Sunday, December 31, 2017

Best Albums of 2017

2017 was a ferocious and feracious year of new albums. Maybe so many creative torrents are issuing out to us as some panacea against how crazy and controlless everything seemed and felt. I don't know, but musicians than any other figures in our world keep us meaningful, irreal, and dancing.  

Anyway, here's a list of my faves. Symbols note if they're:     

> The artist's debut album
~ The artist's sophomore album 
* An artist I discovered this year 


Timeless

1.  > Kelly Lee Owens - “S/T”   (dream-tech)

1. ~ Big Thief - "Capacity"

2.  LCD Sound System - “American Dream”   (dissent-dance)
3.  Austra - "Future Politics”   (dark-house)
4.  The National - "Sleep Well Beast”   (rock) 
5.  ~Julie Byrne  - "Not Even Happiness”   (psy-folk)
6.  Mount Eerie - “A Crow Looked at me”   (elegy)
7.  Spoon - “Hot Thoughts”   (dance-rock)
8.  *Secret Pyramid - “Two Shadows Collide”   (spirit-drone)
9.  Crescent - “Resin Pocket”   (art-rock)
10.  Tara Jane O'Neill - "S/T”   (heart-folk)  
11.  ~Florist - “If Blue Could Be Happiness   (pop-folk)
12.  Arcade Fire - "Everything Now”  (dance-rock)
13.  > Shitkid - “Fish”   (riot-pop)
14.  Zola Jesus - “Okovi”   (dark-tech)
15.  ~Vagabon - “Infinite Worlds”   (indie-paean)
16.  Waxahatchee - “Out in the Storm”   (folk-rock)
17.  *My Sad Captains - “Sun Bridge”   (hypno-indie)
18.  *The Mountain Movers - “S/T”   (kraut-rock)
19.  Forrest Swords - "Compassion”   (post-elec)
20.  Tiny Vipers - "Laughter”   (ambi-folk)
21.  > Spinning Coin” - “Permo”   (indie-jangle)
22.  ~Deafcult - “Auras”   (dream-noise)
23.  > Matthew Lee Cothran - “Judas in America”   (warp-pop)
24.  > EERA - “Reflection of Youth”   (rawk-altern)
25.  > Strange Ranger - “Daymoon”   (indie-rock)
26.  *Lawrence English - “Cruel Optimism”   (ambient)
27.  ~Yves Tumor - “Experiencing the Deposit or Faith”   (gospel-wave)
28.  Slowdive - "S/T”  (shoegazzzze)
29.  *Imajinary Friends - “S/T”.   (cosmo-rock)
30.  > The Go-Go Darkness - “Dark Heart”   (dark-beat)
31.  > High Plains - “Cinderland”   (classical-elec)
32.  ~Faith Healer - “Try ; )”   (pop-rock)
33.  Charlotte Gainsbourg - “Rest”   (dream-pop)
34.  ~Saltland - “A Common Truth”   (soundscape)
35.  > Breakfast Muff - “Eurgh!”   (riot-grrl)

