Department of Eagles

JP's Blog Favorite Albums of the Year

I really didn’t want to make a list because that is what everybody does and I didn’t want to call it the top albums of the year because it is more of my opinion. So I made this which just features my favorite albums. If I hadn’t waited until the last day of the year to do it, I could’ve probably have done more than seven albums. Read the list below:

Favorite Debut Album: Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend got the attention of the blogosphere in late 2007 with ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’ and a demo that featured most of their album tracks. The demo made it on many of last year’s best-of lists. When the album finally came out in January there a huge buzz surrounding the band. The catchy indie-pop with prevalent African influences seemed to capture many people’s attention. Many were comparing this album to Paul Simon’s “Graceland”. Other influences found in the album include ska which can be seen in ‘A-Punk’. It is a very catchy album and good for a debut. It leaves them with a lot of room to grow. Hopefully they don’t try this sound too much because it can get old really quick.
Recommended Tracks: All of them
Vampire Weekend – White Sky

Favorite Album by an Aging Indie Rocker: Stephem Malkmus & the Jicks – Real Emotional Trash
Former Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus has a successful solo career since Pavement dissolved in 2000. This year’s “Real Emotional Trash” is possibly his best yet. The album features a lot of long jam-like songs that seem to go on and on forever. This is good in some tracks like ‘Hopscotch Willie’ and ‘Baltimore’ but it gets annoying on tracks like ‘Real Emotional Trash’. Stephen Malkmus’ guitar playing really shows well in this album and shows how much it has developed. The album also features some short tracks where he kept it simple like the catchy ‘Gardenia’ and ‘Cold Son’.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Baltimore’, ‘Gardenia’, ‘Hopscotch Willie’ and ‘Out of Reaches’
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks – Pennywhistle Thunder

Favorite Album by a British Duo: The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age of the Understatement
Alex Turner and Miles Kane each have their own bands but teamed up to make one of the best albums of the year. It features James Ford as producer and drummer for the band and string arrangements by Owen Pallett, otherwise known as Final Fantasy. The record features more of a late 1960s revival. The baroque pop heard in the record takes the listener back to a different time away from the dance and new rave that had overtaken the British music scene. It features many lavish
arrangements which aren’t really seen in music at the moment and it makes the listener feel as though they were listening to an old record.
Recommend Tracks: ‘Black Plant’, ‘Standing Next To Me’, ‘Only the Truth’ and ‘My Mistakes Were Made For You’
The Last Shadow Puppets – In the Heat of the Morning

Favorite Blues Rock Album Produced by Danger Mouse: The Black Keys – Attack & Release
This album was originally conceived when Danger Mouse was going to collaborate with the late Ike Turner. The plan was for the band to write the music, Ike Turner to sing and for Danger Mouse to produce. This was pretty much thrown out the window when the music legend passed away last year. But with many of the songs already written the band and DangerMouse decided to go ahead on doing a new Black Keys album. The blues-rock can be heard constantly throughout the album. It is really evident in ‘I Got Mine’ that starts with a strong riff by a heavily distorted guitar and Dan Auerbach’s vocals. ‘Strange Times’ features the usual elements of the band’s music but a synth can be heard in the background that was possibly added by Dangermouse. ‘Psychotic Girl features a banjo throughout the song accompanied with a hypnotic drum beat and twinkling piano. ‘Things Ain’t Like They Used to Be’ features a duet between Dan Auberbach and bluegrass/country singer Jessica Lea Mayfield.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Psychotic Girl’, ‘Remember When (Side B)’ and ‘Same Old Thing’
The Black Keys – I’m Glad

Favorite Accessible Album by a Post-Rock Band: Sigur Rós – Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
Coming off what was possibly their biggest year ever, with the release of their documentary ‘Heima’ Sigur Rós started recording their new album. Their latest album “Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust” is easily their most accessible and features more pop and a more natural sound to their music. The first track released off the album was ‘Gobbledigook’ which didn’t really feauture some of the aspects typical of Sigur Rós albums. It had a more acoustic sound, like ‘Gobbledigook’, a more pop sound like in ‘Inní mér syngur vitleysingur’ and a song in english (their first) which still sounds like Icelandic called ‘All Alright’. The albums does still have long post-rock song like ‘Festival’ and ‘Ára bátur’.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Inní mér syngur vitleysingur’, ‘Við spilum endalaust’ and ‘Heima’ (Japanese Bonus Track)
Sigur Rós – Gítardjamm

Favorite Dance, Shoegaze Album of the Year: Friendly Fires – Friendly Fires
How can a band be described as haveing dance music with lush shoegaze melodies? Thats easy you can have to listen to Friendly Fires debut album. The album features minimalist guitar arrangements like in ‘Paris’ and some cowbell with backing vocals by Au Revoir Simone. ‘On Board’ is another album favorite that can be heard on the current Wii commercials, with a great bassline that is heard throughout the song. The album is a prety strong debut and has “more cowbell” like in ‘White Diamonds’ and shoegaze dance songs like ‘Jump in the Pool’ and ‘Ex-Lover’.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Paris’, ‘White Diamonds’, ‘On Board’, ‘Jump in the Pool’ and ‘Skeleton Boy’
Friendly Fires – Bring Out Your Dead

