MONTHLY RECAP: February-March 2012

Once a month I’m going to publish my ten most listened to artists of the month, just so you can see what has excited me the most musically. I’ll give my two cents on each of the artists and some analysis and whatnot. Hopefully it will be interesting and if it works out I’ll make it a regular feature. I realise that it would be best to leave it ’til the end of the month, but I just wanted to dip my toe in the pool of possibility (ten points to whoever gets the reference). All the info is from Last.fm, which counts everything I listen to on my iPod, Spotify and iTunes, so pretty much everything gets accounted for! And it reads from top to bottom, ie. Perfume Genius is my most listened to.

PERFUME GENIUS
Ah, Perfume Genius. What a wonderful new album. The reason why he was top of the list this month is due pretty much to Put Your Back N 2 It, but also because I gave Learning, his debut, a few (dozen) spins in anticipation of his second effort. The way Perfume Genius evolved his sound from A to B is quite astounding. If you haven’t listened to or bought the new album, I highly suggest you do. Read my review of it to get a more in-depth taster of what makes it so great.
BRAND NEW
I’m not going to make any excuses here, Brand New are one of my favourite bands ever and probably always will be. After seeing them live last month, I was sent back into secondary school, where my love of them first blossomed. Listening to the songs brings back so  many memories, but even without the nostalgia I have for the music it would still sound incredible today. Each album has such different sounds and dynamics, there really is never a dull moment. With the news that the band might be producing new material in April, my excitement and love of the band can only grow stronger from here on out.
THE MAGNETIC FIELDS
Now, this one’s a bit odd. I’m not the biggest ever fan of The Magnetic Fields, but I do have a great deal of respect for how ambitious they are and how much they think outside the box. With Valentine’s Day last month, I made it my mission to listen to all three hours of their 1998 album 69 Love Songs, as suggested by Drowned in Sound, which makes up for most of the play count of the band. I’ve also been listening to the new album which came out this week, ’cause I’m always intrigued by anything new the band has to offer. I might review it if I get the chance. Do you like the new album? Let me know below.
NICOLAS JAAR
It was pretty obvious that Nicolas Jaar was going to feature pretty highly on this list. If you read my previous blog post it makes it quite clear. I don’t really need to elaborate too much. Just know that if I actually  got round to listening to Space Is Only Noise when it actually came out in 2011, it would have featured very highly on the my fifty album list. Beautiful album.
SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS
With their new album, Ghostory, SVIIB created something quite special. It managed to have a peculiar warmth to it whilst also feeling cold and distant. Read my full review and listen to the whole album if you haven’t already. Even as a duo, the band are able to conjure amazing soundscapes that enchant and dazzle the listener.
SLEIGH BELLS
Reign of Terror was one of my most anticipated records of the early part of 2012, and it didn’t disappoint in the colossal way it could have. The new album also made me go back to their 2010 debut and give that another listen. Their whole body of work is quite impressive, and has a quirky, distinctive style that few others can match. Read my full review of Sleigh Bell’s latest effort here.
ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI
Can you think of a cooler guy in music than Ariel Pink? No? I didn’t think so. Not only do I share a birthday with him, Before Today still kicks the smooth grooves and psychedelic madness better than most other albums that have come out since. I always make sure I leave time to listen to that album and remember how rad it really is. I’ve not really delved too deeply into the rest of Ariel Pink’s discography, but I’ve always been meaning to. Do you have a favourite album? Let me know in the comments box.
DINOWALRUS
Having reviewed the Brooklyn band’s new LP just a few days ago, I seem to have racked up quite a play count in a short space of time. Even though I wasn’t as fond of the album as I would have liked to be, it’s still an intriguing album that I would recommend to people looking for new releases that sound a little different. Read my review here.
SHARON VAN ETTEN
Okay, I’m willing to admit when I make mistakes. In the case of Sharon Van Etten, I dismissed the album for a reason that I can’t even remember when it first came out in early February. Having picked it up in march, I can see why the blogosphere raved about it when it dropped. I might write a review of the album but it would seem a little arbitrary since the album has been out for a while, so most people would have an opinion on whether they like it or not already. Serpents is one of my favourite songs of the year so far, just so you know.
CLOUD NOTHINGS
Trailing just behind Perfume  Genius, I’m quite confident in saying that Cloud Nothings have recorded one of my favourite albums of the year. The pure punk passion that percolates throughout the music, the raw recording methods, the emo throwbacks, the hooks, the hard-hitting lyrics, the intricate guitar work, the masterful production, it all just comes together to create an album that holds nothing back, and is best experienced very loud on a massive sound system. Read my review here.

AND there we have it! My top ten most listened to artists of the month. Did you enjoy this feature? Was it helpful to you? Let me know! Would be really useful for me to help shape this blog further and to find out what’s worth spending time on and what isn’t. What have you been listening to most, and are there any highlights that I might have missed? The comment box is your friend!

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