Dec 11, 2014

2014

Hello. How are you? It's almost Christmas! Catching up on a year's worth of new releases until your eyes and ears are bleeding and then working a shit job for shit pay to blow your (shit) cash on the (good?) releases you've found is like the Christmas-y-est thing ever in my opinion. I'm starting work at the city art gallery next week ($19 an hour and the work doesn't even look shit!) and I'll hopefully get enough money ($19!) in the next few weeks to buy some of these for my loved ones and then bore the fuck out of them on Christmas describing all sweaty palmed and eye-bleedy what's happening to genre on Faith in Strangers and how speaking of genre Black Metal is neither deception nor appropriation. 'Cept I won't 'cause that was a joke and it wasn't a funny one and I'll probably buy everyone books and rings and drink bottles instead, not records at all.

As always I'm sure there's an overriding theme or idea that can be used to summarise the majority of the year's important releases (important insofar as they support the theme or idea lol), and as always I feel like the thing will only become apparent to anyone still interested in like 5 year's time. I'm sort of feeling that it might be 'the body' again even though it's been the body for the past ~3 years (I WANT A NEW ONE! (and not 'power ambient' either))!

If there's a common thread between 'power ambient' and 'the body,' it's that releases awkwardly inserted into these categories have attempted in various ways to make the abstract (sound) physical, or to investigate being physical through sound. It could be the lasting effects of last year's torn and frayed Yeezus*, but more than ever before I've been drawn to sound textures over words (semantics), what's being played and how (cause), and a perceived sense of coherence within 'the album'. Andy Stott's Faith in Strangers alternated between open yet monolithic spaces and grotesque assemblages, both honest and proud of their materials. He and Miles Whittaker carefully mixed Drop the Vowels to sound unfinished (to stay ugly), its constituent parts left visible for all to see. Actress complimented this ambivalence with druggy tedium to disorienting results. Rather than stealing from or imitating the machinery of our world, Ben Frost noticed the heaviness of its atmosphere- A U R O R A is smog, a million televisions playing all at once, and acid rain digesting the city. Grouper decided to make us notice the presence of silence rather than anxiously filling it with effects. Last year I got all excited about what can be achieved through a good scream, and while The Body kept doing what The Body do best (scaring the shit out of us), Pharmakon raised the stakes considerably- trapped under meat Margaret Chardiet started her album hyperventilating and ended it laughing. It's the big dumb punchline we're all sitting around waiting for, and at least she finds it funny. Gazelle Twin still found tragedy there, but then again she managed to sing about it rather than screaming herself into a frenzy, so who knows. The guy so obsessed with it that he's become a sort of benchmark for body horror music started his collaborative record asking why Marlon Brando enjoyed being beaten up so much. If the strange reality for all physical beings is dealing with both pleasure and pain on a daily basis, then Vessel preparing these contrasting sound textures for the dancefloor made complete sense.

Of course it's not that simple. While Vanessa Rossetto recorded sounds from our world, she sculpted them into a new, purely abstract one. Earth, who stopped painting desert landscapes to investigate Carlson's mortality by way of the relationship between bones and spirit, wrote a doomsday epic. Aphex Twin came back with an album of complex but enjoyable musical journeys to get lost in rather than establishing something danceable and then playfully fucking with it. Anne Guthrie released an album which might best be suited to reduced listening, but one which quickly transported its listener into its careful, quiet world. The War on DrugsAmen Dunes, and Lana Del Rey all released albums consciously sounding as though they were pulled from our collective memory of eras gone by. The memories aren't real and the songs threatened to disappear with the dreams they came attached to. The way critically-minded critics analysed music that asked questions about subversion, sincerity, high-brow, low-brow, pop, 'underground', etc, suggested that the spirit of 2010s musical pop art hadn't taken a holiday with vaporwave. Of course its creators insisted on their genuine love of the superficial and the cosmetic. The first rebuttal you can think of is also the thing that makes it less tiresome than its mid-century ancestor- at least it's free.

So here's the list. As usual the top 5 matters most, followed by the top 10, and then everything else is all over the place. I even have these arbitrary partitions (get it) separating what's 'essential' from what's 'noteworthy but not necessarily essential' like that means anything at all and by now I'm wondering why I didn't just list everything alphabetically. Here it is though, I'm standing by it! There's even a spotify playlist at the bottom! Of course the problem there is that if you go by the playlist alone you'll miss out on some really good stuff, my #1 in particular (if you need anything on here and can't find it leave a comment and I'll give you a link. I can't afford spotify so have been procuring this stuff in the style of mid-late 000s... procurement). And as much as I'm standing by it, check back regularly (if you want) as it'll change and double in size over the next 20something days (I have a self-imposed cut-off date of 1 Jan 2015 so I don't obsess over it and constantly remake it and get upset and delete it). I'm about 1/20th through my constantly expanding 2014 music library so things will change quite a bit before 1 Jan. If you end up finding even one record on here that you like and mightn't have found otherwise then that's really beautiful and wonderful and totally in the spirit of (Christmas and) music sharing. Which is what this has always been about.

Xxxxxxxxx

*Its appeal became all the more obvious when I heard Sigma's Nobody to Love remix at the gym, a feel-good drum and bass song which attempted to smoothly sample a song that proudly had all of its seams showing.

UPDATE: holy hell there are a lot of black and white album covers on here!

XO


Actress - Ghettoville

We put up with and even celebrate works of narrative fiction which examine frustration as a major theme, and yet the overall middling response to Actress' Ghettoville suggests that we're not completely there with music just yet. This could be because music affects us directly and so thematic frustration cannot be as easily experienced through something else (dialogue, characters, plot, etc). Ghettoville is honest about what it's about from the moment you see the album cover- it's all marks made by different and contradictory methods- ruled grade F lines establish a diamond-shaped focal point and a square frame behind it. These clash with the wonky 8B lines seemingly drawn at random. Near the centre is a grade F rectangle drawn in 2 point perspective. The perspective's off and the structure has consequently been abandoned. There are circles drawn with a compass and there are messier ones drawn by hand. Some of these marks have been erased and some have been left unaltered. It's arbitrary which are left and which are erased but it doesn't matter because we can see all of them. Ghettoville sounds like this. Some have commented on the oppressive darkness of the album, a response no doubt coloured by Actress' calling it quits early this year. It's dark, but it's frustrated. It's sketched, erased, fucked with. It's geometrically precise, but it's flawed. Because we can hear it all, we can hear its construction. He wants us to know that he could pull off depth (perspective) or technical refinement (carefully ruled lines), but that's not where he is right now. It's sun-bleached, ugly, and half-erased- the rectangle that knows the journey on the way to perfection can be more interesting than the refined product. Or if the thing's been abandoned, it might be worth seeing any way.

