AsleepInTheBack
Ben
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Last Active 01-28-18 5:42 am
Joined 08-14-15

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 Lists
08.04.18 Life Affirming List07.17.18 Visiting France / Bday
06.24.18 WHOOA, WE'RE HALFWAY THERE05.31.18 Repurposing Genres
05.13.18 Disheveled05.09.18 2018
05.08.18 Gimmie Grooves04.25.18 Impatience
03.08.18 Quick Maths01.13.18 Asleep's Belated 2017
11.15.17 EMO CROWN 2 - Rnd 7: Wait a sec, that a10.21.17 Musical Moments
10.11.17 EMO CROWN 2 - Rnd 6: You're My Favourit10.06.17 5 EVERYTHING
09.16.17 EMO CROWN 2 - Rnd 5: Shut up and Smile08.30.17 EMO CROWN 2 - Rnd 4: Do the Math
08.27.17 REC ME CLASSICS 08.24.17 EMO CROWN 2 - Rnd 3: New Kid on the Blo
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Asleep's Top 100 Albums

In hindsight, a top 100 list was a pretty dumb idea, ridiculously time consuming and arguably a futile project given that a perfectly accurate ranking is basically impossible as my enjoyment of music is dependent on so many fluctuating variables (my mood, the weather, what I have and haven’t been listening to recently, how attentive the listen is, et cetera et cetera). Still, I’m really glad I cobbled this together for it was a fantastic and enlightening experience and (I hope) a halfway interesting read. So, I present Asleep’s loosely ordered top 100 list to celebrate over 2 years on sput and (basically) 1000 ratings. Ta da.
101Elbow
Asleep In The Back


Wow this took a long time to make. I'll just add, I don't really expect anyone to read this whole thing (in before td;dr). This was mainly for me. BUT if you do in fact read the whole thing I'll love you forever.

A few honourable mentions: pg.lost - It's Not Me, It's You!; Ween - GodWeenSatan; Stars of the Lid - And Their Refinement of the Decline; Foxing - Albatross; The Wonder Years - The Greatest Generation; Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms; The Notorious BIG - Ready to Die; Metallica - Ride the Lightening; Linkin Park (half of discog); Mount Eerie (discog); The Microphones (discog); The Who - Who's Next?; Refused - The Shape of Punk to Come; The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!; Miles Davis - Kind of Blue; Touche Amore - Stage Four.

Cool? Cool.
100Ween
Quebec


When Ween of all bands go serious it really is something pretty special. It’s like when your closed off and reserved friend opens up about their feelings in a way you never thought they could or would; the whole thing feels so much more impactful because you know how hard it must have been for them to come out with it and that it must mean a whole lot to them. Whilst Ween have always, I feel, let their emotions shine through their veil of humour subtly, its wonderful to see that veil lifted, even if briefly.
99Mount Eerie
Lost Wisdom


About half of the Mount Eerie discography could be placed in this spot, but my personal favourite of the bunch at the moment (bar one: see below) is Lost Wisdom. It’s Phil at his most straightforward and folky, a smorgasbord of lush instrumentation and philosophical lyrical nuggets that I just gobble up. The icing on the cake are these harrowing female vocals from (I believe) Julie Doiron that I wish we saw more from Phil’s work as they’re simply beautiful here, perfectly at home in Phil’s secluded world. I’ll stop gushing now, but seriously, the Mount Eerie body of work is a neglected one that I wish more would dive into.
98The Postal Service
Give Up


Pretty much the king of musical dichotomies, stitching together the human with the electronic and the happy with the sad to form a bubbly and glitchy hybrid mush that I just can’t stop spinning.
97Brand New
The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me


An album that sput introduced to me, and also an album that sput kind of ruined for me. Too much blind praise, too much blind hate and too much meme-age; at some point I think my own thoughts got lost amongst the mass, for I find it hard to remember what made this resonate so strongly with me in the past, the record’s spark having dissipated through tired arguments and overdone debates. However (and this is an important however), I still maintain it’s a damn fantastic album, albeit not top 5 material as it would have been a year ago. A sturdy 4.
96Elliott Smith
Either/Or


A sad bubble of soft blues and greys that’ll tear you to shreds if you’re not careful.
95Racing Glaciers
Caught in the Strange


