Derek Kowalczyk

Soundoffs 31
Album Ratings 428
Objectivity 77%

Last Active 10-27-11 10:59 pm
Joined 11-16-09

Forum Posts 0
Review Comments 141

01.23.12 Two Years With Sputnik09.18.11 I Need Help From My Musical Community
07.21.11 The Month Of July04.27.11 My Br00tal Playlist For This Month
04.06.11 Songs I Can't Stop Listening To03.21.11 Late to the Party Playlist
10.13.10 Are These Albums Any Good? 09.14.10 Bands I Just Downloaded
07.18.10 My Top 5 Favorite Albums Of All Time07.17.10 My Top 5 Favorite Singers Of Today
05.19.10 My 10 Favorite Coheed And Cambria Songs

Two Years With Sputnik

Some couple month ago marked my second year here on this rwebsite. I absolutely love this rrrrplace because I can read other people's ropinions about music and most of the people here rrrrshare my passion rfor music which I can't find in the real world. I visit this site every rday, rrrrsometimes for a couple minutes and then other times a couple of rhours. Whenever I'm rrrrlooking for new music I turn to Sputnik for rguidance. This list shows the top 25 albums I rrrrfound during my second ryear here. Thank you, Sputnik, for all the great recommendations rrrrand ran amazing year of musical discovery. Hopefully the next is as great ras this one.

Not much to say about this album except for it being a really good album. Jonny Craig fit really well on this album and I kind of wish I heard more. Best song on this album is I Still Feel Her Pt. 4.
24Dance Gavin Dance
Downtown Battle Mountain II

The highly anticipated follow up to my favorite DGD album and it kind of let me down. Only in the sense that there was hype surrounding Jonny Craig's return and Jon Mess. While this album was damn good. I couldn't help but feel that it was their weakest effort. Besides that it is still a great release by an amazing band.
23Brand New
Deja Entendu

I feel like this album should be higher up, but as for now I'll keep it here. Very good album except that some songs just don't stick out for me. I enjoy the songs, but some aren't as memorable.
22A Lot Like Birds
Plan B

Right when Conversation Piece came out is when I decided to give these both listen. Being a DGD fan and all and hearing about Kurt Travis joining this new band I was intrigued. Interestingly enough, I prefer the album that doesn't have Kurt Travis on it albeit it was still a good album. This album had much more playful guitars and was really good even with little to no lyrics sometimes. This was a great album except for a few minor hiccups. Favorite tracks: Hallows or Horcruxes, Your Ex Marked my Spot, and How I Parted the Red Sea.
21Dance Gavin Dance
Dance Gavin Dance

Probably their third worst LP, but it is still a great album. There might be a few songs here and there that are just alright, but it still has some damn good DGD songs.
We Do What We Want

The follow up to one of my favorite post-hardcore albums doesn't disappoint. I knew this wasn't going to be like In Shallow Seas which is why it wasn't a disappointment, but it doesn't really come close to its predecessor. This is still a strong album delivering great songs like The Curse of Perfect Days, The Cheval Glass, and I'm Not Here For Rage I'm Here For Revenge.
19Bon Iver
Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Sputnik's best of 2011 album made it to my number 19. Still good I think considering the rest of the albums on my list. I listened to For Emma and this one almost at the same time. For Emma was first and then Bon Iver, but after a while of listening to the two I felt that For Emma was the better of the two. With that being said this is still quite an amazing album.
18Mac Lethal
North Korean BBQ

My best friend showed me this in his relentless pursuit into showing me a rapper I would enjoy. While it might not be my favorite rap album of all time, Mac is my favorite rapper and this is my second favorite rap album. What makes this album is the cynical and depressed lyrics. While there may be moments of happiness it is dominated by cynicism and depression. It gives the album a very appealing personality especially when accompanied by Mac's great beats and clever word play. Favorite tracks: Feel It In The Air, War Drum, Suitcases, and inohowutheenk
17Say Anything
Say Anything

Max's clever word play really helps make this album. There is little music out there that not only sounds really good, but also makes me laugh. Hate Everyone always makes me laugh and is a song that I can relate to. And that is also the song that actually got me into listening to Say Anything.
16Bon Iver
For Emma, Forever Ago

The production quality of this album makes it so genuine. I know it has been said, but the lyrics are extremely personal and that adds so much more to the music. Bon Iver writes some amazingly beautiful folk songs that aren't written today at this caliber. Favorite tracks: Lump Sum, Flume, and for Emma.
Destination: Beautiful

The title of the album really defines this album. It is indeed quite beautiful. This has recently become one of my favorite bands even though they are technically broken up. Just like The Everglow (The Everglow is easily way better though), D:B takes you on a journey. This album takes me to a place to where I don't give a fuck about everyday annoyances and inspires me to do better. Mae's music seems to have that effect on me.
14Deas Vail
Birds & Cages

Absolutely gorgeous. I can't think of another band that writes music as beautifully as this except for Mae or Sigur Ros. This is one of those albums that just makes me feel really really good. This album is invigorating when I'm in a shitty mood and it turns that around. The Things You Were, Birds, and Dancing in Perfect Time are a couple favorites.
13Death Cab for Cutie

