| Sputnikmusic
 

Year End Lists

10. Sun Kil Moon – Benji

Official Site // Spotify // Facebook

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Stream: ‘Carissa’ (6:55)

The fact Mark Kozelek’s “dispute” with The War on Drugs has overshadowed Benji in press coverage speaks volumes for how fucking stupid it was, but at least it proved Mark doesn’t hold anything back. When he spends an album fearing, thinking about and reflecting on death you know he means it; when he says sorry to the kid he punched in high school you know he means it; when he explains how terrified he is of losing his mother you damn well know he means it.

And that’s what makes Benji so special. In his long-winded, meandering way, Mark has exposed himself to the world without a thought of how the world might react. The album doesn’t lose impact over time because there is nothing to be cynical about: nothing to see through. This is it, and it is sad, but with one line at the end of ‘Michellene’ Mark manages to remind us not to worry, because there is always each other. — Jonny

9. St. Vincent – St. Vincent

Official Site // Spotify // Facebook

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Stream: ‘Rattlesnake’ (3:36)

Perhaps the most frequent justification for a record being self-titled is that it signifies a definitive statement; a culmination of all that’s great…

30. La Dispute – Rooms Of The House

Official Site // Spotify // Facebook

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Stream: ‘Woman (Reading)’ (3:30)

La Dispute’s third full length release sees the bands continually shying away from their flashy post hardcore roots, instead focusing on cohesiveness, both musically and lyrically. And while Rooms of the House has been met with mixed critical reception, it personally seems clear that this record is one of the better efforts La Dispute have put forth, as this record strikes the perfect balance between harmonic brashness and quiet contemplation. While Rooms of the House’s subject matter regarding loss of love is nothing new to Jordan Dreyer and company, the approach to such a topic vastly differentiates itself from past albums, telling the story of a couple falling out of love, but mixing in real life locations and referencing past songs on the album. And while this approach to songwriting is not immediately rewarding, the intricacies found on tracks such as ‘Woman (Reading)’ or ‘Stay Happy There’ make revisiting this album a pleasant and necessary experience. — Alex T.

29. Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright In The End

Official Site // Spotify // Facebook

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Stream: ‘Back To The Shack’ (3:05)

Of all the emotions that fell out upon listening to Everything

50. Gates – Bloom And Breathe

Official Site // Spotify // Facebook

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Stream: ‘Not My Blood’ (5:56)

Many have taken to calling Gates “Thrice with post rock”, which, while meant as a compliment in most cases, does a massive disservice to what they’ve created with Bloom and Breathe.  Gates have crafted a deeply affecting and unique album which deserves to be heard on its own merits – not by way of piggybacking or association with the now deceased (or not??) post hardcore band. Bloom and Breathe’s swirling melodies make a foundation which allows for huge moments, placed in such a way that allows for it to wash over, creating a sense of catharsis. So much more than the sum of their parts, Gates have put together something special with their sophomore release. They may not have been on too many radars before 2014, but over 50-minutes they prove themselves to be a must-listen. — Josh Fountain

49. Manners – Pale Blue Light

Official Site // Spotify // Facebook

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Stream: ‘Binge’ (2:29)

Manners so perfectly encapsulate what it’s like to be depressed, alone, and under the influence; it’s kind of scary. There’s a connection that’s felt with the members of Manners through their music; like these guys aren’t just dudes that make catchy…

10. Cult Leader – Nothing For Us Here

Official Site // Spotify // Facebook

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Stream: ‘Skin Crawler’ (2:52)

What happens when your lead singer is accused of a heinous crime and the event begins to overshadow your music and message? It was quite simple for the remaining members of Gaza as they moved their sound literally from one band to another.  Gaza’s three remaining musicians took no time in re-establishing their grind influenced hardcore in Cult Leader on their introduction EP Nothing For Us Here with a new singer (who sounds exactly like the accused singer of Gaza).  Even the title doesn’t stray far from the Gaza hate-fueled lyrical themes that studied political and religious crimes against the world. Looking at the EP itself, ‘God’s Lonely Children’ is a feedback drenched intro that helps rocket the next four tracks into warped, off-kilter grinding riffs and metalcore beatdowns that will surely please anyone looking for an intense, yet interesting take on hardcore.  It’s not until ‘Driftwood’ where we can finally breathe and allow ourselves to pick up our teeth and take in the glorious use of slow dynamics, showcasing a brooding melody that ends up knocking us to the ground. Fans of Gaza, you need not worry because we now have the mighty Cult Leader. — Karl V.H.