The perfect soundtrack for long secluded walks during the early hours of the morning.
94Ryo Fukui
Scenery


A soaring jazz gem; vibrant and bubbly but tinged at the edges with melancholy; generally quite composed and restrained, but still explosive when it needs to be; technical without compromising on emotional impact; a flurry of keys to nourish the soul.
93Tim Hecker
Harmony in Ultraviolet


Few records just take me away from the world as immediately and wonderfully as Harmony in Ultraviolet. A snap of Hecker’s fingers, the rising wall of delicate noise that is ‘Rainbow Blood’, and I’m gone.
92The Raconteurs
Consolers of the Lonely


Jams interspersed with more jams interspersed with more jams. Just jams really, so anyone who loves ‘Seven Nation Army’-style The White Stripes should love this. Oh, and there’s ‘Carolina Drama’, what a phenomenal closer.
91Art Blakey
Moanin'


As old as Moanin’ is, it really doesn’t show its age. It's still got a spring in its step and spark in its eye, resolutely firey and still swingin’. Really it’s as good evidence as any for why you should respect your elders.
90 Ichiko Aoba
うたびこ


Fragile, serene, haunting and enigmatic folk magic. Like staring into a koi pond on a warm summers night, blurred specks of yellow reflecting back amidst the shimmering blues and greens.
89Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate)
What It Takes to Move Forward


An incredibly delicate record, making great use out of those twinkly guitars and utilizing silence and space to build tension and anxiety. Whilst an overtly solemn affair, I find What It Takes To Move Forward exudes a surprising amount of warmth, a dainty little fireplace to warm the toes of the weary.
88Orchid
Chaos is Me


Chaos is Me is an unwavering wall of noise; it’s also surprisingly intricate. Chaos is Me is abrasive, unforgiving and initially incomprehensible, only becoming more abrasive, more unforgiving and (paradoxically) more comforting in its catharsis with further listens. Chaos is Me is a climbing favourite of mine and it could be yours to – stick with it, its quite good.
87Alt-J
An Awesome Wave


Charismatic, creative, gentle, and still one of the best things to rise to the top of the British mainstream in a long while.
86Bruce Springsteen
Darkness on the Edge of Town


Springsteen’s life long battle of depression really boils to the surface on Darkness on the Edge of Town, from his pained yelps on ‘Something In The Night’ and ‘Streets of Fire’ to his beautifully soft croons on ‘Racing In The Street’, to even the bitter edge with which he spits out lines on ‘Adam Raised a Cain’. It’s pretty heartbreaking, but I’m glad it’s as prominent as it is; not only does it make for a potent record, it also provides the somewhat reassuring realisation that even men as towering and seemingly bulletproof as The Boss bleed just like the rest of us. And yes, that sucks, but it’s something I need to be reminded of every once in a while.
85The Dear Hunter
The Color Spectrum (Complete Collection)


We’re into the 4.5s friends, kicking them off with a record that is very much a ‘more than the sum of its parts’ record. It’s a bit too polished, a tad too contrived, a smidge too derivative and a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ kind of deal, but who cares; the colossal 36 track epic nails its underlying ‘colour spectrum’ concept and provides a moving journey through the world of rock and the mind of visionary Casey Crescenzo. Basically it’s really, really cool and I like cool things.
84Death Grips
Bottomless Pit


Death Grips demonstrate how to breathe life into old ideas, retrieving a bunch of rusty parts scattered across a musical career and bolting them together into something new and interesting. With the catchiness of The Money Store and a plethora of production tricks and sonic textures picked up from No Love Deep Web through to The Powers that B, Bottomless Pit provides a wonderful contrast from the bands recent experimental streak in a welcomed return to an easier sound. What’s great though is that their use of these new tools mean Bottomless Pit doesn’t sound like a mere rehash of their earliest works; its very much its own thing. Guitars roar, drums pound and bleeps bloop in a cacophonous but digestible mound of noise and hooks. Certainly not an album to convert the Death Grips cynic, but for the Death Grips fan this was just the kick in the teeth that the doctor ordered.
83Caspian
Dust and Disquiet


