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Last Active 06-15-20 8:03 am
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12.01.19 Asleep's Decade Retrospective Extravaga11.13.19 Rating Purge Anyone?
07.08.19 Greatest Albums of All Time01.06.19 Some things I dug in 2018
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
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UPDATE 2: finished. Cheers guys, this was a great experience, forcing me to check a lot of stuff I never would have gone near. What I checked makes up roughly 9% of the albums I've ever listened to, which is pretty cool. Adios.
1My Bloody Valentine

An abrasive introduction to shoegaze, but also a wonderful one. The swirling, layered aesthetic is one I've already come to love through the likes of The Microphones and Tim Hecker, but it's taken to whole new extremes here with great results. An appropriate soundtrack to the end of the world, I think, with its air of trampled beauty and acceptance of chaos. 4.1/5.

In contrast to the above, an immediately comforting LP. Soothing waves of dreamy pinks engulf and embrace the listener in an LP dedicated to the atmosphere that it champions. This is one that I could see becoming a personal favourite. 4.2/5

Edit: grew off me a tiny tiny bit, but still lovely. 4.1/5.

Edit 2: hasn't stayed with me as much as I thought it would. 3.9/5.
3The Dillinger Escape Plan
Calculating Infinity

Me, just because
Cacophonous, unrelenting madness that's hard to untangle but rewarding when done so. 4.1/5
EDIT: 3.6/5.
The Polite Force

No yoke, this is some of the smoothest, snazziest and strangest prog rock I’ve heard in quite a while. Parts of it scramble my mind a little but it left me sunny side up with a big ol’ smile on my face so it’s cool. Cracking record all in all, though maybe a little too runny and all over the place for my palate; it sort of slips through my grasp and I struggle to really fall for it. 3.2/5.

Edit: 3.
5Talk Talk
Laughing Stock

Well … I was not ready for this. Whilst the first listen was a bit of a rocky one (in line with how many suggested this would be a slow grower), the second, third and fourth just melted me. It’s rare for an album to so quickly dig its hooks in, to induce goosebumps and wet eyes but yeah, this did all that. It’s just so soft, so patient, so delicate and gentle and graceful and reserved and blissful and heart-breaking and bloody hell I love it. It’s like a hug and a ‘there, there’ from an old friend. Lets hope it keeps growing. 4.6/5.

Edit: this is the best thing I've heard in about a year. Plain and simple. 4.8/5.

Jammed this on my commute yesterday morning and hated it, it really not gelling with the hustle and bustle of the morning rush hour. Jammed it again yesterday evening, snug on a couch with a nice glass of red and I loved it, it really calming me down with its cushy, orbital vibes. A great example of the idea that there is a time and a place for certain albums, and that its always worth giving a record a second shot in different circumstances. 3.8/5.
7Joni Mitchell

Goddamn. I mean, I adore Regina Spektor and Julien Baker and the like, so this was probably always a sure thing. Dear lord that voice. I don't even wanna talk about it really, but this got me all choked me up and that's something. 4.4/5.

Ugh, what a fantastic record, so visceral and urgent and unhinged whilst still so unbelievably melodic and catchy - just the sort of dichotomy that this list has probably demonstrated that I adore. The production, I think, plays an integral role in crafting this 'party at the end of the world' aesthetic, allowing the slick bass-work and driving drums to break through the mix, darting and dancing amidst the wailing guitars and frantic vocals. Ah, I'm at a bit of a loss for the right words, so I'll just throw a bunch at you: 'Doolittle' is a tight, fervent, eclectic, quirky, perplexing, genre-bending, fantastically passionate and wonderfully engaging LP that I can't wait to spent some more time with. 4.2/5 (at the mo)
9Isaac Hayes
Hot Buttered Soul

Smooth as butter. Grandiose but measured. Extravagant whilst rooted. Engrossed in the universal experience of loving and being loved. Dated, but in the best of ways, encapsulating a time and a musical movement flawlessly. Warm. 3.8/5.
10Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson
Winter in America

Gentle and reassuring. Gil Scott-Heron certainly has a substantial set of pipes on him, but his delivery is pleasantly tentative and measured, fitting neatly amidst the easy-going instrumentals. The hearty grooves, sharp lyricism and rhythmic delivery (especially the spoken word elements) also give this a sort of proto-hip-hop favour, which is neat. 3.7/5.
Chicago Transit Authority

76 minutes of soulful, eccentric, technical, passionate, fiery and envelope-pushing jams. The band's mission statement is, as stated blatantly in 'Introduction', to entertain, and that they certainly do in one of the earliest and most seamless jazz-rock mash-ups I've encountered, bursting with vibrant colours and ridiculous talent. It's just such a cool blend: one moment you're privy to chill horns and a mellow bass-line, and the next Terry Kath's absurd guitar work rips through your stereo and blows your frickin' mind. And yeah, I have no idea how he did 'Free Form Guitar' (like, what the hell dude?). 4/5.

Damien Rice - My Favorite Faded Fantasy
Some pretty nifty, elongated folk we got here. Arguably a bit too long-winded and melancholic (even wallowing, maybe?), but when Rice's lyricism grabs you, Jesus it really grabs you. 3.6/5
12The Residents
Not Available

Now then, this was a bit of a surprise. I'd been told to expect weird, and this is certainly that (almost overbearingly so on the first listen), but what I didn't expect was an album quite this .. erm ... beautiful (I think). It's not conventionally beautiful, most certainly an eccentric oddball of a record that borders on sinister rather frequently through dissonant key-mashing and morose moaning. However, when the madness subsides what's left is really quite touching, a smattering of sweet, soft melodies providing a source of comfort amidst the chaos. It's bizarre really, a very alien yet familiar and warm listen. Looking forward to letting this grow on me. 3.7/5.

Also, so I don't forget, The The - Soul Mining

The Tindersticks’ s/t is quite possibly the most ‘Doof’ project I think I’ve ever heard. It’s an expertly crafted record, reserved, subtle and patient throughout. Solemn and eerie tones dominate, painted with a careful blend of guitar, horns, strings, keys, organ, accordion, flute and whatever else they can get their hands on. It’s all tastefully done though, each element present in the precise quantity required to produce the brooding, melancholic passages within, never overbearing whilst never underwhelming. Staples’ deep drawl is befitting, recounting tales of woe with complacent sighs and acceptant moans. Whilst there isn’t really any filler as such throughout its 77-minute run time (an impressive feat), I would still argue the project it’s a tad too long and homogenous. That’s hardly a crippling criticism though. It’s still a cracking record, one that has convinced me that I really need to give the Tindersticks’ discography some more of my time. 3.9/5.

