Let's Take 5: A look at modern music that moves me
I'm taking a week off from classic rock. I want to share my thoughts on some recent offerings from modern bands. These weren't the most popular albums of the past five years, but in my opinion, they were some of the best. Do they have the staying power to be classics? Time will tell.
Phoenix – “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix”
French Alternative Rock band Phoenix has been making records since 2000, but 2009's “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” is their best to date. Solid rock tracks with a pop vibe easy on the ears fill the album. Singles “1901” and “Lisztomania” were used in many TV commercials and movie trailers. You may have heard them without even realizing it.
Vampire Weekend – “Contra”
Ivy League graduates Vampire Weekend followed up their critically-acclaimed 2008 self-titled debut with an arguably stronger sophomore effort. Their music brings to mind New England yacht excursions and other excesses I'll probably never experience. Yet, the fusion of Indie Rock and African drum beats always puts me in a good mood.
Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”
Arcade Fire's 2010 effort received the Grammy for Best Album of the Year, validating what fans had known all along. “The Suburbs,” despite its mundane theme, is a complex work painting a picture of urban sprawl, alienation and the ability of find beauty in the ordinary.
LCD Soundsystem – “This is Happening”
LCD Soundsystem isn't a typical band. Music producer James Murphy leads an eclectic effort that mixes Electronica and indie rock. 2010's “This is Happening” is the group's third and final album. Despite their growing popularity, Murphy cites his age (42) and a desire to focus on producing as a reason to call it quits. “This is Happening” is a fitting swan song. Murphy's crooning, honest lyrics and unique compositions set this one apart.
Fleet Foxes - “Fleet Foxes”
Seattle band Fleet Foxes want you to forget the last four decades of music ever happened. Taking inspiration from Appalachian Folk music, the band blends soothing harmonies and acoustic guitar in their 2009 self-titled album. Their songs bring to mind the work of music legends Brian Wilson and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.