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01.20.15 2014 Top Picks ( A Little Late)03.31.14 Top Picks Of March 2014
03.05.14 Best Of February 201401.30.14 Top Picks Of January 2014
12.21.13 Top 20 Of 2013

Top 20 Of 2013

My top-20 personal favorites from 2013.

I almost feel this deserves a higher spot on this list. It really does deserve a higher spot on this list, but to go back
and rewrite it
now would be far too much work, and I would not know how to rearrange it any better than it already is - so at spot
20 -
'Coal'. This is a progressive death metal album that is commonly compared to Opeth, and while there are some
is by no means an Opeth clone. Leprous is very much it's own band, with it's own sound and style. The only aspect
of Leprous
really assimilates it to Opeth is that both bands really do as they please when it comes to writing and composing
death metal.
adhere to no conventions but rather create their own conventions for others to muse about, recreate, and mimic.
This album is
perhaps not as accessible as an Opeth album, in that the progressive elements employed are a bit more peculiar and
difficult to
reconcile within the whole - but this is not a criticism of 'Coal'. This album is just one that requires multiple listens to
unlock the
musical treasures within and really appreciate some of the unique musical tactics this band lays out before the
Sweet Nothings

Another jazz / progressive metal fusion album with more boggling guitar acrobatics. This ranks slightly higher on my
list because I
found it to be a bit more captivating than Exivious, although much shorter, with the longest track being 5 minutes
and only being 4
tracks long, you are in for under a 20 minute listen.
18Oneohtrix Point Never
R Plus Seven

The only item on this list weirder than David Maxim Micic's Bilo 3.0 is this album. Oneohtrix Point Never produces
some of the
strangest and most peculiar varieties of drone / ambient / electronic music ever to be conceived.
17Steven Wilson
The Raven That Refused to Sing

Steven Wilson has long been a favorite of mine in the prog rock scene, especially his work with his band, Porcupine
However, Steven's solo work is equally challenging and captivating to listen to as his work with PT. Each and every
song on this
album is an album of it's own. I am especially fond of 'Drive Home'.
More Constant than the Gods

Stoner / doom metal with female vocals and string instruments. Recipe for success. A very immersive listen.
Rival Dealer

While maintaining some elements of classic Burial, this EP seems to be the usual spacey, ambient, introspective dub
step Burial
cranked up to an energetic rave-style Burial. It is still minimalist in nature, but also a much different pacing and
energy level for
Burial. I found this quite interesting, a fun listen to say the least.
Sample :
14 Boris

Japanese 'Drone / post rock / desert rock' giants Boris struck again in early 2013 with Praparat. This album showcases
touching on each and every style that they incorporate into their varied and genre transcending music.
Sample :

One of the most discussed, and argued about albums of this year, Deafheaven's 'Sunbather' has drawn acclaim as one
of the
albums of the year from P4k, while simultaneously drawing criticism from the self proclaimed elite of the black metal
Sunbather merges the screaming and ferocity of black metal with the atmosphere and ambience of shoegaze and post
rock. To
honest, black metal is not a metal I can get into ? in the least. Only those genre transcending acts that splash their
black metal
bits of progressive rock, jazz, avant-garde metal, post rock, folk metal ? only these types of black metal appeal to me.
include acts such as Arcturus, Agalloch, Deafheaven, and Netra. Needless to say, there is something special going on
Deafheaven's Sunbather. The atmosphere is uncanny, and enchanting to say the least.
12David Maxim Micic
Bilo 3.0

This is such a strange album.. It's actually very difficult to describe. It is thematically very confused, muddled, and
Beginning with gentle piano melodies, followed by some very sonically complimentary eastern/Asian sounding string
the album builds up into an epic orchestral mess before showering us in a cooperative attack of heavy metal and
orchestrals, then what's this? Technical progressive djent grooves coupled with continued piano and strings! What an
mess! Operatic female vocals, circus sound effects... did I mention the part where this album completely jazzes out
then begins
scatting? Yes scat-djent. And this is only in the first few minutes of this album. It seems to me that David Maxim
Micic's aim
this album was to throw as much variety at the listener as he possibly could, and although a confused train wreck.. its
fun to
listen to.
11ASAP Rocky

This may appear out of place on my list of top albums for the year, among a long list of progressive metal, stoner
rock, ambient
experimental and alternative hip hop album favorites of the year. A$Ap Rocky is far from exceptional as a rapper in
my eyes.
topic matter is commonplace 'bitches, hoes, drugs & money' rap. His rapping style, flow, lyrics, and even the sound of
his voice
not particularly impressive either. Why then has$AP found it's place on this list? The simple answer is
the very chill,
experimental, spacey style of production ? and a few welcome collaborations in the form of 2Chainz, Drake, and
Surely then, this production must be something else for this album to find its way onto this list even when I have
been so critical
of the
rapper. Indeed it is, the production is comparable in many cases to that which I might expect from Tyler and the rest
of Odd
earlier work, which earns this album it's place upon my favorites for the year.
10Death Grips
Government Plates