ninjatune / spotify

Amen Dunes - Love

Love is about the loss of self one experiences when falling in or out of love and contains fairly immediate sounding love songs dressed up and drugged out in an indie rock studio haze. Whether this atmosphere communicates the meaning of the album more effectively to the listener (obscuring the details by way of an impressionistic 'loss'), or signals a missed opportunity for Amen Dunes (the bare songs hold up as best-of-year type material. Why would you want to hide them?) is up to whoever's listening and whether he/she comes away from the album feeling heavier or not.

sacred bones / stream

Answer Code Request - Code

boomkat

Arca - Xen

arca

Bill Orcutt - VDSQ 010 Solo Acoustic Volume Ten

midheaven / forced exposure / boomkat / itunes

Birdcatcher - Prey

bandcamp / pseudoarcana

The Bug - Angels & Devils

ninjatune

Call Super - Suzi Ecto

houndstooth

Campbell Kneale, Antony Milton, Kiyoharu Kuwayama - CKAMKK

bandcamp / pseudoarcana

C L E A N E R S - Real Raga Shit Vol. 1

bandcamp

Container - Adhesive EP

Whatever your initial thoughts, hang in there 'til Adhesive.

bleep / stream

Cut Hands - Festival of the Dead

bandcamp / blackest ever black / boomkat

FKA Twigs - LP1

young turks / spotify

Frank & Tony - You Go Girl

halcyon / itunes / spotify

Future - Honest

Pluto was a masterpiece of yearning and absurdist boasts- fluctuating between trap beats and discarded anime OSTs, it made little sense at face-value but Future's vocals and unexpected lyrical turns (Permanent Scar) either broke through or enhanced their musical frameworks. On songs like Magic it was hard to know whether Future was rapping, talking, or singing, which made the record unpredictable and straight-up romantic ballads like Turn on the Lights all the more affecting. With Honest, Future climbs back up the rabbit hole of his own alien r&b and takes a huge step (a leap!) towards rap. The record actually just goes hard. Future raps his arse off on the first track. His ballads make sense. His beats make sense. And that's it. For better or for worse, Honest makes sense.

undergroundhiphop / spotify

German Army - Jivaro Witnesses

bandcamp / norman

Hookworms - The Hum

If there was a formula for Hookworms albums and it went 'mix one explosive start, some moodswings, and a melancholy latter half for 10 songs and let sit'... then I'd still be in, obviously. The Hum is like Pearl Mystic but better. It's sharp instead of gluggy, the singer screams his bits in panic rather than rock n roll excitability, the guitars are a little bit sleazier (important), the songs are more dynamic within themselves, the driving rhythms underpinning the freakouts never cease, Hookworms control their noise rather than seeing where it goes on its own, and it even ends on a surprise-attack energetic song. All of this might sound like it's Pearl Mystic without 'the magic' for some, but the things that un-magic it are the things that make it a superior record. You can still see the warts, they've just stopped being picked at.

weird world

Human Teenager - Animal Husbandry

editions mego / spotify

Klaus Lang - SAIS.

world edition

Lee Gamble - KOCH

pan / boomkat / spotify

Leon Vynehall - Music For The Uninvited

clone.nl / spotify

Lil Herb - Welcome to Fazoland

datpiff / spotify

Low Jack - Garifuna Variations

soundcloud / delsin

M. Geddes Gengras - Ishi

stones throw

M. Sage - A Singular Continent

bandcamp / patient sounds

Moonface - City Wrecker

An EP about people, places, and times, Spencer Krug takes on the role of 'city wrecker' though details of the subjects he wrecks are only intermittently clear ("it was 2009 or so"). Once again it's the 'sad Liberace', only approaching anything anthemic with the repeated "Going in and going out again" on the opener as if to warn 'this is going to be as big and grand as anything but it is a big grand ode to loss and nothingness.' It is 2000 and whatever. There is no time and it's all the same. It's all gone.

jagjaguwar / spotify

Mr. Mitch - Parallel Memories

planetmu / spotify / itunes

Music Blues - Things Haven't Gone Well

Music Blues is Harvey Milk bassist Stephen Tanner watching 90210, and Things Haven't Gone Well is the album he wanted Harvey Milk to perform. If you know me (you probably don't!) then you'll know that Harvey Milk are my favourite band, and if you've ever listened to Harvey Milk you might've noticed that they're not particularly healthy to listen to if/when you're feeling depressed: rather than presenting depression as a simple blue-tinted sadness as so many artists do, Harvey Milk go the extra mile by including the surrounding highs, the denial, the self-loathing, and the self-mockery familiar to anyone who has ever lived with it. Things Haven't Gone Well is Harvey Milk at rock bottom and fuck me is it devastating. Only thing worth noting is you might miss Creston's vocals (it's all Tanner instrumentals). Otherwise excellent.

thrill jockey / spotify

Nmesh - Dream Sequins®

Approaches vaporwave's criticism of popular and commodity culture with a mission- art rather than mimicry- not an apocalyptic copy+paste hologram collection of these vacuous artefacts, but (it sounds and even feels like) a way forward, sideways, or even out.

bandcamp / spotify

OOIOO - Gamel

norman / thrill jockey / stream

Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden

bandcamp / insound / spotify

Perc - The Power and the Glory

bandcamp

Rich Gang - The Tour, Part 1

livemixtapes

Samin Son - Orira

bandcamp / pseudoarcana

Sleaford Mods - Divide and Exit

It could be the movement (blue collar, no-trend, late Fall-vibe, but its own thing obviously) or the fact that the first line I heard from them was "The smell of piss is so strong / It smells like decent bacon," but I sort of can't get enough of this.

bandcamp / norman / spotify

Solid Gang - The F.U.N. Album: Fuck u Niggas

kansascity

Sunn O))) - La Reh 012

Bizarrely overlooked, La Reh 012 might be the band's finest metal record. Invisible / Sleeper is so terrifying I didn't even notice how silly it was.

bandcamp

Tink - Winter's Diary 2

I saw Aaliyah's Age Ain't Nothing but a Number with an $80 sticker on it at my record store the other day. Think about that and be sick. Here's Tink's Winter's Diary 2.

hotnewhiphop

V/A - We Invented the Bop 1 & 2

The most obvious insight into the state of chiraq for outsiders was always drill, as stonefaced and nihilistic as the situation was grim. I kind of don't want to describe bop to you, but let's just say if drill's holding a mirror up... bop's the escapist fantasy.

