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  • #my.2011

    Dez 24 2011, 13h20

    top 25 albums (kind of ranked)

    25. Departures - When Losing Everything Is Everything You Wanted
    life is rough
    24. The War on Drugs - Slave Ambient
    life is colorful
    23. Crash Of Rhinos - Distal
    life is youthful
    22. Snowmine - Laminate Pet Animal
    life is textured
    21. Florence + the Machine - Ceremonials
    life is beautiful
    20. Kidcrash - NAPS
    life is exciting
    19. Grouper - A I A
    life is humming
    18. Grails - Deep Politics
    life is cinematic (at times)
    17. Frank Turner - England, Keep My Bones
    life is close to its roots
    16. KASHIWA Daisuke - 88
    life is simple
    15. Pianos Become the Teeth - The Lack Long After
    life is moving
    14. The Horrible Crowes - Elsie
    life is personal
    13. Ampere - Like Shadows
    life is frantic
    12. Wilco - The Whole Love
    life is one sunday morning
    11. Laura Stevenson and the Cans - Sit Resist
    life is ... everything
    10. Chuck Ragan - Covering Ground
    life is passion
    9. WU LYF - Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
    life is about that one moment
    8. Red City Radio - The Dangers of Standing Still
    life is anthemic
    7. Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972
    life is layered
    6. Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver
    life is an experience
    5. Trophy Scars - Never Born, Never Dead
    life is in unison
    4. Pygmy Lush - Old Friends
    life is an evolution
    3. The Men - Leave Home
    life is punk rock
    2. Glassjaw - Our Color Green + coloring book
    life is a fucking awesome playlist
    1. Thrice - Major/Minor
    life is an anthology
  • 2010 \\ the music.

    Dez 31 2010, 12h17

    my year in lists. deal with it.

    \\ honorable mention


    The State Lottery
    When The Night Comes

    > Punk rock at its most kind-hearted.

    > listen


    \\ lp's



    Murder by Death
    Good Morning, Magpie

    > I like how the new album is simultaneously their somewhat most hopeful and their most dark and desperate, how it's not immediately catchy and the kind of epic only Murder by Death is but so intriguingly addictive and subtle that it's all-time crawling, all-time demanding.

    > listen



    The Men
    Immaculada

    > The first half is kinda weak but the second is an amazing amalgamation of noise, shoegaze and screamo-tinged punk. Plus, it's super obscure and makes this list more elite.

    > listen



    S. Carey
    All We Grow

    > I didn't know that Bon Iver had a drummer this talented. One of the few drummer solo projects that do not suck (I think).

    > listen



    Harvey Milk
    A Small Turn of Human Kindness

    > Heavy + Bleak + Hopeless = Awesome.

    > listen



    Shearwater
    The Golden Archipelago

    > Picture-book grower with endearing melodies and beautiful songwriting.

    > listen



    The Menzingers
    Chamberlain Waits

    > "Time Tables", 2:20+ min: Best thing ever.

    > listen



    Tera Melos
    Patagonian Rats

    > YES there IS tons of mindless guitar noodling but I fucking love it.

    > watch



    Sed Non Satiata
    Sed Non Satiata

    > Fully evolving into this post rock-tinged screamo thing but with more precision, passion, perfection.

    > listen



    Justin Townes Earle
    Harlem River Blues

    > Bluesy folk that gets you with every guitar chord, every vocal line, every arpeggio.

    > listen



    Max Richter
    Infra

    > One of the best current composers, and he's from germany. Pretty pointless comment, I know. Just sayin'.

    > listen



    Sun Kil Moon
    Admiral Fell Promises

    > Not the mindless guitar wankery everybody's claiming, just sophisticated, beautiful guitar-centered folk.

    > listen



    Kerouac
    Cold and Distant, Not Loving

    > Shit is heavy as fuck. And pissed off as fuck. Fucking good, too.

    > listen



    Anchors
    Bad JuJu

    > Melodic hardcore/punk that is breakneck furiuos, irresistible catchy and pleasently technical. Kinda like A Wilhelm Scream mixed with Marathon and Strike Anywhere but even more ballsy.

    > listen



    Dangers
    Messy, Isn't It?

    > Varied, catchy as fuck hardcore music with terrific one-liners and ballin' riffs non-stop.

    > listen



    Ghastly City Sleep
    Moondrifts

    > Hauntingly beautiful and with this airy ambience that everyone loves.

    > listen



    The Weakerthans
    Live At Burton Cummings Theatre

    > One of the best live records I've ever heard. Crystal-clear sound, perfect setlist, perfectly audible background vocals (how awesome is that?).

    > watch



    The Tallest Man on Earth
    The Wild Hunt

    > Even better than his awesome debut album, Dylan's heritage delivers another beautiful piece of remarkable folk.

    > listen



    The Natonal
    High Violet

    > Pops up in my head when I randomly hear the words 'beautiful' or "gorgeous". That must count for something, right?

    > listen



    Titus Andronicus
    The Monitor

    > Can't tell how often I went jogging while listening to this album and grinning like a fucking retard.

    > watch



    Deftones
    Diamond Eyes

    > Incredibly dense and perfectly produced masterpiece that gives me goosebumps when it's loud and orgasms when it's calm.

    > watch


    \\ ep's


    Memoryhouse
    The Years

    > Epic dream pop, who doesn't love that?

    > watch



    Departures
    Escaping Air

    > Modern Life Is War-esque hardcore that's awesome. /rules

    > listen


    United Nations
    Nevermind the Bombings, Here's Your Six Figures

    > Perfect s/t follow-up.

    > listen



    Bomb the Music Industry!
    Adults!!!

    > Finally got me into BTMI! with its catchy sing-a-longs and joyful DIY-attitude.

    > listen



    Trophy Scars
    Darkness, Oh Hell

    > Trophy Scars continue to release their best (read: most awesome) material on ep's.

    > listen


    \\ latest find


    How to Dress Well
    Love Remains

    > Shoegaz-y bedroom r'n'b with lo-fi aesthetics. As awesome as it reads.

    > listen


    __________________________________________________________
  • Review, Tera Melos - Idioms Vol. I

    Mar 11 2010, 11h32

    Tera Melos - Idioms Vol. I

    five of the raddest songs ever written



    Truth be told, I was pretty dissappointed when Tera Melos announced a cover album to be their next release instead of a new full length. I hoped almost wistfully for a creative continuation of their frisky sound they established on the recent split with By The End of Tonight and the phenomenal Drugs To The Dear Youth instead of an unimaginative effort full of tepid rehashed supposed-to-be-classic songs, leading to low points in otherwise great discographies (happened in the case of Between the Buried and Me and A Perfect Circle for example).

    However, when I saw the tracklist and Tera Melos' explanation for such a questionable release on their blog I became highly interested really quick. Not knowing that drummer Vince Rogers left some time ago and therefore the band had to spend time finding an adequate replacement for such a skilled member and teaching him the old songs as well, the now again 3 piece pushed back the plans for a potentially full length and made a record with covers of, according to Tera Melos' blog entry, "five of the raddest songs ever written". Reinterpreting songs of Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), Beach Boys, Pixies, Polaris and The Clash, it seems that the band wanted to pay tribute to tracks that were formative for them as humans and musicians, sharing them with their fans for free.

