Modern Mystery’s Year End List 2011 (Albums & Songs)

Yes, we’re a little late on this, but here is our Year End List(s) in all of their glory.

TOP ALBUMS of 2011

                                                     1. Real Estate – Days
Literally the most beautiful album we heard all year. Everything about Days is near perfect. Haunting guitars and echoing vocals provide a stunning LP that will hold the test of time. Real Estate put out the essential record of 2011 and will hold a place forever in indie music history. Congratulations to these guys for pouring their heart and soul into a record, and letting the listener hear every beat, every emotion, and every ounce of perfection.

2. Beirut – The Rip Tide
A close runner up, Beirut proves that they have staying power on their highly anticipated second album. They certainly lived up to the hype and brought the indie rock game to a whole new level.

3. The Drums – Portamento
Catchy, and a little deeper, The Drums plunge into the ocean, not to go surfing this time but to get a little heavier. The outcome? Amazing.

4. Sloan – The Double Cross
Always a MM favorite, the best foursome since The Beatles provide another album of blissful harmonies and catchy riffs. Sloan manages to do it again.

5. The Strokes – Angles
It may have taken 5 years for this little gem, but it was certainly worth the wait. We hope the next album is a little more cohesive, a little more “Strokesy,” but hell, it’s still one of the best records our ears came across this year, not to mention the most anticipated.

6. Neon Indian – Era Extraña
An incredible sophomore effort, that had us dancing around the apartment, the office, the car, etc. Alan Palomo knows what makes our hearts tick, and it’s his infectious brand of chillwave.

7.  Ryan Adams – Ashes and Fire
The second anticipated musical act out of retirement this year, Adams put out a tear jerking album of all acoustic material, this time without his infamous Cardinals. Gorgeous as always, that man cannot write a bad song.

8. Bright Eyes – The People’s Key
 What may be the last album under the name Bright Eyes, Conor Oberst and company pull out all the stops on this intriguing and somewhat eerie album. Oberst is better than ever, just when you thought that was impossible.

9. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Mirror Traffic
Stephen Malkmus albums always equals a win. Pretend to be surprised. The Beck produced record caught our ears this year. Nice one Malkmus, as always.

10. Sam Roberts Band – Collider
Another great album from SRB, the band is on a hot streak of great releases. Always a little under the radar, this cult favorite is winning over hearts and ears quickly. Jump on in.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Atlas Sound – Parallax
Toro Y Moi – Underneath the Pine
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Destroyer – Kaputt
Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation
Cults – Cults
Fucked Up – David Comes to Life
Panda Bear – Tom Boy
James Blake – James Blake


Top Songs of 2011

1 The Strokes – “Undercover of Darkness”
2 Neon Indian – “Hexx Girlfriend”
3 Real Estate – “Green Aisles”
4 Bright Eyes – “Shell Games”
5 Chairlift – “Amanaemonesia”
6 Sloan – “The Answer Was You”
7 The Drums – “Money”
8 Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – “Senator”
9 Beirut – “Santa Fe”
10 Washed Out – Amor Fati
11 Joy Formidable – Whirring
12 Girls – “Honey Bunny”
13 Unknown Mortal Orchestra -“Ffunny Ffriends”
14 Real Estate – “It’s Real”
15 Cass McCombs – “Country Line”

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NYC Shows This Week!

MONDAY

 

J. Roddy Walston and The Business, These United States, MyNameIsJohnMichael
@ Brooklyn Bowl

Le Sphinxxx, Ah, Moskva!, The Magick Report, Great Republic of Rough and Ready, Great Republic of Rough and Ready, Sonia Megias
@ Cake Shop

TUESDAY

 

Vivian Girls, Widowspeak, Colleen Green @ 285 Kent Avenue

 

Urge Overkill, Blackbells @ Bowery Ballroom

 

Project Jenny / Project Jan, Murder Mystery @ Mercury Lounge

 

The Head and the Heart, Luke Rathborne (early show) @ Mercury Lounge

 

Cassettes Won’t Listen, The Freeze Tag, Turnbull Green, Grimace, Eka, Echoes Alike @ The Rock Shop

 

Lykke Li, Grimes @ Webster Hall

 

WEDNESDAY

Sam Roberts Band, The Rassle, Anthony D’amato @  Bowery Ballroom

 

Dustin Wong, Hear Hums, Emily Reo, Dark Sea of Awareness,             Philip Seymour Hoffman  @ Silent Barn

