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|my top 25 albums of 2010|
2010. music was unleashed. this is what mauled me
Small Craft on a Milk Sea
why?: absolutely brimming with suspense and tension, i can't get enough of the way Eno's crafted this; full of mystery, dense secrecy and the occasional creeping musical assault... sort of like a tiny ambient assassin. this will leak tiny cryptic spiders into the fissures of your brain that are going to remain there for nights. no really... this is one of the most invasive-sounding album of the year and it's an ambient album. what the fuck?
play it... as you drift off to sleep? or towards purgatory. whatever
why?: is there such a thing as upbeat shoegaze? Kyte has somehow managed this feat. Dead Waves plays like a celestial lullaby with the thump of crashing meteors as the soft percussion behind it. i?m not sure i?ve ever heard something so blatantly colossal sounding be so soothing. the vocals that Nick Moon contributes to the whole thing only helps put you even more at ease. it?s hard to believe they recorded this LP in a small bedroom
play it... if you?re ever an astronaut, and you?re on a mission, and you feel homesick during your downtime.
|23||Toro Y Moi|
Causers of This
why?: alright, so it?s been the year of the chillwave, and as much as the sudden influx of lo-fi, chillwave shenanigans has recently made me want to pull my hair out in lieu of most of it being boring, hazy background junk that will be forgotten fairly quickly, toro y moi is quite the breath of fresh air. unlike other albums of the genre, it's dreamy, yet it draws attention to itself instead of letting the listener drift off in the fuzzy lo-fi swamp. if you feel like you're suffocating under the weight of too much mediocre chillwave, hit this up.
play it... while you sit on your roof smoking, drinking tea? fuck, this is chillwave, what else do you want me to say?
why?: definately #1 on my list of STUFF THAT DID NOT GET ENOUGH ATTENTION THIS YEAR. this album is so unforgivably gay, in the best way possible. every track is either a loaded gun of sanguine post-pop or soft, cuddly-worthy lullabies. this record plays like the end of a feel-good movie where the sun is either rising or setting but in both cases, the main characters are galloping off on horses, shitting optimism and nothing can go wrong. Go is like getting mollywhopped by sunshine.
play it... riding bikes, making out, elephants running down.
why?: a rash, noisy clusterfuck of clusterfucks. picture a bunch of horrifyingly anthropomorphized saxophones viciously devouring the corpses of a pride of poor, but equally horrifying-looking lions. how the fuck did all these lions die at the hands of a couple saxophones? was there a motive? or this is just a sport for these seemingly murderous saxophones? after a while, the discovery channel effect sets in; you'll forget how terrifying throat is as a piece of music. as the record appears to slowly organize itself, it'll brainwash you into thinking it has some sort of structure and harmony and by the end you'll have convinced yourself that this natural and fine and organic... until that last track, at which point you will be utterly confused about what you just listened to and whether or not you are sane. by the way, if you?re into musical theory, i fucking dare you to decode some of this? or play a rousing game of ?find the aylerian scale ascension!?
play it... if you?re walking downtown alone and you want to appear paranoid and disoriented to others
why?: this is the most psychotic, primal and all-around grooviest thing i've heard since daughters came out with 'hell songs' in 2006. ridiculous production value for a band with a strong DIY regiment. clocking in at a little over 20 minutes, this is the most succinct way of scrambling your organs, projectile-vomiting them all over a 100 metre radius, and having those fuckers dance in a fashion that isn't quite choreographed, and isn't a total berserking clusterfuck either.
play it... in your last moments of a post-rioting death
|19||Wild Orchid Children|
The Wild Orchid Children Are Alexander Supertramp
why?: if you're scrolling through your ipod trying to figure out what to listen to, scroll down towards the W's and get on this. Wild Orchid Children are Rage Against The Machine, The White Stripes, The Mars Volta and older Portugal. The Man and some 70s guitar-noodling band all wrapped up into one crushing, psychedelic package. this band likes to jam and they do not care if you think they do too many drugs. This band, along with Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground are what?s left of Gatsbys American Dream post-breakup, and are proof that the talent from that prior project is extremely versatile. no honestly, WOC's sound is one that standouts this year among a bunch of failed indie rock experiments and uninspired progressive music. everytime i listen to it, i find something else that's awesome.
play it... when you?re sober. it sounds good sober? no, it really does.