    Right off the start with the Beach Boys cover "meant for you", Tera Melos conveys the concept they intended for this output: Joyful, bouncy and upbeat interpretations hearable orientated by the originals, dosed with some typical Tera Melos-esque frenziness in terms of anomalous guitar work and sampling/programming. But don't expect another "40 Rods to the Hogs Head" on this album. All songs are stripped down technically; that is to say no two-handed tapping, no jazzy drumming, no spastic changes of time signatures and leitmotifs. However, the songs are ruled by simple power chords and pithy distorted bass grooves, accentuated by nothing more than adequate drumming and the aforementioned little gimmicks Tera Melos is known for. There are tremolo picked slides underneath the chord based main riffs in nearly every song, dissonant muted chord and string plucking in "koka kola" and "tame", some vocal sampling and screaming bends worked into the remarkable main riff of "Blast Off" and perfectly contrasting, ska-ish clean chords in "hey sandy". The transformation of "meant for you" from the originally 35 seconds long piano piece into an about one minute extended rock anthem that concludes in a cacophonie of agitated sampling and weird noises stands as another instance of Tera Melos' palpable attempt to make the songs somewhat unique and creative.

    With a duration of only 8 minutes, you really can't do wrong by giving this little ep a chance. It's fun, it's passionate and most important no apathetic collection of lightly modified covers. Although Tera Melos isn't famous for memorable vocal work, the singing on Idioms Vol.I is sincere and heartfelt, technically solid as well, and shines on "hey sandy" with its free-flowing and revolving vocal snippets in the middle part as perfect indicator of their joy of making music.


    .release 2009
    .rating 3 / 5
    .for fans of the covered artists * fun
    .tracks to check out hey sandy * meant for you * Blast Off
  • Review, Kidcrash - Jokes

    Mar 11 2010, 11h11

    Kidcrash - Jokes

    losing your health/I'm down/I'm signing out




    I don’t really know how to start writing about Kidcrash’s 2007 release Jokes. I could write an intro about the bands history (stale), some preluding words about the incurrence of the record and some statements of the band (maybe interesting, but too lavishly) or I could start off with a little genre definition and sweeping swipes at the MTV-emo generation who obviously knows a sh** about music (seriously, how pretentious would that be?). After all I decided to go without an introducing paragraph (besides the already existing one of course), only concentrating on the main thing this all will be about; the fabulous music you’ll find on this record. Be prepared.

    It opens up with some of the most beautiful interacting guitars I’ve ever heard, the intro to “Turtlelephant”. From that point on you’ll experience the maybe best blend of mellow mid-west emo, rough but melodic skramz ala Daïtro and more blustering contemporaries like Off Minor, whose eruptive character and everchanging quiet/loud sections present a formular that Kidcrash will push to its limits during the 41 minutes of playing time. While the majority of the heavy sections are somewhat well-known but effective, with passioned screaming over dissonant chords tightened by poignant leads and sick drumming, the calmer parts and their resolution in eruptive bursts of crashing distortion are the highlight of the record and will hit you at least 3 times per song. No track relies on one hitting crescendo, on one climax that’s supposed to blow the listener out of the water. Instead they use the quiet/loud approach for a multifaceted rhythmic pathway that evolves the songs through beautiful melodic motifs as well as textured and harmonized modulations among the single instruments. Especially their apprehension of an inventive and sensible use of altered time signatures, that conclude the particular musically themes without ceasing the proceeding flow with start-stop breaks or weird transitions is sweeping, done in best math rock manner. Most prominent on closer listenings, the driving force behind this mathy character of Kidcrash’s music is the colorful drumming, sounding uncommonly off-kilter while outlining likewise the rhythmical backbone and putting emphasis on unaccented notes to provide the songs with new dynamical spins. You'd almost think that the tripping drumming is merely juxtaposed to the perfectly intertwining guitars, rarely profound meshing but jointly rushing forward when the song picks up speed and intensity after trundling, guitar driven interludes.

    While they manage it to range every instrument on the same level, Kidcrash compounded in the vocals section; and really for the better. Keeping the screaming level relatively low in the mix, they only add it to intensify the impact of the heavy segments and exclude it from the softer arrangements, letting the beautiful compositions shine in their instrumental beauty. Due to the occurrence of many of such louder momentums, the scrubbing screams toe the line flawlessly into the complete works, not remaining as an extraordinary appearance that takes the spot as the songs peak by accident.

    Lets conclude: Breathtaking, homogenous, coordinated, free-flowing, beautiful, exciting, appealing, balanced (I could go on for quite some time) emo that ditches in post-hardcore, math rock and screamo terrain at pleasure to provide itself with the momentary needed changes in sound. All its influences make Jokes a non-dreary and challenging-but-catchy collection of nine songs, whose richness of detail and countless subtle nuances give the record an impressive replay value. With some of the best-matched guitarists (check out the in reverb drenched guitar wankery in the one and a half minute instrumental “Kissed from a roach on the grave”), whose individual skill filter through on every occasion (the two-handed tapping parts in “Hypothetical Basking Shark” for instance), a killing drummer (he really is) and especially the ability to combine everything into a tight package, Kidcrash set a landmark of an album that everybody into good music should check out. And for all those people justifiably claiming Gospel’s The Moon Is a Dead World as the best thing the emo genre has to offer: Be prepared for a change. Be prepared.


    .release 2007
    .rating 4.5 / 5
    .for fans of Gospel * Off Minor
    .tracks to check out Turtlelephant * Aconduit Rather Than A Vault * Swingsets and Frozen Grapes
  • 2009 \\ the songs.

    Jan 9 2010, 16h22

    just some songs. great ones to be more precise.
    __

    Afterlives - Ever the Optimist
    from A Ticking Clock I Couldn’t Stop
    Have A Nice Life related so you know

    Japandroids - Wet Hair
    from Post-Nothing
    could have picked 3 or 4 other songs from this record yeah it's that good

    Cave In - Retina Sees Rewind
    from Planets of Old
    EP is full of awesome shit but this song got the grooves

    Castevet - Beating High Schoolers At Arcade Games
    from Summer Fences
    like American Football, but more ballsy

    Therapy? - Exiles
    from Crooked Timber
    some of the best Therapy? material in years

    Rome - A Legacy of Unrest
    from Flowers From Exile
    never thought I'd like something thats called apocalyptic martial folk that much

    Metric - Gimme Sympathy
    from Fantasies
    song is bomb, the album - not so much

    Kreng - Kolossus
    from L'Autopsie Phe´nome´nale De Dieu
    record should be listened as a whole, creepy as hell

    Iron & Wine - The Trapeze Swinger
    from Around the Well
    best Iron & Wine song for me

    All the Empires of the World - Ghosts of Sargasso/Of The Father
    from Blessings
    picked the song pretty randomly because all of the stuff this band put out this year is fantastic

    Kidcrash - Sleeper Wave
    from Snacks
    quality song from a worthy follow-up to the incredible Jokes

    A City Safe From Sea - Well Dressed at the Hospital
    from Throw Me Through Walls
    song is ridiculously catchy post-hardcore from an album full of ridiculously catchy post-hardcore

    Bats - Andrew Wiles
    from Red In Tooth & Claw
    tied with Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date and Credulous! Credulous! in terms of sheer awesomeness

    Do Make Say Think - Do
    from The Other Truths
    years best post rock song (fuck you Mono)

    Mono - Everlasting Light
    from Hymn To The Immortal Wind
    just kidding, Mono is awesome, as is this song.

    Daïtro - Part II
    from Y
    evolves from catchy to epic, what more could you possibly ask for?

    The Ascent Of Everest - The Journey Forever Long
    from The Ascent Of Everest/We All Inherit The Moon Split
    super-solid post rock band delivers

    Coalesce - Wild Ox Moan
    from Ox
    crazy awesome intro, that's for sure.

    Cursive - What Have I Done?
    from Mama, I'm Swollen
    epic closer is epic

    Brainworms - Jay's Big Date
    from II - Swear to me
    you know Bear vs. Shark? that's cool. this is cool, too

    Converge - Dark Horse
    from Axe to Fall
    god this main riff is so tight

    Blakfish - Ringo Starr - 2nd Best Drummer in the Beatles
    from Champions
    I DON'T LIKE DANCE MUSIC AND I DON'T THINK I EVER WILL!