... 3.7.
Walk Among Us

Ghastly pink lightening in a bottle, 'Walk Among Us' is a hoot and a half. The sort of stuff to whack on your car stereo, crank up to 11 and air-drum your troubles away to. Sure, you might consequently crash the car, but at least you'll do so with a big ol' smile on your face, eager for another round. 3.7/5.
15Ray Lynch
Deep Breakfast

Goddamn, 'Deep Breakfast' is cinematic, a joyous swirling bundle of uplifting and adventurous soundscapes. Its unrelentingly pretty and soothing aesthetic is honestly a breath of fresh air from the bulk of my listening these days. I temper what I said about 'Aim and Ignite'; THIS is the happiest I can remember a record making me, basically ever. 4.3/5.

Filosofem is a perplexing mix of droning, cyclical perfection and drab, trying tedium. I adore 'Dunkelheit', an intimidating and isolating wall of thick, glacial guitar lines, eerie synths(?) and demented screams. 'Rundtgåing av den transcendentale egenhetens støtte', on the other hand, is, erm, not good - a 25 minute snooze-fest that, whilst draped in atmosphere, refuses to progress or move beyond some pretty standard ambient tricks (in my humble opinion). This toing and froing between near perfection and mediocrity is (sadly) something I experienced throughout the record; it's what makes Filosofem such a frustrating listen, but one I intend to return to. 3/5.

Bad Brains - s/t
A bull in a Rastafarian china shop. Fun and frantic riffage - the likes of which I've rarely seen from the genre - spiced together (surprisingly seamlessly) with reggae. Sure, their sound isn't as ferocious all these years down the line, but really there isn't much to complain about. 3.4/5.
17Iron Maiden
The Number of the Beast

Few genres provide as good of an escape from the mundanity of a working week for me as old school heavy metal. It's such a breath of fresh air from normal everyday life, so unabashed and brazen and absolutely ridiculous with its campy, barmy vocals and blistering, gleaming guitar work. The Number of the Beast is a fantastic example of exactly this, catchy choruses and winding solos aplenty. Some moments are a little unsavoury (the lyrics of '22 Arcadia Avenue' certainly made me a little squirm a little), but overall this is just such a fun ride with no strings attached. 4.1/5.
Autumn Aurora

Autumn Aurora allows me to delve into a topic that I think will regularly crop up as I go through this list, something that I find often comes up when listening to classics: the distinction between appreciating an album and loving an album. I really do appreciate Autumn Aurora, for it’s a gorgeous, delicate and very organic monolith of auburn and ochre that demonstrates masterful dedication to its desired atmosphere. However, I don’t love it. It’s not that I have any strong criticisms of it – far from it, as I think Drudkh absolutely nail this style of black metal – it’s merely that I enjoy the project in an ‘at arms length’ sort of way. It’s a relationship of respect and understanding from a distance, not one in which the record has really impacted or moved me in anyway. I get why some may deem this a classic and why others may adore it, but to me it’s merely a pretty pleasant project. And that’s enough, I think. 3.5/5.

Edit: grew off me :( 3.1/5.

Edit: 3.2 (:
Garden Window

The problem with 'Garden Window' is its lack of character. Now that's not the same as saying it lacks originality (far from it, I think it has quite a bit of that); I refer instead to how easy it is to pick apart and compartmentalise, leading to a lack of resultant identity. Those crescendos sounds just like 'Caspian', those beefy guitar lines like this year's 'Elder', and those vocals like Casey's from 'The Dear Hunter' (and half a dozen other indie rock vocalists, to be honest). It feels vanilla. It's some of the best vanilla I've ever jammed, but it's vanilla all the same. HOWEVER, having said all that still I think this is just too pleasant and too nuanced and too bloody beautiful to rate anything below 3.8/5.
20Amon Tobin

A bizarre, eclectic and versatile record, this. Hits you with a jab or two of funky beats, a left hook of jazz, swiftly followed up with a pummelling of trippy, harsh electronics. A bit disorientating to be honest, though I can't yet tell if thats's a good or bad thing. Certainly an album I'll happily spend a lot more time with in the future though; I love trying to figure out this type of stuff. 3.6/5.
21Boards of Canada
Music has the Right to Children

The attention to detail and consistency of tone / atmosphere on this thing is absolutely stunning, engulfing with pastel pinks and washed out blues. Whenever I put this on it always just leads to me switching off and fading out, getting lost in the joyous-yet-sinister, bright-yet-volatile soundscapes. However, I'm not sure I've really "got it" yet, you know(?), or at least grasped why people love it quite so much. I've heard tales of the emotional impact of the record, how the childhood thematics and the dark-bright contrasting notes enamour and grip. It hasn't really hit me like that, at least not yet, my enjoyment being more 'at arms length'. One for the long haul, I think, for my opinion has unpredictably shifted on this one more than most. 3.7/5.
Marquee Moon

Well, I didn't expect this to be such an immediately enjoyable listen given that I know nowt about the genre. Not really much to say, it's just lovely guitar music, moreish and self-indulgent and so damn easy to listen to over and over again. I predict a slow grower into a personal favourite, but for now ... 4.2/5.

Edit: slight decrease. 4.1/5.

Edit 2: we've got a slow grower on our hands here lads. 4.3/5.
23Charles Mingus
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

39 dizzying minutes of glorious musical sucker punches. An orchestral frankenstein, sporadic jazz and latin and all sorts cobbled together in a way that shouldn't work but just kinda does. And it's not enjoyable just because it produces an interesting and unusual blend of styles, or because it feels innovative (even all these years down the line); the key to the record's success, I believe, is that it defies convention whilst still managing to nail all the basics, enthralling and enamouring the listener with each bend and twirl. It doesn't let its experimentation take over, remaining entertaining and engaging even through its most perplexing passages. 3.8/5.
24Electric Wizard

Groovy, trippy catharsis. Like screaming into the void, except the void screams back with the best fucking guitar tone you've ever seen. Idk, there isn't really much to say about this one that hasn't already been said before. This is just one fine find: sludgy, barbaric and absurdly addictive. 4.2/5.
None So Vile

'None So Vile' certainly lives up to its name. Given that, I'm all the more impressed that it manages to be as catchy and easy to listen to as it is. It'll pummel your face into the dirt, but you'll still be merrily tapping your foot and bobbing your head as it does. 3.7/5.
26Discordance Axis
The Inalienable Dreamless

The most m/ poetry recital ever. I was a little worried when some suggested that this wouldn’t be my type of thing, but yeah, I dig this; scratches the same itch Converge and Orchid usually relieve for me, just with a more technical grindcore edge to its sound. Certainly a complex listen that is going to take a while for me to fully unpack – lyrically as much as instrumentally – but it’s an immediately enjoyable release full of creative riffs / drum work and is as savage as they come. 3.8/5.

Edit: keeps growing the more I untangle the madness. 4/5.

