We’re nearly a quarter of the way through 2011, so I thought I’d share some of the new music I’ve been enjoying so far this year (in no particular order).
John Vanderslice – White Wilderness
Over the past seven years since I first heard John Vanderslice, he’s managed to release consistently great records without falling into a rut. Each record has been a slight step in a different direction, while keeping solid songwriting and great sounding recordings at their foundation. For White Wilderness he collaborated with Magik Magik Orchestra, an “orchestra-for-hire” in San Francisco. Each song was recorded live in the studio with Vanderslice singing and playing acoustic guitar, accompanied by a drummer and a full orchestra.
Lupe Fiasco – Lasers
I’ve been waiting a long time for this record. Any fan of Lupe Fiasco no doubt knows all about the delays it went through before finally seeing the light of day. It’s a fun record, and a lot more pop/rock than previous albums, but I think he’s going to have a lot of trouble living up to my expectations since his first album, Food & Liquor, is one of my favorite hip hop albums of all time.
James Blake – James Blake
I’m always searching for music that doesn’t really sound like anything I’m already listening to. Every once in a while this leads me to find a great new artist, like James Blake.
Bright Eyes – The People’s Key
I wasn’t a fan of Bright Eyes for a long time until a friend of mine convinced me to listen to Cassadaga, which I ended up falling in love with. The People’s Key is still growing on me, but I think it may be every bit as good as that album was.
Amiina – Puzzle
I think this album was technically released via Amiina’s website last fall. But since they are an Icelandic band living in the UK, there were some exchange rate and release date issues that prevented me from getting it until February. But I’ve really been enjoying it ever since. This is another one of those great bands that don’t sound like anyone else I can think of.
In the rest of the year I’m looking forward to likely releases from: The Beastie Boys, Beck, Wilco, Thao & Mirah, Kanye West, and Panda Bear (among others).