TME’s Favorite Albums of 2011: #4-1

4.  Foster the People  – Torches

You have probably heard the song “Pumped Up Kicks” a thousand times.  Weirdly, as many times as I hear it the song does not get old.  Neither does the rest of the record.  The album from start to finish is catchy melody madness.  The last similar catchy pop record I remember liking as much as this is Empire of the Sun’s “Walking on a Dream.”  The albums are similar in that every song is one that you want to sing along with.  These types of albums do not come along very often.  There is always albums out there with a really catchy tune or two, but when the whole album is like that it makes for an enjoyable listen.

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3.  Florence and the Machine – Ceremonials

Florence Welch is a future megastar in the making.  She is already performing at the Grammy’s and winning awards.  Her albums sell well and her singles are all over TV shows and commercials.  She is not a megastar yet though.  She has not reached the point where she is the biggest artist on the ticket.  She is only 25 and soon I believe she will get to that level.  Her fist album, “Lungs”, was a bombastic sonic explosion belting out her soaring vocals over the deep bassy beats.  This time around on “Ceremonials” Welch sticks with the “big” sound.  While she keeps the same sound the album does not get stale or feel like just another extension of  “Lungs.”  There is a good collection of different influences with pop, rock, punk, and 80’s electro being a few of them.  There were a few hugely popular artists that came out with albums this year and Florence and the Machine blew them away.  I think it is time to check it out if you haven’t yet.

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2. The Black Keys – El Camino

I have seen The Black Keys a couple of times at music festivals a couple of times.  Back then I really wasn’t a fan of their music.  I really didn’t much like the genre in general.  Flash forward a couple of years and Brothers was released.  For some reason it just clicked and I quickly became a fan.  Luckily, they put out music more than once every 5 years.  “El Camino” was released in 2011 just one year after “Brothers.”  I instantly connected with this album liking it from the first note.  The Black Keys peppy output combine bluesy rock, 70’s rock, a little hip hop and the addition of female backing vocals pushes this album ahead of all of the Keys prior albums.

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1.  Fair to Midland – Arrows & Anchors

Rikki-Tikki, Rikki-Tikki, Rikki-Tikki Tavi!!!  Fair to Midland is the best thing going in rock music right now and it is not even close.  The long awaited follow up to “Fables from A Mayfly” kicks you in the face and makes you listen to it over and over again.  “Arrows & Anchors” from start to finish does not have a bad song on it.  Every tune makes you want to hit repeat, but then you know what song is coming up next and have a dilemma on your hands.  Darroh Sudderth has one of the best voices in music, and he puts everything he has into this album.  At times the album is pretty heavy and at other times it mellows out.  Many of their song structures follow this same pattern making for a listen that is consistent and at the same time there is variety.  Fair to Midland could definitely be the band we have been looking for to freshen up the popular rock music scene played on the radio.  Here’s hoping someone gives them a shot!

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#5-9

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