Okay, so here's the deal.
20 albums of this year.
20 albums from other years that i didn't dig until this year.
10 albums that suck.
THE TOP 20 ALBUMS OF THIS YEAR.
- In Rainbows
Cliche maybe, but at 20? You're probably saying, Dan, you're a prick, you just hate on radiohead. Not true. I think Amnesiac
was a phenomenal album (which, to most people who tell me, uh, didn't you think that OK Computer
was better? I just laugh). Solid, aggressively radiohead. Which obviously means it's distant, cold, not inviting, but composed with such odd brilliance it's hard not to put this on lists.
This fake album by a fake band is still probably one of my favourite metal releases of the year (well, depends on what you call 'metal'), catchy riffs, overwhelmingly awesome lyrics... sometimes i wonder why it takes one man to make a metal band this cool?
18. Wu-Tang Clan
- 8 Diagrams
With or without some members, the Wu still knows how to drop it. Where other's say it's overrated, I say they're overly contextualizing it. Whereas if this was 93 and 36 Chambers
dropped, it would be a number 1 in many a list, if this released in 93 instead of 36 chambers? i'm pretty sure it'd be high up there too.
- Drums and Guns
Low has been a phenomenal band for years, well before Steve Albini
touched Destroyer, this album is a return to form of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker's bleakness. Yeah. Bleakness, you heard me, Low's austere, spartan music combines just enough melody and purity to behave like it should. As much as I dislike Dave Fridmann when he produces other things, he's extrodinarly talented at producting Low. A shade below [albums artist=Low]Things we lost in the Fire[/album] but still has the goods.
- Excellent Italian Greyhound
Okay, two direct references of Albini in two entries. Awesome. Ha, so i don't tend to suck on Albini for being a musician all the time, but, for probably his best work on shellac since... well. a long time coming. Reminiscent of big black, terribly fun, and probably albini's lyrics are at the top of his game. The production on this is also top notch. Probably the best Shellac production since 1000 Hurts[/album]... Oh, and the art and packaging is so awesome.
Swirly psych-tinged pop with serious IDM issues in a live band confrontation. The album outdoes Up in Flames by a few hop skips and kaboodles... I really have to think Earlmo
for telling me about this... The dreamy mix of instrumentation gives rise to a certain eclecticism that doesn't hurt my brain like Animal Collective
, but it maintains the ability that merely being atmospheric doesn't mean you're devoid of the feelings of life.
- [Album Artist=Pelican]City of Echos[/albums]
I wish I could be like them. To call them bombastic or epic and the new school visionaries of experimental metal is just a bunch of tomfoolery. When the album came out, everyone was like, WTF, the drumming sucks! In reality, the answer was no. It doesn't. I was just listening to a bunch of meatheads try to wonder why they didn't have a million fantastic fills. The kilter of the album is a sure growth from Australasia
into a role filled by their masters Neurosis
- Love Is Simple
Akron/Family was a reminant of my computer purchase (if you didn't know, i won a computer in a poker game), after listening to their s/t album, I delved into Love is Simple. Well. Everyone knows me because of my intense love for things that are loud and distorted. (i'm sure this list is clearly saying otherwise) This constant battle between folk and psych-pop, grooving sections, melody, it's a real bruiser for eclecticism without seeming too disjointed. Well put together, well produced, and fantastic replay value. I can listen to this album every day and not feel disappointed by it.
12. The Fall of Troy
- [artist album=The fall of troy]Manipulator
Sickning. The Fall of Troy has some magical way to turn the most technically challenging riffs into amazingly groovable tunes. (i glare evilly at Dream Theater
). There's something to be said about the concept of the album, where it's very good, it seems to be focused on it's own stereotype of genre bending, it makes it lose a few spots here because of it. It wants to be so badly everything it's supposed to be, which includes passages that have absolutely no place being there (i.e. the weird blues power-pop portions), but in some absolute manner, your ear passes over it in anticipation for the next string... it's like a roller coaster in the truest sense.
11. Kanye West
Is it necessary to list stuff here? I'm sure it's rehashed everywhere, including here.
God. This album is light years better than LCD Soundsystem
's Sound of Silver. Incredibly moving, just put your ass to the floor dancy sort of music. I'm really not sure why I just compared the two, maybe they try to attract the same set... I mean, Vitalic
's release last year (or was that two years ago?), was this good. Okay, i'm speaking out of my ass, the important thing though is that this album hits all notes of glitch, trance, ass shaking near-rock perfect for the hipster set, like Basement Jaxx
was four years ago... god damn those french.