9. xSPONGEXCOREx – How Tough Are Yah?

50-3130-1110-1

10. Touche Amore – Is Survived By

[Review] // [Spotify] // [Facebook]

Is Survived By is a frantic exercise in frustrating melancholy – that emotion you feel when you scream at yourself in your head for getting caught in a funk. It’s that whole experience of being down and self-aware, a prisoner in a cage that you created, throwing yourself at bars you know don’t exist to no effect with only some time reserved for the hopeless gazing down at shoes and giving serious consideration to giving up between each assault on the cage. We’ve all been there before and if you haven’t, well, fuck you.

The thing that makes Is Survived By a stellar album is in its ability to capture this feeling impeccably without doubt or question. There’s an inherent tension and despair to Jeremy Bolm’s persistently aggressive and ernest rants that’s made all the more poignant by the racing pace of the 30 minute album that just does this somewhat specific affliction incredible justice. — Tom Gerhart

9. Danny Brown – Old

[Review] // [Spotify] // [Facebook]

I was never a big fan of XXX. Nor did I really consider myself any sort…

50-3130-1110-1

30. Obliteration – Black Death Horizon

[Review] // [Spotify] // [Facebook]

OSDM revival was a pretty interesting novelty around the 2009-2010 period when pissed off metalheads (rightfully so) realized how terrible modern metal was and remembered how sweet it was back in the day and just started playing the same stuff they liked in ‘89.  As of 2013, in much the same fashion as when metal died in 1993, the oversaturated landscape of this now hip OSDM revival scene is producing less and less interesting music.  Thankfully, just when all hope of metal ever being good again was lost, Obliteration put out another record and make everything else this side of 2009 obsolete and boring.

While 2009’s Nekropsalms was more psychedelic and doomy, Black Death Horizon is a no-holds barred black death thrash attack to the face and it rules.  With organic, old school production that would give Fenriz a stiffy and riffs that would piss even Jesus off, Black Death Horizon took the almost perfect formulas the band dug up from some frozen grave in Norway and somehow managed to improve on almost all of them.  Seriously, there’s really no other way to describe this album.  If you like metal, listen to this, and if you don’t like it, kill yourself. Sincerely, Satan — Hyperion

50-3130-1110-1

50. Strawberry Girls – French Ghetto

[Review] // [Spotify] // [Facebook]

I’ll admit that French Ghetto flew under my radar all the way to the creation of this list, but there’s always time to repent, right? Fresh from the get-go, the pop hooks of this insanely catchy math rock release create a dance floor between your ear cavities and set straight to gyrating and bopping along all the way through on their race to the finish. With an air of confidence and maybe a little bit of a devil may care attitude, the relative levity of the album leaves it feeling fast and fun, especially through the first half.

Of course, the influence from hook masterminds Adebisi Shank and Straweberry Girls’ guitarist Zac Garren’s former band Dance Gavin Dance is apparent, but French Ghetto deftly manages to skirt the dangers of merely quoting and recycling source material while going just over the top enough to neatly put together what may easily be the year’s most addicting math rock release. — Tom Gerhart

49. Soilwork – The Living Infinite

[Review] // [Spotify] // [Facebook]

During a year that was rather generous to the metal community, some may…

10. Rush – Clockwork Angels

[Official Site] // [Spotify] // [Facebook]

Rush’s latest musical endeavor was without a doubt one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year. Clockwork Angels, at its core, is a reflection of both the trio’s past artistic accomplishments as well as their latest aspirations. It’s a musical collage of both old and new characteristics, formulating yet another captivating release from the biggest name in Progressive Rock today. Clockwork Angels shows Rush returning yet again to a conceptual theme, one that revolves around a young man’s quest through a world consumed by chaos. We, as the listeners, journey along with him, encountering pirates, anarchists, exotic carnivals, as well as discovering lost cities and everything else that inhabits this peculiar realm of sci-fi fantasy. As for the instrumental aspect of the album, we continue to find Rush steering further away from the lengthy compositional epics, but while still managing to retain the same level of artistry. Instead of having us dwell into elongated voyages of elaborate musicianship, Rush have compressed all of their eclectic range of influences into a more accessible collection of dynamic hard rock songs. Clockwork Angels tends to have its foot in a lot of musical territories once explored by Rush, with each song exhibiting an array of stylistic variations that incorporates everything from their typical Progressive and metal sounds, to Fusion-esque solo passages, and spacey atmospheres. It’s rather comforting to see that…

