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02.20.19 Snow Day Jamz01.25.19 Owl-bums: A Historo-Ornithological Over
01.24.19 Recent Spinsies01.17.19 January Jams
01.11.19 Two-Album Treasures11.29.18 Last Hurrah
11.09.18 It's Always Sunny11.02.18 Concerts Closing Out 2018
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Two-Album Treasures

We all know one-album wonders and three-album triumphs (that's a thing, right? Watch this space...), but THIS list is a highly incomplete, wholly partial compendium of bands and artists whose discographies stand at two and only two fantastic full-lengths. Oddly enough, the spread, limited as it is, seems to hew mainly towards post-hardcore and -rock acts, so make of that what you will. Feel free to shout with others (of which I'm sure I'm missing plenty, probably even within these genres) in the comments.
1The Receiving End of Sirens
Between the Heart and the Synapse


Maybe the quintessential post-hardcore one-two-punch here, both in terms of cover-to-cover quality of the records, as well as each disc representing a fairly unique approach to the sound. Granted, losing the creative force called Casey Crescenzo in the interim no doubt played a part in the sonic evolution, but even still, it's admirable how well The Earth Sings... stands in its own right, while proving substantially, atmospherically different from the somewhat punkier leanings of its predecessor. Plus, y'know, we all got the Dear Hunter out of the deal, so I think it's safe to call that a win-win.
2Bear vs. Shark
Terrorhawk


Another post-hardcore icon right here; with reunions and one-offs, not sure if they'll keep their place in this pantheon, but a perverse part of me sort of hopes that they do (since acts like Glassjaw and Finch have strayed and shown the diminishing returns that can result). While the band's sound didn't shift quite as dramatically from their debut to its (slightly) more even-keeled successor (see: 1), it's still plenty easy to track the distinctions between the scrappier, arguably more gripping ...Best of Hands to Terrorhawk's more nuanced take on the style.
3Secret And Whisper
Teenage Fantasy


A personal favorite here, and almost certainly not as widely heralded as 1 and 2, Secret and Whisper also differ in that, to my ear, there's honestly not that much progression to speak of between Great White Whale and TF, other than some polish on a supremely viable formula. With that said, if you like the sound--which, by the third song of either, you'll probably have a pretty clear sense of whether you do or don't--then these two albums are absolute killers. It's possible I'm just ignorant and/or haven't done enough research, but I don't know whether any of these musicians have taken their craft elsewhere in the wake of disbanding--it wouldn't surprise me, S&W being sort of borne of refugees in its own right, hailing from Stutterfly and thebleedingalarm; if not, that's an absolute travesty, since both riffs and vocals were stunners, and made all the better by their organic meshing herein.
4The Ascent of Everest
How Lonely Sits the City


Shifting more into post-rock, the Ascent, ironically, never seemed to scale to the heights of recognition that greeted many of its stylistic peers, perhaps attributable (at least in part) to timing and fatigue; they missed the genre's Explosions-fueled popular heydey in the early aughts, and perhaps jumped the gun on its critical reevaluation/resurfacing as legacy player in more recent years (looking at you, Godspeed). Whatever the reason, it's a shame it's been lost in the shuffle, since this music is positively gorgeous and dynamically compelling; perhaps most pertinent, the outfit's politically-charged strain of the genre, especially on this debut, is as topical now as ever, if not even more so. Who knows, maybe they'll be back, but if you haven't had the pleasure yet, do yourself a favor and delve into this brief-but-dense discography, which, unlike all too many post-rock acts, doesn't overstay its welcome.
5Yndi Halda
Under Summer


Like 2, not sure how long this band will remain in the ranks of the two-and-out troupe, especially with a relatively recent reunion and subsequent single (for as much as a 12-minute song can be said to qualify as such). There's frankly fairly little to say on these stalwarts that hasn't already been said more eloquently (and, frequently, on this very site), but what's perhaps most noteworthy is how organically old-yet-new Under Summer feels coming in the wake of a nearly decade-long gap. All too often, that spells certain doom--or at the very least, an unwelcome damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don't attitude, defined by either outcries that things are too different and unrecognizable as the band we grew to love or, conversely, that things are too similar and just a pale and paltry attempt to retread past glories. Under Summer, blissfully, is neither, maybe skirting more towards the latter, but in a way that demonstrates a highly practiced, polished craft that hasn't lost a step.
6Gordian Knot
Emergent


Maybe a bit of an oddball here, but this jazz-prog-metal hybrid hails from the mind and fingertips of Sean Malone of Cynic--a band that could have found its place here had they possessed the good sense to at least take another breather after Traced in Air, rather than nickel-and-diming their legacy away with some good-not-great EPs all the way to the disastrous misstep that was Kindly Bent to Free Us. I digress. Gordian Knot is very much its own animal, one certainly informed by Malone's heavier pedigree, but clearly distinct, and not just by virtue of being instrumental. The energetic, highly technical-yet-ear-catching style gallops through both propulsive ("A Shaman's Whisper," which, HOT DAMN!) to gorgeous, more meditative quasi-ballads ("Grace"), and that's just in the span of a few songs. It'd be disingenuous to call this subgenre my forte, GK's pair of albums stands apart to me as almost being a sort of proto-djent-fusion (djazz?) reignited by Trioscapes and Mestis.
7Closure in Moscow
First Temple


Aaaaaand back to post-hardcore, albeit a far funkier, dare I say deliberately obtuse version. Probably the iffiest inclusion on this list, for several reasons:
1) Pretty sure they've announced a new album coming soon--although, being a Tool fan, I know all too well how that can go, so I'll have doubts until a title and tracklist are released.
2) The band's debut EP is arguably their strongest, most consistent output. I'd certainly say it is. But my criteria stated LPs, so here we are.
3) Pink Lemonade has (more than) its fair(?) share of detractors. And, from my perspective, it does represent a definite step down from First Temple but frankly, I think it gets far too little credit for its true willingness to experiment and really drive an already-distinctive sound in some even more unique directions. Does it always work? Noop. But the interesting facets far outweigh the occasional lackluster stretch. And the built-in benefit is, if that mythical new music does materialize...
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