• 2013: My Top #50

    9 Jun 2014, 5:54

    Intro.
    My apologies dear readers for this six month late entry. A lot of things have happened in 2014 that have really forced me to put music on the back-burner. Having said that however I do think 2013 was one of the better years in the last five or so as far as music was concerned. So many fantastic records really made it difficult to order my list so whenever I got a bit of free time i painstakingly chopped and changed until I arrived at this seemingly end result. I hope you enjoy. Let me know what you agree/disagree with or give us a shout as to what records I may have missed last year. Cheers :)

    - Marcus

    #50 Akron/Family - Sub Verses
    I've always been aware of this Portlandian three-piece experimental rock group but never really took notice until their fantastic previous album 'S/T II:The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT'. That record had this perfect balance of heavy psych and soft ethereal folk that permeated with a real spiritual force. I don't think this new one is good on the whole but it's not without it's incredible highlight. 'When I Was Young' is simply one of my favourite songs of the year. The gentle brass and drumming reminds me of something by 'Timber Timbre' but the vocal delivery in it's distortion is totally Mick Jagger. The jam at the end is magnificent. The album ain't bad but that one track boy oh boy, wonderful. Is it just me or is the sleeve totally 'Meddle'?

    Favourite track: When I Was Young




    #49 Thundercat - Apocalypse
    This guy might just be the best bass player on the planet. Teamed with co-producer Flying Lotus again, the two lay down some serious futuristic funk and soul grooves. There are some real party jams here but what impresses me more are the seductive spacey tracks. It's an adoring mix of acoustic and heavy electronics, and the thing pulses along with such energy. Some of the orchestral work on these heavily remind me of Gaye's 'What's Going On'. Timeless funk.

    Favourite track: Oh Sheit, It's X!




    #48 Crystal Antlers - Nothing Is Real
    Loud noises! Crystal Antlers have always known how to blister your ear drums with their original blend of psychedelic punk garage rock. Their first EP was one of the greatest things I'd ever listened to at the time. Since then however they have taken radically different paths again and again, still seemingly unsure of what direction they want to go. Here they sound like they're aiming for more of a 'Wolf Parade' vibe which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I just miss the days when they sounded like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tADXDD43yaY

    Favourite track: Rattlesnake




    #47 Tyler, the Creator - Wolf
    I've never really expected much in the way of substance from the Odd Future dudes. I was pleasantly surprised this year. Tyler in particular really impressed me with the production on this record. At times when the lyrics might be less interesting, the music is always enjoyable and in this day and age of hip-hop that's no small feat. I can only hope Ty Dollaz continues to build on this.

    Favourite track(s): IFHY Pigs




    #46 Darkside - Psychic
    Daft Punk fans have to get on this asap. It's like a smoked out chilled version of Random Access Memories taking place in an alternate universe.. and it's even better! The opener starts out pure space rock and builds to something Floyd would have been proud to call their own! Not on this record but check out this wonderful little ditty I found, a cover version of Sabbath's 'Planet Caravan': http://www.modularpeople.com/recommends/darkside-planet-caravan-black-sabbath-cover/28183.html

    Favourite track: Heart




    #45 Mazzy Star - Seasons of Your Day
    In probably the most unlikely comeback (except maybe The Pixies?) Mazzy Star have picked up exactly where they left off. That's pretty impressive considering this is their first record in 17 years. I wouldn't hesitate in believing this thing was recorded in the mid 90's. I gotta confess I'm a total sucker for this band and Hope Sandoval in particular, who I believe has one of the most seductive voices ever. Combined with the woozy reverbed guitar revery, she is just intoxicating. I find this type of melancholy music almost medicating. Not much else is this beautiful, especially if you're feeling a little love-sick in the wee hours of the morning. Let Mazzy Star be your comforter! I hope they never change their tried and true formula because I could listen to this magic forever.

    Favourite track(s): Does Someone Have Your Baby Now California Common Burn




    #44 Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels
    Ever since the day many years ago I first heart Outkast's 'The Whole World' I have been obsessed with Killer Mike's delivery. The guy is fucking awesome. Aesop ain't no slouch either. They make a lethal combination for sure. Not usually the type of hip-hop I listen to but this will do! It's hard not to feel sort of invincible after listening to this haha. Chain snatching, poodle shooting good times!
    Favourite track: Run the Jewels




    #43 The John Steel Singers - Everything's A Thread
    I was fortunate enough to have one of those special connections to a new song on first listen while I was driving around tuned to JJJ mid 2013. It was a lovely summer day, they introduced this fantastic young band from Brisbane and spun 'MJ's On Fire Again'. For those 5 blissful minutes everything was perfect. I remember struggling to contain a ridiculous smile and was singing along to the infectious chorus by the end of the song ever so joyously. It felt like I'd heard this song a million times, not only once. That feeling man, as a music lover is all I can ask for. I then got the chance to see a set of theirs at Falls festival in Byron and they were marvelous as expected. I'd recommend checking them out if you like bands like Dirty Projectors and maybe even Real Estate. Keep an eye out for these guys! Also, Midnight Marauders album sleeve or what?

    Favourite track: MJ's On Fire Again




    #42 Earl Sweatshirt - Doris
    A new challenger arrives! I'm aware Earl has already been around for years but now I'm finally paying attention. This is a real class hip-hop record. The dude has grown up. All across the board the production has improved with Odd Future this year, it's really good to see. Sweatshirt's sense of story telling particularly on 'Chum' is first rate. As a basketball player myself obviously I'm obsessed with the line "Feelin' harder than Vince Carter's knee cartilage is". Suddenly I have a new hip-hop dream. I'm gonna need an entire Flylo/Sweatshirt/Captain Murphy record. It has to happen.

    Favourite track(s): Chum Whoa




    #41 Fuzz - Fuzz
    Oh Ty Segall, how you impress me. This guy never stops and to mix it up this time he decides to put down the guitar and jump behind the kit. Surprise surprise, the 27 year old phenom is a destroyer of souls on that instrument as well. It's a baron apocalyptic, sun-drenched heavy as fuck, crunchy distortion-filled dream come true. It's probably the closest sounding thing to Witch's s/t released on Tee Pee Records back in 2006 and by no shock that was also one of my favourites of that year. I love you Ty, keep the good shit up! (See you later in the list ;) xx)

    Favourite track(s): Earthen Gate What's In My Head?




    #40 Emma Louise - vs Head vs Heart
    It's hard to believe such talent is so nearby. The wonderful Emma Louise hails from Cairns, about 400km north of me and is finally getting everything she deserves. I first heard her in a club here where she played a cover version of Alt-J's 'Tessellate', I think everyone fell in love with her instantly. I also got a chance to see her at Falls fest during a lovely day-time set. I could probably list another handful of just truly wonderful singers I enjoy but the thing is Emma goes above and beyond most here with the outstanding music accompanying her. I really like the slight electronic flourishes that are always present but so delicately used as to not dim the intimacy between her voice and the acoustic instruments. Swoon-worthy stuff.

    Favourite track: Atlas Eyes




    #39 Pond - Hobo Rocket
    You have to love what's going on in Perth at the moment. Seeing this riff fest live was truly a spectacle to behold. It all just looks and sounds so effortless to these lads. We are truly setting the example and living in a new golden age of psychedelic rock/pop here in Australia.

    Favourite track(s): Whatever Happened To The Million Head Collide? Giant Tortoise




    #38 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away
    I'm really digging this. I wanna single out and talk about track number 8, "Higgs Boson Blues". This fucking song. It's one of the greatest I've heard in ages and it sounds EXACTLY like one of my all-time favourites, Neil Young's terrifying "On the Beach". Clocks in at eight minutes but I could listen to those lazy crazy horse chord changes and high pitched backing vocals forever man! Nick sounds amazing on this song. I've a pretty accurate recommendation for any fans of this band, go check out Timber Timbre immediately!

    Favourite track(s): We No Who U R Higgs Boson Blues




    #37 Ducktails - The Flower Lane
    Easy listening in-offensive surf/electronic/pop is what's going on here. Much like sister band Real Estate, and even one of my lesser known favourites Greater California. The production on this thing is first rate, everything sounds so crispy and even brings to mind Steely Dan's 'Aja'. The highlight for me is the majestical 'Letter of Intent', an electro-pop master work. Complete with the synth work of Oneohtrix Point Never's Daniel Lopatin and and guest vocals from Jessa Farkas of Future Shuttle, this little gem sounds like it belongs on the 'Drive' soundtrack. This is the kind of pop album I can get on board with.

    Favourite track: Letter Of Intent




    #36 The Holydrug Couple - Noctuary
    If you're into Sleepy Sun, Quest for Fire, Dead Meadow or even the debut album from The Verve, you gotta get this in your ears. Shoegazing psychedelic good times from Chile! Very uplifting, summery, positive 60's vibes. The drumming on this thing is fucking fantastic. An acid wonderland!

    Favourite track(s): Counting Sailboats It's Dawning




    #35 Tim Hecker - Virgins
    Hecker again wonderfully demonstrates how spiritual power can influence ambient/electronic music and really make you feel what you're hearing. The relationship of organic and mechanic and the balance between these types of sounds throughout this record is really interesting. It's beautiful, but also deeply menacing. It's definitely thought-provoking and extremely haunting at times. Delve in if you're into this kind of thing.



    #34 Grails - Black Tar Prophecies Vol's 4, 5 & 6
    One of my most beloved groups of musicians. Nobody out there is like Grails, and by association Lilacs & Champagne. These dudes are wired differently. Every album they release plays like a soundtrack score where I invent the film in my mind each time I listen. For whatever reason, they also make the most suitable soundtrack to any which First Person Shooter I happen to be playing at the time. Without a doubt one of the most innovative and original rock bands nobody knows about.

    Favourite track(s): Self-Hypnosis Ice Station Zebra




    #33 Earthless - From the Ages
    Fuck yeah, Earthless is back baby! It's been a long wait but they have returned in all their glory. This is so much more than jamming folks. It's like a fucking jazz improv, but through the guise of the greatest stoner rock boogie ever known to man! How the fuck can they do this for 30 minutes straight is beyond me. The drumming is just frenetic and Isiah ALWAYS rips it up. One of the greatest to ever do it!

    Favourite track: Uluru Rock




    #32 Washed Out - Paracosm
    Let me just say that this is one of the most beautiful sounding records I've ever heard in my life. The sounds are just "aaaaaaaaaaaaaah." Occasionally the lyrics leave a lot to be desired but you know what, I don't care. This is the vibe! This is the summer album of the year, their may only be one challenger you will see further down. If a record had ever made me feel like reaching out and touching a cloud it's this one. It's weightless blissful psychedelia made for the day time. So tasty you want to eat it.

    Favourite track: It All Feels Right




    #31 Flying Lotus - Ideas + Drafts + Loops
    Flylo is such a dude. Earlier in the year when his facebook or twitter or whatever-the-fuck reached 300k followers he shared mediafire links containing these 24 tracks, all unused and unheard outtakes. They are more or less scraps from Ellison's probable bottomless hard drive. Although this is just a compilation of outtakes, it strikes a balance between his tendencies to drift towards electronic music and his roots as a hip-hop producer. There are some incredible moments here that could have easily been fleshed out on record. The guy is freakishly talented and one of my favourite musicians currently working.

    Favourite track(s): Coleman's Groove.Andreya 2 Osaka Trade




    #30 Emancipator - Dusk to dawn
    I found myself completely enthralled with the first 6 tracks here, just in a trance of total goodness. A fine example of the downtempo/trip-hop sounds I so desperately crave. This might just be his jazziest release yet! There's no question of the guy's talent and taste but I think he needs to change direction a little, or vary it up a little to keep it interesting.

    Favourite track(s): Outlaw




    #29 Yo La Tengo - Fade
    My long-overdue intro to the band that I've had recommended to me countless times but never got around to listening to. I find myself really intrigued by the sounds on this album, not really what I was expecting them to sound like at all actually. I'm reminded of those two lovely bands Pram & Broadcast throughout, and even the softer side of Can believe it or not. A pleasant listen.

    Favourite track(s): Well You Better Before We Run




    #28 Flatbush ZOMBiES - BetterOffDEAD
    God damn son! I was blown away with the energy on this thing. I'm loving the 90's feel. This to me sounds like a mix of Souls of Mischief and The Pharcyde, but at the same time so much more menacing. That one guy fucking sounds like Tom Waits too, that's crazy. Very promising, gotta keep an eye out.

    Favourite track: Bliss




    #27 Causa Sui - Euporie Tide
    I was totally waiting for Garcia to start singing as the first track kicked in. Straight Kyuss worship done the correct way. As you listen further though there is so much more to Causa Sui. Their musical formula has improves vastly over the decade, adding jazz improvised jams, and now extensive use of the wonderful mellotron. Causa Sui are an essential band and this is an essential record for the avid stoner/psychedelic rock fan.

    Favourite track: Homage




    #26 Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II
    I just couldn't duck the buzz of this release as it received generally positive acclaim from the various parties I tend to trust when it comes to music. "So Good At Being In Trouble" has been on constant rotation at my place since the day I first heard it on JJJ. It's psychedelic, it's funky and damn tasty!

    Favourite track: So Good At Being In Trouble




    #25 The Black Angels - Indigo Meadow
    Some serious ass kicking psychedelic rock here from the veterans who always bring their A game. Got a chance to see them a couple of years ago at Harvest fest, it was fucking wild. "Evil Things" has one hell of a crunchy riff so simple and yet so badass.