Somber yet beautiful. This is a darker album, but the beautiful side of music doesn't always consist of happiness or fun. To experience music is like experiencing life. One cannot live without feeling some pain and this album illustrates this type of mood. This album doesn't necessarily make me feel like that because I enjoy it, but experiencing the somber tone of this album is what makes it so great. Not to mention the amazing music. This top 15 part of the list was extremely difficult to make.
12The Decemberists
The Crane Wife

Nothing special in my life really happened during this time except for the fact that I really enjoyed this album. What really first caught my attention was listening to The Island and I got this Jethro Tull like vibe from the music. This is an excellently crafted album and I can't get enough of it.
11Maps & Atlases
Perch Patchwork

My other best friend who started figuring out my liking of Indie music showed me this pretty awesome song called Solid Ground. I was really impressed with the style of vocals. Upon further inspection I fell in love with the beautiful indie pop stylings of Maps and Atlases. Pigeon, Perch Patchwork, and The Charm are my favorites.
10Manchester Orchestra
Simple Math

I don't think I liked Means Everything to Nothing as much as everybody else did, but I still kind of liked it. So when I heard this album was coming out I honestly didn't give 2 shits about this album because I their previous album didn't catch my attention all that well. After hearing so much about it I decided to see what was so great. It improved on its predecessor in every way possible. Pensacola ruled my life for about 2 weeks.
9Arcade Fire

There can be a lot said about this album, but the reason why it's so special to me is because I think this is the first Indie/Alternative album that really got me into the genre. Listening to this album brings back some of my best memories of the past year and I adore this album from start to finish.
8Say Anything
...Is a Real Boy

It took me quite a long time to understand this band. Yeah some songs might be catchy, but I never saw them as really that good at first. For some reason I was in the mood to listen to some pop punk and I gave them another whirl and never looked back since. While my first Say Anything album was their self titled, this is easily their best. Every song on there is pretty damn good, but I love The Writhing South, Admit It!, and Chia-like, I Shall Grow the most.
7Sufjan Stevens
The Age of Adz

The truly great albums are ones that take more than just the first listen to grasp how amazing the music really is. That was the case with Sufjan's The Age of Adz. After listening to Illinois this wasn't what I was expecting, but in a good way. While Illinois might be better this album isn't too far off. Sufjan really changed it up on this album and he nailed it.
6Kanye West
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

This is in fact the first rap album that I have ever thoroughly enjoyed. This was one of those albums that pushed me into breaking musical barriers and discovering a new genre of music. I think the reason is because Kanye blends music and rap so perfectly that it was easily accessible to me. Kanye even mentioned that he listens to more rock than rap in his spare time. This album is my favorite rap album of all time.
5Fair to Midland
Arrows and Anchors

Darroh is probably my favorite vocalist out there. The vocal range on that guy is astonishing. Not only that, but the musicianship on this album is top notch. It's fast paced and beautiful all at the same time. And this is one of those albums where the lyrics catch my attention because Darroh has a tendency of writing very clever lines. I think this album is nearly flawless, but I still can't help but feel that Fables was slightly better but I'm not too sure. Out of all the songs I have heard in the past year I would have to say the Greener Grass is my favorite. Gives me goosebumps every time.
4The Dear Hunter
The Color Spectrum (Complete Collection)

I have always been a fan of The Dear Hunter and I waited a long time for this to come out. This whole 9 EP concept really showed me how diverse Casey's musical talent can really stretch. While each of the EP's don't necessarily match the color it represents, it definitely shows a different style in music and I do get some sort of resonance and understanding with the music that corresponds to its color. There isn't a dull moment throughout the almost 2 and a half hour long album. Oh btw, I think the Black, Yellow, and Violet EP's are the best.
Aim and Ignite

I enjoy all of Nate Reuss' music to date. Once again Nate and the gang write another masterpiece. Not one song lacks in quality and each song holds their own. Nate keeps a similar sound to The Format, but tweaks it a little bit to sound more fun (no pun intended). I have listened to this album at least 100 times and not once have I ever been tired of listening to it. This album has actually helped me through a lot of tough times. I almost wanted to rank this number one, but it just barely missed it.
2Sufjan Stevens

The first time I saw this album I think was on Sputnik's best albums of the decade. I saw all the praise this guy got and thought that this album wouldn't live up to the hype. After the first couple spins of this album I saw what everybody was talking about. Not many albums lasting over 70 minutes hold my attention as well as this album. After listening to most of Sufjan's work I have come to the conclusion that he is a musical genius.
1The Format
Dog Problems

I haven't found an artist that captivates me like Nate Reuss does in a very long time. I've read a lot about this band and the one thing I truly admire about Nate Reuss is that he genuinely has a love for making music. It definitely shows in this album because each song is so excellently crafted that I feel like he took the time and effort to make each song a masterpiece on its own. From the calm beginning of Matches to the thrilling closer If Work Permits, I swoon to every melody and sing every brilliantly scripted lyric. This is one of the best works of music that has ever graced my ear holes.
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