Average Rating: 3.77
Rating Variance: 0.55
Objectivity Score: 66% (Fairly Balanced)
Sort by: Rating | Release Date | Rating Date | Name5.0 classicAesop Rock Labor DaysAmebix Arise!American Football American FootballAmerican Football is what I like to call a "cult band", a band which is heavily influential to their respective genre despite only hanging around long enough to release one or two things. American Football undoubtedly had a huge influence on emo and math rock, and their self-titled proves why. From the unmistakeable classic opener known as "Never Meant", to the wonderfully written "Stay Home", American Football is an exercise in emotion and nostalgia. Even the two instrumental tracks, "You Know I Should Be Leaving Soon" and "The One With The Wurlitzer" are emotionally poignant, and that is without Mike Kinsella's angelical voice. The trademark twinkly guitar sound is likely the best we'll ever hear from any band, and the drumming is stellar as well as fun. For every time you have ever reminisced about your past, American Football has created the soundtrack, one that would serve to cement the legacy of the man (rather, the legend) himself, Mike Kinsella. Atmosphere Overcast! EPAugust Burns Red MessengersAugust Burns Red ConstellationsHere is where the Pennsylvania quintet really started to distance themselves from the rest of modern metalcore scene. While Messengers does have an extreme amount of sentimental value to me, Constellations is objectively a better album. The album does have the technical, fast-paced riffage that August Burns Red is known for with songs such as "Thirty and Seven", "The Escape Artist", and "Meddler", but where the album really shines is the experimentation. Songs like "White Washed" and "Marianas Trench" employ fantastic build-ups not usually seen in metalcore, while other songs have nice acoustic/ambient breaks that provide a rest from the hectic atmosphere. Where the experimentation really comes to a head is "Meridian", a chilling track bordering on post-metal. If there is a better mainstream modern metalcore album, I have yet to hear it.Avenged Sevenfold Waking the FallenPeople throw the word "sell-out" around a lot these days, but most of that is bull. It's not selling out if the band makes some money and is played on the radio. Selling out is when a band changes their style to get more money and exposure. Before Avenged Sevenfold sold out (Which only worked on "City of Evil"), they made what has to be a metalcore classic. The atmosphere on it is so dark, sometimes in a depressing way ("I won't see you tonight Part 1"), or in an urgent and passionate way ("Second Heartbeat"). Jimmy Sullivan's drumming is fantastic, and the dueling guitars are excellent. Shadows' vocals are decent; singing clean is his strongest point. The songs seem to take on a life of their own in the bleak, black void that is the atmosphere. It's great, and looking at Avenged Sevenfold now, they needed this album.Blessthefall His Last WalkBotch American NervosoBotch We Are the RomansBurial UntrueCharles Mingus The Black Saint and the Sinner LadyConverge Jane DoeConverge You Fail MeI feel as if there is nothing left to say about Converge. Everything they've done has been documented, explained, reviewed, and loved to high heaven. So all I really have to say is this: I love Converge, and I love You Fail Me. When I listen to it I somehow feel any troubles I may have fade in to the background. And that, at least for me, is the purpose, the reason, the trophy, and the meaning.DJ Screw 3 'N The Mornin' (Part Two)Eminem The Slim Shady LPI often ask myself, what tortures a man's soul so that he doesn't want to live? Whatever the reasons, in 1996, Marshall Mathers, an aspiring rapper from Detroit, attempted suicide. From the ashes of the failed attempt, another part of him was born, and he called it Slim Shady. Slim's sole reason for existing? To piss the world off and upset the order. We all know this now, but when this album came out, few had expected anything like it. The angry, tortured, frustrated, sad, and pretty funny songs that appear on this LP are nothing short than the raps of a man who, as one of the classics on the album states, "Just Don't Give A F***"Eminem The Marshall Mathers LPExplosions in the Sky Those Who Tell the Truth...Since Godspeed was the first post rock band I ever listened to, I assumed other post rock bands would sound similar. They actually play a pretty strange style of post rock, now that I've listened to other bands. Explosions In The Sky, alternatively, are pretty straight-forward with what they do. Whereas Godspeed drops a bomb on you and burns the whole city down, Explosions In The Sky moves by like a forceful hurricane, and "Those Who Tell The Truth..." is a fantastic example of that.Explosions in the Sky The Earth is Not a Cold Dead PlaceFleetwood Mac RumoursGodspeed You! Black Emperor Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to HeavenEverything that can be said about how incredible this album is has already be said, so anything from this point on is redundant. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it.Godspeed You! Black Emperor F#A# (Infinity)Godspeed You! Black Emperor Slow Riot For New Zero KanadaIced Earth Burnt OfferingsKendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d cityCompton, U.S.A made him an angel on angel's dust.Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a ButterflyI can't tell you how big of a fan I am of good kid, m.A.A.d city. Ever since the first listen in late 2013, I thought it was a classic record, and knew Kendrick Lamar was an excellent artist, what with that and Section.80 in his discography. To Pimp A Butterfly is much different. There is so much to digest, so much to catch on this thing, and so much that needs to set in that there is no way that one listen will suffice to call this a "classic". Some time needs to pass, many listens will be needed, and no amount of comparisons or hype will change that. However, the notion that this could potentially be a classic in the future is both a valid one and an incredible one. All three of his LP's, then, will have had the focus of the rap game firmly on them for a time. The interesting thing here is, his rhyming ability and flow are at a peak for him, the production is a beautiful blend of jazz and funk that FlyLo, Thundercat, and Sounwave are all in their zone on, and his lyrics have never been as relevant and hard-hitting as they are on this. With that said, the possibility this ends up as a classic record is very strong, and that is truly impressive. La Dispute Somewhere at the Bottom of the River...Linkin Park Hybrid TheoryLorde Pure HeroineNeil Young Everybody Knows This Is NowhereNeil Young After the Gold RushRadiohead OK ComputerI was hearing this for the first time when LeBron James decided he'd come back to Cleveland. This album now holds a special place in my heart, 5'd so hard for every reason.Radiohead Kid AI think that there isn't much left to say about Kid A. It's just amazing to me, even after hearing the greatness that is OK Computer, that Radiohead could make something equally as ambitious and interesting. Just those two albums alone contain 22 unforgettable songs. The 10 here are often seen as some of the bleakest written by the band, but underneath Kid A's cold exterior lies something truly hopeful and beautiful that never really gets to come out in full until "Motion Picture Soundtrack". I've heard a lot of people say that it grew on them, but this album clicked instantly for me. Kudos, Radiohead, for two unforgettable records.Red Hot Chili Peppers By the WayThe Dillinger Escape Plan Calculating InfinityGood Lord... This album is twisted, unrelenting and punishingly heavy. Way ahead of it's time, a true classic. The Pogues Rum Sodomy & the LashThee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra Born Into Trouble As the Sparks Fly UpwardI've always considered TSMZ to be GY!BE-lite, always sort of hanging in the shadows of a much larger project. While this is by no means a bad thing, it can cause struggles with a bands own identity. That is, if you don't make an ambitious, beautiful record such as this. The follow up to 2000's He Has Left Us Alone..., Born Into Trouble is exactly the type of record TSMZ needed to separate themselves from their parent band, and it is done expertly. This album can certainly get some tears out of the listener with songs like "Sisters! Brothers!..." and "Built Then Burnt", but it also has songs that display a sense of urgency, like "Take These Hands And Throw Them In The River" and "C'mon COME ON". The true highlight is "Could've Moved Mountains", which just may be one of greatest post-rock songs ever made. Though on the whole TSMZ tends to stay in the shadow of GY!BE, this album proves that they are most certainly their own band, and are capable of making fantastic records, too.Thomas Newman Wall-ETrophy Scars Darkness, Oh HellI feel like Trophy Scars' style of music should not work. A mixture of blues, punk, jazz, and small bits of post-hardcore doesn't really seem like it would sound that good. Yet, it does. I don't really even know why it works, it just does. Every piano note, every guitar lick, every pained lyric, and every throaty croon. And each song flows seamlessly into the next, like we're listening to one twenty-eight minute play. The fact that everything they've done since releasing Bad Luck has been this well-received is really impressive. I mean, it's hard enough to make four straight releases that are acclaimed, but the fact that they've done it using a style all their own is simply astonishing. However, this album is perfect. While Bad Luck suffered from some cringe-worthy lyrics here and there, and Holy Vacants had a few melodramatic moments, everything on Darkness, Oh Hell is done perfectly, down to the last detail. One hell of a release, indeed.Weezer Weezer4.5 superbA/T/O/S A/T/O/SWow, did this thing sneak up on me. I don't know why I put off listening to this, but I'm glad I finally did. This is the debut record from A/T/O/S, which stands for "A Taste Of Struggle". The way the group mixes trip-hop and R&B is basically perfect, and though it may run slightly long, this is definitely one of this years chillest releases. The closer, "Variations", could possibly be my favorite song from this year. "What I Need", "Roses", and "No Heart" are also incredibly dope tracks. The chilly atmosphere on here is pretty great too, accompanied by soulful vocals and melancholy lyrics. With a debut like this, A/T/O/S makes me very optimistic for what the future holds for them, and they are certainly a group that people should keep their eyes on. Aerosmith Toys in the AtticAesop Rock Music For EarthwormsAesop Rock DaylightAesop Rock is undoubtedly one of the kings of underground hip-hop, and possibly the biggest reason for that is because his lyricism is second to none. On this EP, Aes reworks his most famous song ("Daylight") on a track called "Night Light", spits wonders over an El-P produced track on "Nickel Plated Pockets", and even shares the spotlight with fellow rapper Blueprint on "Alchemy". But perhaps the greatest moment on this EP is one that isn't even included on the tracklist. A hidden track called "One Of Four" that ends the silence after "Maintenance" is easily Aes' most confessional and heartfelt song. It is a self-produced track that is dedicated to four people that saved his life during a time of depression. It is surely not as lyrical as other Aesop Rock songs, in fact likely being his least lyrical, but nowhere else do we find such a straightforward, personal, and emotional Ian Bavitz. This EP is a must-have for all of Aes' fans, and a rewarding listen for underground hip-hop lovers.Anberlin CitiesAnberlin has always had a great reputation for being one of the more consistent alt-rock/pop-punk acts of this day and age. Their music is simple, but insanely fun and undeniably catchy. Nowhere is this more apparent than on their third record, Cities. The band gets off to a roaring start with "Godspeed", an absolute romp of a song that sets the tone of the record perfectly. The band tries their hand at some synths on this record, and they actually work very well, like on "Reclusion" and "Hello Alone". The vocalist, Stephen Christian, is at the top of his game here, both in the performance aspect and the lyrics department. The album is absolutely rife with infectious choruses, and they make the album as memorable as it is a good time. The highlight of the album are the two final tracks, "Dismantle. Repair.", and "(*Fin)", the latter of which is the best song Anberlin has ever written. Surely, if you love alternative rock with heavy pop sensibilities, you can never go wrong with Cities.Arctic Monkeys Whatever People Say I Am, That's What...It's hard to pin it down, but something about this album screams "nightlife" to me. Maybe it's the guy smoking on the album cover. Maybe it's the riff-driven fun packed in the tracks of this album, which seem as if they're being played inside a smoke-filled bar between drunken bouts. Either way, I'd love to listen to this thing on a night on the town.Arctic Monkeys Favourite Worst