    Favourite track: Evil Things




    #24 Arctic Monkeys - AM
    This is the example of a perfect rock record suitable for everyone in 2013.

    Favourite track(s): Arabella Mad Sounds




    #23 Bibio - Silver Wilkinson
    Chilled out house/trip-hop. Emphasis on chilled out for the most of this album, with a surprising amount of natural sounds. Very melancholic for the most part but when the shit goes wild, like 'You' for instance, it sounds not unlike something from Flying Lotus or even the up & coming Australian beat-maker Flume. The guy has an ear for wonderful vocal samples, it's as if he and Bonobo are on the same tip. "Pastoral English folk processed through analog tape, chopped up and threaded into a canvas of warm pop, carefully constructed melodies, and beat experiments". It's not exactly groundbreaking material, but it's a worthy listen if you're into these sounds.

    Favourite track: You




    #22 Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest
    Otherwordly alien music that stimulates the mind. Perfect procrastination tunes. It's crazy how quickly these guys can turn such a peaceful angelic sound into something totally sinister and demonic. Reminds me of Mansell's work on 'Requiem' in parts. This band is such an enigma.

    Favourite track(s): Reach For the Dead New Seeds




    #21 Shigeto - No Better Time Than Now
    I've been admiring this guy's work since his 2012 EP 'Lineage'. Much like early Four Tet whether it's pasted from odd samples or the thump of a real kit, percussion is the focal point of his music which is no surprise, he's a drummer first and foremost. From album to album he has implemented more of a hip-hop framework borrowed from the LA future beat scene, sounding at times not unlike Teebs and even Flying Lotus circa 'Los Angeles'. This record is what he has been building towards and is arguably his finest work to date.

    Favourite track: Miss U




    #20 The Men - New Moon
    These lads are truly hard to pin down. What seemingly started as a hardcore punk/garage rock band has now evolved into a multi genre-bending amalgam of psychedelic rock and classic early 70s FM rock. Two tracks here in particular where they really open up are fucking spectacular. "I Saw Her Face" sounds like what NY & Crazy Horse wish they sounded like last year. "Bird Song" is wonderful with that bright harmonica, piano and slide guitar. Sounds very much like one of my favourite contemporary psychedelic rock bands, Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound. The two punch punk combo in the middle ("The Brass, "Electric") bring the group back to their punishing roots. Also want to mention the heart-breaking little ditty of an instrumental in the middle of the record "High and Lonesome" is really beautiful and breaks up the album perfectly. These guys are incredible.

    Favourite track(s): Bird Song I Saw Her Face




    #19 DJ Frane - Hi Dusty Stranger
    I had no fucking clue Frane was working on anything new. How this Southern California based producer and multi-instrumentalist is still so unheard of is beyond me. This, his first record in over 5 years has a loose wild western narrative running throughout the course which if you're like me, it should have you salivating at the potential Morricone-like samples you could expect. It's definitely not as immediate as his previous releases with 7 tracks reaching the 6-7 minute mark. Having said that the two longest are my definite favourites. 'Road to Dreamcatcher Mountain' effortlessly plods along the stoned trail before blazing off into synthesizer heaven, one particular section reminds me of Dr. Dre's early production, or even something from the Snowboard Kids video game soundtrack! As if specifically catered for me it then stoops down into something murky as fuck and yet still so celestial as it samples the obvious Paul Butterfield Blues Band's 'Last Hope's Gone', which coincidentally was also sampled in another song that I'd argue was responsible for me getting into hip-hop to begin with.. but I digress. (crush, kill, destroy, STRESS!!!)

    I just gotta say this. There is a moment in 'The Mirage & the Gunslinger', from 6:40 onward to be precise. You know those moments when you're listening to something fresh and the kick is just so fucking perfect it knocks you over and you almost choke? I seriously burst into a shocked fit of laughter at how good this sounded, go listen to it. You'll know what I'm talking about, it's the shit folks! Flat-out impossible to sit still.

    The dude is fucking sick and pulls some of the best samples you'll likely hear. If you're looking for funk in your trip-hop/electronic tunes this is the dude for you. Fan of DJ Shadow, Nujabes? This is for you!

    Favourite track(s): The Mirage & the Gunslinger Road to Dreamcatcher Mountain




    #18 My Bloody Valentine - m b v
    Love the drums! Surprisingly fantastic, who woulda thought! Consistently strong all the way through. "Loveless" is an amazing album but I don't think I put it as the unquestionable album of the 90s like so many people do. As such I find this new one just as good. They're both unreal. Lay back and let it invade your brain. Just happy this thing exists really.

    Favourite track(s): Only Tomorrow If I Am




    #17 The Heliocentrics - 13 Degrees Of Reality
    Demented funky krautjazz? I really gotta stop pulling these genres out of my butt. But seriously folks, this album is fucking bad! Crate diggers all over are gonna wet themselves over this. It's as if Madlib fucked around with a bunch of Morricone, German krautrock & Afro-beat records. It also has this incredibly sinister groove, it's really somethin' else! Try it out if you're into this kind of thing.

    Favourite track(s): Collateral Damage Wrecking Ball




    #16 Thee Oh Sees - Floating Coffin
    Utter chaos. Psychedelic Garage Punk? My head feels like it's going to explode listening to this and I love that. The funny thing being that this is probably the easiest release to listen to from this ever prolific group of psychos. There are even moments of blissed out country-rock revery amidst the acid gurgling. This is what now, album number 15 in a 10 year period? Shit is crazy. Am I the only one who thinks 'Minotaur' sounds like some bizarro modern Pixies? I love it, keep up the good work dudes!

    Favourite track(s): Toe Cutter/Thumb Buster Minotaur




    #15 Arts The Beatdoctor - Lost Track of Time: Unreleased 2002-2012
    Compiled here are a collection of tracks that hadn't seen the light of day yet. Considering how impressive this release is and the fact that there isn't really much material of Arts' out there, this is truly a blessing. This guy is one of my all-time favourite beatmakers, and his 2007 album 'Transitions' is an absolute essential for fans of the genre. Arts' brand of jazz infused electronic/hip-hop is my perfect blend, it doesn't get much better than this in these genres for me. Fans of Bonobo & Long Arm should check out this truly gifted beatmaker.

    Favourite track(s): Midnight Oil These Pieces Fit




    #14 MGMT - MGMT
    One of the highlights of the last 12 months was seeing MGMT close out Falls Festival in Byron Bay, playing a dizzying array of songs from their previous two records as well as a select few from this one before it dropped. This only heightened my expectations for what very well may have been my most anticipated album of 2013. It may have fallen far from my top 5 but in no way is this album a disappointment to me. I love this band more and more through each record. I do think however the first two were much more rounded and fleshed out. I think the highs on this new one are weighted more through 4 or 5 songs but boy oh boy are those songs great.

    Favourite track(s): Plenty Of Girls In the Sea Mystery Disease




    #13 Sigur Rós - Kveikur
    I gotta confess I've probably only listened to this album maybe three or four times all the way through. The second track 'Hrafntinna' however I have probably played 20 times or more. I can't get enough of it. It might just be my favourite song from them. Also 'Brennisteinn' is one of the most evil sounding songs I've ever heard. Every year there might be two or three groups I really delve right into and for whatever reason, Sigur Rós was one of those this year. Like I've mentioned before, I've always semi-enjoyed their music but it never went above and beyond that. It wasn't until seeing them live last year, and closing with the final track from () where I really got it. That was a magical 10 minutes. Jaw-dropping experience, etc. etc. Anyone who has seen it knows what I mean. As a result I started listening to Takk... and it quickly became my favourite. I'm really loving these guys at the moment.

    Favourite track(s): Hrafntinna Brennisteinn




    #12 Smith Westerns - Soft Will
    Here it is ladies and gents, the feel-good summer vibe album of the year. This is truly magical. It's as about as inoffensive at it gets, it's so sweet that it could potentially make some people sick. But if you're able to roll with it it'll have you singing along and feeling great in no time. I said it about their previous record back in 2011 and I'll say it again. These dudes not only know how to play wonderful guitar lines, but they record them so well. The production on this thing is first rate. Some of my favourite guitar work in a while, particularly on the stand-out track 'Best Friend', which just oozes George Harrison all over the place. It's just so fucking pretty! One of the best tunes of the year.

    Favourite track(s): Best Friend 3AM Spiritual




    #11 Iron & Wine - Ghost On Ghost
    My initial reaction to this album was completely unexpected and unfortunate. You see, I absolutely adore Iron & Wine. When everyone was ripping on his previous effort I was totally in love with it. I love the way Sam is making music now, the instrumentation is so vivid and rich. So it was to my surprise I felt really let down on first listen here, and why exactly I'm not sure. A few more listens have revealed quite a bit, there's so much shit going on here man.. it's really out there. Country, Gospel, Jazz, Straight up Pop, Folk, Funk. A total melting pot, and it's really growing on me with every subsequent listen.

    'Low Light Buddy of Mine' on the other hand INSTANTLY hit it off with me. Definitely one of my favourite songs of the year. That's exactly the sound I was waiting for and I'm glad to say I'm warming to the rest of it nicely. Mr. Beam just keeps on keepin' on, doing whatever the fuck he wants!

    Favourite track(s): Low Light Buddy Of Mine Grass Widows




    #10 Dead Meadow - Warble Womb
    Oh baby! Dead Meadow have finally returned and they're sounding exactly like I had wished for. You see unlike most DM fans 'Old Growth' is heads and shoulders better than their earlier work in my opinion. They upped their production value and found time to kick it down a notch and really get into some slower grimier grooves. Then came 'Three Kings' and on it two incredible songs I think are some of their best ('That Old Temple' & 'Darlin'). They've been slowly heading in the direction I'd hoped for and now here it is fully realized on this latest LP. 'Mr. Chesty' would fit right in the middle of 'Old Growth' somewhere and I wouldn't blink an eye. This music is the grooviest thing on the planet. A treasure of mine forever.

    Favourite track(s): Mr. Chesty Rains In the Desert




    #9 Oneohtrix Point Never - R Plus 7
    This was a later discovery for me, I only really started getting into this one when I moved into my new place in February 2014. But now that I think about it the very first time I listened to this (and by no accident, I'm sure I planned to do this) was during an occasion I had to wait in an airport for three hours. It was truly an exhilarating experience hearing these fresh new sounds while watching people come and go. I couldn't help but wonder what each person's story was as I was slowly drifting off into another plain, or so it seemed. It was one of those unique listening experiences we all have with certain albums. This thing sounds like a total collage of chopped up orchestra's, glitchy synths, wobbles but also some of the most organic sounds you're ever likely to hear on an electronic/ambient record. I particularly like the second track 'Americans', and I'm sure I'm not alone in it reviving serious Donkey Kong Country memories and nostalgia. Such warm sounds.

    Favourite track(s): Americans Chrome Country




    #8 The Flaming Lips - The Terror
    When trying to explain the Lips to other people one thing I've always said was from album to album and in some cases song to song, there are elements of both extraordinarily honest despair and sadness, as well as unbridled love and enthusiasm and pure joy. You always know right after the low, a big fucking high is coming. All 12 Lips' albums up to this point had this. "The Terror" does not. I keep waiting for that big, beautiful chord change to rip open the sky and bury this unrelenting darkness but it never comes. The record ends and every time I'm left with myself to ponder what the fuck did I just experience? The album opener is one hell of a jam that sounds like something from "Embryonic". "Try To Explain" just fucking rips my heart out man, it's devastating. Those wash of synths set it up, but Drozd's slightly out of key oohs and aahs in between the verse and chorus just get all up in my feels. All the greatest lips songs have such vivid imagery, and for whatever reason I feel just fucking alone and lost floating in space or some shit listening to this song. Like I said, this is usually alright because I know shortly there-after Wayne is gonna be my superman and sing some happy bubblegum shit to take the pain away, but it never comes.

    This is the same for many of the songs on "The Terror". I think "You Lust" probably could have been culled a little but I love that main motif that kicks it off, reminds me of The Terminator or something. That little ambient part at the end reminds me of Requiem, needless to explain further. "Always There In Our Hearts" sounds like a companion piece to track 1 and thus ending this terrifying piece of music right where it begun. No happy ending. I don't know if it's the circumstances of Wayne's split with his wife, or Steven's reported mini-relapse, but this is unquestionably the darkest the Lips have ever been and for some fucked up reason this excites me very much. After all the experiments over the last 24 months I never would have thought I'd like this as much as I do. 30 years and still going, who the fuck knows what the future holds for The Flaming Lips!!!?

    Favourite track(s): Look... The Sun Is Rising Try To Explain




    #7 Ty Segall - Sleeper
    This fucking guy has released 5 or 6 albums in the last two years that have all been in my list. He truly is phenomenal, and this right here might be his most concentrated and riveting record so far. Gone are the stacks on stacks of amps, and in is some beautifully played stripped down acoustic guitar that really reminds me of circa 'III' Zeppelin or even something from Big Star's '#1 Record'. Also Neil Young and Bowie come to mind. Ty is taking them all on and this is unquestionably his biggest bang as a song-writer. I know his next one or the next one after that is going to be a stone cold classic with a perfect blend of all these different types of rock music he is playing with. It's really enjoyable to see the process as it goes.