My Review:
9Queens of the Stone Age
...Like Clockwork

This is an album that required many listens for me to digest and fully appreciate. I
was more than distraught upon my first few listens to this album to see just how far
the apple had fallen and rolled from Josh Homme's roots in the legendary stoner rock
outfit, Kyuss. Even earlier Queens of the Stone Age albums had much more
psychedelic improvisation and spacey jams characteristic of their stoner rock roots ?
but '...Like Clockwork' is something entirely different. It does have stoner rock
characteristics, but it's approach to the bassy and murky jam-rock that is stoner rock
is entirely unique and different in this case. There are clear odes to 90s alt rock and
even 80s rock (the synthy 'If I had a Tail'). This is Queens of the Stone Age really
putting their musical talents to the test and stretching far beyond the comfort zone.
The gem of this album is hidden, and may not be apparent immediately, but there is
something very special about this QOTSA album.
8Nine Inch Nails
Hesitation Marks

Read my review here:
Earth Rocker

'Earth Rocker' is Clutch's return to the winning formula that is high energy, festive stoner
metal with gruff, grungy, funky vocals from singer Neil Fallon. This album is infectiously
fun, catchy, powerful, strong, streamlined, focused, ambitious, with a very full body and
sound. Clutch delivers a stoner metal album chock full of content. There really can't be
too much of a good thing in this case.
6 Boards of Canada
Tomorrow's Harvest

BoC's 'Tomorrow's Harvest' was my preferred ambient album of the year and very well
deserving of it's place on this list. Tomorrow's Harvest is dreary, desolate, and quite
depressive. As many of the albums on my list, it is one of those unique albums that
transports it's listeners to another place as they indulge in it. It stimulates the
imagination and causes one's mind to conjure up vivid images of places and and times.
For me, I cannot help but imagine trudging across a snow covered wasteland in the
distant future as I listen to BoC's Tomorrow's Harvest, but I imagine all listeners take
away something different.
Altered State

This progressive metal album combines the technical grooves of bands like Periphery
with the atmosphere of something akin to Deftone's most recent work, 'Koi no
Yokan'. Altered State is groovy as hell ? you will find at many points that you are
incapable of sitting still while listening to TesseracT's Altered State. The bass-work on
this album is absolutely phenomenal. In addition to being extremely groovy, the
album is very spacy and atmospheric ? a combination not commonly seen in
progressive metal. The male vocalist's very feminine sounding voice was an initial
turn-off for me ? but over time it becomes apparent that the style of singing used by
Ashe O'Hara is easily the best fit for the spacy atmosphere employed by the band on
this release. Also keep an ear open for that saxaphone action near the end of the
4 Andrew Bayer
If It Were You, We'd Never Leave

Andrew Bayer's 'It's Artificial' immediately became my favorite progressive house album
after a few listens, and then eventually became my favorite EDM album over time as well.
?If It were you we'd never leave?, although not exceeding ?It's Artificial?, does manage to
match it's scope and mission with near perfection. This album is a very diverse EDM album,
with elements of progressive house, breakbeat, drum n' bass, and IDM. Throw in some
symphonic orchestrals and you have a delightfully epic listening experience and a lush
electronic album brimming with emotional charge and wrought beautiful soundscape
Sample: eason
3Tyler the Creator

After the disappointment that was Goblin, I wasn't sure what to expect from Wolf. My
expectations were dramatically exceeded by this alt hip-hop masterpiece of an album.
Haters of the OF collective and more specifically haters of Tyler will argue that he
belligerently refuses to mature ? however this is entirely the purpose of the complex and
emotional themes and the narrative that is told on Wolf. And furthermore.. face it, he
has musically matured substantially on this album. Tyler's beats improved, his
production was phenomenal, experimental and captivating, and the sheer amount of
shock value in the lyrics has been reduced notably. This album is still far from perfect, it
has it's stumbles ? but it's so thoroughly injected with personality, and it's also so
relatable. Naysayers will call me crazy for rating this so high, but for me it was just the
crown achievement of alt hip-hop for 2013.
2The Ocean

Your ReasA progressive sludge / post metal album on par in terms of both concept
and execution with Mastodon at their best. This is one of those albums that is so rich
and full and expressive that it transports you to another place while you listen to it.
As you are taken along on the path created by The Ocean, you feel yourself as a
listener becoming more and more submerged into murky depths. The album starts
light, airy, buoyant and sunny (for a sludge metal album, anyway) and grows
progressively darker and heavier as it treks along as if to create the feeling that you
are entering deeper waters. By the end of Pelagial, you are at the depth that light
cannot penetrate and sound cannot travel.
Sample: on
1The Dillinger Escape Plan
One of us is the killer

By far the strongest album yet to be created by math-core band DEP. More-so than
ever before, Dillinger Escape Plan manages to create progressive, experimental metal
without going down the road of the technical groove / 'djent' path that almost all other
contemporary progressive metal bands seem to go down. The band continues to avoid
the biggest pitfall of technical progressive metal ? namely a lack of accessibility. DEP
merges heavy metal, hardcore, and punk rock to bizarre, erratic time signatures and
spastic playing and somehow manages to produce a product that is fun, catchy, and
accessible enough to even see radio play if it were deemed so by the radio powers that
be. Look for hints of Trent Reznor and Mike Patton in Greg's vocals, and make sure to
listen closely to Ben's wild and eclectic guitar playing. This album was in close contest
with Pelagial, but I just found One of us is the Killer to be slightly more masterful in terms
of it's execution.
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