The Felice Brothers, Shovels and Rope, RIG 1 @ The Bell House

 

Elvis Costello and the Imposters @ The Wellmont Theatre

 

Fleet Foxes, The Cave Singers @ United Palace Theatre

 

Lykke Li, Grimes @ Webster Hall

 

THURSDAY

 

Adele, Civil Wars @ Beacon Theater

 

Junip, Acrylics, High Highs @ Bowery Ballroom

 

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Dream Diary, Sea Lions, Gold-Bears, Amida, Pet Milk @ Cake Shop

 

The Antlers, Little Scream @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

 

Cave In, Make Do and Mend, Janes Plotkin @ Santos Party House

 

White Lies, School of Seven Bells, Sun Airway @ Terminal 5

 

The Felice Brothers, Tom Brosseau @ The Bell House

 

Fleet Foxes, The Cave Singers @ United Palace Theatre

FRIDAY

The Antlers, Little Scream @ Bowery Ballroom

Cymbals Eat Guitars, The Yellow Dogs, Mirror Mirror, Radical Dads @ Glasslands

Dan Deacon, Hesta Prynn (DJ Set) @ Museum of Natural History

Thurston Moore, Eileen Myles, I Feel Tractor @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Real Estate, Julian Lynch, Big Troubles, Family Portrait @ The Bell House

Robbers on High Street, Underthings, The Totallys @ The Gutter

 

 

Lollapalooza Announces Lineup


Lollapalooza celebrates it’s 20th year this summer and the names on the bill are more exciting than ever. Remember when this fest used to tour and it was awful? Yea, who wishes it was a touring event again…us. Lollapalooza will take place August 5th-7th in Chicago’s Grant Park. The lineup includes acts from all over the indie spectrum from headliners Girl Talk, Foo Fighters, Bright Eyes, The Drums, Ratatat, Best Coast, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant, Cold War Kids, The Mountain Goats and more! Learn more about the lineup HERE.

Album Review: Twin Shadow- “Forget”

To say that everything that producer and Grizzly Bear bassist Chris Taylor touches turns to gold would be a misstatement. It’s more like everything he touches turns into a hazy rainbow of indie genius. This is apparent on one of his record label’s latest releases, Twin Shadow’s Forget.

Twin Shadow is George Wilson, Jr., a gifted singer with a strange past and a penchant for constructing nostalgic, very danceable songs that some classify as chillwave. References to ‘80s new wave are easy to make while listening to his debut album, Forget, and Wilson is clearly a product of the modern indie scene. But that does not obscure how good this album is from start to finish.

Each song is infused with a mixture of synthesizers, shimmering guitars, drum machine beats, and catchy bass lines that are layered together to a precise, almost mathematical perfection. Chris Taylor stretches out the tunes, giving them depth and detailed flourishes that invite repeated listening. Every verse flows effortlessly into its chorus, and each song flows into the next. In this way, Forget achieves a feat that is rare these days: its can be listened to from beginning to end, and yet its songs are also effective individually. Lewis does borrow some sounds from the likes of Beach House and Grizzly Bear, from the drenched keyboards that threaten to fall out of tune on “When We’re Dancing” to the trippy picked guitar on the title track. But overall, Lewis has already found his own unique sound that usually takes some bands several records to find.

He does not falter as a lyricist either, even though, ironically enough, at times he sounds uncannily like Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste. He draws on his aforementioned past to create poetic and at times romantic narratives that are not boring or overly abstract. In the funky “At My Heels,” he croons “I can’t come up with any reason why/A ghost is following me.” At times, there is a lot of the standard talk about heartbreak and former lovers, but it matches the ‘80’s dance pace and style, and most of the time the music is so good that we don’t care what he is saying.

But for all of the serious, meticulous song writing that went into this album, there is a certain simple playfulness about it. Lewis has a mature sense of melody, and he knows how to loosen up and let a hook dominate a song. He is committed to making accessible songs that beckon all types of listeners to the dance floor. Album highlight “I Can’t Wait” is flat out fun, and its chorus sounds a bit like Don Henley’s classic “The Boys of Summer.” During the catchy chorus he sings, “I cannot wait for summer/I cannot wait for June.” Don’t we all feel this way? If there is one thing that indie music could use a little more of today is the universality of modern pop music. Twin Shadow proves that, prior to common belief, this can go hand in hand with complex, intelligent song writing.