Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Countdown: #5

5 ,4, 3, 2....1! Happy New Year. That's how it will go...in five days. So, the big five countdown begins today and is one that will include some of what I consider to be the most top-notch releases of this magical music year. To take us into the big five, final four, then tasty three, here are two artists - one relatively new and one veteran group who I could see likely combining one day, because they are both refreshing and timeless. There are so many thrilling things about new music, but catching word of a new duet or unlikely pairing in music is easily near the top of my list. Maybe I'll write a thoughtful note to both of them and suggest they think about a little collab. They'll probably write back, thanking me for the worthwhile suggestion, because they don't often get people trying to tell them how to make their music in the midst of their busy creative careers. Right? Right. Anyway, in the words of Chris "I refuse to forgive you despite your impressive dance moves" Brown - le'go:

Annie Clark aka St. Vincent
ST. VINCENT - Strange Mercy: I'm sure I'm not the only one asking this, but - Annie Clark, where exactly did you come from? Above? Tulsa, Oklahoma? Both answers are true - and either way, I don't care, I'm just happy we have her. Apparently kicking around since her debut in 2007, Annie Clark - these days known as St. Vincent - is one quirky and fascinating musical sprite. As a sultry singer, songwriter and instrumentalist who crowds funky and original concepts into her artsy albums - Clark isn't afraid to weird up an album with thumping, grungy guitars stacked right beside feminine, twinkling melodies. She's one of those girls who on the playground who, if instead of kickball was being judged on her ability to shred a guitar and bring down a crowd, the menacing bullies would agree she wasn't just "good for a girl" - she's good for anybody. And to be fair, since I make note of this for the male portion of the artists I cover, she's undeniably stunning as well. Don't let the rouge lips and tiny frame fool you, this girl can rock with the best of them - and will for quite some time. Highlight songs: "Cruel", Northern Lights", "Surgeon", "Strange Mercy", Dillettante"


COLDPLAY - Mylo Xyloto: We have a lot to compare to when it comes to this iconic contemporary British pop-rock clan, and inevitably in the eyes of some an album can never measure up to earlier works. But, in my opinion at least, an artist's new attempts and whacks at musical growth should always be appreciated. And, despite the newest Coldplay release hardly resembling A Rush of Blood to the Head or Parachutes, it sure was interesting to hear their cultured and crafty new tracks - which featured an array of robust sonic sounds, guest stars and maturity beyond acoustic love songs and typical chord progression. It was futuristic, it sparkled in a new way and it was different; something that's always off-putting, but often needed, in any part of anything. I think it was great, and between Chris Martin's stellar vocal performance, some synth spells and even a few songs to appease our old-school Coldplay appetite (Charlie Brown and U.F.O.) - there should at least be a little something for everyone. Way to go, boys. Highlight songs: "Hurts Like Heaven", "Paradise", "Princess of China", "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall"

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