|In celebration a name change|
I got my name changed after 6 years on here with my terrible old name. In celebration, here's a monolithic list on my top 100 albums (one album per band), the reasons I enjoy them and the memories they are attached to. It's very sputnik I'd say because so much of my taste has been shaped by lurking on here, I may not have posted much over the years but I've spent a lot of time. Also this isn't ranked because I can't rank albums I love anymore, I just don't know how to do it.
Everything Goes Numb
Everything Goes Numb is an album that has stuck with me for a really long time. I first heard it when I was in Year 8 at intermediate school (8 years ago I think?) and at first I didn’t quite get it. But on my brothers recommendation I kept at it and it became what was my favourite album ever for many years. At this point in my life I really struggle to rank albums I find amazing against each other, but I still hold this as my joint favourite album of all time. The lyrics really mean a lot to me, especially those on “A Better Place, A Better Time”. The touching reflection on suicide has helped me countless times; somehow I have a personality that has made the first thought I have upon making a mistake “Oh I should just kill myself” and it addresses that with a warm embrace. Tomas Kalnoky knows how I feel, so everything is okay.
Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair
The melodramatic, over-emotional and just soppy nature of La Dispute reflects me to a tee. I’m an extremely soppy person, so the lyrical content in this album and La Dispute’s other work strikes a chord with me. More than almost any other band the poetic nature of La Dispute’s work and the spoken word influence that comes along with it turns it into a naked display of their thoughts and feelings, something that resonates with me as clearly as you could hear a grandfather clock chiming. Another factor that influenced my love for them is that the relentless energy personified in this album was so clear when I saw them with Balance and Composure back in 2014, in what was one of the best shows I have ever seen. A tiny room with people jumping off the speakers, so close to the band you could touch them. It was amazing.
|3||At the Drive-In|
Relationship of Command
Initially when I downloaded Relationship of Command I had the impression it was an indie rock album, pretty seriously off the mark. I really didn’t get this album at the time, I was reeling a bit from the realisation of how wrong I had been and it was overwhelming. When I came back to Relationship of Command a year or two later I found a totally different beast. At the Drive-In’s spasmodic and unpredictable style of post-hardcore cannibalised my listening habits for a super long time. I couldn’t go a day without hearing Cedric’s choruses and the interconnected web of breakneck guitar riffs backing them for years. Cries of “
feeding frenzy, it's contagious, HAVE TRIGGER, WILL TRAVEL, HAVE TRIGGER, WILL TRAVEL, single spark are spectral fires” defined my days walking the streets of Wellington and helped to make them worth living.
|4||maudlin of the Well|
Bath and motW straight up changed my life in the few weeks after I began listening to them. The ethereal feelings that Bath/LYBM conjure up are something I have never felt anywhere else in my life. Where else can you find passages that live up to the other-worldly qualities of Girl With a Watering Can into Birth Pains of Astral Projection? You can’t, there is just nothing I have ever found that can achieve those feelings. The transitions of the music between components inspired by different genres is awe inspiring and inspirational in and of itself. People say the vocals are weak on here but I just don’t see it, they are fantastic in my reckoning. While the growls may not be entirely traditional in parts I enjoy them a huge amount. The singing can also be so vulnerable that it has brought me to tears in the past, and I’m sure will continue to do in the future. maudlin of the Well created some unique and unparalleled music in the time they were together and it completely revolutionised
This is connected strongly in my memory to a certain couple of months where I was feeling extremely depressed. I used to listen to The Underdark while walking around the bays surrounding my old house at 2-3am to kinda wallow in how I was feeling, but at the same time it kinda dealt with it as well. The Underdark is probably one of the bleakest albums I have ever heard. The vocals are absolutely throat ripping, to the extent they could be said to share some characteristics with Depressive Black Metal bands such as Gris in the emotions they evoke. Backing this are dark but twinkly post rock influenced (but still decidedly emo) build ups concluding in downtrodden and impassioned explosions of intensity. The niche of this is when I want to bask in sadness, something I’m not ashamed to admit. I find value in sadness as an emotion like any other and I think it’s worth appreciating.
Thought this album was pretty boring in the start if I’m honest. But it really grew on me. While it may be simple, it finds beauty in its simplicity. It really is earnest and I truly relate to almost all of the songs. For example the line “Sometimes I'm awake thinkin' about fuckin' things up for myself again, so relax and sit there, my organs know I mean well, even though they're all gone, but they're content.” I have that same self-hate thing going on that this passage describes, and I have lay awake at night thinking these thoughts countless times. Within a package of mid-west emo it characterises a great deal about me, a recurring theme in the albums I speak so highly of here. “Oh I’m believing now, that I can’t fix it.”
Most underrated/unknown emo album ever. Absolutely incredible early 90’s emo/screamo in the vein of Indian Summer that I found on an evening trawling the internet. I can’t find it in higher quality than 192kbps on any source I know of (not even the veritable What.CD may it rest in peace). I’ve since bought it on vinyl from the other side of the world but I don’t have the equipment to digitise it so 192kbps will have to do for now. The lo-fi and inconsistent production helps makes it really endearing overall, the DIY aesthetic it provides is lovable and melancholic to the extreme. Like Indian Summer it is has large periods where the sound is very sparse, with only light guitar parts and vocals close to spoken word. I can’t recommend it highly enough, everyone should check it out (hit me up if you can’t find it, I’m happy to upload). Many tearful experiences have been had with this album.
