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ISIS leader Aaron Turner
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Soundoffs 144
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Last Active 01-26-21 3:21 am
Joined 10-12-14

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07.18.20 Going through my CD collection07.06.20 Sin's plan of action
07.02.20 fuck this year rip reckful06.14.20 Sput Pro Tips
04.09.20 The Year in Pop: 2010 RANKED (Part 2: 5 04.08.20 The Year in Pop: 2010 RANKED (Part 1: 1
12.16.19 Sin's underrated of the decade 11.01.19 The Outer Worlds
08.21.19 All Songs Ranked #2- Stardust (1-1)04.26.19 albums i bought this year or something
12.25.18 Merry christmas sput!11.07.18 Time Will Die... ranked
10.17.18 4 years on this account10.03.18 bring back posi vibes (◕◡◕✿)
09.21.18 Radiohead ranked but right this time08.25.18 Disenchantment
08.05.18 RIP Barry Chuckle06.07.18 Great Album Art Pt. 2
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Going through my CD collection

As title describes, been needing a cleanout for ages as a lot of these I bought when I was 14-15 or have never got around to actually listening to. Anything below a 4 (75/100) is getting the bin. Also posting these as soundoffs too.
1The Bled
Pass the Flask


An album way ahead of it's time, Pass the Flask is an exceptional debut that makes the band's follow-ups even more disappointing in comparison. Everything is pure unadulterated chaos, with more energy than an eight year old who ate an entire pack of Haribo Tangfastics and escaped his parents into the soft play area. The frenetic and at times incomprehensible vocals sell this as much as anything. Looking back at this today it's obvious the kind of questionable influence it's had - the MySpace scene kid era is only a couple years removed with this clearly being a stepping stone on the long line of progress towards the breakdown-laden metalcore that's so maligned. But the difference here is that when breakdowns are used they have an actual purpose beyond being 'heavy', and the concept doesn't reach the levels of abuse later artists would take.
2The Bled
Pass the Flask


With the current revival movement for the early days of the scene, Pass the Flask is definitely a hallmark worth being reminded of. It's just a shame that they could never replicate it.

89/100
Highlights: I Never Met Another Gemini, Sound of Sulfur, We Are the Industry
3Red Stars Theory
But Sleep Came Slowly


A somewhat obscure and/or lost 90's slowcore album featuring Jeremiah Green of Modest Mouse renown, the lack of a strong motif or theme to grasp onto cements the reason for the albums non-recognition.Basically, some pretty atmospheres and violins can't carry the music, especially on some of the longer cuts here. Worth a listen for Modest Mouse super fans delving into each of the members' histories, and by all means not a waste of time, but rarely strikes at a level above pleasant background music - this style has and was done better by many others.

61/100
Highlights: Perfection Is, Broken Neck
4The Cribs
Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever


There are very few albums from the shockingly devoid-of-creativity mid-noughties NME-pandering British indie rock scene that have stood the test of time and unfortunately The Cribs are no exception. Their saving grace however is the fact that they did it better than 95% of their contemporaries, and as such some good will can still be salvaged. What perhaps set them apart from the Razorlights and The Braverys of the world is the fact they actually seem to enjoy and have passion for their music. All in all everything here is competent and for better or worse consistent, rather than just happening onto one catchy track and slapping a bunch of filler on to call it an album.
5The Cribs
Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever


They trod a little more on the rawer side than their peers on this album, their most successful and likely best, whilst still retaining a radio slickness to their sound. Unfortunately, this only carries you so far, and considering the wealth of young, noisy indie bands we are blessed with today, it all seems rather pedestrian.

58/100
Highlights: Our Bovine Public, Men's Needs, Ancient History
6Joseph Arthur
Our Shadows Will Remain


Joseph Arthur's folkish brand of alt rock is one that, unusually, benefits greatly from an upgrade in production quality. The little extra bits of studio magic make this all the more immediate and satisfying without compromising on the songwriting front. Indeed, many of these songs seem written in order to benefit from the additional capabilities - soothing background synths and lush reverb create some wonderful textural eccentricities. Some of the quieter moments leave a little to be desired, but when it pulls out all the stops it hits every time.