datpiff / datpiff

Vessel - Punish, Honey

boomkat / juno / bleep / itunes

Countdown


40. Ambarchi • O'Malley • Dunn - Shade Themes From Kairos


drag city

39. Vladislav Delay - Visa


A true master of bleeps and whiirrrs and schs can turn these things into musical pieces wherein the bleeps and whiirrrs and schs are coupled and de-coupled and repeated until their relationships and differences become important and their coupling, de-coupling, and repetitions become emotional, somehow even majestic experiences. Vlad's a master of the bleeps, whiirrrs, and schs, and Visa is an emotional, somehow majestic listening experience.

bandcamp / stream

38. Dean Blunt - Black Metal


I called last year's The Redeemer the best album of 2013 as it wrapped up the narcissist character's story and left us with a straightforward heartbreak record made exhaustingly complex by listeners anxiously trying-to-be-in-on-the-joke lest they feel something when listening only to have Blunt turn around and say it was all a joke. We're sort of pathetic like that. And so when we look at Blunt and determine that he is a concept artist constantly one step ahead of his audience we become guinea pigs in a never-ending game of reverse-obfuscation and sincere-insincerity bs, and when we think it's all just straightforward we go 'hey get some singing lessons!' or 'your vocals really work for me!' or 'this is your prettiest one to date!' and then read this where it's obvious he wants it both ways (a mystic indifferent to analysis that gets upset if your analysis is incorrect). So we go both ways. Blunt's prettiest record. Never look back. Black metal. There we go. Free jazz. Future. Future. Future.

ruff trade / norman / stream

37. Weyes Blood - The Innocents


Weird adjective of all the adjectives available, but The Innocents is a very still record- it wants to topple but it's too stable, and it wants to yearn but it's too wise in its reflection.

mexican summer / stream

36. Burial Hex - The Hierophant


'Horror electronics'- horror being stylised, theatrical suffering for the masses, power electronics being style-less human aggression for a niche market- The Hierophant as stylish, melodramatic, aggression (but mostly suffering) somewhere between the metaphysical 'evil' of giallo OSTs or heavy metal, and an immediate pain/danger. See for example the transitions at play in Final Love: the piano, the death metal growls, and the broken voice howling.

thrill jockey / handmade birds

35. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2


Through positivity and ability, rtj saved my life early this year at a depressingly shite music festival. RTJ2 is like RTJ1 but El-P does better on it and there's Gangsta Boo.

rtj / rtj / spotify

34. Jozef van Wissem / SQÜRL - Only Lovers Left Alive


atp / stream

33. Matt Krefting - Lymph Est


Forced Exposure / little big chief records

32. Bing & Ruth - Tomorrow Was The Golden Age


bingandruth / bandcamp

31. The Jacka - What Happened to the World


itunes / hiphopstan / spotify

30. Chihei Hatakeyama & Hakobune - It is, it isn’t


bandcamp / norman / spotify

29. Parents - Low Life 7"


I didn't know they were gonna go so grimy but the toothless guy who said "let's get fucked up" and then knocked himself out during Low Life's release somehow did! Rather than shifting between beauty and ugliness as Parents did on last year's full length, Low Life demands that its audience find beauty in ugliness.

bandcamp

28. 1/3 Octave Band - Ultramarine


bandcamp / pseudoarcana

27. F.A. - Real Nigga The Street Album


kansas city rap

26. Lawrence English - Wilderness of Mirrors


room40 / stream

25. Claypipe - A Daylight Blessing


mie / norman / pseudoarcana

24. Untold - Black Light Spiral


boomkat / norman / spotify

23. Ian William Craig - A Turn of Breath


recital program / spotify

22. Fennesz - Bécs


Lacks the immediate gut-punch of Endless Summer, but I get the feeling it's supposed to? That record got into your guts and twisted them around, this one is more like a big external world of gut-twisting turns and details.

editions mego / spotify

21. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Piñata


dj booth / stones throw / spotify

20. Ben Frost - A U R O R A


Light and noise pollution to Andy Stott's industrial zone.

bandcamp / norman / stream

19. Golden Retriever - Seer


Things come together.

thrill jockey / stream

18. The Body - I Shall Die Here


I don't think The Body will ever be able to grab hold of me and shake me and make me sick like they did the first time I heard Master, We Perish, but in the absence of that original shock they might as well continue to make better and better records.

rvng intl / bandcamp

17. Jenny Hval & Susanna - Meshes of Voice


norman / stream

16. Dirty Beaches - Stateless


Dirty Beaches' last album is so good that it makes me feel a great sense of loss for a band that I never cared much about.

"Statement:

All seasons are cyclical, like real life shit. We adapt and venture through each phase with intentions of engagement, embracing mistakes and chances that eventually become the foundation of identities and roles we take on in life. All pain is temporary, as in joy, anger, doubt and all human emotions. Nothing is forever. Just a constant cyclical randomization processed in patterns and algorithms. We can’t predict life, but we can try to brace ourselves for the ever changing tides of time.

Some dreams, are worth breaking your limbs for.
Dedicated to ALL the young gods out there.
Sincerely,

Alex Zhang Hungtai
June 13th, 2014. LIsbon, Portugal"

bandcamp / norman / stream

15. Gazelle Twin - Unflesh


When I saw Unflesh compared to Scott Walker I thought oh shit he's become a clean reductive adjective, to music what David Lynch is to film- anything a bit weird gets a connection drawn and anything that really upsets the listener gets stripped down and rationalised according to some other familiar/institutionalised benchmark. Turns out Unflesh is fuckall like anything else I've ever heard, though Gazelle Twin's dedication to describing the body in all its flaws and limits and its inevitable rotting punchline is somewhat reminiscent of s.w., though that's purely in the sense of being completely dedicated to the subject matter rather than any specifics and poetics. Those are all Gazelle Twin's and only hers, though over the course of Unflesh they'll likely become yours too. Rather than bludgeoning the listener with screams and nasty industrial textures, there's melody and fun to be had here too- a bit like pop sweetener on the pill of dysmorphia and disease that will at some point get in there and choke you.

bandcamp / g twin / norman / stream

14. Warpaint - Warpaint


Not only practising restraint but handing some of the artistry over to the machines.

norman / stream

13. Laura Luna - Isolarios


bandcamp

12. Klara Lewis - Ett


editions mego / boomkat / stream

11. Lil Juu / Stu Hustlah - Lillie Street is the Street


spotify / kcu / stream

10. Scott Walker + Sunn O))) - Soused


My initial thought on hearing that Soused not only existed but would actually be released (i.e. not just a creepy expensive bootleg on discogs) was that a very specific kind of music fan will be completely overjoyed by Soused and his/her head will explode on hearing it and just about everyone else in the world will crowd around the headless body and say "this is silly." Then on hearing it I realised that Soused actually makes a weird amount of sense, as if both Scott's and Sunn O)))'s sillinesses work to negate each other, unveiling the music beneath, or actually merge to create a world of silliness in which silliness is no longer an issue or distraction and the thing can just exist plainly for all to see. Of course it might have something to do with the fact that Sunn O))) approached Scott to appear on Monoliths & Dimensions in 2009 and rather than singing on their album for a track or two he bought up their discography and promptly got to work on writing Soused so that the collaboration would be considered rather than some spontaneous music nerd freak of nature. Whatever the reason, it's more accessible than both La Reh 012 and Bish Bosch, and thankfully much better than Terrestrials.

