Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010: my favorite albums!

Ok, so every year when I sit down to make my best-of the year list, I fall into this trap where I start wondering if the albums I'm picking are REALLY the INCONTESTABLE BEST ALBUMS of the year, and it's a pretty bad way to go about making a list.  This year I'm trying to take it a little bit easier- this list is not what I'm saying are the BEST albums that will stand the test of time, just a bunch of albums I liked that happened to come out this year.  In fact, only my top 6 records do I feel belong in any really top ranking- the rest of the list could have fallen in a completely different order, were I to assemble this list last month or next week or even right now.  Anyway, I enjoyed all of these albums in different ways, so let me know what albums were your stand-outs this year!

read the rest!

30. The Alps - Le Voyage
29. Neil Young - Le Noise
28. Sun Araw - On Patrol
27. Danny Paul Grody - Fountain
26. Afrirampo - We Are Uchu No Ko
25. Arp - The Soft Wave
24. Pocahaunted - Make It Real
23. Abe Vigoda - Crush
22. Aboombong - Asynchronic
21. Emeralds - Does It Look Like I'm Here?
20. Avey Tare - Down There
19. Zola Jesus - Stridulum
18. Ariel Pink With Added Pizzazz -Ariel Pink With Added Pizzazz
17. Nite Jewel - Am I Real?
16. Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky
15. Nice Nice - Extra Wow
14. Julian Lynch - Mare
13. C V L T S - L V S T (review)
12. Salem - King Night
11. Nobunny - First Blood (review)

10. Die Antwoord - $O$
I think this is one of those things that if you are sick of the joke, you HATE IT.  Some people were sick of the joke the second these guys came out.  I still think its funny.  I'm probably going to be embarrassed I picked this next year.

 09. †‡† - CDR
Speaking about making picks that will be embarrassing next year.... witch house!  This has all of the overwrought epicness of Salem without the incredibly shitty constant drum machine hand claps.

 08. Sex Church - Six Songs By Sex Church
Now that I'm actually writing these blurbs, I can't really justify why I felt this album/EP needed to be ranked so high.  I really dig the downer garage shoegaze schtick though.

 07. Wild Nothing - Gemini
True, this album is super derivative, but it does it so well!  I think 2011 might be the year that I decide I have too many shoegaze bands in my life, however.

 06. V/A - Three Years Ahead: The Cloud Rap Tape
Not technically a proper album, but rather a mixtape made by a blog.  But who cares, this would make the top 10 on the strength of the Lil B tracks alone (actually, it pretty much did).

 05. How To Dress Well - Love Remains
I didn't really think I liked this album so much when I started listening to it, but the more I dug in the more I found I really enjoyed it.  So damaged and pretty.

 04. Beach House - Teen Dream
This album leaked last year!  But it actually came out this year.  It was a good way to start 2010.  Such a warm and comfortable sound, for warm and comfortable times.

 03. Moon Duo - Escape
Moon Duo are kind of like a rehash of Wooden Shjips (the band they share members with), except better.  There needs to be more music from this group soon!

 02. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today
Amazing to me that Ariel Pink managed to pull this off so successfully- who is so joyfully catchy and head-scratchingly fucked up and weird at the same time?

 01. LA Vampires & Zola Jesus - LA Vampires & Zola Jesus
Is this actually better than any of the other albums that came out this year?  I don't know if I could defend that claim, but its definitely the album I feel the most excited about calling #1.  The best thing either of these artists have produced!  So effortlessly cool.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010: my favorite metal albums!

Here's part one of my best of 2010 lists, and frankly I think that this year was AMAZING for music- there was just so, so much good stuff that came out and it was impossible to stay on top of it all.  This is definitely true for metal, and when reading other people's year end lists, I was overwhelmed by how much I had missed!  So I'm not saying that these are the written-in-stone BEST metal albums of the year, but just the ones I like the most out of what I managed to hear!

read the rest!

