Lhasa (also known as Lhasa de Sela) - The Living Road (from 2003) Website
I started out last year re-listening album because of the unfortunate news that Lhasa died of breast cancer on New Years day last year. It's a fantastic album, one my Aunt initially loaned me a copy of, and I never get tired of it. I wish I had managed to see her sold out show at the Triple Door when we lived in Seattle, but I didn't manage to get tickets. It was really sad to hear of her passing.
Au Revoir Simone - The Bird of Music (from 2007) Website*
*be warned their website does start to play music without prompting.
I also wanted to mention this album because I was asked to pick out music for the wedding in SC this fall. So for some time, I was happily listening to any and everything in our collection with any hint of being appropriate. I mentioned that the first track from this album, "The Lucky One" would be cute processional song, but not really knowing if Matt & Janie had a plan for something else; I wasn't expecting them to agree to it. They really loved it, and it worked out perfectly for the big day. Now that I'm posting this I'm noticing that the cover even looks like the setting from the lake, even more reason this album is probably going to me get a little teary-eyed from here on out!
The rest of this post focuses on "old" artists that released new albums this year. I suspect that this means that I won't be able to find as many links to streaming audio for this post, since these artists are already established, but I'll try.
Website Stream Album
Antony and the Johnsons - Swanlights Website Appearance on WNYC's Soundcheck
These both came out fairly recently, in the fall, so I'm still getting into them, but on the whole I think I'm enjoying these both more than I thought I would. Belle & Sebastian have consistent sound that I like, so I was expecting it to be pretty good, but I think I'm into this album a little more than I am usually into their music. I am Antony and the Johnsons fan of our household, it's not really Chuck's type of thing. He does have an unusual voice and it's probably not for everyone. This album features a duet with Bjork, perhaps returning the favor for Antony's appearance on her 2007 album, Volta. It's the 8th release from Belle & Sebastian, the 4th for Antony and the Johnsons.
Thank goodness for Beth Ditto of the Gossip. She's so awesome. This release is from 2009, but I was still listening to it all year this year. Heck I'm still listening to all their other albums too. Just thinking of the video for Long Distance Love makes me want to be at a roller rink right now.
Stereo Total - Baby Ouh! Website
The cover might give you some idea of the feel of this album. 2007's Paris-Berlin remains my favorite album from them, but the fact there is a song about Andy Warhol fits so well with their overall aesthetic, and as usual it features many blips and beeps that get stuck in my head well after listening.
LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening Website
M.I.A. - /\/\/\Y/\ Website*
*yes, this one autoplays too. You also get to watch a video of the track "born free"This is the third release from both of these artists, and I'm noticing they've been releasing their albums on the same schedule, 2005, 2007 and 2010. That might make some sense, we saw them together at the Showbox in Seattle in 2005. If you've been a fan of MIA on twitter of facebook, it's been an interesting year.
*auto-plays music. Their christmas track "ain't no chimneys in the projects" actually
I first heard Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings from Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW, and this is their 4th release. Sharon Jones once worked as a corrections officer at Rikers Island, but now she's making great Funk/Soul music with the fabulous Dap Kings (who were featured on Amy Winehouse's Back to Black.) Their music is consistently great.
She & Him - Volume Two Website (player in upper left)
Zooey is pretty cute. We got to see these two live together at the Pritzker Pavillion this year and they had a great chemistry on stage. Sure M. Ward wore his sunglasses the whole time, but he looked very cool doing it. For some reason I still feel partial to Volume One (maybe it was the cover of "You've Really Got a Hold On Me") but Volume Two is growing on me, and I usually get more excited about songs after seeing them performed live.