At the end of every year I search music sites and publications for their pick of the top alternative albums of the previous year. Usually I am in agreement with their lists and often I find new bands that I hadn’t listened to previously. I am always on the lookout for amazing new alternative music. Even though I have been out of the business for many years, I continue to actively search out new bands to listen to and see live. Not only do these bands have to grab my attention, they need to hold it. The test of a great album for me is first it’s uniquness and musicality and second that I never, ever skip over their tune when it comes up on shuffle.
There are those, like my 17 year old, who are passionate about classic rock–The Who, The Stones, Led Zepplin–and although I totally appreciate those bands for what they have done for us in the past, I have always been more interested in the newest and greatest. There is so much innovative new music being made every day and much of it is unexposed to the general public. Thanks to the internet though, we now have wonderful avenues to explore this new stuff by listening to Pandora Radio or many independent stations like Houndstooth Radio and Newnormalmusic.com. or LostFm.
I am forever wanting to share my love of these bands with my friends in hopes that they too will feel the passion I do when I listen to these gems. So here I present my Top 5 albums that have held my attention for the last year that I think you should own or at least pay close attention to.
1. Frightened Rabbit–The Winter Of Mixed drinks : I saw these Scottish lads twice this year and their CD is on repeat in my car. If you only take one of my suggestions, take this one.
2. Florence and the Machine– Lungs. Although this album came out in 2009, I started listening, really listening last January. When I saw her preform at the Paradise I was blown away. The fact that someone so young (26?) can have such a powerful voice is mind boggling. Since last January Florence has been getting quite a lot of press and has crossed over to the mainstream, which is usually a kiss of death between myself and a beloved indie band, but I find it hard to walk away from her as she is so amazing and deserves all the accolades she receives.
3. Matt Pond PA–The Dark Leaves — Matt Pond has released 7 albums since 1998 but this year is the first I have heard of him or his Philadelphia based band. The album is beautiful, lush, and upbeat. I never skip over Matt Pond.
4. Hey Marseilles — To Travel and Trunks :
Mix these lyrics–
“On the way I will go ,Where the days left to breathe,Are not gone, are still long,I am traveling on”–
with viloins and accordians , guitars and claps and you have a band that has captured my heart. I missed seeing them live before they headed to Europe but I have been told they put on an amazing show. One I will not miss in 2011.
5a. Sleigh bells– Treats The newest addition to my list of albums I can’t get out of my head, this Brooklyn duo rocks harder than what I have been listening to lately. But there is something about Sleigh Bells that gets under my skin. Their combination of heavy guitar and lilting vocals just, well, slays me.
5b. The National — High Violet Because I can’t make a compilation without these guys and because the album came out this year and because I think everyone should know about The National and because his voice makes me smile and cry at the same time…