1. Okkervil River - I Am Very Far (Jagjaguwar)
2. Chad VanGaalen - Diaper Island (Sub Pop)
3. Duniven - I Have To Try For Her (self release)
4. The Belle Brigade - The Belle Brigade (Reprise Records)
5. Low - C'mon (Sub Pop)
6. Chad VanGaalen - Skelliconnection (Sub Pop)
7. Okkervil River - The Stage Names (Jagjaguwar)
8. Chad VanGaalen - Soft Airplane (Sub Pop)
9. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)
10. Torches In Trees - Torches EP (self Release)
Okkervil River's I Am Very Far continues to be the leader of the pack because I love songs that grow more interesting the more you listen to them. And I wanted to have the songs burned into my brain by the time of their June 23rd concert at The Wiltern.
My obsession with Chad VanGaalen and his album Diaper Island has led me back through his earlier catalog, Soft Airplane and Skelliconnection. Interesting to hear his development as an artist, where he seems to go backwards by abandoning a lot of the technical aspects of his music, arriving at a place where the simplicity of the songwriting is matched by an elementary approach to recording. Sometimes it's just a guitar or banjo and two harmonizing voices. The result is is amazingly poignant and emotional.
Since this was the first week of the Duniven residency at Silver Lake Lounge, I spent time with his album, I Have To Try For Her, to compare the live renditions of his songs to their recorded counterparts. The comparison was highly favorable, even satisfying.
The Belle Brigade have definitely produced one of the brightest and cleanest sounding records of the year and now their off across country opening for K.D. Lang. Not bad. The rest of the list is more Low, Fleet Foxes and Torches In Trees.