30. The Devin Townsend Project – Epicloud

[Official Site] // [Spotify] // [Facebook]

It’s a slick and polished album, the closest he’s ever come to mainstream rock and – dare I say – pop. While an album as polished as this may be an area as of yet unexplored by Townsend and other metal guitarist’s solo work as well, the mainstream rock sound isn’t new territory in general even if it’s new to him, and he unfortunately falls to some of the genre’s conventions here and there. Still though, even if it’s sound isn’t too experimental, Townsend seamlessly slides into this poppy new sound, boasting a powerful contrast between technical riffage and poppy melodies, and most pop music would sound a hell of a lot better if it was helmed by Townsend as skillfully as it is here on Epicloud. – breakingthefragile

Stream ‘Kingdom’ here.

29. Amenra – Mass V

[Official Site] // [Spotify] // [Facebook]

Mass V does nothing but further cement Amenra’s place in the upper echelon of sludge/post-metal. Drawing influences from the heralded Neurosis, Amenra specialize in the creation of dark atmospheres that are combined with heavy, downtuned riffs. Unlike most of their peers, though, Amenra’s brand of dark, sludgy post-metal manages to sound invariably vigorous because all their records have excellent, oppressing atmospheres. They feel alive and pull the listener in, tingling…

50. Hop Along – Get Disowned

[Official Site] // [Spotify] // [Facebook]

As an occasional enthusiast of the Indie and Alternative rock scenes, I rarely come across an album within both genres that manages to enthrall me in such an such a way that leaves me utterly speechless throughout its run. What intrigued me so much about Hop Along’s Get Disowned, is their ability to blend a lot of different characteristics from various genres to create an innovative montage of melodies. Hard-edged rock jams, electronic beats, acoustic segments, each of these music styles serve to augment the irresistibly charming voice of Francis Quinlan, who uses her mellifluous Favourite vocals to add a catchy pop-like flair to the album. Get Disowned is a very fun listen with a lot of variety in its sound, but at times, the compositional structures of certain songs tend to sound rather amateurish. Though not necessarily in a way that sounds messy, but rather youthful. There is an impression of adolescence that the album seems to express, and maybe it’s the childlike aloofness of Francis Quinlan singing, the adventurous though sloppy combination of musical styles, or the fact that this a group striving in the early stages of their career, their lyrics are comprised almost entirely of topics that could hardly appeal to anyone above 30, and yet, there’s something about the way that Hop Along present themselves that you just can’t say “no” to. You want to…

10. Holy Esque – Holy Esque

[Official Site] // [Spotify] // [Facebook]

Being touted as the best new band your country has to offer is obviously a hell of a compliment, but for many such accolades can quickly become burdensome. Spare a thought then for the four members of Holy Esque, who along with carrying the hopes of a nation as distinguished as Scotland were having those proclamations thrown at them before they’d released a single recording – a metaphorical musical pressure cooker if ever there was one. It was quite a statement then that the Glaswegians not only matched but eclipsed expectations on this debut EP; a four track tour de force which bore the hallmarks of an outfit well equipped to make an impact in the indie world. Sure, a taste for big riffs, distortion pedals and off-kilter vocals is hardly revelatory, but these songs possessed the poise, swagger and assurance of a group who’d already become masters of their craft, with the propulsive energy of ‘Rose’ and the skyscraping ‘Prophet of Privilege’ in particular sounding virtually stadium-ready. It’ll probably take a few more releases to craft their own distinct identity, but as a means of announcing oneself, Holy Esque takes some beating.AliW 1993.

Stream ‘Rose’ here.

9. Vales – Clarity

[Official Site] // [Spotify] // [Facebook]

In their debut EP,…

FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy