One of my favorite tracks from last year, if not ever. The video includes everyone’s favorite awkwardly sexy actress Audrey Plaza playing one mentally fucked-up, substance abused broad
Father John Misty - Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
One of my favorite tracks from last year, if not ever. The video includes everyone’s favorite awkwardly sexy actress Audrey Plaza playing one mentally fucked-up, substance abused broad
Father John Misty - Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
I know this is a Foxygen review, but I posted a really glowing review of The Knife’s 2006 record here. http://letthiscolonyknow.tumblr.com/post/47467959509/the-knife-silent-shout-2006-review. I had been obsessing over The Knife for a whole week straight and finally just had to say to everyone just how fucking good they were. Alright, now that we got that out of the way.
Foxygen is a 60’s-esque indie pop band that splits the difference between MGMT’s non-dancy stuff and (insert 60’s baiting band here) — but with a slightly modern, straightforward indie vibe. As far as 2013 releases go, they’ve got one of the best releases out right about now.
The whole of the album isn’t exactly mindblowing or reinventing the wheel, but there are quite a handful of songs that really ground the album and keep it strong.
The lead single, “No Destruction” is one such song. It’s a really chilled out song about a deteriorated friendship, with choice lines like “Oh, you think it’s over to be someone who smokes pot in the subway with me.” What makes this one sparkle is the dynamics: between the hushed, slacker vocals that remind me of Pavement and then the agonized, agitated cries of certain lines that then slide right back into the hushed, slacker feels. Seriously, you gotta hear the way Foxygen flowed it, as it is incredible.
“San Francisco” is another strong cut, and somewhat of a reference to to an old 60’s track called “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” albeit just in namesake only. It’s insanely catchy and has nice, vintage sounding call and response parts in it.
“Shuggie” is ultimate groove. That’s all I gotta say about that one. ”Oh Yeah” is another perfect homage to a 60’s track, the times where “Oh yeah!” were perfect song lyrics. They’re really good at nailing effortlessly cool 60’s vibes, and that’s what I like. Even on a song like “On Blue Mountain” which sounds more radical, they still sound effortlessly cool while doing it.
If I have one complaint, it’s that the album is really short (9 songs) — maybe they’re playing it safe, or something. As far as the future of Foxygen, I don’t know. Maybe they’re a “Here today, gone tomorrow” type of band or maybe they got a lot of fight in them, as of right now I don’t know. But I will say their album is one of the strongest of 2013 right now and might even scratch the top 10 of 2013.
Listen to Foxygen here: Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic
I seriously love The Knife. I can’t stop listening to them and thinking about them and if I don’t get up on a fucking soapbox it’s gonna get to me. Deep Cuts (2004) was really uneven but they really came to their own on Silent Shout, so let’s talk about that.
It’s dark as fuck but it’s so rooted in the pop of the first album. They took two things that shouldn’t have worked together and made it work. Check out the title track “Silent Shout” for example. The Knife - Silent Shout. you’ve got the main beat, which just sounds like a really conventional, mainstream club beat. You got the synth lines which sound straight from the 80’s, and what makes them so amazing is how they seem to stretch out so linearly. Seriously listen to how the synth evolves over the course of the song, it works harder than any other layer of the song. And then there is the dark, blended overdubbed voices of Karin, smeared on top of it but really subdued. it’s incredible.
“Neverland” SOUNDS like a Neverland. Like, if you just imagined some fantasy forest or something. Straight Narnia jam right there.
“The Captain” is a song I slept on for a long time but it’s reaaaaally amazing. It takes about 3 minutes to finally kick off but when it does and you hear that amazingly spacey synth line kick into a groove, it’s one of the most satisfying things on the album. It’s such a melodically sensible synth line, it just begs you to hum along to it. Again, Karin sounds downright haunting on this song (as she does all over the album) but she’s always doing it with an ear for pop melody. The dark, bassy synth that closes out this song is to die for.
