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10.15.14 My 25 03.10.14 Just Finished A Lo-fi Folk Album
01.16.14 Albums I Loved 201301.16.14 Albums I Loved 2013
01.16.14 Albums I Loved 201309.28.13 Rec Me Lo-fi Folk Albums

My 25

this is my 25 fav albums as it stands on this day and hour. subject to change. rwould like recs. you rrrcan make fun of me if it makes you feel better :).
1godspeed you! black emperor
f#a# (infinity)

i can't not put this at the first slot. i know this band has a reputation of being a sputnik camp band, where everyone pretends to like it to look cool or something (see: lots of other bands on this list), but if you are using that as a reason not to check them out you are starving yourself. i have never heard album so heavily affecting. the instrumentation is diverse, the mood is diverse (in my opinion), and the flow is perfect. even though the instrumentation is sparse at times, it never feels thin, and i'm never not entirely engaged throughout the whole thing, even though i've heard it like 5k times. great politics in this band as well. if you haven't seen them live, you owe it to yourself. it is the best physical trauma.
2the mountain goats

i feel like a bit of a traitor not putting this band at no. 1, but that's time at work i suppose. the moutain goats have been with me through thick and thin. i was listening to the mountain goats the first and last time i tried to kill myself, i was listening to mountain goats when i got my full ride scholarship to school in the mail, and i'm listening to the mountain goats right now. john darnielle is easily my favorite celebrity, music or otherwise, he is truly immortal. he's easily my favorite lyricist. he also has a ridiculous output, which is why i was able to listen to the band constantly for 5 years without getting bored. awesome awesome band/solo project (depending on the time period). also, discovering unreleased mountain goats gems is one of my favorite hobbies.
3neutral milk hotel
in the aeroplane over the sea

the amount of hate this album receives on sputnik is a little lost on me, but it has a 4.5 average so whatever. beautifully written, well executed, emotionally affecting album. had a big effect on me at age 14. at 20, i've heard it enough times that it doesn't do too much for me anymore, but i know all the songs by heart and it's pretty much ingrained into my soul.
the seer

another sputnik mainstay. out of all the bands on this list, this one is my newest love, so maybe they don't actually belong this high, but i just can't stop listening. given more time, my favorite release may change (probably to "soundtracks", from what everyone else says), but right now it's "the seer". i don't need to beat the dead horse: heavy, affecting, unique, blah blah blah.
5modest mouse
this is a long drive for someone with nothing to..

modest mouse was the defining band of my later childhood. my dad used to play the moon and antarctica on road trips, and turn down the volume for a split second whenever isaac said fuck. i don't think i noticed for like 3 years. modest mouse are the true kings of rock and roll, and i think they're the most important band of our generation (i'm half joking). long drive is my personal favorite, partially because of the production and partially because i think they felt able to push the envelope more than on any of the other releases, besides sad sappy sucker i guess. isaac's vocal performance on this album is one of the most inspired and genuine that i've heard, and the grooves are impeccable in their imperfection. it's just a really, really Human album, which may or may not make sense to you. the guitar work is killer too.
6johnny hobo and the freight trains
love songs for the apocalypse

if modest mouse defined my childhood, johnny hobo defined my high school years. i used to play these songs with my friends in basements, parks, the band room bathroom, pretty much everywhere. this album makes being an anxious nihilist seem just fine. i can't really subscribe to this ideology anymore, and i don't think pat does either, but this songwriting is undeniably great, and nobody plays and sings with more soul. this is what i was listening to while snorting pills and drinking 40s and forgetting the real reasons why i was doing those things.
7against me!
reinventing axl rose

this album is kind of hard to talk about, since what against me! means to me has really changed in the past years. i did a presentation about laura jane grace for a gender studies class last semester, and i used 8 full hours of sleep as the background music, but i'm not sure that the sentiment expressed in the song and the subject material i was talking about are that reconcilable. this album used to be my favorite "political" punk album, but now i'm not so sure that's really what it was. for me, it's a lot easier to feel the loneliness in this album than anything else. it's still one of my favorites, obviously, and everything about it is great, but it used to be a "drink 40s and break shit" experience, whereas now it's about "get sad in my room and don't talk to anyone".
8circle takes the square
as the roots undo

how i feel about this album changes quite a bit. i actually found it really difficult to get into, i think in part because the drumming quality on the album is kind of erratic. i had owned it for about a year, and was really into certain parts and not into others, when i saw them live last autumn, and oh my fucking god. i've never screamed so loud. the execution in the live show was just so much better, the band was so in sync. i felt like that's how the songs were supposed to sound. then i listened to the album again and was Way more into it, i got into the imperfection of it. the songwriting on the album is great and i love the dual vocals and the earthy imagery and the jagged guitar riffs. nobody does emo music like this, but that drumming still kinda bothers me occasionally.
catch for us the foxes

this could probably be higher on the list. i don't know. aaron weiss is another immortal music celeb, and this band kills it in every way. no one expresses spirituality better. from the horns to the group vocals to the horns, this shit is powerful.
10 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
I See a Darkness