4ad / stream

9. Kassem Mosse - Workshop 19


juno / stream

8. Earth - Primitive and Deadly


I knew something weird was gonna happen when Dylan Carlson played a dirty Gibson SG at their Auckland show this year! If Earth's project starting with Earth 2 has been one of Suprematism- to strip down and rebuild rock music at their own pace and in their own style, then Primitive and Deadly is like a rush to the finish line. Personal anguish inhabited and defined the Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light releases, and in Primitive and Deadly it's been dressed up as the apocalypse. A surprise for sure, but if any band has earned the right to release an epic, it's Earth.

southern lord / stream

7. Pharmakon - Bestial Burden


2013's Abandon alternated to excellent effect between human hysteria and the slow grind of industrial noises. Bestial Burden sees the two come together rather than being played off against each other as opposites- it is the musical expression of the realisation that your body is a rapidly degenerating piece of meat that you were born into and you will be buried in. It begins with hyperventilation and ends in laughter. To be kind, my arse.

sacred bones / spotify

6. Vanessa Rossetto - Whole Stories


I generally approach musique concrète with a bit of naive trepidation as I like things that sound good or make me feel something and don't need external clarification, but Whole Stories is just incredibly good and compassionate and beautiful: the first song's a trip through a festival bookended by a fourth-wall-breaking explanation, and the second jumps between arcade and casino noises and a woman discussing her life and regrets- it's an examination of fate, luck, and chance, and while the ending's ambiguous I can't help but believe that it's intended to be freeing and life-affirming: "the thing is, people need to hear full stories." Each piece has had its sources sculpted together into believable, coherent worlds, and our rollercoaster tour through these worlds is well paced. Given that it's all so welcoming, I can't wait to go back and see what other sounds I can find in there.

forced exposure / kye

5. Millie & Andrea - Drop the Vowels


Miles Whittaker (Demdike Stare) and Andy Stott. Knowingly ridiculous, the way the 'world' sample that opens the record just drops off without becoming the central focus of an ultra-serious exotic 'dark techno' track, unabashedly familiar (the breakbeats), the rough edges, the laboriously executed laziness, and the attention it commands despite seeming funny and even piss-taking of serious ambient techno (we see you, Andy!), familiar, imperfect, lazy, and just really weird. I even like when it loses its momentum and tries something else!

soundcloud

4. Grouper - Ruins


The man who died in his boat and the old man who kept the photograph of his wife under some clothes on the dresser. Abandoned buildings on the way to a beach. Ruins. The first thing you'll notice is that you aren't drowning. The last thing you'll notice is that you are.

krankynorman / stream

3. Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers


I won't embarrass myself trying to list (much less explain) the styles of electronic music interpreted, mimicked, and dismantled by Stott on Faith in Strangers, but it's to his credit that someone like me can have a sort of intuitive understanding of what's happening and be completely floored by it. It's his obvious appreciation of both silence and the physical potential of a presence that makes his records so immediately attractive. His drones are doom-laden for good reason- when the sounds arrive they've been cut rough in a way that seems like they're from our world rather than loaded with effects in some editing suite. Stott puts these industrially cut pieces to use in Faith in Strangers in varied, sometimes unusual ways- Damage would be dancefloor suited if it wasn't the most abrasive track on here, and this time around he resists manipulating all of Alison Skidmore's vocals and re-presenting them as flickering ghost sightings- when it's not noise Faith in Strangers could sound like a fucking dinner party trip hop record.

insound / boomkat / norman

2. Aphex Twin - Syro


The issue of yeah it's good, but it didn't change the world like their first/second/third release seemed like a big one when My Bloody Valentine released their 'comeback' last year, and it was sure to happen to Aphex Twin too (though 'comeback' is a bit Romantic for someone as prolific as he's been). The obvious explanation for these blasé responses is that the context in which these 'comebacks' have been received is one where a 'world changer' would be unlikely if not impossible:

"Everyone knows about everything. The holy grail for a music fan, I think, is to hear music from another planet, which has not been influenced by us whatsoever. Or, even better, from lots of different planets. And the closest we got to that was before the Internet, when people didn't know of each other's existence. Now, that doesn't really happen."

And so it's interesting to wonder what it would be like if Loveless had been released on some obscure bandcamp and if Selected Ambient Works 85-92 was a soundcloud playlist, and whether it's exciting or not to imagine their release to the public being more free and immediate etc, but also prosaic and our responses more know-it-all. It's funny that we worry about the weight of the thing's future-historical importance when we've been given the freedom to just kind of just assess and react to the music itself. That was a lot for nothing, but what I'm trying to say I think is that I tried my hardest to listen to Syro without expectation or anti-expectation and what I found was just Syro and Syro is fantastic. Where my favourite Aphex Twin songs quickly establish something musically tangible and then over the course of the song, twist, collapse, and rebuild themselves, Syro is full of complex musical-journeys with unexpected destinations and stopovers. I'd still be playing it every day if I hadn't received threats from family members so sick of hearing it.

warp / stream

1. Anne Guthrie - Codiaeum variegatum


Words escape me.

students of decay





And now that's out of the way let's get excited for Christmas!

It would be pointless to make selections from this and then re-tag them, so check out the excellent Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree: A Vintage Holiday Mixtape from Aquarium Drunkard!