“We Share Our Mother’s Health” is one of the singles on this album and it’s the most poppy and radio ready thing here. Yet, it is not mainstream sounding at all, I didnt say that. It’s just…..radio, for Silent Shout’s standards, haha. This song is obviously about who The Knife is (“we came down from the North” is a reference to them being from Sweden) and their relation to each other (“we share our mother’s health” because they are siblings). Sonically, I love how upbeat this song, the killer doubled-up vocals of Karin, the deep male sounding vocals, then Karin’s vocals layered on top of them… with all the synth stuff still kicking in the background. Before the song is over they do the whole “sing an octave higher” trick too. It all just…works. It makes me want to scream because it’s so good.
“Na Na Na” as an interlude is okay. I like it because it adds to the chilly, eerie atmosphere of the album. In fact, that’s what I love about Silent Shout: every song manages somehow, someway to sound dark and scary, but it’s pop music. How can a band just absolutely nail a theme like that is beyond me. Anyway, at 2 minutes it doesn’t really take up too much time and it’s on to “Marble House”.
“Marble House” is another single, one that I didn’t like at first but now I realize it’s pretty good. It also sounds pretty club ready, and it’s probably their most “normal” sounding song on the record. Not a lot of vocal modulation going on, a fairly tame beat… A lot of people like this song for the line “Some things I do for money, some things I do for free.” I like that Karin’s brother gets a little chance to sing on this song.
“Like a Pen” is one that I liked pretty early on. It’s yet another single and it’s pretty catchy. The “drip drop” synths are so fucking awesome. The rest of the song is just really groovy and bouncy. I like the vocal shift in the last half of the song, it’s always good songwriting when a song is written linearly and not just verse-chorus with the same vocal melodies repeated. I DO think the outro could have been cut but whatever. ”Like a Pen” is still the shit.
“From Off to On” is a song that you might be underwhelmed with at first, but it’s actually amazing. It’s slow, the vocals are whispered, the synths are easy-breezy. If you listen closely enough, it wows you.
“Forest Families”, what can I say about this one. Once again, it’s The Knife ladies and gentlemen. What I found with this song is the hook really hooks into you. ”Muuuusssiiicc toonightttt” can get trapped in your head really quick. Like I said, everything on Silent Shout is rooted in POP music, but the way it’s wrapped up is in dark, gothic sounding vocals and synths. It’s so amazing.
“One Hit” is kinda jarring at first. It’s the red headed step child on this album. But it’s soooooo fucking amazing. I love the groove that gets locked in at the 54 second mark. I love the lyrics on this song, especially the line about giving head not being pornography if you do it with the lights on, it’s instead “artistic.” I love the don’t-give-a-fuck manner in which they randomly reference The Godfather (“spending time with my familyyyyyy, like the Corleonnneeeeess”). This is actually one of the best songs on the album.
“Still Light” doesn’t do too much. It’s the closer. I mean, stacked up against all the great material that came before it, I don’t mind that they decided to play it safe. Once again, it still has that “dark pop” feel so it’s still awesome.
Look, I’ll say it like this. When this album came out in 2006 (and make no mistake—that is when I discovered it), Pitchfork put it as their #1 album of 2006. I really, really didn’t understand their logic behind that, and it kind of bothered me for a while too. I mean, I said to myself “well it wasn’t THAT good.” Now 7 years later, I’m more mature than I was when I was 16. I appreciate it a lot more, and I can see why they put it at #1. I can even see why it beat out other great records like Grizzly Bear’s Yellow House and Joanna Newsom’s Ys. It’s stood the test of time, and it doesn’t sound dated at all. It’s just an amazing record. Near flawless. Leaps and bounds from Deep Cuts. Unmatched by the new record, Shaking The Habitual. It’s a great record that everyone should invest in listening to.
I’ve seen so many genres of music performed live in two days that as I look back, all of it feels like a blur, but let’s get into this double review.
Between the Buried and Me, Coheed and Cambria (and the opener, Russian Circles) played the 9:30 Club located in Washington DC; my favorite venue to see shows because of the acoustics and venue layout. Me and Trey got in when Russian Circles just began their set, and they played a pretty good set. Hilariously enough, they fit the stereotype of the post-rocker outlined here, except with longer hair (because they are post-metal). They had a very clean sound for metal though, and they do alot with just three members thanks to loop pedals. I enjoyed them alot.
Between the Buried and Me though…
BTBAM are virtuosos at guitar. They are the kings of that whole technical/progressive metalcore sound and they proved that with their 6 song, hourlong set. They played as if they were headlining the show…
I think the little known secret of BTBAM is that these were kids who looked up to classic rock bands like Kansas, Yes, Rush, etc. that happened to get sucked into metal. Their songs will go from metal to circus themes to 70’s solos, sometimes multiple times per song (Ants of the Sky, I’m looking at you). ”Ants of the Sky,” the 13 minute beast of a song, was the definite highlight of the night. They’re a really technically accomplished band and fun to watch. I can’t imagine how long they play when they’re actually headlining.
Coheed and Cambria are of course technically proficient in their own right too, but every album of theirs after Good Apollo II lacks the proggy goodness that makes the first half of their catalog so special. And their setlist was heavy on the new stuff and their popular singles (“A Favor House Atlantic”, “Wake Up”, “Welcome Home”). So while I won’t say that their set was “boring”, it certainly felt “low stakes” especially if we’re comparing it to BTBAM’s set.
Still, when Coheed was on, they were on. ”The Crowing”, “No World For Tomorrow”, and “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth 3” were all perfect. I also enjoyed the hard hitting “Key Entity Extraction I”. Overall I liked their set but if they would have just sprinkled more old stuff in the setlist it would have improved the show tenfold.
Now we move on to last night’s show: Matt & Kim, Passion Pit (and the opener, Icona Pop) who played right in my own backyard, The Norva in Norfolk.
Icona Pop are Swedish popstars (which means they are automatically good) who play and sing their own songs. Their brand of pop music wouldn’t be too far away from what Z104 plays, but it was alright. Nothing too offensive.
Matt & Kim stole the show. They were super energetic, with Kim smiling all the time and both of them hopping around and shit. In between songs they kept playing random medleys of popular songs, proving that they have a strong love for pop music. In fact, I think they even outshined Passion Pit.
Passion Pit is a band that I loved when they first came out but unfortunately they quickly ran their course. I felt like their performance last night was better wooden, lazy, and phoned in. Michael’s vocals were buried deep in the mix and were just not lively, but the band stuck through the night anyway. I wasn’t keen on the new stuff, and the old stuff didn’t have the same bite as when I saw them 3 years ago. I wasn’t 100% disappointed but I wasn’t engaged at all, and that’s sad considering that I was pretty drunk. Maybe I’m just getting older but Passion Pit wasn’t for me.
All in all, I had fun at both shows though. Interesting enough, both of these shows had two dates in the same venue.. just a random tidbit.
It’s a good read. Check it out
In no particular order, these were albums that came close to making my top ten (I’m looking at you Baroness, John Talabot) or at least distinguished themselves enough to rise above the pack.
Big Boi (and too many guests to count)-Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors
Schoolboy Q-Habits & Contradictions
Daniel Rossen-Silent Hour/Golden Mile
Hot Chip-In Our Heads
Santigold-Master of My Make Believe
Baroness-Yellow & Green
Top 10 of 2012
10. Beach House: Bloom – I knew that due to how enamored I was with Teen Dream, anything they did afterward would be a letdown. But oh what a small let down this was, because this album is terrific. Beach House keep on doing what they best.
9. Cloud Nothings: Attack On Memory – Killer album here. With surly builds to epic breakdowns (No Future No Past, No Sentiment), flat out aggressive assaults (Wasted Days), or charming light punk (Stay Useless), Cloud Nothings prove themselves to be a versatile and talented powerhouse.
