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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The Cool Kids Set to Release Album

Chicago duo The Cool Kids are set to release their highly anticipated full-length album on July 12th!  Called When Fish Ride Bicycles, the album features 11 brand new songs and finds the duo working with Asher Roth, Travis Barker, and many more guests.  The Cool Kids started working on their album in December 2010 with Pharrell Williams at the helm.  Here is the track listing:

1.  Rush Hour Traffic
2.  GMC
3.  Boomin’ (featuring Tennille)
4.  Sour Apples (featuring Travis Barker)
5.  Penny Hardaway (featuring Ghostface Killah)
6.  Bundle Up
7.  Gas Station (featuring Bun B)
8.  Get Right
9.  Swimsuits (featuring Mayer Hawthorne)
10. Roll Call (featuring Asher Roth, Chip Tha Ripper, Boldy James)
11.Summer Jam (featuring Maxine Ashley), Produced by Pharrell Williams

 

Album Review: Javelin – ‘Canyon Candy’

While Canyon Candy is a far cry from the hip-hop electro Javelin has bestowed upon us previously, it’s not something to miss. Inspired by the rolling tumble weeds and red clay encrusted jeans of the Wild West this brief album brings back snippets of that the Frontier used to be.  Word is that this is the future soundtrack of an upcoming epic of the same name, directed by Mike Anderson.  Previous fans of Javelin may be turned off by this album, it’s not electronically inclined and if anything, sounds vintage.  However, Javelin’s master-sampling and melody-making skills were not missed.  The album maintained a melodic sway the whole time, with twangy steel guitars and wavering vocals in replacement of synthesizers and funk samples.  With most of the songs finishing between one and a half to two and a half minutes, one of this album’s qualities is certainly brevity.  As soon as one song begins it suddenly seems to end, sometimes a bit too quickly.  The use of samples in tracks such as “Strawberry Roan” and “Trembler” creates an authentic western sound, and adds to the overall reminiscent feel of the album.  At the same time, tracks like “Colorado Trail,” and even “Strawberry Roan,” incorporate a little more of the beat that Javelin is known for.  Javelin incorporated some western instruments too, I’m pretty sure I detected a steel guitar, and did I hear a jaw harp in “Love Gulch?”  Standouts on this short album are “Estavez,” “Colorado Trail,” and “Streets of Laredo.”  If you’re a Javelin fan who is open to an album unlike any of its predecessors, pick this album up.  You’ll be amazed by their versatility and willingness to experiment. Available April 16th, 2011.

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.

The Cool Kids Drop A Bundle


The Cool Kids recently released their new video “Bundle Up,” featuring a mockumentary-style music video poking fun at the sometimes unoriginal rap industry as well as themselves for trying to be out of the box. It’s a hilarious commentary on this genre, which The Cool Kids are known for. Their beats are reminiscent of late ‘80’s rap with a modern twist. In fact, their very stance can be summed up in the opening lines of their track “A Little Bit Cooler:” “Eating a bowl of them fruity pebbles / How gangsta’ is that? / Not Gangsta’ at all / Oh, you judging me dog? / Please you shop at the mall.” The “Bundle Up” video, spearheaded by Maxim Bohchik and Alex Bergman, features mermaids, lost Rolling Stone wannabes, Polar Bears and a hell of a lot of fake snow. The sense of humor and solid beats will take this up and coming Chicago rap duo far.