Time of our Life

36.  Ulrika Spacek -"Modern English Decoration”

37.  *Earthen Sea - “An Act of Love”
38.  Evan Caminiti - “Toxic City Music”
39.  *Japanese Breakfast - “Soft Sounds ...”
40.  Kendrick Lamar - “DAMN.”
41.  Juana Molina - “Halo”
42.  Oh Sees - “Orc”
42.  The Telescopes - “Handful of Ashes”
43.  >Julia Lucille - “Chthonic”
44.  Filthy Huns - “Forever Beast”
45.  Grizzly Bear - "Painted Ruins”
46.  ~The Vacant Lots - “Endless Nights”
47.  Frankie Rose - “Cage Tropical” 
48.  *Electric Moon - “The Doomsday Machine”
49.  *Trupa Trupa - “Jolly New Songs”
50.  Heaters - “Matterhorn”
51.  ~Jay Som - “Everybody Works”
52.  Björk - “Utopia”
53.  > Headroom - “Head in the Clouds”
54.  *Daughter - “Music Before the Storm”
55.  > Las Cobras - “Temporal”
56.  *Dungen - “Häxan”
57.  ~The Routes - “Dirty Needles & Pins”
58.  *Planning for Burial - “Below the House”
59.  Zola Jesus - “Stridulum“   (elec-pop)
60.  *Carlton Melton - “Hidden Lights”
61.  Brian Jonestown Massacre - “Don’t Get Lost”
62.  *White Manna - “Bleeding Eyes”
63.  ~Fever Ray - “Plunge”
64.  *Fieldhead - “We’ve All Been Swimming”
65.  Alt-J - "Relaxer”
66.  ~Cherry Glazerr - “Apokalipstic”
67.  *93MillionMilesFromTheSun - “The Lonely Sea & time he Sky”
68.  ~The Luxembourg Signal - “Blue Field”
69.  Liars - "TFCF”
70.  *Träd Gräs Och Stenar - “So Long”
71.  Moon Duo - “Occult Architecture (vols. 1&2)”
72.  > LA Witch - “S/T”
73.  > Yowler - “The Offer”
74.  Black Lips - “Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art?”
75.  *Whatever, Dad - "Huli Ka”

Good Times

76.  Spectre Folk - "Vol. 4”

77.  Flaming Lips - "Oczy Mlody”
78.  *Pausal - "Avifaunal”
79.  Sleepy Sun - "Private Tales”
80.  Mark McGuire - "Ideas of Beginnings”
81.  Bardo Pond - “Curanderos”
82.  Emily Yacina - "Heart Sky"
83.  ~Visible Cloaks - “Reassemblage”
84.  *Radar Men from the Moon - “Subversive III: De Spelende Mens”
85.  Jesus & Mary Chain  - "Damage & Joy”
86.  Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - "On the Echoing Green” 
87.  Widowspeak - “Expect the Best”
88.  ~Emily Yacina - "Overflow"
89.  Rainer Maria - “S/T”
90.  *Panda Riot - “Infinity Maps”
91.  > Las Cobras - “Temporal”
92.  John Maus - "Screen Memories”
93.  > Hater - “You Tried”
94.  ~Laura Sauvage - “The Beautiful”
95.  Stars - “There is no Love in Fluorescent Light”
96.  *The KVB - “Fixation/White Walls”
97.  > Horse Jumper of Love - “S/T”
98.  Fog Lake - “Inference 3”
99.  Lilys  - "In the Presence of Nothing”
100.  Noveller - "Pink Sunset for No One”
101.  > Helicon - “S/T”
102.  The Underground Youth - “What Kind of Dystopian Hellhole is This?”
103.  *You’ll Never Get to Heaven - “Images”
104.  ~10 000 Russos - “Distress Distress”
105.  Joan of Arc - “He’s Got This Whole Land...”
106.  *Mythic Sunship - “Land between Rivers”
107.  > Lina Tullgren - “Won”
108.  Secret Shine - “There Is Only Now”
109.  Peaking Lights - "The Fifth State of Consciousness”
110.  ~Pale Honey - “Devotion”
111.  Granddaddy - "Last Place”
112.  *Infinity Girl - “Somewhere Nice, Today”
113.  *Dead Leaf Echo - “Beyond Desire”
114.  ~Has a Shadow - “Sorrow Tomorrow” 
115.  ~Hovvdy - “Taster”
116.  ~Wolf Alice - "Visions of a Life”
117.  *Froth - “Outside (briefly)”
118.  Fog Lake - "Dragonchaser”
119.  Odd Nosdam - "LIF”
120.  *Juju - “Our Mother was a Plant”
121.  *Sonic Jesus - “Grace”
122.  Al Lover - “Inference Patterns”
123.  *Shadow Band - “Wilderness of Love”


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Friday, March 17, 2017

Best Albums of 2016

Waaaaaaay Late and still needs some editing:


Best of the Best:

1.  Lambchop - "FLOTUS"
2.  Greys - "Warm Shadows"
3.  Radiohead - "Moon Shaped Pool"
4.  Cross Record - "Wabi-Sabi"
5.  Heaters - "Baptistina"
6.  Landing - "Complekt"
7.  Yoko Ono - "Yes, I'm a Witch Too"
8.  Natureboy - "Only No One"
9.  PJ Harvey - "The Hope 6 Demolition Project"
10.  Stargazer Lilies - "Door to the Sun"
11.  Heron Oblivion - "s/t"
12.  Solange - "A Seat at the Table"
13.  Danny Paul Grody - "Sketch for Winter VI: Other States"
14.  Weyes Blood - "Front Row Seat to Earth"
15.  David Bowie - "Blackstar"
16.  Cloudland Canyon - "An Arabesque"
17.  Eluvium - “Curious Things”

Form of the Good:

18.  Still Corners - "Dead Blue"
19.  Spacin' - "Total Freedom"
20.  Nonkeen - "The Gamble"
21.  A Tribe Called Quest - "We Got it From Here"
22.  Arp - "Inversions"
23.  Julianna Barwick - "Will"
24.  Iggy Pop - "Post Pop Depression"
25.  Noveller "Glacial Glow"
26.  Kendrick Lamar - "untitled, unmastered."
27.  Acid Ghost - “Warhol”
28.  Morgan Delt - "Phase Zero"
29.  Odd Nosdam - "Sisters"
30.  Leave the Planet - "Nowhere"
31.  Night Beats - "Who Sold My Generation"
32.  Kikagaku Moyo - "House in the Tall Grass"
33.  Bracken  - "High Phases"
34.  Leonard Cohen - "You Want it Darker"
35.  Marissa Nadler - "Bury Your Name"
36.  Giirls - "Far Life"
37.  DJ Shadow - "The Mountain Will Fall"
38.  Mitski - "Puberty"
39.  Acid Guru Pond - "S/T"
40.  Psychic Ills - "Inner Journey Out"
41.  DIIV - "Is The Is Are"
42.  Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk - "Burritos”
43.  Benoit Pioulard - "Listening Matter"
44.  Not Waving - "Animals"
45.  Doomsquad - "Total Time"
46.  Angel Olsen - "My Woman"
47.  Ashtray Navigations - "To Make a Fool"

Good Listening: 

48.  Nicolas Jaar - "Sirens"
49.  Warpaint - “Heads Up”
50.  Tim Hecker -"Love Streams"
51.  Black Moth Super Rainbow - "Seefu Lilac"
52.  Damien Jurado - "Visions of Us on the Land"
53.  Wye Oak - "Tween"
54.  Allah-Las - "Calico Review"
55.  Young Moon - "Colt"
56.  Teen Body - "Get Home Safe"
57.  The Breath - "Carry Your Kin"
58.  Local Natives - "Sunlit Youth"
59.  Young Magic - “Still Life”
60.  Froth - "Bleak"
61.  The Mystery Lights - "s/t"
62.  Holy Wave - "Freaks of Nurture"
63.  Keep Shelly in Athens - “In Love with Dusk”
64.  Brian Jonestown Massacre - "Third World Pyramid"
65.  Lodro - "Lord O"
66.  White Denim - "Stiff"
67.  Woods - "City Sun Eater in the River of Light"
68.  Loscil - "Monument Builders"
69.  Numerators - "Strange"
70.  Dani Siciliano - "Dani Siciliano"
71.  Western Skies Motel - "Settlers"
72.  C Duncan - "The Midnight Sun"
73.  Tindersticks - "Philharmonie de Paris"
74.  Infinity Crush - "Warmth Equation"
75.  Scraps - "TTNIK"
76.  Underworld - "We Face a Shining Future"
77.  Bob Weir - “Blue Mountain”
78.  Lomelda - "4A"
79.  M.I.A. - "AIM"
80.  Fennesz - "It's Hard for Me to Say I'm Sorry"
81.  Amber Arcades  - "Fading Lines"
82.  Pinkshinyultrablast - "The Cherry Pit"

83.  Tomorrow's Tulips - "Indy Rock Royalty Comb"


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best Albums of 2015

There were so many quality albums released in 2015, spanning a wide diversity of tunes, genres, and sonic textures. The one common thread I found weaving through all was, simply, permanence.   