- Autumn of the Seraph
After reforming from 3 years of hiatus after summer in abbadon (amazing in it's ownright for it's downtempo but somewhat mathy and overall glittering sound)... Who shows up to make it better? No Knife
and Rocket from the Crypt
... produced by Mark Trombino of San Diego, the Whale's Vagina's finest Drive Like Jehu
... this album is tugged filled with emotional twistings of the restrained kind, like royalty. refined, fine tuned, but still dramatically built to last the ages.
8. Aesop Rock
- None Shall Pass
Aesop Rock? Yes kids, you should know that this man finally hit it perfect. He gets it denser. He gets it tighter. He delivers with precision and a precision. Blockhead really channeled the classic feeling of GZA and RZA. Yeah. Aesop is accessible, and i mean, please, Bring Back Pluto? Banging. But as far as Def Jux records?
- I'll Sleep When You're Dead
Def Jux puts on 2 top 10 albums in my book. I love El-P's production. If Daft Punk catered to the hip-hop crowd, they'd sound like El-P's beats. He's built with anger, more aggression than Aesop. He took more chances than Aesop, and in my opinion, that separated I'll sleep when You're Dead from None Shall Pass. More critical of the world, as opposed to the parody riot that is Aes, his relevance and his punches are dripping with Public Enemy
, well. His beats are kinda PE reminiscent too... Anyway. Just marginally better than None Shall Pass.
- Given to the Rising
Child, meet your master. Neurosis has been doing the experimental metal for oh, lets say 15 years now. Opposed to their last few albums, Given to the Rising surges from the first note. The apoloclypse is likely to be soundtracked by Neurosis. It really, honestly, beat the shit out of Isis
. It wasn't anything more than a lesson of dominance, the meatheads mortal enemy. This is the intellegent metal rock album of the year. Period. It's their best album yet. Period. Did they silence all their imitators? Totally. They set the bar expanding the genre of metal even further.
5. The Arcade Fire
- Neon Bible
I haven't listened to this album in months. And whereas it's not as good as Funeral
, it still rings home perfectly well as probably one of the best albums of the year. Win Butler is absolutely turning into an immortal figure of the indie rock scene ala Steven Patrick Morrissey, Thurston Moore, Bob Pollard and the arcade fire will eventually be placed next to The Beach Boys
. The album isn't as giving as Funeral, and the lyrics have taken a little turn downwards, but the songwriting is stronger than ever. Precise swells and recessions, it's logically connected to Funeral, and is a clear growth in a good direction (to see what they've done since first putting out no cars go on their EP).
- The Destruction of Small Ideas
This album is good. Really good. Whereas Explosions in the Sky
didn't stray, 65dos brought a certain freshness to the post-rock ideals. In off years by Godspeed! You Black Emperor
, the album shines as bright as Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennae to the Heavenes
or Young Team
. The sheer cool intensity of the album, epic without feeling verbose. Bountiful without restraint, bombast, after bombast, after bombast. This pony roars with glitchiness that separates them, a respect for the historical that separates them from the evergrowing field of post-rock artists.
Again, a special thanks to FishRock (who now is a californian) for introducing to these kids back when they were ep-ing... all i needed to hear was ian williams of Don Caballero
was playing guitar. It was it. Mirrors, their first full length is an epic proportions album. Accessible but mathy, truly creative and envelope pushing. Bringing electronics into an era where everythings ruled by electronics without sounding truly 'electronic'. This album bites its teeth in, it's got great replay value, and god, the guitars and drumming are so good. And the vocals. I can't speak enough about how good they are, how out of the box they are, to where some bands were last year, this band made an album available to the club junkies and math nerds. Girl Talk
with a real face.
2. of Montreal
- Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
I totally forgot this album came out in '07. I listened to it with my friend Kim for maybe a month or two solid. Cathartic, draining, simultaniously manic and moping. "The Past Is a Grotesque Animal" is one of the most standout tracks i've ever heard. It's built in halfs, the second half, completely erases the first half (i had to re-listen to it today)... The complete bonker synth-dirge-pop, combined with Kevin Barnes's voice and the layers upon layers of careful dispose put into this builds this into the number two record.
1. Hot Cross
- Risk Revival
I love this album. I love hot cross. I didn't necessarly said it had to be the best album. Okay, maybe I did, but this album does so many things right that modern rockers are doing wrong. It's guitar centric, it's a step further to the left from Saetia
and You and I
, some of the best lyrics, some of the best, most desparate vocals, the types that give me chills. I think that people need to respect this, this album serves as a template for making music that's challenging, engaging (how many times have i said this?). In the common era that we live in, this is what's needed to beat us all out of the mold. Too bad the revolution that feels like Husker Du
reigning again, ended this year.