NightmareAtmosphere Sad Clown Bad Dub IIAugust Burns Red Rescue and RestoreBob Marley and The Wailers The Wailing WailersBob Marley and The Wailers Catch A FireBrian Eno Ambient 1: Music For AirportsBrian Eno Here Come the Warm JetsBrian Eno, as we know him today, is one of the undisputed kings of electronic music. However, in 1974, it was a bit of a different story. Rather than making fantastic ambient electronic or art-pop, he was creating art-rock with glam rock sensibilities and a bit of an influence from synth-driven electronica. Almost every song on his debut album, Here Come The Warm Jets, is as catchy and as fun as they come. The lyrics on this record are very memorable, and Eno delivers them with an interesting inflection that makes the record sound very unique. The obvious highlight here is "Baby's On Fire", but "Cindy Tells Me", "Some Of Them Are Old", and the title track are also gems that can't be missed. Here Come The Warm Jets is unlike any other album Brian Eno has ever made, and in that regard, any fan of the man should listen to it without delay.Burial Truant/Rough SleeperIt speaks volumes about Burial that we expect nothing less than excellence from him every time we listen to one of his new cuts. Many believe that everything he's made is at worst very solid and at best otherworldly. On this EP, that sentiment does not change, and he delivers once again. "Truant" is a pretty sparse and atmospheric track, one that conjures up the feeling of the seedy London underground and its issues, something that Burial has always been able to provide with little trouble. It is messy without feeling completely disjointed, and it's clear a lot of ideas were explored in the creation of this track. "Rough Sleeper" is a bit of different territory for Burial, as there are certain segments during this track where the music is upbeat and hopeful. Overall, it carries a certain charm, with bells coming in that can remind one of a snowy, comfortable Christmas. It's actually pretty interesting to the see the contrast between these two styles put up against each other on a two-track EP. Surely, this is a record that you could show to anyone who wants to get into Burial, or atmospheric garage/dubstep in general.Candlemass Epicus Doomicus MetallicusEpicus Doomicus Metallicus is one of the most revered albums, not just in doom metal, but in metal as a whole. It's been discussed to high heaven, but it's worthy of its praise. In my opinion, "Solitude" makes its mark as one of the greatest metal songs ever written, and though every other song is great, they just miss the opener's prowess by mere inches. That said, this record is one every fan of doom metal (and metal in general) should hear.Caravan In the Land of Grey and PinkCaravan If I Could Do It All Over Again...Celtic Frost Morbid TalesConverge Petitioning the Empty SkyD'Angelo Black MessiahFamed neo-soul and R&B artist D'Angelo was beginning to become a bit of an afterthought for a lot of people during his fourteen-year-long hiatus. But, to those who love soul music and R&B, D'Angelo would remain in their hearts for decades. Now, things are starting to change. D'Angelo is now back on the forefront of soul/R&B, titillating dedicated fans, making former fans refocus, and making many new fans in the process. The reason for this refocusing is simple: Black Messiah is one smooth, soulful, and (for some) nostalgic record. From the opening spaceship-like noises on "Ain't That Easy" to the final piano strokes of "Another Life", Black Messiah showcases everything D'Angelo's about. From smooth bass lines, soulful singing, and lyrics that have just as much relevance today as they did when they were written, Black Messiah is a fantastic comeback album. If you're going to listen to one more record in 2014, make it this one. Death LeprosyOne of the most important death metal albums ever recorded, Leprosy is just one of the those fantastic albums that have been praised to the ends of the earth and back again, with little more to be said. In my opinion, the first six tracks and the closer are death metal perfection, with "Primitive Ways" being a good song, but not quite up to snuff with the others. With that said, "life ends so fast, so take your chance and make it last."Del tha Funkee Homosapien Both Sides of the BrainPossessing an unmistakable voice and a penchant for lyricism, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien is one of the more prominent figures in underground hip-hop. His work with Deltron 3030 is seen as classic, and his debut record established him as a very capable rapper. Both Sides Of The Brain is arguably his best work, featuring his most recognized song in "If You Must", some songs dealing with personal addictions in "BM's" and "Skull & Crossbones", and his affront to "fake rappers", something that has always characterized Del. The production on this record is much more varied than on his previous albums, and the guest appearances on here are excellent as well. Though it drags slightly in the middle, Del manages to put his best foot forward on these tracks, and shouldn't come as a surprise that it ends being a great success.Deniro Farrar RebirthI'm always going to be a fan of storytelling in hip-hop. For some reason, a story told over metal riffs or smooth acoustic guitar just doesn't have the same emotional effect that hearing the story told through rapping and looped beats does. There are storytellers that are very cryptic with their lyrics and meanings, and then there are storytellers that don't mince words, get straight to the point, and let you know that every word that escapes their mouth is unabashedly real. The latter describes Deniro Farrar, who, instead of crafting a painting symbolic of his life, takes a picture of his life with a camera of the highest definition. No photoshop here. Mixing introspective questions and thoughts with immediate existential surroundings and flowing masterfully over excellent cloud rap/trap production, Farrar lays himself bare on this 25-minute EP. The guest spots are used to optimum proficiency here as well, showing that Farrar is smart with choosing artists that compliment his aesthetic and overall theme. An overlooked gem, Rebirth is a fantastic hip-hop EP that is dying to be heard.diSEMBOWELMENT Transcendence into the PeripheralDjRum MountainsEarl Sweatshirt EARLEarth Primitive and DeadlyEarth is considered one of the premier drone metal bands in existence, and with releases like Earth 2, it's easy to see why. While their early work was mainly droning with little percussion and no vocals, on Primitive And Deadly they change this. Cleaner sounding production, airy vocals and slow, methodical drumming combine with the droning riffage that Earth is known for to fantastic effect here. "Torn By The Fox Of The Crescent Moon" and "Even Hell Has Its Heroes" are two instrumental tracks that show a nice psychedelic rock influence. "From The Zodiacal Light" and "Rooks Across The Gate" show the vocal styling of Earth to be an excellent fit with the instrumentals established, and are as ethereal as they are heavy. Altogether, Earth has another excellent release under their belt, and prove that they certainly still have it.Eminem The Eminem ShowExplosions in the Sky All of a Sudden, I Miss EveryoneI've always been a fan of how Explosions In The Sky do post-rock. While I do love the louder, dronier stuff like Godspeed, there's something to be said for the simple, yet effective way EITS play their music. Unfortunately, this also has garnered them some flak for having a been-there-done-that feel to their music on occasion. While that is true in the case of All Of A Sudden, I Miss Everyone, it never gets to the point where it will bother the listener. In fact, EITS add a different feeling to this record: darkness. This is evident even from the opening notes of "The Birth and Death of the Day". "It's Natural To Be Afraid" adds to this feeling, but it does have an uplifting crescendo the likes of which only EITS can create. "What Did You Go Home To?", with its melancholy piano, does a perfect job of setting up "Catastrophe and the Cure", which might just be the best song on the album, despite not being as dark as the rest of the album. A return to form from the disappointing The Rescue, EITS really deliver on this record, and no fan of post-rock should pass it up.Fleetwood Mac Fleetwood MacFlying Lotus You're Dead!Flying Lotus, also known as Flylo, has truly made a name for himself in the past eight years. His work, being of the experimental electronic and jazz fusion genres, have garnered a large amount of critical acclaim. In terms of the quality we all expect from him, he delivers once again on You're Dead! The production on this album is stunning, making use of so many different instruments and styles. For instance, on "Tesla", he makes use of very skilled bass, mixing it with xylophone and piano to create a great jazz fusion track. On "Cold Dead", the use of trumpet and electric guitar is seen along with piano. Elsewhere, we find very ethereal and euphoric tracks like "Coronus, The Terminator", "The Boys Who Died In Their Sleep", and "Obligatory Cadence" make this release as fun to listen to as it is ambitious. All I know is, if I'm really dead, at least I've got You're Dead!Fort Minor The Rising TiedFrank Ocean Channel OrangeGodspeed You! Black Emperor Yanqui U.X.O.Goldie TimelessIf being timeless is what Clifford Price was aiming for with his debut, then he just may have attained it. What is now seen as a groundbreaking drum and bass release, Timeless was one of the first records ever to mix the genres trademark hard-hitting breakbeats and deep bass lines with atmospheric strings and synths, along with a slew of angelical female vocals. The album gets off to an incredible start with the title track, which is one of the best electronic tracks I've ever had the pleasure of hearing. The entire first half of this record is absolute can't-miss material, the best of it being on another wonderful track in "Sea Of Tears", and on the lethal "Jah, The Seventh Seal". Though the second half of the record does stray a bit from the perfect path set by the first half, there are fantastic moments here as well with "A Sense Of Rage", "Still Life", and "You & Me". It's nearly two hours long, so there will be some time and patience needed to digest everything that appears on this album. However, I believe it is well worth it, and though I can't quite say it's a 5 for me, it's the closest it can possibly be without being one. If you call yourself a fan of drum and bass, jungle, or electronic music in general, make sure you give this beast of an album a well-deserved listen.Gorillaz Demon DaysGreen Day DookieHere Comes the Kraken Here Comes the KrakenHorrorshow The Grey SpaceIced Earth Night of the StormriderInterpol Turn on the Bright LightsJames Horner AvatarJohann Sebastian Bach Harpsichord Concerto in D minor BWV 1052Johnny Cash American RecordingsJohnny Cash American II: UnchainedThe man in black is often considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, country artists that ever lived. It's not hard to understand with records like this, his second stint with Rick Rubin and the second album in the American Recordings series. This album features a bit more than just Johnny and his guitar, making fantastic use of strings throughout, and containing more drumming than the original American recording. This album contains several of Cash's best songs, like "Rusty Cage", "Southern Accents", and "Meet Me In Heaven". However, the best song on the album (and in my opinion Cash's best song) is the riveting and tearjerkingly beautiful "Spiritual", which features some of the most emotional singing the cashman ever recorded. Truly, this album is not to be missed by fans of country music. Justin Timberlake The 20/20 ExperienceIt's hard to believe that Justin Timberlake took seven years to make this. He's a multi-faceted guy, and what with his acting career and his great sophomore LP Future Sex/Love Sounds, people have been taking much more seriously than just "that guy from N*Sync" for a while now. But, if this is the result of seven years of work, then by all means, J.T., take your sweet time. He sounds very confident, but doesn't come off as narcissistic. He sings with a soothing and oftentimes beautiful voice, but never lets it become overbearing. The production on this thing is top-notch, and though a few of the songs stay a little past their welcome, this album is excellent RnB/pop. The lyrics here follow a pretty common theme: women. Still, there are none that are bad, and he honestly sounds like he's putting emotion into them when he sings them, "That Girl" being a fantastic example. The highlight of all this, of course, is the ending duo of the insanely catchy "Mirrors" and the smooth "Blue Ocean Floor." So, yes, the praise for this album is most certainly justified.Kendrick Lamar Section.80Linkin Park MeteoraManners Pale Blue LightThis album is one of the most depressing albums I've ever heard. The lyrics are heart-rending and the dissonant guitars are both haunting and sorrowful at the same time. The vocals sound as if the vocalist is pleading with every