Pyramid of the Sun
why?: aside from sounding so spacey and stereotypically electronic that it might actually have been made to be the backing track to an educational biology video (or... the weather channel, kekekekeke)... this LP is fucking awesome. i tend to be pretty rude to any post-rock outfit that puts out something new and expects people to regard them as talented or original, because let's be honest here, haven't Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, A Silver Mt. Zion and GY!BE done everything that can be done? apparently not, actually, because damn. Pyramid of the Sun is an album of epic proportions. whoever had the idea of using more hard-hitting electronic noises and drawn out atmospheric sounds and putting them in the context of 'post-rock' (though i wouldn't put this album in that category) is a genius. i hope this sends a message to every other post-rock band out there to stop boring us to tears year after year.
play it... as you speed up the time-space continuum while you observe cells mitosing through a microscope
why?: absolutely booming and intrusive, but definitely daughters' most accessible release to date. if you like your noise rock to sound like terrifically deranged asylum inmates injected with raw talent, but for some reason you think that you'd also like to party naked and rough with these unhinged patients, this is for you. Daughters' self-titled is the most fun you could have while 4 manic monkeys with scalpels cleverly disguised as real instruments evasively cut away at your insides for their own amusement while a delusional doctor wanders around them in an unsettling fashion, yowling bizarre, macabre instructions in their direction.
play it... if you're choking on your own imaginary pretzels while you roll down a neverending hill of dry, fall grass.
How I Got Over
why?: tired of all the electronic-based, hyper processed hip-hop released lately that everyone seems to be peeing themselves over? The Roots has too, and in "How I Got Over", they took an organic direction and actually used these things call instruments. y'know, - a drum kit, a guitar and a bass that isn't trying to break into your brain. yes, i know, it's a shock and it's surprising that rappers even know what those are. damn, the roots gave never been bad or anything, but this is an exceptionally lush record. ah, and my hipster friends, need not even worry about it's credibility; these hip-hop legends foresaw this issue and got both Monsters of Folk AND Joanna Newsom to sing on a couple tracks. that, clever rhymes over a well-produced backdrop and a definite presence of jazz. music to spoil!
play it... if you want to kick back and relax but you don?t want to play any jazz because that would be too white.
Death Is Silent
why?: if you get a class of angsty IB students to produce a hip-hop album and somehow manage to make the end result equal parts sharps as there are sexy, you'd get kno's debut, which really, is exactly what i'd expect from someone out to solidify the Cunninlynguists' legacy. amazing production value, flawless writing and random injections of references to greek mythology, dante's inferno, medical textbook material and even a Jethro Tull sample to make the everyday hip-hop skeptic rethink his criticism of the genre.
play it... when shit gets real
why?: Kylesa are a bunch of bad-asses, doing their bad-ass activities in the most bad-assedly delicate way that bad-assery can be done. it's sludge metal in the least sludgiest way possible, often bordering on post-metal or heavy progressive rock. if you're a prog-metal type who's lost faith in anything that doesn't wank around on a fretboard track after track, or that says sludge metal is just another overtried genre that'll eventually all consolidate into one boring track and dry-swallow us whole (you know who you are), please listen to this. Spiral Shadow grabs you by the wrists, blindfolds you, and hoists you onto some monstrous horse-creature for some desert night-riding. if you are an infant, this will give you shaken baby syndrome... you'll probably like it. did i mention this band has dual vocals (female/male) and two drummers? bad-ass.
play it... if you like to be a bad-ass who does bad-ass things
why?: a psychedelic post-punk all-girl band that produces flawless guitar textures and makes the most out of ethereal vocals? thank goodness for these ladies, or else this list would be quite the misogynist sausagefest. Warpaint's debut LP manages to keep itself elegant and seductive throughout and doesn't stand to waste time getting sidetracked into filler-type showy bullshit. these girls have got something inviting that's hard to resist.