Pale Folklore is connected in my mind to a lot of time spent in the library at my high school half asleep and looking out into the rain and wind. I’ve always deprived myself of sleep for some unknown reason (yeah probably depression) and spent the entire of Year 11/12 running on 3-4 hours’ rest a night. This lead to me spending all my free time (free periods mostly) catching up. Kinda a perfect scenario for listening to Agalloch. Pale Folklore is my favourite Agalloch largely because I feel it’s the most concise and engaging example of their sound that they have made (not that I don’t love their other work too, The Mantle and Ashes Against the Grain are both crazy good). Hallways of Enchanted Ebony is also my favourite Agalloch song. It just goes from strength to strength and memorable riff to memorable riff, yet it also takes the time to repeat and augment each section into perfection. And you can’t get away from I SAW THE NIGHTFALL... IT CALLED TO ME LIKE A RIVER OF SHADOWS
Muh required emo twinklez. So chill, so many feels. Really got into this in the bad half of my first relationship and so the first song resonated with me so much. “Let's just forget, everything said, everything we did. Best friends and better halves” I was and am at the perfect age to have gotten into this album, verging on the end of my teens and now entering the very beginning of my twenties. Wistful and spacious soundscapes permeate throughout this album and the introduction of horns later in the runtime is a welcome addition. They fit seamlessly into the aesthetic of the album as a whole and personally they add another feather in its cap because I enjoy horns immensely. I’ll treasure my vinyl copy of this forever and it will always remind me of these years.
The first of a few albums on here that my parents played me when I was young. Because of this Mezzanine makes me very nostalgic for England and specifically Cambridge. I moved to New Zealand when I was 8 and this album represents my old home and the emotions I feel when I think of my family over there. Mezzanine itself is seductive in the sounds it contains. The androgynous vocals, smooth bass and perfect percussion come together to create a viscous quicksand of an album that refuses to let you go. Despite these constant features each track is inventive and features subtly different motifs and atmospheric elements to each other. This allows the evolution of the album as a whole and its status as utter masterpiece to be realised.
More personal stories here we go! This one is connected to a period in my life when I had this massive crush on one of my friends just when I began uni. I had a girlfriend from high school at the time, but we were having massive problems so as such I developed those feelings. She totally liked me too (not just assuming, found out for sure after we started talking again), but had a boyfriend at the time and eventually she ghosted me out of nowhere and it put me in a massive downwards spiral because I had so many emotions invested in our friendship/whatever it was really. Constant Headache is the soundtrack to that for me, so it’s emotional minefield. It’s brazen and doesn’t apologise for its raw nature not only in the instrumentals but also in the lyrics. The pace it picks is lightning, so much so that it could only be sustained in the short song durations it contains. This is undoubtedly one of its biggest strengths. It presents bite sized chunks of emotionally and instrumentally immed
|12||Lil Ugly Mane|
MISTA THUG ISOLATION
Lil Ugly Mane is my fucking boy. He is by far my favourite hip-hop artist I’ve ever come across and Mista Thug Isolation is a perfect example of why. That rumbling bass and the overall atmosphere with Ugly’s ridiculous but fantastic lyrics is just a perfect package. That’s not to speak of all the great samples, admittedly I’m pretty uneducated in hip-hop but this is my jam. I’d sell my soul for a copy of this on vinyl, while I have his boxset I don’t have Mista Thug Isolation. If anyone has any recommendations for shit that I’d like based on this, hit me up because I struggle super hard to find hip-hop I really get into although I absolutely adore it.
The Shape of Punk to Come
What a classic this one is. The fusion of electronic parts into the insane Refused hardcore energy and the political lyrics (which I have a big soft spot for I must say) just rips. The Shape of Punk to Come is my pick for best of the album. The effect created by the ever increasing recording quality throughout the song ramps the intensity up to inhuman levels as the main riff sounds bigger and bigger. Dennis Lyxen is a bit of a crush honestly on the New Noise video; that is an aesthetic for sure. Would kill to see these guys live as the best live vid I’ve ever seen is them playing Hook, Line and Sinker in an Irish pub back in 1999, goes so hard.
The Heat Death of the Universe
The instrumental interplay in this album is astounding. I’m starting a screamo band soon largely because of the influence this band has had on me. The tempo changes found here are constant, stark and one of the chief reasons I enjoy them so much. They move from potent, harsh energy back into exquisite slower paced and mood driven grooves. This is at the forefront in the transition between It’s a Beauty and Punch for Punch where the change could not be shown more clearly. Another characteristic that I enjoy about this band is the extent to which they employ hammer on and pull offs in the guitar work (or that’s what it sounds like to me). It creates an effect I have seldom heard before and one that I hope to be able to recreate to some extent myself.
Gonna see a recurring theme here, lots of skramz albums. This appeals to the soppy part of me I previously referred to and I really enjoy the lyrical content not in spite of its pretentious nature, but more because of it. It gives so much weight to everything spoken to and indulges in emotion, much like a purging experience. Again the extreme loud/soft dynamic is featured prominently, as a whole Saetia embody the reasons I love screamo perfectly and as one of the poster child’s for the genre I think they do handsomely.
|16||Queens of the Stone Age|
I made a post in the Like Clockwork thread about how I don’t understand it being rated higher than Rated R. This was shot down by responses questioning why I would compare them like that preaching their difference. Despite this I still think Rated R is farrrrrr better although Like Clockwork is certainly a great album. It’s just that Rated R has this thick sound to it, it has atmosphere that can’t be found in their other work. As it hits the focal point of Better Living in Chemistry it transcends the normal appeal of QOTSA and moves onto a new godly plane of existence.
I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wanted
More classic twinklezz. I’ll repeat an adjective here when I say that this album is infectious. It has such a great energy it just makes me want to jump around, while also making me want to cry at the same time because it hits the same emotional chord of making me feel like the album was made for me. The line off Fuck Your Emotional Bullshit “Why do I stay up late just to wake up late and feel lousy? If that's the thing, if that's everything, why can't I stop?” describes every day of my life in my recent memory. It’s a big reason why I haven’t been able to succeed to the level that I believe I am capable of, but I can’t seem to manage to fix it despite having identified the problem. Snowing are another band that empathise with things such as this. As the first emo band I ever got, they helped catapult me into the genre and their music into that I hold in the highest esteem.