8. Nicolas Jaar and Various Artists: Prism (or Don’t Break My Love) – Nicolas Jaar returns from his spectacular 2011 offering Space is Only Noise with a gorgeous collaborative effort featuring many of his label-mates, and it gels into an incredibly consistent whole. A different kind of electronic music, toeing towards ambient but still firmly holding your attention.
7. Flying Lotus: Until the Quiet Comes – In the huge footsteps of Cosmogramma, Flylo delivers a more streamlined yet still impressive album. Stretches of dense activity suddenly dissipate into stunning moments of Nirvana, soon to be replaced with dark tones and chilling vocals. As with all his albums, this is an album to be listened to all the way through from start to finish.
6. Killer Mike: R.A.P. Music – Killer Mike absolutely kills it on this album, bringing his most confrontational A-game to every song. Bangers (Big Beast and Southern Fried) make this album entertaining, but personal anthems (Willie Burke Sherwood) and
politically charged outbursts (Reagan) elevate this album to excellence.
5. Death Grips: The Money Store – Was there a more controversial or overhyped act of 2012? Edging out the solid No Love Deep Web, The Money Store is an outrageous work of art that left as many people shaking their heads as nodding them. Yet there is an engaging energy inherent in most of these songs that still hasn’t stopped giving me chills.
4. Tame Impala: Lonerism – 2012’s trip back to the psychedelic 60s, Tame Impala blew me away with this one. With too many glorious peaks to count, this euphoric album is awe inspiring as well as catchy as hell, a real triumph and endlessly replayable.
3. Frank Ocean: Channel Orange – Is this guy even affiliated with Odd Future? Frank Ocean builds a sexy, personal and powerful album and is getting some deserved fame because of it. Shows he has more than a beautiful voice by bringing awesome songwriting and some superb production.
2. Grizzly Bear: Shields – Grizzly Bear far surpassed my considerable expectations with this one. A return to a complete album after an (still pretty awesome) album consisting of unforgettable hits and then a few forgettable songs-Shields is amazingly consistent and thoroughly excellent. A perfect balance of tension transformed into beauty, and the things these guys do with their voices is unbelievable.
1. Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid M.A.A.D City – Fucking incredible album. Not much I can say that hasn’t already been said about this, this was clearly the album to listen to in 2012. Still blown away every time I listen to this, but also the only thing I want to listen to when I’m getting drunk. Appropriate for any situation, because this kind of quality immediately renders anything else inconsequential.
I’m putting in an early bid for the top albums this year. There is virtually no influence from any other publications… meaning, whatever Pitchfork or whoever decides is going to be their top albums, I have no idea. This is just my opinion.
NOTE, the album title links open up Spotify, and there is one huge “best of 2012” playlist with all of these albums at the end. Or click here for it.
Yes, that is the album title, and Fiona’s first album in 7 years. I was never a huge fan of her stuff, but this album made me take notice. She shows up all the women in indie with this one. Strong voice, strong lyrics, what more can you want. LISTEN: Every Single Night, Daredevil, Jonathan, Werewolf
Hot Chip have been in the game for a long time and it shows. They’ve matured their sound and put out the best indie dance record of the year. More dance bands should take note, because songwriting is usually not the strong point of a dance album, but on In Our Heads, it is. LISTEN: Motion Sickness, How Do You Do?, Look At Where We Are, Now There is Nothing
I’ll admit, I was a little worried when Bloom’s first single “Myth” came out; I felt like they had taken a huge step back from their last album, Teen Dream. But that’s Beach House for you. They never try to impress us, they just do their thing and do it well. In a sense, they always just slightly tweak their main sound from album to album… they never go for a radical change, and they know this approach works best for them. Every album of theirs has grown on me and Bloom is no different. LISTEN: Lazuli, Other People, Troublemaker, and Equal Mind (found on the b-side of Lazuli)
This was a tough album to put all the way down at #7, if you know me. The early singles “Sleeping Ute” and “Yet Again” showed promise, but when I heard the whole album I was disappointed. Shields sounds like a mix of Yellow House and Veckatimest, but nowhere nearly as good as those two albums. Grizzly Bear’s still my favorite band though (their live show is still amazing), and this album still deserves a top spot, just barely nudging past Beach House’s album. LISTEN: Sleeping Ute, Yet Again, The Hunt, Gun-Shy
This album right here though nig…
This album came out of nowhere for me. I hadn’t heard of it until recently but now that I have, I can’t put it down. Father John Misty is Josh Tillman, better known as the ex-drummer of Fleet Foxes. And if you like Fleet Foxes, there’s a lot to love here. Great melodies, a classic sound, and some bold lyrics about drugs (you can tell he really lives this folk shit, none of that plain rice shit you hear on the radio), Fear Fun unexpectedly jumped up high on my list.
