A.C. Newman’s last solo album was aptly titled The Slow Wonder because it took a few listens to sink in. No such problem exists on Get Guilty, Newman’s insanely catchy follow-up. In addition to being instantly appealing, it’s also a top contender for the title of “Best Late Night Album” of the year. The album is the aural equivalent of an empty house as drummer Jon Wurster creates an open, uncluttered sound, especially on “The Palace at 4 a.m.” For pop lovers, there are too many moments of beauty to list on Get Guilty, but put the gorgeous string introduction to “Young Atlantis” right at the top. A New Pornographers album can’t come soon enough, but this near-classic will definitely hold listeners at bay for at least another year.
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The Magician’s Private Library
Releasing: 23 February
This debut album from Holly Miranda was produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek. “Forest Green Oh Forest Green” is worth a listen. Its tinkling melody is almost too precious, but the ramshackle instrumentation adequately musses up any lingering sense of cutesiness. Good show.
01 Forest Green Oh Forest Green
04 No One Just Is
05 Slow Burn Treason
06 Sweet Dreams
07 Everytime I Go to Sleep
08 High Tide
10 Sleep on Fire
Forest Green Oh Forest Green [MP3]
Bringing together the soulful folk of Justin Vernon’s Bon Iver project and the systematic, Steve Reich-like patters of fellow Wisconsin natives Colonies Collection of Bees, Volcano Choir’s “Island, IS” represents an inevitable (but perfect) distillation of electro-folk. Vernon’s layered vocals float atop dense, alternating melodic lines that are warped by samplers. Driven by tapping, but tense percussion, the song’s structure propels Vernon’s wail to a crescendo unlike what we’ve heard from Bon Iver. The song’s finale is perhaps one of the finest minute-and-a-halves of music to be heard this year.
With the sizzling and joyous track “Surprise Hotel”, the debut album of Los Angeles afro-pop collective Fool’s Gold erupts with an exotic mix of African rhythms, percolating rock melodies, and purring synths. You can’t just listen. You must dance. The fantastic fusion of music and lyrics (sung mostly in Hebrew) sends you on an ancient journey that’s majestic, yet intimate—and more unique than most contemporary afro-pop attempts. Never letting up, the song celebrates the communal and spiritual ferocity of Fela Kuti.
Fuse is counting down the top hits of the year. Fans voted at Fuse.tv for their favorite songs and the ultimate viewers choice will debut at number one in the Top 40 of 09: The Year in Music. Tune in Saturday, December 12th at 4pm ET. An encore will air Sunday at 12pm ET.
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