Rain Without End
In what is probably a semi controversial opinion, I think Rain Without End is better than Brave Murder Day. That’s not to say that I don’t like Brave Murder Day, I think it’s a great album. But this one is better. The vocals on this thing are phenomenal, that ridiculously low growl is probably one of my favourite vocal performances in metal. On top of this the riffs are extremely memorable and the synths on Infinite Submission are so gloriously dark, it makes for an amazing doom album. If anyone knows more doom like this one hit me up, I don’t have enough.
|19||Balance and Composure|
The Things We Think We're Missing
This one is just a bit of a controversial pick on here I think. I know it isn’t super well regarded by many on Sputnik but I really enjoy it. I don’t think it is super original, but the dreamy quality it has and the glaze over the vocals in many places contribute to the great atmosphere it creates. And again the lyrics kinda just connect with me, what can I say. I submit to flames for loving this album.
Bergtatt - Et eeventyr i 5 capitler
Dem vocals from Garm hnnng. They remind me of religious chants because they don’t really sound like a singular person and because they almost are as if they had echoed around a church with a huge ceiling. They feel almost transcendent and I can’t even do them justice in words. I’m kinda bad at digesting most Black Metal, but unsurprisingly I hold this one really, really close. It’s perfect to the extent that I went out of my way to buy a bootleg of it before the vinyl repressing, and then when it was rereleased I got a copy of that too. So now I have 2 Bergtatt’s, which is no bad thing.
Second of the albums on this list my parents played to me when I was young. Gorillaz S/T is way, way better than any of their other work in my opinion. Tomorrow Comes Today specifically is relatively tear inducing for me, partially for nostalgia, and partially because it’s just that good. This album feels dark while also being fun and I think that’s pretty special.
Selected Ambient Works 85-92
Same category as Gorillaz. This one especially makes me nostalgic for being a little kid. I used to hear it through the walls late at night when I was in bed upstairs and my parents were hanging out downstairs in the living room. Such a soothing album that also turns into some weirdness later on. Shout out to Windowlicker also for being completely mind boggling and phenomenal.
I semi-concussed myself by hitting my head on a rock in a cave at night listening to this album, fun fact. This is the best recommendation my best friend in high school (shout out Eddie, you had better taste than I gave you credit for. I fucking sucked and missed out) ever gave me by far. I seem to remember that a review I read on here for Untrue described it as the soundtrack to driving at night and that’s something I totally agree with. It sets this certain pace that I think is perfect for the night and the orange glow of the streetlamps. That’s a bit of an esoteric way to describe it I guess, but it’s just right. The sub-bass rumbles along at a comfortable pace as the vocal samples and percussion combine with it to create beautiful grooves.
Don’t listen to Tool very much anymore, but when I was in high school they were a really important band for me that opened me up to a lot of music. They turned me on to prog like Porcupine Tree and heavier prog influenced metal like Opeth, which was a godsend to my musical path. I was one of those people who thought Tool were ‘oh so smart’ for a while, thankfully I’ve grown out of that by now. Still I really enjoy this album, one of my favourites off it is Eon Blue Apocalypse. Bit of a strange choice for sure but it really made me feel something despite its nature as a bit of an interlude song.
Ugly But Honest: 1996-1999
I got this record on vinyl at my local store second hand before hearing it or knowing anything about it and it was one of the best purchases I have ever made. It’s such a simple and sad album that has so much charm. To Be There Now is absolutely heart wrenching and it’s just so special. Made me listen to more slowcore too like Codeine, which makes an appearance in this list.
|26||Circle Takes the Square|
As the Roots Undo
The artwork and packaging of the vinyl copy I have of this is I think the best of my entire collection (as a side observation). As The Roots Undo is relatively unique amongst the screamo I have heard and I really enjoy it’s more progressive style. The interplay between the vocalists is some of the best I have ever heard and I think it really pays off that they have one male and one female vocalist. And again I appreciate the lyrics even if they are pretentious, they have mythical aspects to them and a complexity that I appreciate.
As I’m sure everyone on Sputnik knows by now, the sheer aggression demonstrated here is crazy. Fused with the technicality on display it is a rollercoaster to listen to and I can’t even imagine how insane and fun it would be to see these songs live. A lot of growth is left for this album in my mind as there is so much content to digest, watch this space.
|28||Death Cab for Cutie|
Me and my ex didn’t really click on music hugely, but I have to give her credit for recommending me this. I’d been recommended it in the past and was a little sceptical, but this is a really pretty album. It also has that depressing edge to it which always appeals to me. And in addition it’s super catchy, can’t really go wrong with those attributes.
Depressing, fuzzy and with a quirky turn to it. The shortness of the songs really plays to this EP’s strengths in that it’s a quick and easy listen that effectively puts across its vibe and then exits the building. Pepsi/Coke Suicide is a feel machine that is associated in my head with a haze of confusion, something I think it fits well.
The Satellite Years
This is so spacey, I really enjoy its take on post hardcore and have found it to be rather unique. Even Hopesfall’s other work isn’t quite like this. The cleans on this really do it for me as well, especially on The Bending. Dead in Magazines is super cool to play on guitar too, that reminds me I need to go back and relearn it :p.
Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub)
The last of the albums on here that my parents played me when I was a kid. Makes me wanna dance like almost nothing else, is a super feel good album. “Bout’ to drop this right now for you, the original Suntoucher. Lettin’ you know what’s up. Goes like this”
Brings the riffs like almost no other screamo (yea some people say it is some say it isn’t just gonna use it anyway). The guitar is a huge highlight alongside the great lyrics and bass. Someone gimme a vinyl copy of this so I can jam Pretty Picture of a Broken Face, that’s the dream.
