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07.02.17 plane recs 2017 06.12.17 plane
12.23.16 2016 12.28.15 2015
10.22.15 Of All Time, Circa 201512.02.13 2013
01.02.12 201105.02.11 Of All Time, Circa 2011
12.07.10 2010 06.20.10 2000s
12.17.09 2009

plane recs 2017

15 chart-topping events to further disappoint your uncle
15Do Make Say Think
Stubborn Persistent Illusions

One can forgive the slight bluster after an eight year hiatus, and perhaps still miss the sense of humor that knowingly deflated, with great relief, the grander moments of their early discography, creating a universe we could stretch our palms around. What is etched here feels advantageous of the void left not only in their album slate but the genre orchestrated here as a whole. So, again, a bit grander perhaps than we want. But one can't hold it against a couple of good ol' Canadian boys for finding purpose and comfort in scaling these heights when their shared talents are writ with such harmony, effortlessly, and the culminating effect gives the sense that such sweep of righteous instrumental optimism is exactly what we need.
14Fleet Foxes

Robin Pecknold wants to make music that resonates with his soul and not just from it, so it might be more than a little offensive to suggest that the Foxes’ third album works by its approximations of careerist ambitions. The meta-narrative that exhibits a paranoia around its own success; the prog-like tentacles that split tracks into halves and quarters; and yet, still!, the ever-pervading sense of well-meaning attitudes and here-to-please earnestness. Structurally, it is the Fleet Foxes album most dependent on its production; thematically, it is the first Fleet Foxes album to soar despite the charge. It is an album of wonderful contradictions: heavily processed and melodic; stately and shaggy; meticulously constructed and aloof; distant and undeniably personal. While I maintain Fleet Foxes have yet to make a masterpiece, for the first time, I believe it is in them yet.
The Assassination of Julius Caesar

Something to appreciate: though they ought for as many different type of fan as albums they’ve recorded in their twenty year span, Ulver seem to have unified their fanbase into something of a cult item itself. Who else can say they’ve weathered the arc from black metal purists to synth-pop absurdists and seen the light for all its 11 brilliant shades between? Atmospherics can properly attest for all, and the shifting line-up to do, but there is a consistent talent of vision that keeps the listener, and the moniker, in check. ‘Julius Caesar’ then as divorced of histrionics: a banger, melodrama with a side-eye, ‘80s pastiche a half-step late but instincts that ring without date of expiration. Ulver will always be something else, but one could argue there’s nothing quite like Ulver.
12Blanck Mass
World Eater

A friend in college lived in a makeshift venue that catered to what was left of the fringe music when people stopped putting on their airs and were willing to admit that swaying in time to their buddy’s DIY-RIYL: Wavves project was preferable to the maelstrom industrial constructed within the cramped cathedral my pal rented, sounds so punishingly loud and physically, confrontationally intricate as to harness the power to alter the melodic structure of the tinnitus settling upon the poor souls willing to subject. For every bleating drone alarm outfit there would be some sullen, impossibly cool some-other with her box of cables and VHS goreporn to obliterate my senses and the very cosmic energy around us such that our idea of pop music changes incrementally with every ground-moving exchange of ideas and noise and time. ‘World Eater’ is not that, but it makes me nostalgic. Sigh. Some chewy tunes here.

This album will be overhyped and overplayed and come always, even for its defenders (“we’re not defenders!”), with a litany of caveats. But alone in my room with a little record called ‘Melodrama’, I do as all great records do, pop or otherwise: become transported beyond myself to a world that makes better sense (and opportunity) of my own. Let’s always be wary of that which is so easily accessible, but also appreciate the tides that change so which pop stars can choose to speak in plainly subversive tongues that hold their truths and subtext so blatantly, and not as something fashionable to trojan horse the same bullshit it came dressed in.
10Jens Lekman
Life Will See You Now

Always champion an artist as wholesome as Jens Lekman, because a dude who got sad we abandoned him and his art for whatever became fashionable at the turn of the third quarter in 2012 took his relative failures and wilting self-esteem and made a work of heady realism and hard-earned optimism. We might view eccentric works like Lekman as something that “find their time,” and perhaps 2007 was that, but those who can stomach the sweet bite will find nothing but nutrition and just shy-a baker’s dozen reasons for shaking your derrière in the uncouth ways of 40 year olds daydreaming.
9Ex Eye
Ex Eye

For your consideration: Colin Stetson is the sexiest man alive. I’m pretty sure this would be a pretty good album otherwise, but here is the constant throttle and clear charge of that single breath turned hellion that renders me, um, breathless. The grace of such clearly delineated lines cut through the layers of soot and gravel, this explosive metal album etched into stone with the tones of one man’s saxophone. Stetson doesn’t need validation for what on paper could easily devolve into gimmick considering the amount of work he has produced, all of which speak for themselves thankyouverymuch, but the breadth of destruction and the monument of vision is consistently something to behold; and as always, he is impeccably matched by collaborators who push this self-titled behemoth into a roiling, entertaining wonder.
8Laurel Halo

Laurel Halo makes beach music for interplanetary travel, half-baked structural approximations of drunken Southern drawls teaching a sentient Moog synthesizer the samba. An album that presents its stumble as a matter of principle, and we accept the bargain of falling for it.
7Kendrick Lamar

QUOTE MYSELF. “Like using a jackhammer to cut paper angels but somehow now it's a Renaissance painting.”
6Animal Collective
Meeting of the Waters

Tempting though it is to write this one off as an easy, resourceful return-to-form for a band whose public goodwill seemed deterministically opposed to that of their actual musical output–– a generous, friendly populist distillation of the pop rock eccentricities foiled by grander, weirder impulses–– this one is “just another” in a long line of thoughtfully crafted and movingly humane albums that sounds as of a piece to the collective as it does singular in complete design. The trademark elements are present, attune to the thematic richness of its creation (there’s a Vice documentary for that), and the results are organic in a way that, even for this Centipede Hz diehard, are refreshing. Don’t call it a comeback.

Paranoid, dark, troubling psychic withdrawal of eternal golden hour rays through the canopy that defined the namesake legacy crescendo to which this album plays a sinister foil. For fans only; altruistic reasons.

A quiet, lonely afternoon reshaped as the universe’s gift to you.
3Vince Staples
Big Fish Theory

Maximalist foil to prevalent trends that suggests we needn’t forego a good thought-cleanse with visceral, bass-bombing production if our fourth or fifth listens provoke screening for gold in the grime. And through it all, Staples, that distinct voice of reason getting down with the rest of us. Nice to see age is sometimes not just a number. For the sanity.

RIYL: Björk, Aphex Twin, falsettos to cut a diamond, the way a fire encroaches upon a lone cottage, the seductive entrance of sharp utensils in the moonlight before guts spill, intense emotional reactions unfit for the English language
1Perfume Genius
No Shape

What once blossomed from the bosom of Mike Hadreas was the animated vapor of pop tunes that echoed through the halls of his subconscious, a songwriting technique that gave the fragile skeletons their sharp edges and thus their strength. Snuggle too close and one risks laceration. So what happens when the production balloons around these jaunts and cushions them? Something far more interesting: a world we are drawn in to share with these untouchable others, rather than one we ever unwittingly observe from the distance. We share a no shape here. All together now.
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