tormenter he's had to stop his torture. It's a true, soul-bearing melodic hardcore release, that succeeds in all it tries to accomplish. Listen here: http://mannersct.bandcamp.com/album/pale-blue-lightMarxman 33 Revolutions Per MinuteMassive Attack Blue LinesMassive Attack is one of the most famous groups to ever come from the UK, and are considered to be the essential trip-hop outfit. Their excellent beginnings are seen here on Blue Lines, and album widely considered to be the first trip-hop record. Their work with sampling is the shining aspect of the album, as each and every song contains an array of expertly woven sounds, backing the vocals of Shara Nelson and Horace Andy beautifully. There is some rapping here by Tricky Kid, like on "Daydreaming", and it's actually not half bad. The highlights are many on this album, but the middle trio in "Be Thankful For What You've Got", "Five Man Army", and "Unfinished Sympathy" is absolutely astonishing. Big props to Neneh Cherry, who, as Daddy G said, "kicked our arses and got us into the studio." Who knew it would result in this? Mayday Parade A Lesson In RomanticsMichael Jackson ThrillerMiles Davis 'Round About MidnightMiles Davis is one of, if not the, greatest jazz innovators of all time. Many albums of his have been christened as classics of the genre, and throughout his career he dabbled in the many sub genres jazz had to offer. Here, he plays hard bop, and with himself on the trumpet and John Coltrane on the tenor sax, some melancholy yet gorgeous music is made. Featuring songs arranged by jazz greats Thelonius Monk and Stan Getz, this record is a forty-minute excursion into smooth, sad, and altogether endearing jazz, with songs such as "'Round Midnight", "All Of You", "Bye-Bye Blackbird", and "Dear Old Stockholm" stealing the show. Though it was initially received rather lukewarmly, 'Round About Midnight has proved itself to be one of the essentials of hard bop, and an all-around great record for fans of jazz everywhere.Mount Eerie SaunaI've always been interested in people that are in touch with their surroundings as much as they are in touch with themselves. It's this sentiment that makes Sauna an engrossing listen, as the sparse, lo-fi eclecticism of the record is just flowing with these vibes. Even from the opener, "Sauna", in which a drone swirls around a recording of a crackling fire, the atmosphere is excellent. The album is an interesting mix of lo-fi indie folk, drone, and small hints of black metal and ambient. Therefore, though the atmosphere is sparse, it never becomes boring or a chore to listen to. There is plenty of experimentation here as well. The vocals here are soothing and comforting, and the use of female vocals in a few of the tracks is a nice touch. The lyrics are about relatively simple things, but they are put together in such a way that you get to appreciate the significance of each of them. Overall, a suburb album from Mount Eerie that should be heard by indie fans everywhere.Neil Young HarvestNeil Young On the BeachDespite having great financial success with his 1972 album Harvest, Neil Young found himself depressed. One of his best friends, named Danny Whitten, had overdosed on heroin in 1972 after being fired from Young's band, Crazy Horse. And so, in 1974, when On The Beach was released, audiences were met with dreary production and a pessimistic Neil, in stark contrast to Harvest. Lyrically, Neil is at the top of his game, with the hopeful "Walk On" and political "Vampire Blues" as obvious examples. However, it is side B of the album, containing three of his best songs, lyrically and instrumentally, in "On The Beach", "Motion Pictures", and "Ambulance Blues" that cement this record as one of Neil's best. For Neil, this is the fourth record in a row, chronologically speaking I might add, that has been hailed as a classic by critics around the world, something as challenging as it is impressive. New Order MovementNew Order Blue MondayThere really isn't much left to say about "Blue Monday". It's just one of the greatest dance tracks ever made, no question. It's importance cannot be understated either, as it is often seen as one of the strongest links between the disco of the seventies and the dance/house music that permeated the late eighties. The B-side remix known as "The Beach" is really cool as well, but nothing can compare to the greatness of the original. Nujabes Metaphorical MusicOasis Definitely MaybeOasis (What's the Story) Morning Glory?Opeth Still LifeParamore Riot!Paramore Brand New EyesPixies DoolittlePixies are a band that I had a hard time getting into at first. Surfer Rosa had some of the greatest material ever written in alternative rock, but felt a bit jumbled and messy to me. After getting used to them, I realized how much genius really went in to the Pixies music. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in their magnum opus Doolittle. They turn in their most coherent work here, but also their funnest and most memorable. Songs like "Here Comes Your Man", "Monkey Gone To Heaven", and "No. 13 Baby" are catchy and brilliantly written. Even the shorter songs, which for me were Surfer Rosa's weakness, are much improved this time around with songs like "Mr. Grieves", "There Goes My Gun", and "Crackity Jones". Altogether, Doolittle is a cornerstone of alternative rock that every fan of the genre must have. Protest the Hero KeziaProtest the Hero A Calculated Use of SoundRadiohead The BendsRed Hot Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex MagikSadistik UltravioletSocial Distortion Social DistortionSoundtrack (Film) O Brother, Where Art Thou?System of a Down ToxicityThe Black Crowes Shake Your Money MakerThe Black Keys Rubber FactoryThe Dillinger Escape Plan Ire WorksThe Dillinger Escape Plan Option ParalysisWhereas TDEP peaked in intensity on their sonically insane debut Calculating Infinity, they have peaked in creativity on their fourth full-length album, Option Paralysis. Whereas the former of those two can be described as chaos, the latter can more accurately be described as organized chaos. For while their debut was certainly innovative, that innovation took a backseat to the sheer intensity of the record. Here, the intensity is still very much alive, but the spotlight is on the innovation this time around. And with such songs as "Farewell, Mona Lisa", "Gold Teeth On A Bum", and "Widower", it's very easy to see why. This album often feels like a more realized version of Miss Machine, which can only be a good thing in this case. With this release, The Dillinger Escape Plan has certainly cemented themselves as one of the most unique, creative, and interesting bands in the world today.The Faceless Planetary DualityThe Hotelier Home, Like NoPlace Is ThereThe Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You ExperiencedThe Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric LadylandThe Prodigy ExperienceThe Prodigy Music for the Jilted GenerationThe Sisters of Mercy First and Last and AlwaysThe Strokes Is This ItThe War on Drugs Lost in the DreamMy vote made this go from a 4 to a 4.1. Thank me later, Adam Granduciel. Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Thomas Newman Finding Nemo SoundtrackThou / The Body You, Whom I Have Always HatedThough it is only twenty-seven minutes long, this split full-length from Thou and The Body is chock-full of great moments. From the monstrous opener "Her Strongholds Unvanquishable", which features vocals reminiscent of a banshee, to the short but powerful "The Devils Of Trust Steal The Souls Of The Free", and even on to the eerie ambient track "He Returns To The Place Of His Iniquity", the album is ridden with pummeling drums and sloth-like riffs. The closer, "Lurking Fear", is truly something to behold, taking a punishing start and a subdued middle (complete with clean vocals) and smashing them together in the end, creating an unnerving yet strangely beautiful concoction. My only gripe with this album is that it could be a bit longer, but as stated before, there is still enough on this record to keep the listener satisfied. All in all, a superb release from two of the leaders in modern sludge metal.Tiny Moving Parts Pleasant LivingOne of the best emo/math rock combinations ever put to wax. How has no one 5'd this yet?
EDIT: Well, after repeated listens this has grown off a little bit, but it's still AOTY for me.Trophy Scars Holy VacantsTrophy Scars Bad LuckViet Cong Viet CongFormed from the ashes of experimental post-punk band Women, Viet Cong's self-titled album was one of the most anticipated records of 2015, and it was released in January. Does it meet expectations? I would say so. Granted, it is not Public Strain, but it is still a great listen and it is easy to tell the two bands apart. That is not say that there is no experimentation one here, quite the contrary in fact. The strange noises the guitars make while the bassline swirls inside of them is a highlight of "Pointless Experience". The odd, staticky buildup in "March Of Progress" gives way to oriental instruments and a thumping drum beat. It's a droney record, but it still manages to be very catchy, as opener "Newspaper Spoons" and "Continental Shelf" prove. The highlight of the record, though, is massive closer "Death", a fantastic amalgam of all that is great about the record. All in all, a superb listen, as if anyone expected anything different.Weezer PinkertonWinter Into DarknessWire Pink FlagWolves in the Throne Room Celestite4.0 excellentA Day to Remember For Those Who Have HeartA Tribe Called Quest People's Instinctive Travels & The Paths of RhythmAC/DC T.N.T.Aerosmith Get Your WingsAerosmith RocksAesop Rock AppleseedWhy is this record not noticed? Aesop Rock is too dope!Aesop Rock FloatAmebix MonolithAmebix has been credited with creating the genre of crust punk, a lethal fusion of heavy metal and anarchist hardcore punk that few bands can pull off successfully. Thankfully, Amebix is one of them, and their sound is still great on their sophomore LP Monolith. The riffs here are pretty reminiscent of speed metal bands like Motorhead, but still retain the crusty edge they had on Arise. The songwriting has taken a bit of a hit here, though, as they don't usually stray away from the formula of melodic intros and speed metal riff passages. The production gives it a very murky feel, and though it pales in comparison to Arise's atmosphere, it is still good enough to hold its own. And with great songs like "Nobody's Driving", "Time Bomb", "I.C.B.M.", and "Coming Home", Monolith proves itself a worthy successor to the essential Arise, and is an excellent listen in and of itself. American Football American Football EPArctic Monkeys HumbugArsonists Get All the Girls PortalsAtlas Losing Grip CurrentsI'd imagine it's a tough life for sailors, rarely being able to see your family and constantly being out on the ocean or lakes. Of course, Atlas Losing Grip uses this as a metaphor for losing your way in life (lost at sea) and righting yourself again (finding your way home). Musically they sound like a faster, punkier, and darker Anberlin, and though they're excellent at making fast-paced songs with catchy choruses, they are really on their game with slower, sadder songs as well. Take for instance "Closure" and "Kings And Fools", back-to-back songs that are easily relatable and make great use of atmospheric guitars. The back end of the album is particularly good, though, with the impassioned "Through The Distance" paving way for the closer, "Ithaka", which ends the album on a hopeful and endearing note. Though the first couple of songs aren't as good as the rest of the album, this record is strikingly consistent throughout and is a pretty fun listen. I'd recommend this if you're a fan of melodic punk rock or just fast-paced, energetic rock in general.August Burns Red Thrill SeekerAutechre GarbageAutechre Anvil VapreAutechre have had their fair share of great EP's in their time, with the Anti EP and Garbage being two obvious examples. Here, the masters of IDM release the follow up to Garbage, using buzzsaw-like noises, static, and a lot of awkward synth passages. The whole thing sounds very spacey, and you can often feel the noises and static in the back of your head. Despite this, the songs are actually kind of catchy, especially "Second Scepe". "Second Scout" is probably the most sparse of the tracks, being very atmospheric in nature. The closer almost sounds industrial, with many of the aforementioned buzzsaw noises whirring in the background. The overall sound, though a bit subdued in relation to something like Tri Repetae, acts as somewhat of an entranceway into their more well known records, and is an important listen in Autechre's discography. Avenged Sevenfold City of EvilBaths CeruleanWill Wiesenfeld has always had a soft spot for his home. Even his stage name is derived from his love of relaxing in his home bathtub. His debut was recorded over a period of two months in 2010 in the bedroom of his house. What came from this is an interesting take on electronic music that features influences from experimental electronic, downtempo, and even small doses of glitch. His chops with faster paced songs are seen