January’s Best Albums

January's Best Albums
In an mp3 society, good music sometimes has a tough time making it above the fray. So every Friday, the editors are going to engage in music curation, alongside our Airspace reviews and our twitter reviews.

Today we have The Airspaces top albums for January. Enjoy. And if you don’t enjoy, be sure to let us know what we missed in the comments below.

A majority of the albums can be found here on Spotify and here on Share My Playlists.

Blake J. Graham’s Picks

Philip Glass – The Essential Philip Glass
Sometimes it’s best for older material to resurface and this tribute to Philip Glass for his 75th birthday does so with ear-pounding grace. Minimalist repetitional experimentation and iteration reigns king in Glass’ heady and symphonic music. For those new to Glass, I recommend taking the three CD collection one disk at a time. The collection includes his “Portrait Operas” (comprised of Einstein On The Beach, Satyagraha, and Akhnaten), as well as some dance and film scores. Singers Linda Ronstadt and Suzanne Vega, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma make an appearance as well.

Hospitality – Hospitality
Hospitality’s self-titled debut is full of surprises that unpackage after subsequent listens. Falling short of 33 minutes, you will find yourself listening to the crushing whimsy of the Brooklyn trio’s album multiple times. Each song portrays a vignette of human life suspended in a modern and confusing state with just enough twee to keep your head bobbing throughout.
Read the full Airspace Review

First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
The Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg take anyone with the ear to listen on a pastoral tour across a geographic soundscape. They pull instruments from around the world (glockenspiel, horn sections, slide guitar, hand claps, violins, accordion, harp, etc.) and mix it with their astonishingly world-weary voices. Don’t miss “Emmylou,” “Blue,” “This Old Routine,” “Dance to Another Tune,” or “King of the World”—a track Conor Oberst joins in on.

Eric Harsh’s Picks

Cut Teeth – Televandalism
As one of my most anticipated albums for the coming year, Televandalism had a lot to live up to, and it delivered. Cut Teeth play raw, agressive rock and roll with a heavy dose of punk energy. The album is reminiscent of the best of the late 80’s D.C post-hardcore scene combined with modern post-punk. Definitely a must listen for anyone eager for some loud, dirty rock music.

Anthony Green – Beautiful Things
For his second folksy solo album, Circa Survive frontman Anthony Green has made marked steps as a songwriter. The tracks on Beautiful Things are fun, honest folk driven by Green’s signature vocals and the musical experience of his backing band, Good Old War. Although the album would benefit from some more memorable melodies, it’s certainly worth a listen.

Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood Of Color
British dub-punks Enter Shikari have released their best effort to date with A Flash Flood Of Color. Politically charged vocals, oscillating between yelling, singing, and rapping, guide an album that effortlessly transitions between pissed off hardcore and grimy dubstep. Lyrical immaturity in the form of weak metaphors sometimes make the songs awkward, but there’s still enough dubcore fun to make it engaging.

Tony Russo’s Picks

Symmetry – Themes For an Imaginary Film
This release, three years in the making, was originally commissioned as the soundtrack for the film Drive (which, by the way, managed to get a quite the excellent group of replacement songs together. Check out my post on a mash-up with one of them here.) Anyway, this epic yet utterly minimalist soundtrack is suspenseful and ultra-cool. In the words of Symmetry, “embraces the elegance of European noir cut with a lean & violent American razor. Directly in your face & breathing down your neck one minute, & escaping beyond the night sky the next.”

Schoolboy Q – Habits & Contradictions
Schoolboy Q, one of Kendrick Lamar’s crew of Black Hippies, released this debut in January. Generally I’m hesitant of using the word “dope” to describe music, but it undoubtedly fits this album. Definitely an excellent hip hop album in regards to both samples, guests (some of my much-beloved A$AP crew cameo), and rapping mastery.

Cate le Bon – CYRK
Cate Le Bon’s CYRK is almost inexplicably enjoyable. It features a bunch of fun freak-folk songs that just hit the right note for me. She’s a charming artist.

Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory
Lastly I have Cloud Nothing’s album Attack on Memory received a lot of praise from me on the Airspace, but also from the entire indiesphere. Anyone with an ounce of 90s pre-post-grunge nostalgia is going to love this aggressive lo-fi that trade a gritty, fuzzy sound for gritty thematics.

Kris Ward’s Picks

Anthony Raneri – New Cathedrals
Anthony Raneri’s debut EP is a nice taste of the Bayside sound and a bit of pop. Raneri puts his pop influence in songs like Charleston while utilizing darker, more rock sounds in Ballad of Saint Bill. Most of the EP is played with acoustic guitar and a live drum kit, and it’s a really nice blend. Anthony shows what he is up to on his own time as well as his own potential as song writer.

The Just like Vinyl Audio Tree Performance
Just Like Vinyl showcases what they have waiting for us with their next release. The Audio Tree Session, about half songs and half interviews with the band, gives better quality versions of songs released on their first album and a taste of new music. Just Like Vinyl write songs with sounds ranging from arena rock to heavy, bone crushing breakdowns. Just Like Vinyl’s Sophomore release is something to look forward to.

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