play it... in your bedroom/in the dark
why?: the first listen feels bizarrely nostalgic, as if you've heard it somewhere a long time ago... it's such a familiar-sounding LP that for a few seconds, i wondered why the hell i haven't listened to this record in so long, because, well... it's just so goddamn evocative. then you remember that you're listening to the new Deerhunter and you couldn't possibly have heard this elsewhere. Halcyon Digest is an incredibly cohesive album that's easy to succumb to due to its fragile and intimate guitar arrangements layered over a warm but solid atmosphere that teeters on being considered 'noise'. Deerhunter has slain me.
play it... as you traipse around in the airport after it has been evacuated, playing on the baggage carousel and pretending to be a TSA agent with your friends
Self Preserved While The Bodies Float Up
why?: this lp is straight-up an intoxicating mix of haunting and beautiful stand-alone tracks that go effortlessly well together. clocking in at around an hour, this album is in a constant flux of genres, but manages to contain itself in one spacey, but aphotic frame. Oceansize make jumps from sludge metal, to dreamy rock and then does some other gorgeous progressive shenanigans, and they do it all without sounding like a clashsome mixtape. sometimes harrowing and sometimes absorbed and pensive, this is definately one for anyone who lives their lives with a constant progressive soundtrack.
play it... on your prog-infused sailing excursions? it will keep the sharks at bay
We Were Exploding Anyway
why?: 65daysofstatic's latest LP sees the birth of a well-bred hydrid of a few different genres i didn't think could ever mesh so well together; post-rock, IDM, post-industrial and a dash of 8-bit. it's a surprising hit for me this year as it's quite different from the band's previous work, safe for their debut. here, they've returned to their roots by utilizing heavy, driven guitar and frequently inserting off-kilter electronic beat patterns under sampling and broad keyboard parts. this is quite ridiculous dynamic that makes their crescendos even more engaging to listen - and sometimes, even dance to.
play it... as you go on a late night jog, when the air is moistened after rainfall. you?ll understand when you do it
|9||The Glitch Mob|
Drink The Sea
why?: this is the richest electronic dance albums i've ever heard. production-wise, the DJs of TGM have layered a hard-hitting house sound, slipped in some trancy influences and then threw a robot on ecstasy into the mix. i can say with confidence that while some of them stand out more than others there isn't a boring or unoriginal-sounding track on this album. mother fucker, you are going to groove to this for nights and nights.
play it... if someone challenges you to a dance-off to the death. shit just got real, dance-edition.
Breakthroughs in Modern Art
why?: first off, let me say that six gallery is better at guitar than you are, and they're going to tell you about it. not to worry, they're not going to put you down and make you feel bad about your skills, instead they're going to pump you full of feel-good math rock juice and get you stoked about the fact that these guitar-diddling powers are in the hands of such heroes. breakthroughs in modern art is a beautiful LP. it will make your dreams come true, it will make your food taste better, it will clean your room and it will probably get you laid.
play it... if you?re trapped on a desert island and someone asks you what album you?d like to have if you were trapped on a desert island.
The Age of Adz
genre: indie/art rock/eletronica/experimental
why?: this is indie rock?s response to Kanye West?s new album, i actually had a really hard time evaluating this album and pretty much just sat in front of my computer with my mouth open for a while. Sufjan Stevens does NOT fuck around. this is Sufjan being truly dynamic. this is Sufjan taking massive risks (what the hell... is that autotune?). this is Sufjan being cinematic in the same way Peter Jackson is always cinematic. while it's not his most accessible work, and it's longer than i usually care for albums to be, unless you're a dull indie-hatin' fiend, it's hard to find something that actually out of place in this LP, which is surprising considering the amount of electronic-inflenced tracks that could've gone horribly wrong. The Age of Adz is impeccable.
play it... in the final hipster battle for middle earth
Anthropocentric is a near-perfect extension of Heliocentric, improved with even more aggression, more intensity, an even more precise direction and vocals that have significantly improved from the occasional awkwardness of those in Heliocentric. overall, this leads to being one of the most rewarding listens of the year and despite sneaking under the radar for whatever reason, the best progressive metal album of the year. this. fucking. rules.
