Easily the most confounding sound I heard this last year. In all truth, this record was released in late 2011, but I didn't find any indicators pointing towards it until this year. Perri is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, producer from Toronto, Canada who also creates electronica under the name Polmo Polpo. On Impossible Spaces, Perri presents a light, meandering soul in a voice that sometimes reminds me of Michael Franks, sometimes Antony, sometimes Christopher Cross. It's a strange tone to hear in 2012, but it is all couched and wrapped in, levitated and nudged along by a busy production of electronica, (fretless?) bass, warped keyboards and processed saxophone that keeps pulling my ear deep into its sheer inventiveness. Guaranteed to confuse.
MOUNT EERIE Clear Moon ((P.W.Elverum & Sun)
One of this year's two "sister" releases (with Ocean's Roar), Clear Moon, is issued, as it should be, on clear vinyl. Phil Elverum, the creative force behind Mount Eerie and its former incarnation, Microphones, is a master of mood. His albums are for headphones, for closed eyes, akin to sitting alone (or with silent friends) in the forest or on some chilled rocky outcropping from where you can see no sign of civilization and yet always aware that its there.
#1 Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti-
Before Today (4AD) The first time I heard this album I knew it would be at the top of my list this year. It was really just a competition the rest of the year with these other albums to see if anything could overtake it but nothing could do it. I somehow resisted the temptation of Ariel Pink the last couple of years. Before Today was clearly the album for me and a perfect introduction to this band. I just didn't know how much I would be falling in love with the band and obsessed with this album. It is like a shoegaze soft rock mash up of all the songs that you have ever loved. You simply need this album in your collection. It is simply amazing!
listen to "fright night" by ariel pink...
#2 Avi Buffalo-Avi Buffalo (Sub Pop) Oh, Avi Buffalo. I am so glad to have you in my life. Another album that I didn't really know I would love until I first listened to it. These guys are crazy young and ridiculously talented. The album is one of the perfect little pop gems of the year and I really couldn't stop listening to it for months. Seeing them open up for My Morning Jacket at the Greek was one of my favorite shows of the year. I was first drawn to them because they were from my hometown of Long Beach, but I fell in love with the album as soon as I heard it. It is addictive. This album will stay with me forever and forever connect me to my great year that was 2010.