Edit 2: grew off. Turning into more of an appreciation than enjoyment, for whenever I put this on I always wish I was jamming some other grind or hardcore instead. 3.7/5.
27Judas Priest
Sad Wings of Destiny

Sad Wings of Destiny
Thought this would be right up my alley, but I actually found it a bit too cheesy and pristine for my tastes. I certainly appreciate and respect the absurd influence this record clearly had on the 80s metal scene, but honestly I find it's peers (Sabbath in particular, but also more Hard Rock acts like Zeppelin, Rainbow and Deep Purple) and it's descendants (Maiden, King Diamond, Merciful Fate etc.) more interesting and dynamic. Still, it's certainly not a bad record. 3.4/5.

Stained Class
Now this is certainly a bit more my tempo, beefier, sloppier and more frantic than Sad Wings. I'd still make the case that others have done more interesting things with the genre, but (again) for early-days Heavy Metal this is highly enjoyable. 3.7/5.
28King Diamond

The guitar-work on this thing is fucking fire. Whilst it exudes an inordinate amount of cheese at times, all the elements that make it so (the absurd vocals and story in particular) build to create a thoroughly entertaining release, warts and all. 3.8/5.
29Hank Williams
40 Greatest Hits

This initially gave me a good chuckle as the guitar tone and general aesthetic instantly reminded me of some of the songs from Spongebob (no doubt inspired by Mr Williams). Once I got past that though, this clicked hard. Obviously the 105 minute run time is absurd and, unfortunately, hinders the pacing and cohesion on this thing, but of course that's just a symptom of a collection record. Individually, these songs are sublime. The aesthetic is just so recognisable, undeniably influential and easy to love. The lyrics are simplistic to their benefit, potent and cutting to the bone instantly. Certainly one of the records on the list that best fits the definition of 'classic'. 3.8/5.
30Royal Trux
Twin Infinitives

Dissonant, atonal and downright nasty, 'Twin Infinitives' is my new go-to soundtrack for the apocalypse. It's got sloppy bluesy tones, bleak shoegazey notes and just all manner of fuzz and buzz to form a blissfully overbearing cacophony. Certainly not your everyday jam, but remarkably good at what it does. 3.6/5.
31Cecil Taylor
one too many salty swift and not goodbye

Kind of how I feel it would be like to watch an elephant and a mouse attempt to tango. Graceful and petite, this is not, but my god it's fascinating to watch. Quizzically and perplexingly beautiful. 3.9/5.

hmm: 3.6.
32John Coltrane
A Love Supreme

Saxophone blaring left, drums crashing right, a flurry of keys front and center and the double bass somewhere at the back, A Love Supreme is a lot to take in at first. It's certainly not helped by how (to the uninitiated) each instrument can feel like it’s doing it's own separate thing rather than contributing to a cohesive whole, the collective aesthetic being one of barely contained anarchy. Multiple listens reward however, patterns emerging and the chaos subsiding. What is revealed is a triumph of a jazz LP, a well paced endeavour that bursts with technicality and passion and which gives every musician the requisite space to shine. Indeed, I'm not sure I've ever heard a record where every single contributing member displays such mastery of their craft whilst never letting technical splendor takeover, maintaining a human touch throughout. One to come back to, I think, when my jazz palate has been sharpened. 4.4/5.

Edit: 4.1/5.
33Sonic Youth

'Sister' is a masterclass in atmosphere and pacing. It reminds me a lot of Phil Elverum's work, melding the eerie and dissonant with the bright and bouncy to produce an unsettling mix of emotions. Sharp and sweet. 3.6/5.

Urgh, this is another tricky case of appreciation of music rather than strong personal enjoyment. Domestica is full of interesting guitar work, playing around with uncharacteristically high notes whilst letting the bass anchor the songs. The lyrical journey through the fictional(?) couple’s rocky relationship is also well executed, covering well trodden ground but in an interesting manner. The albums dedication to its atmosphere is also admirable. However, the end result isn’t one I enjoyed greatly. Specifically, I find Kasher’s vocals grating, the instrumentals unriveting (although nailing the bleak and messy vibe I’m sure was intended), and the lyrics (whilst I appreciate them) still a little stale and overdone. I don’t know, maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for this (being pretty damn happy these days) or maybe it’s just a style of music that’s charm has worn off me a bit. It’s thus a respectable album, but (at the moment at least) not really for me. 2.6/5.
Me Against the World

Fascinating, introspective and consistently-contradictory lyricism mixed with such a slick, classic hip-hop aesthetic makes for a top notch listen. Quite a surprisingly listen, actually, showcasing a degree of subtlety and nuance that I wasn't expecting. Wonderfully sincere too - a genuine, tortured soul plastered across a musical canvas. I will say I find it a tad bloated and homogenous, and not entirely to my tastes, but it's still a great and (as I'm learning) essential hip-hop record. 3.7/5.

Also, so I dont forget, Snoop Dog - Tha Blue Carpet Treatment
36The Damned
Damned damned damned

Direct and raucous Punk jams. Simple as, really. Crank the volume up to 11 and feel your troubles melt away in a feverish medley. 3.7/5.
Nattens Madrigal

Hmm. I struggle to see the point of this record at times. For lo-fi, visceral riffage I’d always rather jam things like Mayhem’s Deathcrush or Bathory’s s/t; for those looking for meandering, multifaceted monoliths there exist more nuanced beasts like the folky Agalloch, or even this year’s Der Weg einer Freiheit; and for the triumphant and epic I much prefer things like Emperor or Moonsorrow. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Nattens Madrigal’ is highly enjoyable and has a few tricks up its sleeve that none of the aforementioned bands have, but overall it just doesn’t quite do what I want from my black metal, or at least it doesn’t do it as well as it’s competitors. It’s just a little underwhelming, a tad too one dimensional and homogenous – it’s good, but that’s all it is. 3.1/5.
38Mazzy Star
So Tonight That I Might See

A dreamier and bluesier variant of the soothing folksey goodness that artists like Flower Face and Julien Baker deliver these days. It's certainly more nuanced and elongated than those artists, with the resultant added depth but lack of immediacy. Very very pleasant, but almost too sparse for my tastes. 3.4/5.
39Talking Heads
Remain In Light

I think this record gave me ADHD. The layered vocals, the oscillating wall of percussion and the bombardment of guitars and bass is quite something to behold, a slightly terrifying (albeit beautiful) monster owing much (I'm sure) to Eno's presentation. Lyrically too it's a wonderful piece, Byrne's obscure and sharp lyricism adding yet more life to some already lively soundscapes, delving into the depths of reality and identity and all manner of head-scratching topics. This is some seriously messed up funk. 4.1/5
Great White Death

This might actually be the single worst album I've ever heard. I can't for the life of me figure out what it's trying to do. I feel like it's meant to be shocking and abrasive and punishing but I just find it unbelievably irritating. It gets the slightest bit of respect for a) being like nothing I've ever heard before, which always interests me and b) for likely being years ahead of it's time (I assume a forerunner to harsh noise and the like), but seriously, I hate this. 1.1/5.
Long Season

Well, this certainly seems special. Unfortunately, I can't really find the words, for (as with 67 and 93) you just can't pin a genre on this thing. It just really sucked me in I suppose, relaxing and beautiful and soothing and just generally engrossing. Just go listen to this, needs more love. 4/5.