    The Decemberists - The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid
    from Hazards Of Love
    so good that there's a reprise later on that album

    Animal Collective - My Girls
    from Merriweather Post Pavilion
    no, I'm not an indie hipster faggot

    Dear Landlord - Rosa
    from Dream Homes
    some catchy punk rawwwwwk right here

    Bat for Lashes - Pearl's Dream
    from Two Suns
    dude this girl can SING

    Closure in Moscow - Vanguard
    from First Temple
    good 'scene music' how about that? and the singer sounds like that dude from MARS THE F***ING VOLTA

    HORSE the band - Science Police
    from Desperate Living
    sick song. best HORSE album.

    The Antlers - Atrophy
    from Hospice
    so haunting I constantly lose my breath while listening

    Elder - Remember These Days
    from Reflect
    blending post rock and screamo is usually a good idea.

    Antony and the Johnsons - Epilepsy Is Dancing
    from The Crying Light
    this voice is beyond awesome

    Gaza - Canine Disposal Unit + The Anthropologist
    from He Is Never Coming Back
    listen to both songs consecutively and you think you can die already


    The Lawrence Arms - The Slowest Drink at the Saddest Bar on the Snowiest Day in the Greatest City
    from Buttsweat and Tears
    song is pure torture - can't wait for the new full lenght now

    The Loved Ones - Distracted
    from Distractions
    band continues to put out awesome music, song is almost better than the Build & Burn material

    Have a Nice Life - Trespassers W
    from Voids
    best b-side I've heard in a while

    Archives - Including the Mezzanine
    from Decline
    see Elder - Remember These Days

    Manchester Orchestra - I Can Feel a Hot One
    from Mean Everything To Nothing
    incredible sad song with lyrics that are incredible sad

    Mariachi El Bronx - Silver or Lead
    from El Bronx
    who would have thought that The Bronx come up with music your mother could dance to in the kitchen?

    ORBS - A Man of Science
    from Asleep Next to Science
    someone intelligent told me this song is soooooo two years ago but I like it.

    Poison the Well - Pamplemousse
    from The Tropic Rot
    never thought I'd like a song that's named Pamplemousse, really

    The xx - Heart Skipped a Beat
    from xx
    lots of good songs on that record, but this is my current fave

    Weezer - (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
    from Raditude
    you can't deny this song is catchy as hell, can you?

    Propagandhi - Potemkin City Limits
    from Supporting Caste
    saw them live this year, totally ruled

    Brother/Ghost - Touch Something and Say Dead
    from Black Ice
    albums centerpiece but the album as a whole is where its at

    Heather Woods Broderick - Wounded Bird
    from From The Ground
    stuff is almost as good as her brothers.

    Pulling Teeth - Bloodwolves
    from Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions
    just listen to that solo. just ... just listen.

    Silversun Pickups - Panic Switch
    from Swoon
    was my song of the year for a long time and maybe is still.

    Owen - Heads Will Ache
    from The Seaside EP
    quality Kinsella song that's everything Owen is about

    Paramore - Ignorance
    from brand new eyes
    most infectious verse ever

    So Many Dynamos - Artifacts of Sound
    from The Loud Wars
    frantic, fuzzy, clashing, danceable = awesome

    maudlin of the Well - Rose Quartz Turning to Glass
    from Part the Second
    love ya Mia

    Panopticon - The Death Of Baldr And The Coming War
    from Collapse
    when you get used to the drumming this is some of the most ballin' black metal shit you'll ever hear

    Mount Eerie - Stone's Ode
    from Wind's Poem
    one of those songs the winter was made for

    Red City Radio - If All Else Fails Play Dead
    from To The Sons & Daughters Of Woody Guthrie EP
    favourite punk song of the year

    Wilco - You and I
    from Wilco (The Album)
    Wilco + Feist + acoustic guit..omg I just came

    Title Fight - Anaconda Sniper
    from The Last Thing You Forget
    song is like the charming smile from the cute chucks girl next door

    Yo La Tengo - More Stars Than There Are in Heaven
    from Popular Songs
    if the following two epics were just as epic as this epic song the whole album would be beyond epic

    Matthew Good - Empty's Theme Park
    from VANCOUVER
    Matthew Good + strings + 9 minute closer = as good as you would imagine

    Sholi - Contortionist
    from Sholi
    you like Minus The Bear and Karate and maybe Cursive so you'll love this I'm sure

    Built to Spill - Things Fall Apart
    from There is No Enemy
    had a feeling this record would rule and this song is the proof

    The Red Chord - Hour Of Rats
    from Fed Through The Teeth Machine
    won't compare this to the new BTBAM because it's better

    Banner Pilot - Farewell to Iron Bastards
    from Collapser
    song is one awesome hook as is the whole album

    Towers - Hope
    from Full Circle
    awesome ending of one hell of an album

    The Thermals - Now We Can See
    from Now We Can See
    fun song is fun

    P.O.S. - Purexed
    from Never Better
    song is driving as hell, pure energy

    Nothing More - The Few Not Fleeting
    from The Few Not Fleeting
    sounds like Aussie rock but isn't, really awesome

    Regina Spektor - Human of the Year
    from Far
    when the horns come in it's like the best thing ever

    Phoenix - Lisztomania
    from Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
    no I'm not an indie hipster faggot [2]

    mewithoutYou - The Fox, The Crow And The Cookie
    from It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All A Dream! It's Alright
    ya I know this stuff is different but it isn't only alright, it's all CRAZY!

    The American Dollar - Where We Are
    from From The Inland Sea
    brilliant teaser for the (hopefully great) new album

    Brand New - Sink
    from Daisy
    the song out of the three best on the album without this lame intro/outro

    A Place to Bury Strangers - I Lived My Life To Stand In The Shadow Of Your Heart
    from Exploding Head
    incredible thick bass and chugging and wall of sound and awesomeness

    Maylene and the Sons of Disaster - Listen Close
    from III
    my personal song of the summer

    Sole and the Skyrider Band - Black
    from Plastique
    song is as bleak as you can expect from a song titled 'Black'

    Trophy Scars - Bad Dreams
    from Bad Luck
    so happy that this record is nothing like I expected

    Andrew Bird - Oh No
    from Noble Beast
    oh **** yeah

    Strike Anywhere - Invisible Colony
    from Iron Front
    the perfect opener for a surprisingly awesome album

    Shpongle - Nothing Is Something Worth Doing
    from Ineffable Mysteries From Shpongleland
    totally agree with that song title

    Sigh & Explode - This... Is the Breathing Caricature
    from These Seem Like Tarantulas
    pretty tight screamo/hardcore hybrid worth your interest

    Strung Out - Vanity
    from Agents of the Underground
    band can do no wrong

    Mew - Beach
    from No More Stories Are Told Today, I'm Sorry, They Washed Away
    I think Sometimes Life Isn't Easy is the overall best song on that album but whatever, this one is pure sunshine

    Say Anything - Eloise
    from Say Anything
    Max Bemis is the man, there's no other way to describe it

    A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Close chorus
    from Ashes Grammar
    fantastic dream pop folk-gaze

    Paint It Black - Sacred
    from Surrender EP
    I'm such a sucker for clean melodic choruses in otherwise ass-kicking hardocre songs

    Thrice - The Weight
    from Beggars
    Thrice doing post hardcore again *expression of joy*

    The Swell Season - The Verb
    from Strict Joy
    could have picked nearly every other track from that album, these duo knows what I like

    This Is A Standoff - Everything We Take
    from Be Disappointed
    streamlined version of AWS with incredible catchy outbursts

    Eleventh He Reaches London - For The Commonwealth And The Queen
    from Hollow Be My Name
    if you want to get into this album just listen to this song.

    Loma Prieta - Ghost Shadow
    from Dark Mountain
    yeah I know, another screamo song. so what?