Most of 2015's albums sound so familiar.  Young, developing, and veteran artists alike all seemed devoted to enjoying and exploring existing genres and scenes, enriching, cultivating, and building on prior strides and deepening the traditions that feed the deep inheritances of today's polyphonous world.  

Kind of like a garden blossoming or canopy of trees thickening.  So many sounds we've grown to value and love, renewing themselves and growing stronger, more dialectical, more conversant with each other and ourselves.  Permanence: within music this means shared appreciation and exchange of where we came from and how we carry our sources forward into a deepening harmonics of today's world.  


(Albums listed in order of personal faves)


Best: Future Classics

1.  Night Beds "Ivywild"
2.  Joanna Newsom "Divers" 
3.  Benoit Pioulard "Sonnet" 
4.  Beach House "Depression Cherry"
5.  White Poppy "Natural Phenomena"
6.  C. Duncan "Architect"
7.  Beach House "Thank Your Lucky Stars" 
8.  Fog Lake "Victoria Falls"
9.  Valet "Nature"
10.  Panda Bear "Meets the Grim Reaper"
11.  Helen "The Original Faces"
12.  Lord Huron "Strange Trails"
13.  The Albert Square "I (Assume I) Know What I'm Doing
14.  Julia Holter "Have You in my Wilderness"
15.  Wolf Alice "My Love is Cool"
16.  The Underground Youth "Haunted"


Better: Enjoy these Music Presents

17.  Kurt Vile "b'lieve I'm going down"
18.  US. Girls "Half Free"
19.  No Joy "More Faithful"
20.  Tripwires "Watermelancholia"
21.  Noveller "Fantastic planet" 
22.  Echo Lake "Era"
23.  Flying Saucer Attack "Instrumentals 2015"
24.  Kendrick Lamar "To Pimp a Butterfly"
25.  Deerhunter "Fading Frontier"
26.  To Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat "To Live Vic."
27.  Chelsea Wolfe "Abyss"
28.  Maserati "Rehumanizer"
29.  Eternal Tapestry "Wild Strawberries"
30.  The Black Ryder "Door behind the Door"
31.  Other Lives "Rituals" 
32.  Die Verbotten "2007"
33.  The Moving Panoramas "One"
34.  Sheer "Uneasy"
35.  Malka "Marching to Another Beat"
36.  Colleen "Captain of None"
37.  Bjork "Vulnicura"
38.  Teen Daze "A World Away" EP
39.  Belle & Sebastian "Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance"
40.  Bill Ryder-Jones "West Kirby County Primary"
41.  The Black Dog "Neither/Neither"
42.  Nokeen "The Gamble"
43.  Sophie "Product"
44.  Doomsquad "Pageantry Suite"
45.  Heaters "Holy Water Pool"
46.  Singapore Sling - "Psyche Fuck" 
47.  Broken Water "Wrought"
48.  Hiatus "Parklands"
49.  Mercury Rev "The Light in You"
50.  Beliefs "Leaper" 
51.  Vaadat Charagim "Sinking as a Stone"
52.  Will Butler "Policy"
53.  Pool Holograph "Mortals"
54.  Cold Beat "Into the Air"


Good: Ole Standards to Pass Your Time

55.  Cloud "Zen Summer"
56.  Levantine "Exploding Boxes"
57.  Snow in Mexico "Prodigal Summer/Juno Beach"
58.  Lana Del Ray "Honeymoon" 
59.  Widowspeak "All Yours" 
60.  The Leaf Library "Daylight Versions"
61.  Moon Duo "Shadow of the Sun"
62.  Sunny day in Glasgow "Planning Weed Like it's Acid/Life is Lost"
63.  Lower Dens "Escape from Evil"
64.  Deaf Cult "Deafcult"
65.  Cristobel & the Sea "Sugar Now"
66.  Hundred Waters "The Moon Rang Like a Bell (Remixed)"
67.  U/V Light "Cenotaph"
68.  Lanterns on the Lake "Beings"