Feb 12 2012

Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2011: Thom’s Top 10

1. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here

2. M83- Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here

3. The Strokes – Angeles

On their latest album, The Strokes never promised to be anything other than themselves. Although rarely wandering from their earnest and melodic rock and roll, Angles‘ is another visceral slice of slick indie.

4. Lykke li – Wounded Rhymes

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here

5. Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx – We’re New Here

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here

6.Tieranniesaur – Tieranniesaur!

Tieranniesaur have the perfect mix of dirty dance riffs and pop melodies, ‘rockblocker‘ off their debut album was the perfect summer drunken night, and one of the coolest songs of the year.

7. Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part II

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here

8. Alexander – Alexander

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here

9. The Whip – Wired Together

The Whip really nailed their sound on wired together. It saunters with unshakable confidence, delivering atmospheric and avante garde synth pop whilst never getting above it’s station.

10. White Lies – Rituals

Even without the atmospheric density and grit that covers ‘Ritual‘s outer punk rock layers, it is an album of solid songwriting. Its fog only creates a more complex and moving second album.


Calgary by boniver

Midnight City by M83

01-Rockblocker by tieranniesaur

The Whip: Keep Or Delete

White Lies – Strangers

I Follow Rivers by LykkeLi

Gil Scott-Heron And Jamie XX – NY Is Killing Me

Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win (featuring Santigold) by Beastie Boys


Feb 10 2012

Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2011: Jazmin’s Top 10

1. The Decemberists- The King is Dead

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here

2. Beirut- The Rip Tide

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here

3. Death Cab for Cutie- Codes and Keys

I have been a Death Cab super fan since about 2001. ‘We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes’ is one of those albums that stopped me in my tracks, and ‘The Photo Album’ will always be one of my favourite albums of all time. However, whilst Death Cab’s quirky under the radar indie sensibilities may have been what won me over in the first place, I am unashamed in saying that indie rock pop songs (such as 2005’s ‘Plans’) are often when they’re at their strongest. Which is exactly why ‘Codes and Keys’ is so fantastic- tracks such as ‘Stay young, go dancing’ and ‘Portable Television’ are perfect indie pop for the Portland generation.‘Codes and Keys’ basically solidified it for me: Death Cab For Cutie are most definitely the band that I will never fall out of love with.

4. Bon Iver- Bon Iver

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here

5. Braid- Closer to Closed

Okay, so it was only an EP, but if 2011 can be remembered for only one thing, it has to be the welcome return of Braid and their melodic pop accompanied by Bob Nanna’s distinctive vocals. This 4 track EP is hopefully the shape of what’s to come from a full length in 2012- Kinsella-core style tunes with heartbreaking lyrics. Roll on that 2001-era emo comeback..

6. Surfer Blood- Tarot Classics

Another EP, but one that is too good not to mention. Surfer Blood’s follow up to their 2010 debut ‘Astro Coast’, is all kinds of wonderful. ‘Tarot Classics’ is 4 brilliantly upbeat Beach Boys-esque tracks- the kind of songs that make you want to do spontaneous handclaps as you listen along. Main single ‘Miranda’ is Surfer Blood showing they can take the sound they encapsulated on their debut to the next level- polished hyperactivity if you will. With their second full length due next year, Surfer Blood well and truly remain ones to watch.

6. The Horrible Crowes- Elsie

Filling this year’s Hold Steady/Gaslight Anthem void in my life, The Horrible Crowes debut album oozes Jersey and Springsteen sensibilities. This is the kind of record that is made for dive bar jukeboxes, soundtracking ill advised all night whiskey drinking (the above may or may not have been based on personal experience). Brian Fallon’s vocals sound just as affecting as they do on Gaslight Anthem records, but yet benefit from the stripped down simplicity of The Horrible Crowes’ recording style. It’s a rare thing when side projects contain enough good songs to stand along, but ‘Elsie’ most definitely slots into that elusive category

7. Fleet Foxes- Helplessness Blues

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here

8. Bright Eyes- The People’s Key

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here

9. Mister Heavenly- Out of Love

An indie-rock supergroup comprising of members of Modest Mouse, Unicorns, Man Man with Michael Cera on touring bass, Mister Heavenly had pretty good odds in producing one of the albums of 2011. Bursting full of upbeat style indie-pop, accompanied by 1950s influences, ‘Out of Love’ is a must listen for anyone who has a remote leaning towards catchy indie rock that doesn’t take itself too seriously. And if that’s not enough, their biography states that Mister Heavenly are ‘very excited by the prospect of their music being used in a big-screen, teen romantic comedy’, which is pretty much all I could ever want from a band’s press release. Instant scene points? Yeah, I think so.

