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Last Active 01-30-14 10:41 pm
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01.20.15 2014 Top Picks ( A Little Late)03.31.14 Top Picks Of March 2014
03.05.14 Best Of February 201401.30.14 Top Picks Of January 2014
12.21.13 Top 20 Of 2013

Top Picks Of March 2014

These are my top picks for March 2014. As always, these are just my personal opinion - if I rleft something off its because either I didn't care for it, or I didn't hear it. Comment, tell me rwhat you think!

Pharrel gets props for becoming an exceedingly talented producer. He loses points for struggling as a vocalist to match the grandeur and scale of some of his production. Pharrell utilizes lots of very 'classy' and 'regal' sounding production on this album, similar to Justin Timberlake. The extremely popular single ?Happy? is infectiously fun and uplifting.
12Moonlit Sailor
We Come From Exploding Stars

A post rock album, through and through. While it may be a little bit generic and formulaic for the post-rock genre, it is still a nice listen. Expect the usual climaxes characteristic of post-rock and song progression utilizing rises and falls to control listener excitement.

So it turns out this was actually a March release even though it appeared on my February list. I heard it in February and that is why it appeared upon that list, but now it's in its rightful place on the March list. Sisyphus is an alternative / experimental hip-hop album with experimental electronic production. This is the alt hip hop project of Sufjan Stevens, Serengeti, and Son Lux.

Progressive Sludge Metal, relentlessly heavy and crushing. Really enjoyed the instrumentation, but I had a difficult time getting into the vocals on this album.

Calm and relaxing bassy trip hop with female vocals.
Our Science is Golden

'Our Science is Golden' is noisy and aggressive, in-your-face, and very bombastic; all the while very catchy and fun. A very solid album from the realm of noise-rock, post-punk, post hardcore, call it what you will.
Behind the Sun

Motorpsycho is a psychedelic stoner space-rock band. We were bound to get something good out of this niche genre this year at some point, and its taken until March to happen. This album is boldly anachronistic, clearly content to remain within the 70s while the world of music evolves (or devolves depending on your perspective) around it. A good deal of the guitar-work on this album reminded me of Colour Haze, to offer a point of perspective.

Instrumental progressive metal act 'CHON' deliver an EP deserving of its jubilant, if not festive and peculiar title, 'Woohoo!' There is no metal to be found on this album; simply light, ecstatic, airy prog rock / jazz fusion jingles. The entire mood of this album is very bright and carefree. Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of this album is the very jazzy, free form drumming. There were some moans and groans to be found among the response to Chon's Ep when vocals made an appearance on the third track, Ecco, but after repeat listens I decided that these vocals did not detract from the quality of the track, but rather suited the mood of the track quite well and only added to the listening experience. That being said, its still primarily an instrumental EP; fans of light-hearted jazz music in the major register, as well as fans of progressive rock should both appreciate this EP and find it suitable to their tastes.
5The War on Drugs
Lost in the Dream

'Lost in the Dream' is a very soulful, catchy, rock album with roots in shoegaze, indie rock, and Americana. LITD is absolutely dripping with 80s influence, ranging from the sorta-Rod Stewart sounding vocal style to the sparingly used synth effects and very distinguished, straight forward drumming technique. The use of echoes, the illusion of distance, and very moody songwriting to create added depth to this album really place the listener directly within the most somber moments of their favorite 80s movies.

The first, and most obvious influence to be noted by Philadelphia rock band 'Creepoid' is Radiohead's Thom Yorke. The vocal style is nearly the same to earlier Radiohead, circa Pablo Honey. The less obvious influences are found in the distinctly grunge rock sounding instrumentation. There is something very noisy, messy and unrefined about the entire album that makes it sound so good, and the almost exasperated, mind-altered Thom Yorke style vocals only compliment it further. There is just so much going on musically during this record as well, so many different sounds and influences and styles being played at once. Terms that come to mind while listening to Creepoid: alternative, grunge, shoegaze, folk, indie, psychedelic, as I said, so much going on throughout this record.
Guilty of Everything

Nothing are yet another band of Philadelphia shoegazers to add to our growing list of Philadelphia shoe- gaze rockers ((I am beginning to wonder as a native of the Philadelphia area if there is a Philly Shoegaze scene and I've entirely missed it))! To be honest I enjoyed Creepoid and Guilty of Everything just about the same, but the list is in numerical order and I arbitrarily decided to declare Guilty of Everything the tie breaker. 'Nothing' delivers spacious, emotive, haunting, melancholic, dreamy, shoegaze at its very best on 'Guilty of Everything'. Singer/guitarist Domenic Palermo has an enchanting, soft, distanced voice eerily cast atop the thick and textured indiscernible buzz of guitar strings. If you are a fan of shoe-gaze / dream-pop, or just atmospheric rock in general, be certain to check this one out. Even more interesting is Domenic Palermo's back story, which is worth looking into if you enjoy the songs on this album.
2Animals As Leaders
The Joy of Motion

The Joy of Motion is one of the most eloquent instrumental progressive rock albums I have ever heard. This may sound like an awfully ambitious claim, but AAL's Tobin Abasi said it best when he stated, 'I took a step back and made an honest statement about what each song needed rather than showing how many sweep patterns I could throw in. The new record's more lyrical ((an interesting choice of words when faced with an instrumental album)). I think I've gotten to a place where I am comfortable with my playing, and I don't have to flaunt my ability'. The Joy of Motion keeps songs short and sweet. These tracks are still showcasing the exemplary instrumental and technical capability of the musicians in AAL, but it never feels like a simple show of guitar gymnastics. The songs are polished to perfection, not only by Periphery's Misha Mansoor, who was responsible for production on this album - but also by AAL themselves, for writing eloquent and to-the-point prog rock tunes. Composition was the key to success on this album.
Are You Kidding Me? No

Italian mathy metal-core band 'Destrage' released the first metal album of the year that I can honestly say I've really truly enjoyed. While there have been ample black metal releases, as well as a plethora of doom metal albums thus far this year ? I've been waiting anxiously for the first progressive metal album to really shock and amaze me. This was a very close competition with Animals as Leaders for my favorite from March, as that was also a phenomenal prog metal album, but this one I enjoyed slightly more. There is just so much going on in this album. The haphazard switching between a variety of genres makes it impossible to resist smiling - such as the unexpected transitions from heavy bass pedals to funky jam rock. 'AYKM?N' (how's that for an album acronym?), succeeds in accomplishing some of the same feats that make Dillinger Escape Plan such a beloved band of mine ? the very catchy and accessible creation of spastic mathy prog metal. It is taking collections of sounds that shouldn't be pleasing to the ear, and making it very pleasing, and downright fun. While DEP's brand of extreme metal is more punk / hardcore based, Destrage's take on it seems to be more in the alternative metal / metal-core direction ? yet both bands still manage to avoid the technical / djent tag and create captivating, exciting, and organic music. There is nothing mechanical about this album at all, all of the progression feels very loose and free. Its such a fun listen because it shouldn't work at all, alt-rock riffs and vocals that border on occasionally sounding like Chester Bennington with a poorer grasp on English, relentlessly merged with Fall of Troy guitar-work and the excitement and energy of DEP. I can only imagine how fun a band like this must be in a live setting.
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