Alex Beebe

Reviews 126
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Last Active 01-26-14 9:00 pm
Joined 04-07-12

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01.04.15 Breakingthefragile's 2014 Of Whatever I 10.18.14 Aesop Waits
07.04.14 Breakingthefragile's 2014: First Half 02.23.14 Farewell Sputnik
12.29.13 Breakingthefragile's 2013 Of Pretty Coo 09.23.13 Breaking Bad...Bad Episode?
04.07.13 One Year Sputnik Anniversary02.07.13 breakingthefragile's 91 Favorite Albums
01.09.13 Breakingthefragile's Top 50 Albums Of 2 12.15.12 20 Favorite Double Albums
06.29.12 The 10 Best Albums Of The First Half Of

Breakingthefragile's 2013 Of Pretty Cool Albums And Some Overlooked Stuff As Well

Truth be told, my choices for the best albums of the year would mostly be the exact same albums that everyone is putting on their end of the year lists, and I don't think the site needs another list with Deafheaven, Run the Jewels, ?Like Clockwork, and others of the universally lauded sort this year. So this is just simply a list of some albums I personally dug the most, some acclaimed favorites I couldn't help but include, and some albums I've found to be underrated around the site. The first five spots are reserved for EPs, and the rest are the traditional 50 album slots. I tried to include a well-rounded mix of all genres for an amazing year in music overall. Here's to a promising 2014!
55Submotion Orchestra

It?s not a period piece by any means, but Submotion Orchestra have decided to dedicate a little bit of their time to engulf neo-jazz with abyssal production and some salacious female vocals.
54FKA twigs

Sort of like a female Tricky in a way. Abrasive whispers of lust that permeate throughout trip hop music, which is a respectable route to go down these days when it?s so easy for bedroom electronic artists to succumb to the popular draw of downtempo.
53Soap and Skin

Female solo artists without a doubt comprised the majority of the EPs that I dug this year, and even though it doesn?t breach the ten minute mark, Sugarbread doesn?t feel as short and sweet as its name may imply. Yoko Ono-esque shrieks may be the garnish for this hazy fraction of post-industrial music, but within the minimalism to be found here, Soap and Skin has unearthed an enhanced level of intimacy through brevity.

After getting Jamie Woon to aid in production and scoring a tour with The Weeknd as an opening act, the sheer quality of this downcast yet alluringly catchy EP cements Banks as a young artist with loads of potential and a promising future. This is one to watch in the independent R&B scene, we may have a future queen on our hands in 2014.
51Active Child

The voice of an angel now comes with the moves like Jagger.
False Idols

His mindset may still be in the 90s, but it?s nice that Tricky sounds like he?s mumbling the lyrics of other songs to himself while he?s driving towards a promising destination, rather than grumbling his paranoid musings while delirious in bed from drug intake.
Berberian Sound Studio

If this is anything to go by, I?m sure that if the fictional film that this collection of disturbing guttural noises and droning white noise was made to score ever came to be in reality, it wouldn?t be NEARLY as terrifying as this soundtrack standalone.
48Toro Y Moi
Anything in Return

A much more light-headed and ethereal approach to the shimmering R&B developed by How to Dress Well. Recommended to soothe undergraduate hormonal angst.
Silence Yourself

This. Is. Post-punk. Attention to the infinite number of bands that can?t stop covering Joy Division, take notes on this assortment of frantic jams where every instrument is audible and prevalent.
Deleted Scenes

So I?ve noticed Sputnik is into awkwardly cheesy throwback R&B that talks about sex and relationships like they?re losing hair and gaining new silver ones (Blood Orange, Justin Timberlake). In that case, I?ll refer you to ?Nono/Yoyo? which is like making sweet motel love to 80s porn VHS tapes that didn?t have labels but you settled for it anyway.
45The 1975

I want you to imagine Kings of Leon except for a few things: not terrible (still with me?), draws heavily from Brian Eno-esque atmospheric production, and pumps out quick-jabbing hooks for a concoction that brings to mind images of the dance floor and a bird?s eye overview of the dance floor.
44Young Fathers

Here we see lo-fi production, left-field hip hop, and jazz-influenced R&B all settled down happily into a polygamist marriage.
43Sigur Ros