    The Swellers - Dirt
    from Ups and Downsizing
    albeit the song is not as good as the best stuff from My Everest, I can't help myself but love it. it's The Swellers you know ...

    The Mars Volta - Teflon
    from Octahedron
    [insert stupid TMV comment here]

    Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - An Idea Is a Greater Monument Than a Cathedral
    from What It Takes to Move Forward
    won't namedrop Sunny Day Real Estate or Mineral or Braid because it would be too obvious

    Tim Hecker - Where Shadows Make Shadows
    from An Imaginary Country
    brilliant ambient/drone mixture

    John Frusciante - Central
    from The Empyrean
    song is really long but also really great

    Florence + the Machine - Drumming
    from Lungs
    almost forgot about that, awesome song

    Manic Street Preachers - She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach
    from Journal For Plague Lovers
    EMPTY ARMS AND ACHING HEART. god this chorus rules

    Mockingbird, Wish Me Luck - Hollow Graves
    from Goodbye Debris
    almost forgot about that, awesome song [2]
  • 2008 \\ the music.

    Jan 12 2009, 21h51

    2008 \\ the music.


    What a year: School leaving examination, driving license (on second attempt albeit the first was better), first own flat (namely in a rooming house only, but the feeling is the same), first semester at college, a shared stage with A Wilhelm Scream (YES!), first semi-professional output of my band (begot next to nothing in terms of success, money and groupies, but it's a good record of course) and a Converge hoody plus an Isis hoody (YES!!!!). While the former happenings are somewhat ok but not life changing in any sense and of course not relevant for the topic this journal seems to deal with, the latter ones do a better job at hinting at the most important thing the year 2008 had to offer for me personally: music.

    While 2008 surely was no revolutionary year in music history (despite a new Guns N' Roses record), it's my personal highlight in terms of appreciating and also some kind of understanding today's music in all it's variety and aspirations. May sounds weird, but for me it's obvious that my musical sense and my ability to judge music in terms of quality, originality and professionalism evolved constantly since my first conscious perceptions of music as an object of art (year 2000, the acquirement of Hybrid Theory), with 2008 being it's logically peek at the moment. What I'm trying to say with this more than pretentious analysis is (next to the fact that Linkin Park still needs more love) that I got myself to listen to some Hip Hop and Beat based music in general, that I fully embraced my new love Post Rock and that the later following Top 50 list will do nothing but rule.

    While I get mocked for my new interest in Hip Hop by a guy who likes akissforjersey (FLAMETHISUSERHERE), I consider myself happy that awesome Instrumental Hip Hop releases like Late Night Cinema and Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, which were much more pleasant in terms of accessibility, primarily due to the Post Rock influence of the former, paved my way for some really good traditional Hip Hop (Black Milk, Scarface).

    Another genre that really stood out for me this year was Punk, great represented subgenres like Hardcore (with Verse, Ghostlimb) and Screamo (with Off Minor, Loma Prieta) aside. Whereas 2007 caught my attention with highlights in the Pop Punk territory (Say Anything, Paramore) and on the more technical and complex side (A Wilhelm Scream), this year delivered some truly great examples of emotionally driven and honest Punk Rock. Bands like The Gaslight Anthem and The Loved Ones therefore flirted with traditional sounds (Americana, Folk, even some Blues) on their sophomore records, while formations like How Dare You and Milloy recalled the legendary Gainesville Punk Rock scene to produce pure and sincere Punk Rock with heart.
    2008 also offered prime examples of ass kicking punk n' roll (The Bronx), infectious melodic punk-gone-radio Rock (Rise Against) and Latterman reminiscent Punk with DIY attitude (Argetti).

    I could continue my thoughts in the same style for donkeys years (I haven't even talked about Metal yet ... OPETH!!!), but I know that half of the "yeah another best of 2008 list i can spam"-users either don't even read this or are as tired of reading respectively writing as me at this point. So here is the list (and some others, but yeah you'll see).


    Top 50
    (a rough order)

    50. Youthmovies - Good Nature


    It's really hard to find an adequate classification for the music you'll find on Youthmovies' full length debut Good Nature; but for those this is essential: Mathy Post Experimental Progressive Rock with funk and jazz influences and yeah, some pop. Not cubed in confusion and non-boisterous in its execution, the songs flow effortless and change their direction incessantly and with purpose, showing that the Oxford 5 piece knows how to write ambitious songs that are original but approachable the same time. While there are catchy-through-infectious-singing songs like The Naughtiest Girl Is A Monitor and the beautiful If You'd Seen A Battlefield, Good Natures highlight is Archive It Everywhere, a mini-monumental in variety and clever songwriting.


    49. Black Milk - Tronic


    The only true Hip Hop that made this list. Sophisticated and creative, producer Black Milk delivered a great example of ambitious Hip Hop. From the poppy Without U to the incredibly catchy Losing Out to the blazing The Matrix, Tronic both is so accessible and multi-variant in sound and beats, you could almost forget the excellent assistance of prominent rappers like Phaorahe Monch.

    48. The American Dollar - A Memory Stream


    After the first 4 songs rolled by I was sure I had found my favourite post rock of the year. The incredible harmonizing paired with the absolut gorgeous feeling provided by the warm instrumentation and layered production creates such an emotive and simultaneously chilled first passage, it's just "wow". While the Ambient-laden middle section gets a bit tedious by comparison, the epic closer Starscapes combines the harmonization with the more Ambient feel, leading to the records final climax and closing the album on high standards.

    47. sgt. - Stylus Fantasticus


    Japan and Post Rock; two terms which go hand in hand in modern music scene at least since Mono's masterpiece You Are There. But while most other prominent J-Post Rock bands incorporate more and more Math Rock sensibilities to their sound (Toe, ), sgt. fiddle around with elements of modern Prog and Jazz-like jamming, mixing it into a refreshing attempt of Instrumental Rock with the sometimes chaotic rhythm section being thrown out of kilter every now and then. The random jams work pretty good as interesting filler material, holding the listeners attention right before Stylus Fantasticus turns into the more focused tracks, most noteworthy Destroy The Galaxy, Create The Power Plant, an epic 16 minutes tune full of pinging rhythms and cheerful themes that'll grab you from start to finish.

    46. Moving Mountains - Foreword


    One of the reasons I included EPs in my Top 50. Adding melodic vocals, electric ambience and acoustic guitars into a Post Rock skeleton, Moving Mountains delivers a brilliant follow-up of their great debut Pneuma and stokes their rising fanbase at the sight of a new full length all at once. The songs all being over 7 minutes in lenght, the New York based band pulls off thrilling build ups peeking in crushing walls of sounds (the final climax of Lights & Shapes is mad) and gorgeous melodious passages Explosions In The Sky (yes, I'm whoring) would be proud of. Supplying this effective formula with some cute surprises (screaming in the middle of With One's Heart In One's Mouth for instance), Foreword is a consistent and entertaining Rock album that only slightly suffers from the genericism of it's obvious influences.

    45. The Dodos - Visiter


    Brilliant Folk debut that offers it's charming congeniality not instantly but rather after some time of settling in. Even if it lacks some emotion and memorable writings in the somewhat overlong middle section of the album, the fantastic opener Walking and the whole ending, starting off with the rocking Jodi and culminating in the albums highlight God?, make Visiter a cute little gem of modern folk music.

    44. In Mourning - Shrouded Divine


    Even though In Mourning is around for over 8 years now, the release of Shrouded Divine in early 2008 was something special for the "newcomers" from sweden, being their first full length after recording countless demos. Never mind that the Progressive (Death) Metal genre not really needs a new generic effort (there's Opeth, right?), this debut comes up with a refreshing carefreeness, taking everything great the stale genre has to offer and stowing it in a tight package, while providing their sound with the right amount of Prog Rock and some Doom flavour. What comes to light are classy songs like Shrouded Divine and By Others Considered, both delivering captivating compositions with grooving rhythms, mighty growls and beautiful acoustic work accompanied by strong vocal harmonies.