    Favourite track(s): She Don't Care The West Sleeper




    #6 Joey Bada$$ - Summer Knights
    This kid has single handedly restored my faith in new hip-hop, even if it sounds like it's straight outta an older time. From the moment I heard Premo was backing him on the obvious single 'Unorthodox', I've been excited about Joey. I absolutely love his delivery. He has this wicked Jamaican infused Brooklyn drawl and he spits some incredible complex word pattens with such a lazy charismatic delivery. He makes it seem effortless. Let me say straight away that this is by no means anywhere near a perfect hip-hop record. There is still a lot of baggage here, but that's totally to be expected at this point in his career. I am confident he is going to drop something absolutely huge. 'Death of YOLO' to me sounds totally like a beat Nas would have rocked. It might have some of Bada$$' best versue's to date. ''95 'til Infinity' has him definitely sounding like a coming of age. Love that Jamaican accent coming through when he starts raising his voice.

    However the unfortunate highlight for me comes in the tribute to his recently deceased best buddy Capital Steez on 'LongLiveSteelo'. The very first time I heard this my heart fell into my stomach. Joey speaks straight from his heart here, reminiscing about the positive influence Steez had on himself. He goes onto to talk about his success now and how he wishes Steez could see it and live it with him and how he struggles to comprehend or even understand why Steez committed suicide. But the real tear jerker comes in the line "If only we could vibe like one more time, hear one more line and share one more rhyme", as Joey's voice audibly breaks trying to get the words out. I couldn't believe what I was hearing at first, such a heartfelt tribute. R.I.P. Steez. I cannot wait to see Joey rip it up on his debut album in the fall of 2014.

    Favourite track(s): Death of YOLO LongLiveSteelo




    #5 Bonobo - The North Borders
    And his back! His previous work was my album of the year in 2010, and planted the seed leading me to the wondrous world of trip-hop/electronic/downtempo/etc. I was lost for words on first listen, and subsequently still very impressed. It's noticeable that Mr. Green has elected for a more beat/dance orientated sound not unlike his first two albums. He has managed to do this without sacrificing all those pretty little organic subtleties only he knows how to employ in production oh so well. The dude is a master at implementing vocal samples into the mix and his well picked selection of guest vocalists continues. I'm hearing a bit of a FlyLo influence on the Badu track which is VERY exciting. This music just fucking melts me, I love it. Another fantastic performer I had the pleasure of seeing at Falls. The unexpected crowd favourite perhaps as well.

    Favourite track(s): Heaven For the Sinner Jets Towers




    #4 Foxygen - We Are The 21st Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic
    Hooked right from the get go. This is fucking awesome. Influences are in abundance and all over the show. Early favourite "No Destruction" sounds like MGMT trying to channel the Rolling Stones with vocal flourishes of Bowie and Dylan! Big time Velvet Underground vibes going on too, hell even some Funkadelic. Melting pot of all the good shit. Clocking in at just over 35 minutes I'm always left wanting more. Bravo boys!

    Favourite track(s): No Destruction Shuggie Oh Yeah




    #3 Arcade Fire - Reflektor
    I've been battling with this album and what exactly to make of it since the night it came out. I remember when first hearing the self-titled single out of context of the record I wasn't impressed and after three or four listens grew very tired of it. However that all changed after a couple spins of the album. The brass on that song is so dynamic and powerful when it kicks. I honestly don't mind the hidden track if you want to include that. Particularly the second half I think builds very well into 'Reflektor'. 'We Exist' sounds like the basis for a Midnight Oil song I've always thought, anyone else? 'Flashbulb Eyes' is gold. As are both the two parters, 'Here Comes the Night Time' and the 'Eurydice/Orpheus' companions. 'You Already Know', 'Joan of Arc' are both also fantastic. 'Supersymmetry' however is on an entirely different level for me. This poignant song hit me at the right time and stirs so much up inside me each time I hear it, just total warm fuzzy goosebumps. Whether or not the addition of it in the trailer and than the feature 'Her' can be attributed to that I'm not sure, but the song is truly special for me. Those bongos, synths and the lyricism just destroy me. So sad and yet so beautiful.

    I think this could have been one of the greatest single albums of the last 5 years had it been trimmed to a single disc. While some of the songs I'm about to list are not all that bad, I really believe in my opinion they are excess. If you trim 'We Exist', 'Normal Person' and maybe 'Porno' (still undecided) I believe you have all-time classic record. What stands is still a truly remarkable album and I love it.

    Favourite track(s): Here Comes the Night Time You Already Know Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice) Supersymmetry




    #2 Lilacs & Champagne - Danish & Blue
    I mentioned Grails earlier in this gigantor list. This is the boys again playing a completely different style of music. These Portlandians are quickly becoming some of my favourite musicians, really gotta keep tabs on everything they do. This time they've taken more of a beat orientated, synthesized style of instrumental hip-hop. They pull their samples from the most fucked up places that nobody else goes, delving deep into the psyche of long forgotten pop culture. It's like some weird fucking 20's noir film in it's cinematic scope, but at the same time like some fucking B grade Polish horror porn soundtrack. I don't even know what that is or why I chose to write it, but there ya go. The evil twin of The Avalanches 'Since I Left You'. I can really imagine both 'Le Grand' & 'Hamburgers & Tangerines' being used in the Terminator 2 score in an alternate world.

    Favourite track(s): Hamburgers & Tangerines Le Grand




    #1 Kurt Vile - Wakin On A Pretty Daze
    I'll forever associate this gem with the 3 or 4 weeks in April/May I was working away from home, at a beautiful beach listening to this almost every night before going to sleep. I'll say right away It's too long. It's a couple of songs too much from being an absolute modern day classic. I'm saying that with the upmost love for this thing. I'm so glad he's upped the production value here, it's really payed off.

    The opening track might as well be my favourite song of the year, it's just fucking perfect. 'Shame Chamber' is glorious, and that second round of high pitched 'WOOOs' over that fantastic guitar playing is my ringtone for the foreseeable future. 'Air Bud' is not the affectionate tribute to the greatest film of all-time we were all hoping for, but it certainly is new ground for Mr. Vile. Those drums kick in and it sounds like something from BoC's 'The Campfire Headphase'. The synthesizer's remind me of Peter Barden's wonderful work with British 70's progressive rock band Camel, one of my favourites from long ago. 'Goldtone' is just somethin' else. It effortlessly plays like one of the softer Neil Young songs from Zuma. Those female backing vocals are the icing.

    Bravo sir, bravo. You win.

    Favourite track(s): Wakin On A Pretty Day Shame Chamber Air Bud Goldtone




    Honourable Mentions:
    Atoms for Peace - AMOK
    Big Scary - Not Art
    Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 - Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)
    Cloud Control - Dream Cave
    Dialectrix - The Cold Light Of Day
    The Flaming Lips - Peace Sword
    Goldfrapp - Tales Of Us
    Junip - Junip
    Julia Holter - Loud City Song
    King Krule - 6 Feet Beneath the Moon
    Le Parasite - My Mind Travels Far
    London Grammar - If You Wait
    Midlake - Antiphon
    The National - Trouble Will Find Me
    Ta-ku - Songs To Break Up To
  • 2013: Second Quarterly Report

    30 Jun 2013, 2:21

    Here we are three months later for another round-up of some fantastic music. I'll just note that a few of the following albums could very well have been officially released in January-March for all I know, but for whatever reason I might have been late to discovering them for myself. Don't fuck the style, ruthless wildddd!

    Also, for those who were familiar with the blog I ran years ago I'd like to take a second to direct you to my new tumblr locale! Check me here: sometimeworldpassmebyagain.

    * DJ Frane - Hi Dusty Stranger
    I had no fucking clue Frane was working on anything new. How this Southern California based producer and multi-instrumentalist is still so unheard of is beyond me. This, his first record in over 5 years has a loose wild western narrative running throughout the course which if you're like me, it should have you salivating at the potential Morricone-like samples you could expect. It's definitely not as immediate as his previous releases with 7 tracks reaching the 6-7 minute mark. Having said that the two longest are my definite favourites. 'Road to Dreamcatcher Mountain' effortlessly plods along the stoned trail before blazing off into synthesizer heaven, one particular section reminds me of Dr. Dre's early production, or even something from the Snowboard Kids video game soundtrack! As if specifically catered for me it then stoops down into something murky as fuck and yet still so celestial as it samples the obvious Paul Butterfield Blues Band's 'Last Hope's Gone', which coincidentally was also sampled in another song that I'd argue was responsible for me getting into hip-hop to begin with.. but I digress. (crush, kill, destroy, STRESS!!!)

    I just gotta say this. There is a moment in 'The Mirage & the Gunslinger', from 6:40 onward to be precise. You know those moments when you're listening to something fresh and the kick is just so fucking perfect it knocks you over and you almost choke? I seriously burst into a shocked fit of laughter at how good this sounded, go listen to it. You'll know what I'm talking about, it's the shit folks! Flat-out impossible to sit still.

    The dude is fucking sick and pulls some of the best samples you'll likely hear. If you're looking for funk in your trip-hop/electronic tunes this is the dude for you. Fan of DJ Shadow, Nujabes? This is for you!

    Favourite tracks: The Mirage & the Gunslinger - Road to Dreamcatcher Mountain




    * Thee Oh Sees - Floating Coffin
    Utter chaos. Psychedelic Garage Punk? My head feels like it's going to explode listening to this and I love that. The funny thing being that this is probably the easiest release to listen to from this ever prolific group of psychos. There are even moments of blissed out country-rock revery amidst the acid gurgling. This is what now, album number 15 in a 10 year period? Shit is crazy. Am I the only one who thinks 'Minotaur' sounds like some bizarro modern Pixies? I love it, keep up the good work dudes!

    Favourite tracks: Toe Cutter/Thumb Buster - Minotaur




    * Iron & Wine - Ghost On Ghost
    My initial reaction to this album was completely unexpected and unfortunate. You see, I absolutely adore Iron & Wine. When everyone was ripping on his previous effort I was totally in love with it. I love the way Sam is making music now, the instrumentation is so vivid and rich. So it was to my surprise I felt really let down on first listen here, and why exactly I'm not sure. A few more listens have revealed quite a bit, there's so much shit going on here man.. it's really out there. Country, Gospel, Jazz, Folk, Funk. A total melting pot, and it's really growing on me with every subsequent listen.

    'Low Light Buddy of Mine' on the other hand INSTANTLY hit it off with me. Definitely one of my favourite songs of the year. That's exactly the sound I was waiting for and I'm glad to say I'm warming to the rest of it nicely. Mr. Beam just keeps on keepin' on, doing whatever the fuck he wants!

    Favourite tracks: Low Light Buddy of Mine - Grass Widows




    * The Heliocentrics - 13 Degrees Of Reality
    Demented funky krautjazz? I really gotta stop pulling these genres out of my butt. But seriously folks, this album is fucking bad! Crate diggers all over are gonna wet themselves over this. It's as if Madlib fucked around with a bunch of Morricone, German krautrock & Afro-beat records. It also has this incredibly sinister groove, it's really somethin' else! Try it out if you're into this kind of thing.

    Favourite tracks: Collateral Damage - Wrecking Ball




    * Smith Westerns - Soft Will
    Here it is ladies and gents, the feel-good summer vibe album of the year. This is truly magical. It's as about as inoffensive at it gets, it's so sweet that it could potentially make some people sick. But if you're able to roll with it it'll have you singing along and feeling great in no time. I said it about their previous record back in 2011 and I'll say it again. These dudes not only know how to play wonderful guitar lines, but they record them so well. The production on this thing is first rate. Some of my favourite guitar work in a while, particularly on the stand-out track 'Best Friend', which just oozes George Harrison all over the place. It's just so fucking pretty! One of the best tunes of the year.

    Favourite tracks: Best Friend - 3AM Spiritual




    * Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest
    Otherwordly alien music that stimulates the mind. Perfect procrastination tunes. It's crazy how quickly these guys can turn such a peaceful angelic sound into something totally sinister and demonic. Reminds me of Mansell's work on 'Requiem' in parts. This band is such an enigma.

    Favourite tracks: Reach for the Dead - New Seeds




    * The Holydrug Couple - Noctuary
    If you're into Sleepy Sun, Quest for Fire, Dead Meadow or even the debut album from The Verve, you gotta get this in your ears. Shoegazing psychedelic good times from Chile! Very uplifting, summery, positive 60's vibes. The drumming on this thing is fucking fantastic. An acid wonderland!

    Favourite tracks: Counting Sailboats - It's Dawning




    * Lilacs & Champagne - Danish & Blue
    Potential top 5er for the year. These Portlandians are quickly becoming some of my favourite musicians, really gotta keep tabs on everything they do. This time they've taken more of a beat orientated, synthesized style of instrumental hip-hop. They pull their samples from the most fucked up places that nobody else goes, delving deep into the psyche of long forgotten pop culture. It's like some weird fucking 20's noir film in it's cinematic scope, but at the same time like some fucking B grade Polish horror porn soundtrack. I don't even know what that is or why I chose to write it, but there ya go. The evil twin of The Avalanches 'Since I Left You'.

    Looking forward to the new Grails LP.

    Favourite tracks: Hamburgers & Tangerines - Sour/Sweet - Le Grand




    * Bibio - Silver Wilkinson
    Chilled out house/trip-hop. Emphasis on chilled out for the most of this album, with a surprising amount of natural sounds. Very melancholic for the most part but when the shit goes wild, like 'You' for instance, it sounds not unlike something from Flying Lotus or even the up & coming Australian beat-maker Flume. The guy has an ear for wonderful vocal samples, it's as if he and Bonobo are on the same tip. "Pastoral English folk processed through analog tape, chopped up and threaded into a canvas of warm pop, carefully constructed melodies, and beat experiments". It's not exactly groundbreaking material, but it's a worthy listen if you're into these sounds.