When I say Caspian have nailed Post Rock for the impatient, I really do mean it as a compliment. I don’t always (read: I basically never) have the time to devote to the standard post-rockian affair, those meandering monoliths that jerk tears and shatter planets. I adore them, but sometimes I need my shot of euphoric beauty in a more immediate package to fit around, well, life. Whilst Caspian can compose 12-minute epics like the best of them, they’ve also cracked the art of the concise and undemanding with the elegantly simple and simply elegant Dust and Disquiet.
82Nails
You Will Never Be One of Us


An album to pummel your own face to, it’s that edgy.
81Sun Kil Moon
Benji


A beautiful collection of songs about life and death that I haven’t had enough time to bond with yet. Expect to see this one soar.
80Kendrick Lamar
To Pimp a Butterfly


Conceptually speaking, TPAB is practically unparalleled. I’ve not sure I’ve ever seen an artist so elegantly and seemingly effortlessly execute a project quite this ambitious. It’s awe-inspiring to say the least. The only thing holding it back, funnily enough, is its inconsistent mastery of the basics. As technically proficient as Kendrick is and as gorgeous as the beats can be, sometimes the individual components don’t produce enthralling songs, sometimes meandering a little too long, sometimes feeling more like tools of the concept rather than engaging individual tracks. However, the key word here is sometimes. It’s, of course, still a stunning project, a monolith in the world of modern hip-hop that deserved its spot at the top of many 2015 lists.
79Unwound
Leaves Turn Inside You


Uncomfortably numb.
78Deep Purple
Machine Head


A hazy, swirling, rockin’ pool of purples and blues
77Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
High Visceral Pt. 1


Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are the best kinds of crumpets. It's true, I swear. I'll hand you over to my good buddy conman here to explain why: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/74512/Psychedelic-Porn-Crumpets-High-Visceral-Pt.-1/
76The Mountain Goats
The Sunset Tree


I really should get around to diving into more of The Mountain Goats colossal discography. I really should move on, but I haven’t. I can’t help it; The Sunset Tree has captured me and won’t let go.
75Drei Affen
Drei Affen


I’m quite new to screamo/crust, so I’m sure this’ll get bumped down when I find a band that does it better, but my god this tears me to shreds every time and I have no idea why.
74My Chemical Romance
The Black Parade


I’ll CAAAAARRRRRYYY OOOOOONNNNNN, I’ll CAAAAARRRYYYYY OOOONNNNNN loving this album even though I’m probably way to old for it. I suspect this one may attract cries of ‘Gasp! You ranked that piece of commercialised emo drivel above X!? You dumb?’ Probably, yeah
73Off Minor
The Heat Death of the Universe


Sing it with me fellas: NEVER SAY / EVERYTHING / WILL BE / OK. This should probably be rated higher than it is but I just don’t often want to listen to it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a jagged, bleak masterpiece of a skramz record that does what it sets out to near perfectly, but prolonged listening puts me in a mental state that I’d rather avoid.
72Iron Maiden
Powerslave


OG m/
71Yes
Close to the Edge


Close to the Edge is a funny one. Everything about it screams ‘god, this is a pretentious, campy green booger of an album that Asleep will despise’, yet I love the crap out of it. I still don’t really know why, and I hate that.
70Bad Astronaut
Houston: We Have a Drinking Problem


I think I have a drinking problem. Also, this is a fantastic album. It’s easy listening stuff, a restrained and subtle pop rock endeavour that’s catchy as hell whilst containing a potent and cold emotional undercurrent in contrast to its generally bright aesthetic. It’s a fantastic pairing, a complimentary tag team of consonance and dissonance that allows both elements to shine.
69Black Sabbath
Paranoid


Classic riff after classic riff after classic riff after classic riff ad infinitum
68Every Time I Die
New Junk Aesthetic


The most fun you can have with drop D, probably
67The Story So Far
Under Soil and Dirt


Rarely does a pop punk project ever sound quite this angry, quite this fuming, quite this … well, punk. Parker Cannon spits venom over 11 glorious, jagged pop punk jams that I always seem to come back to whenever my love life goes tits up again.
66Rainbow
Rising


‘Best dad rock’ official titleholder
65Converge
Axe to Fall


Converge’s most straightforward effort Axe to Fall pulls no punches, slamming the listener’s face into the tarmac from the get go. It lets up briefly halfway through with ‘Worms Will Feed’, only to smirk and sneer ‘Did you really think this was over?’ before dropkicking you down a flight of stairs. So yeah, it’s exactly what you’d want from Converge.
64PUP
The Dream Is Over


With guitars screeching, bass booming and drums pounding, The Dream Is Over blazes as brightly as the flaming sofa that adorns its cover. Lace over the top the manic cries of one of the most characterful vocalists I’ve heard in some time and you’ve got yourself something pretty special.
63Orchid
Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow!


