Plus, I'm getting older so I'm an aging-out demo. I still think the best "rock" music was made between 1960 and 1990. I like electronic music but I know that it will never replace lyrically-driven song structures. These songs appeal to people on an emotional level whereas electronic music generally has a more physical appeal. There is a reason why the most successful electronic artists today are marrying their beats with professional vocalists. Ultimately, storytellers still reign supreme in the world of music. Anyway, here's the list. I'm still thinking about making a best records of the last 40 years list. We'll see how that one works out.
1. Fire Star- Synth Pop & Electro-Funk From Tamil Films 1985-1989
Why compile songs from India's third largest film industry producer? Why draw your sample size from a specific four year period in the mid to late 1980's? Why the fuck not? It sounds great!
2. Tame Impala- Lonerism
Do you remember when you heard Van Morrison's "St. Dominic's Preview" and decided you needed to write your own Van Morrison song but it ended up sounding warped, not necessarily in a bad way, but definitely not exactly how you imagined Van Morrison would sound. This is Kevin Parker's version of bubblegum pop music.
3. Spider Bags- Shake My Head
Self-effacing garage rock with distinctive baritone vocals (think Mike Watt with emotion and sincerity). A truly satisfying batch of songs, full of affirmations of love that reject cosmopolitan living.
4. Frank Ocean- Channel Orange
A star in the making, blends some great influences, namely: Stevie Wonder, Prince, Michael Jackson, and Sly & The Family Stone. Frank Ocean is a storyteller who is finding his voice.
5. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti- Mature Themes
Real curmudgeonly dude but he makes consistently interesting and challenging music. He veers off into Zappa-esque territory but always maintains a genuine pop core.
6. Frankie Rose- Interstellar
Great 80s throwback record, it's brooding yet uplifting. What else would you expect from a 7th level Chaotic Neutral musician?
7. The Beach Boys- That's Why God Made The Radio
Even though most of the Wilsons are still dead and Mike Love is still a huge dickhead, Brian and the crew still make great music.
8. W.I.T.C.H.- We Intend To Cause Havoc
Reissue of the entire catalog from 1970's era African rock band. Bluesy, rootsy, funky, ballsy. All four albums from this Zambian outfit are represented, giving the listener a wealth of great music to choose from here.
9. Jaill- Traps
Best band from Milwaukee since the Violent Femmes or The Frogs. This three-piece is basically a grittier version of The Shins (that's a good thing by the way).
10. Lower Dens- Nootropics
Moody, atmospheric, evocative. It drones like a all good Krautrock records.
11. Wild Nothing- Nocturne
Imminently catchy collection of retro 80's dream pop.
12. Islands- A Sleep and A Forgetting
Melancholic breakup record from former Unicorn's bandleader Nick Diamond. Displays hints of Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music.
13. Elton John vs. PNAU- Good Morning To The Night
Australian electronic dance duo take vintage 1970's Elton John and put it through the modern groove blender. Satisfies ravers and AORers alike.
14. Julia Holter- Ekstasis
An ethereal electronic pop record that unfolds in calculating waves of understated bliss.
15. The Fresh & Onlys- Long Slow Dance
This San Fran band of garage rockers is evolving into a more nuanced songwriting force without compromising the treble & reverb.
16. Matthew Dear- Beams
Another fine collection of pulsating electronic songs infused with Dear's clinical voice. He's mutating into a no-wave force to be reckoned with.
17. The Funk Ark- High Noon
An Afro-Cuban version of the Daptone Records roster from this Washington D.C. collective. Some seriously funkafied instrumental scorchers are wafting by the Prez's door as I type.
18. Demdike Stare- Elemental:I-IV
Ambient, in turns industrial, electronic music that incorporates manipulated slices of obscure horror soundtracks. This is some hardcore electronic music.
19. Mac Demarco- 2
The sheer doofiness of this album cover belies the sophisticated nature of Demarco's songwriting, not withstanding his odes to favorite cigarette brands.
20. William Basinski- The Disintegration Loops
Three repetitive notes, looped for 2 hours, underlain with what sounds like basketballs bouncing on hardwood in a cathedral. The tape decays and the notes literally disintegrate. Its a work that is beguiling, enchanting, & beautiful.
21. Poolside- Pacific Standard Time
Totally infectious dance record that is the perfect compliment to a backyard summertime barbeque.
22. Daphni- Jiaolong
Combines African roots samples with a shitload of mesmerizing synth sounds. Dan Snaith changes monikers so often( from Manitoba to Caribou to Daphni) I'm beginning to think his renegade grooves have made him a fugitive.
23. Flume- Flume
20 year old Australian Harley Streten makes music well beyond his years, a heady concoction of mid-tempo electronic beat music with assured hip-hop and R&B/soul vocals. Really promising debut.
24. Coke Weed- Nice Dreams
Great druggy name for this Velvet Underground influenced crew of Mainers.
25. Tim Maia- Nobody Can Live Forever: The Existential Soul of Tim Maia
Tim Maia basically introduced soul music to his native Brazil and is considered a national treasure there. The Luaka Bop label has reissued a veritable greatest hits record to commemorate what would have been Maia's 70th birthday. If you like Tropicalia, 70's pysch, soul and roots music then this is a must add.
26. Chris Cohen- Overgrown Path
Member of indie legends Deerhoof takes a sun-dappled journey into solo record territory. Overgrown Path is a record of mellow guitar driven songs that recall the 70's pyschedelic folk, but with the quirky time signatures that mark his playing in Deerhoof.
27. Mind Spiders- Meltdown
Satisfying blend of garage and new wave, gets your feet tapping, makes you want to smash shit up.
28. Le Super Borgou De Parakou- Bariba Sound
Another mega-funked up African reissue (see W.I.T.C.H. above). Le Super Borgou De Parakou was a supergroup comprising some of the best musicians in Benin in the early 70's. The music created during this time period in Western Africa was incredibly influential on future Western music.
29. Deep Time- Deep Time
A pensive pop record from stripped down Austin, TX duo. Jennifer Moore's laconic vocals, which bring to mind Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier, can be both disorienting and alarmingly soothing.
El-P- Cancer 4 Cure
Opossom- Electric Hawaii
Country Funk 1969-1975
Death Grips- The Money Store
Jensen Sportag- Pure Wet EP
Disclosure- The Face EP
Gomma All-Stars feat. Peaches- Casablanca Reworks
How To Dress Well- Total Loss
Shout Out Out Out Out- Spanish Moss & Total Loss
Chromatics- Kill For Love
King Tuff- King Tuff
Matthew E. White- Big Inner
Cadence Weapon- Hope In Dirt City
Chelsea Wolfe- Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs
FRKWYS Vol. 9: Sun Araw & M. Geddes Gengras Meet The Congos