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”

Catch-up With Casiokids

The beauty of CMJ is just the astounding amount of bands that end up playing there. The Norwegians from Casiokids were not about to miss the party and we were not about to miss out on the chance of chatting with them while they were here, especially since their newest album, Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen, just came out on Polyvinyl! We spoke to two members of the band, Ketil Kinden Endresen and Omar Johnsen, in a hallway at Pianos last night and here’s how it went!

Modern Mystery: How many times have you been part of the CMJ line-up? How do you like it?

Ketil Kinden Endresen: This is our second time here, we last came in 2008. It was also our first show in New York, at Cake Shop. But we’ve been in New York many times since then. I think this is our 10th mini tour in the U.S. Playing in New York is definitely one of my favourites.

Omar Johnsen: It’s nice when we’re playing things like CMJ or South by South West, you can stay in one town too. It’s so much easier.

KKE: It gives you time to enjoy the city as well.

MM: So where do you like to hang out in New York?

KKE: We spend a lot of time in Williamsburg. We try to go see museums, go to Central Park and roam around Manhattan.

MM: So your songs are in Norwegian, which can’t be easy for everyone to pronounce. Which place had the oddest pronunciation of Norwegian?

KKE: Probably Russia.

OJ: In a way it was the best and the worst [laughs]. They were very into it but it did not sound like Norwegian!

KKE: Still it was pretty special, they were very passionate. But mostly outside of Scandinavia, there is more dancing than singing along. In Scandinavia, they sing more.

MM: What is your biggest musical influence?

OJ: It’s hard to pin down because everyone is from different places. There is some overlap but I think it comes out through our music. It’s like a pot of stew.

KKE: Well, there is this Swedish band called Bobhund that we all like. There’s also electronic pop like New Order, Kraftwerk, Cornelius…

OJ: I guess also krautrock like Neu… Everyone likes these bands at least [laughs].

MM: Anyone you’re excited to see here at CMJ this year?

KKE: I haven’t really looked at the program to be honest but generally I like to rely on luck. Like tonight we got here and then went upstairs and realized our friend was playing!

MM: So your new album, Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen, just came out. How would you describe to someone who’s never heard your music?

KKE: It was inspired by the story of Dr. Tarzan Monsoon and his discovery of a secret rainforest. It’s quite varied and with electro and dance rhythms. Our stories are in Norwegian and we use a lot of harmonies in our vocals.

OJ: It was also made differently from our past albums. Before, the albums were more like compilations of singles. It’s quite diverse but it’s still a sound that sounds like us. It’s also better produced; we have our own studio so over the years, we’ve learned more and got better.

MM: I hear you’re going to Japan next month! What are you most excited about?

KKE: Yes, on November 6th! I’m excited about the food. Japanese food has to be my favourite food in the world.

OJ: I want to discover the culture, I find it very inspiring. Maybe it’s because I’m half-asian so I have a special attraction.

MM: Do you know when you’ll be back in New York after CMJ?

KKE: Not yet. But we’ll definitely be back sometime in the spring.

Catch Casiokids during the rest of CMJ here:

20.10.11: Glasslands
21.10.11: Spike Hill
22.10.11: AAM Inc party 14:30 @ Knitting Factory

MEET THE LANSKIES, YOUR NEW FAVORITE INDIE SENSATION; HEADED ON TOUR NOW & CMJ!


Are you a fan of The Futureheads? We Are Scientists? The Kooks? Well, anything and everything that is cool in music? Let us introduce to you the greatest French import of all time, THE LANSKIES

Starting to break out in the U.S. indie rock scene, THE LANSKIES are headed over to our side of the pond to embark on a few impressive tour dates. Are you ready for what they have to offer?

Having already won the prestigious award to support ZZ top in front of thousands of adoring fans at the Vielles Charrues festival in 2008, things have gone well for them since. And it is only looking up from here. Deeming themselves as a “Hot Wave,” group (move over New Wave!), the band is a combination of upbeat post-punk anthems and 80’s New York attitude. A force not to be messed with.

Fronted by Liverpool born, Lewis Evans, a charismatic performer on stage to say the least, he leads the band to the U.S. to take on the crowds. Having toured most of Europe and a successful tour of China, THE LANSKIES are well prepared for the U.S.

The group released their first album Bank Holiday last year and will be following up with the EP titled Romeo due out November 15th.

Meet the leaders of the new Paris-Liverpool rock scene, THE LANSKIES.

Be sure to catch the band on their West Coast and East Coast dates, including a stop at CMJ at The Hiro Ballroom.

TOUR:
10/08 in Los Angeles, CA @ Filter’s Festival (6pm)
10/08 in Los Angeles, CA @ Filter’s Festival (8pm)
10/09 in Los Angeles, CA @ The Cide (10pm)
10/12 in New York, NY @ Fontana’s (9pm)
10/14 in New York, NY @ Shrine Harleme (11pm)
10/19 in New York, NY @ Hiro Ballroom (CMJ) (8pm)