on tracks like "Apologetic Shoulder Blades", "Indoorsy", and "Plea", but he is also crafty with the slower songs as seen on "Rain Smell" and "Departure". However, "Maximalist" is the true highlight of this album, combining great atmosphere and skippy samples to create a very fun song. Some of the samples may get a small bit irritating after a while, and a couple of the slower songs overstay their welcome, but this accounts for only a couple songs off the record. All in all, a debut that shouldn't be overlooked by electronic music fans.Bee Gees Saturday Night Fever SoundtrackI don't know if it's right to call this album the quintessential disco album, but it is certainly one of the most recognizable releases in the genre. It has some bonafide disco classics such as "Stayin' Alive", "A Fifth Of Beethoven", "You Should Be Dancing", "Boogie Shoes", and "Disco Inferno". It also has a few romantically tinged songs that are just as good, with the slower "How Deep Is Your Love", and the incredibly catchy duo of "More Than A Woman" and "If I Can't Have You". That being said, there are a couple of filler songs, as any seventeen-track album will likely have. Still, it's a pretty consistent release, and the first six songs alone could've made this album a great one. If you haven't heard this yet, you either missed the late seventies/eighties entirely or don't have parents that were around in the late seventies/eighties.Between the Buried and Me The Parallax: Hypersleep DialoguesBetween the Buried and Me The Silent CircusBTBAM has always been a polarizing band among fans of metal in general. I've never really understood why that is. Sure, Tommy Rogers isn't exactly the most talented vocalist, and there certainly is some guitar wankery, but "faux prog"? Hardly. Taking what made their debut an interesting listen and expanding on it, The Silent Circus is a much more tight, focused, and fun BTBAM. "Camilla Rhodes" and "Mordecai" form a massive one-two punch of progressive metalcore, while the ambient "Reaction" is a nice break from the relentless action. "Ad A Dglgmut" fires the engines right back up from a relatively dull acoustic piece, and "Aesthetic" is quite possibly one of the funnest songs the band have ever made. The lyrics here are pretty interesting as well. Just to list a couple of examples, "Aesthetic" deals with the last moments of the RMS Titanic, and "Mordecai" tells the story of a desensitized man reconnecting with human emotion. Though they'd go on to do bigger and better things, The Silent Circus is an important album in BTBAM's history, and is a great listen even today. Bob Marley and The Wailers Soul RevolutionBob Marley and The Wailers Burnin'Before The Wailers became Bob Marley & The Wailers after founding members Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer took off for solo careers, they released a sort of last hurrah in the form of 1973's Burnin'. While previous releases focused mainly on laid-back themes, much of what is contained on Burnin' is a call to action. With songs like "Get Up, Stand Up", and a cover of Eric Clapton's "I Shot The Sheriff", the album has a more revolutionary feel than previous albums. Still, songs like "Pass It On" still show the peace-loving, dope-smoking side to The Wailers we all know and love. Some of the best songs they've ever written also appear on the album in the form of "Hallelujah Time" and "Burnin' And Lootin'". Don't pass it up if you're a fan of The Wailers and reggae in general.Boris CosmosBoris has always been a force to be reckoned with when it comes to drone music, but to just call them a drone band sells them far too short. They're one of the most inventive, original, and eclectic drone bands out there, and their 2012 EP Cosmos illustrates this very well. One of the most accessible releases they've ever made, Cosmos is an exercise in ambience and atmosphere as much as it is in the classic, heavy droning we've come to know. "Cosmos Part 1" kicks things off with a shroud of ambient samples and ethereal cymbal work, and "Cosmos Part 3" ends things in a similar, but much more minimalistic way. The highlight of the album is "Cosmos Part 2", which works fantastically as a catchy pop song shrouded in noise, drone, and echoes, complete with weird electronic noises. All in all, a great EP by Boris that can serve as an easy entry point into the bands' lengthy discography.Botch An Anthology of Dead EndsBurial BurialBurial Street HaloCage The Elephant MelophobiaChevelle Point #1Chevelle have always been known for their soft-loud dynamics, which has often garnered them comparisons to alternative metal giants Tool and Deftones in this regard. Their humble, yet very solid beginnings are seen here on the Steve Albini produced Point #1, coming on to the scene with a bang. The best work on this record is an exercise in soft-loud dynamics, with "Point #1", "Dos", and "Long" providing excellent examples. They even manage to get some catchy riffing in on "Mia" and "Peer". The louder songs on the record sometimes overstay their welcome, but they are still decent enough to warrant a listen. Though their debut wasn't a commercial success, it did well critically, and is a great starting point for anyone wishing to get into Chevelle's discography.City and Colour SometimesCity and Colour Bring Me Your LoveCity and Colour Little HellCloakroom Further OutCloud Nothings Attack on MemoryCode Orange CyclesConverge When Forever Comes CrashingDeath Scream Bloody GoreDeath Grips Fashion Week (Instrumentals)I mean yeah Runway E is pretty good, but Runway E is easily the best here. EDIT: After a few listens, it appears to me that this is Death Grips' most accessible release. That is majorly due to the absence of MC Ride, but a few of the beats on here seem a slight bit more accessible than the ones they've done in the past. Take the second "Runway H" and it's oddly upbeat guitar riff for instance. Also, a couple of rtracks on here have a bit of a vaporwave influence. It's not much, but it's noticeable. The rumors are that this is supposed to be the soundtrack to Zach Hill's movie. That movie is going to be an absolute trip if that is truly the case.Death Grips The Powers That B - Part I: Niggas on the MoonDel tha Funkee Homosapien I Wish My Brother George Was HereDomo Genesis No IdolsDrake If You're Reading This It's Too LateI've never been too fond of Drake. I thought that Thank Me Later was good in spots, but very misguided. Take Care had some great singles and nice production, but I thought it was a bit inconsistent. NWTS was Drake with very little confidence in himself, and it reflected in his music despite the ethereal production. And now? He hits the mark in a totally unexpected release that just might be my favorite project of his. Drake has never been a lyrical rapper, but he drops some surprisingly good lines on this thing, most notably on closer "6 P.M. In New York". The production is similar to that of NWTS, and it's pretty sweet on its own. The biggest improvement here is that Drake approaches things with confidence in himself, while also recognizing he has flaws and turning them around on his detractors. His charismatic boasts don't sound so empty this time around, and his overall theme of getting used to being famous really works here. That is not to say the album doesn't have filler, but overall it is a consistent endeavor that has one thinking if this is just a preview of something bigger and better. We shall see.Earl Sweatshirt DorisEarl Sweatshirt I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside: An Album By Earl SweatshirtI remember the first time I heard "Earl", back when Odd Future was really starting to blow up and everyone around my town was wearing Supreme hats and constantly quoting lyrics off of "Yonkers". Things were simpler then, for both me and for Earl. As the years go by, he has drifted further and further away from the Odd Future collective, and though he is still technically a member, he's really on the fringe. Gone are the violently entertaining raps of his eponymous debut, substituted now for more introspective and story-telling lyrical escapades. The lo-fi production that permeates Odd Future records is still very much alive, but utilized in a different way. Earl was quoted as saying that he wanted the beats on the record, made by himself under the persona RandomBlackDude, to sound like they're melting. That's exactly what happens here, and it fits rather well with his trademark monotone rapping style. Though the album is a bit samey, Earl openly invites you to explore more thoroughly the personal side of him that he expressed somewhat on Doris, and it makes for an interesting, yet strangely mesmerizing experience.Earth Earth 2Earth Extra-Capsular ExtractionEminem The Slim Shady EPEnigma MCMXC a.D.Explosions in the Sky How Strange, InnocenceFatGyver Talk To StrangersBoom Bap used to be one of the leading styles in mainstream hip-hop in the 90's. Nowadays, it has fallen out of the mainstream spotlight, but still retains a dedicated following in the underground. Enter Fatgyver, a producer from Helsinki, Finland, who holds a special appreciation for boom bap, so much so in fact that his debut album, Talk To Strangers, is chock-full of instrumental songs wonderfully crafted from the style. That said, there are a lot of different vibes coming off of this album. From the smooth "Monday Stroll" to the humorous yet jazzy "Ain't Got No Bacon", to the somber and introspective "Interror Design", the album never becomes dull due to its exploration of differing textures. The highlight for me is "Sharkitekt", with samples swirling in and out of its unnerving yet strangely smooth piano tones.Fela Kuti ConfusionFrank Ocean Nostalgia, UltraFrom A Second Story Window Not One Word Has Been OmittedGodspeed You! Black Emperor 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!Gorillaz GorillazGorillaz Plastic BeachHave a Nice Life The Unnatural WorldHiatus Kaiyote By FireHiatus Kaiyote is a neo-soul quartet that makes some sublime stuff. If you want to see for yourself what they're all about, then this EP is the perfect thing. The title track is absolutely rife with interesting vocal/synth harmonies, fun drumming, and Nai Palm's wonderful, soulful singing chops. The final track, "Molasses", is a bit slower than the title track, but it is the catchiest song on the record, Palm's vocals are at their best, and the bass makes a more pronounced appearance as well. The song ends with the drums kicking it into high gear, and Palm repeating "Might not get any better..." before a final refrain of the second verse. It's a great showcase of the skills Hiatus Kaiyote possess, and it would be a mistake not to hear it.Iced Earth The Dark SagaIced Earth Something Wicked This Way ComesAbout three years removed from their lethal thrash/power metal magnum opus Burnt Offerings, Iced Earth was at an impasse. The direction they went in on 1996's The Dark Saga was to ditch most of the thrash metal and focus on the power metal sound they would soon become known for. The move received mixed reactions, even though The Dark Saga was received decently. On 1998's Something Wicked This Way Comes, they harken back a bit to the older, thrashier days, and to great effect. The three-headed monster that ends the album; "Prophecy", "Born Of The Wicked", and "The Coming Curse" is an obvious highlight, but slower songs like the heartfelt "Watching Over Me" get the job done as well, showcasing that Iced Earth can play all of their styles with professional level skill. Into the Moat Means By Which The End Is JustifiedJamiroquai Emergency on Planet EarthJohn Murphy 28 Days Later SoundtrackJohn Williams Saving Private RyanJoyce Manor Never Hungover AgainJoyce Manor's new record is pretty much what you would expect from them, just better. They definitely change up their style more often on this record, and though the record is pretty short at 19 minutes long, it is still a satisfying listen. The first four songs on the album are some of the best tracks Joyce Manor has ever written, along with "In The Army Now". Not one song overstays its welcome on this album, and all the ideas presented run their course with smooth quickness. Along with the personal and relatable lyrics, this record is surely one that shouldn't be overlooked this year, and is certainly a worthy addition to Joyce Manor's discography.Justin Timberlake FutureSex/LoveSoundsKendrick Lamar Kendrick LamarKraftwerk AutobahnLa Dispute Rooms of the HouseLa Dispute VancouverLa Dispute's first record, a thirty minute EP, can be accurately described as Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River: The Prequel. Though their debut LP that would make them famous is somewhat more experimental and conceptually interesting, there is a lot to appreciate on this record. For one, the riffs here are pretty nice, and the bass has excellent moments all throughout here. The sound lays the blueprint for the post-hardcore songs on Somewhere At The Bottom, but it also has its own identity too, as this is probably the angriest we will ever hear La Dispute. Jordan Dreyer's vocals are still raw, but sound a bit more conventional than they do on Somewhere At The Bottom. It