Alex Kugaczewski

Reviews 8
Approval 97%

Soundoffs 43
News Articles 5
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Album Edits 18

Album Ratings 914
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Last Active 06-02-14 8:38 pm
Joined 09-25-10

Forum Posts 18
Review Comments 2,562

06.11.14 Favorites of 201403.25.14 My Favorite Things, Pt 1.
03.23.14 Vinyl Escapades03.21.14 Springtime Jams
08.08.13 Ulver Ranked (post Black Metal)03.19.13 Your Significant Other's Music
12.11.12 Favorite Folk And Recs10.23.12 2012 Music > 2012 Election
07.15.12 Edit Your Info, Also, Purchases07.13.12 Psychedelic Recs
08.09.11 Alt / Prog / Art Rock Recs04.16.11 A Fix Of Melancholy

Favorites of 2014

Have to say that 2014 has been a great year so far. Here's some of my rfavorites. What are rrsome of yours?
1The War on Drugs
Lost in the Dream

With Lost in the Dream, Adam Granduciel throws his insecurities like javelins to the wind, piercing and with pinpoint precision. It's a brutally personal, deeply affecting trip through the American heartland and undoubtedly one of the year's finest albums. If you haven't heard it, listen to it now. If you have heard it, listen to it again.

Modern progressive rock has grown increasingly stale to me with each passing year. Gazpacho has repeatedly bucked that trend with with their unique blend of atmospheric rock. Sporting dreary ambiance and stunning beauty in equal measure, Demon isn't just the best progressive rock album of the year. It's a brave, headfirst leap into new sonic territory for one of the genre's best kept secrets.
To Be Kind

I'm going to be totally honest and admit that I wasn't at all enamored with The Seer, and I was skeptical when I decided give the newest album a shot. What came out of the speakers crushed me like the hulk riding a woolly mammoth. Abrasive, destructive and intoxicating, To Be Kind is a massive record - a true tour de force.
4Freddie Gibbs and Madlib

Madlib's collaboration with Freddie Gibbs turned out far better than I expected it to. Sure, Madlib is a brilliant producer, but Gibbs I wasn't head over heels for Gibbs's debut album. Fortunately, the stars managed to align and both Gibbs and Madlib brought their A-game for Pinata, which just might be the year's best hip hop album so far.
5St. Vincent
St. Vincent

St. Vincent's self-titled fourth album is a strange beast. As mechanical as the album often sounds, it's a surprisingly human affair. From the infectious robotic stomp of Digital Witness to the evocative balladry of Severed Crossed Fingers, Annie Clarke's fourth album perfectly counterbalances her new digitized aesthetic with the emotional weight of her previous LP. It may not be better than Strange Mercy, but that's alright. Clarke has established herself as a dependable force in indie rock.
Behind the Sun

Despite being a psychedelic band at its core, Motorpsycho has never accepted the limitations of that genre. Running through jazz, country, prog and metal, the band is certainly an eclectic outfit, and Behind the Sun finds that creativity firing on all cylinders. Whether its the progressive splendor of Hell Parts 4-6 or the gorgeous acoustics of Entropy, lovers of vintage psych and rock will undoubtedly find something to love on Behind the Sun.
7Trophy Scars
Holy Vacants

One of my favorite discoveries this year, Holy Vacants is a huge record. It's not huge because of heavy guitar distortion or thick, foreboding atmosphere; it's huge because nearly every detail, from the lyrical bombast to the brilliant song-craft, comes together to form a cohesive body of work that refuses to be forgotten.
Guilty of Everything

While drenched in noise, Nothing never falls into the trap of completely obscuring their songs beneath a bottomless sea of reverb. That choice makes every moment all the sweeter given just how good each song is. Guilty of Everything isn't just one of the year's best albums, but also one of the year's most promising debuts.
Refractory Obdurate

If I'd been told a few months ago that a new Wovenhand album would be one of the year's best, I would have rolled my eyes. Dee's music had been on a downward slope ever since Ten Stones, but his latest offering finds him roaring back to life. Zealous and commanding as ever, Refractory Obdurate finds Dee expanding his sonic pallet in new directions while crafting his best songs in years.
10Sharon Van Etten
Are We There

Another new discovery this year, Sharon Van Etten immediately struck a chord with me. I've always been a sucker for singer-songwriters, but Van Etten is a cut above the standard fare and operates in the upper echelon. How she has yet to establish a larger presence is complete mystery.
Melting Sun

Neige hasn't exactly had the best track record as of late. Good thing, then, that he's absent from the latest Lantlos album, which turns out to be the group's best effort to date. Moving away from the harsh black metal soundscapes and into more vibrant sonic territory, Melting Sun sets itself apart from the band's discography in all of the best ways.
12 Todd Terje
It's Album Time

Admittedly, I'm not one for dance music. Sure, I've enjoyed the occasional album, but my relationship with the genre has been tenuous at best. It's Album Time, however, just might be the record to change that relationship permanently. Infectious like a parasite, this record sunk its teeth into my brain and refused to let go. Delorean Dynamite, anyone?

Playing both jazz and hip hop isn't a novel concept in 2014, but BadBadNotGood feels fresh regardless. III is the Canadian trio's first full set of original compositions, and it's also their best album yet. Smooth and inviting, III is the kind of record to lose yourself in while on the couch at night, with your favorite drink in hand.
14The Great Old Ones

It's a beautiful thing when a band improves on every aspect of their sound and comes back better than ever. The Great Old Ones have done exactly that with Tekeli-Li, their second record. Feral, beautiful, and expansive, the French black metal band can chalk up a win with one of the year's best records.
15Noah Gundersen

Few albums this year are likely to feel as personal as Ledges. Over the course of eleven tracks, Noah Gunderson establishes himself as a unique force in the over- saturated indie folk scene. Over the course of eleven tracks, Gunderson relates deeply intimate stories of loss and longing with the aid of his guitar, various strings and piano. It's gorgeous, and it shouldn't be missed.
16Marissa Nadler

I've always loved the winter, and Nadler's music has always taken me there. It's easy to imagine falling snow burying the roofs of abandoned houses as Nadler's ghostly voice floats above her icy acoustics. July may not be a perfect record, but it's certainly one that's going elicit some sort of reaction ? even if that reaction is huddling for warmth.
17Bohren & Der Club of Gore
Piano Nights

Hilarious album cover aside, Bohren's latest album finds the band in surprisingly solid form after the disappointing Beileid. As the title suggests, the piano is brought to the forefront, and the results are often stunning. It may not be Black Earth 2, but Piano Nights is undoubtedly a strong entry in the doom jazz ensemble's catalog.
Ultima II Massage

It's no secret that Thomas Fec's Black Moth Super Rainbow project has been on a downslide in recent years, making the success of Ultima II Massage all the sweeter. Here, Fec and company have created their strongest set of songs in years and, as always, an utterly bizarre psychedelic trip.
La Gargola

Very few bands in the realm of mainstream metal are as consistently good as Chevelle, and that's not just due to Pete Loeffler's always outstanding vocal work - Chevelle has the songwriting chops to drop album after album of quality tunes. La Gargola is no exception.
20Real Estate

I'll get this out of the way first: Atlas is not quite as good as its predecessor, Days. Even so, Real Estate proves that they still have a number of fantastic songs up their sleeves. This is a record that's best listened to with the sun shining and the windows down.
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