And, so I don't forget, Michael Chapman - Fully Qualified Survivor; Charles Mingus - Let My Children Hear Music
Unquestionable Presence

Honestly, this is the most fun I've had with a dm project in a very, very long time. Atheist throw convention out the window, deviating from the straightforward dm goals of 'Br00tal' and 'm/' to produce something quite spectacular. Kinda sounds like Coroner in a blender, those jazzy touches adding fire to an already ferocious formula. I get the feeling that this is the sort of record to convert the dm Cynic (tee hee), infusing the genre with a some neat melodic and groovy touches. 3.9/5.
Shabooh Shoobah

This does feel so very 80s, for better and worse I suppose. A colourful and eclectic release, ebbing lush purples and blues through odyssean baselines and soaring keys. Quite an easy thing to listen to actually, laid-back whilst still nuanced. I particularly enjoy the little details they sneak in, a cheeky xylophone here, a touch of brass there. It unfortunately outstays its welcome a little - quite surprising from an album this short if I'm honest - but it's still a winner. 3.5/5.
44The Afghan Whigs

I can't help but be impressed with how this thing manages to pack such a myriad of disparate ideas into a tidy 11 tracks whilst still maintaining cohesion. I love how it just pulls things out of nowhere, grungey, crusty tones giving way to pensive, bright strings and keys in a heartbeat. It'll then bust out some groovy tricks only to oscillate back to melancholia in 'I Keep Coming Back' and the sublime closing track. I can't say that the end result is one that appeals massively to my inherent tastes, but I'll certainly be returning to this for it's quite fascinating. 3.6/5.
45Modest Mouse
The Lonesome Crowded West

Everything feels like a struggle in ‘The Lonesome Crowded West’; every note feels pained, each disheveled drawl on edge. The performances here are tight and sharp whilst still feeling ‘in-the-movement’, each track oozing so much character and fire that I can’t believe they didn't just make them up on the spot. Any such thoughts dissipate however when one focuses on the song structures and lyricism here, which are sublime. Sounds like an attempt to play happy music on xanax, disenchanted and dissociated. 4.1/5.

‘Confield’ makes me feel numb – or dead, even, or at least what I think death would feel like. It’s hard to know if it was meant to conjure such feelings, for the spurge of beeps and clunks within could mean anything really. Glitching and groaning, it fumbles along like a dying machine, though there are hints of a human touch – a smothered melody here, a shuddering groove there. ‘Enjoyable’ would probably be the wrong word to describe the project, chiefly because … well … I don’t think I ‘enjoy’ it at all, at least not in any conventional sense. Instead, I think it’s more accurate to say that this is one of the most interesting musical pieces I’ve encountered in a long while, a fascinating work of art that really tests the boundaries of what the term ‘music’ can cover. It’s sinister, nocturnal, claustrophobic, dissonant, hypnotic and alien: an assembly line, a silhouette following you home at 3am, anaesthesia and a space odyssey, all at once. It’s odd. 3.6/5.

French is such a pretty language and Sound-Dust is such a pretty album. There is a lot more to it than meets the eye though, a scathing social critique hiding amidst the lazy guitar lines and cheery horns. Its quite a jarring listen in that sense; how they make such soft and reassuring passages of music gel so well with lines like "You did such a great job / With the boiler last time / Please can you mend my baby / He hasn't moved for three weeks" is beyond me. Took a few listens to click, but man do I love this. 4/5.
48J Dilla

There is so much going on in ‘Donuts’. It’s quite hard to keep up with, hitting the listener with one multifaceted and soulful instrumental after another without really providing any breathing space. It’s largely enjoyable, doing something I've never seen before and showcasing incredible talent as it does so, but admittedly I find it a jarring and at times even unpleasant listen (some of those vocal samples are incredibly irritating). 3.2/5.

Also, so I don't forget, The Beach Boys - Smiley Smile
Like Drawing Blood

Sauntering, slick, supple, stylish, and sweet. It's got quite a bit of variety to it, from the dynamic 'The Only Way' to the sharp 'Thanks For Your Time' and beautiful, poignant peak of 'Hearts A Mess'. The second half dips in quality somewhat, not containing the same fire and spark as the aforementioned tracks. Still, I thought this was just the 'Somebody That I Used To Know'-guy, but 'Like Drawing Blood' shows there's a lot more to Gotye. 3.6/5.
50The Fall of Troy

'Doppleganger' doesn't have many arrows in it's quiver, relying on the same tricks throughout its run time, but it makes sure every one it lets fly hits it's target. The instrumentals are frantic but easy enough to follow, straddling the line between technicality and emotional playing expertly. To anyone deep into math/post/prog rock and metal, not much here will really blow your mind, but the end product itself is still an exceptionally enjoyable one. It's chock-full of tight playing, great grooves and vocals that (whilst at times a little obnoxious) are suitably manic to keep up with the chaotic instrumental backdrop. To be honest, there isn't much to complain about. 3.8/5.

Really solid concept album, utilising instrumentation to artfully complement the story rather than just being background noise (‘Everything Went Quiet’, ‘Forgiver Forgetter’, ‘Prophet in Plain Clothes’ and ‘Cowardice’ demonstrating this the best). The story is a moving one, touching on a lot of elements integral to the human experience through a colourful narrative. However, I wish there was just a little bit more to it, for it is somewhat one dimensional; it’s arguably a symptom of the short 32 minute run time that, whilst making for a concise and engaging album, limits the band’s ability to really develop the characters they speak of or delve into the topics presented with any particular depth. Still, merely aesthetically it’s a damn impressive effort and highly enjoyable, I just wish the already excellent story had a little more going for it – if it did then this would be something truly special. Instead, it's just really damn good. 3.7/5.
52Lil Ugly Mane
Three Sided Tape Volume One

What could have so easily been a lazily cobbled together B-side comp turns out to be one of the most interesting hip-hop records I've heard all year. These beats are bonkers and insanely varied, going from the trippy and spastic to smooth and silky in a matter of seconds. It's such a tight and seamless record though, unbelievably so given its breadth. Hell, there's even a black metal sample in it, but to my amazement it actually works. Opting for three 20min~ sides in place of conventional tracks only aids the immaculate flow of the record, very much an album experience. Even the lyrics are on point, the record full of ingenious sampling choices. 3.9/5.
53King Crimson
In the Court of the Crimson King

In a word: unexpected. Not that I'm really sure what I was expecting, but yeah, it certainly wasn't this. It's a magical musical world, vibrant and colourful and quaint. For a project this brobdingnagian its actually surprisingly cute, very innocent and pure to my ears; maybe that's due to its cheese-tinged nature, or possibly because of the band's absurd dedication to their vision, collectively showcasing a passion for music that is wonderful to witness. A fascinating and deep listen, one that I feel I am nowhere near close to fully unpacking but one that I have had a lovely time with so far. 3.9/5.