ALBUMS I LIKED, but didn't have enough time to review to put on the list, or didn't like strongly enough to put on the list (in no particular order) 2010:

Shining - Blackjazz
Sigh - Scenes from Hell
Ludicra - The Tenant
Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit
Alcest - Écailles de Lune
The Body - All the Waters of the Earth Shall Turn to Blood
Bongripper - Satan Worshipping Doom
Dark Tranquillity - We Are the Void
Deathspell Omega - Paracletus
Deivos - Gospel of Maggots
Nutr - Unholy Inscriptions on A Tainted Wall
Skagos - Skagos/Panopticon Split
Panopticon - Skagos/Panopticon Split
Decrepit Birth - Polarity
The Secret - Solve Et Coagula
Thou - Summit
Triptykon - Eparistera Daimones
Wrath of the Weak - Solace


High on Fire - Snakes for the Divine
Harvey Milk - A Small Turn of Human Kindness
Daughters - S/T
Kylesa - Spiral Shadow


9. Kvelertak - s/t
This has been making a bunch of journalist's best-of lists, and a lot of bloggers' and fans' worst-of lists.  Sure, Kvelertak's blend of hardcore-influenced rock with black metal flourishes is glossy and hard to take seriously, but if you accept it for what it is then this album is pretty fun.  This is to metal what Taco Bell is to Mexican food, but once in a while I like to get some Taco Bell, you know?

8. Nachtmystium - Addicts: Black Meddle pt II
I thought this album was pretty bad the first time I heard it, and I didn't think much better of it the second, or third, or fourth, or fifth time I listened to it.... Even though I think that (kind of like Kvelertak!) Nachtmystium are a little too hard-rock and not sufficiently kvlt, I kept listening to this album over and over again.  I'm still not sure it's a good album but its got some kind of hook in me.

 7. Triptykon - Shatter
It's a little weird that I picked the Triptykon EP instead of the full-length album it accompanies, but to be honest I didn't even realize there was a full-length until a few weeks ago, and I haven't had the mental space to sit down and process it yet.  Actually, when I first heard this EP, I had no idea it was the new project from Celtic Frost's Tom G Warrior, and was impressed at what a fully-formed sound this new band had.  In retrospect its less impressive since this is basically "Tom G Warrior's NEW Celtic Frost", but at least he had the decency to do it under a new name.  There's a lot of silly gothiness going on here, but there is also some really convincingly evil vocals and an amazingly crushing guitar sound.  I dig it.

 6. Culted - Of Death & Ritual
Like Triptykon, newcomers Culted bridge the gap between doom and black metal, and much like Triptykon, the results are pure, awful evilness.  I found the last track on this four-song EP to be pretty terrible, but other than that, this has a wonderfully vile atmosphere to it and I'm eager to see what this band does next.

5. Trap Them - Filth Rations
Nearly half of the releases on this list are EPs- I guess I had a short attention span this year.  Or maybe, I just appreciate when a band manages to get the point done in an efficient manner.  Trap Them don't waste any time on this EP, delivering vicious metal influenced hardcore in a Converge style.  

 4. Vit - -
This was a latecomer to my best-of list, sneaking in at the very end.  I don't really know anything about this band, but they weave disparate sounds into their epic black metal in a way that I really enjoy.  There's some post-rock going on, some weirdly warm and friendly guitar sounds, some back-porch banjo playing, yet it always somehow works.   "Ascention Ritual" is a strong contender for my favorite metal track of this year.

 3. Krieg - The Isolationist
This album definitely snuck up on me- at first I didn't think much of it, but its just a really solid black metal album.  It doesn't really inspire me to say much about it, but I sure do enjoy listening to it.

 2. Hayaino Daisuki - Invincible Gate Mind of the Infernal Fire Hell- or- Did You Mean Hawaii Daisuki?
No other metal release this year had as much energy as this one did.  This gets my fists pumping and head banging everytime. 

 1. Burzum - Belus
Did anyone think that Burzum would ever be relevant again?  I definitely did not, but this is a testament to the fact that no matter how despicable he may be as a person, Burzum is definitely one of pillars of black metal.