    43. Jardín de la Croix - Pomeroy


    The Spanish band with the French name offers with their free-of-charge record Pomeroy a complex 70's Prog-tinged Math Rock experience that calls genre heavyweights like Don Caballero and even Rush to mind. Perfectly executed and written, their debut outing oozes of swirling guitars and permanently varying motifs, both highlighted through the complex drumming and the absence of any kind of vocals. The opener Polyhedron being a convincing and stellar example of their everchanging sound, the highlight of the record is the more focused and prog-driven Antioquia, which spacey and washy intro evolves itself into furious power-chord accentuated riffing and groovy bass runs while not losing the distinctive sound.

    42. How Dare You - Comfort Road


    Albeit I'm not really a fan of As Friends Rust and Hand To Hand, The Comfort Road, the first output from newcomers How Dare You, featuring members of abovementioned bands, is just plain awesome. Full of anthemic sing alongs, simple but effective lead guitar work with distortion drenched arpeggios and tight rhythms, highlighting the abrasive but melodic voice of vocalist Justin Goldmann in the best possible way, the Florida quintet delivers some of the best Gainesville influenced Punk of the decade. Notewothy fortastes are the midtempo banger The Bench, featuring rad hooks with infectious vocal work and an amazing, with delay refined guitar solo, and the raging Week of Heart Attacks, absolutely salient due to it's perpetual changes in tempo and dynamics.

    41. Butch Walker - Sycamore Meadows


    My first Butch Walker album I listened to in it's entirety, and it was really about time afterwards. Containing beautiful and light-hearted Pop Rock songs like The Weight of Her, the main focus of Sycamore Meadows is nevertheless on the full range of affecting emotions and aspirations. Albums highlight Here Comes The... is a moving song about an unlucky proceeding relationship, showing vulnerability and sorrow in every word while being incredibly catchy and addicting. Whereas most of the superb produced songs don't lose their poppy edge, the closer ballad ATL fully relies on an expressive use of a reverby piano, intensifying the touching words of Walker about finding your place in the world.

    40. Ocoai - Breatherman


    Serving as the saving grace of the Post Metal genre this year, Ocoai not pegs to the sound of genre idols Isis and Neurosis too much and creates a dense and atmosheric album that relies more on it's Post Rock influence than brutal sludgy riffing. Songs like the absolut fantastic title track Breatherman with the gorgeous use of trumpets juxtaposed to soaring guitars remind more of the genre benders *shels while Babble stands as a typical but almost flawless in realization Post Rock / Post Metal hybrid in the vein of Pelican and new Isis.

    39. Lite - Phantasia


    While Filmlets was a groovy but somewhat inconsistent full length debut, LITE returns with a shining sophomore release that really lives up to its title. Phantasia is a brilliant collection of instantly accessible Math Rock songs with an undeniable fun factor, provided by almost danceable songs like the furious single Ghost Dance and the catchy opener Ef. Impelled by frantic but well arranged guitars and a nothing more than sick drumming, the Japanese 4 piece even bursts in Post Rock territory with the beautiful flowing Fade and delivers with Solitude and Phantasia two Math Rock epics with perfect intonations and a colorful rhythmic pathway.

    38. Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust


    The highly anticipated new LP of the Icelandic Post Rock idols starts off with a little surprise: Cheerful handclaps, larking singing, xylophones and driving piano accentuation as well as an all around folky and poppy feel during the first 4 songs are eye-catching and a totally new approach to the established Sigur Rós sound, opening the record with charming tunes and a wonderful light-heartedness. Succeeding with distinctive Post Rock sounds as in Festival or Ára bátur, the gorgeous beauty of in orchestral hymns peeking climaxes furthered by trumpets and strings comes to the fore and shows another time that Sigur Rós is one of the most impressive Instrumental Rock outfits in music history.

    37. Pygmy Lush - Mount Hope


    What started for me as a dragging folk album recorded by a band that features members of legendary pg.99 and debuted with a scattering mix of Noise, Folk and Hardcore in terms of Bitter River, is a disabusing grower. Being definitely not your typical Folk album with regards to songwriting and tone, it's more a feral droning approach to the singer / songwriter dominated genre, and a stunning one along with it. Beautiful acoustic patterns backed by toneless drumming get pierced through by the reverb drenched voice of Chris Jackson, creating a monotonous but the listener completely absorbing atmosphere that won't let you go until the record concludes.

    36. Hammock - Maybe They Will Sing for Us Tomorrow


    Even though my currently favourite Ambient musicians can't top their magnum opus Raising Your Voice...Trying to Stop an Echo with their new LP, it definitely is another awesome output that embodies the beauty music can radiate in every sense. Stripping down their already lush sound to the minimum, the duo once more bring off layered guitar / cello tracks which create subtle harmonies, sweeping across each other with facility. In doing so, Hammock weren't able to provide their songs with a vast amount of variety, but on the other hand with the full palette of emotions all the more.

    35. Kayo Dot - Blue Lambency Downward


    Firstly I wasn't sure whether to call Toby Drivers latest brainchild an odd dissappointment or an additional musically surprise. It's definitely another direction Kayo Dot dared to advance: The whole metal thing is gone, likewise the growls and largely the dense and dusky atmosphere that distinguished earlier master pieces like Choirs Of The Eye. Blue Lambency Downward is much more in the vein of newer Time Of Orchids, but with the typical Kayo Dot brand of a complex songwriting tinged with elements of classic compositions and jazzy instrumentation. Being not able to really describe Blue Lambency Downwards sound any further, I will tell you that this is surely different and maybe not as good as Kayo Dots previous releases, but awesome nonetheless. Oh, and Symmetrical Arizona is probably the best song of the year.

    34. Underoath - Lost in the Sound of Separation


    With their latest output Lost In The Sound Of Separation, Underoath fully establish their new sound somewhere between intense Metalcore and dissonant (Post) Hardcore with stellar results. Not exactly being heavier as its sweet predecessor Define The Great Line, the more "epic" feel the band promised is quite felicitous, considering the highly captivating build ups of songs like the swelling The End Is Near and the hymnal Too Bright To See Too Loud To Hear. That's not to say that there aren't any crushing riffs and blasting tunes. Anyone Can Dig A Hole But It Takes A Real Man To Call It Home starts off with a shattering riff in the mould of the iconic "In Regards To Myself", while The Only Survivor Was Miraculously Unharmed combines everything great of Underoaths proggy mixture of atmospheric hardcore, textured metal and sophisticated duo vocals into an unforgettable 3-minute ride.

    33. TV on the Radio - Dear Science


    The age of miracles.
    The age of sound.
    Well there's a Golden Age.
    Comin' round, comin'round, comin' round!

    - "Golden Age"

    32. Mesa Verde - The Old Road


    Post Rock-tinged Screamo isn't something new anymore, thats for sure. Mesa Verde probably knows that too, maybe that being a reason why they delivered such an awesome LP with The Old Road. It's not very original or innovative, but it's so strong in execution and sophisticated in its ambiance that it'll captivate your attention right off being the first minutes in. Turning from the pure post rock opener A Deep Sleep Without Dreams into the furious hardcore attacks that are For the Tree That Fell and When the Canary Dies Run Like Fuck, the pure despair this record contains is audible and palpable in every fiber of the records musical body.

    31. Protest the Hero - Fortress


    One of the main reasons the year started out strong, Protest the Hero upgraded their already furious and chaotic mix of Progressive Metal and Post Hardcore to the next level and made Fortress more challenging but appealing the same time. Songs like Bloodmeat and Palms Read balance the string between anthemic hooks and complex instrumentation perfectly whereby keeping the track and not rambling without concept.
    [Note: Check out Fortress Instrumentals for a slightly different perspective of the songs.]

