Robert Howell is a professor of philosophy at SMU. His latest book is called Consciousness and the Limits of Objectivity and is available at Amazon. Now that you are good and intimidated, below are his thoughts on a few records from the past year.
I seem to be the only person who doesn’t like the new Vampire Weekend, and I’m one of only a handful that finds the new Arcade Fire boring. Combine that with the fact that Kanye’s continuous ass-hattery prevents me from listening to Yeezus and I’m disqualified for pronouncing the top ten albums of the year. Instead, here are twelve albums (and one reissue) that I think are excellent and generally underrated. In no meaningful order.
Daughn Gibson, Me Moan (Sub Pop)
Recommended if you like: Playing bagpipes on Music Row while huffing ether.
Cayucas, Cayucas (Secretly Canadian)
Recommended if you like: Ferris Bueller but not Say Anything
El-P and Killer Mike, Run the Jewels (Fools Gold)
Recommended if you like: Small cars with big engines.
Adam Green and Binki Shapiro, s/t (Rounder)
Recommended if you like: Those bikes with baskets in the front, probably filled with brie and a baguette.
Mikal Cronin, MC II (Merge)
Recommended if you like: The idea of California but have no interest in moving there.
Eleanor Friedberger, Personal Record (Merge)
Recommended if you like: Tube socks and Iron-ons
Amor de Dias, The House at Sea (Merge)
Recommended if you like: Coastlines but not swimming.
Wavves, Afraid of Heights (Mom & Pop)
Recommended if you like: To feel old at shows.
White Fence, Cyclops Reaps (Castle Face)
Recommended if you like: Writing fan letters to the ghost of Syd Barrett
Cate LeBon, Mug Museum (Wichita/Turnstile)
Recommended if you like: Banana stickers on your albums.
Jagwar Ma, Howlin’ (Marathon Artists)
Recommended if you like: Listening to the Beach Boys while bobbing for lysergic apples.
Tim Hecker, Virgins (Kranky/Paper Bag)
Recommended if you like: Watching Steve Reich donkey-punch Philip Glass
Lee Hazelwood Industries, There is a Dream I’ve Been Saving, 1966-1971 (Light in the Attic)
Recommended if you like: Mustache combs cured in Chivas Regal.