As a preface, I’d like to point my dear readers to this post, written nearly three years ago, just after these records had been released. It’s been fun to listen to them all again and see how much my opinions have changed. One and two remain the same but there’s been a slight change in the number three slot.
Gold Medal: Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear may be the most exciting band in existence today. At this moment, I’m reveling in their newest release, but Veckatimest remains the band’s turning point. It was here that the Brooklyn foursome really defined their musical language, with its incredible depth and maturity. “Two Weeks” remains one of the great songs of the last decade for me and I still remember the exact spot I was when I heard it, walking my dog, thinking "WHOAH THIS IS GOOD." The band writes incredible songs and ornaments them with fireworks of harmonic glory, both in the vocals and the instrumental work. What will they think of next??
Silver Medal: Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle by Bill Callahan
When I acquired this album, I had no idea who Bill Callahan was. But after a friend’s recommendation, I got this record and instantly loved it. The voice was the first thing to strike me. A rich bass is a rare thing in pop music and it fits these songs so well. After the initial satisfaction with the timbre of Callahan's pipes, you realize how enigmatic the songs are. Are they metaphors? Weird tales of fantasy? Nonsense? I still remember the first time I heard, “If you could only stop your heartbeat for one heartbeat.” I’d never heard someone do that with lyrics before, and probably never will again. So strange, so smart.
Bronze Medal: Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective
Until this album, I’d never been able to enjoy an AC release from start to finish. They have their moments, but the weirdness just lasts too long and I would lose focus. But this is a bit more accessible and united. The album cover is such a perfect visual representation of this music. It makes you a bit dizzy, but it’s attractive and after a while, you’re really a fan. On Merriweather, the strange sounds and atmospheres are just the style of the cinematography. The substance of this album is just pure the maniacal creativity that reaches its glorious climax on the final track, “Brother Sport.”