    30. The Loved Ones - Build & Burn


    Even if The Loved Ones didn't create something new for the punk genre with their sophomore album Build & Burn, they show the world what's possible when you combine the right influences (namely Hot Water Music or Alkaline Trio) with passionate vocals and a refreshing variety. There's some Folk and Country in Louisiana, noticeable Pop sensibilities in Brittle Heart, melodic Punk Rock in Dear Laura and so much more going on it's quite impressive. Crossing so much musical terrain without losing its distinctive character while pushing the boundaries of the genre in terms of catchiness and musically sincerity is a more than respectable achievement, and makes Build & Burn an exceptional record of todays punk music.

    29. Loma Prieta - Last City


    Dissonance and melody. Roughness and beauty. Anger and despair.

    I really could leave it at that, because it'll be the best description for Last City without generic genre jabbering. With a duration of only 23 minutes, Loma Prieta forced every instrument, every aspect of their sound to violent harmony, blending the loud/soft sections without noticeable changes in flow and theme. There's no dramaticism, no need for being epic or sophisticated. It's unaffected. It's raw. It's gorgeous throughout.

    28. Sun Kil Moon - April


    I feel oh so near
    When morning doves appear
    And ghosts of April ring
    Echo the refrain
    Soon finding a place
    In these lost verses

    - "Lost Verses"

    27. Bersarin Quartett - Bersarin Quartett


    Let me get this straight: Bersarin Quartett is not a quartet, it's Thomas from Münster, Germany. And with his self-titled release, he bends the Electronica genre to its most beautiful edges. Starting off with the string dominated Oktober and an overall classic feel, the record progresses into many different approaches. Thick ambient layered sounds rule in Inversion, while more electronica based songs like Die Dinge sind nie so wie sie sind and the more colorful closer Mehr Als Alles Andere focus more on vivid downtempo beats. It's minimalistic but epic the same time, having the ability to build up intensity while appearing non-threatening and restrained, and that's what makes this record so congenial and exciting.

    26. The Mars Volta - Bedlam In Goliath


    I guess that’s the most punk-rock thing about it; you could look like an idiot and sound like a fool, but that’s what humbles you and reminds you that you’re human.

    - Cedric Bixler-Zavala

    25. Metaform - Standing on the Shoulders of Giants


    Metaform alias Justice Aaron spent nearly 5 years for recording his magnum opus Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants, and it's perceptible in every particular song. Everything is highly detailed, packed full of variation and ideas, exploiting the relatively short song lenghts perfectly. Influenced by many styles such as Jazz, R'nB and even Soul, Aaron delivers 19 trip-hop tunes whose production is nothing more than grandiose. The integration of eclectic components, like saxophone submissions (Pch), horn samples (Barbie Doll) or trumpet staccatos (Rock It Number Nine), is nearly flawless and interweaving, adding musically depth as well as highly enjoyable alternations to the already catchy main themes of the songs. Mostly relying on programmed beats and electronic synths as the rhythmic / melodic backbone of the songs, Metaform takes another route with Crush as he's using a chilling, Red Hot Chilli Peppers' reminiscent clean guitar riff as main focus which is accentuated by a great mix of beats, flute, sax and some vocals, being a great example of Aarons creativity and his love for detailed and sophisticated arrangements.

    24. Aussitôt Mort - Montuenga


    Despite the fact that aussitôt mort's debut album 6 Songs flew under many radars of skramz fans (maybe caused by the slightly uninspired title), the French 4 piece follows the trend of high quality emo releases from Western Europe with their latest offering Montuenga. Blasting off with the heavyhanded riff of opener Mort mort mort, the band from Caen shows distinctly his roots and adds next to their frenetic love for delay and reverb effects some new ideas to the trendy but more and more unimaginative genre of European skramz. The intertwining guitars and excessive use of delay being a brand of aussitôt mort, they not overuse it in form of pointless scale running and impenetrably walls of cluttered effect layering, but more for complementary songwriting and a spacey but not too artifical feel, most successfull on the uplifting Une heure plus tard.

    23. United Nations - United Nations


    Maybe one of the most mystical supergroups ever, United Nations came out of nowhere and delivers an unforgettable ride into the history of genuine screamo.
    Being indifferent whether Daryl Palumbo (GlassJAw) or Ben Koller (Converge) or some other prominent musicians (all not officially confirmed besides Geoff Rickly from Thursday) are involved in this project, the music itself f**king rips, being a cocktail of mid-90s reminiscent screamo and some grind with a distinctive melodic edge. Absolutely pushing. Non-tedious. With songs that are both thrashing and immensely catchy (Resolution #9, Model UN) or trashing only (My Cold War, Subliminal Testing), United Nations includes one of the most impressive album closers of the year as well. Say Goodbye To General Figment of The USS Imagination namely offers you next to the for this record exemplary cooperation of shredding guitars, powerful vocals (the screaming is insane) and adequate ***-kicking drumming, a jazzy saxophone solo that finishes the song and the record with a beautiul integrated jam.

    22. Verse En Coma - Rialto


    Containing ex-members of City of Caterpillar and Malady, the new Richmond formation Verse En Coma evolved the sound of its past into 5 songs bordering the line of Post Hardcore and Post Punk with some strong hints at Shoegaze. Through Ice Patches and Pine Trees and In A Factory are both meaningful anthems, with the former evolving from an uplifting drum pattern and a driving guitar to the songs pinnacle that already is its light-heartedly chorus. The latter, however, is a dynamic, story-telling tune that conveys its content with well-orchestrated songwriting that culminates in the youthful choruses, all being unforgettable due to their effervescing spirit and the provocative rebelling line 'we were the 'they don't know what life is really about' ones'.

    21. Asva - What You Don't Know Is Frontier


    It was a pretty intriguing experience I had with this record. Coming home from the pub very late, I was drunken enough to not fall asleep so I thought this will be a great occasion to check out What You Don't Know Is Frontier. Turning on my bass-laden headphones while lying on my bed and having the eyes closed, the first soothing noises introduce me to the grainy distortion, the droning ambience, the thick feedback layers, the brooding riffs, the in despair drenched mood, the sparse use of melody, the sublime organ, all in all the most enveloping thing happened to the Drone genre in very long time. I can't tell if I was in trance or something while listening to this, but it was a strange experience for sure. I can't remember anything else except for notional picture sequences passing by in my mind, brief moments that gave me some kind of epiphany, not making any sense after all. After I had gone physically, the last remaining thoughts were somewhat clearer; the cognition that this is one of the best records of the year.

    20. The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound


    While Sink Or Swim wasn't a consistently good record, The '59 Sound is so much the more. The chubby and simple punk is almost gone, it's all dominated and carried by the use of a traditional mentality. Americana, Country, Folk and Blues are the pilings of the Bruce Springsteen reminiscent rock sound that internalizes the album title in the best possible way. With abrasive but mellow vocals, driving drumming, rumbling bass lines and inventive guitars, all highlighted by a reverb-laden production, the record evolves from hook to hook, from one wonderful arrangement to the next. It's authentic and autonomous, with a charming attitude that'll bring you the popular "Live fast, die young" sentiment to your mind.

