Aaron W.

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Last Active 07-23-19 2:14 pm
Joined 01-24-13

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01.13.19 Nintendo Switch04.17.18 Here be some records Sput sleeps on the
03.29.18 User Review Competition: Week of 3/30/2 03.12.18 User Review Competition: Week of 3/16/2
03.02.18 User Review Competition: Week of 3/2/20 02.18.18 User Review Competition: Week of 2/16/2
02.04.18 2018 Review a Random Album Game 12.11.17 Fripp's 2017
10.25.17 Rec No. 11: Simplicity on a Plastic Dis10.19.17 The Sput-Folk Union of 2017
10.10.17 The Clock Strikes 10: The Long and Wind10.02.17 Noisetober
10.01.17 The Nine Lives of Rec Roulette09.27.17 Rec Rouletteight
09.17.17 Rec Roulette 7even09.03.17 Shoegaze Time, or The Gang Goes to a MB
09.02.17 Rec Roulette Sixth Phase: Prototype08.25.17 Rec Roulette Round Fiver: Locked Myself
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Fripp's 2017

Or a list featuring a dozen albums I liked, another dozen I vaguely remember and a few stragglers that will never be listened to again. This list doesn't contain all 2017 albums I've heard but personally, this list is the stuff that stood out, good or bad.
Low In High School

What do you get when everyone's [least] favorite outspoken douche continues his downward spiral into mediocrity? Low in High School...a few nice tunes, but a drop in quality from the decent World Peace Is None of Your Business. The days of You are the Quarry seem to be long gone, although the current political landscape ~would~ be perfect for Moz if he could pull his balding head out of his ass for a few minutes. A change in wardrobe would work too; tracksuits don't cut it at 58, man. [rock] [2.0]
The Dusk in Us

The Dusk in Us only hoped to be as good as its leadup single "I Can Tell You About Pain/Eve" touted it to be, and what did it end up being? The worst Converge album since 1994's Halo in a Haystack. How the boys managed to fuck up the momentum from 2012's All We Love We Leave Behind is beyond me, but the extent of this decline is astounding. Anything but memorable, and it'd be a stretch to say even the better songs were even captivating. It's telling when the band admits the album has songs that really shouldn't have been included in the first place. [metalcore] [2.0]

Congratulations to Damon Albarn for making fans wait seven years for the long-awaited sequel to Plastic Beach (and The Fall) only to deliver ten minutes of mumbled vocals accompanied by an overly-long array of third-rate features. Congratulations on making your latest album incredibly dated on release day by making it about something that will be hardly relevant come the next album cycle. And congratulations on putting the best songs from this on the deluxe edition, therefore wasting everyone's time. [hip-hop/alt rock] [2.0]
Rainbow Mirror

Realistically speaking, Rainbow Mirror is perhaps one of Dominick Fernow's more ambitious works under the Prurient banner, but unless you fuck with three hours of textured dark ambient fodder on the regular, Rainbow Mirror is not the Prurient album to bother with. There's enough quality material to make up an LP's worth -- but three? No thank you. [dark ambient/death industrial] [2.1]
5Grizzly Bear
Painted Ruins

A classy snooze, some songs and a twiddle of the beard, Grizzly Bear continue to bore many worldwide. Nice sounding opener, incredulously bland songs to follow it up...and an alright back-end that doesn't recoup the failure that is Painted Ruins. [indie rock] [2.2]
6Margo Price
All American Made

Sorry Boney, but Margo has never done it for me. She's got that "country crossover" sound for people who don't like country music, and this borders dangerously close to a territory that country artists even of the "bro-country" caliber shouldn't cross. Plus, she's on Third Man Records, so it's almost guaranteed this was this was going to be garbage anyways. [country] [2.2]
7St. Vincent

Masseduction tries so hard to be artsy and smart, but forgets the good songwriting along the way. It relies on the sexuality that Prince made a career out of, but comes across as incredibly awkward and embarrassing to listen to. Please stop ripping off Bowie, too, it's beginning to show now. [indie rock] [2.4]
8The Flaming Lips
Oczy Mlody

