Every two weeks, titans of the mediasphere give Nerve their music recommendations. This week: Taylor Johnston, founder/editor-in-chief of Music For Kids Who Can’t Read Good and staff blogger for mtvU.com.
Surfer Blood, Astro Coast
Right now I’m fully immersed in music from 2010, which luckily is already overflowing with great albums. Surfer Blood’s Astro Coast is definitely one of the funnest records I’ve listened to in a while, reverb-heavy garage rock made by a group of Floridians who grew up with bands like Pavement and Built to Spill. “Swim” is their first single and the song simply kills, with a huge fist-pumping guitar riff, infectious sing-a-long chorus, and an Afrobeat/Tropicália-influenced breakdown just for kicks.
Shearwater, The Golden Archipelago
Shearwater is a criminally underrated band from Austin, TX that makes eloquent, gorgeous baroque-pop. The band specializes in hauntingly beautiful melodies and meticulous instrumental arrangements that reward careful listeners. Jonathan Meisburg’s vocals are some of the most striking and vital in indie rock; combined with the dramatic percussion and rich orchestration, they make Golden Archipelago one of the most captivating releases of the year.
Two Door Cinema Club, Tourist History
Two Door Cinema Club is probably my favorite find of 2010 so far. I’ve been playing their debut album, Tourist History, non-stop for the last few weeks and it’s a genuinely exhilarating listen from start to finish. The band follows in the footsteps of Phoenix (with whom they’re currently touring) by making enthralling, immensely catchy dance-rock with crisp, exuberant production and irresistible pop hooks. Check them out now before their music starts showing up in car commercials.
Owen Pallett, Heartland
Owen Pallett is an absurdly talented composer, multi-instrumentalist, and singer who previously released music under the name Final Fantasy, and is otherwise best known for composing the string arrangements for Arcade Fire. His latest album, Heartland, is a magnum opus, mixing grandiose, classically-inspired instrumentation and addictive pop melodies. “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt” may be my single favorite track of the year.
Hot Chip, One Life Stand
British electronica band Hot Chip are known for their club bangers like “Over and Over” and “Ready for the Floor”, but One Life Stand focuses more on straightforward pop songwriting, resulting in the band’s most consistent and overall best album yet. The songs are more heartfelt and musically accomplished without ever losing their dance-floor appeal. Check out the slow burning “Thieves in the Night”, which starts out with a modest beat and some electronic flourishes before exploding into a kaleidescope of flurried disco and cascading synths.