I feel like the yellow flash in the pan that is Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow! is the easiest Orchid LP to overlook. It isn’t the blazing inception of Chaos is Me, adored (quite rightly) for kick-starting with vigour the career of one of screamo’s most beloved; nor is it sprawling Gatefold, the band’s nuanced curtain call, praised for its elegant evolution into uncharted territory for the genre. Indeed, one could argue Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow! is actually quite uninteresting (relatively speaking), merely a leaner and cleaner version of what the band already achieved with their debut. Such thinking is dangerous however, for it could lead one to miss out on a real treat, a flaming, spiralling tornado that’s about as far from a sophomore slump as you could get. For me at least its as good as Orchid got, which is to say very, very, very good.
62Converge
You Fail Me Redux


Shatters faces whilst shredding heartstrings
61Sons Of Granville
Sons Of Granville


Go read my review for this little hidden gem, it explains it all. Please. Pretty please?
60The World Is a Beautiful Place...
Whenever, If Ever


A masterclass in revivalism, demonstrating perfectly how to carefully blend old and new to create something unique.
59Ween
The Mollusk


Cohesion isn't a word I usually associate with genre-hopping duo Ween, nor something I generally look for in their albums, but The Mollusk certainly proves that one doesn't have to stick to what one knows (or what others expect from you) to create something wonderful. Of course this is still Ween through and through - ever jovial and playful, dazzling and delighting with music that seems a lot simpler than it actually is - it's merely lashed together a bit more tightly than usual with fishing line and anchor chains.

TL;DR: Ween under the sea = best Ween.
58Mr. Bungle
California


A bizarre and wonderful collection of musical oxymora.
57Green Day
American Idiot


I’m not sure I can listen to the opening 3-chord barrage of ‘American Idiot’ without smiling, picturing 16yo me screaming his lungs out in the front row at Leeds Fest. I’m not sure I can put ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ on without thinking of that awkward time I sung it for some god-awful music assignment at school. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to play ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ without recalling how me and my old roommate used to jam it together repeatedly as a guitar and keyboard duet to the (very vocal) distaste of our neighbours. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to perceive American Idiot as an album, nor appraise it with any sense of objectivity, for it really is better described as a bundle of memories. It’s bottled nostalgia, and I love it.
56Linkin Park
Hybrid Theory


Hybrid Theory is another stubborn favourite, an irremovable keystone of my musical journey as the second CD I bought and the first album I ever loved. It honestly surprises me that I still love it as much as I do, and not just a nostalgic love but a genuine ‘damn, this is actually a great album’ kind of love. However, I’m under no illusions; I know this is a simplistic, commercialised pop album in loose nu-metal clothing; I see its obvious flaws. Yet, clearly I couldn’t care less. Maybe I just have awful taste, or maybe that’s just the unconditional love we reserve for a select few old friends; I think that would make sense, for Hybrid Theory is pretty much the oldest musical friend I have.
55TotorRo
Home Alone


Warm, boisterous, mathy jams tinged with post rock. See my review for more.
54Rage Against The Machine
Rage Against The Machine


52 minutes of aggression and swagger; easy to love and hard to put down
53Pg. 99
Document #8


Sloppy and sincere. Encapsulates the spirit of the genre perfectly.
52The Front Bottoms
The Front Bottoms


Awkward, fumbling basement pop punk. Essentially a hook machine with a heart.
51Run the Jewels
Run the Jewels 2


Banger after banger after banger for 40 glorious minutes. Also, the placement of this above pretty much every hip-hop ‘classic’ I can recall really does show my noob status when it comes to the genre. I’ll get around to fixing that eventually, I promise.
50Toh Kay
Streetlight Lullabies


