Apologies this is coming in so late. Blame the weather.
Last year sucked. Thankfully, the music didn't. Our picks were all over the map for the most part, but are winners are clear. Here's what we liked, graded with a weighted system of points. We're breaking our picks into two posts. This post is the second half of our list. the top half will be posted later.
Album names are buy links. Please support the artists you like by purchasing their music. We do!
Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea
By the most casual and freewheeling of the all the Jews’ albums, Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea still retains David Berman’s trademark caustic witticisms. He’s just a little more relaxed this time around.
Coldplay - Viva La Vida
"This is just simply amazing pop, everything you ever loved about Coldplay, but with the trademark Brian Eno twist. There are dancing strings, powerful vocals and a piano line that keeps building and building." - Cameron Adams
Rook – Shearwater
A gothic yet baroque tapestry woven together with an eclectic array of horns, woodwinds, and dulcimer, not to mention Jonathon Meiburg’s sexy vocal prowess.
Dr. Dog – Fate
"Strict modernists may chafe at the band's unapologetically backward-glancing aesthetic, but the rest should happily succumb to the shaggy charm of Fate's easy-like-Sunday-morning ramblings." - Leah Grenblatt
The Rabbit, The Bat, and The Reindeer.mp3
Flight of the Conchords (s/t)
Human Highway - Moody Motorcycle
"Opening with a swatch of lo-fi backwoods guitar, the duo merely jests with the antiquated before smoothing everything over with a sheen of crisp production. A spring in its step, “The Sound” bops along, oblivious to the lack of substance in its lyric." - Josh Constine
Death Cab for Cutie- Narrow Stairs
"While Narrow Stairs may scale down the melody-assaults of previous efforts, with their fresh groove and whiff of rebellion, Death Cab announce themselves as genuine rock stars." -The Guardian (UK)
Your New Twin-Sized Bed.m4a
Los Campesinos! -Hold on Now, Youngster...
A cheeky British romp that’s equal parts snark and sincerity, it’s a whirlwind of rocking, glockenspiel, pun-laden fun.
You! Me! Dancing!.mp3
Conor Oberst (s/t)
"It's no surprise that Oberst is able to pull off this style exceptionally well, but what impresses most about the record is how its relaxed vibe--the album was recorded with the specially assembled Mystic Valley Band in just two months at a private house in Mexico--carries over into Oberst's songwriting." --Jonathan Keefe
Jukebox the Ghost - Let Live & Let Ghosts
Under My Skin.m4a
Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
I didn’t even know Dan Rossen was in another band besides Grizzly Bear. But apparently he is and apparently his side project is nearly as good. In Ear Park abounds with enough eerie harmonies and codeine-coated melodies to keep you satisfied well until the follow-up to Yellow House is released.
No One Does It Like You.mp3
The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
"Stay Positive is a true testament that good music will always prevail. One can only hope that a band like this will continue to make music for years and years to come because we desperately need it." - Adequacy
Sequestered In Memphis.mp3