the 3.5 review on this album pisses me off. the title track is the best song ever written, but besides that, this is a deeply contemplative and unique album. oldham's voice is so palpable, it's beautiful. don't listen to it on your birthday, though. it definitely brings you down a bit. will oldham is really a mainstay in lo-fi american folk music of the past couple decades, and i think this is his benchmark release, although there are a few others that are pretty equally amazing.
11built to spill
perfect from now on

doug martsch's son was one of my best friends in junior high/high school, and i've spent a fair amount of time with his family, which helped me to appreciate this music on a more intimate level. that being said, the musicianship on this album and their other stuff is just the best in indie rock. this band is underappreciated. doug is a fucking guitar god, and the lyrics hit really hard as well. a great, complicated listen.
12okkervil river
down the river of golden dreams

this could also be higher on the list. this and their first album are some of the best "indie-folk" (whatever the fuck that means) ever released. will sheff is an incredible lyricist, and the compositions are all dense and layered, not to mention gorgeous. some of these songs really are just without equal in terms of pure beauty.

slint's sharp instrumentation informed the way i play guitar and drums to a large degree. they sound like a spider. the songs are tense, haunting, and always creepy. the lyrics and vocal delivery are unique and the songs always feel like they could break down at any minute, but then they just come back stronger. not surprised that they broke up after this; the album really feels like a culmination of bad anxiety.
the doctor came at dawn

this is the point in the list at which things get a little more spotty and/or subject to change. this album and older smog in general taught me to appreciate silence in music. the last track in particular is so fucking poignant precisely Because there is so much empty space. when i was really into more lo-fi folk music, this album seemed just different from all the other ones in the way it was presented. like i see a darkness (see: above), it will bring you down.
15hot water music
fuel for the hate game

hot water music was the band, along with alkaline trio, that got me into punk music (i considered putting "goddammit" in this slot). i will admit that i never listen to either of these bands anymore, but they both had a big influence on how music affects me. the songwriting on this one is awesome. the raw production was very new to me when i first heard, as were chuck's rough vocal, but the catchiness allowed it to act as a bridge between shitty and non-shitty music for me. amazing album, i just can't really get into pop-punk anymore.
the moon is a dead world

best drums. this is the album i would listen to while playing basketball, if i ever played basketball anymore. the musicianship and execution on this album is fucking perfect, these guys are relentless. i don't know what genre this really belongs to, but it's my favorite hardcore album at the moment.
17blackbird raum

fucking cool band. another great "political punk" album. this is the only folk-punk band that i really listen to anymore, the compositions are lush and the group vocals are so pretty. the ideology is cool, too. they do a really good job of expressing environmental concerns in a way that doesn't seem generic or contrived, i really like it.
18electric wizard

this and sleep's "holy mountain" originally taught me the value of "heaviness" in music. i don't have much more to say about this. it's a really fun album and it sounds great. lots of awesome riffage and fun lyrics. it's really just fun.

this album fucking slays. the production is amazing, and so many riffs holy fuck. chuck's lyrics and vocals are awesome, and they rhythms are all complex and super well-executed. a really intense and engaging listen that doesn't let up. i'm not that into death metal anymore, but i'll always enjoy this one.
20elliott smith
elliott smith

this is the only elliott smith album that really stood the test of time for me. it is a beautifully sad album with so, so many killer one-liners. the guy really had a way with words. the production is really cutting, and his voice is really crushing at times. a really potent and devastating album from a well-renowned artist.
21city of caterpillar
city of caterpillar

one of the albums that first got me into emo/screamo music, this band has a strong cult following for a reason. the awesome crescendos and breath-taking climaxes on this album cement it as a screamo mainstay for me. i haven't heard a band in the genre that rely so heavily on that dynamic contrast, i really love it. vocals and lyrics are very original too. band feels like their influences, which is always a good thing.
22daniel johnston

oh, dj, why do you torment me? if you haven't heard this guy, you probably need to. some of the most raw and heartfelt music ever. it's awesome that he's so renowned. that being said, songs like "tears, stupid tears" fuck me up more than anything else. i don't know what it is, but daniel johnston has it, and it's really gut-wrenching. the documentary "the devil and daniel johnston" is a really amazing and revealing experience as well.
23the brave little abacus
just got back from the discomfort

my favorite emo band at the moment, the brave little abacus have a very unique and raw sound that i really can't get enough of. once i actually took the initiative to read the lyrics, i was floored. really cutting stuff. the arrangements are really layered and beautiful, and the band is clearly synchronized, they really groove. their other full- length is just as good. a really intimate listen.

this album is pretty tough to describe. it's very hypnotic, and for someone who is just starting to delve into drone and ambient, it's pretty much perfect. man, i can really get into some slow moving music sometimes. i don't know where that came from.
25titus andronicus
the monitor

this is in here cause it's my favorite album of the decade so far. bite me. punk music (is this really punk music?) that makes me cry just wins. such an emotionally affecting and angry album. fuck everything.
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