is conceptually similar to the aforementioned record, dealing with the hardships a relationship in turmoil brings, though being much more straightforward on this EP. The EP's second half is a bit lackluster, but the first half is some of the bands' best material. If you are looking to get into La Dispute, this EP is a great place to start.Lantlos Melting SunLCD Soundsystem Sound of SilverJames Murphy is a multi-instrumentalist kingpin of the dance-punk genre, and he gained a lot of respect in the music world under the name of LCD Soundsystem. This album is his biggest draw. While his debut was certainly fun in some places, it was equally boring in others. Here, he cuts off the fat of his debut and refines his sound for the better. With dancier tracks like "Time To Get Away", synth-driven pieces like "Someone Great", exceedingly fun and a bit experimental songs like "All My Friends", and the beautiful "New York, I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down", there is a lot to appreciate here. There are a couple of songs that stay a bit beyond their welcome, but for the most part this is a great improvement, and there are no tracks that are bad at all. It's a perfect album for having a good time, and is a satisfying listen in any case.Led Zeppelin Led ZeppelinMacklemore and Ryan Lewis The HeistMacklemore and Ryan Lewis VS.Mad Professor Dub Take the Voodoo Out of ReggaeThis album is a collaboration between two of the most important figures in dub music, Mad Professor and Lee "Scratch" Perry. What you'll find on this album is an array of different textures and emotions all confined within the relative simplicity of dub. It's swirling, featuring some synths, as well as the classic island instrumentation that everyone knows and loves. It may be a bit samey, but songs such as "Cheerful Dub", "Bounce Boy Dub", "Mystic Powers Of Dub", and "Dub Connection" make this collaboration album one that deserves to be heard. If you like dub, or even just reggae, check this one out.Marvin Gaye What's Going OnMellowHype BLACKENEDWHITEMiss May I Apologies Are for the WeakNew Order Low-LifeNorma Jean O' God The AftermathOf Monsters and Men My Head is an AnimalOpeth MorningriseOpeth My Arms, Your HearsePhantogram NightlifePile You're Better Than ThisAn excellent blend of sparse indie and discordant noise rock, You're Better Than This is another excellent outing from Boston's own Pile. Rick Maguire's vocals are absolutely addicting, and the guitar work will turn from melodic and relatively quiet to loud and abrasive in moments. The album has a wonderful punk tinge to it that really permeates the drumming and many of the louder moments on here. Things get off to a roaring start with "The World Is Your Motel", but takes a more somber route on "Mr. Fish", with Maguire's storytelling lyrics about a solitary man in Daryl Fish taking the spotlight early in the song and giving way to an excellent, noisy buildup later. Other highlights include "Waking Up In The Morning" and "Appendicitis". Honestly, if they are better than this, I'd love to hear it.Pomegranate Tiger EntitiesProtest the Hero VolitionProtest The Hero have always been known for their ability to play their respective instruments at a ridiculous level, even at the young age of sixteen. Whereas when they started, it seemed they always had some sort of political message behind their music, they gradually drifted away from that, in the process losing some of the magic that had captivated listeners on Kezia. 2011's Scurrilous was an admittedly fun record, but it left a lot to be desired. Now, with 2013's Volition, they are still sweeping-picking and shredding away, but this time more urgency and maturity. Walker's vocals have improved, evident even from the first lines of "Clarity". While a bit on the inconsistent side, Volition has some of the best songs Protest The Hero have ever made ("Mist", "Plato's Tripartite", "Skies"), proving that even after eleven years, Protest The Hero still have it, and are still relatively young to boot.Radiohead Street Spirit (Fade Out)Rasputina Oh Perilous WorldRed Hot Chili Peppers CalifornicationRogue Wave Out Of The ShadowRogue Wave Descended Like VulturesRogue Wave Asleep at Heaven's GateRogue Wave Nightingale FloorsI think the thing I admire most about Rogue Wave is their consistency. Each one of their albums is worth a listen, and they have written some truly great songs throughout the years. Nightingale Floors is no different. Released three years after Permalight, which was a bit rough around the edges, Nightingale Floors is a testament to how consistently great Rogue Wave has been. Although the album gets off to a bit of a slow start, the middle of the record contains some of Rogue Wave's best tracks, and closes on a very strong note on "Everyone Wants To Be You", an excellent combination of indie and post-rock. The album has something for everyone, from acoustic tracks like "The Closer I Get" to the swirling indie-rock they've perfected on songs like "Siren's Song" and "S(a)tan". Altogether, another great release by Rogue Wave, and I certainly did not expect anything less.Rush 2112Son Lux At War With Walls And MazesSon Lux is quickly becoming recognized as one of the up-and-comers of trip-hop, and his debut, At War With Walls And Mazes gives a perfect example of why. While the album does get off to a bit of a slow start, the middle has some great songs like "Betray", "Stay", and "Raise". "Wither" is without a doubt the catchiest song on the record, but "Stand" really steals the show. Though the song consists of one line being repeated, so many things happen around that line, such as soaring female vocals and whirling violins. The use of strings on this album gives a breath of fresh air to many of the songs, and give it an experimental feel to it on occasion. Though the album suffers on its slower, more subdued tracks, it is incredible everywhere else, and for that, Son Lux's debut surely deserves a listen from trip-hop fans and fans of electronic in general.Steve Jablonsky Transformers - The ScoreSwans To Be KindSwans FilthTalking Heads More Songs About Buildings and FoodTalking Heads' sophomore LP may be titled like it's just part 2 of their debut, but in reality it is a much more focused, consistent, and worthwhile endeavor than 77. With an extremely catchy opener, "Thank You For Sending Me An Angel", David Byrne turns one of his best performances, and really sets the standard for him for the rest of the album. The production on this album was handled by Brian Eno, and is better than the production on 77 by a couple steps. Elsewhere, the band experiments with country ("The Big Country"), synth-driven post-punk ("Take Me To The River"), and more funky, bluesy numbers ("Found A Job", "I'm Not In Love"). Overall, Talking Heads made a noted improvement on their sound established by 77, and made an excellent album as a result.The Black Dahlia Murder NocturnalThe Black Keys ThickfreaknessThe Contortionist ExoplanetThe Cure FaithThe Dillinger Escape Plan Miss MachineThe Faceless AkeldamaThe Internet Feel GoodThe Jimi Hendrix Experience Axis: Bold as LoveThe Number Twelve Looks Like You Put On Your Rosy Red GlassesThe Prodigy The Fat of the LandThe Specials SpecialsThe Stone Roses The Stone RosesThe Strokes Room on FireThe Who My GenerationThee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on EverythingThelonious Monk MonkThree 6 Mafia Live By Yo Rep (Bone Dis)The beef between Cleveland rap group Bone Thugs 'N Harmony and seminal southern hip-hop/horrorcore group Three 6 Mafia was quite short lived. Still, some truly intense and sinister stuff was made by Three 6 Mafia in response to Bone Thugs insulting their beloved hometown of Memphis. The beats on this record are very reminiscent of a horror film soundtrack, giving the record a spooky and disturbing feel. The lyrics are quite violent and unnerving, and the presence the members give on the mic is a very menacing and intimidating one, going along wonderfully with the overall aesthetic of the record. A few songs off of the record are from Three 6 Mafia's influential Mystic Stylez, but a few new tracks ("Throw Yo Sets In Da Air", "Be A Witness") get their chance to shine, and in typical fashion, do not disappoint. Overall, a great EP from the Memphis group, who truly made it known in the hip-hop world that they were not to be taken lightly.Touche Amore ...To the Beat of a Dead HorseTouche Amore Parting The Sea Between Brightness And MeTouche Amore have the uncanny ability to condense the emotions they bring across. What might take several minutes to express for other bands usually only take a minute or so for Touche Amore. This formula was extremely calculated and focused on their debut, and for the most part this continues onto this record. While a bit samey in the middle, Touche Amore plays some of their best songs like "~", "The Great Repetition", "Method Act", and "Amends", utilizing their penchant for short, melodic emo breaks within their cathartic hardcore. The drumming is again excellent, and the vocals remain as emotion-infused as ever. While some consider this record to be a step down, I find it to be relatively on par with their debut, and a great album in its own respect.Tyler the Creator BastardThis album is, without a doubt, Tyler's most consistent and overall best album he's put out so far. His lyrics are personal without sacrificing wordplay, and the sinister production on this thing is excellent. He lays it all out for you in the form of a therapy session, and is unapologetic about everything he has to say. Granted, it may get a little drawn out towards the end, and thus, loses a bit of steam, but the album is consistent in what it does, which is draw out Tyler's life as it is: Depressing, funny, strange, and eventful.Washed Out Life of LeisureWolves in the Throne Room Diadem of 12 StarsSomething has always turned me off of black metal. I can't quite put my finger on it, it just doesn't sit very well with me. I guess it's just not my style. That being said, I do understand why people appreciate what the genre has to offer and I can't deny the importance of it as a whole. This album, though, as I understand it, is a bit different from traditional black metal in the sense that there are very folk-sounding pieces scattered throughout, as well as some clean vocals too. After one listen, I can safely say I appreciate this folkier style of black metal more than the traditional form. The production is foggy and the sound of it shifts a couple times during songs to accentuate the change from tremolo-picked riffs to acoustic music. There are some droney moments to be found on here as well, and the vocals are distant and full of emotion, focusing lyrically on mankind's lost appreciation of nature. The drumming is actually nicely varied, and the guitar tones fit the atmosphere very well. Wolves In The Throne Room has created quite the album in Diadem Of 12 Stars, and may very well be a stepping stone into faster, murkier, and harsher black metal for many people.3.5 greatA Breath Before Surfacing Death Is Swallowed In VictoryA Day to Remember Common CourtesyA Day To Remember V: Remember Who You Are. After a lawsuit with Victory records, ADTR self-released their fifth album, which is in every way a dedication to the fans of the band. The album is certainly an improvement over their previous two records, and features some of the best songs they have made to date. As with all of their albums, the pop-punk songs are the most enjoyable off of the record, with songs like "Life @ 11" and "I Surrender" being obvious examples. However, the highlights of the record are two slower songs, "I'm Already Gone" and "End Of Me", which both use the acoustic guitar excellently, with a mix of infectious hooks throughout. The problem with the album is that the metalcore tracks are very lackluster, and some of the lyrics on here are cringeworthy to say the least. Still, it's nice to see ADTR realize how fun they used to be, and return to form in that aspect.A.R. Rahman Slumdog MillionaireIt was good, don't get me wrong, but I still don't see how this won the Oscar for best film score over "Wall-E"Aerosmith AerosmithAnberlin Never Take Friendship PersonalAnberlin Blueprints For the Black MarketAnimals As Leaders The Joy of MotionApocalyptica Worlds CollideArctic Monkeys Suck It and SeeArctic Monkeys AMArctic Monkeys have always been a band I know to be consistent and, for a time during the beginning of their career, brilliant. With their last couple of albums they've lost some of that brilliance, but still manage to make some good tunes. AM follows suit in this sense, as the first half of this album has some great stuff, but the second tends to drag a bit. Songs like "Do I Wanna Know?", "R U Mine?", and "Arabella" work well as late-night rock jams, but many of the slower songs on the album don't really do anything. They could be played in the background at smoky pubs, as can most of Arctic Monkeys' music, but this time around it seems like that is the only discernible intention of the songs. Simply put, it just doesn't feel as genuine as before. Still, it has enough new things, like the sublime backing vocals, to keep