    19. Burst - Lazarus Bird


    Some are pious, some cater to whims
    Some provoke
    But I am a labyrinth of layers
    Find only sense
    Without a compass

    - "City Cloaked"

    18. VERSE - Aggression


    Aggression. I gotta break the mold. Aggression. Never let them take control. Aggression. Hands in shackles, Mind's confined to a cage. Aggression. I won't stop until I've broken every chain.
    - "Sons and Daughters"

    17. Mount Eerie - Lost Wisdom


    i will no longer hide it
    yes you move me to tears over and over
    every time i get it settled excite it
    every time i get my face dry you sing

    - "Voice In Headphones"

    16. Ghostlimb - Bearing And Distance


    It's better to be pissed off than pissed on.
    - Shawn Michaels

    15. Grouper - Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill


    It's sheer brilliance what Liz Harris alias Grouper created with Dragging a Dead Deer Up A Hill. Wreathed in a mist of droning feedback, her latest offering is a wonderful melancholic piece of shoegaze music; dreamy, moody, airy, emotional, tension-filled, unpretentious, dramatic, gloomy and altogether beautiful in the sense of being a stunning achievement of art. The mindblowing Heavy Water/I'd Rather Be Sleeping, a song that perfects the balance between the hazy production that nearly eclipses the songs in their basics and the layered, consistent vocals borned by strong songwriting, is both the prime example and the albums highlight, being easily one of the best tracks of the year.

    14. These Arms Are Snakes - Tail Swallower and Dove


    It's just like... fire
    - "Lucifer"

    13. Thrice - The Alchemy Index: Vol. 3 & 4: Air & Earth


    [ ]… it's more about capturing the moment than capturing the perfect take ... [ ]
    - Dustin Kensrue

    12. Lights Out Asia - Eyes Like Brontide


    A billion stars go spinning through the night, blazing high above your head.
    But in you is the presence that will be, when all the stars are dead.

    - Rainer Maria Rilke

    11. Cynic - Traced in Air


    I have to confess that I really wasn't prepared for Cynics highly anticipated release of Traced In Air. Neither have been having experiences with their highly praised debut Focus nor having an idea what a mixture of Progressive Metal, Death Metal, Jazz and Alt Rock would even sound like, I actually didn't know what to expect. And after listening to this record countless times I can say that this is probably some of the best Metal for years, living up for the hype it received. Some of the most constructive guitar riffing (based on recent metal standards) teamed up with complex drum patterns and a mindblowing vocal dualism to create 8 songs conveying the impression that their beautiful melodies and the whole aerial atmosphere were really "traced in air". For proof check out Integral Birth and Evolutionary Sleeper, both being exemplary and instantly accessible.

    10. A Silver Mt. Zion - 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons


    so get fast / and get quick / with dum hearts / and swung hips /
    our dreams / deserve it

    - "1,000,000 Died To Make This Sound"

    9. Adebisi Shank - This is the album of a band called Adebisi Shank


    Fact: Adebisi Shanks full length debut embodies the party record of the year.
    Thesis: It's hotter than Katy Perry (music-wise, of course).

    So much awesomeness packed in 23 minutes of playing time is incomparable in terms of Instrumental Rock music, absolutely stunning in it's own way. Branding their sound with an incredibly catchy mixture of Math Rock and Post Punk, enriched with elements of Electronica, Funk and an overall dance music feeling, the 3 piece delivers 8 non-stop blustering songs, all screaming for the push on the repeat button. If you like excited handclapping (Snakeships), a yelling talkbox (You Me), two- handed tapping along with eclectic rhythms (Colin Skehan, Mini Rockers), chopped beatbox samples (Agassi Shank) or simply a song titled "Shunk" (Shunk), you really have to listen to this. At least thrice. If not, kill yourself.

    8. Extra Life - Secular Works


    I know what I want / but what I know won't stop me
    I know what I want / but what I know won't stop me
    I know what I want / but what I know won't stop me

    - "This Time"

    7. Blue Sky Black Death - Late Night Cinema


    DJ Shadow worthy heirs of instrumental Hip Hop. Absolutely stunning.

    6. Vessels - White Fields And Open Devices


    One of the main problems of modern post rock is the task to make a record with 60+ minutes in length that is interesting and attention grabbing from start to finish. Well, yeah, problem solved. Vessels full lenght debut is an entertaining trip through every aspect of instrumental rock music, flavoured with math rock riffing and somber but beautiful vocals. Proof? - Yuki!

    5. pg.lost - It's Not Me, It's You!


    The greatest treasures are those invisible to the eye but found by the heart.
    - unknown author


    4. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago


    This is not the sound of a new man or crispy realization,
    it's the sound of the unlocking and the lift away.

    - "Re: Stacks"

    3. Off Minor - Some Blood


    This is not torture
    This is not surveillance
    This is not injustice
    This is poetic license permitted by a nations silence

    - "Neologist"

    2. Daitro/Sed Non Satiata - Split


    French is the language that turns dirt into romance.
    - Stephen King

    Daitro and Sed Non Satiata are the bands that turn skramz into artistic ecstasy.
    - me

    1. Have a Nice Life - Deathconsciousness


    We kill everyone with arrowheads, arrowheads, arrowheads, arrowheads, arrowheads, arrowheads, arrowheads, arrowheads, arrowheads, arrowheads, arrowheads, arrowheads ... Thank god that's over.
    - "Bloodhail"


    Honorable Mentions

    The Tallest Man on Earth - Shallow Graves (the guy who sounds like Dylan but doesn't sound like Dylan at all)
    The Drones - Havilah (pretentious rock that's actually reeeeeally great)
    Spokes - People Like People Like You (sweetest post rock record ever)
    ... Who Calls So Loud - ... Who Calls So Loud (Funeral Diner with renewed enthusiasm)
    Thisquietarmy - Unconquered (incredible dense ambient piece)
    The Ascent Of Everest - How Lonely Sits the City (re-release, but so awesome it's worth to mention)

    Recommendations
    (aka the other good stuff of the year)

    Adolf Plays The Jazz - Stealth EP
    Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer?
    Amon Amarth - Twilight Of The Thunder God
    Anaura - One Day in twothousandeight
    Argetti - Flags Of Karma
    Atmosphere - When Life Gives You Lemons, You...
    Balmorhea - Rivers Arms
    Because of Ghosts - This Culture Of Background Noise
    Beware of Safety - dogs
    Blacklisted - Heavier than Heaven, Lonelier than God
    The Bronx - III
    Capsule - Blue
    Dark Captain Light Captain - Miracle Kicker
    Deadly Avenger - Blossoms & Blood
    Deerhunter - Microcastle
    EF - I Am Responsible
    Esoteric - The Maniacal Vale
    The Faceless - Planetary Duality
    The Flashbulb - Soundtrack To a Vacant Life
    Flying Lotus - Los Angeles
    Fuck Buttons - Street Horrrsing
    Glissando - With Our Arms Wide Open We March Towards... ("Floods" is so awesome)
    Grails - Doomsdayer's Holiday
    Her Name Is Calla - The Heritage
    Innerpartysystem - Innerpartysystem
    James Dean - 7"
    Jesu/Envy - Split (because of the Envy side)
    The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble - Mutations EP
    Killing The Dream - Fractures
    Krallice - Krallice (catchiest Black Metal ever)
    La Dispute - Somewhere at the Bottom of the River...
    Living With Lions - Make Your Mark
    Maybeshewill - Not For Want Of Trying
    Milloy - Creating Problems While Practising Solutions
    Mínus - The Great Northern Whalekill
    Minus the Bear - Acoustics
    Misery Signals - Controller
    Moonlit Sailor - A Footprint Of Feelings
    Mount Eerie - Black Wooden Ceiling Opening
    Murder by Death - Red of Tooth and Claw
    My Education - Bad Vibrations
    Nadja - Desire In Uneasiness
    Ólafur Arnalds - Variations Of Static
    Opeth - Watershed (because it's Opeth)
    Past Lives - Strange Symmetry EP
    Pig Destroyer - Natsha
    Port Blue - The Albatross EP
    Prolyphic & Reanimator - The Ugly Truth
    Red Sparowes - Aphorisms EP
    Rise Against - Appeal To Reason (contains some of RA's best songs to date)
    The Samuel Jackson Five - Goodbye Melody Mountain
    Scott Kelly - The Wake
    Shai Hulud - Misanthropy Pure
    Shugo Tokumaru - Exit
    Sleepmakeswaves - In Today Already Walks Tomorrow
    The Streets - Everything is Borrowed
    Steven Wilson - Insurgentes
    This Town Needs Guns - This Town Needs Guns
    Thursday/Envy - Split
    Torche - Meanderthal
    Trap Them - Seizures In Barren Praise
    The Week That Was - The Week That Was
    Upcdowncleftcrightcabc+start - Embers
    Yound Widows - Old Wounds

    Best EP from a German band out of Suhl, Thuringia in 2008

    With Nothing Underneath - Pancakeland?