Any fan who has grown wearisome of the very light and high-spirited fluffiness of their previous two albums should find a lot to love in Kveikur. Sigur Ros has made a partial return to the bleak and icy soundscapes of ( ), and while it is at times darker and more somber than anything they've put out in the last decade, this album has as much sonic diversity as ?g?tis byrjun. Some tracks venture back into instances of sweeping melancholia, but at the same time it retains the whimsical joy of Takk..., and the nostalgic innocence of Me? su? ? eyrum vi? spilum endalaust, and hell, it even provides a stark contrast to all of this through some harsh blasts of distortion. But what's most admirable about Kveikur - as is with every Sigur Ros album - is how seamlessly and beautifully everything comes together to forge an all-around mystifying experience.
Without Your Love

Say what you want about witch house as a genre, but this guy?s music instantaneously immersed me into its submerged depths with its forlorn samples and unnerving tone.
41Bosnian Rainbows
Bosnian Rainbows

It?s sad that this project spawned from Omar Rodriguez Lopez neglecting The Mars Volta, but there could not be a better vocalist than Teri Gender Bender singing over his wailing guitar. This is the most subdued that Lopez has been in a long time, especially following a string of absent-minded solo albums of unfocused chaos. An Omar that shows some restraints and sets limitations for himself is an interesting one to hear, and it?s nice to hear the beautiful and abstract singing of a woman keeping his chords in line.
Chewed Corners

Among the countless electronic music producers out there, this guy still isn?t getting the attention he deserves sadly. You can help by showing this album to any fans of Flying Lotus, Four Tet, Aphex Twin, or Squarepusher. It?s music that?s worth sharing even if you can?t figure out how to type the ?.?
The Kitchen

It?s really a shame that this came out as late into the year as it did, because this is an album that is packed to the brim with guests, but never feels bloated, over- stuffed, or disorderly. After the underwhelming disappointment that Deltron 3030?s return was this year, The Kitchen might be the best thing Del the Funky Homosapien has been heavily involved with in quite some time. There?s cruisers, even some bangers, and an abundance of clever raps that just want to show you a good time.
Body Music

Step up your game, La Roux, you?re about to get knocked down.
37Norma Jean

Much more distorted and grizzly than your typical Christian metalcore. Even Underoath wasn't this vile.
36I Am Legion
I Am Legion

An entire album made for those who couldn?t get enough of ?Shellshock.? I?m one of those people. It?s personally hard for me to say no to grime this filthy, especially when Noisia is making sure the music being it all is nothing less than pulse- pounding.
Tales of Us

Glistening dream pop with a ravishing noir sheen that finds the former trip hop princess utilizing synths for more refined purposes than attempting to make polish- laden post-disco sound anything but filtered.
Nothing Was the Same

Contrary to popular belief, a lot of things are the same actually, but they?re things I honestly didn?t want to ever change. 40s sullen production still leaves a coat of frost over goose bump-ridden skin, and Drake is still the most open rapper about his emotional injuries, but remains thoroughly confident and always offers a witty wise- crack with a smirk and wink for reassurance. ?Own It? has contagious melodies despite its unconventional framework, and the trap tracks can sound a bit odd at first, but will undoubtedly become growers as Nothing Was the Same defies Drake?s own conventions so much that it?s hard not to get on board with.
33Dave Porter
Breaking Bad, Vol. 2

There?s no other soundtrack on television, or even in film, that sounds like the magic Dave Porter works. The way this man integrates the inspiration from the show into the score to make a seamlessly matching soundtrack solidifies Vol. 2?s cinematic quality as being comparable to something you?d hear booming from the silver-screen.
32Alter Bridge

The album I have always wanted Alter Bridge to make, and one that I predicted they were steadily progressing towards unleashing upon the rock radio waves. Mark Tremonti completely lets loose and offers up relentlessly bruising riffs and solos over surprisingly forward-thinking and layered song structures. With Myles Kennedy returning from under Slash?s wing and never sounding more vocally impressive, Fortress cements Alter Bridge as the most technically proficient and naturally talented band in a marginally vapid genre that?s mostly devoid of a partnership of brains and bronze.
31Black Milk
No Poison No Paradise

Raps from a devious mind and equally devilish beats.
30Robert Glasper Experiment
Black Radio 2

I thought the first Black Radio was a formula for success, and thankfully making a sequel that capitalizing on the quality music harvested from cool raps over smooth jazz in a radio playlist like setting hasn?t worn the formula too thing yet. Though I think Black Radio 3 would probably be stretching the chances a bit.