82/100
Highlights: Can't Exist, Devil's Broom, Failed
7The Crash
Wildlife


Whilst essentially sounding like a poppier Mew, there's no denying that The Crash had plenty of personality up their sleeves, mostly in the form of frontman Teemu Brunila's sugary sweet vocals. Their knack for writing a good pop rock tune is evident in places, yet it often feels as if they deliberately underwrote some of the lazier cuts here so as to not oversell themselves. When they're good however, they're very good. Teemu's vocals being the main focus is the obvious sticking point, so anyone interested should take solace in the fact they are being put to good use as a member of electropop/EDM act Studio Killers. This maybe isn't as tight as I used to think it was, but it's still enjoyable in short bursts.

64/100
Highlights: Lauren Caught My Eye, Phoebe, Fireworks
8The Avett Brothers
I and Love and You


A rare case of an album I previously dismissed surprising me profoundly upon relisten. Whilst as a whole the album suffers from an inability to strike out of it's comfort zone, that's not to deny that it's theatrical brand of piano-assisted folk rock is an adequate sacrifice for homogeneity. Clearly the band is comfortable in their songwriting, and as the saying goes, if it's not broke don't fix it. Have you always wanted to hear Neutral Milk Hotel but with shiny studio production and vocalists who know how to stay on key? Maybe? Well whilst there is a wealth of difference between the two, I can't help but draw some comparisons there.

79/100
Highlights: I and Love and You, And It Spread, Tin Man
9The Cranberries
No Need to Argue


It's hard to talk about this album without first mentioning the elephant in the room, the smash hit, anti-war, anti-violence anthem Zombie. Seemingly a divisive track with more than it's fair share of detractors, I have to admit that the overplay and ubiquity in popular culture can make it tiring to enjoy. Yet I can't help but also feel that among the uber-successful 90's alt rock anthems that have stood the test of time, it belongs in the top tier. Interestingly enough nothing else here comes close to the grunginess or emotional resonance of that song, opting at times for a more subdued pained aesthetic. There are moments where this works, but more often that not tracks pass by with little to no regard for staying power.
10The Cranberries
No Need to Argue


The centrepiece for the band, Dolores's haunting vocals, end up carrying some rather sub-par songwriting, especially towards the back end of the album, and they are dearly missed following her passing. Whilst I haven't heard it in a while so my opinion here could change,a lot of this fails to live up to their more dream pop-oriented debut - which is perhaps more worthy of an attentive listen.

59/100
Highlights: I Can't Be With You, Zombie, Ridiculous Thoughts
11Disappears
Pre Language


Pre Language is an album that blows out all it's good ideas in the first five minutes and then reclines back into the ever so annoying modern post-punk trope of monotonous droning bullshit in order to fill out an album. Fortunately this barely registers past the 30 minute mark, but two great songs is seemingly all they could come up with before giving up in terms of songwriting. Even then the opener apes Joy Division so hard. Just stick to Suuns, who seem to actually know how to create good atmosphere.

43/100
Highlights: Replicate, Pre Language
12Espers
II


Espers' brand of medieval psychedelic folk is one that's instantly both inviting and hypnotic. Like walking into a warm tavern in Elder Scrolls after a long day killing dragons, the lush, pastoral instrumentation embraces you with a drink, a smile and the crackling of a hearty fire. Luckily for the sake of thematic accuracy there is a strong bardic sense of appropriate repetition, resulting in a natural ambience effect that renders the record both profoundly interesting in focus and blissful in the background. Certain elements even veer off more into occultish or pagan territory, with a light Wicker Man-esque sense of awkward fear and intangible worry. All in all, this is a record that, given proper willingness to submit to it's charms, pulls you into it's own fantastical world, and at the very lowest point of attention still results in an invitingly pleasant listen.

83/100
Highlights: Dead Queen, Children of Stone, Moon Occults the Sun
13Rivulets
You Are My Home


A ridiculously boring album, and a prime example of how just sounding 'pretty' doesn't cut it in terms of creating good music. There's no substance here, every song sounds exactly the same and never develops beyond what's set out in the first 30 seconds. I'd recommend this as an album to fall asleep to, but it's just too annoyingly bland not to get irritated by. Just why.

23/100
Highlights: Happy Ending was the only song which actually had my attention beyond ten seconds, so that I guess.
14New Young Pony Club
Fantastic Playroom


Groovy, happy-go-lucky new wave revival that remains consistently enjoyable. An accusation of lack of depth may not be unfounded, but the band know their way around a hook exceptionally, and they truly get the most out of what is seemingly a fairly homogeneous musical toolkit. The deadpan vocal delivery may be a turn-off, and if you've heard the singles you've heard the highlights mostly. But overall it sets out to be fun and dance-able, and achieves that goal with room to spare.