I suspect this one is going to raise a few eyebrows for me putting it top 5 (actually, my friend raises an eyebrow just because I listen to a band called Purity Ring) but I don’t really care because it knocks so hard. The formula is basically female vocals + bass heavy beats (listen to this fucking album with subs) with a witch house vibe to it, but without being sketch as fuck like witch house. Now, I have been listening to this one for a while, and it hasn’t gotten old for me yet. I want to direct some of the attention away from Grimes and throw it on Purity Ring. LISTEN: Crawlersout, Fineshrine, Ungirthed, Amenamy, Saltkin, Obedear, Lofticries
Baroness is the type of band whose shirt I could be wearing, it get “Instagrammed,” not even be the main focus of the photo and have someone comment saying, “Fuck yeah for the Baroness shirt.” That’s a random example but I just like to point it out because it actually happened.
Anyway, Yellow & Green is a double album by the metal band Baroness and it made a lot of “real metal~” fans upset because the majority of Yellow & Green sounds more like alternative rock/indie music than heavy metal. Which, to people like me who don’t only like metal, isn’t a bad thing at all. I respect that they’re maturing and not trying to put out the same old metal shit every single time. LISTEN: MTNS. (The Crown & Anchor), Board Up The House, Little Things, Cocainum.
This album is mindblowing. It could have easily been my #1 if these next two records hadn’t been released. They’re not trying anything out of the ordinary either. This is just psychedelic indie rock inspired by the 60’s and 70’s, but they make it sound so effortless. And even though they make drug music, you don’t have to be on drugs to like it— the album just takes you “there.” I also like the theme of “lonerism” here, with songs like “Music to Walk Home By” and “Why Won’t They Talk To Me” you feel that outcast vibe on the album. The extended jams (if you like songs that go on past 5 minutes, this album is for you—I LOVE that shit), the bass grooves, the Pink Floyd - “Money” influence in the song “Elephant”…there’s a lot to love about to this album. LISTEN: Apocalypse Dreams, Mind Mischief, Music To Walk Home By, Why Won’t They Talk To Me, Keep On Lying, Elephant
Andrew Bird. This is a dude that gets overshadowed by Sufjan Stevens a lot, and their sounds are pretty similar. But yeah… if your “sounds like” is Sufjan Stevens, chances are you’re a great artist, and Bird is. Also, this is another difference between a band like The Lumineers and a great artist like Andrew Bird. The Lumineers has a song that goes “I belong with you, you belong with me, whoa ohhaaahh.” Andrew Bird on the other hand, doesn’t settle for that kind of patty-cake bullshit lyrics. Not a weak song on this album either, I could recommend it all. LISTEN: Desperation Breeds?, Danse Carribe, Give It Away, Eyeoneye, Near Death Experience Experience, Fatal Shore
I don’t think this nomination should come as a surprise to anyone, because when it came out I let everyone know how dope it was for at least two weeks straight. I think of it as an instant classic.
