Rudy K.

Reviews 255
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Last Active 07-06-20 7:35 pm
Joined 12-31-08

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01.21.19 klap 4 decade / top 100 Elliott 12.16.18 klap 4 2018
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12.26.15 Klap 4 2015 12.22.15 klap 4 shows 2015
01.04.15 Klap 4 2014 12.24.14 Klap 4 Shows 2014
01.04.14 Klap 4 2013 12.31.13 Klap 4 Shows 2013
12.17.13 Klap's Favorite Songs Of '1312.16.12 Favorite '12 Songs
12.07.12 Klappin For Shows '1208.18.12 Fantasy Football
05.03.12 Elder Scrolls Online12.12.11 Klap 's Best Songs Of '11
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Klap's Top 20 Of 2010

Happy holidays you crazy bastards. Come to Vegas for New Year's Eve r2011 if you want to contract the Klap.
20Simian Mobile Disco

Outstanding food concept nonwithstanding, Delicacies is a delicious tech-house
treat, all weirded-out bleeps and ghostly bloops that are at times incredibly
creepy and others strangely bouncy. I have no idea how this is going to
translate live (probably with a healthy dose of psychedelics), but after last year's
weak pop outing, Simian is back on track here.
19Delta Spirit
History From Below

It's always a pleasure to see a band grow, and combining that with one of my
favorite genres in Americana makes History From Below one of the year's most
exciting releases. Much of the credit must go to singer Matthew Vasquez, whose
growth into a true barroom singer is remarkable.
18Four Tet
There Is Love In You

There's always bound to be some repetition in an IDM release, and it's what
usually turns me off on the genre, but Four Tet has truly created a masterpiece
with his seventh album, one that has a definite organic quality to it that adds a
vibrant layer to the discordant loops and drum samples that make up his work.
It's dense and challenging at times, but it never ceases to be enjoyable.
17Ra Ra Riot
The Orchard

Beating Vampire Weekend at their own game, Ra Ra Riot avoid the sophomore
slump by slowing things down and bringing out the best in the band - Wes
Miles' brilliant vocals, the warm dimension the strings bring to their sound, and
drummer Gabriel Duquette's unheralded rhythm work that ties everything
16 Phosphorescent
Here's To Taking It Easy

In an off year for alt-country Matt Houck stepped up to the plate and delivered a
straightforward home run, all muscular slide guitar and folky twang. But the
best part is Houck's melodies, which are fleshed out and given new life with the
colorful compositions offered by his expanded sound.
15Serena Maneesh
S-M 2: Abyss in B Minor

Criminally overlooked shoegaze out of Norway, Serena Maneesh crafted some of
the strangest, most endearing music of the year. This isn't your older brother's
shoegaze; this plain rocks, with angular riffs and thudding bass lines seemingly
more suited for prog than pop. But for all its oddness, it's an album that refuses
to be ignored, and I'd gladly take this over the Ambien most shoegaze bands
proffer up nowadays.

It speaks to Spoon's consistency that I consider a #14 finish an off year for
them. Transference finds the band more comfortable with their own sound than
ever before, relishing in the live environment the album was created in and
even letting their ties loose a little bit, meandering about on songs like "Who
Makes Your Money" and "Nobody Gets Me But You." It's not as consistent as
previous releases, but it doesn't have to be - Spoon like where they are, and
they sound damn fine with it.
13Free Energy
Stuck on Nothing

Paul Sprangers sings about girls and summer love and absolutely nothing of
higher import because, frankly, that's all he wants to sing about. It's
unfortunate that Stuck on Nothing was released in the spring, because it's a
summer record through and through. Beach cruising, salty air and salty hair,
bikinis, breezy car trips, pool parties, Slurpees that always seem too damn
drippy, the smell of tanning lotion, sand that will stay in my car for way too
many months, days and days of doing whatever the hell you want - Free
Energy have made a soundtrack for all of these things, and made it seem
effortless in the bargain.
12Rogue Wave

Permalight came out at just the right time for me, lifting me out of the
February doldrums with passionate, high-energy indie pop that seemed all too
easy and potentially canned. But there was something about Permalight that
made me look past its clich?d sentiments and sometimes drab choruses - this is
a record that was positively sunny, one that bared all without shame or any
sense of self-consciousness, and was the better for it. If I want to be happy, I
listen to this.
11Big Boi
Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

This was a banner year for big name rappers, and Big Boi was no exception - up
until November The Son of Chico Dusty was the rap record of the year, and
another bit of evidence to suggest that maybe Outkast wasn't all Andre 3000's
show (where the hell has that guy been, anyway?). Southern rap has never
been this enjoyable and innovative.
10Steel Train
Steel Train

Along with Free Energy, Steel Train showed me that sometimes, good rock 'n
roll can be just that; no gimmicks, no existentialist musings, no 20-minute-plus
compositions swollen with strings and harps and timpani. Steel Train put their
money down on ace melodies and that simple trifecta of rock: guitar, bass,
drums. They only come out with some of the best songs of the year, sugary
offerings that are no less potent because they revel in their hooks and sing-a-
long capabilities. Not to mention a song of the year in the heartrending "Fall
9The Black Keys

Speaking of good old-fashioned rock 'n roll, The Black Keys are back to doing
what they do best on Brothers. It's hard-hitting, bluesy rock 'n roll; bluesy like
the delta, bluesy like the Sun Studio in the early '60s, and Brothers is nothing if
not a painstakingly well made time capsule by two of the best musicians in the
business. Few bands can sound like they come from another era, but the Black
Keys pull it off with ease.
8Kanye West
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