Boop. 3.8.
Boris at last -feedbacker-

Plodding, brooding and goddamn beautiful, I can’t say I’ve heard anything quite like 'Feedbacker'. Ambient hums build into fuzz bursting into a manic guitar freak-out caving into distortion ebbing into nothing and then flowing into more neat things, all whilst feeling so natural and logical - I must admit it’s bloody impressive. 4/5.

Edit: 3.5/5.
55Cannibal ox
The Cold Vein

Sigh ... so what have we learnt from this list so far? Chiefly, that Asleep struggles with black metal, and that Asleep struggles with hip hop. The spacey, glitchy beats on this thing are bizarre and fascinating. Equally, the flows are tight, the word play is on point and the lyricism is quirky and interesting, but in terms of my honest subjective enjoyment of the record this didn't score too highly. The amalgamation of all the above elements just feels a bit jarring if I'm honest. At times it all comes together wonderfully, but just not as much as I want it to. 2.9/5.
56Goodie Mob
Soul Food

Another case of appreciation of music rather than strong personal enjoyment. I’ll be the first to admit that (technically speaking at least) Soul Food is sublime, chock-full of smooth rhymes, slick flows and suitably treacly beats. Lyrically too it’s an impressive project, intelligent and personal throughout. However, that’s as far as my enjoyment went really, merely a distant appreciation of Goodie Mob’s mastery of their craft. I was left unmoved and unenthralled. Maybe it’s that I find it hard to relate, to grip onto or attach to what the guys are preaching; it doesn’t feel like a project made for me (I’m certainly not religious, nor am I privy to a lot of the issues the guys speak about) making it pretty hard to connect with it in my opinion. It’s a shame really, but ah well; it’s still a cool project. 3.1/5.
57Kate Bush
Hounds of Love

Way, way less conventional than I was expecting. Starts out as some simple-but-quirky indie pop, transforming into something quite indescribable as it goes along. Kate conjures some wonderfully eccentric soundscapes, soft and floaty synths giving way to dizzying overlaid vocals and digressions into all manner of textures and styles (what the hell happens in Waking the Witch, ey?). It's just as soothing and blissful as it is twisted and unsettling. Not something I feel particularly eager to rush back to, but certainly a stellar release from an artist whose discography I look forward to exploring. 3.7/5.
58The Notwist
Neon Golden

Like looking at the minefield of life through a lens of a bright pink bubblegum bubble. An exceptionally playful record - synths bursting and beats skipping - but with an unsettling solemn undertone that creeps in through the off-kilter notes and abrasive textures chopped through the mix. The icing on the cake are those vocals, fleeting and resigned. Haunting stuff. 4/5.
Public Strain

A pretty unique and oxymoronic listen. Dreary but full of life, defeated but determined to thrive, decrepit but lively – it doesn’t quite make sense, but my god is it fascinating. I’m really struggling to find a genre to cram this into and that’s a great thing, for it shows that ‘Women’ have conjured something new and exciting, something utterly theirs and no one else’s. I’m not sure I’ve given this enough listens for this to really sink its hooks into me, but I shall certainly be coming back to it. 3.5/5.

Casting Shadows

Whilst jamming this I happened to be out for a walk. It was absolutely pouring it down with rain when I took a route that went right by the house of my ex girlfriend from about 3-5 years back, following the path we used to use walking back from town. It was weird and surreal but ultimately quite pleasant, a rush of memories that I’d completely forgotten about all coming back to me. Usually reminiscing about a better place and time like that would break my mood, but thankfully it didn’t this time (in fact, if anything it raised my mood significantly). I think I’ve finally got to a place where I can look back on those 2 years and see them as a wonderful chapter in my life, but still be content with the present chapter I’m in, which is pretty cool. This record made that experience, the music complimenting and enhancing it quite beautifully. Those soft vocals, those pining lyrics, those gorgeous instrumentals, it was all just perfect. Amazing stuff. Thanks for this. 3.9/5.


Whilst I have a lot of the same gripes with this as I did with 40, I think I find this a lot more palatable. The cyclical, dizzying and tortured aesthetic is engrossing -- albeit, by design, somewhat unpleasant -- whilst the buried melodies scattered across the tape introduce an interesting element of suppressed structure to an otherwise amorphous release. Certainly an interesting project that I'm glad I ventured down the rabbit-hole to find and grapple with, but not something I can imagine ever loving. 3.2/5.
Into The Infernal Regions Of The Ancient

I’m torn. This record does so much right, stuffed full of superb riffs, varied drum work and interesting song structures and presented with wonderfully raw but detailed production. However, despite persevering though a handful of listens, I still utterly despise (and I really do mean DESPISE) those vocals. I just cannot take them seriously; they’re laughably bad for me (I did audibly chuckle upon first listen). I get that they’re fairly unique even for the genre, an acquired taste in the extreme, but as someone already struggling to get into the standard black metal affair I found that they turned an uphill struggle into a vertical one. Add to that to how some of these songs drag on a little longer than they can justify and you’re left with a project that was a bit of a chore for me to get through. However, I do appreciate what makes this a fantastic record in the eyes of others and I’ll certainly come back to it when I’m more comfortable with the genre. 2.6/5.

Edit: 2.2.
63Elliott Smith

There wasn’t ever really a chance that I wouldn’t fall head over heels for this one. There is just something about Elliott’s voice and his poetic-but-blunt lyrical style that moves me every goddamn time I put on one of his records. The addition of more layered instrumentation and crisper production are also nice touches, pleasantly contrasting Either/Or. I don’t really have much to say; I just simply adore this style of folk.

“I’m never going to know you now / but I’m going to love you anyhow.” Damn. 4.3/5

Edit: so yeah I think at this particular moment in time this is my favourite album to jam and even better than Either/Or. 4.5/5.
Congrats Sat, first 4.5+ of the list.
64titus andronicus
The monitor

This feels like one of those albums with a ‘spark’, you know? I only had time to give it one listen (it’s been a busy, busy day … urgh) but just from that I can feel a little bit of magic bubbling within ‘The Monitor’, something that evades description and dodges characterisation. Maybe it’s an air of human determination, something crumbling but resolute, stubbornly optimistic in the face of depression. Or maybe it’s the band's giddy, feverish, unwavering and unapologetic passion that they channel into every aspect of their sound. I don’t know, but whatever it is it just feels so real - so incredibly real - and that’s refreshing. It’s something I look forward to coming back to, that’s for sure. It feels special. 4.2/5.

