The end of the year is closing in, and I’m starting to look more at my favorite albums of the year and considering what to write. I keep a running list throughout the year, and things move up, down, back up, back down on it as the year progresses. Some albums hit you immediately and fade, others stick with you. That can make it difficult to balance the early releases with the latecomers. Feel free to share some of your favorites!
Sometimes there’s so many releases, that I’ll have my attention away from a band for awhile. And then I’ll turn on their most recent album and think, “wait, this came out 6 months ago, and how have I not been listening to it non-stop?!” Making Movies was like that this year. Ameri’kana was release back in late may, and before it’s release I included the first single in a playlist last spring. Somehow, my attention got pulled away to other releases, and I’m only now giving the album a good straight-through listen (actually, I’m on my 4th straight-through listen as I write this). The Kansas City band blends rock, cumbia, psychedelia, American roots and son cubano beautifully. Their record 2 yrs ago, I Am Another You, caught my attention and jumped into my top 10 records that year. Ameri’kana tops it. They weave between styles so well, and it makes the album ideal for a straight through listen.
If you’re familiar with this blog, then you know that I’m a big fan of the Doomtree and the various solo and side projects of the Minneappolis rap-collective. The latest release out of the Doomtree camp is Dessa’s live album performed with the Minnesota Orchestra. This album is amazing. The setlist for the show was curated so well, and the adaptations to orchestral arrangements are beautiful and intense. Sometimes a project like this can come off as a novelty, but Dessa loses none of her personality and engagement with her audience. You could make an argument that, stylistically, Dessa is the most versatile rapper of Doomtree. She’s more willing than the others to step outside of hip-hop, and excel in all areas. This collection shows the strength of her solo catalogue now, and it’s among the strongest of the group.
Other favorites in this collection are Wye Oak, Moses Sumney, Rudy Willingham, The Shivas, Mudhoney, and Nada Surf. Enjoy!
Blockhead – That’s How He Got Dead
Mark Lanegan – Night Flight to Kabul
Ms Lauryn Hill – Guarding My Gates
Rudy Willingham – Pool Party
Moses Sumney – Virile
Dessa, Minnesota Orchestra – The Beekeeper
Making Movies – The Wake of the Fall (Nibiru)
Algiers – Dispossession
The Districts – Hey Jo
Charly Bliss – Supermoon
Modest Mouse – I’m Still Here
Nada Surf – Something I Should Do
Wye Oak – Fortune
Heavy Lungs – Half Full
Mudhoney – Morning in America
Drive-By Truckers – Armageddon’s Back In Town
Courtney Barnett – Keep On
The Shivas – Start A Fire
Wolf Parade – Forest Green
DJ Shadow, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon – Rain On Snow
Ricky Martin, Bad Bunny, Residente – Cantalo
Making Movies, Flor de Toloache – Tired of Giving In