Wayne Coyne's midlife crisis has taken a turn for the worse, and his cocaine-fueled psych tryhardiness has descended from touching sincerity to crippling opacity. Oczy Mlody (while I did like this a lot at first) fails to do what any other Flaming Lips record since 1990's In a Priest Driven Ambulance has done; be good. I love these guys, but Wayne's songwriting has taken a turn for the worst, and the new, rap-influenced production of Oczy Mlody does not lend itself to the band's style outside of a handful of songs. [dream pop/psych rock] [2.5]
9Chief Keef
Two Zero One Seven

Outside the constant blasting of "datpiff", this was...something, alright. Not really my thing, although Thot Breaker was the better record Keef put out this year. [hip-hop] [2.7]
10Pere Ubu
20 Years In A Montana Missile Silo

Pere Ubu's latest record really sounds, and feels, like the end of an era. David Thomas isn't getting any younger, and 20 Years is one of the shorter records Ubu has put out. Thomas sounds very resigned, with some brief sparks of his past glory emerging to for a few moments before fading away. [post-punk] [3.0]
11The National
Sleep Well Beast

Sleep Well Beast sounds nice, the songs are nice. The themes are nice, but niceness doesn't make an album good. Or even great, so being okay will have to cut it. [indie rock] [3.0]
12Xiu Xiu

Morphing into a mixture of the poppier sounds of the late-aughts Xiu Xiu records and 2014's Angel Guts: Red Classroom, Forget really lets everyone know of Jamie Stewart's pop ambitions while also never forgetting the abrasiveness or the sheer weirdness behind Xiu Xiu's music. Yet, it's probably in the middle of the pack in terms of quality. Not the best Xiu Xiu record, but far from the worst. I'm happy it's gotten the band a lot more exposure however, very well deserved. [art pop] [3.2]
13The War on Drugs
A Deeper Understanding

An hour of harmless, dad-rock worship? Sign me up, I suppose, but the songs really lack an edge that prior War on Drugs albums contained. [indie rock] [3.2]
Who Told You To Think?​?​!​!​?​!​?​!​?​!

If you asked me what my favorite song on this was, I probably wouldn't be able to tell you. Milo's latest reaches for new heights and almost takes grasp of the ambitions its creator aims for, but wanders along the way. Nothing too astounding, but a crowd-pleaser. [hip-hop] [3.2]
Weather Diaries

As someone who bought this on release, Ride's latest had a decent wave of hype behind it, and for good reason. The first Ride album in something-something years! Forget those post-Going Blank Again records, Ride was back! Then it came. And we learned it was essentially the same old Ride, just older...and more complacent with olden glories. Did I mention I paid full-price for this? [shoegaze/britpop] [3.2]
16Fleet Foxes

Crack-Up blew my mind when it came out. Its compositions were immersive, the vocal harmonies very smooth, and the songs captivating. Then another listen. And another. And another. I [still] find myself wishing this was a shorter record, because this is a classic trapped inside an overly-long indie folk LP, but for fans who were waiting all this time, it's the album they wanted, and certainly deserved. [indie folk] [3.2]
The Assassination of Julius Caesar

Many describe this as being Ulver's "Depeche Mode" record, and while this would make ~some~ sense at face value, Julius Caesar is just another Ulver album that ultimately shows the band trying out yet another sound and succeeding. In some sections it fails (1969), in others it excels (Rolling Stone). An Ulver album that's in the middle of the pack in terms of quality, but nothing special. [art pop] [3.4]
18Rhodri Davies, David Sylvian and Mark Wastell
There Is No Love

My bias is obvious, so what is it doing here? A very nice-sounding piece of prose with textured onkyo twiddling in the background should make this obvious enough. [onkyo] [3.4]
19Planning For Burial
Below the House

Below the House tries to create a path of its own, but ends up following other band's blueprint, most notably Have a Nice Life. It doesn't do anything new, but the quality songwriting makes up for the lack of originality. [shoegaze] [3.4]
20LCD Soundsystem
American Dream

