Saturday, May 28, 2011

Indie Music MAYhem 2.0: Results

Fifty-three days after the introduction post, the results are in. I give you my laughably subjective rankings of the six may releases:

Death Cab For Cutie
Codes and Keys
Death Cab outperforms expectations, a victory in and of itself. Ben Gibbard's band isn't my cup of tea, but I'll tip my cap to their efforts here.

Okkervil River
I Am Very Far
This album's final seven songs are top shelf, but it sputters out of the gates. A little resequencing could have propelled it to the front three.

My Morning Jacket
Their astronomical standards worked against them here, but Circuital dials back the eccentricities and offers a slate of space-rock gems.

Man Man
Life Fantastic
The Philly oddballs take a major step forward, aided by the production and arrangements of Mike Mogis.

Fleet Foxes
Helplessness Blues 
Fleet Foxes' star continues to rise as the follow up a near-perfect debut with a long-gestating LP that was easily worth the wait.

The Felice Brothers
Celebration, Florida 
In the span of one album, The Felices went from a nuts-and-bolts barnband to multifaceted musical commentators. And they've never sounded better.


Congrats to the Felice Brothers. Like Broken Social Scene last year, the the end of May finds them atop the heap. I imagine I'll get some eye-rolls for placing the Felices ahead of Fleet Foxes. I've always awarded points for risks and originality, and on Celebration, Florida the Felice Brothers immersed themselves in both. Plus, as a huge fan of both organic Americana and studio-affected indie rock, Celebration, Florida (like Summerteeth or even Iron and Wine's The Shepherd's Dog) scratches both itches in a big way. I will say the overall quality of this year's IMM releases was an improvement on last year's. There wasn't a true whiff in the bunch (sorry Infinite Arms) and I'd look for most to chart on our year end list. Check back in December to see if that holds true.

Upcoming: We'll wrap up IMM 2.0 with a look at the poll. Vote fast, it closes in two days!

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