Favorite Disco Revival Album: Hercules & Love Affair – Hercules & Love Affair
From the first momet that I heard ‘Blind’ in March, I was captured by the horns and Antony Hegarty’s vocals. The album also features contributions from Andrew Raposo of Automato and Tyler Pope of !!! on bass and vocals from Nomi. The album features heavy bass, trumpets and at various times sythesizers. Another high point in the album is the track ‘Hercules Theme’ which has a wonderfully encaptivating beat since the beginnning. Besides the disco influences the album also has a lot of psychadelic, funky, downtempo moments. The album has its place among disco classics and can still be heard as new and re
freshing in today’s music.
Hercules & Love Affair – Shadows

Favorite Album of the Year: Department of Eagles – In Ear Park
This album has been snubbed by many lists including Pitchfork’s Album of the Year (although it did get mentioned on the honorable mentions list) but you can guess that I chose an album I have been raving about ever since it leaked; Department of Eagles’ “In Ear Park”. Being on the two main songwriters in Grizzly Bear Daniel Rossen really shows what it is that he brings to Grizzly Bear. “In Ear Park” features many of Daniel Rossen songs that he felt were too personal to put into Grizzly Bear. His songs deal with the death of his Father and growing up in California. Now this may be misleading because Fred Nicolaus also wrote many of the songs for the album. His don’t have the same subject as Daniel Rossen’s songs. Some of you may be familiar with his writing if you are Grizzly Bear fans since he wrote ‘Little Brother’. This second album is much different from the first which was more electronic and featured hip-hop influences.
Recommended Tracks: ‘No One Does It Like You’, ‘Teenagers’, and ‘Phantom Other’
Department of Eagles – No One Does It Like You (Alternate Take)

The rest of the list in no particular order:
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
Albert Hammond, Jr. – Como Te LLama
Vivian Girls – Vivian Girls
Coldplay – Viva La Vida
Deerhunter – Microcastle
Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward
Beach House – Devotion
Beck – Modern Guilt
Blitzen Trapper – Furr
Bloc Party – Intimacy
We Are Scientists – Brain Thrust Mastery
Elvis Costello & the Imposters – Momofuku
Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
Born Ruffians – Red, Yellow and Blue
Brendan Canning – Something for All of Us
Cajun Dance Party – The Colourful Life
Chairlift – Does You Inspire You
Conor Oberst – Conor Oberst
Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
Los Campesinos – Hold On Now Youngster
Los Campesinos – We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed
Crystal Stilts – Alight of Night
Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs
Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours
My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
The Mars Volta – The Bedlam in Goliath
Health – Health
No Age – Nouns
Islands – Arm’s Way
Lightspeed Champion – Falling Off the Lavender Bridge
Nada Surf – Lucky
The Mountain Goats – Heretic Pride
She & Him – Volume 1
Marnie Stern – This is…
Foals – Antidotes
Hot chip – Made in the Dark
The Kills – Midnight Boom
The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely
Why? – Alopecia
Gnarls Barkley – The Odd Couple
Supergrass – Diamond Hoo Ha Men
R.E.M. – Accelerate
The Long Blondes – “Couples”
Tapes ‘n Tapes – Walk It Off
M83 – Saturdays = Youth
Tokyo Police Club – Elephant Shell
Flight of the Conchords – Flight of the Conchords
Portishead – Third
N.E.R.D – Seeing Sounds
Wolf Parade – At Mount Zoomer
Girl Talk – Feed the Animals
Ratatat – LP3
The Verve – Forth
TV on the Radio – Dear Science
Cold War Kids – Loyalty to Loyalty
of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping
Kaiser Chiefs – Off With Their Heads
Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreaks
Devotchka – A Mad & Faithful Telling
Dianogah – qhnnnl
Ed Banger – Ed Rec. Vol. 3
El Guincho – Alegranza
Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
Frech Kicks – Swimming
Glasvegas – Glaseveags
Guillemots – Red
The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
The Indelicates – American Demo
Jeremy Jay – A Place Where We Could Go
Lykke Li – Youth Novels
Mystery Jets – Twenty One
Oxford Collapse – Bits
Ra Ra Riot – The Rhumb Line
Shearwater – Rook
The Teenagers – Reality Check
These New Puritans – Beat Pyramid
This is Ivy League – This Is Ivy League
Times New Viking – Rip It Off
The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing
Titus Andronicus – The Airing of Grievances
The Walkmen – You and Me
Women – Women
I’m From Barcelona – Who Killed Houdini?
The Faint – Fasciination
Okkervil River – The Stand-Ins
Fucked Up – The Chemistry of Life

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