Colin Stetson's "New History Warfare, Vol. 2: Judges"
Just like IC puts out its year-end best-of list in February, my half-year best-of doesn’t hit until August. This list includes the music I covered while at the
If you would like to see this list visually, I’ve created an
Independent Clauses Pinterest page that also includes the best artwork that’s crossed IC’s path in 2011 and a list of best books about pop music.
Chad Valley – . ’80s dance-pop revivalism that captures both the playful nonchalance and wistful romanticism of the first disposable music era. Equatorial Ultravox
Aaron Robinson – . The Nashville songwriter comes into his own, creating a set of unforgettable melancholy tunes. A Dying Art EP
James and Evander – . The true heirs to The Postal Service’s throne, at long last. Constellating EP + 2
The Antlers – Song of the year “Putting The Dog To Sleep” caps off a emotional album of indie-fied slow jamz. Burst Apart.
Adebisi Shank – . Exuberant O-prog (optimistic prog rock) that makes the very best of a trio by use of some wicked complicated pedalboards. This Is the Second Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank
The Low Anthem – . A gorgeous album of secular hymns. Smart Flesh “I’ll Take Out Your Ashes” is the quietest emotional wrecking ball of the year.
Cameron Blake – The album establishes Blake as a songwriter with a unique voice and something to say. Hide and Go Seek.
Brianna Gaither – I am still blown away by the power in her voice and assured quality in her piano songwriting. Tough to believe it’s a debut. Love is Patient.
Jenny and Tyler – They’ve upped their game from charming folk duo to serious songwriters with heart-pounding lyrics and music. Faint Not.
Laura Stevenson and the Cans – One of the most complete albums of the year, as well as the most varied. Stevenson can hit shots from all over the indie court. Sit Resist.
Typhoon – Horns, strings, drums, guitars, choirs: Chamber-folk doesn’t get better than this Portland outfit. A New Kind of House.
LCD Soundsystem – Not a true album, or it would be higher. The frantic energy of each tune makes this a can’t-miss for even casual fans of James Murphy’s work. Last Show at Madison Square Garden.
Generationals – Perky indie-pop tunes with undeniable charm and indelible melodies. “Ten-Twenty-Ten” is my summer song. Actor-Caster.
Brine Webb – . If emotional nakedness were the 100-yard-dash, Webb would be Usain Bolt. Dazzling folk beauty and devastating lyrics. O You, Stone Changeling
Braids – Mesmerizing, wandering, evocative beauty from the only band to surprise me with a unique take on indie-rock this year. Native Speaker.
Colin Stetson – Stetson turns a single baritone saxophone into an art-rock band, churning out astonishing post-rock pieces at turns terrifying and rapturous. New History Warfare, Vol. 2: Judges.