Track list:

Jack Scott – There’s Trouble Brewing [A-Side Version]
The Sonics – I Don’t Believe In Christmas
Mae West – Put The Loot In The Boot, Santa
Roosevelt Sykes – Let Me Hang Your Stockings In Your Christmas Tree
Patsy Raye – Beatnik’s Wish
Big John Greer – Santa Do The Mambo
Kay Martin And Her Body Guards – Santa’s Doing The Horizontal Twist
The Marquees – Christmas in the Congo
Tony Rodelle Larson and The Saints – Cool Yule
Babs Gonzales – Be-Bop Santa Claus
Champion Jack Dupree – Santa Claus Blues
Clyde Lasley & The Cadillac Baby Specials – Santa Came Home Drunk
Andre Williams – Poor Mr. Santa
Hasil Adkins – Santa Claus Boogie
Thee Headcoatees – Santa Clause
The Wailers – Christmas Spirit
Nathaniel Mayer – Mr. Santa Claus
Tom Waits – Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis
Brenda Lee – I’m Going To Lasso Santa Claus
Hank Thompson – I’d Like To Have An Elephant For Christmas
Eddie and De Havelon – Christmas Party
Jimmy Butler – Trim Your Tree
Hank Snow – Reindeer Boogie
Red Simpson – Truckin’ Trees For Christmas
Loretta Lynn – To Heck With Ole Santa Claus
Roger Miller – Old Toy Trains
Ernest Tubb & His Texas Troubadours – I’ll Be Walkin’ the Floor This Christmas
Pee Wee King – Rootin’ Tootin’ Santa Claus
Rev. J.M. Gates – Did You Spend Christmas Day In Jail?
The Youngsters – Christmas In Jail
Buck Owens – Santa Looked A lot Like Daddy (Daddy Looked A Lot Like Him)
The Everly Brothers – Christmas Eve Can Kill You
Red Sovine – Here It Is Christmas

And I'm gonna raise it:

King Khan & BBQ - Plump Righteous
The Ventures - Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Connie Francis - I'm Gonna Be Warm This Winter
Slade - Merry Xmas Everybody
The Kinks - Father Christmas
Ramones - Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)
Kate Bush - December Will Be Magic Again
The Ronettes - Frosty the Snowman
Sleigh Ride 3:45 TLC
Run-D.M.C. - Christmas In Hollis
The Pretenders - 2000 Miles
Whitney Houston - Do You Hear What I Hear
The Drifters - White Christmas
Johnny Cash - Lead Me Gently Home, Father (tagged as Swing Low, Sweet Chariot sorry!)
The Golden Gate Quartet - Silent Night
The Ronettes - Sleigh Ride
black lips - christmas in baghdad
De La Soul - Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa
John Fahey - Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming
Brenda Lee - Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
Destiny's Child - 8 Days Of Christmas
Mariah Carey - All I Want for Christmas Is You
Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Ike & Tina Turner - Merry Christmas
The Pogues - Fairytale Of New York

Link

'Cause yeah your favourite artist sold the fuck out (John Fahey did not one but two Christmas albums!)! And yeah I'm gonna get drunk and cry like a baby to Fairytale of New York on repeat! New Zealand Decembers are the sunniest of all Decembers so we have to make-pretend it's snowy while listening to our Christmas music and watching our snowy Christmas films.


Jun 23, 2014

Dracula Goes Dreamy (1977)


'Cause even vampires fall in love. Only Lovers, True Blood. Thirst. Unlike those ones, Disco Dracula eventually chills out. Vampires don't just bring terror to the dance floor, they vibe out, they go home, they dream. Until the next night when the dance floor calls and they give in to their vampiric impulses all over again. Sex Me etc. We Can't Stop for those with gout and bloodshot eyes. Ouroborus will not be broken. Morning music for unemployed losers.

here

Jun 22, 2014

Megafauna


Whiiirrrr bllllmmmmmm reeeee thck thck whirrrrr (repeat)

Um

The last time I heard something this silly I was sitting at work listening to a grown man w/ hammered dulcimer singing about how the plants were gonna eat me. I tried buying the t-shirt but the thing broke on the website and I have this (thing) where I blame myself and not the website when that happens and I always think it's a sign or something, that sign being evidence of the Scrooge McDuck that looks over me but doesn't give enough of a shit to stop me spending money on food, that sign telling me it's just not worth it and to give up and just go eat something. He (SMD) draws the line at grown men w/ hammered dulcimers singing about how the plants are gonna eat me, but is okay with regular pie+sushi+sandwich lunches. Enough of those and I'll never be able to buy the damn t-shirt! He knows it, and I know he knows it. If he knows I know he knows then he's not just looking over me, and the thought of SMD being anywhere other than strictly above me (e.g. in my brain or in possession of a family member) is far more frightening than anything found on Megafauna. It's scarier than Goblin's Suspiria too, but not quite as pretty. And because Megafauna sits somewhere between grown man w/ hammered dulcimer (...plants...eat me) metal and Goblin's Suspiria, it's sillier but also prettier than all of that.

Crucially though the Goblin connection goes deeper than the similarity of sounds. Unlike other black metal weirdos that shoot for atmosphere over impact, Megafauna sounds like Yoga scoring the kind of suffering that aforementioned weirdos think atmosphere evokes. I don't want to call it a parody or anything, but it's like Megafauna is the soundtrack to the act of listening to black metal and feeling something (sadness, affirmation of nihilism/misanthropy/whatever). Detached yet curious, knowingly silly, admittedly moody, and importantly, very pretty.

try
buy

May 27, 2014

Mac Dre - Ronald Dregan: Dreganomics (2004)


1. Feelin' Myself
2. Fa My Niggaz
3. Jump It
4. Witme??
5. Me Damac
6. Dreganomics
7. Since '84
8. That's Wusup
9. On the Run
10. Get Stupid (Remix)
11. 2 Night
12. Don't Snitch

fixed
spotify
buy

May 26, 2014

that present (2014)


I'm gonna get you that present. Give me all your money, baby.
On the one hand, fleeting moodpieces. On the other, atmosphere (pulling that one out, lazily explaining why something appeals as being more than just the sum of its parts without having to put anything into words) and thematic coherence as flow (again...).

Which might describe the movie quite well, actually. Maybe it's secretly a musical!