This has quite a lot in common with Off Minor in my eyes, they both feel like they feature the same kind of guitar/bass parts that I love. Science 1994 completely seeps with emotion, something I feel like the samples they use throughout really contribute to. Angry Son is also like the best song ever, my feels, they becoming reals.
If I had two words to describe Panopticon, I’d definitely go with crushing and serene. These two characteristics seem almost counterproductive at first glance, but everything ISIS have created here embodies these two things. Even the extremely heavy passages have this methodical and purposeful serenity to them, in that they build directly from the laid back post rock influenced passages. Got into these guys too late to see them, even though they did come to Wellington once. Feelsbadman.
Brave Murder Day
Repetition is the game here, almost puts you in a kind of depressing trance after a while which is a great experience. The slow pace really bores into your head as it plods along a darkened earthy road of doom goodness. Nice to hear Mikael Akerfeldt do some slightly different vocals too. Although I still prefer October Tide xd.
Bass being employed at the forefront of Joy Divisions sound is really cool. It carries the framework of the songs to a large degree with its prominence and I’d say it’s far more important than the guitar in many of the songs. The empty nature of the songs throughout Unknown Pleasures allows the bass and vocals a huge amount of space to reverberate creating what seems to me like Joy Division’s signature sound. I’m a pleb and only got into this band through the movie Control though so my impression could be totally wrong, someone more informed flame me out pls.
In the Court of the Crimson King
By far the oldest album on this list. I checked it out because of how often it is held up as extremely influential and amazing around these parts, and I was not disappointed. I don’t get into all prog super hard and indeed I usually struggle really hard to get into older music, but this album is a complete masterpiece. Moonchild is my favourite and it’s just timeless.
|38||Less Than Jake|
Pure fun, that’s what this is. Unlike lots of the rest of Less than Jake’s material, this is an unpolished, low production piece of feel good ska. Best LtJ by far. And yeah I’m still a bit of an unabashed ska fan even if I have moved on a bit in my life since I was extremely into it.
good kid, m.A.A.d city
Used to think Section.80 was better, but over time the conceptual greatness of good kid won me over. I don’t really know what unifies my taste in hip-hop, suppose that’s why I find it so hard to go through and find stuff I really like. I guess it’s something to do with the kind of bass in the beats and enjoying voice manipulation. Who knows really, somebody please tell me the unifying factor in the hip-hop in this list as I am totally clueless.
Tetsuo and Youth
More of my motley crew of hip-hop right here. Mural slays so hard and the album is just so catchy as a whole that I can’t help but enjoy it. I really enjoy the lyrics too, although I can’t really put my finger on the exact characteristic that makes me like them so much.
I have an interesting relationship with Opeth, in that I think all of their albums I have heard are amazing but I don’t enjoy them quite on the classic level that many others on here do. Still Life, Blackwater Park and Ghost Reveries are often on my rotation of listening, but somehow they can’t quite transcend into that top tier of stuff for me, not to take anything away from them. I think specifically for this album the opening three tracks of Ghost of Perdition, Baying of the Hounds and Beneath the Mire are killer, would struggle to choose a stronger three track passage from any of the other Opeth I have heard.
Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow!
An aura of inevitability surrounds this album, it’s going to be a 5 at some point but the question is when it gets me to feel like that and not if. Orchid are going to be a prime influence for my screamo band once it all comes together, that unadulterated aggression is something any band like that would aspire to I would think. Especially the intro to ..And The Cat Turned To Smoke really appeals to my sensibilities because I love those slow slidey beginnings that build into crazy aggression.
|43||Poison the Well|
The Opposite of December
Hopesfall and this album share a lot, and I think The Satellite Years is a bit better, mostly because I enjoy the spacey atmosphere. I also feel the breakdown parts feature less of chugging of the same guitar part for extended periods of time, something that can become glaringly obvious on The Opposite of December if I pay too much attention. But this is still a top tier album, especially Artist’s Rendering of Me/Slice Paper Wrists/Nerdy. I don’t get into this band’s other work very much so far because it just seems so different to this, think I’ve got to work on that a bit.
The second of the trip-hop big four I’ve got on here (Mezzanine, Dummy, Endtroducing and Maxinquaye as far I’m aware). The vocals on this thing are gorgeous and the beats are brooding and dark. What more can you really ask for in a trip-hop album? I need some new stuff like this really, I’ve been off the trip-hop train for far too long. Hit me with recs if they come to mind yo.
Souvlaki epitomises what it means to be dreamlike. It is awash with reverb creating a comforting, enveloping and melancholy cloud with a little nostalgic British tinge emanating from the vocals. I have a lot to learn about shoegaze but I feel it has the same potential as emo has done to completely connect with me because of its sincerity. It holds nothing back, but instead of releasing it in a blatant heart on your sleeve manner it is released into a fuzzed out wave of reverb and delay. They have a lot of potential overlap and as such it seems a natural path for me to take.
MISSSERRRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY, will we fade into nothiiing?
State Faults have a really incredibly full sound instrumentally for a screamo band and it gives them a unique kind of intensity I haven’t found in any other band. This isn’t to say they are more intense, but just the composition of the intensity is very different. I think this album could stand to perhaps change up the tempos between songs a little bit more, but apart from that I really have no qualms with it at all. Like most things in this genre it gives me feels.
Quite similar in its dreamlike state to Souvlaki I think, but it achieves it through the crazy guitar tones they achieved while recording it instead of the meshed but sparse sounds used in Souvlaki. I don’t know really, they are quite different but I just see some parallels there. The guitars here are actually so out there though, they carry the album to a really high place almost single handedly in my opinion. The colossal effect created by the multi tracking makes for an almost sludge metal effect in this alternative rock dream world.
i will be my own hell because there is a devil inside my body
The evident depression in this is really relatable. Beauty found in lo-fi and desolation is my interpretation. It’s a special kind of lo-fi that is touching. It hits you where it hurts provoking catharsis on a path of filtered vocals, chimy guitar and unrefined Casio (? I want to say that’s right but I haven’t actually used one).