it interesting, and to make it a respectable addition into the Arctic Monkeys' discography.Arsonists Get All the Girls MotherlandArsonists Get All the Girls The Game Of LifeAs Blood Runs Black AllegianceAtmosphere Leak At WillAugust Burns Red LevelerAfter creating a modern metalcore masterpiece in Constellations, ABR decided to experiment further on their fourth LP. What follows is the bands most stagnant release, but there is still plenty here to appreciate. The album starts with a bang with "Empire", which quickly transitions into "Internal Cannon", which makes the use of salsa-tinged acoustic guitars that strangely fit well. "Cutting The Ties" stacks up as one of the best songs the band has made to date, with very memorable melodic riffs and uplifting lyrics. Things go downhill after "Pangea", though, as the songwriting loses its experimental edge and the songs slam into each other as a result. Getting through the middle is a chore, and though the closer (also being the title-track) is pretty good, the payoff doesn't quite cut it. Still, the beginning five songs are all excellent, and the band is still doing bigger and better things than the vast majority of their contemporaries.Autechre AntiAvenged Sevenfold Sounding the Seventh TrumpetBADBADNOTGOOD IIIBADBADNOTGOOD BBNG x Odd FutureOn this interesting little EP, the jazz trio from Toronto put their own spin on songs made by Odd Future's own Tyler The Creator. Tyler has always had a love for jazz and incorporates jazzy influences in some of his music. Naturally, this is a match made in heaven for these artists. Some of the tracks feature Tyler himself rapping over a BBNG rendition of a song he wrote, but where the EP really shines are the two "Session" tracks. Here, it's just BBNG, playing a medley of tracks from Bastard and Goblin. Any fan of jazz will like this, and any Odd Future fan will fall in love with it.Baths Ocean DeathBetween the Buried and Me Between the Buried and MeBlessthefall BlessthefallBlessthefall AwakeningBob Marley and The Wailers Soul RebelsBorn of Osiris The New ReignBrian Eno Apollo: Atmospheres & SoundtracksBrian Eno Ambient 4: On LandCage The Elephant Cage the ElephantCarcass Tools of the TradeChevelle La GargolaCloud Nothings Here and Nowhere ElseCode Orange Love Is Love // Return To DustCorelia NostalgiaDomo Genesis Rolling PapersI suppose if the term ?Stoner Rap? is acceptable, then Domo Genesis is probably one of the more famous artists within it, and his debut shows why. Domo's ganja-obessed, smooth lyrics combine effortlessly with some cloudy production by fellow Odd Future members Tyler, The Creator, Left Brain, and Syd Tha Kyd. Tyler drops a couple of nice verses as well, best exemplified with Domo in the jab-trading song,?Super Market?. The subject matter is a bit samey, but overall this is a decent release, one that would only be built upon by Domo Genesis.Domo Genesis Under The InfluenceEminem Straight from the LabWhile not an official EP, this release by Eminem was meant to tide over rabid fans who were eagerly anticipating his fifth album, Encore. What they got was a collection of decent songs, along with some very clever diss responses. A response to Murder Inc. rapper Ja Rule called "Bully" is the best of these, as it not only shows Em's cleverness on the microphone, but also his ability to keep a tune going, as his delivery is half-sung. Another standout is the track "We As Americans", which features likely his most controversial line in his discography. While not a release for someone looking in to Eminem's discography for the first time, it is a great EP for the hardcore fans of the Detroit rapper, one that shouldn't be passed over if you fall into that category.Emissary EmissaryEnya WatermarkEscape the Fate There's No Sympathy for the DeadGod Is An Astronaut A Moment of StillnessHaste the Day That They May Know YouHester Prynne The Goswell DivorceHodgy Beats UntitledHorsepower Productions In Fine StyleI Killed The Prom Queen BelovedSo many breakdowns... So much nostalgia... This brings me back!Iced Earth Iced EarthIced Earth's debut has much more of a thrash metal sound than the power metal sound they are now famous for, but that doesn't make it any less good. The licks by Randall Shawver and Jon Schaffer are really nice, and the album is excellent lyrically despite having two instrumental tracks, which are both good. Gene Adams' vocals are the main detractor, though (They're really bad), and Mike McGill's drumming is nothing to write home about either. Despite that, the album is still able to hold its own pretty well.Interpol AnticsIntervals A Voice WithinIntervals In TimeJack The Giant Killer Dead Mans DemoThe crap that is most of deathcore is quite deplorable, but every once and a while a good band will spring up like this one did. The vocalist's high scream is absolutely bone-chilling, and the guitarists are quite technical for deathcore. There's even a solo in the last song, and it's fantastic. Complementing the technical guitars, the drummer's fills really spruce up the tracks as well. The lyrics might be a bit immature, and it's really short, but it makes up for it in this regard.James Blake OvergrownIt's one thing to be a singer-songwriter with your own guitar, but a totally different thing to be a singer-songwriter with your own beats. The latter describes James Blake, who composes ethereal electronic music rooted in dubstep only to grace the beat with his voice afterwards. This is exemplified perfectly in the opener/title-track, and only gets stronger with the catchy "Life 'Round Here". RZA of Wu-Tang Clan makes an appearance on "Take A Fall For Me", offering up his rapping abilities to complement an excellent beat. Things get a bit more stripped down in the piano-driven "DLM", but it starts right back up on "Digital Lion". Though the next two tracks are a bit lackluster, the album ends on a great note with "Our Love Comes Back." Point being, this album is a good one from James Blake, one that fans of angelic voices and atmospheric production should hear.Jedi Mind Tricks The Psycho-SocialJohnny Cash Johnny Cash With His Hot And Blue GuitarKendrick Lamar Overly DedicatedKnives Exchanging Hands The War Of Speech, The Weapon Of WordsLeft Spine Down SmartbombMuch like how Genghis Tron mixed grindcore and electronic music, Left Spine Down operates with hardcore mixed with digitized electronic breakbeats. On their debut EP, they tastefully combine the two genres to make some really fun music. On opener "Last Daze", a catchy chorus and infectious synths get things started very well. The formula continues into the next three songs, with "Hang Up" being an obvious highlight. Solid, but not too overbearing, this is a great digital hardcore release, and should be heard by any fans of the genre.Lorde The Love Clublovechild In Heaven, Everything is Finelovechild demonstrationManners ApparitionsMeek Mill DreamchasersMellowHype YellowhiteMike G ALIMiles Davis Birth of the CoolMuddy Waters Folk SingerMunicipal Waste Hazardous MutationMuse MuseMy Bloody Valentine GliderEveryone has at least heard of MBV, likely because of their 1991 magnum opus Loveless, which is often hailed as one of the greatest shoegaze albums of all time. However, MBV had been a relatively successful band before they released their masterpiece, having released a full length and a slew of EP's beforehand. One of them is Glider, and it showcases some excellent songwriting and developing ideas. The opener, "Soon", would later be the closer of Loveless, so most know that song already. "Glider" however is a weird piece that is made of screeching guitars. The last two songs on the record, "Don't Ask Why" and "Off Your Face", are two great songs that employ an early version of the style MBV would later perfect: taking dream pop songs and draping them in weird noises, distortion, and droning. All in all, a very good transitional EP that marked an important crossroad in the bands style.New Order Power, Corruption and LiesOFWGKTA RadicalOpeth OrchidParamore All We Know Is FallingParamore ParamorePhantogram VoicesPixies Surfer RosaPrimordial A Journey's EndPrimordial ImramaPrimordial has a reputation for being one of the most consistent (and occasionally brilliant) Celtic black metal bands in existence. Their debut reflects this very well, even if it might be a bit samey at times. This is more of a black metal release than it is Celtic metal, but there are moments here that show hints of what the band would become. "Beneath A Bronze Sky" is an acoustic piece that also features flutes and clean vocals, and it transitions into an absolute beast of a closer in "Awaiting The Dawn". Other highlights include the passionate "Here I Am King" and the mesmerizing "The Darkest Flame". The vocals on the album are pretty haunting, as Nemtheanga turns in a shrieking, ghoulish performance. With a story regarding soul-searching through Irish mythology, the foundation was set for Primordial to turn in more great albums in the future.Rogue Wave PermalightRush Caress of SteelRush Fly by NightRush RushRush, at least as we know them today, are one of the most legendary bands to ever play progressive rock. However, their roots are much more simple. Taking a heavy amount of influence from bands like Led Zeppelin and Cream, their debut reflects this sound in a big way. That's not to say that Rush shamelessly ripped their influences off, though. Great songs like "Finding My Way", "Here Again", and "Working Man" prove that even before they became prog legends, Rush could write songs. Though Neil Peart isn't on this album, his predecessor, John Rutsey, is great in his own right on this record. Geddy Lee's vocals are great, his bass audible and is very fun to hear. Still, it is Alex Lifeson that truly makes the record, with his excellent solos and hard rock riffs dominating the album. A great start, indeed.Sadistik The Balancing ActNo one really knew who Cody Foster, A.K.A Sadistik, was about seven years ago. Now, he's gained a lot of steam very quickly in the underground, in part due to an extremely dedicated fanbase. His beginnings are seen here on The Balancing Act, in which he describes to us how he must balance out his issues and pain with good things in life. As far as the sound of this record goes, there isn't much straying from saddening piano and strings that permeate the beats, and Sadistik himself is very emotionally distraught. Occasionally, this can become melodramatic, but he ends the album on a hopeful note with "The Exception To Everything." Sadistik is very comparable to the sadder raps from Slug (one-half of Atmosphere), both in sound and sometimes in flow. Though the album sounds a bit samey, songs like "Ashes To Ashley", "Absolution", "Murder Of Crows", and "November" are some truly fantastic tracks that shouldn't be missed. Though Sadistik perfected this sound on Flowers For My Father, his debut is certainly good enough to warrant a listen from fans of personal, intimate hip-hop. Sensory Deprivation GodspeedStuff like this is why I love music, and why I love following it. To see the very beginnings of something that could someday be astonishing, and to watch it grow. Godspeed to you, indeed.Skillet ComatoseSon Lux Alternate WorldsStructures All of the AboveSunn O))) Flight of the BehemothSunn O))) is one of the loudest bands out there, and it makes at lot of sense, seeing as how they started as a tribute to drone metal kings Earth. On their second album, Flight Of The Behemoth, the band makes it known that they're their own band through five punishing drone/doom tracks. The first two tracks, "Mocking Solemnity" and "Death Becomes You", are solid, contemporary drone metal tracks that set the tone for the album right from the get go. The two "O))) Bow" tracks feature some wonky piano and invading static that come to the forefront of the drones quite easily. The last track, "F.W.T.B.T.", is the best one, featuring some nasty grooves as well as sparse drums and beastial, atmospheric growling noises that may or may not be vocals; I can't really tell. Overall, a record full of bleak soundscapes that began to establish Sunn O))) as a force in drone music.Surgeon BasictonalvocabularyOne of the more interesting producers to come out of the Birmingham techno scene, Surgeon is a self-made man, having his own record company named after one of his EP's, Dynamic Tension. This album of his takes a bit of patience to fully appreciate, as the tracks may first seem boring, but on further inspection are very textured and interesting. He uses mind-numbing repetition (and I mean this in the best way possible), to create a paranoid and unsettling atmosphere. The assembly-line noises that permeate "Depart" are a nice touch, whereas the glitchy nature of "First" is quite unnerving. An eerie ambient track, "Waiting", is an excellent feature, and "Scorn" makes itself known as a hypnotic mess of electronic noises that sounds jumbled, but is actually very structured. And though the first half of the album doesn't quite do as much as the second, the album is still an interesting listen from an interesting individual. Swans CopNo one's kidding when they say there isn't anything quite like early Swans records. What has been described as "the pinnacle of Swans' brutality", Cop is certainly a monolithic and destructive record. Surprisingly, though, it is fairly sparse in its instrumentation, mainly consisting of methodical drums, industrial guitars and other noises that sound like the inside of a factory. The middle of the album is very well done, with four straight punches to the face in the form of "Why Hide", "Clay Man", "Your Property", and the title-track. Michael Gira is once again the driving force, and is quite unnerving on the record as well as being lyrically adept. The problem with the album is that most of the songs follow the same formula, and sometimes bleed together as a result. However, the homogenous aspect of the songwriting is pummeled by how well done the tracks really are. Surely, Cop is not an album to overlook if you are a Swans fan, or a fan of noise rock in general.Tenacious D Tenacious DTesseracT OneThe Black Dahlia Murder UnhallowedThe Black Keys The Big Come UpThe Black Keys Magic PotionThe Contortionist ApparitionThe Contortionist LanguageThe Contortionist has been received as one of the best deathcore bands in recent history. Their debut album, Exoplanet, was a breath of fresh air in a very stale deathcore scene, taking traditional deathcore elements and mixing them with elements of djent, ambient, and progressive metal in the vein of Cynic. They shed most of their deathcore influence on 2011's Intrinsic, which was met with mixed reactions. Now, they have released a more focused and all around better album in Language. The clean vocals employed on Intrinsic make a return here, but they fit much better with the music this time around. The first three tracks are excellent, melding all of their influences into this third of the album, even harkening back to their Exoplanet days on "Language II: Conspire". The middle of the album, though, is a bit of a drag. Songs like "Integration" and "Arise" are sort of just there, not really doing anything. However, the album does close on a strong note with "The Parable", which is entirely indicative of what The Contortionist can, and hopefully will, accomplish in the future.The Cure Seventeen SecondsThe Devil Wears Prada With Roots Above and Branches BelowThe Dillinger Escape Plan The Dillinger Escape PlanThe Faceless AutotheismThe Killers Hot FussThe Lonely Island IncredibadThe Number Twelve Looks Like You An Inch of Gold for An Inch of TimeThe Number Twelve Looks Like You Nuclear, Sad, NuclearTNTLLY has always been one of the strangest mathcore bands out there. Their debut was an insane mix of mathcore, grind, and progressive metal that sounded like nothing else out there. With their sophomore release, the band opts to ditch a lot of their grind sound in favor of more subdued passages and songs, but still contains the mathcore edge they're known for. The album opens in the exact opposite way you'd expect it to by implementing an almost salsa-like riff before exploding into a rage. "The Proud Parent's Convention In The ER" ends with guitars that sound almost like train whistles, and "Remembrance Dialogue" has a very post-rock like sound, complete with lots of guitar feedback. The album closes with "Category", which ends with a beautiful acoustic guitar passage. The album fits these moments in between moments of complete chaos the way only TNTLLY can, and even though some of the songs are a bit unmemorable, manages to be a nice addition to the bands' discography.The Panacea ChiropteranThe Prodigy Always Outnumbered, Never OutgunnedThe Prodigy has always had a reputation for making massive albums. I don't just mean massive in length, but in sound as well. There is rarely a dull moment to be found with The Prodigy. That again rings true on Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. This 2004 release received mixed reviews, but it has aged well a decade later. Some of their best tracks are found on this record in the form of "Spitfire", "Memphis Bells" and "Phoenix". Another interesting song is "Medusa's Path", which is one of the few songs in The Prodigy's discography that does not contain a vocal sample. Though the album drags a bit in the middle, The Prodigy still manage to excite on this record. If this is the worst thing they've made, I'd say they have a collection of albums that they can be proud of.The War on Drugs Wagonwheel BluesSince perfecting their sound on Lost In The Dream, The War On Drugs has become one of the more prominent faces in heartland rock nowadays. Their debut, while raw and a bit underwhelming, is more charismatic and fun than the subsequent Slave Ambient and is a solid record as a whole. The first two songs, "Arms Like Boulders" and "Taking The Farm", showcase the catchier, more straightforward side of the band, whereas longer songs like "There Is No Urgency" and "Show Me a The Coast" show the bands penchant for beautifully structured, dreamy-sounding pieces. There is variety on the record, as the plethora of instruments ranging from traditional rock gear to harmonicas and violins will show you, and the band is adept at playing them all. While it does suffer from some songs that go absolutely nowhere, this record has enough great things on it to warrant a listen.The Who The Who Sell OutThe Who, while one of the more famous bands that've existed, were actually pretty tongue-in-cheek with regards to how their music was advertised back in the mid-sixties. They made this album with a lot of recordings that blatantly advertise real-world products, and surround them with some great original tracks like "I Can See For Miles" and "Sunrise". The irony is that none of the companies to which the products belong to ever mentioned anything to The Who about advertising their products, netting the band a couple of lawsuits. Still, the record did well, with a leaning towards psychedelic pop and power pop rather than the, blues rock, psychedelic rock and hard rock they'd go on to play later. A lot of the music is kind of goofy and jingle-sounding, with a couple of electronic noises coming through on many of the tracks. Though the first half of the album is more miss than hit, the second half makes up for it with songs like "I Can't Reach You", "Relax", and "Rael 1".The Who A Quick OneThe Words We Use MoralsThree 6 Mafia Chapter 2: World DominationTNGHT TNGHTTouche Amore Touche AmoreTrent Reznor and Atticus Ross The Social NetworkTycho DiveWith this release, Tycho takes his skill with ambient electronic soundscapes and mixes them with some chillwave influence reminiscent of Washed Out. Though the album does drag somewhat in the middle, it gets off to a fantastic start with "A Walk", "Daydreams", and the title track being some of the finest songs he has created to date. While the middle songs can sometimes overstay their welcome, they are typically pleasant and easygoing, and the emphasis on that atmosphere is very distinct. The album also closes on a high note with "Elegy", which is perhaps the most contemporary song on the album, consisting of acoustic guitar passages and electric guitar overtones. Overall, a solid album from Tycho, one filled with tracks tailor-made for a walk along the beach.Tyler the Creator WolfUncle Tupelo No DepressionWashed Out ParacosmWashed Out is one of the biggest faces in the chillwave genre, and for good reason. His 2009 EP Life of Leisure was an excellent showcase of his ethereal, almost lo-if production. Though his debut album, Within and Without, was inconsistent and in some places boring, he is back on his game with Paracosm. With a focus on simple, catchy melodies and beautifully flowing tracks, his sophomore record is a nice improvement. "It All Feels Right" has absolutely infectious synth work, "Weightless" and "All I Know" have soothing vocals ,with a nice acoustic guitar background on the latter, and the title track stands up as one of the best songs he's created. It takes all the great things about the aforementioned tracks and combines them skillfully. Overall, a solid and pleasant album from Washed Out.rWithin the Ruins CreatureWolves at the Gate We Are the OnesWoods of Ypres Pursuit Of The Sun & Allure Of the Earth3.0 good808 State QuadrastateA Day to Remember And Their Name Was TreasonAffiance No Secret RevealedArsonists Get All the Girls Hits From the BowAtmosphere Lake NokomisAtreyu The CurseAugust Burns Red Looks Fragile After AllAvenged Sevenfold NightmareWith this release, Avenged Sevenfold made it known they could still make some decent tunes. Seen by many as a tribute to their late friend and former bandmate Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, who tragically overdosed in late 2009, Nightmare is an improvement over their self-titled in many ways. It is more varied than the self-titled and features some of the better slow songs Sevenfold has written, such as the heartfelt "So Far Away" and the surprisingly good "Fiction". "Danger Line" and "Save Me" are another duo of enjoyable songs, but the rest range from listenable to inescapably boring. The album suffers from being very long-winded, and has an unfortunate amount of cringeworthy vocal moments. At best, it was a step in the right direction for the band, which is at least commendable, especially after losing their beloved drummer and friend.Beneath the Massacre Evidence Of Inequity [EP]Betraying the Martyrs The Hurt, the Divine, the LightBlessthefall WitnessBone Thugs-N-Harmony Creepin On Ah Come UpBring Me the Horizon This Is What the Edge of Your Seat Was Made ForBuck Owens I've Got A Tiger By The TailCage The Elephant Thank You Happy BirthdayCircle of Contempt Entwine the ThreadsCity and Colour The Hurry and the HarmAfter three successful albums under his belt with his solo project, Dallas Green chose to quit his post-hardcore band, Alexisonfire. He said that being the band was killing him, and that he wanted to focus more on his solo work. He also stated that he won't ever "find a way home" musically, as he'll always be looking for something new. The record he made after that is a typically pleasant listen, but it also his most long-winded. He adds more instruments on this record, rather than it just being him and his guitar, but they don't do much to hold the listeners interest. It sounds more like a rehashing of previous material, just dressed up a little bit nicer. It is very nice to listen to, but it is just so stagnant and complacent that it becomes boring as a result. Still, "Harder Than Stone" and "Two Coins" are a couple of highlights, and the chances that this album is just a misstep on Green's part are high.Code Orange I Am KingWhen "Code Orange Kids" took the last word off of their name and became "Code Orange", it implied a sense of maturity, and hinted that the band was growing up. It's a bit ironic, then, to know that this album represents a regression for the band in many aspects, chief of which is the songwriting. There isn't much variation on this record, as a lot of the hardcore punk riffs that made their debut so fun are replaced by slow, chugging breakdowns that don't exactly do much at all. There are slow, sludgy moments that don't have breakdowns that work just fine without them, like on "Dreams In Inertia". When the band does play faster, there are some great moments like on "Your Body Is Ready" and "Unclean Spirit". The vocals have improved since their debut, and sound punishing along with the dark production. Overall, it's a bit of a drop-off from their debut, but Code Orange is still young and will have plenty of time to tweak their sound for the better.Decades Of Despair AliveEarth Phase 3: Thrones and DominionsEnter Shikari Nodding Acquaintance Every Time I Die From Parts UnknownExplosions in the Sky The RescueGenghis Tron Board Up the HouseGorillaz G-SidesIwrestledabearonce IwrestledabearonceKeith Urban Defying GravityLCD Soundsystem LCD SoundsystemLinkin Park A Thousand SunsBefore this album, Linkin Park was not a band you could describe by using the word "experimental", as their style consisted of straightforward Nu-metal with some pop sensibilities. Here, though, Linkin Park rework their entire sound into something much more electronically driven. Sure, this is far from Hybrid Theory and Meteora era Linkin Park, but that does not mean there isn't something here to enjoy. It might be hit-or-miss, but when they hit, they hit right on the money. Some truly excellent songs such as "Iridescent" and "The Catalyst" shine through what is otherwise an underwhelming release, as there is a bit too much filler on this album for it to be considered great. Still, credit is due to them for switching up their entire sound and still putting out a halfway decent album.Machito KenyaMake Them Suffer NeverbloomMiserable Failure HopeMy Chemical Romance I Brought You My Bullets...Neil Young Neil YoungNorma Jean Bless the Martyr and Kiss the ChildNorma Jean RedeemerNorma Jean's third studio album is a bit of a departure from the Botch-esque hardcore that got them famous. There are much more conventional song structures on this album, and the relentless intensity has been brought down a bit. The thing that really holds this album back is the lack of a true standout track, which unfortunately results in the songs bleeding together. That being said, songs like "Blueprints For Future Homes", "A Small Spark vs. A Great Forest", "The End Of All Things Will Be Televised", and "The Longest Lasting Statement" are all very solid tracks. It's decent hardcore with more clean vocals than Norma Jean has done before, but it's a step back for the band overall, as it is easily their most homogenous record so far in their discography.Opeth Apostle in TriumphAt only three-and-a-half minutes, poor recording quality, and no vocals to speak of, these two demo songs represent the humble beginnings of Opeth. Even with these small moments, you can see small hints at what Opeth would soon become. It truly is incredible to hear the first moments of a band that would soon grow to be one of the defining acts in progressive death/black metal, and even metal as a whole.Paramore Singles ClubParamore is as Hayley Williams is. That has always rung true, even when the band was stable in its lineup. Still, that is probably for the best, as Williams has always been adept at getting everything out of catchy hooks and energetic vocal performances. 2011 EP The Singles Club reaffirms this through its short runtime, with "Monster" being a great highlight. Other than that, the songs range from decent to boring. "In The Mourning" sounds far too similar to Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" to grab any attention, and "Hello Cold World" adds nothing new to the table. "Renegade" is decent enough, but is heavily out-shined by "Monster". All in all, it is a solid showing from Paramore, but it's nothing we haven't seen before.Primordial The Burning SeasonProtest the Hero FortressProtest the Hero ScurrilousRed Hot Chili Peppers One Hot MinuteThe more I listen to the Chili Peppers, the more I appreciate John Frusciante's influence on them. It's a shame he wasn't on board for 1995's One Hot Minute. The follow-up to the 1991 classic Blood Sugar Sex Magik is a bit of an underwhelming release, but it has flashes of brilliance that warrant it a listen. It is a funky album, but it has heavier riffs than it's predecessor. However, some of the softer songs on the album, like "My Friends" and "Tearjerker" are the best featured. It drags heavily in the middle, but it is bookended by a couple of great songs in "Warped" and "Transcending". Though Frusciante was missed, One Hot Minute is not without substance, even if it is spread out over the album. Also, for you Flea fans, he has a solo song called "Pea" that is kind of humorous.Seether DisclaimerSet Your Goals Mutiny!Stan Getz Getz/GilbertoSuicide Silence The CleansingTalking Heads Talking Heads: 77The Beatles Long Tall SallyThe Black Dahlia Murder MiasmaThe Black Dahlia Murder A Cold-Blooded EpitaphThe Black Keys Attack & ReleaseThe Black Keys have a reputation for playing no-frills, raw blues rock. So what exactly happens when you sprinkle some electronic noises on top of the slowest album the Keys had made at the time? Not a whole lot as it turns out. The album truly shines for the first five tracks (not counting the opener), but tails off into uninspired and underwhelming territory in the middle. Though it does close on a good note with "Things Ain't Like They Used To Be", there is simply too much filler on here for it to be great. It is nice that the Keys chose to experiment a bit, but it doesn't really pan out. The electronics are oddly placed and for the most part unnecessary. There are good tracks to be found, but overall Attack & Release doesn't do much, and is likely the worst album in The Black Keys' discography.The Chills Submarine BellsThe Chills were at the forefront of a style of rock known as the Dunedin Sound, which was named for their hometown of Dunedin, New Zealand. The classic Dunedin Sound is poppish rock that is driven by keyboards and synths, and that is exactly what we get on Submarine Bells. Though much of the first half, sans "Part Past, Part Fiction" is pretty forgettable, the second half really saves things. "Don't Be - Memory", a catchy, piano-driven song featuring acoustic guitars is a beautiful change of pace, and the swirling guitars and pianos of "Effloresce And Deliquesce" make another excellent track. The final track, complete with strings, is the title track, and it is easily the best song on the record. Though a chunk of the album is forgettable, this album is still a very important one in the Dunedin Sound, and a nice listen in general.The Contortionist IntrinsicThe Devil Wears Prada ZombieThe Internet Purple Naked LadiesThe Red Shore UnconsecratedThe Red Shore The Avarice Of ManThe War on Drugs Slave AmbientThirty Seconds to Mars 30 Seconds to MarsTiny Moving Parts Moving to AntarcticaOn their debut EP, Tiny Moving Parts showcase some impressive talent with playing their respective instruments. That has always been the staple of the band, as we know. Unfortunately, this EP is hindered by its production, which makes the guitars sound much too thin. That is all well and good during the twinkly, math rock sections, but they don't sound nearly strong enough to play the screamo sections the band attempts throughout the record convincingly. The band sounds a bit like a more quiet, earlier version of Merchant Ships when not playing their complex math rock riffs, which is by no means a bad thing, but the songwriting isn't too original in this regard. Still, there is enough good on this EP to warrant a listen, as the passionate "You Have No Idea How High I Can Fly" and the surprisingly moving "I'll Sum This Up" prove.Tool UndertowTycho AwakeTycho Adrift From HomeTyler the Creator Goblin2.5 averageA Day to Remember HomesickA Day to Remember What Separates Me From YouArsonists Get All the Girls Listen to the ColorThe first self-released record by experimental deathcore band Arsonists Get All The Girls is their most grind-influenced release, but is also their most unvaried. Many of the shorter songs bleed together and sound very similar, and the electronics that the band is famous for are at a creative low here, despite the all-electronic "Balloon Battle". Still, the album does have some bright spots in "Watchers" and "MK DELTA: Glorified Killers", which are coincidentally the two longest songs on the record. The return of Remi Rodburg is a decent touch, but his vocals have become rougher since The Game Of Life. The song remains the same, though: if you like Arsonists Get All The Girls in all of their off-kilter humor, you'll like this record. If you don't like Arsonists Get All The Girls, you will have a hard time getting into this.rAsking Alexandria Stand Up and ScreamAtreyu Suicide Notes and Butterfly KissesAtreyu A Death-Grip on YesterdayAvenged Sevenfold Avenged SevenfoldBlessthefall Hollow BodiesChelsea Grin Desolation of EdenChelsea Grin EvolveEvery Time I Die The Burial Plot Bidding WarEvery Time I Die has been one of the better metalcore bands in the past decade or so, with releases like Hot Damn! and New Junk Aesthetic. During their roots, it was clear they listened to good metalcore, namely Botch, but on their debut EP, they stick a little too close to their influences. That being said, opener "The Emperor's New Clothes" is actually a really good song. Elsewhere, though, they sound so much like their influences that it becomes boring, and with the awful vocal quality, it doesn't translate into good metalcore. Fans of ETID will appreciate this, but if you're just starting to get into them, start elsewhere.Hester Prynne Black Heart MarketHoobastank HoobastankIzmo Early NightLinkin Park Hybrid Theory EPLinkin Park Minutes to MidnightOFWGKTA The OF Tape Vol. 2Periphery IcarusPixies EP2Skrillex My Name Is SkrillexSky Eats Airplane The Sound of SymmetryStructures Life Through a WindowSuicide Silence You Can't Stop MeTo say that Suicide Silence lost a key member in vocalist Mitch Lucker is a massive understatement. The man was the face of deathcore, for better or worse, and his death has affected millions of fans around the world. So when Eddie Hermida, ex-vocalist of All Shall Perish, joined up with Suicide Silence after Mitch's untimely death, would the band form a new identity? Not quite. Hermida turns in a fantastic vocal performance on the record, but aside from that it does not stray from the path Suicide Silence has followed all along. That is not to say there aren't moments where genuine improvement shines through ("Ouroboros", "We Have All Had Enough"), but for the most part the album is a mish-mosh of everything they've done up until this point, albeit sounding more lively than they have in a while. Suicide Silence have improved a bit, but they will need much more improvement if they are going to make a great album in the future. Taylor Swift Beautiful EyesThe Black Dahlia Murder DeflorateThe Black Dahlia Murder is nothing if not consistent. They churn out respectable melodic death metal and have made some excellent songs in the past. They added ex-Arsis guitarist Ryan Knight for this release, so how does it stack up? Well, Knight does help out in the solo department, and Shannon Lucas is still a beast on the kit, but this release stagnates a bit too much to truly be a great one. Many of the songs overstay their welcome, and tend to bleed together in this regard. It doesn't really present an idea that The Black Dahlia Murder haven't tried before, rather being a rehashing of their previous work. That being said, the album does end on a strong note with "I Will Return", which is easily the best on the record. If you're a fan of The Black Dahlia Murder, you should enjoy this. If you want to get into The Black Dahlia Murder, I suggest starting elsewhere in their discography.The Contortionist ShapeshifterThe Devil Wears Prada Dear Love: A Beautiful DiscordThe Devil Wears Prada Dead ThroneThough TDWP seems to have matured from their early days on this album, they also lose part of themselves in the process. Sure, there aren't as many meet-headed breakdowns, but there is a distinct lack of the infectious choruses that made WRAABB such a fun album. It also stands to mention that Mike Hranica's vocals have gotten rougher this time around. And while there are some good songs on here in the form of "My Questions", "Born To Lose", and "Holdfast", the majority of the songs are too boring to have any effect. Still, the improvement in the songwriting is apparent, and if they can keep that up while also regaining their penchant for catchy choruses, they may be able to make a great album sometime in the future.Thirty Seconds to Mars A Beautiful LieTool OpiateWashed Out Within and Without2.0 poorA Plea for Purging A Plea For PurgingChelsea Grin My DamnationChelsea Grin Ashes to AshesI think that at least some improvement was seen in Chelsea Grin when ex-Born Of Osiris guitarist Jason Richardson joined them on their 2012 EP, Evolve. How much, though, would he help them on this album? Not that much as it turns out. The formula for this album seems to be to play the painfully generic deathcore they're known for, but then adding a piano interlude in the song, or an acoustic part in the beginning. The guitar work is the same chugging, but maybe with a sweep or a melodic break every coupleminutes, lasting about 3-10 seconds each. This continues for an hour. There are more shouted vocals on this record, and less of the screeches Koehler employs, and they generally sound acceptable. The album does however have a bright spot in the form of the last four songs, which show some genuine improvement, and are likely the best songs Chelsea Grin have written. However, this improvement is diluted by the first eleven songs and their unimaginative, long-winded feel. Overall, a step down, but the last four songs on the record give a little hope for the future.Gorillaz The FallI'm sure I'm not the only one who believes that Gorillaz had a very anticlimactic end to their storied career. It's not even that The Fall is that bad of an album, but it's just so pedestrian. It feels so uninspired, uninterested even. There are no tracks on the album that are really hate-able, but only a few that are enjoyable. It's just there, just kind of in the background not really doing or saying anything. It reeks of wasted potential, as we all know they're capable of much better. It doesn't even feel like a Gorillaz record, because whereas Demon Days and their self-titled were as innovative as they were fun, The Fall is neither of them, just banal and boring. It almost makes me wish that Damon Albarn would resurrect the project just to give it the ending it truly deserved.Red Hot Chili Peppers The Red Hot Chili PeppersSuicide Silence No Time to BleedSuicide Silence The Black CrownThe Devil Wears Prada Plagues1.5 very poorAnnotations Of An Autopsy Welcome To Sludge CityChelsea Grin Chelsea GrinSuicide Silence Suicide Silence1.0 awfulbrokeNCYDE BC 13 EPWaking the Cadaver DemoActual Lyrics to "Chased Through The Woods By A Rapist":UGH!! I LIEK TO CHEW ON GUM!! I LIEK TO GO TO BED!! I LIEK TO HOLD YOUR ARM!! I LIEK! SHREDDED! WHHHHHHEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAATTTTT!! GOODFORDIGESTIONITCLEANSYOURINSTESTINES ITS WHEAT!! SHREDDED WHEAT!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhLLmWp9JwM
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