I like to use Kanye West's own Twitter to describe My Beautiful Dark Twisted
Fantasy: "This is rock and roll life my people . . . you can't stop the truth you
can't stop the music and I have to be strong or 'they' win!!!;" "I can't be
everybody's hero and villain savior and sinner Christian and anti Christ!;" "I
have decided to become the best rapper of all time! I put it on my things to do
in this lifetime list!" Besides an abundance of exclamation points, Kanye's often
hilarious Twitter is everything that made his newest album such a masterpiece,
from his Christ complex to his feuding with the media to his undeniable artistic
brilliance. Guy might be a little crazy, but weren't all the best a bit off?
7Wolf Parade
Expo 86

Maybe Wolf Parade will never be able to recapture that spastic one-off brilliance
that was their debut, but Expo 86 proves that maybe they don't need to. It's
the band's most cohesive collection of tracks to date, successfully ranging from
Krug's typically obtuse offerings to Boeckner's more pop-oriented rock tunes.
Most of all, it proves that Wolf Parade are still the visionary songwriters we
thought we lost with At Mount Zoomer, and that's a relief.
6The National
High Violet

My road to finally realizing High Violet was right up there with Boxer and
Alligator was a long one, and it took me until a long road trip six months after
its release to see it for what it was: what I initially saw as boring and uninspired
was actually a more mellow National, one less prone to emotional outbursts and
not quite as energetic, but a wiser National, one who had a firmer grip on life's
realities and even more questions about it. It's a fascinating listen, built around
Matt Berninger's wry observations and Bryan Devendorf's continually amazing
drumming, and a more confident record than anything the National have done
to date.
Split the Atom

Noisia's first proper LP is a shining example of everything good that can happen
when a groundbreaking trio mashes all their influences together and produces
something truly original. Split the Atom has it all: breaks, electro, drum n bass,
funk, house, et cetera. It's a mishmash of styles that never seems like it's
about to collapse - the Dutch group have collected everything they admire
about electronica and make it their own. Noisia are not afraid to take some
risks, and Split the Atom promises to be the first in a long line of relentless,
heart-stopping party starters.
4The Walkmen

"I am a good man by any count / and I see better things to come" Hamilton
Leithauser sings on opener "Juveniles," and if there's a better mission
statement for Lisbon I haven't found it. This is the sound of the Walkmen
settling into a sweet spot, building on the rich palette of sounds they cooked up
on 2008's You & Me and imbuing it with a sense of warmth and a pleasant glow
that pervades all the material here and lies in stark contrast to the band's
earlier material, which was as fiery and tense as their hometown of New York
City. The National might get all the hype for being the next great American rock
band, but the Walkmen would have something to say about that.
3The Tallest Man on Earth
The Wild Hunt

With a voice that only a Billy Corgan could love (at least at first), Sweden's
Kristian Matsson's sophomore record was an unlikely album of the year
contender. Built almost entirely on whispery guitar licks and Matsson's screechy
vocals was a complicated web of melodies and deeply personal lyrics. The Wild
Hunt is a triumph not because it polishes everything that made Shallow Grave
great but because of the mood it sets. From "You're Going Back?" to "Trouble Will
Be Gone" to, most noticeably, "King of Spain," The Wild Hunt is an unbridled
expression of joy, made all the more powerful by its sparse instrumentation and
Matsson's cheerfully abrasive vocals.

What I love about Go is it's like Jonsi took all those nine-minute-plus Hopelandic
epics and compressed them into the perfect four-minute pop song. Like Jonsi
himself, everything about Go screams outsized; from Nico Muhly's everything-
and-the-kitchen-sink production to the hooks, which scream rainbows and
unicorns and sweet, sweet honey. But it's Jonsi and his angelic voice that really
holds everything together, connecting on an almost primal level as its own
instrument of unadulterated happiness. Go is a transparent record in its gaiety,
with no hidden meanings or any subtext beyond a celebration of life. That's
what makes it great.
Halcyon Digest

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Halcyon Digest was just how warm
everything sounded. Whereas Bradford Cox and company's earlier work tended
to be unwieldy messes of noise thrown loosely under the shoegaze label,
Halcyon Digest continued what 2008's Microcastle begun: transforming
Deerhunter into a full-fledged rock band, feet firmly planted in pop territory and
beckoning us to just relax and enjoy. When I first heard "Revival" I was
astonished at just how straightforward everything was, how easy it was to
connect to a band I previously had regarded as somewhat cold. But things
aren't just direct; there's a depth to these songs that, coming from Cox, is not
much of a surprise, but makes Halcyon Digest something more than just a
really good rock album. Songs like the self-destructing "Desire Lines" and the
gorgeous dream of "Helicopter" seem like the new classic rock, all substance and
style without a tipping of the scales one way or the other. "Coronado" is the
best Strokes song since Is This It. "He Would Have Laughed" might be the most
tragic song of the year, but it's spindly buildup and cathartic ending seem
positively joyful. Halcyon Digest is a record that seems destined to stand the
test of time, constructed as it is out of the timeless building blocks of music:
guitar, bass, vocals and drums, all done so effortlessly that it's hard to believe
Deerhunter have been doing this for years. In a way, of course, they have, but
never so refined, so at ease. For Cox, someone who's constantly fidgeting
around with demos and side projects, hearing him buckle down and produce a
whole album's worth of immediately arresting music is a relief. Halcyon Digest is
Deerhunter's most deft accomplishment yet, and they've done it not with bells
or whistles or 20-minute-plus compositions but by writing perfect rock 'n roll,
pure and simple.
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