I know it's already March but here are my favorites of 2K11.  I was hoping you hadn't already heard too many of these but then maybe it'd be cool if you had and everyone was super into all this stuff.    My nature was already predisposed towards wierdo pop of a Japanese origin, and attempting to learn the language certainly hasn't helped me diversify... Anyway, I hope you will enjoy this stuff!!

You Love Her Coz She's Dead // ST 
 If you are like me, you've been eagerly anticipating the release of this UK based digital hardcore duo since Emusic recommended their "Inner City Angst" ep to you in 2008. The wait for their full length was meant to be over as of February (2011), but due to some label shifts or something else I don't care too much about, the album didn't actually arrive until August. No matter...it was well worth the wait. The album's 10 tracks are a non stop freak out dance party from start to finish. The obvious comparison is Crystal Castles' debut but that doesn't really do YLHCSD justice. While YLHCSD and CC both do the "one screaming chick over synths and 8bit noise" thing, YLHCSD's synth work is far more nuanced and the overall tone is much more aggressive (plus, expect a lot of wobble wobble stuff but good!). Unlike the music on their ep, the debut full length sees the band letting 8bit take more of a back seat which definitely shows their programming chops in a way that can't be tossed off as a sound of the moment one trick pony. The standout may be the single, Sunday Best, but repeated listens are sure to reveal a solid album start to finish. If only they would play live in NYC...

POLYSICS // Oh No! It's Heavy Polysick!!!
March saw the release of Japanese Devo-obsessos POLYSIC's eleventh studio album, Oh No! It's Heavy Polysick!!! Though lead singer/guitarist Hayashi promised a long break following the release of 2009's Absolute Polysics and the departure of longtime keyboardist, Kayo, the group barely waited a year before releasing their first full length as a trio.  While  the wait was incredibly short, the quality of this album cannot be denied. Far more guitar heavy than previous efforts, the band seems quite comfortable without a dedicated synth player and still retain their signature guitar synth pogo punk new wave sound. Plowing through 13 songs in under 40 minutes, POLYSICS continue to astound and amaze--It's finally out for download now, so click the link and buy or die!

『アーバンギャルド / メンタルヘルズ』
Mental Hells may be Urbangarde's 4th album, but it is their major label debut.  And what a debut it is.  This record is without a doubt the strongest and most consistent that they've made so far.  With each album, Urbangarde has gotten better and better at creating a musical college that seems to stem equally from synthy new wave, cute punk and...some kind of wannabe goth?  It shouldn't work, but their odd way of putting all these styles together strikes just the right balance.  Take the vocals for instance;  just when you think you can't stand any more of  Yoko Hamasaki's breathy whisper, in comes Tenma Matsunaga, growling in a voice that's barely on pitch.  The arrangements follow suit, the band seem equally comfortable living in Kei Yachimura's synth scapes as they do going crazy on a double kick pedal and letting the guitars distort right up front.  All of this anachronism is held together by a strong sense of song craft and an impeccable sense of humor that comes across despite the language barrier...but don't be fooled...the album may be one big parody, but it's certainly no joke.

Neon Indian / Era Extraña
By far the most known of my picks for the year, Neon Indian's sophomore effort is still worth mentioning as it definitely received a few less than stellar reviews and I can't quite figure out why.  Songwriter Alan Palomo has crafted a much stronger set of songs than he did for his debut, marrying the slightly drugged Neon Indian aesthetic to the dayglow pop polish of previous bands Ghosthustler and Vega, and because he has ditched most of low-fi speaker crunch of his debut, you can actually hear what he did this time around.  The album showcases some of the most impressive synthesizer work I've ever heard, and Palomo's dreamy take on mid-tempo pop ballads is thoroughly engaging.

Macdonald Duck Eclair / Kono Tokimeki Imasugu 
I already wrote a review about this, my favorite album of the year, so I'm not going to say much about this other than that it's important to check it out.  Read my further thoughts on it here, and enjoy an album that is sure to impress with it's use of extremes both overly heady and amateurish.  If only all pop music were always as big wonderfully messy as this.

GalapagosS / Black Including All
Rising from the ashes of electronic punk duo, FLOPPY, GalapagosS takes all the great things about FLOPPY's high speed chip punk and adds a band oriented aesthetic.  The good news is that the best parts of FLOPPY remain--the chiptunes insipred synths and rhythmic chirps--and the addition of live drums might remind you of a slightly more melodic and marginally less jittery POLYSICS.  While the highs on "Black Including All", the band's debut full length,  may not be as immediately gripping as those on created in their previous incarnation (FLOPPY'S "PROTOSCIENCE" for example), the over all album has a lot more variety and packs a harder punch.  Definitely worth picking up.

Okay, I think that's enough for now.  I hope you will buy all these right away and support these incredible artists!!!  Let's hope they all come to New York and play live too!

No comments:

Post a Comment