Original Pirate Material
Now this is some aggressively British shit right here. Beats are fucking great and the lyrics are actually hilarious, they take the piss out of everything and it’s glorious. And among this there are some emotional tracks that are uniquely British too, logically I don’t really believe in identifying really hard with where you were born as a country but I still do and this album lets me do that in an awesome way. “So you tell your mates you could have him anyway, to look 'geez'. But he's a shady fuck, beamer three series, lock, stock and two fat fucks backing him up” beautiful British shit right here.
Checked this out because I read it was a big influence on maudlin of the Well, and I definitely can see the aspects that were passed on. It has that same ethereal and almost occult feeling that motW often channel and as that’s one of the things I love the most about motW it’s inevitable that I think this is sick too. This album is a journey and one I think is well worth taking.
Stage Four hit me like a ton of bricks when I first heard it a couple of months ago. I’ve always liked Touche Amore, but this album is by far their best work in my opinion. It touches an emotional nerve in a way they never have before and this is aided by the longer running time of many songs. To be honest I identify with Jeremy Bolm, whatever you’d think about that. This album feels so personal I just think it’s amazing. And I really enjoy the addition of his clean singing even if it might not be the most technically amazing. It really is heartfelt and I appreciate that.
Another album that reminds me of the night, and especially the glow of streetlamps (one of my favourite things in case you hadn’t already guessed). I’ve listened to this countless times on the hour long walk back from the train station to my house. This inevitably is in the middle of the night where everything is completely silent, and it’s always been a time where I bathe in melancholy. Turnover embodies this time to me and the lyrics to New Scream show why.
“Can I stay at home, I don’t want to go. I don’t want to wake up till the sun is hanging low. Stay up through the night, sleep away the light. Just another dream I had that's better than my life.”
I’ve been exactly like this for pretty much as long as I can remember now and to have it spelled out in a song like that is kinda comforting.
I feel like it would be seriously conspicuous to not have this on here somewhere alongside this complement of albums. Not an original pick to say the least but what can I say, it’s popular for a reason. Tired of Sex starts of the album as it continues throughout and just fucking rocks, I don’t feel like there’s much else to be said than that cause everyone’s already heard everything to be said about Pinkerton.
Gonna be seeing these guys in Auckland early next year and I’m super hyped for it. It’s going to be such a fun show cause the music Alexisonfire creates is so high octane and anthemic. The amount of memorable choruses to pick out of this album is astronomic and that’s ignoring all the surrounding parts of the songs which I think are quite incredible. It feels poppy as a whole because of the kind of clean vocals it has, but that’s not at all a bad thing in my mind.
God Loves Ugly
Atmosphere were my first hip-hop love. When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold defined a few month of my life back in Year 11/12 of High School because it was a bit of a new frontier. I’d never listened to stuff like this before and I was enraptured by it for a long time. While Atmosphere have grown off me a little in the last couple of years I’ll always appreciate them for that.
This is certainly a controversial choice for my top 100. I know this got a very polarised reception when it first came out and was discussed on here. I just found it so easy to listen to and so memorable that I’d find myself singing it under my breath constantly as I went about my days. Bay Faction unlike many of the emo acts on here are clearly quite different people to me and that doesn’t faze me. It just means I like them for very different reasons to many of the other bands I have described here.
Ahhh cloud rap, another component of my all over the place hip-hop taste. Again it’s the fuzziness and deep bass that I love here. Short easily digestible slabs of bassy, catchy goodness with that glazed outlook. Also dem screams on IfYouHadAZuneIHateYou are a good time.
|58||Chance the Rapper|
Chance has so much personality, it can’t help but make me smile. This is the most upbeat and happiest album overall on this list the way I see it. It’s a result of Chance’s youthful delivery, offbeat singing in between verses and just cool shit he makes up that shows you how crazy into it he is. I’m even smiling writing this, that’s just what Acid Rap does for me.
The White Birch
A relatively new addition, I spent a few evenings earlier this year sitting on the floor of my room listening to The White Birch along with Carissa’s Wierd and it was a super chill experience. It’s just a really gorgeous album of slowcore.
|60||Edge of Sanity|
The rifffffs. The riffs in this thing are so goddamn catchy I can’t even. Learning Twilight on guitar was so fulfilling, partially because it isn’t too hard to play and partially because it just never gets boring, the riffs are too good. And Dan Swano’s growls are pretty wow. A beastly album with a fucking sick concept and name.
My go to album when I’m feeling tired and I want to put something on to just doze to. The combination of fuzzy but heavy guitar with overlayed electronic parts and slightly disinterested but smooth vocals make you feel like you’re floating. Just floating in the waves of Conqueror.
I would describe this as a kind of almost shoegazey hip-hop. Maybe that’s off base but to me it makes sense. The autotuned vocals and beats with that same kind of glazed nature I’ve been talking about previously give me a really similar vibe to what the shoegazey emo and just straight shoegaze I listen to does. This is one of my most listened albums of the last year purely because of how much I enjoy that vibe.
Feast of Love
The vocal duality on Pity Sex’s albums and beautiful, beautiful fuzzy guitar tones create a mix that seems to be uniquely catered to my tastes. The contrast of Britty’s magnificent high vocals and Brennan’s completely disinterested and super low mumbled singing is the fucking best. I am so unbelievably gutted that this band broke up and I’m going to be listening to them a shitload like I have for the past year or two into the foreseeable future. Idk how Sputnik doesn’t like them much honestly, I adore them.