    Favourite track: You




    * Sigur Rós - Kveikur
    I gotta confess I've probably only listened to this album maybe three times all the way through. The second track 'Hrafntinna' however I have probably played 20 times or more. I can't get enough of it. It might just be my favourite song from them. Every year there might be two or three groups I really delve right into and for whatever reason, Sigur Rós is one of those this year. Like I've mentioned before, I've always semi-enjoyed their music but it never went above and beyond that. It wasn't until seeing them live last year, and closing with the final track from () where I really got it. That was a magical 10 minutes. Jaw-dropping experience, etc. etc. Anyone who has seen it knows what I mean. As a result I only started listening to Takk... in the last couple of weeks and it might just be my favourite. I'm really loving these guys at the moment.

    Favourite track: Hrafntinna




    * Kurt Vile - Wakin On A Pretty Daze
    Solid album of the year candidate here. I'll forever associate this gem with the 3 or 4 weeks in April/May I was working away from home, at a beautiful beach listening to this almost every night before going to sleep. I'll say right away It's too long. It's a couple of songs too much from being an absolute modern day classic. I'm saying that with the upmost love for this thing. I'm so glad he's upped the production value here, it's really payed off.

    The opening track might as well be my favourite song of the year, it's just fucking perfect. 'Shame Chamber' is glorious, and that second round of high pitched 'WOOOs' over that fantastic guitar playing is my ringtone for the foreseeable future. 'Air Bud' is new ground for Mr. Vile. Those drums kick in and it sounds like something from BoC's 'The Campfire Headphase'. The synthesizer's remind me of Peter Barden's wonderful work with British 70's progressive rock band Camel, one of my favourites from long ago. 'Goldtone' is just somethin' else. It effortlessly plays like one of the softer Neil Young songs from Zuma. Those female backing vocals are the icing. Bravo sir, bravo.

    Favourite tracks: Wakin On A Pretty Day - Shame Chamber - Air Bud - Goldtone


  • 2013: First Quarterly Report

    30 Mar 2013, 10:22

    It's been a pretty wicked year for music so far and we're only three months in. I'm still chasing my tail trying to find time to listen to all these gems. Here are a few that stand out so far, plus a few random thoughts below.

    * Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II
    I just couldn't duck the buzz of this release as it received generally positive acclaim from the various parties I tend to trust when it comes to music. "So Good At Being In Trouble" has been on constant rotation at my place since the day I first heard it on JJJ. It's psychedelic, it's funky and damn tasty!

    Favourite track: So Good At Being In Trouble




    * Emancipator - Dusk to dawn
    I found myself completely enthralled with the first 6 tracks here, just in a trance of total goodness. A fine example of the downtempo/trip-hop sounds I so desperately crave. I do think he needs to change it up a little though, it tends to fall flat three quarters through and the rest kind of just passes me by. I'm loving the jazzy elements though! No question of the guy's talent and taste but it needs something else to keep it interesting.

    Favourite track: Outlaw




    * My Bloody Valentine - m b v
    Love the drums! Surprisingly fantastic, who woulda thought! Consistently strong all the way through. "Loveless" is an amazing album but I don't think I put it as the unquestionable album of the 90s like so many people do. As such I find this new one just as good. They're both unreal. Lay back and let it invade your brain. Just happy this thing exists really.

    Favourite tracks: Only Tomorrow If I Am




    * Foxygen - We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
    Hooked right from the get go. This is fucking awesome. Influences are in abundance and all over the show. Early favourite "No Destruction" sounds like MGMT trying to channel the Rolling Stones with vocal flourishes of Bowie and Dylan! Big time Velvet Underground vibes going on too, hell even some Funkadelic. Melting pot of all the good shit. Clocking in at just over 35 minutes I'm always left wanting more. Bravo boys!

    Favourite tracks: No Destruction Shuggie Oh Yeah




    * The Black Angels - Indigo Meadow
    Some serious ass kicking psychedelic rock here from the veterans who always bring their A game. Got a chance to see them last year at Harvest fest, it was fucking wild. "Evil Things" has one hell of a crunchy riff so simple and yet so badass.

    Favourite track: Evil Things




    * Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away
    Digging this. I wanna talk about track number 8, "Higgs Boson Blues". This fucking song. It's one of the greatest I've heard in ages and it sounds EXACTLY like one of my all-time favourites, Neil Young's terrifying "On the Beach". Clocks in at eight minutes but I could listen to those lazy crazy horse chord changes and high pitched backing vocals forever man! Nick sounds amazing on this song. Gotta check it out folks.

    Favourite track: Higgs Boson Blues




    * Yo La Tengo - Fade
    My long-overdue intro to the band that I've had recommended to me countless times but never got around to listening to. I find myself really intrigued by the sounds on this album, not really what I was expecting them to sound like at all actually. I'm reminded of those two lovely bands Pram & Broadcast throughout, and even the softer side of Can believe it or not. A pleasant listen.

    Favourite tracks: Before We Run Well You Better




    * The Men - New Moon
    These lads are truly hard to pin down. What seemingly started as a hardcore punk/garage rock band has now evolved into a multi genre-bending amalgam of psychedelic rock and classic early 70s FM rock. Two tracks here in particular where they really open up are fucking spectacular. "I Saw Her Face" sounds like what NY & Crazy Horse wish they sounded like last year. "Bird Song" is fucking spectacular with that bright harmonica, piano and slide guitar. Sounds very much like one of my favourite contemporary psychedelic rock bands, Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound. The two punch punk combo in the middle ("The Brass, "Electric") bring the group back to their punishing roots. Also want to mention the heart-breaking little ditty of an instrumental in the middle of the record "High and Lonesome" is really beautiful and breaks up the album perfectly. These guys are incredible.

    Favourite tracks: Bird Song I Saw Her Face




    * Bonobo - The North Borders
    And his back! His previous work was my album of the year in 2010, and planted the seed leading me to the wondrous world of trip-hop/electronic/downtempo/etc. I was lost for words on first listen, and subsequently still very impressed. It's noticeable that Mr. Green has elected for a more beat/dance orientated sound not unlike his first two albums. He has managed to do this without sacrificing all those pretty little organic subtleties only he knows how to employ in production oh so well. The dude is a master at implementing vocal samples into the mix and his well picked selection of guest vocalists continues. I'm hearing a bit of a FlyLo influence on the Badu track which is VERY exciting. This music just fucking melts me, I love it. Potential AOTY.

    Favourite tracks: Heaven For the Sinner Jets Towers




    * The Flaming Lips - The Terror
    When trying to explain the Lips to other people one thing I've always said was from album to album and in some cases song to song, there are elements of both extraordinarily honest despair and sadness, as well as unbridled love and enthusiasm and pure joy. You always know right after the low, a big fucking high is coming. All 12 Lips' albums up to this point had this. "The Terror" does not. I keep waiting for that big, beautiful chord change to rip open the sky and bury this unrelenting darkness but it never comes. The record ends and every time I'm left with myself to ponder what the fuck did I just experience? The album opener is one hell of a jam that sounds like something from "Embryonic". "Try To Explain" just fucking rips my heart out man, it's devastating. Those wash of synths set it up, but Drozd's slightly out of key oohs and aahs in between the verse and chorus just get all up in my feels. All the greatest lips songs have such vivid imagery, and for whatever reason I feel just fucking alone and lost floating in space or some shit listening to this song. Like I said, this is usually alright because I know shortly there-after Wayne is gonna be my superman and sing some happy bubblegum shit to take the pain away, but it never comes.

    This is the same for many of the songs on "The Terror". I think "You Lust" probably could have been culled a little but I love that main motif that kicks it off, reminds me of The Terminator or something. That little ambient part at the end reminds me of Requiem, needless to explain further. "Always There In Our Hearts" sounds like a companion piece to track 1 and thus ending this terrifying piece of music right where it begun. No happy ending. I don't know if it's the circumstances of Wayne's split with his wife, or Steven's reported mini-relapse, but this is unquestionably the darkest the Lips have ever been and for some fucked up reason this excites me very much. After all the experiments over the last 24 months I never would have thought I'd like this as much as I do. 30 years and still going, who the fuck knows what the future holds for The Flaming Lips!!!?

    Favourite tracks: Look... The Sun Is Rising Try To Explain

  • 2012: My Top #50

    5 Ene 2013, 3:18

    Intro.
    And here I find myself almost 12 months to the day with another yearly favourites list. It was a pretty amazing year I thought, the best in recent memory as far as quantity is concerned. Quite a few of my most anticipated ended up in disappointment but there were also many surprises and new artist discoveries for me. Years past I've posted a top 25 and perhaps struggled to round out the back end with quality albums. However that was never a problem with the incredible amount of solid records released over the last 12 months.

    Check it:

    #50 Matthew Dear - Beams
    I wasn't very fond of his previous record and I guess I just never really returned to it. This one however is more to my liking. The tempo is slower, the bass has this nice vibration throughout and the production is just so crispy! Off-kilter, other-wordly etc. etc. I like the instrumental passages the best, not big on the dude's voice but I love the playful electronic atmosphere.

    Favourite track: Temptation




    #49 Thee Oh Sees - Putrifiers II
    Lo-fi revivalist psychedelic proto-punk garage-rock and/or pop.. or whatever the fuck you want to call it had a very big 2012 and my list will no doubt emulate just how swept up in it I have become. Nice clean production here compared to some of the other like-minded folks releasing records this year. This is a potential climber, I gotta get around to listening to it more because I'm really enjoying the sound of this thing.

    Favourite track: Wax Face




    #48 Balmorhea - Stranger
    I know I can always count on this band for a pleasant listen. Instrumental post-rock with an overwhelming "Americana" type feel. Yawning chasms and wide open landscapes etc. Really vivid imagery. They make some of the greatest movie scores that never existed.

    Favourite track: Artifact




    #47 Lotus Plaza - Spooky Action at a Distance
    Potential roadtrippin' tunes. Sounds a little like The War on Drugs, a little like R.E.M, and a little like another band I've become really fond of, Mazzy Star. Good stuff this.

    Favourite track: Strangers




    #46 Major Kong - Doom for the Black Sun
    Oh baby! This thing is baaaaad. This is like Earthless jamming on some Sleep type shit. The Polish trio are certainly well versed in all things stoner rock & doom metal. Absolute dinosaur-sized riffage and brain bludgeoning grooves. This is tasty!

    Favourite track: The Swamp Altar




    #45 The Cactus Channel - Haptics
    I was flat-out impressed upon learning the ten fellas who make up this Melbourne group were doing this at 15 and 16 years of age. This is straight-up funk & soul from the golden gods. Equal parts Fela, James Brown, Shaft, Booker T as well as modern contemporaries The Budos Band. Glorious car-chase music.

    Favourite track: Emanuel Ciccolini




    #44 Graveyard - Lights Out
    I had no idea this was even in the works so you can imagine my surprise in learning of an imminent release from one of my favourite hard-rock bands. More of the same from the Swedes but in this particular case I don't mind at all. Though for what it's worth, probably my least favourite of their three.

    Favourite track: Goliath




    #43 Sigur Rós - Valtari
    Sigur Rós have always been a pleasant listen for me but they never really went above and beyond that. Of course, that all changed after I had a chance to see them live and in all their glory last year. A powerful, jaw-dropping performance. Particularly the set-closer, "Popplagith". It was one of the greatest things I've seen. Suddenly their music clicks for me, I get it now? Beautiful!

    Favourite track: Varúð




    #42 Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet on Sky
    The surprise of a new Dino Jr. album has lost it's appeal now three albums deep into their ever-unlikely comeback. Man, they never lost a step. A tried and true formula if there ever was one. I detect traces of J's solo material throughout this, which is nice because I was quite fond of that record. Some of his greatest guitar work yet!

    Favourite track: Watch the Corners




    #41 King Tuff - King Tuff
    Kyle Thomas continues to confuse the shit out of me. His work with Dino Jr.'s J. Mascis (Witch) is fucking incredible. The lone song on his debut King Tuff album, 'Sun Medallion" is one of my all-time favourites, and yet nothing else on that record sounded like it. Now he's gone for a hardcore T. Rex/Bowie glam rock sound and you know what, I can't blame him. This is just too fucking fun! This guy has serious potential, and I'll always be curious to hear what he does next.

    Favourite track: Bad Thing




    #40 Goat - World Music
    This album exists in it's own fucked up world. Equal parts psychedelic and kraut-rock, equal parts funk and afrobeat. Party music to welcome the anti-christ. Pagan ritual jams. Music to raise the dead!

    Favourite track(s): Let It Bleed Disco Fever




    #39 The Men - Open Your Heart
    These dudes aren't the saviors of rock music or anything but they damn sure pack a punch. It's as if the boiling sun melted your Sonic Youth records all over your Thin Lizzy stuff and created some fucked up hybrid. It's like a coked out Chuck Berry. It's like acid-country-punk. It's like.

    Favourite track(s): Country Song Open Your Heart




    #38 John Talabot - ƒin
    In the same regard as the latest Matthew Dear, these sounds are new to my ears. I've never really been into "house" music as such but this sounds like something I can really get behind. All the synths have this beautiful organic sound. It sounds like it has been painstakingly crafted with so many gorgeous layers. Serious Donkey Kong Country nostalgia while listening to this haha.

