Top 10 Albums of 2013

Last year was full of unexpected comebacks in the music scene — Daft Punk, Boards of Canada and My Bloody Valentine all put out new material for the first time in years — and it resulted in one of the best years in some time. Here are my personal favorites:

Honorable Mentions: Bonobo – The North Borders, Gold Panda – Half of Where You Live, Mayer Hawthorne – Where Does This Door Go

10) !!! – Thr!!!er
!!! - Thr!!!er
9) Moderat – II
Moderat - II
8) Kanye West – Yeezus
Kanye West - Yeezus
7) Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest
6) Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus
Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus
5) The Field – Cupid’s Head
The Field - Cupid's Head
4) Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Arcade Fire - Reflektor
3) Disclosure – Settle
Disclosure - Settle
2) The National – Trouble Will Find Me
The National - Trouble Will Find Me
1) Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

Individual tracks from each album:
!!! – “Slyd
Moderat – “Versions
Kanye West – “Blood on the Leaves
Boards of Canada – “Jacquard Causeway
Fuck Buttons – “Brainfreeze
The Field – “Cupid’s Head
Arcade Fire – “Here Comes the Night Time
Disclosure – “White Noise
The National – “Don’t Swallow the Cap
Daft Punk – “Lose Yourself to Dance

For once, I actually agree with the Grammys. How about you? What are your favorite albums from last year?

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Top 10 Songs by The National

Hey folks!

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Chris from the wonderfully diverse blog, moviesandsongs365, invited me to write a guest post about my favorite band, The National. While I rarely write about music here at The Warning Sign, it is one of my greatest passions, and I was eager to accept his proposal. I composed a list of my top 10 favorite songs by The National; it was hard to whittle down their catalog to just ten songs, but I’m happy with how it turned out.

the-national

Read the full article here: Eric’s Top 10 Songs by The National.

Top 25 Albums of 2011

This list has been a long time coming. I have had it sitting in my WordPress dashboard for weeks, waiting for a night where I could sit down and write about each album. I have since realized that night just isn’t going to come, so I am posting this as-is. This list will pretty much wrap-up my “Best of 2011” series, and it was the hardest one to compile. Last year was a good one for music, and there were several albums that could have been my top choice at one point or another.

This is a pretty varied list that dabbles in “indie” rock, electronica and hip-hop. My tastes are always all over the place. I have included links to songs from each album in case you want to listen for yourself.

Honorable Mentions:
Xander Harris – Urban Gothic
Dominik Eulberg – Diorama
The Kills – Blood Pressures


Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde
25) Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde

Check out: Weekend

Mark E - Stone Breaker
24) Mark E – Stone Breaker
Check out: Black Moon

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - S/T
23) Unknown Mortal Orchestra – S/T
Check out: Ffunny Ffrends

Cults - S/T
22) Cults – S/T
Check out: Go Outside

13 & God - Own Your Ghost
21) 13 & God – Own Your Ghost
Check out: Death Major

Gold Panda - Companion
20) Gold Panda – Companion
Check out: Back Home

araabMUZIK - Electronic Dream
19) araabMUZIK – Electronic Dream
Check out: Streetz Tonight

Thee Oh Sees - Castlemania
18) Thee Oh Sees – Castlemania
Check out: I Need Seed

Cornershop - Cornershop & the Double 'O' Groove Of
17) Cornershop – Cornershop & the Double ‘O’ Groove Of
Check out: Topknot

The Antlers - Burst Apart
16) The Antlers – Burst Apart
Check out: Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out

Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch the Throne
15) Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne
Check out: Otis

The Rapture - In the Grace of Your Love
14) The Rapture – In the Grace of Your Love
Check out: How Deep Is Your Love?

The Roots - Undun
13) The Roots – Undun
Check out: Make My

Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
12) Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Check out: College ft. Electric Youth “A Real Hero

Destroyer - Kaputt
11) Destroyer – Kaputt
Check out: Chinatown

Kendrick Lamar - Section.80
10) Kendrick Lamar – Section.80
Check out: A.D.H.D

Mayer Hawthorne - How Do You Do
9) Mayer Hawthorne – How Do You Do
Check out: Hooked

Maceo Plex - Life Index
8) Maceo Plex – Life Index
Check out: Dexter’s Flight

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
7) Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Check out: Montezuma

Radiohead - The King of Limbs
6) Radiohead – The King of Limbs
Check out: Lotus Flower

The Black Keys - El Camino
5) The Black Keys – El Camino
Check out: Lonely Boy

Real Estate - Days
4) Real Estate – Days
Check out: It’s Real

The Field - Looping State of Mind
3) The Field – Looping State of Mind
Check out: It’s Up There

TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light
2) TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light
Check out: Will Do
Tycho - Dive
1) Tycho – Dive
Check out: Dive

So what do you guys think? Did you enjoy any of these albums/songs? What were your favorites of the year?