We Will Be Dead Tomorrow
Simple, sludgy, kinda dumb lyrics but who cares really? It’s a complete romp of a sludge album that I can only imagine would be an insane amount of fun in person. Props to the vocalists as well, the way they contrast their screams against each other is really cool.
|65||The Fall of Troy|
Some crazily spastic and technical shit right here. It’s so high energy that a large proportion of the times I listen to it I can’t quite make it to the end. This isn’t anything to do with the merit of the songs but the way it motivates me to turn the volume up to pummelling levels so that the absolute insanity of it can be completely released. And it has those poppy cleans that I do really like in this kinda post-hardcore.
|66||The Mint Chicks|
Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!
One from my current country of residence here. Got into them far too late unfortunately so I didn’t get to see them which is a damn shame as their shows were supposed to be nuts. This album is noisy and curiously off kilter in a cool way, it’s a really enjoyable listen that I’d encourage anyone to check out. But on a slightly different note, fuck the remastered vinyl reissue. I heard it at my friend’s house and they changed it so much it sounds weird, that’s not to mention that it’s astronomically expensive.
|67||The Story So Far|
What You Don't See
Almost a guilty pleasure, What You Don’t See is unabashedly poppy. I haven’t gotten into their other stuff and apart from Nerve I think their newest album kinda sucks in comparison to this. It shows little progression from what is here and to be honest sounds like a generic rehash. Despite this I really enjoy What You Don’t See, I just think it could really use the production not being so goddamn assaulting. It is so loud and pummelling that it regularly manages to give me headaches just by the way it is recorded.
Yung Leandoer is at a serious risk of directly causing the death of my speakers through his songs. If the bass isn’t shaking the walls, you’re doing it wrong I feel with his stuff. I’m a bit of a Lean fanboy if I’m real and Unknown Memory is my favourite of his kinda full length/mixtapes. Ice Cold Smoke is a good example of why, that bass mane. Shout out to Kyoto also for being like the best song ever (RTZ you did me a solid playing it on stream).
Here on Earth
Unknown around these parts ska-punk from England. I don’t really know if it would be well received if it was known because it is a bit cheesy and not the most inventive. But it fills a cool niche that not too many bands do that is more on the punk side of ska-punk, but still featuring a good amount of horns. It’s a good time.
The Chameleon Script
Now this is the sickest unknown ska-punk album on here (who am I kidding I can’t rank them properly, I’m just incompetent like that). It’s more on the punk/hardcore side of the ska-punk spectrum but again with still a generous dose of horns. But more than that it is probably top 5 catchiest ska-punk albums I have ever heard, it just fucking slays. The guitars are aggressive and in your face with the horns carrying melodies above it and then it segways back into some classic ska upstrokes and back around again. Just a sick band.
Laisser Vivre Les Squelettes
Love European skramz. This record eschews a lot of the pure insanity many screamo bands use for a more planned out and blueprinted approach. And it’s a good time. Immediately in the first song you can tell that this is the case because of how tight the band are (not that I’m saying it’s better that way, I love both :p). The first riff on the album is killer and sets a hallmark for how it will continue. The quality never drops in the slightest.
A Blaze in the Northern Sky
IN THE SHADOW OF THE HOOOOOORNNNNNNSSSSS
A Blaze in the Northern Sky isn’t just a blaze, I’d say it’s more of an explosion of brutal and raw Black Metal. I’m not the most versed in the genre, but I think I can take enough of an impression to say that. The guitar lines are so violent and disgusting they take on a life of their own and implant themselves in your very soul. Reminds me I need to check Arctic Thunder, the tracks that came out before it released were sick.
This is possibly the silkiest and most elegant album ever conceived. To enjoy this all you have to do is lay back and allow the magnificent jazzy instrumentals and soulful vocals wash over you. The deep bass is warm and all-encompassing alongside this. Anything I say about this is honestly superfluous, if you haven’t heard it go and hear it and you’ll understand what I mean.
Okay maybe I was lying, this could be the best unknown ska-punk album on here (how to pick between this and Howards Alias :S). Like Howard’s Alias this is largely on the punk side of Ska-Punk (and is also British again, strange coincidence right?). However there are some really cool dub influenced parts on here that allow a relaxing step back from the fast paced punk songs surrounding them. I think I’d even go ahead and say the bass parts are a big highlight here, they give it a danceability that is impossible to ignore.
Translating the Name
Anthony Green sounds angelic on these songs, the only comparison I can think to make is with Jonny Craig on Downtown Battle Mountain (only Dance Gavin Dance I’ve heard so will have to forgive me for having little to compare to). Regardless that is a seriously special voice, and the screams are definitely not push overs either. Paired with the captivating and melodic guitar work these songs feature it’s a winning formulae. I haven’t encountered anything else that could quite fill the shoes of Translating the Name in the same way. Why couldn’t Anthony Green have stayed and given us more of this?
Stripped down, simple indie pop filtered through a cloudy lens. poppy feels fragile over all else, almost like a soft wind could blow it away. I didn’t have any idea it would become so special to me the first few times I heard it, but it snuck into my heart through the ease of listening it creates. It touches emotions in a tranquil way that’s more like staring absently out the window on a cold day than the inescapable emotional turmoil of many of the other albums I love.
End of Earth
Antwon is so absurd, his lyrics have some seriously funny shock value going for them. From his opening lines in his feature on Ugly Mane’s Underwater Tank “I'm in Cabo with a blonde ho, Pulling on her hair, fuck her in her ass hole, I'm a nasty nigga, She trashy, she sucking on my dick” to his own Sittin in Hell “Fuck raw dog in the bathroom stall, Suck my dick on that freeway, Sitting in hell screaming fuck it all” this is some golden shit right here. The beats have some wide ranging influences going on there too, I can’t even name them because I’m not educated enough on the subject but for example Diamonds and Pearls has some funky stuff going on right there. Antwon done some good shit here.