    Favourite track: El Oeste




    #37 Moon Duo - Circles
    If I was ranking album artwork this would definitely be up there somewhere! It's kind of a Brian Jonestown Massacring you off into another dimension. My Bloody Valentine covering early Floyd, or some shit. Strangely enough early Porcupine Tree also comes to mind, namely "Jupiter Island" from their 1991 debut. Perhaps it could be the absence of a proper drum kit on both records? Good sounds anyway. A Phil Spector phuzzzz affair!

    Favourite track: Sleepwalker




    #36 Sleepy Sun - Spine Hits
    I love this band dearly but now that I've had a while to digest it I gotta admit that it's just not up to par with their previous work. It definitely has it's moments, and when it hits they're as good as ever but suffice to say those moments are few and far between. They lost a key part of their magic in Rachel leaving and it's not quite the same. I will say in it's favour that the softer tunes here are quite probably some of their best. "Still Breathing" is so freaking beautiful man. When the fog clears and Bret starts singing and that harmonica bursts into frame I'm reminded why I adore them so. I can't wait to see where they go next because these guys are seriously up there for me.

    Favourite track(s): V.O.G Still Breathing




    #35 Black Moth Super Rainbow - Cobra Juicy
    Unlike anything and everything else. Weird as fuck. Beautiful and innocent. Scary as shit. Drugs are bad.

    Favourite track(s): We Burn Psychic Love Damage




    #34 Father John Misty - Fear Fun
    Whether true or false, I love the back story of how this album came about after a drug fueled trip out west after leaving Fleet Foxes. Everything about this record just oozes Los Angeles to me. Heavily reminded of Buffalo Springfield and ol' Neil himself constantly. Keep clear of that ditch Josh, unless you can give us another "On the Beach" of course.

    Favourite track: Writing A Novel




    #33 Beak> - > >
    Big Portishead fan, big Can fan. How could I not be into this? Paranoid robotic locked grooves. A little Joy Division for good measure. Certainly not for everyone.

    Favourite track: Deserters




    #32 Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan
    I'm new to this band and I gotta say I'm certainly intrigued after listening to this album. I could definitely see how someone would feel indifferent to it, but all I'm hearing is something fresh, creative and original. Serious McCartney & Talking Heads vibes. Potential climber for sure, this could easily be in my top 5 in a couple of weeks the more I grow accustomed to it.

    Favourite track(s): Impregnable Question Maybe That Was It




    #31 Ancestors - In Dreams and Time
    Floyd + Sabbath = Ancestors. I've been a pretty big fan of these dudes since their first LP and it's been enjoyable to watch them grow since. Can't name many bands who combine classic 70's prog with doomy stoner-rock better than these guys.

    Favourite track(s): The Last Return First Light




    #30 Ty Segall & White Fence - Hair
    Shit Ty, where you been all my life? This dude is like my age and the buzz on him is crazy. I just love everything he's doing, the whole aesthetic. Hard to keep tags on the motherfucker though, he's so damn prolific. Curious to check out some more White Fence material too. The raw energy man, jesus christ! "Time" is a beautiful change of pace, I'd love to hear him play around in that laid back country vibe a little more. Sounds like a little George Harrison ditty until it fiercely explodes into a crunchy Sabbath thing. Yes!

    Favourite track(s): Tongues Time




    #29 The Cinematic Orchestra - In Motion #1
    More a various artists thing overseen by The Cinematic Orchestra. The seven songs here were commissioned as alternate scores to seven short avant-garde films and in that sense, are very minimalist/classical inspired. The artists involved add a little of their own electronic jazz ambience to the fold. Nice for that rare late night you feel like listening to something of the sort.

    Favourite track: Entr'acte




    #28 Melody's Echo Chamber - Melody's Echo Chamber
    Psychedelic dream pop? Yessir! This is magical stuff. Recorded in Perth and produced by none other than Tame Impala's Kevin Parker, Melody's Echo Chamber brings to mind those lovely Birmingham bands Pram & Broadcast. Oh yeah, Mr. Parker plays guitar all over this and it is fucking glorious by the way. Fans of Beach House should check this out.

    Favourite track: I Follow You




    #27 Calibro 35 - Ogni riferimento a persone esistenti o a fatti realmente accaduti è puramente casuale
    Some kind of funk-rock/psychedelic Morricone/Claypool/Budos Band hybrid set in the future.. or something. Hot damn, I gotta check out some more Italian soundtracks if this is what they sound like!

    Favourite track(s): Massacro all'alba Ogni riferimento..




    #26 Portico Quartet - Portico Quartet
    This was a pleasant discovery. Beautiful electronic elements intertwined with jazz and trip-hop. Sounds like Tortoise or Bonobo at their least busy perhaps? More like Hidden Orchestra and The Cinematic Orchestra. There's an underlying surge of rhythm and pace moving through these tracks that I'm crazy about. Seductive tunes!

    Favourite track: Ruins




    #25 Ty Segall Band - Slaughterhouse
    Get the fuck out of here! This kid is crazy. Never has an assault on my eardrums been this good. Recorded together with his touring band, Ty had this to say in describing the album: "I want to do a total glam Stooges meets Hawkwind or Sabbath, something like that. I think that would be super fun. I want to throw people off. I want to make a really heavy record: evil, evil space rock. Put a little Satan in space and you got the sound." Usually something this rough and noisy is difficult to enjoy but something just clicks here. It's more of an aesthetic, and as such the vocals can afford to be inaudible at times. The production, while obviously lo-fi, has this crispy feel to it. Some seriously sinister guitar tones, the main riff in "Wave Goodbye" in particular is like a punch to the mid-section. Now that's power!

    Favourite track: Wave Goodbye




    #24 Dr. John - Locked Down
    What a match! Dr. John in all his 71 years of age, and Dan from The Black Keys. The night tripper has returned to bring the funk, soul, voodoo rhythm & blues and everything else in between. I can hear Auerbach and his wicked guitar all over this thing as well and that's definitely a good thing. His hip-hop work with Danger Mouse as well as that Blakroc project also seep through in tight interlocking rhythms to great avail. I'm loving this gumbo!

    Favourite track(s): Big Shot My Children, My Angels




    #23 Death Grips - The Money Store
    This is insanity. Why does this work so good? Feel like a bad motherfucker driving around listening to this haha. It's the most aggressive shit ever and naturally people are going to hate it but fuck, don't take it so seriously. It's hardly hip-hop, I don't know what the fuck it is but I love it.

    Favourite track(s): The Fever Hustle Bones




    #22 Titus Andronicus - Local Business
    I wasn't feeling their grand ambitious previous work but I never really gave it a fair chance. This however is fantastic. Never really been into this kind of punk stuff but these guys really mix it up with different styles and an odd sense of humour. One of the better album closers of the year, this dude's voice will rip your heart out.

    Favourite track: Tried To Quit Smoking




    #21 Kid Koala - 12 bit Blues
    Hip-Hop and the blues? Get outta here! Try to sit still listening to this shit, I dare you. Straight nasty!

    Favourite track: 3 bit Blues




    #20 Animal Collective - Centipede Hz
    For whatever reason I have kind of avoided listening to Animal Collective until now. Eastern European folk, Latin American psychedelic pop rock, electronic afrobeat?? To the uninitiated it's completely out of this solar system. I can understand someone hating this but much like Dirty Projectors' latest, I'm just glad to hear these fresh new sounds. "Wide Eyed" reminds me of "Tomorrow Never Knows" or even "Within You Without You" and that i love! Give this one some time and it will catch up on you. There are so many off the wall ideas and complex rhythms bouncing around and they will most definitely infect your brain, if you let them. I've gotta find time to delve into their back catalogue.

    Favourite track: Wide Eyed




    #19 Ty Segall - Twins
    And he's back again, opening with an anthem for the ages, "Thank God for Sinners". What this guy is doing is seriously great. I've never been into that late 1970's proto-punk sound but hearing it combined with the glam sounds of Bolan & Bowie, as well as the menacing Sabbath & Hawkwind influences.. Just holy shit! Raw to the bone, a hell of a lot like The Stooges but with a greater sense of pop and melody all the while crusty as fuck! Love it.

    Favourite track(s): Thank God For Sinners Gold On the Shore




    #18 Lilacs & Champagne - Lilacs & Champagne
    Lilacs & Champagne are the Portland-based duo of Alex Hall and Emil Amos, better known as one of my favourite bands Grails. The two collect and flip the strangest samples into coherent songs which take cues from the sounds of instrumental hip-hop. Imagine a darker, creepy version of The Avalanches. The reciple is delicious! otherwordly sound effects, middle eastern and oriental influences, smooth old-school hip-hop beats and actual guitar and keyboards from the duo themselves. It’s too damn psychedelic to be linked to instrumental hip-hop and yet too groovy for experimental music. Whatever it is I sure love it. Fans of Flying Lotus might find something in this.

    Favourite track(s): Everywhere, Everyone King of Kings





    #17 Galactic - Carnivale Electricos
    Galactic are arguably one of the greatest funk bands of the last 20 years. I'm a massive Treme fan and lets just say this album came along at just the right time! The fellas here take cues from New Orleans' rich musical tradition and Mardi Gras history. Rootsy soul, funk, R&B, hip-hop. The party album of 2012 right here! I want to be there.

    Favourite track(s): Voyage Ton Flag Ash Wednesday Sunrise




    #16 The Flaming Lips - Heady Fwends
    There's not much more I can say about The Flaming Lips. They're unquestionably my favourite band of all-time. I eat up everything they put out and probably will until the day I die. They're playing around here. I don't think this record is to be taken seriously, it's merely documenting the whirlwind of a year it was for the band and all their collaborations and experiments. Ideas occasionally work, they occasionally fall flat, but they are never deterred and they continue to march forward knowing they have crazy love and support from the millions of people like myself. 2013 is going to be a big year and I eagerly await the proper follow-up to "Embryonic".

    Favourite track(s): Children of the Moon Helping the Retarded to Find God




    #15 alt-J - An Awesome Wave
    First time I heard this I got big Radiohead vibes, and that is by all means a good thing. Electronic pop, trip-hop, folk, alternative rock. Their sound is pretty unique and lead singer Joe Newman's voice is completely mesmerizing and lends itself as more of an instrument itself rather than coherent lyricism. The whole triangle thing is pretty tacky but the songs are money. "Breezeblocks" is one of the greatest of the year and deserves everything it gets. Their next one is going to be interesting. If you like this I highly recommend you check out another fantastic debut album from 2009, Sholi's self-titled record.

    Favourite track: Breezeblocks




    #14 Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
    Kinda the same deal as PJ Harvey was for me at the end of last year, a late discovery and an overdue intro to one of the greatest female singer-songwriters of our time. I just love the instrumentation, the emotion and the stark simplicity on this record. It sounds like there were never more than two people involved in playing these songs, and that intimacy shines through in bunches. "Anything We Want" is adorable.

    Favourite track: Anything We Want




    #13 Wild Nothing - Nocturne
    This is what summer sounded like in 1982. Jack Tatum is back with the follow-up to his highly acclaimed "Gemini", and this time with the help of a full band. The jangly guitar on this thing is enough to make you smile. Kinda sounds like Robert Smith and The Cure's more heartfelt moments, but ultimately less confrontational and more relaxed. Even some Stone Roses' type sounds. Fans of Beach House and Lotus Plaza check it.

    Favourite track: Shadow




    #12 BADBADNOTGOOD - BBNG2
    Horrible band name, horrible album cover, fantastic group! What an age we live in. Here you have a young jazz trio from Toronto re-interpreting classic hip-hop tunes (as well as many originals) which in turn were originally created and sampled from old dusty out of print jazz records themselves. Thus the circle of life, or something! I mean, I find this process of deconstructing and reconstructing truly fascinating myself. It's equal parts Charlie Parker & J Dilla. To top it off these young motherfuckers can really play. It's a brave new world out there.

    Favourite track(s): Earl Flashing Lights




    #11 Beach House - Bloom
    Man oh man was I looking forward to this album. I must have had "Myth" on repeat for about a month before I got to listen to this damn thing. That song is one of their greatest, I mean that outro is sublime. All the ingredients are there, the formula is tried and true. Why I prefer Teen Dream I'm still not sure, I guess that album was just on another level for me. This one holds it's strength on two flat-out killer tracks for me, two of their absolute best. The aforementioned "Myth" and my personal favourite "On the Sea", which is so sweet it's actually disgusting! Those reverbed out of this world curdling guitar lines over the happy go lucky piano is just aaaaaaaah! I love it.

    Favourite track(s): Myth On the Sea




    #10 Tame Impala - Lonerism
    These dudes are really blowing up and well deservedly so. Just as it is with every modern psychedelic rock band, influences are a dime a dozen and easy to hear. Tame Impala go a step further then the rest, and it's all in the production. Never has something so dusty, fuzzy and hazed sounded so futuristic and modern. Not only an incredible guitar player, this dude is really etching out his own sound in the studio. His keen pop sensibility is unrivaled. Multi-dimensional sounds become increasingly fascinating with every subsequent listen to the record. Equal parts Todd Rundgren, Hawkwind, Sgt. Peppers & Ziggy Stardust.

    Favourite track(s): Mind Mischief Feels Like We Only Go Backwards




    #9 Blockhead - Interludes After Midnight
    Known primarily for his production work with Aesop Rock, Blockhead's own records are what do it for me. This sounds like a tribute to late night cheesy 90's television and infomercials, videogames and the like. He is one of the best in the business. Classic Ninja Tune material. Like a more hip-hop orientated Bonobo. Get on this!

