RoundLetters’ picks for Best of 2011 so far

I’m going to be honest. 2011 has not been that great for music in my books thus far. I am still listening to a lot of 2010 favourites in my free time. I am constantly meh on most of these 2011 buzz bands my music writing colleagues, friends and the general public seem enamored with (which doesn’t play in my freelance music journalist favour). I’m simply waiting for music to knock me off my feet, bring tears to my eyes and make me exclaim about it to everyone I know. So far, there’s been a handful of that, and you know what, that’s good enough for such high standards, isn’t it?

Here are the albums that I’ve loved and really liked so far (not in too much of a particular order):

tune yards new album
tUnE-yArDs – Who Kill

I adore this woman. She is my hero in numerous ways, and this sophomore album was absolutely Killa.

austra
Austra – Feel it Break

Everything just fits together so beautifully in ways you can’t completely figure out, it’s captivating.

Pat Jordache – Future Songs

I’m much more in tune to Jordache’s catchy musical quirks than his vocals, but I dig that too, especially when I thought I’d get annoyed with it and I haven’t. It’s an interesting full package.

Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo

So much emotion and yet not enough; can fit to numerous settings such as laying in the sun or even grieving.

Jeans Boots – txt msgs

Attitude and sensitivity in just the way I like it.

Miracle Fortress – Was I the Wave?

Adventurous, dreamy, every time I listen I feel like I’m listening to it for the first time.

The Albertans – New Age

They caught my attention earlier on this year as Canada’s answer to that Brooklyn indie sound; quirky, curious and soft.

Hooded Fang – Tosta Mista

This album isn’t out yet, but I have heard it and I’m convinced it’s my album of the summer. So much fun.

What I’ve liked:

Braids, Peter Elkas, Snowblink, Little Scream, Sin Fang, Slow Down, Molasses, Jenn Grant, Graham Wright

What I’m looking forward to getting into now (ones I just haven’t given enough time yet):

Handsome Furs, PJ Harvey, Young Galaxy, Rubik

Later this year:

Dog Day, St. Vincent, Elliott Brood, Little Dragon, Evening Hymns, Wild Flag

Here are the EPs I’ve loved:

beth ditto EP
Beth Ditto – Beth Ditto

This is a self-loving session wrapped into four songs, you’ll be left tired from dancing and feeling good about yourself. Glad to see Beth’s solo foray.

Nightbox

Nightbox – Nightbox

Punchy local indie rock shooting for the stars; have a song “Bears” I still can’t quit.

We Are the City – High School

Passionate indie pop from BC from guys who went through a lot and came out of it so much stronger.

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Download new free music from Young Galaxy, First Rate People and Cursed Arrows

Here are some particularly awesome music giveaways today:

young galaxy we have everythingYoung Galaxy will release their much-anticipated Shapeshifting on Feb 8, but they’ve released a few songs to keep the hype going. This morning they let go of “We Have Everything,” a dark, sparkly snow globe party where singer Catherine McCandless glides over the notes, shedding light. Producer Dan Lissvick has really done a number on this Montreal now-threesome, bringing them to all sorts of new space cadet levels. Also, keep in mind, their tour has been rescheduled (now with Winter Gloves) due to You Say Party’s singer’s bronchitis.

mp3: Young Galaxy – “We Have Everything”

First Rate People funny gamesFirst Rate People continue to bring the smiles and hoppy dance moves to the soulful grooves. “Funny Games” is a preview of all the good things to come from this young band. They’re about to go on a tour with Born Ruffians. Their songs have so much energy that’s all about proving themselves. At this point I think they have (for me at least), but whatever’s keeping them going needs to keep the music coming.

mp3: First Rate People – “Funny Games”

cursed arrows death rattle bluesHalifax by way of Toronto blues rockers Cursed Arrows announced the release of a free EP today, titled Death Rattle Blues. It’s an epilogue to their upcoming album The Madness of Crowds, which is set for a summer release. The five songs include the title track single, two live tracks and two covers (Beck’s “Pay No Mind” and PJ Harvey’s “Rid of Me”). It’s full of fuzzy, grunge guitars with husband and wife dual vocals.

mp3: Cursed Arrows – Death Rattle Blues