As Mr. Toh Kay so eloquently put himself, "Something to put your feet up to, when you're not quite in the mood for the ball of frenetic energy that is Streetlight Manifesto."
49Vektor
Terminal Redux


I don’t think a thrash record has ever quite as genuinely moved me quite like Terminal Redux does. Also, the dude makes “SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” sounds every once in a while, so that’s cool.
48Streetlight Manifesto
Everything Goes Numb


I might ruffle a few feathers in ranking this below the bulk of Tomas’ other work, but eh, my list. A vital pillar within 3rd wave ska for good reason, sporting some of the best lyrics of any Streetlight project and containing enough energy to level a small village and put it back together again. It’s everything the genre should be really.
47Death Grips
The Money Store


Something this abrasive should not be this catchy. An amalgamation of this many different genres and styles really shouldn’t feel this natural, nor cohesive. A project with such poetic, abstract, bleak and disturbing lyricism has no right to be this fun and (relatively) accessible. The Money Store has no right to work; plain and simple, it just shouldn’t. But it does, so yay.
46The Hotelier
Goodness


Like comfort food, but music.
45Tigers on Trains
Grandfather


Rustic is the best descriptor for Grandfather I could think of, you know, ‘cause it’s really frickin’ rustic. Every step just feels so natural, so rootsy, so warm and gentle that it feels like it couldn’t have happened any other way; and I’m glad it didn’t, as the journey through the thicket with Tigers on Trains is as touching and comforting as they come.
44Julien Baker
Sprained Ankle


It's astounding how well I feel like I know Julien from just 30 minutes or so of music. I mean, of course I don't know her at all, not really, but that's the magic of Sprained Ankle; it radiates, exudes and sparkles Julien, all her wishes, her beliefs, her flaws and her persona lain out; it almost mimics a face to face encounter, a heart to heart chat over a pint. It's thus easy to feel like you've met Julien, and just as easy to relate to her confessions on life and loss. I guess this explains why Sprained Ankle worked it's way so swiftly and devastatingly into the dusty depths of my chest. It's the musical mirage of a friend, another struggling soul to hold hands with as the ship goes down. Jeez I'm melodramatic. I'll end with this: I hope you're doing ok Julien, sincerely.
43Mount Eerie
A Crow Looked At Me


I’m so sorry Phil.
42Pinegrove
Cardinal


If poetry set to a careful blend of emo, indie rock and country sounds appealing to you then jam this, jam this so hard.
41The Smith Street Band
No One Gets Lost Anymore


Self-destructive self-deprecation has never sounded quite this anthemic.
40Frank Turner
England Keep My Bones


Whilst England Keep My Bones contains some of Frank’s best crowd pleasers, it’s the deeper, more creative cuts that have always interested me the most. Sure ‘I Still Believe’ and ‘If Ever I Stray’ are fantastic belters, but they don’t compare to the heart retching heartbreak of ‘Redemption’, to the adorable b-side ‘A Song For Eva Mae’, or to the dark rocker ‘One Foot Before The Other’. Heck, there’s even a poem, ye old England style in the form of ‘English Curse’. It’s this odd balance between easy listening radio candy and braver forays into very un-Frank styles that makes the record such an interesting one for the Frank fan and why it’s so damn easy to love.
39American Football
American Football


American Football’s s/t is a fading Polaroid, a blurry almost-image with just enough detail to bring forth a flood of memories. It’s twinkly, summery goodness, dripping nostalgia, overflowing with the comforting hue of days gone by. It’s lovely.
38AJJ
People Who Can Eat People are the Luckiest People


I love people. I love life. I also hate people and hate life. AJJ get that. I love AJJ.
37Jordaan Mason and The Horse Museum
Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head


If Dali had played in a lo-fi indie folk band it probably would have sounded something like this. Predictably, it's reeallyy weird. Though enigmatic and pretty hard to decipher, Divorce Lawyers… appears to be a musical exploration of the self, a tale of gender dysphonia and unstable sexuality within a cracking marriage that pertains more generally to the underlying characteristics of identify crises. It progresses as an almost-story - personified and conversational with clear characters and events - yet it never solidifies, never entirely comprehensible. Indeed, it often feels like a shadow of a narrative, an obtuse collection of fragmented experiences and emotions. The accompanying instrumentation compliments, rootsy guitar work peppered with suitably quirky horns and keys. While Divorce Lawyers... is a cryptic and contorted mess, it can be a surprisingly comforting retreat for those undergoing deep internal conflict. I speak from personal experience: it helps.
36Frank Turner
Sleep Is For The Week


