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05.20.14 Pre-release Date Reviews05.02.14 Ranking Other People's 5s: Oltnabrick
05.01.14 4 Reasons I Like Vinyl04.30.14 Record Collection 4/30/2014
04.16.14 Playoffs Playlist04.15.14 Defying The Sophomore Slump
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03.27.14 29 Albums I've Heard This Year03.26.14 What's Your Metal Band Name?
03.23.14 The Mantle V. Ashes Against The Grain03.22.14 What Makes Leviathan a Classic?
03.19.14 What's In A Name?03.16.14 South By Southwest 2014
03.05.14 Hate List03.05.14 Defensive Driving
03.03.14 The Essential Primus02.28.14 Record Collection 2/28/14
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Albums That Changed My Outlook On Music

These aren't necessarily my favorite albums, or the best albums by these respective bands. They all just had a profound effect on the way I listen to music, and even how I view art as a whole. Also, what albums had the same effect on you guys? What albums changed your outlook?
Permanent Waves

This one didn't really have an immediate effect, since it had been playing in my home, in the car, etc. since I was a small child. Songs like Freewill, Spirit of Radio, and Jacob's Ladder helped to lay a foundation of musical upbringing that has thankfully saved me from a life of listening to vapid, sugary, ill conceived pop bullshit. Thank God my dad knows what real music is. I just have so many good memories with this album, and sharing Rush with my entire family. This is the album that kept my musical spark alive.

In reference to that "music spark", until my sophomore year of high school, I was thoroughly convinced no good music came after 1986 (I was one of THOSE kids). I didn't really have a musical identity, or any desire to expand it. However, classic rock can only take you so far in life until you feel a void of fulfillment from music. My dad had been trying to open my eyes to the world of heavy metal beyond Maiden and Priest for as long as can remember, and I was tired of listening to Lonestar 92.5 on the way to school. So, I finally took some of my dad's CD's he had recommended to listen to in the mornings. That's where Oceanic and Blackwater Park came in.
Blackwater Park

I remember being in total awe the first time I heard "The Beginning and The End", and the rest of the album showed that taking time to reach the payoff in a song was not only acceptable, but in many ways immensely more satisfying than pure heaviness. I wish that I could un-hear Oceanic, just so I could relive that total revelation. Blackwater Park redefined what metal could be for me; never before had I heard such beauty juxtaposed with such dense brutality, and Akerfeldt's vocals effectively convinced me that growling was A OK. I didn't fully understand the perfection Oceanic and Blackwater Park were until a few years after my first exposure, but those two albums opened my eyes to a whole new world of sounds. Isis, Opeth, Mastodon, Neurosis, Cult of Luna, Baroness, the list of bands that I now hold dear goes on and on because of the artistic triumph of those two albums.
4This Will Destroy You
Young Mountain

However, I still wasn't aware that vocals weren't necessary for music to be truly moving. I hadn't heard anything that wasn't classical that shunned society's urge to cling to a verse. Young Mountain is just filled with emotion, particularly yearning, and hope. It spoke to my 15 year old self without ever uttering a word. Even though post-rock is a touchy topic (either you're fed up with it, or you still know some bands are pushing the boundaries), this album was the gateway into a wonderful world of instrumental bliss.
Let It Die

Now, even though I had assuredly become a real music listener, I wasn't quite ready to accept anything that wasn't heavy (sonically or emotionally). But then I joined Sputnik, and wanted to do a review, and I though it would be easier to write about something I had no idea about. Because I had recently picked up the Feistodon 7" from RSD 2012, Feist's Let It Die seemed a perfectly logical choice. This album let me know that just because something has a pop feel, or is lighthearted, or has a Bee Gees cover, doesn't mean it can't effect you in the same way any other music can. You just have to let the music speak for itself, and not reject it because of genre definitions or a fear of appearing effeminate (and my friends that I would play Feist for were just as surprised as I that I liked it at all, let alone a LOT). Let It Die taught me to ignore the compartmentalization that all music seems to get tossed into, and realize that if the music sounds good, then genre has no meaning.
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