Home, Like NoPlace Is There
What strikes me about this is that while it deals with some heavy hitting themes, it still feels like one of the most positive and upbeat emo albums I’ve heard. It has its share of sadness and loss but it seems to always have an upbeat sheen, if not at that specific time but sitting on the horizon. Both vocally and instrumentally many parts just sound happy to me and that makes it stylistically divergent from much of the other emo I listen to. The vocals especially are very unique and the instrumentals even janglier than anything I can recall off the top of my head. I need to listen more and let it continue to grow on me, as I think it has plenty of room left to expand into.
|79||Dance Gavin Dance|
Downtown Battle Mountain
Cheeeeeeesy. That was my first impression of Downtown Battle Mountain. I felt guilty for listening to it even it felt that cheesy. But somehow it grew on me like mad. Jonny Craig’s vocals are amazing (despite him seeming to be a douche) and probably the big reason I really like this album now. Don’t get me wrong it’s not that the other parts aren’t worthy, the vocals are just above and beyond. The interplay with the other vocalists is also really noteworthy and is something that I generally fall hard for in music, so I guess I was predisposed to end up liking this.
The Sound of Perseverance
I’ve struggled with Death Metal over the years. I’ve always enjoyed it to an extent, but have found that I find it extremely difficult to digest. This is much like I earlier said about Black Metal. I’m not going to give up on it anytime soon because there is so much great material in the genre that I can and will enjoy. Hopefully I’m not doomed to only easily enjoy only the Melodic subgenres forever. Back to this album though. I DO really enjoy this one, although it did take me a long time to get into. From the beginning I always thought A Moment of Clarity ripped and as time has gone by I have come to realise the entire album fucking rips. To me the only weak point is a little bit on the vocals as I don’t enjoy them 100% because of the high pitch. However the instrumentals are limitless in complexity and simply in listening terms they come together brilliantly. Just a crazy album really.
I can hear the influence of this album throughout so much of the music I listen to. Just the other day I played a show in Wellington, NZ with a post-hardcore band called shards. Throughout their set (a great one btw) I was amazed by the amount they reminded me of Slint. Just that is a testament to the standard of this album. It’s dark and brooding atmospheres feature glacial pace build-ups that eventually explode in catharsis on the final track Good Morning, Captain. However my favourite parts are those shown in songs like Washer where the extreme repetition of one slowly evolving gloomy guitar motif sets the pace. It allows so much space for the listener to use the music as a kind of catalyst for thought, or at least that’s how I think it relates to me.
Your Favorite Weapon
Heard this for the first time earlier this year. My friend wanted us to learn Failure by Design so that we could play it at an acoustic show we were playing in a few weeks’ time and I duly obliged. To do this though I had to actually listen to the album, I’d only heard Devil and God by Brand New previously. And in what I’m sure will be an unpopular opinion, I prefer Your Favourite Weapon. Devil and God to me, while it is a great album; it is almost impossible to listen to in a single sitting. It is assaulting to the senses in a way I have not found often with music, it almost never fails to give me a headache. Whether this is to do with the production or something else I don’t know. But Your Favourite Weapon is totally different. It has an immature charm to it that never fails to get stuck in my head. And crucially it isn’t fatiguing to listen to which means it has a far more prominent rotation in my life, which leads me to prefer it.
|83||Children of Bodom|
Follow the Reaper
Power Metal is a genre I am not even slightly at ease with, it’s a miracle that I love this album. Like Downtown Battle Mountain I thought this was really cheesy on first look, much to do with the keyboards and synths I’m sure. They are just so blasé and in your face that I’ve always found it hard not to laugh. But crucially over time I began to acquiesce to Follow the Reaper and it seemed less and less cheesy to me. Now it’s just a playground of sick riffs with a healthy helping of keyboards/synths that don’t put me on edge the second I hear them. Was worth the effort to get used to for sure.
|84||Fair to Midland|
Arrows and Anchors
One of the first bands Sputnik introduced me to back 6ish years ago when I joined. Fables of a Mayfly is super great as well, I like them around the same amount (except that dodgy part of Dance of the Manatee, pls no nu-metal). This one is way heavier though, something I think works in its favour. It’s also associated with sleep deprivation in my mind because I jammed the shit out of it while I was semi-killing myself by getting like 3 hours of sleep a night in Year 10 at High School. That’s a role it fits quite well though, the off kilter nature of it really plays into that bit where you wonder if you’re hallucinating sounds you hear or not. Unique album really, I don’t know how to describe it in musical terms to be honest.
|85||i hate sex|
Haven’t listened to this a huge amount yet, but it is glorious. The super clean guitar tone in many of the songs contrasts amazingly with the amazing female vocals. This embodies a lot of the things I really love about emo and as such I instantly fell in love with it when I heard it. I enjoy the kinda silly but hilarious song titles on this album, the discordance between the jangle of the guitars and the harsh vocals and the ease at which the guitar work makes me feel. All the emo I love does that for me, and i hate sex are on my wavelength.
|86||Joshua Fit For Battle|
To Bring Our Own End
How can an album with song titles like Twelve Years Of Catholic Skool And This Is What I Learned and Destroying From The Inside Out Kinda Like Cancer go wrong? Intense, in your face screamo with short as fuck songs and some killer guitar parts is what you find here. Vocalist is pretty special too, really enjoyable screams come out from him. They are very visceral and never seem to let up throughout much of the album. In respite from the insanity, the songs that feature slower and more traditionally emotional parts like To Bring Our Own End and This Is Me Getting Stronger appeal to me because of my attraction to big tempo changes. And again, like almost all the screamo I like, it gives me the feels.