Most schizophrenic Tetris soundtrack I?ve ever heard.
The Ways We Seperate

If you?ve ever wanted an artist similar to The xx, but focuses more on the downtempo side of minimalism than the shoegaze inspired side, than this is the album for you.
The Night's Gambit

Predatory underground hip hop on the midnight prowl; ready to pounce on its willing victims within a world rife with urban decay and street crime blues.

Heavily textured and cerebral dream pop that will turn heads for those who are fond of Bjork and Fever Ray.
The North Borders

Ambient trance-step music for hung-over mornings during a vacation to the tropics.
24Chelsea Wolfe
Pain Is Beauty

It?s incredibly refreshing to hear a Goth rock record that isn?t incessantly concerned with plugging its own faux-satanic-laced self-loathing in every conceivable crevice of the music. Chelsea?s stripped down and rustic take on doom folk is surged with razor-sharp industrial influences on Pain is Beauty, and the result is a pitch black atmosphere whirring about like a storm over a reserved yet pained heart.
23Tim Hecker

It?s vivid, visceral, and speaks loudly through the most somber quiet. It?s Tim Hecker, folks.
22Stone Sour
House of Gold and Bones - Part 2

In my experience (and quite a lot of unfortunate experience with post-rock at that) modern post-nu metal alternative rock bands who try to make double concept albums never follow through with material supporting the hype because they either deflate the themes with radio appeal, or fail to have the concept as the main priority. Corey Taylor penned this dystopian story arc along with a comic book tie- in, and the whole thing is so focused, well-thought out, and panders to single- ready songs as well as some interesting music experiments for the band and hard rock genre as a whole, that it?s a wonder why the front man didn?t do this with a Slipknot record years ago.

The only thing you really need to say to sell me on this is ?Chino Moreno in a post- rock band.? Of course Isis with Deftones? vocals goes hand in hand marvelously.
20Cult of Luna

Charging, imperialistic post-metal that never stalls or meanders, but lunges across mountainous terrain, and never becomes too far gone from the earth to ground itself for some shockingly accessible metal tracks.
19Danny Brown

Who doesn?t love Danny Brown? I think the worst you can be is indifferent towards this character. His voice can come off as annoying to the casual listener, but it?s difficult not to grow to adore it, but Danny Brown has never failed to express musically, and Old finds him catering to every demographic within his ever-growing fan-base. Packed with incendiary trap cuts that reinvent wild party-tailored hip hop in the best way possible, and somber tracks reflecting on the sweet sorrow of frequent partying, Old is the Danny Brown album that can appeal to everyone.
With Love

A very solid collection of garage tracks that?s strung together over two discs with capacious production. Zomby is keen on the right limits for everything, and With Love mostly benefits from this restraint by having brief tracks that delve into cavernous spaces.
17The Dillinger Escape Plan
One of Us Is the Killer

Continuing to provide evidence for why they?re one of the only metal bands around today whose music is malignant as hell despite pummeling you with its hyperactively calculated riffs and totalitarian rage.
The Legend of Korra: Original Music from Book One

I said it before in my review, and I?ll say it again: ?The Legend of Korra: Original Music From Book One is the most mature, daring, and adventurous album of music that we?ll probably ever receive under the Nick Records label.? I still stand by these claims because it?s difficult to argue with such diverse couplings of Dixieland jazz, traditional Chinese music, and western orchestral music.
15Ghostface Killah
Twelve Reasons to Die

Restoring staggering grit and densely nocturnal production back into paranoia- charged horror hip hop.
14Johnny Marr
The Messenger

A gripe I almost always have about solo albums from guitarists is that they're far more interested in constantly flashing their guitar skills than writing actual worth- while songs. Thankfully, Johnny Marr has delivered some of the best guitar-oriented rock music in general this year.