Edit: 4.1/5.
65Beastie Boys
Paul's Boutique

Is 'Paul's Boutique' a classic? Hell yes. Ahead of its time? You bettcha. Technically impressive? Of course. Enjoyable? Yeah, quite. 3.6/5.

eeek: 3.4
66the brave little abacus
Just Got Back from the Discomfort - It's Alright

‘Just Got Back From The Discomfort’ scratches a whole bunch of itches that I didn’t even know that I had. These guys have a knack for interweaving unorthodox instrumentation seamlessly into the standard emo affair. The videogame-synths, the ambient detours and the smattering of keys, horns, chimes and all sorts fit incredibly well amongst the unhinged vocals and guitar work. They fit so well in fact that it leads me to question why no one has tried such blends before, though I suppose it’s hardly surprisingly as the combinations they work with are far from obvious. Even the song structures and lyricism refuse to conform to convention. It really pushes the envelope, the band drawing from its 90s influences sparingly and very much carving its own path. It’s wonderful to see, demonstrating a level of creativity and a drive for innovation that I rarely see, not just in emo revival but anywhere really. What a shame that they broke up; these guys had something special. 4.2/5.
67Brian Eno
Another Green World

Eno continues to impress, serving up a very, natural and organic sounding record that's quite unlike anything else I've heard from him so far (or from any other artist, in fact). The seamless end product is all the more impressive given how it continually shifts and evolves throughout it's run time, playing around with a myriad of sounds, textures and colours. The result is as frequently sinister and enigmatic as it is lush and soothing, a wonderfully characterful and patient piece that quite pleasantly eludes easy characterisation. 3.8/5.

Coroner present a masterclass in how to evolve as a band, switching things up whilst maintaining most of the things that made their previous release (Mental Vortex) so enjoyable. Grin is still fundamentally a thrash record, but a few more sludgy grooves and funky lines work their way into the mix, as well as some tribal influences here and there. Whilst it’s still got the technical edge of Mental Vortex – blistering solos and off-kilter riffs aplenty – it’s a much tamer beast in general, less ferocious and much easier to grapple with. This kinder sound is as much a benefit as a burden, producing a more immediately enjoyable record but one lacking the depth of its predecessor. It’s also a tad too long. All in all though, it’s a cracking record. 3.7/5.

Edit: 3.6/5.

Unfortunately you could pretty much copy-paste the description from 88 and it'd be accurate here too ):
I find the vocals silly, the instrumentals unenthralling and the lyricism similarly eh. Man, maybe I'm just not in the mood for new music at the moment? Or maybe I need a better rig to properly get the bass from this thing. Who knows. 2.3/5.
70The Saints
(I'm) Stranded

Punk to the bone. If every second of this was as passionate and emotive as those fiery, scrappy guitar solos then this would be a hard 5. Its repetitive and (occasionally) one dimensional nature detracts unfortunately, but it's still pretty much the most fun I've have with this genre - a genre I've aways struggled with to be honest - so mega props for that. 3.5/5.
71Red Lorry Yellow Lorry
Talk About the Weather

One of the only records on the list that has me utterly stumped. I think I like it, but I have little desire to listen to it anymore. The decrepit, morose instrumentals and raggedy vocals work so well together, but something just isn't clicking. Maybe it's that this feels like a record just waiting to drag the listener on a downward spiral with it; it's a little too good at producing a claustrophobic, bitter, defeated aesthetic and I'm really not in the frame of mind for that right now. Agh. 3.2/5.

Also, so I don't forget, Space Art - Space Art; The White Birch - People Now Human Beings; Avantasia - The Metal Opera; The Damned - Machine Gun Etiquette; Unwound - Repetition; The Sound - From the Lion's Mouth; Rammstein - Mutter; St. Vincent - Actor; Jawbreaker - Dear You; Swell Maps - Jane from Occupied Europe
Moon Safari

Dan mate, you certainly have a knack for finding me some lovely pieces of music. This was so relaxing that it almost sent me to sleep on my commute this morning, and again on the way home. One of the most comfortable and kind records I’ve heard in a long time, gently pulling me out of the mundane turbulence of my day and taking me somewhere unbelievably pretty. It sooths, consoles, dazzles and numbs with swirling keys, patient bass and tasteful sprinkles of guitar, strings and horns. A perfect escape. 4.1/5.

Pfft: 3.9.
73Queens of the Stone Age
...Like Clockwork

'...Like Clockwork' simply rocks and it simply rolls and it'll kick in the teeth of anyone who disagrees. It'll do it gracefully though, with finesse and nuance - a flying crane kick rather than the booting of a common thug. 3.9/5.
74At the Drive-In
Relationship of Command


Can someone please explain to me why this band, and everything associated with it, is quite so revered? No joke, for the life of me I can't figure it out, and I certainly persevered with this one. Maybe more patience is required. 2.9/5.

Underoath - Define The Great Line
In Regards to Myself is such a beast of a track, and thankfully the rest of 'Define the Great Line' follows suit. Underoath present a style of metalcore that I've seen replicated one too many times for it to sound particularly fresh or interesting to my ears, an unfortunate side effect of the band's influence. Regardless, still an entertaining, fiery, passionate and invigorating release. 3.5/5.

fun.- Aim and Ignite
I can't remember the last time an album made me this happy. Genuinely put a skip in my step and lifted my spirits. One of the best pop records I've ever heard, honestly. 4.2/5.
75Gang of Four

'Entertainment!' feels cobbled together, glitchy and jagged in aesthetic. The bass and drums just about hold things together, providing space for the sharp guitars and coarse vocals to spiral and dance. Its got a real bite to it, vicious and gnashing through each head-bobbing chorus and guitar freakout. A stirring mess. 3.5/5.
76Manic Street Preachers
Everything Must Go

What a lovely, characterful and stirring little record, very easy-going and playful whilst still having a lot of substance to it. It really demonstrates just how much you can do with a few basic musical building blocks; I don't really feel that this ever gets too fancy, technical or experimental, but it just goes to show that a mastery of the basics can produce wonderful results. 3.8/5.
77Bob Dylan
Blood on the Tracks

Dylan (if you didn't already know) most certainly has a way with words. Indirect and meandering stories are the name of the game here, full of philosophical nuggets and human universals put just so. The instrumentation is fragile and characterful, pulsing and swaying as Bob croons. It hasn't really been my week; I've really needed a pick me up. I'm not sure this quite counts as that, but my last 2 intimate evenings with Dylan have been something at least. 4/5.
Different Class

One of the most charismatic listens on the list so far, and a pretty damn good one at that. Zany vocals, zany instrumentals and zany lyricism go pretty well together – who would have thought, eh? However, to merely call ‘Different Class’ ‘zany’ would be to do it a disservice. Layers give way to more layers in a surprisingly deep release, melancholic tones surfacing amongst the façade of quirks and oddities, yet still delivered in a very British ‘stiff upper lip’ sort of way. The soundscapes are bristling with colour and tastefully done, never caving into chaos as they could so easily do given the breadth of instruments in play. Admittedly it feels a tiny bit dated and a smidge too long but who really cares, I still love it. Feels like a hell of a grower. 3.7/5, though pushing towards 4 territory.
79The Mars Volta
De-Loused in the Comatorium

The Mars Volta – Deloused: This kind of just does things and then draws those things out aimlessly. What I guess I mean by that is that whilst this is pleasant enough it just doesn’t impact me at all, emotionally or otherwise. Undoubtedly well-made and superbly performed, but in terms of personal enjoyment ‘Deloused…’ is just quite good. 3/5.