Music Video of the Week: “Barbra Streisand” by Duck Sauce

I saw this video a while ago, but it has taken YouTube by storm all of a sudden. It has over 47 million views and counting, which is impressive, to say the least. “Barbra Streisand” is incredibly catchy, and the video is so random and just plain awesome. See how many cameos you can spot… Kanye West, Pharrell, Ezra Koenig (of Vampire Weekend), ?uestlove, and Diplo are just a handful of people in the video. Great stuff, and New Yorkers will love this one especially. I dare you to not get this stuck in your head for the rest of the day…

Top 30 Albums of 2010

I didn’t realize it until I started compiling this list, but I listened to a lot of music last year. 2010 was a really, really good year for music, one of the best in a while. A lot of established bands put out strong albums, and there were some noteworthy artists making their debuts. Here are my top 30 albums from 2010, starting with the honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions:
Royksopp – Senior
Holy Fuck – Latin
Guilty Simpson – OJ Simpson
Dosh – Tommy
She & Him – Volume Two

Now onto the full list:

MGMT - Congratulations
30) MGMT – Congratulations
A lot of people dislike this album because it is a complete departure from the catchy singles (i.e. “Kids” & “Time To Pretend”) on their first record. I find their sophomore effort to be more satisfying as a whole, however. Total throwback to 60’s psychedelia, but not for everyone.
Song For Dan Treacy:

Cee Lo Green - The Lady Killer
29) Cee Lo Green– The Lady Killer
Some will be disappointed that there is nothing on this album similar to novelty hit “Fuck You,” and that is rather unfortunate. Cee Lo’s got soul, and this is a great solo effort from him. Gotta give him props for covering a Band of Horses song, too.
Bright Lights Bigger City:

Pantha Du Prince – Black Noise
28) Pantha Du Prince – Black Noise
This helped me get through many long work days. Simply excellent minimal techno, and perfect background music. Could have done without the Panda Bear vocal track though.
Satellite Snyper:

Wale – More About Nothing
27) Wale – More About Nothing
Wale is back with a sequel to the Seinfeld-themed mixtape that got him publicity in the first place. I thought the theme might be too much the second time around, but that’s not the case. This has more great usage of Seinfeld clips, including the hilarious “do you think I was canceled?” rant by Jerry on Larry King Live.
The MC:

Aloe Blacc – Good Things
26) Aloe Blacc – Good Things
Great, great soul record. Good to know he got some airplay due to HBO using “I Need A Dollar” as its theme song for “How to Make It in America.” I must also mention the terrific cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale” — Blacc gives the song a whole new perspective.
I Need A Dollar:

Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks
25) Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks
I have known about these guys for a while, but didn’t actually pay attention to them until this summer. I was at Lollapalooza, wasn’t feeling well for some reason, and just needed to chill out for a bit. I found a spot under the trees at the small “bloggy” stage and listened to these guys. I was instantly made a fan and had to get this album. I wouldn’t be surprised to see these guys blow up in the next few years.
The Loneliness & The Scream:

The Chemical Brothers - Further
24) The Chemical Brothers – Further
Just when I thought the Chemical Brothers had tapped all of their creativity, they put out this pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting much, but this is a really good album that holds its own amongst their best.
Escape Velocity:

Menomena – Mines
23) Menomena – Mines
More interesting experimental rock from this Portland trio. It took some time to grow on me, and I wouldn’t say it is as good as Friend and Foe, but the more I listened to this, the more I liked it.
TAOS:

Booka Shade – More!
22) Booka Shade – More!
It’s more of the same from Booka Shade, but that’s not a bad thing at all. There are a handful of throwaway tracks, but there are some truly great ones as well — ones that hold up compared to the rest of the duo’s catalog. I can only imagine how well some of these songs translate to a live setting.
Donut (Interpretation):

Ellen Allien – Dust
21) Ellen Allien – Dust
This is the first full-length album I have heard from Allien, although it is her fifth overall. I liked this quite a bit — its a good mix of melancholy techno and pop music.
Ever:

Tame Impala - Innerspeaker [2010]
20) Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
I had never heard of these guys until just a couple months ago. They are an Australian rock band influenced by 60s psychedelic music, and their lead singer has an uncanny vocal resemblance to John Lennon. Innerspeaker is the band’s debut album, and it shows a lot of potential.
Solitude Is Bliss:

Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma
19) Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma
Perhaps the most “difficult” album on my list — it is impossible to classify this into one genre. It took me several listens to really appreciate what he was going for here. Definitely a complex record that rewards you the more you listen to it.
And The World Laughs With You (feat. Thom Yorke):

!!! - Strange Weather, Isn't It?
18) !!! – Strange Weather, Isn’t It?
!!!’s first album since the tragic death of their drummer, Jerry Fuchs, is their darkest effort yet. This also marks a change of direction in sound for the band, not quite as accessible as their earlier material but still rather good. I am especially happy that live favorite “The Hammer” made it onto the record.
The Hammer:

The Black Keys - Brothers
17) The Black Keys – Brothers
Another solid album from the Akron blues rock duo. They tried some new things here, but it’s still a Black Keys record through and through. Quality stuff, these guys never disappoint.
Tighten Up:

Tobacco – Maniac Meat
16) Tobacco – Maniac Meat
Even harsher than Fucked Up Friends, but still a lot of fun. Loved the appearances from Beck.
Constellation Dirtbike Head:

Strong Arm Steady – In Search of Stoney Jackson
15) Strong Arm Steady – In Search of Stoney Jackson
My favorite Stones Throw record of the year. Top notch production from Madlib, tight lyrics, and just a great all-around hip-hop album that flew under a lot of people’s radars this year.
Get Started (feat. Talib Kweli):

Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record
14) Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record
I didn’t think we would get another BSS album, so this was a bit of a surprise. This is probably their weakest record, but there are still a lot of memorable songs on here. Gotta love the epic instrumental “Meet Me In The Basement” that is just awesome live.
Meet Me In The Basement:

The Roots – How I Got Over
13) The Roots – How I Got Over
I don’t know how the Roots even found the time to record anything this year, being that they are Jimmy Fallon’s house band and all, but this album ranks up there with their very best.
The Fire (feat. John Legend):

Spoon – Transference
12) Spoon – Transference
Rough and unpolished, this is Spoon’s most straightforward effort yet. A bit of a departure from their last couple records, but still a great all-around rock album from beginning to end.
Mystery Zone:

Matthew Dear – Black City
11) Matthew Dear – Black City
How do you even go about describing this album? Dark, brooding experimental dance music with hints of Prince thrown in? Dear sure has changed a lot since the days of Backstroke, but I really like the direction he is heading. “You Put A Smell On Me” is one of his best songs yet.
You Put A Smell On Me:

Freddie Gibbs – Str8 Killa
10) Freddie Gibbs – Str8 Killa
Freddie has been on a roll lately, releasing a couple of successful mixtapes and getting some great reviews. He finally dropped an EP this year that showcases some of his best songs. A little surprised that “The Ghetto” didn’t make the cut, but nonetheless this is high-quality stuff. Proof that good gangsta rap didn’t die with Pac and Biggie.
National Anthem (Fuck The World):

Broken Bells – Broken Bells
09) Broken Bells – Broken Bells
James Mercer + Danger Mouse = a pretty damn good collaboration. Lots of catchy songs, and Mercer sounds like he is genuinely having fun. I hope these guys continue to work together.
The Ghost Inside:

The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night
08) The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night
Best discovery of the year for me. I saw these guys at a free show in Millenium Park over the summer and they just blew me away. Incredible album, these guys have a very bright future.
And This Is What We Call Progress:

Yeasayer – Odd Blood
07) Yeasayer – Odd Blood
Odd Blood came as a result of the band’s massive acid trip in New Zealand. It definitely sounds LSD-influenced, and that turned out to be a very, very good thing. Their influences are all over the place here, but somehow they bring it all together to craft some truly great experimental dance/pop songs.
O.N.E:

Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
06) Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
This could very well be the best Gorillaz album yet, and it is all over the place musically. What else could you expect when the guests include Lou Reed, Mos Def, Bobby Womack and Snoop Dogg? A lot of fun to listen to.
On Melancholy Hill:

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
05) Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Who would have thought an album about suburbia would be this good? As their longest effort yet, The Suburbs is loaded with songs that translate amazingly well to arenas. It could have probably used some trimming, but this is still an amazing album that brought out some fantastic individual songs. Plus it gave us one of the coolest interactive videos I have ever seen.
Ready To Start:

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
04) Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Say what you want about Kanye the man, but Kanye the artist is fucking brilliant. I’m not going to go so far as to say it is the album of the year (which many critics are), but it is still damn good. Kanye is one of the best minds in hip-hop today, and it is so much fun to watch him evolve and try new things. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
Runaway:

Caribou – Swim
03) Caribou – Swim
Dan Snaith (Caribou) calls this “liquid dance music” and oddly enough, that is an accurate description. This is a lot different from his 60s psychedelia-influenced Andorra, as it focuses more on the electronic/dance side of things. I love the direction he has taken, and this may be his best album yet.
Odessa:

Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
02) Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
Best hip-hop album of the year, hands down. It’s so good to have Big Boi back. I was a little worried as to how good this would be considering the amount of time since his last work, but he hasn’t missed a step. Many standout tracks and lots of great guest appearances (Yelawolf, Janelle Monae, Gucci Mane, etc.)
Shine Blockas (feat. Gucci Mane):

The National – High Violet
01) The National – High Violet
The National have quickly become one of my favorite bands. High Violet picks up right where Boxer left off, and it shows a band that is continually maturing with age. Feelings of fear and paranoia are all over this one, but the band has never sounded tighter. Plus “Terrible Love” is so good that the group has made that their regular concert closer. Absolutely fantastic; this is my album of the year.
Blood Buzz Ohio: