And the War Came by Shakey Graves
The band at #5 is actually the work of just one man, sometimes actor Alejandro Rose-Garcia. When he’s not trying to expand his acting career (he was on Friday Night Lights and Sin City 2!), he’s creating and performing folky, americana music as Shakey Graves. And the War Came is his second album, and it’s no joke that I’m placing it in the top 5 of the year. It is solid from start to finish.
In the same vein as Prince or Matthew Houck (aka Phosphorescent, last year’s #1 band), Rose-Garcia performs most of the instruments on the album. He does have a few guest stars, most notably Esmé Patterson, who shares songwriting credit with Rose-Garcia on three songs on the album and lends her beautiful voice to the harmonies on those same three songs (including “Dearly Departed” above).
Rose-Garcia resides in Austin, Texas, and he sometimes sings with a purposeful, lazy drawl (most prominent on the track “Pansy Waltz”), lending a flare of Nashville to the songs. Overall, the album feels very alt.country, in a good way. The stories he tells on the album revolve around relationships and living life. As he said in this interview on NPR’s World Cafe, this album is about “what it means to love and be loved. It’s a responsibility album.”
“Dearly Departed” is the most approachable song on the album, but it verges on cringe-worthy in all of its hand-clap glory. I fear it could reach the same level of over-played insanity that the Lumineers (fellow Dualtone label-mates), Of Monsters and Men, or Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have reached in years past. You can see Rose-Garcia and Patterson perform the song live on Conan, from a show back in October. I also recommend this live set on KEXP, from back in August. Four great songs, and you can really see the talent bubbling over.
I love this album. I can’t recommend it enough. Get. It. Now.
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7. Not Art by Big Scary
8. The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett by Eels
9. Owl John by Owl John
10. LP1 by FKA Twigs
11. Black Hours by Hamilton Leithauser
12. Give the People What They Want by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
13. Lost in the Dream by The War On Drugs
14. Warpaint by Warpaint
15. Heal by Strand of Oaks
16. Stay Gold by First Aid Kit
17. This is All Yours by ∆
18. Brill Bruisers by The New Pornographers
19. Only Run by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
20. Augustines by Augustines
21. El Pintor by Interpol
22. I Never Learn by Lykke Li
23. Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes by Thom Yorke
24. The Voyager by Jenny Lewis
25. Voices by Phantogram
26. Morning Phase by Beck
27. Hungry Ghosts by OK Go
28. Run the Jewels 2 by Run the Jewels
29. Cosmos by Yellow Ostrich
30. Teeth Dreams by The Hold Steady
31. With Light & With Love by Woods