    Favourite track: Midnight Blue




    #8 Pond - Beard, Wives, Denim
    Tame Impala's younger brother. It's not quite as out there, at least in our own solar system. While not quite as polished as "Lonerism", the songs are simply more diverse in nature and are not to be taken so seriously. It's loose and organic, playful even. Humungo riffage dwarfs over Tame Impala in parts, but it's the absolute gem of a song in the middle "You Broke My Cool" which to me sounds like a lost Ziggy Stardust b-side. The boys show us their stripped bare blues with closer "Moreno's Blend" before it drifts off into a tasty jam not unlike something from "Atom Heart Mother". Effortlessly cool.

    Favourite track(s): You Broke My Cool Moreno's Blend




    #7 The Heavy - The Glorious Dead
    These dudes' swagger is off the charts for a rock band. I don't know if I'm the only one who hears it, but these songs really remind me of "Sticky Fingers" era Stones albeit with a little more funk. Classic R&B/Soul sounds are drenched over gigantic funky hooks. You can take any and every song off this album and use it in a film trailer to great avail, that's no mean feat. Also hearing that big Danger Mouse/Black Keys hip-hop sound which I absolutely love. Can't stress the fact that in a better world nearly every one of these songs has the potential to be a hit. They really know how to write 'em. "Curse Me Good", perhaps the most subdued song of all is by far and above my favourite. The sing-along from the middle onwards is completely infectious like some of the Stones' greats.

    Favourite track(s): Curse Me Good What Makes A Good Man?




    #6 The Tallest Man on Earth - There's No Leaving Now
    Kristian Matsson is back and sounding better than ever. This dude's back catalogue is dud-less, everything he does is golden. Now for the first time his compositions are fully realized and brought to life with an amazing sound production. Making use of multi-tracking for the first time, Matsson employs woodwinds, drums, and additional fingerpicked guitars to the mix, giving his songs a fuller sound. The rough and raw sounds of his previous records nearly put me off, but the incredible songwriting and impeccable guitar work won me over. It was the same kind of deal with Dylan for me. Hard, almost painful to listen to in the beginning but then suddenly something clicks and that grading, razor sharp timbre they both sing with deeply ingrains your senses.

    Favourite track(s): There's No Leaving Now Wind and Walls




    #5 Flying Lotus - Until the Quiet Comes
    Steven Ellison is an absolute freak and his royal Coltrane blood shines through in spades throughout his works. Never has something so rhythmically complex and challenging sounded so lush, spacious and completely mind numbingly blissful. Just the right amount of jazz permeates through these spacious electronic airs. I loved "Cosmogramma" but this is a completely different, warmer and tamer kind of beast. Dark and smooth. Slower and sexier but it will infiltrate your very being! It's an exciting time in the world of electronic music and this dude is right there at the forefront of it all.

    Favourite track(s): See Thru To U me Yesterday//Corded




    #4 Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound - Manzanita
    One of my favourite groups return and pick up right where they left off. Fuck change. In this case I couldn't be more happy to be assembling heads the same old way. It's jangly, it's fuzzy and it's spacey. Crazy Horse meets Hawkwind via the shoegazing ways of Ride. I love the way people describe this band: "Space-traveling fuzzbox boogie", "A one-two punch of psychedelic power choogle and lunar outpost chillout". "A fascinating blend of post-apocalyptic dread and blissed-out reverie". "Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound is the combination of 1920s science fiction books, hallucinogens, and the west coast. If there were a soundtrack for Pranksters who went on a voyage in outer space, the Assemble Head would be first request." Get it on!

    Favourite track(s): Slithery Thing (Gone) 'Round the Corner




    #3 Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light
    Never has complete and utter heartbreak and despair sounded so tragically beautiful. That's pretty much the deal with Spiritualized. Heavenly harmonies and enveloping choir orchestras sing the saddest shit you ever heard, and it works time and time again. Two songs here have these singalong sections repeated over and over almost like a mantra, which would make sense with some of the middle eastern influences present. But it's the grand finale which is truly something to behold. Whether the rumors about this song being his farewell to the industry are true or not, the power of those lines remain intact. "So long you pretty thing, god save your little soul. The music that you played so hard ain't on your radio. And all your dreams of diamond rings and all that rock and roll can bring you.. Sail on, so long." I never want this to end. Glorious.

    Favourite track(s): So Long You Pretty Thing Too Late




    #2 Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself
    An unexpected winner for me. This was my long overdue introduction to Andrew Bird. Firstly let me say that this dude is the best at using his own whistling as an instrument I have ever heard. Combined with his lovely guitar playing, his layered violin, glockenspiel, and these beautifully sparse arrangements, they make for something truly special. The song with St. Vincent is just breathtaking. The album closer is completely unexpected and one of the greatest things I've ever heard. I feel two or three tracks could have been culled from this and it would have been my favourite this year. What remains is nothing short of spectacular, unlike anything else.

    Favourite track(s): Lusitania Hole In The Ocean Floor




    #1 Grizzly Bear - Shields
    Grizzly Bear are masters of their craft and doing it with such great confidence and creative finesse. I love how this band works together, every member has an input to great effect. Waiting eagerly, the first time I heard "Sleeping Ute" it reminded me of another incredible transform in sound, "Help" through "Rubber Soul". But at the same time other songs display a keen jazz sensibility unheard so far. It's like something fucking incredible happened in that down period. Here's hoping Grizzly can continue down a path like that! It was surreal seeing them perform these wonderful songs from the front row while they were still fresh in my head. To me it sounds like the perfect amalgam of the two records that preceded it. Boy oh boy, that album closer is one of the greatest things they have ever done. They can seemingly do no wrong at this point.

    Favourite track(s): Sleeping Ute Sun In Your Eyes




    Honourable Mentions:
    Various Artists - Project: Mooncircle 10th Anniversary Box Compilation
    Karriem Riggins - Alone Together
    Earth - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II
    Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra - Antibalas
    Hidden Orchestra - Archipelago
    Robert Glasper Experiment - Black Radio
    Jack White - Blunderbuss
    The Gaslamp Killer - Breakthrough
    Angus Stone - Broken Brights
    Captain Murphy - Duality
    Mono - For My Parents
    Kaki King - Glow
    The Walkmen - Heaven
    Chromatics - Kill For Love
    Shigeto - Lineage
    Can - The Lost Tapes
    David Byrne & St. Vincent - Love This Giant
    Band of Skulls - Sweet Sour
  • My CD Collection

    26 May 2012, 3:14

    Amassed over the last 3 years or so:

    A.A. Bondy - Believers
    A.A. Bondy - When The Devil's Loose
    A Tribe Called Quest - People's Instinctive Travels And The Paths of Rhythm
    A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
    Air - Moon Safari
    Akron/Family - S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT
    Alexander - Alexander
    Alice In Chains - Facelift
    Alice in Chains - Dirt
    Ancestors - Neptune With Fire
    Ancestors - Of Sound Mind
    Ane Brun - A Temporary Dive
    Arts The Beatdoctor - Transitions
    Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound - Ekranoplan
    Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound - When Sweet Sleep Returned
    Atomic Rooster - In Hearing Of
    Beach House - Teen Dream
    Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
    Beck - Sea Change
    Big L - Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous
    Billy Cobham - Spectrum
    Black Moth Super Rainbow - Eating Us
    Black Mountain - Black Mountain
    Black Mountain - In the Future
    Black Mountain - Wilderness Heart
    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl
    Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath (Deluxe 2CD)
    Black Sabbath - Master of Reality (Deluxe 2CD)
    Black Sabbath - Paranoid (Deluxe 2CD)
    Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Deluxe 2CD)
    Black Sabbath - Sabotage (Deluxe 2CD)
    Black Sabbath - Vol. 4 (Deluxe 2CD)
    Blakroc - Blakroc
    Blockhead - Music By Cavelight
    Blockhead - The Music Scene
    Bo Hansson - Lord of the Rings
    Bob Dylan - Another Side of Bob Dylan
    Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde
    Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan
    Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home
    Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited
    Bob Dylan - John Wesley Harding
    Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Live 1966
    Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
    Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A Changin'
    Bob Marley & the Wailers - Exodus
    Bob Marley & the Wailers - Kaya
    Bohren & Der Club of Gore - Dolores
    Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver
    Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
    Bonobo - Black Sands
    Bonobo - Dial 'M' For Monkey
    Bonobo - One Offs... Remixes & B Sides
    Brightblack Morning Light - Motion To Rejoin
    Buffalo Springfield - The Best Of: A Retrospective
    Camel - Mirage
    Camel - Moonmadness
    Camel - The Snow Goose
    Can - Future Days
    Can - Tago Mago
    Captain Beyond - Captain Beyond
    Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um
    Chicago Odense Ensemble - Chicago Odense Ensemble
    Clint Mansell - Requiem For A Dream (Soundtrack)
    Comets On Fire - Avatar
    Comets On Fire - Blue Cathedral
    Crazy Horse - Crazy Horse
    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo's Factory
    Crippled Black Phoenix - I, Vigilante
    Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash
    Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu
    Curtis Mayfield - Superfly: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
    DJ Krush - Stepping Stones: The Self-Remixed Best
    DJ Krush - Zen
    DJ Shadow - Endtroducing
    Dangerdoom - The Mouse And The Mask
    Darker My Love - Alive As You Are
    David Bowie - Low
    David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust
    David Gilmour - David Gilmour
    Dead Meadow - Feathers
    Dead Meadow - Old Growth
    Dead Meadow - Three Kings
    Dinosaur Jr. - You're Living All Over Me
    Dr. John - Gumbo
    Duke Ellington - Ellington At Newport 1956
    Dungen - 4
    Dungen - Ta Det Lugnt
    Dungen - Tio Bitar
    Earth - The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull
    Earthless - Rhythms From A Cosmic Sky
    Easy Star All-Stars - Dub Side of the Moon
    Edan - Beauty & The Beat
    Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros - Up From Below
    Eloy - Dawn
    Emancipator - Safe In The Steep Cliffs
    Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Tarkus
    Fela Kuti - Fear Not For Man
    Fela Kuti - Na Poi
    Fela Kuti - Stale Mate
    Fela Kuti - Yellow Fever
    Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
    Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
    Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma
    Flying Lotus - Los Angeles
    Flying Lotus - Pattern + Grid World (EP)
    Foals - Total Life Forever
    Frank Zappa - Apostrophe (')
    Frank Zappa - Hot Rats
    Frank Zappa/The Mothers - The Grand Wazoo
    Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention - We're Only In It For the Money
    Fu Manchu - In Search Of
    Funkadelic - America Eats It's Young
    Funkadelic - Cosmic Slop
    Funkadelic - Funkadelic
    Funkadelic - Let's Take It To The Stage
    Funkadelic - Standing On the Verge Of Getting It On
    Galactic - From The Corner To The Block
    Galactic - Ya-Ka-May
    Galaxie 500 - On Fire
    Gang Starr - Hard To Earn
    Gang Starr - Moment of Truth
    Gang Starr - Step In the Arena
    Genius/GZA - Liquid Swords
    Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost
    Grails - Doomsdayer's Holiday
    Grandaddy - The Sophtware Slump
    Grant Green - Am I Blue
    Grateful Dead - American Beauty
    Grateful Dead - Anthem of the Sun
    Grateful Dead - Aoxomoxoa
    Grateful Dead - From the Mars Hotel
    Grateful Dead - Live/Dead
    Graveyard - Graveyard
    Graveyard - Hisingen Blues
    Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
    Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
    Guru - Jazzmatazz Vol. 1
    Guru - Jazzmatazz Volume II - The New Reality
    Herbie Hancock - Head Hunters
    Herbie Hancock - Maiden's Voyage
    Herbie Hancock - Sextant
    Herbie Hancock - Thrust
    Hidden Orchestra - Night Walks
    Hopewell - Good Good Desperation
    Imaad Wasif - The Voidist
    Iron & Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days
    Iron & Wine - The Creek Drank The Cradle
    Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
    Iron & Wine - Woman King (EP)
    Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
    J Dilla - Donuts
    J Mascis - Several Shades Of Why
    Jane's Addiction - Ritual De Lo Habitual
    Jethro Tull - Aqualung (40th Anniversary 2CD)
    Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick
    Jimi Hendrix - Band of Gypsys
    John Abercrombie - Timeless
    John Coltrane - A Love Supreme
    John Coltrane - Giant Steps
    John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band
    Jon Redfern - May Be Some Time
    Jose Gonzalez - Veneer
    Junip - Fields
    Jurassic 5 - Power In Numbers
    King Crimson - Discipline (40th Anniversary 2CD)
    King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King (40th Anniversary 2CD)
    King Crimson - In the Wake of Poseidon (40th Anniversary 2CD)
    King Crimson - Islands (40th Anniversary 2CD)
    King Crimson - Lizard (40th Anniversary 2CD)
    King Crimson - Red (40th Anniversary 2CD)
    King Crimson - Starless And Bible Black (40th Anniversary 2CD)
    Kings of Convenience - Declaration Of Dependence
    Kings of Convenience - Riot On An Empty Street
    Kruder & Dorfmeister - The K&D Sessions
    Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
    Kyuss - ..And The Circus Leaves Town
    Kyuss - Blues For the Red Sun
    Kyuss - Welcome To Sky Valley
    Kyuss - Wretch
    Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II
    Leonard Cohen - Songs of Leonard Cohen
    Leonard Cohen - Songs of Love & Hate
    M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
    MF DOOM - Born Like This
    MGMT - Congratulations
    MGMT - Congratulations
    Mad Season - Above
    Madlib - Madlib Medicine Show No. 3: Beat Konducta in Africa
    Madlib - Madlib Medicine Show No. 7: High Jazz
    Madlib - Shades of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note
    Madvillain - Madvillainy
    Mahavishnu Orchestra - Birds of Fire
    Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Inner Mounting Flame
    Main Source - Breaking Atoms
    Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
    Massive Attack - Blue Lines
    Massive Attack - Mezzanine
    Mazzy Star - She Hangs Brightly
    Mercury Rev - Deserter's Songs
    Midlake - The Courage of Others
    Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
    Miles Davis - A Tribute To Jack Johnson
    Miles Davis - Big Fun
    Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
    Miles Davis - Bitches Brew (Live)
    Miles Davis - In A Silent Way
    Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
    Miles Davis - Live-Evil
    Miles Davis - On the Corner
    Mobb Deep - The Infamous
    Mos Def - The Ecstatic
    My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
    My Morning Jacket - Z
    Nas - Illmatic
    Negative Zone - Negative Zone
    Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Live At The Fillmore East, 1970
    Neil Young - After the Gold Rush
    Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
    Neil Young - Harvest
    Neil Young - Live At Massey Hall, 1971
    Neil Young - Neil Young
    Neil Young - On the Beach
    Nick Drake - Bryter Layter
    Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left
    Nick Drake - Pink Moon
    Nightmares on Wax - Carboot Soul
    Nightmares on Wax - Smokers Delight
    Odawas - The Blue Depths
    One Day As A Lion - One Day As A Lion
    Opeth - Blackwater Park
    Orange Goblin - Thieving From The House of God
    Organized Konfusion - Stress: The Extinction Agenda
    Otis Redding - Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul
    PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
    Parliament - Mothership Connection
    Parliament - Up For the Down Stroke
    Pearl Jam - No Code
    Pearl Jam - VS
    Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon (Immersion Box 5CD/DVD)
    Pink Floyd - Discovery Boxset (14CD)
    Pink Floyd - The Wall (Immersion Box 6CD/DVD)
    Pink Floyd - The Wall Live 1980-1981
    Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here (Immersion Box 4CD/DVD)
    Porcupine Tree - The Sky Moves Sideways
    Portishead - Dummy
    Portishead - Portishead
    Portishead - Third
    Priestess - Hello Master
    Public Enemy - Fear Of A Black Planet
    Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
    Quantic - The 5th Exotic
    Quantic - The Best Of
    Queens of the Stone Age - R
    Quest For Fire - Quest For Fire
    Radiohead - Amnesiac
    Radiohead - Hail to the Thief
    Radiohead - In Rainbows
    Radiohead - Kid A
    Radiohead - Ok Computer
    Radiohead - The Bends
    Radiohead - The King Of Limbs
    Real Estate - Days
    Red Hot Chili Peppers - Mother's Milk
    Ride - Nowhere
    Rory Gallagher - Rory Gallagher
    Rory Gallagher - Tattoo
    Rory Gallagher - The Essential Rory Gallagher
    Rush - 2112
    Rush - A Farewell To Kings
    Rush - Caress Of Steel
    Rush - Fly By Night
    Santana - Abraxas
    Santana - Caravanserai
    Santana - Santana
    Sholi - Sholi
    Sleepy Sun - Embrace
    Sleepy Sun - Fever
    Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde
    Soft Machine - Out-Bloody-Rageous: An Anthology 1967 - 1973
    Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation
    Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger
    Soundgarden - Louder Than Love
    Spiritualized - Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
    Spiritualized - Lazer Guided Melodies
    Steely Dan - Aja
    Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans
    Tame Impala - Innerspeaker
    Teebs - Ardour
    Television - Marquee Moon
    Temple of the Dog - Temple of the Dog
    Ten Years After - A Space In Time
    The Alan Parsons Project - Eye In the Sky
    The Alan Parsons Project - I Robot
    The Avalanches - Since I Left You
    The Band - Music From Big Pink
    The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
    The Beatles - 1962-1966/1967-1970 Anthology (4CD)
    The Beautiful Girls - Learn Yourself
    The Beautiful Girls - We're Already Gone
    The Black Angels - Directions To See A Ghost
    The Black Angels - Phosphene Dream
    The Black Keys - Attack & Release
    The Black Keys - Brothers
    The Black Keys - Magic Potion
    The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Bringing It All Back Home Again EP
    The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Give It Back!
    The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Singles Collection 1992-2011
    The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Strung Out In Heaven
    The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Take It From the Man!
    The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Tepid Peppermint Wonderland: A Retrospective
    The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request
    The Budos Band - The Budos Band
    The Budos Band - The Budos Band II
    The Cave Singers - No Witch
    The Cinematic Orchestra - Ma Fleur
    The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love
    The Decemberists - The King Is Dead
    The Flaming Lips - Christmas On Mars
    The Flaming Lips - Clouds Taste Metallic
    The Flaming Lips - Ego Tripping At The Gates of Hell (EP)
    The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
    The Flaming Lips - Finally The Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid: 1983-1988
    The Flaming Lips - Hit To Death in the Future Head
    The Flaming Lips - The Day They Shot A Hole In the Jesus Egg (The Priest Driven Ambulance Album, Demos & Outtakes)
    The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
    The Flaming Lips - Transmissions From The Satellite Heart
    The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
    The Flaming Lips - Zaireeka
    The Flaming Lips/Stardeath & White Dwarfs - Dark Side of the Moon
    The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland
    The Jimi Hendrix Experienced - Are You Experienced?
    The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Extra Width!
    The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Orange
    The Morning Benders - Big Echo
    The National - Boxer
    The National - High Violet
    The Q1 - Sound Surroundings
    The Roots - Do You Want More?!!!??!
    The Tallest Man On Earth - Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird (EP)
    The Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt
    The Zombies - Odessey & Oracle
    Thievery Corporation - Culture Of Fear
    Thundercat - The Golden Age Of Apocalypse
    Tom Waits - Blue Valentine
    Tom Waits - Closing Time
    Tom Waits - Foreign Affairs
    Tom Waits - Heartattack & Vine
    Tom Waits - Nighthawks At the Diner
    Tom Waits - Rain Dogs
    Tom Waits - Small Change
    Tom Waits - Swordfishtrombones
    Tom Waits - The Heart Of Saturday Night
    Tool - Lateralus
    Toro Y Moi - Underneath The Pine
    Tortoise - Standards
    Tortoise - Tortoise
    Truckfighters - Mania
    Van Morrison - Astral Weeks
    Van Morrison - Moondance
    Various Artists - Zen: Ninjatune Recordings Retrospective
    War - The World Is A Ghetto
    Wishbone Ash - Argus
    Wishbone Ash - Wishbone Ash
    Witch - Witch
    Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers
    Yawning Man - Vista Point
    Yes - Close To The Edge
    Yes - Fragile
  • My Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums: #10 - #6