|87||Pianos Become the Teeth|
I drank vodka on my own on a few nights surrounding Christmas a few years ago to this. It’s another example of when I was feeling some of my lowest ever, and this was there for me. Because of this and also because of the music itself I almost tear up at just hearing the beginning of Keep You. However it is very mid paced and the songs tend to blend into each other, so I find myself not listening through the entire runtime very often despite how much I like it
|88||Wolves in the Throne Room|
Two Hunters is surreal. Atmospheric would be an understated description, listening to Two Hunters is like being in a vacuum. Everything else melts away and you’re left with the dark, emotive experience this album creates. Much in contrast to Darkthrone and such this is a smooth album, it’s much less raw and while I don’t think this plays against it it is worth noting. I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots is a godly experience
The best band to stick with me from my nu-metal days many moons ago. This album is not nu-metal thankfully, it’s more of the airy alternative metal kinda ilk. White Pony is Deftones masterpiece, their new work doesn’t do it for me nearly as much. In fact the last Deftones album I heard was Diamond Eyes which while I did enjoy it, it didn’t spur me to hear their work in the future somehow. It’s an interesting paradigm that I rate White Pony so highly and yet I have very little motivation to check out any new Deftones music anymore. Regardless Chino’s vocals are perfect here, the amount of space they are allowed in the songs by the instrumentals gives his voice the opportunity to become all-encompassing. Somehow it is to do with the way the instrumentals are written and the tones employed that they are titanic, yet they still give Chino so much space to play with. I don’t know how exactly they managed it, but it works to great effect.
This is a local one, I actually see the guys from Beastwars around town relatively often and my dad used to work with their guitarist and so I got some signed vinyl of theirs which is p sick. These are some monolithic jams right here though, their vocalist is actually nuts. I’ve seen Beastwars countless times and never has he failed to make it a crazy experience, just amazing. Some sick doom right here dudes.
...In Shallow Seas We Sail
SO POPPY. This is the poppiest post-hardcore album on here by far I think. Is another one that I felt almost guilty for enjoying because of just how sugary it is. It’s that kind of immaculate album with hooks out the wazoo. But despite that it’s great fun, it gets me singing along with unbelievable ease and I spend days trying to get the huge hooks out of my head. Is this even post hardcore? I don’t know anymore.
Earthtone9 take another step towards the spacey with Omega. Admittedly I haven’t heard the album they made after their reunion in 2013 yet, should probably check that out to understand their progression after this EP. But it seems that this charts a course towards slightly less straight forward songs, with more of a prevalence given to the creation of soundscapes and such. It’s a great listen I’d say for a fan of White Pony era Deftones perhaps, I can feel some parallels not necessarily in the exact content of the songs but the overall feel the albums give to me.
The guitar parts on some of these songs almost have a kind of proggy feel to me, although I have never heard anyone else echo that description. In other parts it’s a more straight forward aggressive mix with soaring choruses featuring great clean vocals. To a lesser extent it channels the spacey vibes of Omega, as these two bands share a bunch of members. However I enjoy Ecliptic more than Omega because of the greater prevalence of harsh vocals and a general preference for the style of the riffs on here.
This even predates my nu-metal days! I got into Incubus when I was 9 I think and while it’s basically just a slight predating of the motivations that got me into nu-metal so hard (dat kinda angst ya feels) S.C.I.E.N.C.E is some funky shit. I don’t think it really has too much in common with most nu-metal, it’s a lot better and more inventive in my book. Brandon Boyd is blessed with an amazing voice that can carry songs even when his lyrics are a bit questionable, something that I think counteracts a bit of the criticism they often get. Yeah the lyrics might not always be the best but if you can look past it there are many other great qualities to focus on. These being the explosive, silly and energetic ethos that runs throughout this album specifically. On Incubus’s other albums I really enjoy (those being A Crow Left To The Murder, Morning View and Make Yourself) I’d argue they have a completely different appeal, they just don’t have the energy S.C.I.E.N.C.E shows.
If this album wasn’t so inconsistent it could be so much better. Tracks like Leaf and In-Between are everything I could want from an album like this. Leaf features quite a big gazey influence, as does In-Between but it also retains aggression which helps it fall into a great niche. But many of the other songs just can’t quite live up to this and some even verge on being boring. That’s why it’s a bit of a sketchy inclusion here. It’s the same feeling I have with Citizen – Youth and other similar stuff. I really hope at some point Title Fight manage to make a properly consistent album as it has the potential to be something really amazing.
Within The Emptiness
Steady, relaxing beats. If I really needed to chill and calm down ever, this would be my pick. It sits in this nice mid-slow tempo range that seems to make it feel akin to having a bath after a difficult day. It takes a lot of the stress out of you and releases it into the aether, a quality that is very valuable to me.
Complete sincerity in an upbeat but pensive emo package. The music itself is totally light and doesn’t hit with a great impact but in combination with the vocals it really passes across the experiences and feelings the band are attempting to impart. I couldn’t even listen to this for a while because it fused itself into my feelings so much it almost instantly made me upset. “You knew me at my best, now I can’t even stand on my own.”
A lumbering beast plodding across a smoke filled apocalyptic landscape. That’s my mental image of Dopethrone. The sheer breadth of power exhibited in these songs is the living embodiment of the classic window breaking image of massive stacks of amps. It leaves a wake of destruction in its path, corrupting everything it touches. Dopethrone’s distorted and thick tone is crushing and downright evil.
Define the Great Line
Heavier than a reasonable amount of the post hardcore on this list, Define the Great Line is a great counterpoint to the more sugary examples found here. The harsh vocals on this are a lot grittier than many of their direct contemporaries (in the context of this list, not in general) and it’s really enjoyable. The complexity of the guitar work is really welcome too, it’s not complexity in the vein of The Fall of Troy but a more layered and sludgier influenced complexity. It gives the album a broader sound that the cleans then benefit from when they cut through. Another one I need to listen to more as my opinion is still a bit in its infancy.
The range of sounds employed on this record is really impressive to me and in every song Zomby manages to create a really cool groove. I’m relatively noob to Dubstep so that may not be totally accurate, but the sounds used here are really interesting to me. Every song just goes so hard while using such a diverse array of approaches to achieve it. Samples on point also for sure, especially on Natalia’s Song which is the best on the album.