FACT – FACT: This thing is off-the-wall, hyperactive in the extreme and fantastic fun. These guys don’t really do half-measures, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the listener from the get go it a wonderful cacophony of stuff. It’s a ‘kid in a candy shop’ kind of situation, a glorious and quite excessive sugary mess. 3.7/5.

Daft Punk – Discovery: One of the most pleasant things I’ve heard on the whole list. It’s just so slick, so suave and so stylish, quite seamless even though what they've accomplished is far from simple (just listen to all those elements in ‘Harder Better Fasting Stronger’... Jesus Christ). 3.7/5
80Sigur Ros
Agætis byrjun

This is a very very very very very very very very VERY pretty album … like, absurdly pretty. It also pleasantly forgoes alot of the common crutches of post rock, delivering a plethora of unique and characterful soundscapes with such grace that one could almost be fooled into thinking it were easy. Sure, I could probably provide a deeper analysis, but to be honest it’s one of those albums that doesn’t really need to be analysed. It just kind of takes you, lifts you up, whisks you away on a wonderful adventure and then plops you back to reality after 71 lovely minutes with a sad wave but a reassuring smile that lets you know you’re always welcome back. 3.9/5.
81Bob Dylan
Bringing It All Back Home

Hmm ... it might just be that I haven't given this enough time, or that the hype produced insurmountable expectations, but I found it a little underwhelming. Don't get me wrong, I did really enjoy it. Lyrically speaking it's stunning what what I've deciphered, but aesthetically it's just quite pleasant, not much more. More than any other record on this list this seems to be one I'm going to have to give another shot, for it just seems like it would so be my kind of thing. 3.5
Turn on the Bright Lights

I'm sinking. Nothing's alright. I have flaws and don't know how to fix them. That's how I feel listening to this anyway. Drenched in foggy reds, stubborn purples and washed-out greys, ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’ sounds bottomless. It's all too easy to give in and let it engulf you, reluctantly sucked in by those moreish guitar lines and silky-rough vocals. A pleasant downward spiral. 3.7/5.
83Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra
He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our

Paranoia. Loss. Grief. Hope. The good folks over at Godspee... I mean, Silver Mt. Zion have this knack for conjuring such sensations within the listener seamlessly. Keys weave and strings ebb within it's meandering, moving monoliths. It's all very easy to follow though, with the consequence that I could see many attacking 'He Has Left Us...' for its simplicity. For me though - admittedly as a man of simple tastes - this is just right. Possibly not the best thing to put on this morning (I won't lie, today was rough), but an undeniably stunning listen. 4.1/5.
84Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin IV

There's such a fantastic dichotomy running through 'Led Zeppelin IV'. One minute you're privy to fluttering flutes and meandering acoustic guitars, and the next you're pummelled with a monstrous drumbeat, maniacal vocals and blissfully screaming guitars. It's a meld of bravado and grace that just works so seamlessly, whether its a switch up mid-song as seen in the classic Stairway to Heaven, or a transition between different songs (see the segway from Going to California to when the Levee Breaks). Agh, I wish I wasn't such a sucker for this sort of stuff; I feel like a honorary dad. 4.1/5.
85Tom Waits
Franks Wild Years

'Frank's Wild Years' feels ancient. It's not (well, not really - the 80s weren't that long ago) but the collective aesthetic of the project feels purposefully Sepia, frayed and anachronistic. It's like a fine 21 year old Glenfarclas single malt, deep and characterful with age. Waits' vocals are absurd, but wonderfully so, jerking and scratching over tattered accordion-led instrumentals. It's feels like its own cinematic world, a time capsule from a era unexplored, and I love it. 3.9/5.
86Charles Mingus
Pithecanthropus Erectus

‘Pithecanthropus Erectus’ just sort of hangs there, you know? The winding melodies aren’t really tethered to anything, the rhythm section so reserved that one could easily forget that it’s even there. Horns flood and spill, the bass saunters and keys hop-and-skip in a barely-controlled (and wonderful) cacophony. Whilst a boisterous and playful record, I wouldn’t say it’s an easy listen, the melodies and patterns only revealing themselves to the invested listener. Just when I think I’m getting the hang of jazz I find yet another record that demonstrates how much more I still have to learn. 3.7/5.
87Richard Hell and the Voidoids
Blank Generation

I'm not sure quite how Blank Generation manages to hold itself together, but it does, albeit by the skin of its teeth. Firey, blues-tinged punk licks burst forth, Richard's unchained vocals scattered over the top; it's a pleasing mess, the elements melding well despite each seemingly having a mind of its own. It's a scrappy, unkempt, ‘lightening in a bottle’ sort of LP, very in the moment and ‘real’. Not really something I think I'll have much of an urge to revisit frequently, but an undeniably fun record indeed. And oh boy, that guitar tone is gorgeous, particularly on ‘Love Comes in Spirts’ and the t/t - fantastic highlights. 3.6/5.
88The Fall
Live at the Witch Trials

In a word (and I'm so sorry for this, butcher): annoying. I dislike the vocals, the instrumentals and the general aesthetic if I'm honest - it's grating. Sure, what the guys are doing here is certainly interesting, the bass pleasantly prominent and the guitars shifting and shaking unpredictably throughout each song, but I just don't enjoy the end result. Genuine and passionate? Sure. Do I like it? No, not really.
89The Weakerthans
Left and Leaving

The lyricism here is, as I'd been told, sublime. Samson has got such a strong grasp of rhyme and alliteration and just general phonetics, leading to some of the tightest lines I've heard it a long while that ooze elusive meaning. The instrumentals are happy to play second fiddle, giving the lyricism the space it needs to breathe. Whilst their reserved approach is generally welcome, I find a few of the songs fail to enthral consequently. I'm therefore left yearning for the momentum and fire of some of the earlier tracks. Still, a cracking release from a band I look forward to delving into further. 3.8/5.
90Johnny Cash
At San Quentin

'At San Quentin' really is an experience, charming and entertaining through and through. It's hard not to smile as Johnny reels off one daft story after another, from flower picking at 2 in the morning to the tale of a boy named Sue. It's a very personal experience, actually, full of many rather touching moments. Certainly one of those records that I'd recommend everyone make sure they give a go, even if the genre isn't your thing - if you're at all into music, whether as a movement, art form or experience, you should still love it. 4/5.
91The Beatles

Short and sweet tunes that have aged remarkably well. Simple and easy to listen to but (seemingly) still has heaps of replay value. It's easy to see why this (and the band's work in general) has/have been quite so influential. And phew, man, the lyrics and vocal melodies on this just melt me. Beautiful. 4.1/5.