An undemanding and cosy helping of rootsy and relatable folk goodness.
35The Hotelier
It Never Goes Out


Poetic, passionate, personal, political, potent pop punk. Alliteration is fun.
34Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven


One of the few records in existence that I think deserves the (quite overused) title of ‘masterpiece’. Would be higher if only I listened to it more.
33Sunhouse
Crazy on the Weekend


Zak said it best I think: “Do you want to hear music made by one of us?” Heart-shattering stuff.
32Radiohead
In Rainbows


In Rainbows is a record I find it hard to talk about in any depth. Of course, that's not because it's a bad record (I mean duh, this is a top 100 list), more that I just don't want to. It so effortlessly thrills and soothes that I feel little need to dissect it. It just is; it just does; it just works, no assembly required, no deep analysis necessary. Try it. Let it wash over you and pull you in. It's lovely, I promise.
31Streetlight Manifesto
The Hands That Thieve


Streetlight shake off the shackles of 3rd wave ska to do whatever the hell they feel like on The Hands that Thieve and it’s awesome. Not that the band have ever let themselves be confined by the genre they reside in, but Streetlight really do go a bit haywire here. The record zips every-which-way, picking up influences as it goes and mushing them together to form a characteristically poignant and rallying package. Side note: yeah this is weirdly highly placed, I didn’t see it coming either. Ah well, it floats my boat.
30Radiohead
The Bends


The Bends simply rocks. Solemnly and reservedly, sure, but it rocks all the same and that’s all you need to know.
29The Antlers
Hospice


I don’t really feel anymore when I listen to Hospice. It used to shake me, forcing a lump in my throat regardless of my mood. Now it just makes me feel numb.
28Radiohead
Kid A


Kid A is an easy record to love for the way that it replicates and complies a bunch of emotions and sensations of the everyday. This makes it a fantastic record to live with; a companion to go through daily turbulence with, to laugh and cry with. It doesn’t require much explanation really. Listen to it; if you’re alive you’ll probably get it.
27Ghost Mice
All We Got Is Each Other


Ghost Mice play sloppily, sing shakily, and can’t produce a record particularly well. Of course, none of that matters as All We Got Is Each Other still destroys me every single time in spite of (and partially because of, I suppose) its flaws. Every other line is a punch in the guts in an album that deserves to be ranked up there with the Carrie & Lowells and Benjis of the last decade. It’s simply folk punk as it should be: charismatic, passionate, and utterly human.
26Catch 22
Keasbey Nights


An unwavering, unadulterated and uninhibited mess of an album that literally bounces of the walls like some kid who’s eaten one too many candy bars. It’s an endearing mess though, like it’s your little scrapper of a kid causing chaos rather than your neighbours’ screaming brat that you just want to dropkick through a window.
25Spiritualized
Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space


If you’ve ever wanted to be privy to a guy losing his mind amidst drugs and heartbreak then this is your album. It helps if you can relate, so go get your heart trodden into the ground and then grab a crate of beer; it’s worth it, I promise (well, you know, other than the ‘having your heart broken’ bit, ‘cause that sucks).
24Clever Girl
No Drum And Bass in the Jazz Room


Clever Girl’s first and only ep makes me happy. Honestly, it’s hard for ones spirits not to be lifted a smidge when this little thing embraces you with a big warm hug, horns tooting and guitars merrily noodling. It’s carefree, jovial and a comforting companion. Wish these dudes made more music.
23Vektor
Black Future


The first truly m/ metal record I ever loved and still pretty much my favourite. Some may sneer at its placement above pretty much all the metal ‘classics’ but eh, this just hit the spot for me; a perfect mix of proggy thrash and death metal with a few sprinklings of black metal here and there, topped with a nutcase of a vocalist who I adore and just the right amount of cheese to be palatable.
22Snowing
Fuck Your Emotional Bullshit