    21 Mar 2012, 6:29

    Still just brainstorming for a bigger thing.

    #10 Main Source - Breaking Atoms
    I fought with myself to slide "Madvillainy" or "Black On Both Sides" into this number 10 spot. But as much as I love the both of those I guess I'm just a sucker for the classic 90's sound found on this album and the nine that follow it. Kicking the list off is this classic from one of my personal favourite beat-makers, Large Professor. He just has a way with what he does that is just classic. The highlight for me being "Vamos A Rapair", with it's funky ass beat. Whenever I pull this one out I have vivid memories of watching through The Wire for the first time. Must have been a couple of nights there where I was marathoning through Season 4, listening to this each night beforehand and getting in the mood to watch that bad motherfucker Marlo and those poor kids' struggles haha. Having said that, the album isn't faultless by any stretch. While Extra P himself certainly is no slouch as a DJ/MC, he does leave a lot to be desired on the mic at times. Don't get it crossed though, from time to time he will pull out an absolute pearler of a rhyme. However, I love his voice and delivery so I don't really care what he's saying half the time. Bonus points for introducing us to the kid from the bridge named the rapper Nas. "The person you least expect to slit your neck nine times out of every ten crimes is the prime suspect."



    #09 Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth - Mecca & The Soul Brother
    Might as well get it outta the way, T.R.O.Y.G.O.A.T. Nothing more need be said, everything comes together on this track. The perfect example of arguably my favourite MC and one of the best beatmakers there ever was. Then you got hot shit like "Straighten It Out" & "Can't Front on Me". The problem here is that while this is all unquestionably dope, it's just a little too long and repetitive, running over 70 minutes long. It's taxing to listen to as a whole, with almost every track pushing 4 or 5 minutes. And while every single fucking beat Pete Rock did here is gloriously packed fill with delicious drums and lovely jazzy samples, they kinda play out the entire length without changing all that much. Don't get me wrong, C.L. is insane. Not many can touch him lyrically. I love him, but his momentum and delivery is pretty much the same on every track he ever got his hands on. I don't intend to sound so negative here. I guess what I'm trying to say is that taken in small shufflin' doses, it might just be the greatest shit ever. Even at number nine I still can't help but wonder what could have been. "Took me from a boy to a man so I always had a father when my biological didn't bother."



    #08 GZA/Genius - Liquid Swords
    Sick wicked nasty. the GZA had fucking attitude. the RZA was on top of his game here. Each Wu member that happens to drops by flat out kills it. Particularly on the track "4th Chamber". Ghostface Killah & Killah Priest warm it up for RZA, who goes fucking off the wall insane. My favourite RZA versue ever. The Genius then proceeds to bring it on home as he does oh so well. All that and it's not even the highlight of the album for me. That'd be the emotionally uplifting album closer "B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)" in which a game Killah Priest steps out on his own and absolutely crushes it with some seriously thought provoking words. I can't help but think Nujabes was heavily inspired by this one. Too much knowledge might break up the rhyme, he did it anyway just to wake up the mind! "I'm on some tax free shit by any means whether bound to hit scheme or some counterfeit cream."



    #07 A Tribe Called Quest - People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
    In the early 90s between De La & Tribe in particular, the art form was just plain fun. Humour and Positivity were critical, they just knew how to have a good time and it pours out through these amazing records. I'm of the opinion that this one is quite underrated. Obviously it's not going to top the following two but it really ain't that far off. I will say this is the most diverse, even experimental of the first three. It bursts with confidence and good times. I absolutely adore that one sample used throughout the album to segue in and out of a couple of the tracks. Also loved how Monch & 'Po used it (and in turn tracked down and loved the sampled original by Eugene McDaniels). The boys are honing their craft here. They would of course go onto greater things. "Afrocentric livin', Africans be givin' a lot to the cause 'cause the cause has been risen."



    #06 Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers
    Tell ya what, not much gets me more pumped up than blasting "Bring da Ruckus" & "..Aint Nuthing Ta F' Wit" does. Man, they just get so fucking into it. Ridiculous energy. It would have been crazy to hear this shit when it was first dropping. The ultimate posse cuts reside with the mighty Wu. I place this higher than "Liquid Swords" purely on what my ears drank first. The beginning of all the madness. C.R.E.A.M. deserves all it's fucking props and then some. This is seriously one of the greatest of all time. I often find myself impromptu busting out Inspectah Deck's insane versue (when nobody is around, obviously.) His delivery and word play is just fucking perfect. The entire posse brang it, this album rules. "And the survey said... ya dead. Fatal flying guillotine chops off your fuckin head!"

  • My Top 30 albums: 1990-1995

    15 Mar 2012, 9:06

    Just picking my brain with a few lists. Throwing some ideas around for bigger things (stay tuned). Brainstormin'.

    #30: Gang Starr - Daily Operation
    #29: Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger
    #28: A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders
    #27: Ride - Nowhere
    #26: Main Source - Breaking Atoms
    #25: Mazzy Star - She Hangs Brightly
    #24: Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth - Mecca & The Soul Brother
    #23: Alice in Chains - Facelift
    #22: GZA/Genius - Liquid Swords
    #21: Sleep - Sleep's Holy Mountain
    #20: The Flaming Lips - In a Priest Driven Ambulance
    #19: A Tribe Called Quest - People's Instinctive Travels & The Paths of Rhythm
    #18: Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine
    #17: The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness
    #16: Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers
    #15: Radiohead - The Bends
    #14: Kyuss - Welcome to Sky Valley
    #13: De La Soul - Buhloone Mindstate
    #12: Mad Season - Above
    #11: Gang Starr - Step In The Arena
    #10: The Flaming Lips - Hit to Death in the Future Head
    #09: Portishead - Dummy
    #08: Alice in Chains - Dirt
    #07: A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
    #06: The Flaming Lips - Transmissions From the Satellite Heart
    #05: Pearl Jam - Ten
    #04: Organized Konfusion - Stress: The Extinction Agenda
    #03: Kyuss - Blues for the Red Sun
    #02: Nas - Illmatic
    #01: The Flaming Lips - Clouds Taste Metallic

    Honourable Mentions:

    DJ Krush - Meiso
    Jane's Addiction - Ritual De Lo Habitual
    De La Soul - De La Soul Is Dead
    Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik
    Big L - Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous
    Temple of the Dog - Temple of the Dog
    Spiritualized - Lazer Guided Melodies
    Pearl Jam - Vs.
    The Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
    Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth - The Main Ingredient
  • 2011: My Top #25

    6 Ene 2012, 15:27

    #25 The Black Keys - El Camino
    First four tracks here are fantastic. The rest of the album is way too samey for my liking. Was excited for this one, maybe they needed a little longer break to further develop their songs (?) Brothers (while a little repetitive in itself) is much better than this.



    #24 Thundercat - The Golden Age of Apocalypse
    Produced by Flying Lotus, a good way to start. Hit and miss, but when it hits it's deliciously funky. Dude plays a mean bass.



