My Favourite Albums (2010-2015)
Updated: Oct 4, 2018
The last 5 years was great for music. It was really great for TV, but music as well. In every genre emerged artists that broke down barriers, enlightened and elevated their listeners. As I sit back with immense pride with the release of my solo record, I look at my current musical heroes and reflect on how they inspire, influence.
Tame Impala: ‘Innerspeaker’
The great Tame Impala have one terrific EP and three terrific LPs. ‘Lonerism’ is a classic, the perfect sophomore record with noises and structure that pay tribute to its predecessors but remains current; and that just happens to be the title of their most recent record, the one in which Kevin Parker shifts gears with the instrumentation and the vibe, replacing guitar solos with tight dance grooves. It’s tough not to admire and respect a guy who straight up talks about his evolution in a song titled ‘Yes I’m Changing’. But I digress; enough of how Kevin Parker is devoid of ego and accepts vulnerability unlike many of his peers. It begins with ‘Innerspeaker’. It was recorded hours from Perth (Australia) where the musicians ditched their cell phones and computers and used electricity solely for music and biological needs. John Lennon’s voice and ambition have come back to life in the form of a young Aussie rocker who has a musical mission where songs and sounds are tightly connected, where hazy guitar riffs and drawn-out jams are evolving to thumping drum machines and dreamlike synth lines. I love everything about the first record. It has a strong opening, it has a message, it has a kick-ass instrumental that can put you in an ominous trance on the drive home, it has a great hit single in ‘Solitude is Bliss’, and the last song is a playful tune, a testament to the lack of pretentiousness throughout the record. For their recent effort Kevin admitted to listening to heaps of the Bee Gees. I am curious as to know what will inspire him in the future, but I love how we have no fucking clue where he is going next. And ‘in all honesty’, isn’t it nice in the Age of Information to not know something?
Kurt Vile: ‘Smoke Ring for My Halo’
I discovered Kurt while driving to the magical city of Pai, Thailand in the winter of 2013. Listening to ‘Waking on a Pretty Daze’, I was immediately drawn in by his gravitational pull. Kurt has a particular freedom in his singing, phrasing. His influences are clear but he speaks from a singular fashion that can only be Kurt Vile. Like my other choices, this album has a consistent feel to it, a feeling that Kurt conjures up combining bizarre guitar tunings, frequent use of free rhythm, and spooky tones. This is a beautiful downer, an anthem for the introvert. It holds up so incredibly well; for me it has that special kind of repeatability that strangely doesn’t get obnoxious. You can happily commiserate with this minstrel as his words play out in the background. I recommend placing the ‘phones directly in your ears and slipping away to this musical-drug-of-an-album as you coast around the dark alleys, walk along the overpass, wander aimlessly through the city streets.
Father John Misty: ‘Fear Fun’
He is the Casanova of Modern Rock and Roll. The girls swoon, the men respect or broil with envy, or both! In Father John Misty you get so much: the crooning voice, honest and trippy tales, the rich intoxicating humour, confidence and humility raging side by side. He drummed on both (excellent) Fleet Foxes records and then Josh Tillman transformed into Father John Misty and gave us this record. ‘Fear Fun’ is so fun, melodic, psychedelic. Similar to a classic story it has a strong beginning, middle section and finale. The record is a breath of fresh air. It’s soothing and rough, it’s serious and so silly. He followed this one up by taking big leaps, expanding into a new musical and thematic foray after falling prey to the big bad LOVE thing. Sorry ladies (and men) but he’s taken…for now. Long Live Father John!
Real Estate: ‘Days’
Like a good bottle of wine, ‘Days’ gets better with age. I’m reminded of Wilco’s ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’, a record that I enjoy the more and more I listen to it. The late summer of 2012, almost a year following the release of this album, brought a number of unexpected turns with subsequent bouts of soul-searching. This was certainly a time when music served as such therapy and this album was and still is the most therapeutic. The lush guitars coupled with the singer’s smooth tenor spouting domestic tales over a busy but clean wall of sound; it’s the ideal soundtrack for the daily endeavours from soaking up the scenery on a long drive to evading the mundaneness whilst doing the dishes. There is a nice flow, a particular fluidity to the album. The order of the songs seems so right: the suburban psychedelic feel of ‘Green Aisles’ leading to the middle when ‘Out of Tune’ soothes your soul and concluding with the hazy and hopeful ‘All the Same’. ‘Days’ is such an accessible record yet it is so special, unique. And like an uncorked bottle of your favourite red, it will continue to get better over time.
Caribou: ‘Our Love’
This album came at the right time in my life. It came out in late fall of 2014 when the love was coming at all angles. I had been living downtown for the first time in too long, taking better care of myself and hanging more with my homies following a year of bachelor apartment solitude. I was in a partnership with a sweet girl with whom I shared a pleasurable, positive and beneficial year. During this time I would listen incessantly to Caribou’s masterpiece that reeks of happiness from its colourful artwork to the clear and frequent falsetto of Dan Snaith. He is a magic man in the studio, an inspiration to listeners and artists alike. This project is so concise, detailed; it comes to us like a hand crafted sonic gift with sounds that are opium to the ears. Some songs are upbeat, some somber, some hopeful, some bitter and everything the falls within the wide spectrum of love. ‘Our Love’ is a sign of things to come, a beacon of hope for electronic music, music in general. The lyrics, message, concept feel reminiscent of the Fab Four, particularly Side B of Abbey Road. All You Need is Caribou.