Less about the presence of silence than the last JVW record I heard, more about the layering of cacophony into something pissed off, indifferent, and thoroughly felt. Cynics snort at rockist + Romantic clichés, but it's nice to think that if it's all gone to shit then what remains is love. And if that's too gooey, we've still got the Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light series for those who like their drones mortal.

try
stream
buy

May 25, 2014

ἀμήν (2014)


There's a 2-part abstraction at play here, one inevitable (sound), and one contrived. Because its form is vibration and its style is haze, it inevitably attacks its corresponding sense and then chooses to grab both head and heart, mush them together, and hurl them back in a sort of bombardment further fucked up by its self-conscious rendering of everything as very stoned and/or distant. If we give it/him/Love the benefit of the doubt, this stylistic vagueness aids in universalising the album's theme. It becomes direct and simple and so visceral- if we're made to feel anything while hearing it, it's our pain and/or happiness being felt and whether McMahon feels the same hardly matters at all. This stylistic death of author turns singer-songwriter autobio bs on its head and actually works if we believe in McMahon (Love's) generosity, but it's so obvious that if it fails in its task and we're made to feel nothing, we're supposed to blame it on the smog and not him or his songs. However stoned/distant/hazy, it's initially difficult to let Love float by unnoticed and this is largely thanks to McMahon's vocalisms. Like the music, it's not the details (words) that matter, but the delivery. And as is the case with the music, the delivery actively obscures the details. The reference point for this method is Astral Weeks, and as with Astral Weeks it's hard not to believe that he's beaten, bruised, and is expressing something genuine. The difference is that on Love, he's gone, vanished, and it's just us, the audience, left. Whether we leave feeling heavier (as we should) again comes down to smog- we could potentially just feel more confused, which without that feeling of heaviness means Love falls short- a formal study in smog and not the emotion at all. I sort of felt it but learned nothing- either it lost me, or I lost it. Unfortunately the intention is there but the work is not. And if that's the point I'm glad to let it go.

keep
stream
keep (physical)

Earl's Grit (2002)


Fun fact: this is Alfie the bald (he's not really bald, he has down rather than fur, and he's also supposed to be really intelligent but he looks silly and sleeps all day) cat's favourite E-40 album! 
I had that all ready to post back in October when I uploaded Grit & Grind, and back then I wasn't lying about it being Alfie's favourite. I feel the need to acknowledge that since October Alfie the bald (down, hypo-allergenic actually) cat has moved onto the double disc The Element of Surprise to get his (daily, can you believe, E-40 definitely attracts fanatics) fill of E-40. He claims The Element of Surprise is better than Grit & Grind because it has 6 more songs on it. Weird. These days I'm all about the horror-gangsta Revenue Retrievin': Graveyard Shift or My Ghetto Report Card (which is Rep Yo City over and over, thanks Lil Jon), but it's interesting that Grit & Grind was at one stage a favourite of both of ours despite the fact that we look for different things in E-40. Though neither of us are purists (they stick to Federal I think, or know the words to every Block Brochure song off by heart), I can recommend Grit & Grind (if my non-purist word means anything) as a moment in E-40's Fall-ish career (rap's own "always different... always the same") where everything made sense.

dwld
strm

Dec 19, 2013

2013 list

i'm so sorry i haven't posted anything in forever. this year's been really awful but also kind of good and nowhere near as bad as last year. i think it's like a transition where the last one was a complete failure. everything is okay and the world is beautiful

music-wise i don't know. i made a top 49 (50) list but it's not really in order. the important thing is that the redeemer is no. 1. if pop's a mirror then yeezus says we're fucked. if rock's dead then someone should tell the men to stop being so fucking ancient, but also don't 'cause i like it. the dead c know it. have done since the 80s! liz harris still wants us to feel bad. kurt vile cares too much about not caring. where's the downer that got me through 2011. humanbeast made s&m dinner party music that i listen to while playing sonic. colin stetson found hope. the body and pharmakon made you sweat. so did full of hell actually. full of hell are fucking mental. shaking the habitual was actually fun. tim hecker made another album people will appreciate like three years from now. fat white family reminded people that noise rock is noise rock. haim made people who never liked the replacements like tom petty.

here's my stupid list: (also convenient spotify playlist)

honourables/considered/worth your time/if you're into that kind of thing/huge love + huge flaws/not much love + minimal flaws:

Amber London - Tru 2 Tha Phonk

servin fiendz

Andrew Pekler - Cover Versions

art and liberation

A$AP Ferg - Trap Lord

something tells me i missed the point when my fav moment was an unfinished bone thugs cover

Ace Hood - Trials & Tribulations

gangsta sincerity and all, fuck off wayne and tidy your damn room

Autre Ne Veut - Anxiety

hipster r&b's big 2013 release almost realizes some truth

Barrow - Though I'm Alone

occasionally gripping and consistently interesting, unfortunately atmosphere is something that's earned rather than decided on or cued

Body/Head - Coming Apart

free but suspenseful and with its body/head/heart in the right place

Botanist - IV: Mandragora

once the ears adjust (it'll happen, promise), it's clear that mandragora regularly rises above its gimmick

Bottomless Pit - Shade Perennial

silkworm growd up (post-punk,rock,etc)

Brighter Arrows - Dreamliner

their trick is making you believe over and over that everything's fallen apart and you're witnessing an aftermath or something that won't ever be able to rebuild itself (don't be fooled, but also totally go ahead if you can suspend your disbelief long enough to avoid suspense translating to tedium)

Celeste - Animale(s)

atmosphere earned but wander in and you'll find something that wants to bite your head off

CHVRCHES - The Bones of What You Believe

singular and yet on the side of nwo-poptimism vs everything-but-the-kitchen-sink o shite (escapist house plus mumford stomp)

Ciara - Ciara

here's a double-edged sword- too concise to excuse/bury the missteps

Comadre - Comadre

distraction punk

Danny Brown - Old

(im)mature and totally necessary, yet i will inevitably gravitate toward the 19 track suicide note that is xxx 'cause it made me cry

Deafheaven - Sunbather

'telling you exactly where this is gonna go' from mono to fucking avicii

Dean Blunt - Stone Island

stone island: a free stomach-in-throat supplement courtesy of dean blunt

Death Grips - Government Plates

i get that they're pretty much gonna do it again and again, and so all credit to them when they do it the same but better

DJ Koze - Amygdala

i feel sick

DJ Rashad - Double Cup

sort of a relief after i spent so much of '12 getting used to fragments that hit harder than something dressed as a full-on assault

Drake - Nothing Was the Same

the year's best song and video, content-drake makes his second move away from confused/hungry-drake and the result is both more assured (no shit) and bloated than the last one. probably a future masterpiece

Dustin Wong - Mediation of Ecstatic Energy

when analogies fail- this nail-in-the-coffin-of-post-rock does its best to shed the repetitive excess of the 'genre'(?) while maintaining its core aspiration for audio transcendence

Earl Sweatshirt - Doris

of course we'll never get another EARL, at least with doris earl delivers consistent dead-eyed monotone rap that's complex and even gives a shit

Emptyset - Recur

startling commitment to not only not having fun, but to not containing any sounds which could ever even at a stretch be used by a cornball funlover not yet subscribed to emptyset's greyscale realism (minimal industrial occurrences)

Félicia Atkinson - Visions / Voices

obviously i'm not sure what's going on here, but i like the voices

The Field - Cupid’s Head

i thought this was a folk album before i hit play!