76/100
Highlights: Ice Cream, The Bomb, The Get Go
15The Stills
Logic Will Break Your Heart


Logic Will Break Your Heart is a perfect example of why the post-punk revival boom of the mid-noughties was a thing in the first place - because when it's done well, it's some of the catchiest and most memorable excursions the indie rock landscape has to offer. There's not a moment I wasn't entertained during this album's duration, and immediately after it finished I played it again. Not only is it markedly consistent in quality across the board, but the band actually manages to change things up in terms of dynamics throughout the album, rather than devoting it's runtime to stale re-tellings of a couple of decent singles. We even get moments of OKC-era Radiohead on Animals and Insects, with it's brain-massaging percussion. Really an album I'm glad to have rediscovered.

83/100
Highlights: Lola Stars and Stripes, Gender Bombs, Still in Love Song.
16yourcodenameis:milo
Ignoto


This style of melodic alt-rockish post-hardcore was done to death in the noughties and unfortunately yourcodenameis:milo bring little to the party except an eye-catching band name - yours to interpret whether its a good or bad one. There's definitely a youthful energy here, but it all starts to blend in to one after a while - a shame because when they do attempt something different like the excellent closer Audition, it works well. Unfortunately it's far too little to recommend it to anyone but avid fans of this particular sound. Not much to say here really.

53/100
Highlights: Rapt. Dept., Fivefour, Audition
17The Aliens
Astronomy for Dogs


There are seemingly a wealth of artists who romanticise and fetishize the 60s, but whilst the appeal of such an era - strong social movements, technological innovation and overwhelming feeling of liberation, even if slightly misplaced are enticing, it seems many of those bands who champion its sound do little to push the envelope and break new ground as their heroes did. That is not the case here - far removed from masturbatory Pet Sounds worship, Beta Band offshoot The Aliens (if you forget their name don't worry, they'll remind you several times throughout the album) update a style limited by the tools available to it's initial purveyors with slick, lush modern production and delightfully hazy melodies.
18The Aliens
Astronomy for Dogs


Crammed into just an hour are slices of influence picked from every corner of late 60's rock and psychedelia, tied up in an ornamental Elephant 6-ish bow. No mere pastiche, Astronomy for Dogs is a whimsical, heartfelt and joyous celebration of a time before ours, infused with love and affection.

91/100
Highlights: Setting Sun, She Don't Love Me No More, Honest Again
19Richard Ashcroft
Alone with Everybody


The debut solo release from former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft can only be described as tepid and uninspired. Sure, the band had been heading towards this tame britpop sound before on their massive album Urban Hymns, but that was a record full of quirks, eccentricities, and most importantly excellent songwriting. Alone With Everybody sounds like what an AI would create if you fed it Be Here Now-era Oasis and then told it to tone it down so even your nan won't mind it. The albums opening track and biggest single, A Song for the Lovers really sums up everything wrong with this album, with its eerie similarity to The Cure's Lovesong, minus all the passion. This album is unoriginal, boring and bloated. There are some nice moments every now and again, Brave New World is a very good tune. But that's far too little amongst the hour-long runtime to recommend this to anyone.

47/100
Highlights: Brave New World, Crazy World.
20Corinne Bailey Rae
Corinne Bailey Rae


Melodic poppy neo-soul is a genre that rarely falls flat on its face, yet really needs to excel in at least one aspect to set itself apart. Corinne Bailey Rae's debut floats along meeting a high standard, but never exceeds it. Her voice is wonderful, if a little one-dimensional in it's use throughout the album. The instrumentals are mellow and groovy, but never have that wow moment. I'll actually suggest the hit singles sell the album short - 'Like a Star' is tame and unremarkable, and whilst 'Put Your Records On' is a wonderful track on it's own, it's far hookier and chart-ready than the tracks around it, being unrepresentative of the surrounding slower ballads.
21Corinne Bailey Rae
Corinne Bailey Rae


There are some obvious highlights, 'Enchantment' and 'Trouble Sleeping' especially are fantastic, but there also a few moments especially towards the back end of the album that slip into average filler material. Overall, it's nothing to shout about, but not to be sniffed at.