James Murphy's comeback comes encased in the Infinite Jest-inspired cover of American Dream, and 50-plus minutes of post-punk/electronic-aping music that is perhaps Murphy's least inspired bout musically, but makes up for it with some of his greatest songwriting yet. Far, far, far, far better than This Is Happening; that's all I need. [electronic/post-punk] [3.6]

Another comeback, Slowdive's 2017 self-titled record plays it safe and never takes the risks you'd want or expect from the dream pop masters, instead opting to follow the sound of 1993's Souvlaki, just with far worse production. Some good songwriting and a track or two following the Pygmalion sound, but it's a start of what should be a great return to form. [shoegaze/dream pop] [3.7]
22Konstrukt and Keiji Haino
A Philosophy Warping, Little by Little

A dark horse in the conversation, this collaboration between the Turkish avant-garde jazz group and the legendary noise guitarist features both factions in a groove that never meanders about or wastes the talents of all involved. It's concise, straight to the point, and even daring. It's everything you could ever ask for in such an alignment of very different artists. [electronic/jazz] [3.8]
Silver Eye

Silver Eye, while being very slightly top-loaded, continues the latter-day resurgence of the electro-pop duo and returns to the hooks that dominated their mid-aughts recordings with a darker sheen, with the guiding hand of The Haxan Cloak and John Congleton behind the recording console. [electronic/pop] [3.8]
24Brian Eno

You could say this Eno by the numbers, but what could've been just another disposable ambient record ended up being one his most intriguing in a long time, like 2012's Lux was. [ambient] [3.8]

Okay, so perhaps this has grown off of me, but the strength of the material on Foxygen's latest has allowed it to remain so high up in this list despite the weaker songs on Hang being incredibly bad. It may take far too much from its glam and soul influences, but is a remarkable recovery from the horrendous ...And Star Power. [indie rock] [3.8]

A Taste of Struggle's newest record doesn't do anything mind-blowing, but instead offers high-quality trip-hop in thirty minutes' time. You can listen to it again and again and not grow tired of it, a true sign of a quality record. [trip-hop] [3.9]

Dan Bejar can't resist a good muse, and the gothic influences that take over Ken's post-punk 80s aesthetic really show. Bejar's lyricism is as sharp as ever, and Ken's selections feature Bejar red-hot. The man is nigh-unstoppable, with a streak of great albums spanning back to 2006's Rubies. [indie rock] [4.1]
28Max Richter
Three Worlds: Music from Woolf Works

Three Worlds was the record I was not expecting it to be. Already condensed from a lengthy stage-show, the hour-long album encapsulated a grand concept in fine form and without sacrificing the impact of its closing statement Tuesday. It may sound very cinematic and saccharine, but has all the emotion that a classical recording needs. [modern classical] [4.2]
29Tom Rogerson with Brian Eno
Finding Shore

Futuristic and nostalgic, Finding Shore finds Eno guiding Three Trapped Tigers' Tom Rogerson in a highly-improvisational journey that spans only 50 minutes but goes by in an instant. High replay factor, and pleasantries make Finding Shore a gem in a year that already has an array of potential classics, especially in the final month of the year. [modern classical/electronic/ambient] [4.4]

I could potentially be overrating Utopia greatly, but the sound Bjork and Arca were going for this time around caught me and never let go. Even at its weakest, Utopia had my full attention and for an artist that has had her ups-and-downs in terms of quality, this is just another classic in the making for Bjork. [art pop] [4.5]
31Ryuichi Sakamoto

Anyone who has talked to me since late March has known how much I love this record. This record has been there for me when I needed it most, and has provided catharsis on a level that only a few other records could provide. Created in a moment of crisis, Async was the soundtrack of its creator fearing death and struggling for dear life. Its songs, no matter how minimal, captured Ryuichi Sakamoto in a fight for his life and for his art. Album of the fucking year. [modern classical/electronic] [4.9]
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