FKA Twigs - EP2

female sexuality in the year of miley

The Flaming Lips - The Terror

optimists look forward and see indifference

Frameworks - Small Victories

instagram deer heads

Frisk Frugt - Dansktoppen Moder Burkina Faso I Det Himmelbla Rum Hvor Solen Bor, Suite

wtf thequietus

Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus

maybe i didn't try hard enough to give a fuck about slow focus but then again why should i have to

The Future of the Left - How to Stop Your Brain in an Accident

“I hope on a special day for you, like on your wedding day, someone lies to you and tells you you’re beautiful and spoils the day like you've spoiled this day for me.”

Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge - Twelve Reasons to Die

how did this get way down (up?) here

Gucci Mane - Trap House 3

twists and turns and unexpectedly looks straight ahead

Haim - Days Are Gone

all-inclusive cornball poptimism strong enough to end our recent obsession with escapist gymcore

Hatred Surge - Human Overdose

hatred. surge. hatred surge. overdose. overdose. human. human overdose. hatred surge's 2013 album, human overdose. fuck.

Have Mercy - The Earth Pushed Back

strong release in a year consistent in high quality muscular dorkcore revivalism

High Wolf - Kairos: Chronos

this year's valley tangents, in that i don't know why i care about it but i really do

Huerco S. - Colonial Patterns

self-contained and self-mutilating freak that shifts and evolves before you

Iceage - You're Nothing

2013's best emo record outside of the emo revival. unlike those ones, you're nothing's anger is a disturbing common-sense laziness and its threat isn't simply to get louder

Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom - Daytime Viewing

an alien hanging in the desert since the early 70s knocks on your window at night and tries to challenge the way you think

Jon Hopkins - Immunity

i didn't care at all until it got warm and cuddly and that forced me to re-evaluate the club concept i can't and will never be able to relate to

Katy Perry - Prism

how presumptuous!

Kelly Rowland - Talk A Good Game

good simple quality r&b unfortunately comes out at a time where we demand that something stand out. probably a future cult classic

Kevin Gates - The Luca Brasi Story and Stranger Than Fiction

on the luca brasi story, alter egos muddy the rap-v-real-dichotomy we thought croaky voiced gates' tears just clearly burned right through. stranger than fiction's an odd case of more honesty, more trapping. my vote's on the cinematic piece. more fiction, more feels means something from a rapper part gibbs part future- his currency's the affect of his stories and his gift's his delivery. there's no point worrying if it's an act- it's all from the same place any way

Kvelertak - Meir

anachronistically starting with metallica, every ambitious metal band will eventually become the foo fighters

Lee Noble - Ruiner

are an artist's loneliest jams his/her best jams when he/she is so persistently alone?

Lil B - 05 Fuck Em

lil b as weirdo vision of rapgame contradictions, eccentricities, vulnerabilities, opportunities, 05 fuck em as everything-you-need-to-know about lil b (and by extension, rap generally) marathon

Lil Herb & Lil Bibby - Heir Apparents

naturalistic celebrations and warfare

M.I.A. - Matangi

a delightful mess

Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile

further questions, ambiguities, and histories after chapter one's whirlwind shriek caught the attention of like everybody ever in 2011

Migos - Young Rich Niggas

critics seem to argue that they should've invented their own language for the hooks

My Bloody Valentine - MBV

both the cynic and forgiving little guy in me keep trying to convince myself that my bloody valentine could've released loveless for the first time again and due to the circumstances surrounding its (2013 mbv's) release, it would've been an anti-climax regardless. i was about ready to accept that until the last two tracks made it clear that the lazy fuckers actually have it in them to break new ground again. and so i'm hopeful but genuinely let down too. what's with the aimless loveless drafts? didn't want to 100% commit to something new? a mellow regurgitation followed by an infuriatingly promising cliffhanger? what kind of a sadist comes back after 22 years with a last time on the my bloody valentine show trailer followed by a next time on the my bloody valentine show preview?

Nick Cave - Push the Sky Away

icy and awkward as all hell abandonment of cave's genius personae

Oneohtrix Point Never - R Plus Seven

a new and familiar language

Oranssi Pazuzu - Valonielu

in space no one can hear you scream (cue valonielu, gravity)

Paisley Parks - Бh○§†

fragment warfare

Palehorse - Harm Starts Here

see, eyehategod were never committed enough to hire a noise guy to underpin their outbursts

Paramore - Paramore

stadium power pop's final stand

Pinkunoizu - The Drop

again wtfthqts?

Pity Sex - Feast of Love

an ageless familiarity, like you thought you'd lost it but here it is again

Segue - Pacifica

is the fucking cover

Sheep, Dog & Wolf - Egospect

goes for genre blending and in the process ends up with genre indifference (obviously superior, a casual whatever-works approach sitting easier than a set of gimmicks)

Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld - Still Smiling

the effect of humour on sincerity, confused and smiling tears

Title Fight - Spring Songs

lp? :)))

The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die - Whenever, If Ever

2013 emo revival's twinkliest and most ball shrivelling. it could potentially change your life

Tree - Sunday School II: When Church Lets Out

rare traditional clarity filtered through shifty hobo wisdom. these fuckin tears, man

Tropic Of Cancer ‎– Restless Idylls

pompously restricts and reduces the pomp of like bauhaus, this is the 2010s after all

Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City

could be incredible if i could make a case for the shit ones hanging around the ones that briefly convince you that you might be in the presence of 2013's great pop record

Var - No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers

one of the more approachable members of the year's sexless funeral march

Various Artists - Night Slugs Allstars Volume 2

pomo futurism

Waka Flocka Flame - DuFlocka Rant 2

early convinced me 2013 could be waka's other/next year, duflocka2's more spontaneous and less of a machine and so all sympathy for the poor guy's vocal cords

William Tyler - Impossible Truth

how and why does this exist in 2013 (thanks for existing in 2013)

Wolf Eyes - No Answer: Lower Floors

toying with the listener through capture and release

Wölfbait - Wölfbait

manageable nrg

Yo La Tengo - Fade

a mild set built on the musicians' competing desires to a) come to grips with some truth about impermanence and so to be consumed/set free by this knowledge, and b) hold the fuck onto something in spite of this inevitability: it's okay, they hardly sound like they're in the right headspace to destroy rock n roll again for the moment

Young Fathers - Tape Two

80s drum fetish bring the noise spiritualism

top 49 50:

50. Beyoncé - BEYONCÉ

the sophisti-goth visuals effectively set you up for a not just consistent, but consistently interesting soundworld over which beyoncé can reiterate that she's the best

beyoncé / iTunes

49. Ulcerate - Vermis

less 'atmospheric', more organic (atmospheric)

bandcamp / relapse / spotify

48. James Ferraro - NYC, Hell 3:00AM

hipster 'concepts' (in-house jokes) aside, nyc hell stands separate from the vapors if only 'cause it's so damn sad

insound / spotify

47. Laurel Halo - Chance of Rain

the cold & fuckin weird 'follow-up' you didn't know you needed

hyperdub / boomkat / spotify

46. Full of Hell - Rudiments of Mutilation

sludge delirium

bandcamp / spotify

45. Parents - Parents

we'll bathe tonight

bandcamp

44. William Basinski - Nocturnes

abstract no-fun and a trail of tears

2062

43. Stara Rzeka - Cień Chmury Nad Ukrytym Polem

earth's beauty and fury and humour

bandcamp

42. Julia Brown - to be close to you

they're actually fuckin great when you can't hear them properly

bandcamp

41. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - Devotion

emotive glitch

bandcamp / spotify

40. Paysage d'Hiver - Das Tor

atmospheric old man dying in the snow music

prophecy / bandcamp

39. Dead in the Dirt - The Blind Hole

exhausting

bandcamp

38. Arrington De Dionyso's Malaikat Dan Singa - Open the Crown

beefheart revival's most endearing

bandcamp / spotify

37. Crash of Rhinos - Knots

emo revival's angriest

bandcamp / spotify

36. Pharmakon - Abandon

in 2013 there was a screaming across the sky and everyone got scared and everyone was moved

sacred bones / spotify

35. Freddie Gibbs - ESGN

dead eyed nihilism goes teary eyed desperation. it'll spin your face around

spotify

34. Raum - Event of Your Leaving

sunburned and longing

glasscommahouse / spotify

33. Machinedrum - Vapor City

nobly soulful

ninjatune / spotify

32. Ashley Paul - Line the Clouds

quiet noise

relrecords / spotify

31. These New Puritans - Field of Reeds

penguin cafe orchestra for bong iver yuppies

tnp

30. Inga Copeland - Don't Look Back, That's Not Where You're Going

we're all ears

hipposintanks

29. Fat White Family - Champagne Holocaust

pigfuck retards: nothing's shocking

bandcamp / spotify

28. Tal National - Kaani

hot sweat

fatcat / spotify

27. Nails - Abandon All Life

cold sweat

bandcamp / spotify

26. The Body - Christs, Redeemers

the cold shower

thrilljockey / spotify

25. Slow Warm Death - s/t

i guess garage punk gets to the point more directly/less cloyingly than emo(?)

bandcamp / spotify

24. Milk Music - Cruise Your Illusion

pomo zuma nostalgia, not giving a fuck betrayed by the pout, the pout betrayed by the lazy eye

fatpossum / spotify

23. Iron Lung - White Glove Test

in appreciation of life's minute details: so fast that 30 secs with white glove test feels like an hour

bandcamp / spotify

22. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels

political paranoids cool it (but don't cool it at all, of course) just to say: we're the fucking best

foolsgold

21. Bardo Pond - Peace on Venus

the psychedelia never manages to rise above the band's aimless yearning

firerecords / spotify

20. Prurient - Through the Window

ode to the alienated banality of our collective existence, on through the window fernow's prurient (so often the outlet for an abstract primal release) holds himself back for everything but a brief panic attack in the middle. everything else is spirit and desire flattened and set to the rhythm of sexless repetition and empty, mocking phrases

spotify

19. The Knife - Shaking the Habitual

odd but immediately enjoyable, and with a point to prove

rabidrecords / spotify

18. Bill Orcutt - A History of Every One

history disembowled

editionsmego / spotify

17. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II

suicide pop

cinderblock / spotify

16. RP Boo - Legacy

simultaneously makes a case for, and teaches the listener about, his legacy

planetmu / spotify

15. Humanbeast - Venus Ejaculates in the Banquet

dinner party pop for masochists

loadrecords

14. Hookworms - Pearl Mystic

'space' rock that shoots inward (for introspection rather than the cosmos)

gringo

13. (Ensemble Pearl) - (Ensemble Pearl)

chance and spontaneous interaction in a metal context, also the history of rock music

dragcity

12. Black Boned Angel - The End

transcendental metal (sorry liturgy, deafheaven)

thrilljockey

11. Tim Hecker - Virgins

it might not seem this way now, but surely best way to follow an abrasive conceptual masterpiece would be with something organic and personal

kranky / spotify

10. Julianna Barwick - Nepenthe

"waving to you"

deadoceans / spotify

9. The Body - Master, We Perish

sludge collage of human suffering

thrilljockey / spotify

8. Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light

full spectrum- darker and deader, then lighter than ever

cst / spotify

7. The Men - New Moon

punk rock archaeology, pure and vulnerable

sacredbones / spotify

6. Kurt Vile - Wakin On A Pretty Daze

finally happy not to give a fuck

matador / spotify

5. Grouper - The Man Who Died in His Boat

fragments and leftovers sound coherent when you've done the hard work p much creating your own genre

kranky / spotify

4. Endless Boogie - Long Island

zz top for hipsters and metalheads

noquarter

3. Kanye West - Yeezus

uh-huh, honey

amazon / spotify

2. The Dead C - Armed Courage

pacing, pacing

midheaven

1. Dean Blunt - The Redeemer

the dull nausea of heartache and how we convince ourselves that we can move on

hipposintanks / spotify

best book i read

Jason - Lost Cat

while it's not as immediately devastating as something like hey, waitlost cat is probably jason's prettiest, best paced, and most consistent book. chance encounters, missed connections, and the end of the fucking world...

runner-ups:

Charles Forsman - The End of the Fucking World

forsman renders everything in absolute clarity through his dry and bare artwork, and so there is no opportunity for the romanticization of any of teotfw's characters, decisions, and events. it exists to make you hurt and it will do just that. i cried.

Simon Hanselmann - Life Zone

stoner comedy as dark as it is heartfelt. probably the best pacing i've ever come across in a comic book. cried again.

best games i played


the world might be chaotic but it is still out to get you


gives the player the opportunity to skirt around the edges of its surrealist dislogic and interpret things literally, or just completely cave and see what he/she finds there


completely abandons the grim desperation of the first one for the sake of thoughtful blockbuster storytelling. it's a hypocritical massacre but it's gorgeous.


video game impressionism


awful first half, unexpectedly redeems itself and transcends its bs survivalist cliches


fucking cruel


o bubs


sentimental storytelling for nostalgic indie gamers