Andrew Bird//Are You Serious
Andrew Bird has been one of my all time favorite musicians after my brother introduced me to him when I wasn’t even in high school yet. To put it at its simplest terms, Andrew Bird is a genius. His clever yet profound lyrics mixed with his ability to play the violin like no one ever has before has stood out to me for years. Are You Serious dips into the alternative genre, introducing more guitars and steadier drum patterns, but still includes those famous strings that got him this far. Notable tracks: Truth Lies Low and Capsized.
Devendra Banhart//Ape in Pink Marble
Smoothest album I’ve heard all year. Really tugs at my heart strings. When Middle Names, the first single of the album, was dropped over the summer, it broke my heart in two, but in the best way possible. Devendra has some of the best lyrics I’ve ever heard. I love the lighthearted nature and somewhat silliness this album offers, especially with its track titles, but has the ability to instantly make you break down and cry your heart out. Theme for a Taiwanese Woman in Lime Green is easily my favorite track off this record.
Deep Sea Diver//Secrets
Another album full of tear jerkers. I don’t know what’s up with me and loving so much sad music but I do know that this album is brilliant. Despite the fact that Deep Sea Diver hail from Seattle AND that lead singer Jessica Dobson is the coolest woman I’ve ever come across, it’s just such a solid record. When I saw Deep Sea Diver live at KEXP this past April, I was instantly blown away and knew I had to check them out. Every song in its own way resonates so deeply with me. Honesty is a big element on this album and Dobson expresses herself so beautifully. Notable tracks: Secrets, New Day, See These Eyes, Great Light.
Young the Giant//Home of the Strange
Before the release of this record, I convinced myself that I could never possibly love another Young the Giant record more than their sophomore “Mind Over Matter,” and I’m so glad I was proved wrong. Tapping in on their own narratives, Young the Giant have easily made their most vulnerable and personal album yet. In the band, there are two men of color, one a first-generation Indian-American. Another is of Jewish descent. Another member hails from Canada. Another from England. This mix of such diverse backgrounds offered so much to the table for YTG’s future when making this album. A huge theme on this album is storytelling, especially of immigration. Titus was Born is a stand-out track about an immigrant’s experience in America. Overall one of the most beautiful albums I have ever heard. Notable tracks: Silvertounge, Nothing’s Over, Jungle Youth.
Local Natives//Sunlit Youth
I would write a 15-page, single spaced analysis of this album but my staff would probably not allow it. To say I love this album would be a gross understatement. It came at a more perfect time in my life than I can articulate. Everything about this album strikes me: the imagery and aesthetics surrounding it, the mentions of LA (my hometown), the political undertones, and the tales of both lost and everlasting love. It’s everything all at once (which happens to be a title of one of the tracks. No pun intended). It’s an angry and fiery plea to society to quit with their superficial, harmful, and underdeveloped opinions. It’s a satirical response to America’s political division. It’s a list of suggestions on how to articulate your feelings to the love of your life. It dives deep into the introspective things we as people have the capacity to wonder: what is our purpose? Where are we going? Sunlit Youth, to me, is more than just a favorite album of a year or a decade or a millennium. It aligns perfectly with how I desire to live my life and how I want to articulate myself to people through my art or my trade. I identify with this album so deeply. When I listen to this album, each song seems to meld together with the last. When I’m absentmindedly listening, I can’t tell when a new song begins: not because they’re similar, but they all fit so perfectly together as a narrative that I can’t discern them without truly thinking about it. This isn’t an album of singles. It won’t make end-of-the-year Rolling Stone or Pitchfork lists, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Notable tracks: Coins, Past Lives, Jellyfish, Psycho Lovers, Sea of Years.
Childbirth: Women’s Rights
Blood Orange: Freetown Sound
Sales: SALES LP