    #23 Graveyard - Hisingen Blues
    Straight up ~balls to the wall~ hard rock. No sense in trying to change it up too much with these swedes. If "Ain't Fit To Live Here" doesn't make you want to ape-shit drum on your desk like a spastic and smash shit around I don't know what will. Here's your retro 70's rock album of the year folks, courtesy of the wonderful Tee Pee Records (I'm looking at you Assemble Head in 2012!!)



    #22 Toro y Moi - Underneath the Pine
    Not unlike Thundercat's release posted above. A little more consistent and not quite as out of this world. In this particular case i mean that in a good way. "Go With You" is the highlight here, great track.



    #21 Earth - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I
    Badassery in it's slowest, menacing grooves. Cowboy elevator music. Would make for a sweet modern western soundtrack. That's just it though, a little too slow and repetitive (I realize that is kind of the point) to digest with your full and complete attention. Made for one hell of a soundtrack to my Battlefield 3 adventures earlier in the year. Looking forward to Part II, even if it's more of the same.



    #20 Vetiver - The Errant Charm
    Always a pleasant band to listen to. A little more inventive with their choice of instrumentation this time around, even some exotic downtempo moments. Summery. Mellow. Lush.



    #19 40 Winks - It's the trip
    If this album was a little more concise or had more of a direction I can only imagine how much higher I'd place it. While it might not even be there best work, there are moments here which are just incredible. "Subtle Piece" for example build and builds from silence until the tempo changes and the beat drops under a fantastic soul sample, and man does it drop. One of those "total ecstasy" moments I'd imagine. Lots of ideas, way too many even. Some hit big time, some fail. All kinds of stuff here, great production. Trip-Hop/Downtempo/Instrumental Hip-Hop fans owe it to themselves to check these lads out. They definitely don't play it safe like some of their contemporaries. Project Mooncircle have made a great home for these kind of artists and tunes (see Long Arm - The Branches).



    #18 Chicago Odense Ensemble - Chicago Odense Ensemble
    While it's sad to see the lack of stoner/psychedelic rock this year, it's exciting to see one of the finest bands in that vein mixing it up and keeping it fresh. Causa Sui members here lay down some wicked jams (check out the glorious 11 minute "Deliver") while members from other experimental outfits Tortoise & Isotope 217 paint some colourful jazz & ambient electronics all over it. If you love Miles' ventures into electronic jazz/rock/funk/fusion than this one is for you.



    #17 Real Estate - Days
    I missed this band on their first go around. It's lovely chilled out music. Surf rock/Beach Boys vibes. Quite alike one of my modern favourites who we hear very little about, Greater California. "It's Real" was one of the best singles of the year for me.



    #16 The Roots - Undun
    Still quite unfamiliar with The Roots. I know the time will come, might even be my next discovery, followed by obsession.. who knows. I do know though that Black Thought is insane though. Any time i hear him guest he kills it ("Zen Approach" by DJ Krush comes to mind). No different here. This one surprised me for a modern day hip-hop release.



    #15 Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo
    Disorientating psychedelic folk-rock. Like an intoxicated Springsteen knocking out songs effortlessly and only half coherently. That's not a jab either. I love this kind of music. Highlights: "Baby's Arms", "Puppet to the Man" & "Society Is My Friend".




    #14 The Decemberists - The King Is Dead
    Much respect to these guys doing this after the incredible "Hazards". The sound suits them perfectly. Who knows what direction they take from here, I look forward to it. The two "Hymn" songs are my favourites here. Harvestin'.



    #13 M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
    An oddity for me at least. Not usually into this kind of thing. The album is pretty solid but the weight is gained by three incredible songs. Obviously "Midnight City" is one of the best songs of the year. An anthem, even. That sax solo at the end is to die for man. "Wait" is just heart-achingly beautiful. And finally "Splendor" is just straight fucking magical. It's like the greatest christmas tune never invented. Wouldn't have thought it possible to top "Midnight City" but in the context of the album it does just that.



    #12 Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde
    Mr. Stardust, eat yer heart out. A lot of T. Rex & George Harrison for my money too. This is just fun. fun. fun. The melodies, the hooks, that fucking awesome fuzzy guitar. Love it! Not hugely original but hugely enjoyable none the less. Everybody wants to be a star on a Saturday night!



    #11 Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver
    Solid follow up. Just enough change to keep it fresh without straying too far from the nest. Can hear the creative production of bands like Grizzly Bear rubbing off on them I think. The first 3 songs are some of the best of the year. "Perth" in particular. One of the best songs of the year. All those drums, horns and sounds man. I love it. It's such an exciting and creating time for music.



    #10 A.A. Bondy - Believers
    A.A. Bondy is great. This is his greatest album. Go check out this great album. Seriously though, I love how The A.V. Club put it: "Break down an A.A. Bondy song, and the parts seem unremarkable: some simple guitar chords, an occasional harmonica break, a few carefully chosen words that don’t fully cohere into literal meanings, and stark vocals that sound emotionally overpowered into numbness. But put those parts back together, and another, less-tangible element emerges—a mix of intensity and weariness that makes Bondy’s music feel like 3 a.m. in a dark room illuminated by a single light bulb swinging softly at its center." I remember when i heard this for the first time, the tempo change in the middle of Rte. 28/Believers absolutely flawed me, just knocked me out. Breathtaking stuff.



    #9 Akron/Family - S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT
    I can't quite figure out if these guys want us to think they're weird as fuck or they are just weird as fuck. Either way it doesn't matter, their music rules. Try slap a single label or a genre on this fantastic album, it can't be done. This might even climb higher over time, a real grower. "So It Goes", one of the greatest rock songs of the year, tightly balances messy fuzz guitar with sunny Beach Boys “Aaaah” harmonies. Elsewhere "Island" is just pure bliss. Trust me, this is awesome. First class engineering and production.



    #8 The War on Drugs - Slave Ambient
    Like Dylan or Springsteen meets Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine. Yes, this fucking rocks! "Baby Missiles" is just the best!



    #7 Grails - Deep Politics
    Love that this band exists. You gotta be in the right mood for them but when that time comes nothing beats it. Sounds like a soundtrack to some fucked up Lynch movie. This was and will continue to be my Battlefield 3 soundtrack. I know I overuse the word all the time but this ladies and gentleman, is badass. Cinematic and grand. I don't know if this qualifies for the mess of a genre known as "post-rock" but i do know this beats any of the bands operating in said genre. Eagerly await more music from these Portlandians.



    #6 Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean
    Boy oh boy has this fella come a long way. My second most anticipated album behind Helplessness Blues didn't disappoint. I loved the direction change with "The Shepherd's Dog" and I love that he went even farther out with this one. Impossible not to mention "Your Fake Name Is Not Good Enough For Me", definitely one of the years best. But a personal favourite for me is the peaceful "Glad Man Singing". The instrumentation on this album is first class, very creative.



    #5 Radiohead - The King of Limbs
    Naturally I didn't know what to think at first. Then I heard "Codex" and I was left speechless. After several listens I fell in love with it. Everything here is amazing, except for "Feral". Not sure what it is. Sticks out and annoys me in the center of a modern day classic, separating the trippy beats of the first half and my favourites on the second. "Codex" is one of their very best slow tunes for me. "Give up the Ghost" is beautiful. "Magpie", "Little By Little" & "Lotus Flower" are worthy additions the band's overwhelming cannon of awesome tunes.



    #4 PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
    Late to the party on this one. At the time of writing I've only heard it 4 maybe 5 times. "The Words That Maketh Murder" hooked me instantly, one of my favourite songs of the year. The concept slowly ate away at me and the relevance of each track started to fit. This could be my favourite album of 2011 in 6 months. "In the Dark Places", "Written On The Forehead" and the best album closer of the year round out a great album.



    #3 Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost
    I was torn between my top 3. This one is probably the best group of songs (in the true sense of the word) of the year. In fact every track has something amazing to offer. Except of course for "Alex", which I maintain is the one and only weak spot on an otherwise flawless record. The keys and guitar work is just classic. You can play name the influences all you want but they've pieced it together with the best stuff of the last 40 years of music. Even that's not giving them enough credit. Great job on the production, everything sounds right. This is how it's done.



    #2 Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
    The fact that this lived up to my totally wild expectations is credit enough. Every song has been a personal favourite at one point or another. Overplayed the shit out of this band so I'm taking a much needed break from them. Classic. One for the ages.



    #1 Long Arm - The Branches
    I've spent the better part of the last 12 months treating my rather new-found addiction to the sounds of jazzy downtempo/trip-hop. At the height of my addiction I was hitting daily dosages of Bonobo, Emancipator, Arts the Beatdoctor, Quantic and the like. Around this time I discovered this fantastic producer from Russia on the Project Mooncircle Label. His technique and use of samples is like nothing I've ever heard. The Louie Armstrong-like sections are absolutely stunning. Never looked back. Excited to see where he goes from here.



    Honourable Mentions:
    Weird Owl - Build Your Beast A Fire
    Thievery Corporation - Culture of Fear
    Thee Oh Sees - Castlemania
    ALEXANDER - Alexander
    The Psychic Paramount - II
    Portugal. The Man - In the Mountain in the Cloud
    Nostalgia 77 - The Sleepwalking Society
    Anna Ternheim - The Night Visitor
    The Natural Yogurt Band - Tuck In With...
    Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
    J Mascis - Several Shades of Why
    The Horrors - Skying
    Crystal Antlers - Two-Way Mirror
  • 2010: My Top #20

    7 Ago 2011, 6:55

    20. The Morning Benders - Big Echo
    19. Jason Simon - Jason Simon
    18. Citay - Dream Get Together
    17. Teebs - Ardour
    16. The Soundcarriers - Celeste
    ‎15. Berry Weight - Music For Imaginary Movies
    14. Junip - Fields
    13. The Q4 - Sound Surroundings
    12. Midlake - The Courage of Others
    11. The Budos Band - The Budos Band III
    10. MGMT - Congratulations
    09. Emancipator - Safe in the Steep Cliffs
    08. The National - High Violet
    07. Black Mountain - Wilderness Heart
    06. Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma
    ‎05. Sleepy Sun - Fever
    04. The Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt
    03. Beach House - Teen Dream
    02. The Black Keys - Brothers
    01. Bonobo - Black Sands

    Honorable Mentions:

    Madlib's Medicine Show series
    Dungen - Skit I Allt
    Tipper - Broken Soul Jamboree
    Quest for Fire - Lights From Paradise
    The Walkmen - Lisbon
    Portugal. The Man - American Ghetto
    Tame Impala - Innerspeaker
    Crookram - Through Windows
    Tweak Bird - Tweak Bird
    Serpent Throne - White Summer/Black Winter
    The Black Angels - Phosphene Dream
    Asteroid - II
  • The Soft Bulletin: Personally Preferred Track-listing

    29 Jun 2010, 4:27



    ~ The Flaming Lips
    ~ The Soft Bulletin

    So i figure there might have been a few others at one stage in the bind i currently find myself in. For years now the original US version is all I have known. I did however have "Slow Motion" (originally only from the UK version).. i just never really listened to it with the rest of the album.. obviously as it felt a little funny (like i said, only knowing the US version).

    I recently came across the "Demastered" version and fell in love with the album, all over again. However messing with the album flow that I always knew and loved was (and still is) hard to familiarize with. I love and greatly prefer the original Lips' mix of "Race for the Prize" to the mokran mix. Naturally "Sleeping on the Roof" feels like the album's end.. but I've quickly come to love the original Lips' "Buggin'" mix with it's contrast to the former track. I think it works really well as the album closer. My main problem though is with "The Spiderbite Song". Sure it is a lovely song.. but i much preferred it at track 4. Sliding it in between the last few tracks seems to prolong the ending in my opinion.. if that makes any sense. For now i've just stuck it at No. 4, in between "The Spark that Bled" & "Slow Motion".

    While i do prefer the originals, the Mokran mixes are still nice alternatives on the odd occasion. I like to keep them close for when I'm skimming through individual songs. I've just taken them from the US mix and added them to the end of my preferred track-list.

    So i end up with:

    01. Race for the Prize (sacrifice of the new scientists)
    02. A Spoonful Weighs a Ton
    03. The Spark That Bled (The Softest Bullet Ever Shot)
    04. The Spiderbite Song
    05. Slow Motion
    06. What Is The Light? (An untested hypothesis suggesting that the chemical (in our brains) by which we are able to experience the sensation of being in love is the same chemical that caused the "Big Bang" that was the birth of the accelerating universe)
    07. The Observer
    08. Waitin' for a Superman (Is it gettin' heavy?)
    09. Suddenly Everything Has Changed (Death anxiety caused by moments of boredom)
    10. The Gash (Battle hymn for the wounded mathematician)
    11. Feeling Yourself Disintegrate
    12. Sleeping on the Roof (excerpt from "Should We Keep The Severed Head Awake??")
    13. Buggin' (The Buzz of Love Is Busy Buggin' You)

    Bonus Tracks:

    14. Race for the Prize (Mokran mix)
    15. Waitin' for a Superman (Mokran mix)
    16. Buggin' (Mokran mix)

    -

    I know it probably seems like I'm wasting my time over-doing this, who cares right? I don't know, It just annoys me how and when things are released in many different ways like this. At least we get the choice i suppose. It kinda sucks to muck around with the band's desired track-list.. but this way just feels better to me. Surely I'm not the only person to ever rack their brain out wondering about all this..

    tldr: Which version do you prefer? Have you edited the track-list to suit your own preference?