1. Veronica Falls – Veronica Falls
The first time I heard Doolittle I felt like it would be a part of my life forever. I got the same feeling from Veronica Falls’s self-titled debut. Like Doolittle, Veronica Falls doesn’t feel like something labored over. It’s a record that just is. I’m sure the band worked their ass off to make it sound this effortless … they’re clearly strong musicians. But like you know how sometimes you’ll be listening to a song and you’ll think, “oof, they really should’ve gone in a different direction with this.” That moment does not exist on this record. Every beat, every melody, every harmony, every guitar line, every lyric, every element sounds like it is simply as it should be. Which isn’t to say it’s perfectly polished. You never want a record to sound too polished. But somehow, even the imperfections are perfect. Like the record just sprang fully formed from the head of Zeus and was like, “Let’s do this shit.”
Veronica Falls sort of fit into the whole 60s girl-group revival thing. I might even say they’re the perfect middle ground between Vivian Girls and Best Coast. Best Coast has super catchy songs, but they’re really simplistic. Vivian Girls have complex, dark songs, but they’re muddled by underproduction. Veronica Falls combines the best aspects of both groups into one glorious, driving whole that hits me right in the pleasure center. Never before has suicidal depression sounded so sweet. I have never fallen in love with a dead person or pined for a lover who married someone else or lost my baby to the winter, but if those things feel as amazing as Veronica Falls makes them sound, then maybe I should spend more time in misery.
And there you have it! Wanna hear these 15 records in their entirety? If you’ve got a Spotify account, you can! Click here to listen! (Thanks to commenter Harmon for the fine suggestion!)
Records I really wanted to like but just couldn’t get into:
Fucked Up – David Comes to Life – Some of these songs are pretty good. But that dude’s voice! I really tried hard to get used to it. Couldn’t do it. I know people love this record; it sounds like a bunch of gargle music to me.
The Weeknd – Thursday + House of Balloons – I LOVE that indie r&b is becoming a subgenre. Love it. To date, though, I haven’t heard anything in that realm that gets me going. Last year critics heaped praise on weird r&b-flavored acts How to Dress Well, Autre ne Veut, and Twin Shadow, all of which kinda just sounded like Rockwell with a lot of reverb to me. This year it’s The Weeknd. Points to them (or him?) for putting his records up for free online, but I’ve yet to be really impressed by any of the music. What we need is a new Prince – a dude who’s ostensibly working within the genre but doesn’t give a fuck about genre limitations. I ain’t heard it yet, but if he’s out there, lemme know in the comments!
Drake – Take Care – I’m still giving this one a chance, so I could turn around on it. But so far, all I hear is a bunch of gloomy gus whining about being rich and having lots of sex without any good hooks to back it up. But people love it, so I’ll keep trying. Don’t give up on me yet, Drake.
Lady Gaga – Born This Way – I really like the idea of Lady Gaga. But the reality can be pretty bad.
Jay-Z & Kanye West- Watch the Throne – Yep, you guys sure do have a lot of money all right!
Records I liked just fine but not quite enough to assign them a number:
Blitzen Trapper – American Goldwing
The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
Cults – Cults
Das Racist – Relax
The Feelies – Here Before
frank ocean – nostalgia/ultra
The Horrors – Skying
Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know
R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now
Real Estate – Days
Slow Club – Paradise
Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
The-Dream – 1977
Wugazi – 13 Chambers