A lot has already been said about what makes this album so amazing: great flows, the song versatility, the whole storyline and the skits that give the album the “short film” feel that Kendrick was aiming for, the sampling of both Beach House and Twin Sister (on songs “Money Trees” and “The Recipe,” respectively), great guest spots, etc. so I won’t bore you with any of that. I will instead say that Kendrick had a vision for this album and he nailed it. This is a fully realized concept album that’s one of the best albums the rap genre has ever produced, and it wins out on all other “other genre” albums as the top album of 2012.
LISTEN: The whole album
What were YOUR top albums of 2012? Do you disagree with anything on my list? Am I crazy for putting Purity Ring at #5? Overrated the fuck out of Kendrick’s album? Does my taste in music flat out suck? Share your thoughts.
These are all albums that I liked a lot, not necessarily top 10, but should not be overlooked. Links to albums included, and a sample song from each
Robb Bank$ - Calendars (Datpiff Download)
Listen: New Ceremony
Listen: Grist For The Malady Mill
Joey Bada$$ - 1999 (Datpiff Download)
Listen: Terrorist Threats (feat. Danny Brown)
Listen: About To Die
Listen: Pyramids (album version)
This is not everything I enjoyed runners-up wise, just a small snapshot. As always, every year I always miss some albums to listen to that could make or break my lists. I am looking for recommendations; what else was good this year? Let me know.
Time to wrap up the year’s end with the album lists, yet again. Anyone who wants to pitch in, can, but I think you’ll find my treatment this year very brief as compared to the other years.
Here are 5 albums that I didn’t get the hype about. Did anyone really enjoy these albums/care to tell me what I’m missing? I want to hear thoughts on these. Who knows, I might be able to change my mind.
You can listen to these albums via Spotify embed (and you do use Spotify, right?)
Meek Mill - Dreams and Nightmares
Here was an album that got a lot of hype before and after the release, but…
I was expecting a lot more. I like the concept, Meek rapping about how he came up, and it’s always good to hear that focus in rap. But ultimately it was pretty uneven, and much of it falls under the MMG philosophy that the more money you throw at an album, the more of a banger it becomes (false). I think Meek missed the mark on this one.
Grimes - Visions
I didn’t hate this album, in fact, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s a pretty strong album and all, and I get what Claire is trying to do here. It’s a little bit indie pop, glitchy electro, and R&B rolled into one, which does translate into a nice sound… but it’s blowing my mind how much praise it’s getting. Plus there were some really trying moments on this album (the song “Eight” comes to mind), where her vocals just go too high pitch and pierce your eardrums. It’s half annoying, half catchy as fuck.
The Lumineers - The Lumineers
These dudes came out of nowhere, and I knew a lot of people raving about em. Then I sat down and listened to the album and I didn’t see what was so special. They do cater to that post-Mumford and Sons radio folk crowd, and this type of sound isn’t horrible music at all. But it’s not particularly good either. Listening to this album was like eating a bowl of plain rice. Some people might say, “what’s your problem, I love plain rice” well, I just can’t fuck with it.
fun. - Some Nights
I feel like fun.’s first album Aim and Ignite destroys Some Nights, just goes to show you more production isn’t always going to translate into better songs.
DIIV - Oshin
DIIV (formerly, Dive) swim in that ocean of lo-fi beach shit. Yes, that’s still alive and kicking in 2012. I don’t understand what DIIV is doing to get them into the top 10 albums on some of these lists though. If you were listening to this shit two years ago, there’s not really much new here. Wholetime I was listening to Oshin, I was wishing that I were listening to Real Estate instead…
Once again, did you guys love any of these albums? Think that I’m flat out wrong on any of them? Let me know.
NEXT LIST : Honorable Mentions. I plan to all of my lists today, so I’ll do my top 10 after that.
Welcome everyone! This blog is meant to keep you from all of the garbage you think is music, and set you on the path of righteousness.
We will be posting songs, reviews, and anything else we feel you should know of day to day with hopes of you enjoying our choices and broadening your musical range. So sit back and take a listen and let us know what you think from time to time.
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