5. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
Ok technically this one came out last year, self-released by Justin Vernon – so kudos to you if you’ve been listening to this since ’07. The rest of us didn’t lay our ears on it until Jagjaguar gave it a wider re-release earlier this year. If you don’t know the story about this album I’ll give you the short, short version: Vernon recorded it over the course of three months, while living by himself in a cabin in Wisconsin. The results are an aching beautiful and emotional album filled with spooky, ethereal sounding vocals that at times pull pretty heavy on your heartstrings.
4. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
How much more can we fluff the shit out of My Morning Jacket? The answer is, and will always be, not enough. I’ll admit this album was a bit of a grower, but once you get past Jim James trying to do his best Prince impression Evil Urges is MMJ’s most diverse and adventurous sounding album. No longer is the band just relying on straight ahead acid-drenched, whiskey fuel Southern-rock – they’re now dipping their toes into funk, soul and industrial rock and that’s just on the song Highly Suspicious. An appearance on SNL, incendiary sets at Bonnaroo and Radio City and a New Years headlining show at MSG, easily makes this the year of The Jacket and it’s about time.
3. She & Him – Volume One
Generally the rule of thumb is actors shouldn’t sing and singers shouldn’t act (Exhibit A: ScarJo’s widely panned disaster of Tom Waits covers). There are always exceptions to the rule though namely the debut album from She & Him. She being doe-eyed, actress Zoey Deschanel. Him being roosty, sepia-voice singer-songwriter M. Ward. Deschanel wrote the majority of the songs, while Matt (that’s what the M stands for) produced the album. Together the duo put out an album of timeless music – in the sense that its bathed a patina of yesteryear while still having a modern pop sheen.
2. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
Six months ago I had never even heard of Seattle’s Fleet Foxes and now their debut album sits at number two on this here list. The album is full of gorgeous CSN-like harmonies and rolling, pastoral folk rock songs. With its lilting 1960s, Laurel Canyon vibe this is the perfect album to play as the sun sets on a warm summer’s evening while you enjoy your favorite cold beverage. For a label once known and the mecca of grunge Sub Pop has managed to crank out some of the best modern sounding, Americana records of the last few years – with the Fleet Foxes joining the likes of Iron & Wine, The Elected and Beachwood Sparks.
1. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
Odds are if you are an HT regular you probably didn’t have to scroll down this far to figure out the Vampire Weekend’s self-titled effort would be my number one album of the first six. Sure their cred has taken a beating over the last few months since they’ve turned from blogger band into a bona fide mainstream act that MTV has embraced, but their infectious blend bouncy indie-pop is undeniably catchy. There is not a bad song among the ten on the album and if we haven’t convinced you by now to at least give them a shot, then what are you waiting for?
So now it’s your turn, what’s your Top 6 Of The First 6?