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2017.5: our favorite albums + songs of the year (so far)

gvsb_2017.5

As we approach the halfway point of 2017, here are our favorite albums + songs from what is shaping up to be a frenetic, kind of convoluted (we are not on board with the teaser trend, just drop the jams), and overwhelmingly great year for new music:

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2016.5 // our favorite albums of the year (so far)

ALBUMS OF 2016.5

As we approach the midway point of what has been an overwhelming year for new music, here's the ever-evolving list of our favorite records of (roughly) the first half of 2016. Favorite songs of the year (SO FAR) coming later this week:

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GORILLA VS. BEAR’S ALBUMS OF 2015

GvsB ALBUMS OF 2015

We feel pretty confident proclaiming 2015 the best year for new music this decade, and we'd even go so far as to say it's been arguably our favorite year in the history of this site. So many stars seemed to serendipitously align this year — our 10th as a blog — for sounds that veered right into our own personal, sometimes insular little lane: the triumphant return of Grimes; the improbable meteoric rise of Leon Bridges from seemingly out of nowhere (i.e., right here in our own backyard); a sweet, thoroughly relatable, '90s-hip-hop-inspired record from Panda Bear (our favorite artist); two Beach House albums in the span of two months; D'Angelo with probably the best show we've seen since the last time he rolled through town 15 years ago; Grouper started a pop group; the summer of Jamie xx; and on and on. If 2015 had seen the release of Dear Tommy and new music from Shabazz Palaces or Burial (all still possible, I suppose), our blog might have imploded.

With all of that said, I still feel like we went as deep as ever this year, and as always, there were some genuinely incredible hidden gems to uncover if you spent a little time digging. Let us know how your year went as you check the full list of our 50 favorite records of the year, and lose yourself in our nearly 3-hour-long spotify playlist:

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our favorite albums + tracks of 2015 so far

2015.5

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ALBUMS
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01 PANDA BEAR - Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
02 LEON BRIDGES - Coming Home
03 JAMIE XX - In Colour
04 LOWER DENS - Escape from Evil
05 SUFJAN STEVENS - Carrie & Lowell
06 BOP ENGLISH - Constant Bop
07 JESSICA PRATT - On Your Own Love Again
08 YOUNG THUG - Barter 6
09 YUMI ZOUMA - EP II
10 CHASTITY BELT - Time To Go Home
11 RAE SREMMURD - SremmLife
12 BULLY - Feels Like
13 SUSANNE SUNDFØR - Ten Love Songs
14 DOMENIQUE DUMONT - Comme Ça
15 THE GALLERIA - Calling Card / Mezzanine EP
16 STEALING SHEEP - Not Real
17 KAITLYN AURELIA SMITH - Euclid
18 VALET - Nature
19 VIET CONG - Viet Cong
20 BOSQUE BROWN - Us
21 ANTHONY NAPLES - Body Pill
22 TEI SHI - Verde EP
23 RECYCLE CULTURE - Trapped Goddess EP
24 THE SANDWITCHES - Our Toast
25 PENDER STREET STEPPERS - The Glass City / Golden Garden 12"

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SONGS
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01 GRIMES - REALiTi
02 D'ANGELO - The Charade*
03 METRO THUGGIN - Free Gucci
04 JAMIE XX - Loud Places (feat...

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favorites of 2013.5

AUTRE NE VEUT ANXIETY


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ALBUMS
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01 AUTRE NE VEUT - Anxiety
02 GROUPER - The Man Who Died in His Boat
03 JAI PAUL - demos
04 THE KNIFE - Shaking the Habitual
05 TORO Y MOI - Anything in Return
06 POSTILJONEN - Skyer
07 BLUE HAWAII - Untogether
08 VARIOUS - After Dark 2
09 DISCLOSURE - Settle
10 CHARLI XCX - True Romance

NEXT 12 (alphabetical)

3:33 - $ ...

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...

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gorilla vs. bear’s albums of 2011

GORILLA VS. BEAR ALBUMS of 2011

This was a little tougher than usual this year, but after much deliberation and some unpleasant culling, here are our favorite releases -- full-lengths, mixtapes, EPs, and one cassette -- of 2011. To accompany our choices, we asked all of the amazing artists on our list to tell us their own personal favorite albums from the past year, and a lot of them were nice enough to answer, so their picks are here too. Check it all, and leave your own lists, after the jump...

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gorilla vs. bear’s albums of 2010

GORILLA VS BEAR'S ALBUMS OF 2010

30 Ty Segall - Melted
29 Shackleton - Fabric 55
28 Caribou - Swim
27 Mount Kimbie - Crooks & Lovers
26 Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
25 Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part II: Return of the Ankh
24 The Walkmen - Lisbon
23 Tennis - Tennis (cassette)
22 Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
21 Frankie Rose & the Outs - Frankie Rose & the Outs
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20 Twin Shadow - Forget

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19 Forest Swords - Dagger Paths

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18 Harlem - Hippies

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17 The Samps - The Samps

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16 Grimes - Geidi Primes

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15 Dum Dum Girls - I Will Be

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14 Big K.R.I.T. - wuz here

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13 Twin Sister - Color Your Life / Alternates

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12 Earl Sweatshirt - EARL

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11 Toro y Moi - Causers of This

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10 Girls - Broken Dreams Club

More earnest pop gems from Girls: Broken Dreams Club is honest and heart-wrenching and revelatory in a way that you could only expect from these two. A very natural extension of Album, but also a tremendous step up, punctuated by tighter production and sonic explorations that exude a well-earned confidence. "Substance" charms with help from Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls, and "Carolina" -- a jam we've had in our head for roughly two years -- rounds things out in epic fashion.