play it... retrospectively in history, when the dinosaurs came into contact with chronos and the cosmos and all was lost.
|5||Sed Non Satiata|
Sed Non Satiata
why?: the best skramz album to come out this year really capitalizes on the growing trend of post-rock/screamo hybrids and manages to not skimp us out on the energy of either genre. fantastic, meaningful work on the captivating atmospheric breaks, completely void of the flowery, guitar-noodling filler that invades most albums like this come out this year. the vocals are emotive and convincing and lend well to the harsh, hardcore sound they've preserved from their early releases. further proof that french people know what the fuck they're doing and are unabashedly romantic while doing it.
play it... while goring your demons to death with a rib, freshly torn from your own body.
|4||The Dillinger Escape Plan|
why?: THIS IS MASSIVE. whether or not you were a fan of their previous releases, the evolution that is The Dillinger Escape Plan getting a ton more progressive on us and making a much more fragile-sounding album with a billion shifts of focus from heavy blasting skullfuckery to these creeping experimental bits that give me the shivers, has made Option Paralysis the undeniable gem in their discography. it is unpredictable and fierce and surprisingly accessible to anyone wanting to dabble into experimental metal that grinds your skull into a pulp.
play it... as the soundtrack to the premiere of your circus of trained war elephants
Ecailles de Lune
why?: this is a stunning record, in every way. i'm a fan of bands that don't overuse the power that black metal segments can have in a track and alcest does it perfectly here. the transitions between the focused and shoegaze-y and harsh, post-black metal aren't comparable to anything i've ever heard in an album of its genre. this record is pretty, melancholic, uplifting and heavy in one. beautiful textures, amazing guitar tones, dreamlike vocals.
play it... as you take yourself for a romantic walk on the beach with your self-hating self.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
why?: you knew this was coming. just in case you weren't aware, Kanye West is bat shit insane. this is the one record this year that matched the hype. after one listen of this, it's easy to see the reason why so many people hate Kanye West; he is ridiculously talented and versatile. this record is all sorts of things that i will now enumerate: classic, massive, legendary, original and maniacally beautiful (oh and dark and twisted and fantastic). damn, i don't even know what else to say. i'm thoroughly glad i've never really dissed mr. West (we?ll forget about 808s & Heartbreak, okay?) in my life because i would be choking down those words now. every beat is incredibly cinematic. every verse kicks you in the face and makes you shut the fuck up and listen (atleast until you can jam along, anyway). there is nothing on this album that was implanted as 'just filler' in order to make the tracks come up to 3:00. wow, just... wow.
play it... all the time. people will hate you.
|1||Portugal. The Man|
why?: fuck yeah. portugal. the man does not cease to blow my mind and american ghetto is not an exception. it is bass-tastic and sexy. it's not as if anyone hated the satanic satanist, but JUST IN CASE, this band manages to produce another album to get you addicted to them, because you know, you aren't already. this is like the native american equivalent of an album, in what concerns USING EVERYTHING. pauses, synth, perfect guitar tones, grumbling bass and suspiciously catchy everything. there is nothing to hate, except this band?s ridiculous talent and unrelenting, quickly rising legacy. if Portugal. The Man isn?t the next Radiohead, there is none. P.S. it's also hilarious when you first hear 'when the war ends' and you wonder what the hell you're listening to and how on earth it got to be labeled with 'portugal. the man'.
play it... all the time. everyone will love you
|1, 4, 14, and 16 are all awesome|
|6 (as well as heliocentric) really sucked ass, but good list besides that |
|fuck ya, 1 is my #1 as well|
|#4 is the only one I've heard of :3|
|@ AnarchistFish, time to get downloading.|
25, 23, 16, 9, 4 and 2
|Great descriptions man. Really like the one for 8.|
|awesome list in so many ways|
"Go is like getting mollywhopped by sunshine"
best description of that album ever written
|@AnarchistFish leave yo cave, son.|
thanks guys. writing descriptions was super fun. more people should do it.