Bumpety Bump: 4.2/5.
92Todd Rundgren
A Wizard, A True Star

Todd Rundgren is a madman and 'A Wizard, A True Star' is a ridiculous project. I mean, it's bloody fantastic, but it's still absolutely crackers. Rundgren seems to take pleasure in disorientating the listener, offering smooth, soothing passages that are swiftly blown to smithereens by spurts of eccentric musical fireworks (whether it be an unexpected switch-up mid song or a flurry of short tracks). It makes for a vivid and engaging experience, a spacey and sparkling odyssey of sorts in which I struggle to identify the genres and influences in play. Whilst some are discernible (a splash of The Beatles here, a lick of The Beach Boys there), it never feels tied down by it's inspirations, very much a unique beast with its own unique tricks. It's certainly one of the most entertaining projects I've encountered in a while. 3.7/5.
93Shiina Ringo
Kalk Samen Kuri no Hana

This was actually a pretty tricky record to get my head around, solely because there's just so much going on. The broad instrumental palette - equal parts orchestral, jazzy and cutesy pop - is peppered by some wonderfully unpredictable vocal performances from Ringo, amorphous and ever-changing. Whilst it's an overused phrase, I believe it's quite fitting here: this record eschews 'the genre'. A lovely and unexpected listen, albeit quite dizzying. 3.7/5.

Also, so I don't forget: Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies
94Henry Cow
In Praise of Learning

‘In Praise of Learning’ is remarkable. The levels of musicianship, ingenuity and attention to detail that the project demonstrates are staggering, and I’ll certainly admit that I’ve never heard anything even remotely like this ever before. There’s just one problem though: I didn’t really enjoy listening to it all that much. Now that’s a pretty big problem. I like to think that I handle challenging music quite well, but I’m not sure my brain could quite keep up with this one. After each movement of the project I was left with a strong (here’s that word again) appreciation of what I’ve just witnessed, but nothing more. It really frustrates me, as when I put my objective hat on I can tell that this has so much going for it. It certainly gets top marks for exciting the music fanatic in me, for presenting ideas I’ve never seen or heard before. On a personal enjoyment level however, it’s just not for me. One I’ll certainly comeback to when I’m feeling brave. 2.7/5.
95Paysage d'hiver

BlackwaterPork (Also, so I don't forget, Septicflesh - The Great Mass)
Initially, I was incredibly confused by this project. For the life of me I couldn't figure out what it was for, nor where it fit into the musical spectrum. Abrasive, but not the the extremes of a full on drone/noise project; loosely structured and driven by atmosphere, yet never quite in the same way as standard ambient music; monolithic and stirring, but never at the same level of post rock, post metal and a tonne of prog rock. So, what's it for? To be honest, I still don't really know, but the fact it has me this confused excites me, letting me know I've found something new and interesting to sink my teeth into. Manic vocals, smothered melodies and the sort of passion that I crave, it certainly has the makings of a good'un. Whilst the rating may not reflect it, this has been the biggest grower on this list so far, leaping from around a 2 to ... 3.4/5.
96Deep Purple
Deep Purple In Rock

Yes, it is Deep Purple. It does indeed Rock. Consequently, I dig. I particularly love these unchained vocals and how the band seems to play around with deeper tones to produce a beefy and invigorating aesthetic (maybe the bass is more prominent than usual?). The greater reliance placed on Mr Lord's work on the keys and organ in places is also a nice touch and a pleasant contrast from the bands other work (at least that which I have heard). And yes, 'Child In Time' is a goddamn masterpiece. Feel like I could grow to love this as much as Machine Head. Actually, I know that for a fact as this is just sooooo my kind of thing. Currently though ... 4.3/5

An exceptionally well-rounded and well-executed behemoth of a record. Rippling song structures, beefy production and scintillating guitar, bass and drumming work - it's quite a lot to take it but it's all intriguing. Didn't really have time to sink into this one properly, but I'm certainly excited by what I've seen so far. 3.8/5.
98Fleetwood Mac

Asleep's Old Man
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours: Such a tight record, this. There is no fat that needs trimming; this is all pure gold. Cohesive, catchy, cutesy, creative, characterful and cheery, even though emotional turmoil. Timeless, really. 4.1/5. BUMP: 4.6. Oxymoronic. Infectiously cheery melancholy.

Jethro Tull – Thick as a Brick: A glorious, colourful adventure. I adore the cutesy flues, the prevalent acoustic work and the mad song structures; it all feels so silly and hectic and extravagant but is unbelievably charismatic and charming as a consequence. 4.2/5.

Pink Floyd – Animals: Wandering home at 2am last night listening to this was a little surreal. Exceptional in scope and execution, but an album that I found the most underwhelming (sadly) of all the Floyd 70s works. I mean, this is still a cracking record, well structured and nuanced, but unfortunately I just didn’t find it as engrossing or interesting as its counterparts. 3.7/5.

To answer the unanswered collective demand to 'check fugazi'
Gritty and exasperated. Flips off anyone and everyone, after which it carefully and reasonably explains why it was entirely justified in doing so. Nuanced and visceral – a rare and coveted combo. A satisfying release from a band whose discography I plan to raid, but not something that immediately grabs me personally. 3.2/5.
100Dire Straits
Love Over Gold

'Telegraph Road' might actually sneak into my top 100 songs of all time. Whilst the rest of the record never quite manages to match the opener's lofty heights, it still makes for an engrossing and soulful listen, expertly crafted and carefully paced. I get some interesting notes of Dylan in the vocals, and maybe even some Springsteen vibes from some of these instrumentals. Despite this, 'Love Over Gold' is still (of course) very much its own thing, championing a charming and timeless meld of styles. 4/5.
Follow the Leader

1) Talk Talk – Laughing Stock // 4.8 // danielcardoso
2) Fleetwood Mac – Rumours // 4.6 // Asleep’s Old Man
3) Elliott Smith – XO // 4.5 // Satellite
4) Joni Mitchell – Blue // 4.4 // danielcardoso
5) Deep Purple – Deep Purple in Rock // 4.3 // LeOmegaIllusion
6) Television - Marquee Moon // 4.3 // Ryus
7) Ray Lynch - Deep Breakfast // 4.3 // bgillesp
8) Jethro Tull – Thick as a Brick // 4.2 // Asleep’s Old Man
9) The Beatles – Revolver // 4.2 // bgillesp
10) Fun. - Aim and Ignite // 4.2 // Deadly/Zombie
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