October 2011 Consider/Avoid

Same format as the last time, with some surprising names falling in the avoid column. Laura Marling improved a quantum on her second album, and the Joni Mitchell-lite of her third is a letdown I didn’t see coming. Speaking of letdowns, Lil Wayne’s turgid post-prison comeback album—for me, the most disappointing of the year—doesn’t even sound like the work of the same freewheeling genius who gave us all those free mix tapes a few years back. Notable from the consider column: Steves Merritt (his album a collection of outtakes) and Malkmus (his a proper studio album) honor if not improve their own legacies, Bill Callahan’s pomo folk both impresses and grates, and truly evocative singers Feist and St. Vincent still leave me wanting more in the song department.
Stephin Merritt: Obsucrities (“Forever and a Day,” “Plant White Roses,” “Take Ecstasy With Me”)
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks: Mirror Traffic (“Brain Gallop,” “Forever 28,” “Fall Away”)
Cymbals Eat Guitars: Lenses Alien (“Definite Darkness,”“Another Tunguska”)
Bill Callahan: Apocalypse (“Drover,” “Baby’s Breath”)
Feist: Metals (“Graveyard,” “A Commotion”)
Abigail Washburn: City of Refuge (“City of Refuge”)
St. Vincent: Strange Mercy (“Champagne Year”)
Matraca Berg: The Dreaming Fields (“South of Heaven”)
Laura Marling: A Creature I Don’t Know
M83: Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
Earl Sweatshirt: EARL
Lil Wayne: Tha Carter IV
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