68/100
Highlights: Enchantment, Trouble Sleeping, Call Me When You Get This
22Gabrielle Aplin
Home


Yes, Gabrielle's voice is beautiful. No that doesn't excuse how generic and uninspired a lot of her songs are. All five of these tracks bite heavily from many of those in the mainstream indie folk-pop pie circa-2010, and the pristine vocals fail to leave an impression when confronted with less than imaginative songwriting. As far as I recall, she's gotten better with over time, and sure she's fairly young here. But there's a feeling the mask has slipped a little, revealing a pitch to hungry labels trying to find a Birdy 2.0 to sell.

48/100
Highlights: Keep Pushing Me
23Be Your Own Pet
Be Your Own Pet


Be Your Own Pet's debut is generic, sloppy, and doesn't seem to understand what dynamics are. But I'll be damned if it isn't also as energetic and fun as pseudo-post-punk gets. They keep it short, sweet and a little psycho, despite the shortcomings in their songwriting department and unremarkable vocalist standing in the way that have and would sink others in the same boat. If this was any longer it would be annoying yes, but at just over half an hour the duration keeps this blissfully tight and concise. Not amazing by any means, but it's constant extroversion suits the occasional listen.

67/100
Highlights: Bicycle Bicycle, You Are My Bicycle, Girls on TV, Love Your Shotgun
24Death In Vegas
The Contino Sessions


A wonderfully blissed out take on the 90s electronic scene fused with distorted psych rock soundscapes, The Contino Sessions is an album made for British summer evenings and all the good times that come with them. Even the moodier cuts feel strangely upbeat and hopeful, an infectious groove permeating the entire album. Certainly an album that hasn't been gifted the legacy it deserves, given how gracefully it has aged when contrasted with its contemporaries on the more britpop side of things.

82/100
Highlights: Dirge, Soul Auctioneer, Aisha
25Ex Models
Zoo Psychology


I commend the idea behind this, the fusion of no wave spazziness and Blood Brothers-esque post-hardcore sounds like it would be great. Unfortunately the execution leaves so much to be desired. The songs are often ridiculously short, which isn't a bad thing per se, but here seems to suggest the band having no clue as to how to progress a song so let's cut it off before the minute mark. The production as well is so flat and neutralised, this style deserves a cacophonous, raw, dynamic sound that retains the liveliness created by the band. Don't know what to say hear, it's all in one ear and out the other.

44/100
Highlights: If you can tell any of the songs apart you're welcome to choose me one
26Gomez
Machismo


I didn't really come into this expecting much, not being that familiar with the band. A point then towards my intuition as this is about as good as I assumed it to be - decent if unmemorable, for the record. It's quite subdued and moody in places which works to middling effect, notably in the irritatingly long closer, which would be the highlight if they had kept it under ten minutes. It probably still is however, as the rest is tolerable if unremarkable. I will say to their credit they create some nice atmosphere and have their own style, just not really enough my cup of tea to really move me.

60/100
Highlight: The Dajon Song
27Sigur Ros
Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do


Markedly a lesser release by Icelandic legends Sigur Ros, but not without it's own merits. Striving in a much more ambient direction than their usual post-rockier leanings, they once again generate warped, childlike, ominous yet homely textures and atmospheres that prove engaging and bursting with life despite their minimalistic nature. The bookends here are by far the most interesting - Ba Ba's juvenile melodies proving entrancing, and Di Do's descent into glitchier territory adding moodiness and uneasiness into the cauldron. It's not mindblowing by any means, but for what it is it's worth taking the 20 minutes to check it out for fans of the band.

72/100
Highlights: Ba Ba, Di Do
28Faithless
No Roots


I'm not sure why I had this at a 2.5 before, but goddamn was I wrong. The only Faithless I'd say I'm intimately familiar with before now was Reverence, which of course had some of the greatest club anthems of the 90s, so maybe the lack of a massive standout track like Insomnia threw me off. Whatever the case, yeah, this is pretty great. It's not overly complex and I wouldn't say any particular aspect is groundbreaking for it's style, but there's an undeniable groove and vibe to the whole thing that renders it much more a complete package than some of it's contemporaries. The social commentary, performed in their trademark soft rapped vocals is approachable yet insightful, not too heavy to be distracting but not weak rambling either.
29Faithless
No Roots


The album as a whole is definitely worth considering in their discography, but don't go in expecting the banging highlights of their previous albums, this one is much more of a slow burn.

77/100
Highlights: Mass Destruction, I Want More (Pts. 1 & 2), Everything Will Be Alright Tomorrow
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