any of the playfulness of their earlier albums.
Runners-Up (chosen by two or more of us)
The Shins: Wincing the Night Away
People keep saying the White Stripes have done all they can. People can be dumb sometimes.
Feist: The Reminder
Please, let's divorce this album from all its commercial appeal, because let's face it no matter how hard Apple might try, Feist proves you can't commodify a broken heart.
EPs we liked (not ranked)
The most fun 16 minutes I've heard all year, like if AiH had a love child with Art Brut.
Yeah, maybe the blogs overestimated their charm, but hey you gotta admit they're catchy.
Psych-folk masters rework old material and freak the crap out of me. In a good way, of course.
Damn near-addictive piano-based, power-pop, proving quirky vocals and handclaps are always a winning combination.
The Viking Moses: Swollen & Small: The Songs of Neutral Milk Hotel
A small selection of pared-back Neutral Milk Hotel covers from one of the best acts to come
out of new weird America.
Two Gallants: The Scenery of Farewell
With voices that sound older then they are as inherently American as Bruce Springsteen and pb&j.
I'm really just a sucker for his croon.
This album is so gorgeous, I can't even justify its majestic, autumnal gorgeousness.
Everything I hate combined to make something I love.
The boy wonder isn't a boy anymore, and it's fitting that his new album has a more mature
sound. Sure, a lot of the clumsy charm of his earlier stuff is gone, but the polished, grown up
songs on Cassadaga are just as rewarding in their own way.
Energetic and melodic and instantly enjoyable.