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09 White Denim - Last Day of Summer

With the the looser, "fresh and casual" approach (their words) that White Denim takes on Last Day of Summer, the band comes closer than ever to capturing the preternatural chemistry and seemingly effortless shapeshifting flow they consistently display in their live shows. Not bad for what essentially amounts to a stopgap / "little summer retreat" while we wait for the band's proper third full-length. Download it for whatever you'd like to pay here.

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08 Games - That We Can Play

In which '80s homage/nostalgia is elevated to instant classic status by masterful pop deconstruction -- and subsequent magical reconstruction -- from Oneohtrix Point Never's Daniel Lopatin and Tigercity's Joel Ford. Granted, the run time here is slight, but the EP's brevity works in its favor, as there's not a wasted second on this thing. Also featuring one of the best songs of 2010, the unexpected "Cruel Summer"-recalling pop hit "Strawberry Skies," which features vocals from Laurel Halo.

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07 Lower Dens - Twin-Hand Movement

Like most of the uniformly stellar (and underrated) output from Texan Jana Hunter, the self-titled debut from her new band Lower Dens is understated and unassuming, almost to a fault. But repeat listens reveal gorgeous waves of ringing, shimmering "post punk drone pop," bolstered by Hunter's emotive, vaguely androgynous vocals and a tangible, increasingly rare cohesiveness for such a young band. This one crept up on us, and cliched as it may sound, it's fair to say that the whole here far exceeds the sum of its parts.

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06 Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

The highly anticipated, perpetually delayed solo joint from one of our favorite rappers is a triumphant return on all fronts. Despite a few still-kind-of-awesome missteps -- who invited Vonnegutt? -- Big Boi's classic, ridiculously dexterous flow and the record's always inspired, deliriously out-there production cement this as the most fun (and funkiest) thing released in 2010. Best driving music of the year, too.

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05 Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me

There's no question we fell in love with the more immediate songs on Have One On Me upon first listen, although like most, we initially found the record as a whole kind of daunting and impenetrable. But as you witness Newsom bring these songs to life, you're forcefully reminded of her very literally prodigious and virtuosic ability as a musician, songwriter, and lyricist, which only reaffirms how graceful and delicate and achingly beautiful these subtly complex compositions are. Revisit this one, it wears in like an old friend.
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04 James Blake - CMYK / Klavierwerke

Ghostly, living/breathing atmospherics from London's James Blake, who, in CMYK + Klavierwerke, has created two of the year's most groundbreaking releases. Blake's Burial-esque manipulation of vocals and unique and imaginative use of space is incredibly soul-stirring and affecting in ways that are unlike anything I've ever heard. Nowhere is this more evident than on the mournful, fairly mindblowing "I Only Know (What I Know Now)," which sounds like being born/dying, or as P4k's David Bevan put it, "like infinity trapped inside of five minutes."

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James Blake :: I Only Know (What I Know Now)

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03 Shabazz Palaces - Shabazz Palaces / Of Light

Originally self-released at the end of '09 and re-released by Sub Pop last month, Seattle's Shabazz Palaces thrillingly juxtapose the platinum voice and conscious/menacing lyrics of Palaceer Lazaro -- aka anti-Kanye Ishmael Butler of Digable Planets -- with bumping, futuristic Brainfeeder-level beats to create the most adventurous and inventive hip-hop release of the year. Look for a full-length in early 2011.

Shabazz Palaces :: Blastit...

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02 Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today

EXCLUSIVE: we asked Carles to write a blurb for us about Ariel Pink's brilliant Before Today, which was recorded in a real studio:

"Alas! The brilliant lofi texturewave artist Ariel Pink has finally done it, leaving many of us wondering: "What did music sound like Before Today?" which is coincidentally the title of his gamechanging 2010 release with his band of lofi talismans known simply as the Haunted Graffiti. Merging his ambient bedroom recording artist textures with the modern textures and professionalism of the modern recording vibes required for 'mainstream indie coverage', Ariel Pink has emerged from the shadowy textures of yesteryear and has evolved into a modern indie star. It seems as if perhaps the world has finally caught up with Ariel Rosenberg, and our ears are finally ready for his textures. "Before Today" is history, while the future is a mystery but today is a gift which belongs to Ariel Pink."

--Carles of Hipster Runoff

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01 Beach House - Teen Dream

The most elegant, visceral, sensual release of the year comes from one of our favorite bands in the history of this blog. Teen Dream was born of a fully evolved vision and the indefatigable connection between Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand, whose voice is quickly becoming an iconic one. And, it has the best songs.

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