~Z.T.~If we have three albums this spectacular every month, it’s going to be nearly impossible to make a top 10 at the end of the year. Umphrey’s finally put out the album Shore knew they had in them after seeing them 50+ times, Animal Collective made something so magnificent, it’ll be talked about for years and Franz Ferdinand will have you dancing all Spring. Thankfully, Franz and Umph are on the Festival circuit this summer. Can’t wait to see these live:
Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion
It’s so brilliant I’m scared to write about it for fear of not being able to capture what’s going on. Most Animal Collective is hard to get into the first few listens and this is no exception, but songs like “My Girls” and “Summer Clothes” grab a hold of you right away. The textured loops and harmonies swirl around in an collage I’m still trying to decipher. Put on this album. Lie down. Close your eyes. Only open them occasionally to stare at the artwork.
As my friend Carlye Wisel wrote in Daytrotter, “Something’s been building; the baby steps from pop to electronic have added up and opened minds to groups almost indistinguishable by category. And when the drums start building up and the chorus of “My Girls” hits, it’s a bona fide, unignorable release. This is it. We’ve reached it. And damn, it feels good.”
Umphrey’s McGee Mantis
~A.S.~When I interviewed Jake Cinninger last year, he told me to expect something between Rush and Yes. That provided some lofty expectations. After hearing their first single, “Made to Measure,” a couple weeks ago, I heard more Beatles than prog rock. The track has grown on me and the rest of the album delivers on Jake’s assessment. The almost 12 minute epic “Mantis” track is a musical feat that shows flashes of Rush, with each different section greeting you with new lyrics.
The aptly named “Turn and Run” is probably the biggest face melter on Mantis, and would certainly instill fear in today’s Jonas Brothers listening music fans. The album is full of four-part harmonies, none better than the Beach Boys homage at the end of “Spires.”
I’ve only listened to it once, but it was good enough to get me dancing at 12:30 p.m. by myself while hungover. I’ll let it speak for itself until I can give it enough listens to judge it fairly:
What albums are you loving from January?