10. Alex Turner – Submarine (Original Movie Soundtrack)

Movie soundtracks aren’t often strong contenders for albums of the year, but Alex Turner’s self composed soundtrack to Richard Ayoade’s ‘Submarine’ is more than worthy of a place in the list. As a huge fan of the book, the songs that Turner produced for the film managed to perfectly encapsulate the melancholy and quirkiness of the story, whilst also showing that there is more to his musical repertoire than just the Arctic Monkeys. All haunting vocals, slow beats and acoustic guitars,especially on stand out track ‘Stuck On The Puzzle’, this a mini album that is most definitely one of the best things to emerge in 2011.


The Decemberists – This Is Why We Fight

Beirut – Santa Fe

Death Cab for Cutie – You Are A Tourist

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Braid – “Universe or Worse”

Surfer Blood – Miranda

The Horrible Crowes – Behold the Hurricane

Fleet Foxes – Bedouin Dress

Bright Eyes- Shell Games (k-noble booty folk remix)

Mister Heavenly “Hold My Hand” Live at KDHX 11/12/11

Alex Turner – Stuck on a Puzzle 

Feb 1 2012

Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2011: Emily’s Top 10

1) Gotye – Making Mirrors

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here

2. Adele – 21

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here

3. The Decemberists – The King is Dead

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here

4. Rufus Wainwright – House of Rufus

A massive 19-disc box set of all the magic of Rufus—live performances, albums, singles and b-sides. Even though I could never afford this, it makes the list for best releases. And my Christmas wish list.

5. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here.

6. Paul Simon – So Beautiful or So What

I have always surrendered to anything written by Paul Simon, but this album has charm and wit in spades. He even managed to hold back on that penchant for African drumming.

7. Florence and the Machine – Ceremonials

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here.

8. City & Colour – Little Hell

Although I’m the first to admit this album doesn’t top City & Colour’s previous efforts, it says a lot that it still crushes most other releases of the year.

9. Cake – Showroom of Compassion

Made the Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011 list here.

10. J Mascis – Several Shades of Why

I’m not usually brave enough to name a favourite album, but this year it was easy. Mascis brings the power of Dinosaur Jr, the simplicity of bare and honest lyrics, and then his godlike guitar virtuosity, to bear in this true 2011 masterpiece.


Eyes Wide Open by Gotye

Adele – Rolling In The Deep

The Decemberists – This Is Why We Fight

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The Afterlife by Paul Simon

Florence & The Machine – What the Water Gave Me (DhARMA Edit)

City and Colour – We Found Each Other In The Dark

J Mascis – Not Enough

Jan 14 2012

Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2011: Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Bon Iver‘s much awaited sophomore album did not disappoint warranting a spot on numerous “Best of 2011″ lists including a handful of Cougar Microbes types.

Nicole justified its selection saying “Bon Iver continues to carve out his niche, and the deeper he goes the better. If the listener follows as he continues his subterranean exploration, they will find many heartfelt and triumphant moments; ultimately proving that things don’t have to be conventional, but just the opposite

Jazmin added “Bon Iver’s self titled second album is one of those records I haven’t been able to stop playing all year. Each song is beautifully crafted, layered in different musical elements and building further on the vocals that made ‘For Emma’ so wonderful. It feels hard to say anything that a hundred positive reviews haven’t already said this year, but it’s a testament to Bon Iver’s emerging brilliance that album so simple and basic can be so unbelievably breathtaking“.

Finally Cole said “Bon Iver’ by Bon Iver is very simply a lovely album. It swells and swoons in a dreamscape that never falters. I am personally guilty of repeating “Perth” and “Calgary” exclusively for the complete duration of my commute to work. The album just works from beginning to end“.


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