Flourishing and whimsical ambient music that's gargantuan and vast in scope like an expansive desert being viewed from space.
12Jenny Hval
Innocence Is Kinky

Confounding music as far as detailing a genre description is concerned, but it's freaky, eyebrow raising, and stimulates your brain (and hopefully only your brain).
The Sun Comes Out Tonight

The catchiest and most antagonizing cuts of bulky industrial rock muscle from the band that helped make the genre just a tad bit more accessible to the modern hard rock community, and is consistently doing so once again in a more appealing way than ever.
10How to Destroy Angels
Welcome Oblivion

Gone are the instances of painfully awkward S&M-themed interplay between Reznor and Maandig, Welcome Oblivion is a true display of caustically dynamic chemistry between the Nine Inch Nails' frontman and his wife. This album can be as hostile and bursting at the seams with glitches and hisses as the heft of NIN's music manages, but Maandig's gently alluring croons and disconcerting wails soaked in static gives this music a foreboding and ominous touch that Trent can't quite crack anymore, and through this she has proved herself as a valuable asset that makes How to Destroy Angels more than just a Trent Reznor side-project.
9Daft Punk
Random Access Memories

Daft Punk is teaching us all how to boogie again whether you like it or not. Random Access Memories takes us back to glory days of the earliest form of Daft Punk's source of inspiration: disco and raw bass-licking funk. The 70-plus minute run-time slips away as you dance time out the window through the irresistibly catchy singles. Daft Punk have built more of a time machine than an album, and in doing so, they've paved the way for a future of IDM with groovy life breathed back into it.
8Steven Price

Never before on a soundtrack have I heard ambient music with an atmosphere this monolithic and immense. These are gripping, suspenseful, tense, and suffocating compositions that rapidly rise in tension up into the void above before they wither away into the unnerving calm of bleak quietness and even chilling silence. The tracks perfectly toggle and transition between beautifully spacious and complacent meditative music, and breathlessly chest-crushing eruptions of noise both as claustrophobic and vastly deep as the perpetual space that the film takes place in.
7Janelle Monae
The Electric Lady

Were there ever concept albums in the R&B genre this theatrical before Janelle Monae came along? With her lovable quirkiness, flair for the cinematic, intriguing ambition, and love for a blend of hip hop, neo-soul, and 80s arena rock, this little lady rightfully has everyone's ears, and is singlehandedly rejuvenating a genre that is admittedly struggling in the thematic department.
6No Bird Sing
Definition Sickness

Without a doubt the most obscure take on the concept of rap rock that you will ever hear. Definition Sickness is equal parts riveting spoken word and vigorous conscious hip hop as it is experimental rock, post-rock, and exquisitely rustic and organic ambient music.
5Melt Yourself Down
Melt Yourself Down

The most spastic avant-garde jazz to surface in a long while. Melt Yourself Down couldn't be bothered with progressive leanings or complex song structures, and that really doesn't matter when out of all the music making noise out there, this album manages to grab the most ears with its unique clatter.
4Julia Holter
Loud City Song

Julia Holter might be my new favorite artist and one of the best of the 2010s. There's nothing else exactly like Loud City Song, and it?s an album that rewards repeated listens with a growing appreciation for indisputably interesting music.
3James Blake

I've returned to this album so many times over because it's honestly hard to believe just how impeccably Blake has perfected his craft of core-rattling soul melodies echoed through dissonant dub tones. This is the peak of this man's artistry, and with the lush ambient production, captivating rhythms, and infectious verses, it's clear that Blake has finally found the human core among the restless searching through robotic experimentation.
Flowers For My Father

A beautifully crafted atmosphere aids in making Sadistik's cathartic poetry and vulnerable delivery chill to the bone and resonate within the psyche. One of the scarce but essential winter hip hop albums.
1Kanye West

Aside from it being absolutely vicious, primal, and ruthlessly aggressive in its vulgarity-induced industrial assault, I've realized over time that the main reason this has become my favorite Kanye West album is because it was the first collection of his music that refused to let me escape for its entire run-time, and I myself didn't want it to let me go long after it ended.
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