National Ice Cream Month is celebrated during July in the United States. So is their Independence Day, and also Colombia's, Venezuela's, The Philippines' and a lot more other independent nations. This is all legit, I have checked. Online. But Wikipedia aside, the month of July is also a lot closer to the end of the year and when Hoobastank drop their latest album (July 31). So before we let this happen, we think of happy thoughts and our Top 3 Albums halfway into 2012.
Daniel Peters, Writer
Albums: Adventures in Your Own Backyard – Patrick Watson | Natural History – Dope Body | The Money Store – Death Grips
Death Grips: Experimental hip-hop from Sacramento in the US that is as visceral and gripping (no pun intended) as it is catchy and addictive. Patrick Watson returns with his eponymous band with a magical fourth studio album that will enchant every listener with its dreamy, magical orchestral pop music. Dope Body: Intense riffs and drums with intelligent song compositions, Natural History is an odd brew of metal and rock genres that works on so many levels.
Nigel Lopez, Writer
Albums: Shrines – Purity Ring | Oshin - DIIV | Visions – Grimes
It's a very fresh sound that Purity Ring have definitely trademarked. Think of it as a calmer Crystal Castles. My favourite track on Shrines is 'Belispeak'. DIIV, the latest dream pop act, dropped their debut album Oshin not too long ago. The vocals are drowned by the battling guitar riffs and reverb, creating a whole space for you to free your mind and move along with the haunting sounds. Grimes isn't a newcomer but she has definitely risen this year. Imagine heart-thumping bass accompanied with dreamy falsettos overlapping each other in constant loops. It's a mouthful but you are sure to experience this with ease through the album. To get a taste of it, check out the track 'Oblivion'.
Hoong Wei Long, Photographer
Albums: Born And Raised – John Mayer | Wrecking Ball – Bruce Springsteen | Out Of The Game – Rufus Wainwright
Born And Raised: Post-Playboy interview. Post-Battle Studies. Post-Taylor Swift. Post-moving away from LA. So many things happened prior to the making of Born And Raised. Just the context that surrounds it does it for me. And we haven't even touched on ‘Something Like Olivia’ ...apparently about a certain Ms Wilde? Springsteen: It's The Boss, man. Still keeping it steady after all these years! Rufus: Mark Ronson. Rufus Wainwright: Unexpected collabo with surprisingly GOOD results. WAYYYYYYYY better than the Metallica X Lou Reed one.
Delfina Utomo, Lead Editor
Albums: Strange Weekend – Porcelain Raft | Heaven – The Walkmen | Swing Lo Magellan – Dirty Projectors
I’m a huge fan of the Walkmen, maybe because of how their songs reflect this sense of world weariness which to me is quite exciting in a ‘from the outside looking in’ sort of way. Also, I love that they have evolved to be elegant gentlemen of romantic indie rock (if you listen to Heaven, this is very evident). Man, I love The Walkmen. Strange Weekend is pretty much how I want my days to be soundtrack-ed, ‘Drifting In And Out’ is a good headstart. It feels like being underwater in a good way. I read somewhere where David Longstreth (main dude of Dirty Projectors) said that the only thing consistent about Dirty Projectors is that the band reinvents itself. I suppose always being in a state of flux and how the band’s always-changing direction seem to reconcile with my musical heartstrings made this Top 3 for me.
Ilyas Sholihyn, Editor
Albums: Riala – Suis La Lune | Kindred EP – Burial | Channel ORANGE - Frank Ocean
Quite a few good records to choose from this year really. But I gotta say, the one that gets the most plays on my itunes is Burial’s Kindred EP. I love Burial, I really do. He doesn’t make music; he creates worlds and landscapes so deep you could drown in it. Kindred, although 3 songs long (3 PERFECT songs), is yet another notable notch in his long list of brilliant handiworks. Suis La Lune’s Riala was picked because of my soft spot for skramz, and also one of the best I’ve heard this year. A beautiful blend of post-rock, guitar riffs, hardcore punk and harsh vocals. Frank Ocean (mucho respecto for his decision to come out) is just incredible in his debut studio album Channel ORANGE. The songs simply flow briliantly together, featuring all the best aspects of his previous work - painfully soulful croons, lush tunes, vivid imagery etc etc. Notable Mentions: Every Time I Die / Ex Lives, Japandroids / Celebration Rock, Hop Along / Get Disowned
Melissa Tan, Social Media Publicist
Albums: Metropolis, Pt. 1 EP – The M Machine | Relativity 1 & 2 EP – Lemaitre | Club Life: Volume 2 Miami – Tiesto
The M Machine releases a diverse hard-hitting EP on Skrillex's label OWSLA, the first of their two part concept album which is inspired by Fritz Lang's influential film 'Metropolis'. Lemaitre brings the nu-disco with Relativity 1 & 2 with catchy, feel-good vibes that makes you want to boogie it down wherever you are. The second installment of Tiesto's Club Life series, serves us a mix compilation of Tiesto's new tunes and the best remixes of our favourite indie tunes from other top EDM maestros. Time to drop some serious fierce beats that will have you dancing all day and all night!
Clarence Chan, Big Boss
Albums: Renaissance – Marcus Miller | Hot House – Chick Corea | The Absence – Melody Gardot
Put bass instruments and funk in superhuman form and voilà, you get Marcus Miller. What's super about this album is that he presents such variety that's hard to come by in jazz albums. Moving from his trademark snappy, electric basslines to his raspy bass clarinet or acoustic bass that's as smooth as Spidey gliding in mid air, this is an album to get stuck on. What I like about this 'Hot House' that Chick Corea and Gary Burton have built, it's empty yet full at the same time, amazing (I wish the same could be said about my room). Filled with the unique blend of just piano and vibraphone, they make it sound so complete you wish to move nothing more into this house. Melody Gardot, those are vocals to unwind after a hard day's work and transport your mind to youthful bliss by the beaches of brazil or streets of Morocco.