A screaming little bottle rocket of an emo ep that I’ve destroyed my vocal chords yelling along to on more occasions than I’d care to recall. Charming and cathartic, sloppy and sincere, messy and moreish – what more could you ask for?
21Animal Collective
Strawberry Jam


Who knew a collection of beeps and boops with some nut singing / shrieking over the top of it could make me feel quite so much. Only under the masterful guiding hand of Animal Collective could it be done, I guess.
20The Menzingers
On the Impossible Past


Just go read Art’s review for this; says exactly what I want to say but better than I ever could: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/74314/The-Menzingers-On-the-Impossible-Past/
19Against Me!
Crime as Forgiven By


Crime is an utterly captivating EP. Its folk punk through and through: brash and passionate, sloppy and sincere, young and angry. It’s not well produced, its not instrumentally complex and its not really all that well written, but it doesn't need to be when overflowing which such unwavering vigour and emotion.
18Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada


Fight me if you think there exists a better post-rock climax than that found in ‘Moya’. Don’t actually, you’d probably win, for I’m the type of dude to tear up to a crescendo and talk for hours about song composition and pacing (lets just say I don’t even ‘lift’, bro). Whether I can fight for it or not, the point still stands: this is a bloody good post-rock album. Delicate, cathartic and uncharacteristically concise, it is one of those few albums that I wouldn’t change a second of for fear of causing the whole thing to cave in on itself and lose that ‘thing’ that makes it quite so magical. Although I believe Post-Rock still has a lot to give (and I’m quite sick of those still gleefully waiving the ‘post-rock is dead’ banner), I’m pretty sure we’re never going to get another Kanada.
17Captain, We're Sinking
The Future Is Cancelled


“I’m lonely now, and that’s ok” … ‘cause I have this album to keep me company. There is comfort in shared isolation I guess.
16Bon Iver
For Emma, Forever Ago


A cosy acoustic forest of sad things that I’ve had a few too many nights alone with for my own good
15Against Me!
Against Me!


Few albums so readily induce such a wide range of emotional responses simultaneously as Against Me!’s acoustic EP. Not only is it the spiralling-yet-reserved, frantic-yet-composed, and anthemic-yet-solemn peak of their career, its also the peak of folk punk (so far as I’ve seen).
14Radiohead
OK Computer


Good album.
13Regina Spektor
Soviet Kitsch


I like you Regina. You’re quirky and you make me happy. I don’t know why make me happy, for you sing about a lot of sad stuff. But you do, so thanks.
12Converge
Jane Doe


Ey, we’re into the 5s. If you’ve actually read everything up to this point then you have no life, but I love you. As for this, well, this is Jane Doe. ‘Nuff said really.
11Frank Turner
Tape Deck Heart


Simple, sappy songs about the ups and downs of love, companionship and life with hooks that’ll melt your face clean off. There isn’t much to say really; this simply grabbed me and wouldn’t let go, introducing me towards my now favourite artist and worming its way into my tape deck heart as it did so (sorry, had to do it).
10Bruce Springsteen
Born to Run


A classic in every sense of the word really: fantastic and varied musicianship, unrelenting hooks, utterly genuine vocal delivery, wonderfully (and deceptively) simple yet effective lyricism, relatability, timeless style, undeniable influence and an undeniable legacy ... the list goes on and on and on. Also, the dude is such a nice chap, incredibly humble and still making music. He’s a true legend, and this is a truly legendary record.
9Say Anything
...Is a Real Boy


Max used to be an awkward and damaged chap. It probably sucked to be in his head in 2004 and I’m certainly glad he’s better now, but in a twisted way I kind of miss the broken guy that produced … Is A Real Boy, the ugly and sporadic by-product of the man’s woes and idiosyncrasies. Obviously I don’t really want another human being to go through some personal crisis just because I might get a good album out of it, but when the results are this characterful, charming and creative it’s a disturbingly easy thought to have.
8Sufjan Stevens
Carrie and Lowell


I don’t cry. I used to, I think, quite a lot, and often when it was unwarranted. Life slapped me around a bit. I’m sturdier now. I don’t cry. Yet, after dozens and dozens of listens I can’t sit through this without welling up.
7Neutral Milk Hotel
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea


An album that’s been talked to death about – through memes and mockery as much as genuine discourse – so I shan’t waste too many words here. I’ll just add that I appreciate In The Aeroplane Over the Sea because it’s a work of art. I don’t use such words to imply it’s flawless. Far from it, what I mean is I admire and adore its dedication to whatever the hell vision the band had when they made it. It’s music for the sake of music, art that exists for its own sake only and doesn’t care if you understand what it’s trying to say or not. Indeed, the disparate interpretations it has led to and the (arguably futile) search for the meaning it has inspired from so many listeners are what make it just so bloody fascinating and one of my favourite records. And yeah, I suppose it helps that it sounds phenomenal too.
6The Tallest Man on Earth
The Wild Hunt


The Wild Hunt is many things, most of which are quite unexpected and contradictory: it’s possibly the most fundamentally human album I’ve ever heard – unkempt and raw, struggling but determined – even though Kristian’s brittle croons can sound anything but human at times; it’s instrumentally lush, with each strum brushing against heartstrings, surprising given how I find instrumental intricacy prone to overpower and undercut emotional potency; it’s an album I used to despise, but now it’s one of my favourites. Weird, huh?
5Car Seat Headrest
Teens of Denial


From the painfully singable hooks to the gorgeous instrumentation to the intricate and varied song structures, this pretty much has everything I look for in a record. Above all though, the lyrics came at just the right time in my life to hit me like a train, but also to give me a hand up. The way the record honestly and brazenly tackles the trials that most all 20 something year olds go though has this brilliant message of ‘Yeah it sucks, but don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to feel like crap sometimes; we all go though it and come out the other side the better for it’. Will bares his soul for us, and I for one am incredibly grateful.
4The Microphones
The Glow Pt. 2


This record elicited the strongest and most inexplicable emotional response from me on first listen that a record ever has. It’s uplifting and yet unsettling, it induces anxiety and claustrophobia whilst interspersing this with comforting snippets of beauty; the contrast is exquisite. The delicate vocal delivery, the natural and enigmatic lyrical content, the lo-fi elements and the ingenious recording/production all build to create a truly unique experience. In sum: Phil is God.
3Streetlight Manifesto
Somewhere in the Between


There haven’t been many times where I’ve put on a record and its reshaped my entire appreciation of music, but my first listen of Somewhere in the Between did just that. It’s somehow delicate and poetic whilst also relentless and visceral, technically brilliant yet still emotionally devastating. I still don’t know how they made such contradictions work but they most certainly did. Whilst I no longer label it my favourite album, to say it still means a lot to me would be an understatement. Indeed, it’s an album I often credit with getting me into music, and leading to me becoming an avid Sput user and a reviewer (yeah, sorry about that, now you guys are stuck with me).
2Frank Turner
Love, Ire & Song


If you know me then you probably know I love Frank. He and his music inspired me to pick up a guitar (as much as my neighbours and wallet probably wish he hadn’t), which has led me to pretty much my favourite hobby (whoo). The singer-songwriter is also a prolific, humble and chill dude who sings his bloody heart out and is someone I never cease to relate to. Love, Ire and Song is his peak, the blueprint for pretty much any music looking to work its way under my skin. I won’t try describing it, for the experience it provides is an inherently individual one that you ought experience for yourself with no spoilers. Go on. Shoo. Listen to it. Stop reading this boring ass list.
1The Hotelier
Home, Like NoPlace Is There


So apparently this is my favourite album. Slightly unexpected, but it makes sense. I first listened to this when a 2 and a bit year relationship of mine crashed and burned. It helped then and continues to help me cope with life and things now. Not that the grief that the record grapples with is that kind of heartache, but the sincerity and sorrow with which The Hotelier confront loss is something that obviously struck a chord with me. Thankfully my dependence on the record continues to lessen as things continue to get better, as I move on and become a more stable and grounded individual. Still, I think it (and records like it) will always be necessary crutches for me occasionally. And that’s okay. Music is a vital companion for so many of us for a reason, something to look forward to at the end of a hard day and a slice of whatever you need to pick you up when you’ve fallen down. For me, there’s no record that executes that concept quite as well as Home.
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