    Stream it!
    MySpace

    Worst Records Of The Year
    (aka the "Yes, I do want to get flamed!!"-list)

    Part I: The ones I completely listened to
    Children of Bodom - Blooddrunk (first and last Cob album I listened/will ever listen to)
    The Human Abstract - Midheaven (meh ... meeeeeeeh)
    Senses Fail - Life Is Not A Waiting Room (yeah, well ... they're back on Let it Enfold You standards)

    Part II: The ones I didn't completely listenend to
    (aka the worst of the worst)
    Escape the Fate - This War Is Ours*
    I Am Ghost - Those We Leave Behind*
    Simple Plan - Simple Plan*
    Story of the Year - The Black Swan*
    Scars on Broadway - Scars on Broadway ("They Say" this sucks hard, even more than Serj)

    oh yeah, and Nickelback**
    __________________________________________________________
    *no explanations needed
    **Chad Kroeger

    Some Disappointments
    This Town Needs Guns - Animals ("Baboon" is really great but the whole album sounds the ****ing same)
    Fear Before - Fear Before (I was so stoked, but this is really average)
    Facing New York - Get Hot (some kind of totally different and more shitty)

    Some Surprises
    Irrelevant - New Guilt (sloppy production but so damn fun)
    The Sound of Animals Fighting - The Ocean and the Sun (their best work so far, much better than the crap that was Lover, The Lord Has Left Us)
    Kings of Leon - Only By The Night (yooooouuuuuu ... your sex is on fire)
    Disturbed - Indestructible (best Mainstream Rock/Metal of the year)
    Slipknot - All Hope Is Gone (see above)


    Some concluding thoughts of 2009
    Well, I'm really tired of writing right now and can't think of some words that'll express that I have high hopes for the next year in a more pretentious way. So here are some bands I'm looking forward to:

    Glassjaw
    Trophy Scars
    mewithoutYou
    Circle Takes the Square

    I know there are so much more but whatever.
    ___________________________________________________________

    So, this is it, a bit long and late and shitty, but yeah.
    I got lazy with my vapid descriptions very fast so I added some stupid quotes and some awesome lyrics to fill the gaps. I'm also aware of the lack of some other significantly bad records released this year but I only listed the ones with the biggest lasting impact on my stomach, so please be easy with me.

    Thanks for reading and (hopefully) commenting/flaming.
  • Review, Ignite - Our Darkest Days

    Out 23 2007, 19h03

    I still have strong memories of first listening to Ignite. Years back I thought that the instrumentalship was solid and that it was catchy and stuff, but the singer’s voice wasn’t my thing. I felt that high singing as confusing and kind of penetrating and so I closed the Ignite-book as unfazed as I opened it, matching the guys from Orange County to a band with too high-pitched singing while fishing out a random pennywise record out of my pathetic record collection.

    Opening it again with that link in mind and much more musical experiences in terms of punk and hardcore music brought along next to a changed taste a new sympathy. Zoli Teglas voice seemed no longer confusing or pushy or whatever, more congenial and highly melodic, with power and passion performed and well executed; a rare exception in today’s music scene, especially in terms of hardcore and punk music.
    The prior blemish turned for me in an individual advantage


    After I get accustomed to this special voice on the rather mediocre A Place Called Home, Ignite’s 2006er release Our Darkest Days blew me away on first listen, making everything right they done wrong on their predecessor. It offers you more catchy refrains, more attention-grabbing sing-alongs and a permanently pace that won’t let your hand grope his way to the skip button of your hi-fi system. I mean, it’s like a squall of melody and groove that deluges you while you’re dancing and singing in the flood, metaphorically speaking. This incredible flow of addressing songs with this palpable energy and passion Ignite puts in this effort has a very pushing and motivating effect on the listener, which perhaps is the main endeavour this album tries to get across.

    Right the intro “Our Darkest Days” stokes this mutinous mood with the eulogistic gang singing leading into a climax and the whole band yelling: “And from our hearts/we'll have our say/we built this all/our darkest days”. Slowly fading into the single “Bleeding”, it marks an impressive start with a precise announcement, which drags like a golden thread through the record. While Ignite can’t keep the slightly dark and angry mood during the full length, they manage it to create a flawless collection of songs. Take the marvellous catchy and mid-paced “Fear Is Our Tradition” and “Let It Burn”, the absolutely raging bangers “Poverty For All” and “Are You Listening?” or the slower and soulful tracks “My Judgement Day” and “Live For Better Days”: All of them feature a vast amount of lively tunes and sing-alongs, provided by joyful background singings and readily accessible song structures, concentrating on catchy hooks and focusing mostly on Zoli’s outstanding voice. The best blend succeeds with “Slowdown” and “Save Yourself”, both incredible catchy tracks with the most convincing and punchy singing, effective riffing and sophisticated songwriting, delivering the power and energy in the best possible way. “Know Your History” gets a bit out of line with its fast-paced one-chord based verses, the typical hardcore drumming and the only solo on the record, creating a typical melodycore track that shows pep and crispness bands like Bad Religion or Pennywise already lost years ago.

    But their élan and energy doesn’t preserve Ignite against the gradually upcoming lack of variety and intricacy. In longer terms the high focused presence of Zolis singing with its undeniable catchy, almost poppy melodies and harmonies can’t belie the fairly shiftless, power chord based guitar work that misses some great leads or generally some more lead guitar. The songwriting is simple and modest, following frequently the same structure verse - pre-chorus - chorus - post-chorus - repeat, lacking some great breaks or varied bridges.
    Only the last two tracks bring along new aspects to Ignites sound. “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”, a cover of the famous U2 song, offers despite of lacking reliability the most sophisticated songwriting with varying dynamics and crescendos, but this becomes less important including the aspect that this is a cover song. “Live For Better Days” features Zoli singing only backed by an acoustic guitar, which brings across the singers softer voice very well while not losing the catchy melodies and hooks Ignite distinguishes.

    With Our Darkest Days, Ignite delivers a very autonomous and unmistakable record that has everything a rocking hardcore / punk disc needs. From catchy refrains to powerful riffing and effective drumming to a fabulous voice, this cd offers a vast amount of melody and power becoming rare in modern punk music.

    Recommended Tracks
    Slowdown
    Save Yourself
    Are You Listening?
    Let It Burn


    Rating 3.5 / 5
  • Review, Lower Definition - Moths

    Out 4 2007, 17h12



    „If heaven had a theme song, we wrote it”

    Such amusingly statements from bands on their myspace site referring to the point Sounds like are probably not always an indicator for the quality of the music. In case of Lower Definition, it’s also definitively not fitting. If it were true, heaven would be a place full of generic scene kids and, to make things worse, full of generic scene music.
    Taking the same line like the current bands Dance Gavin Dance, Pierce the Veil and A Skylit Drive, Lower Definition tries not to run in a far too different direction in terms of the sound of their genre mates, wanting to be able to get a piece of the big fat pseudo-screamo-pie of the year 2007. And with the release of their debut album "Moths", they could really make it.

    Starting off with “The Ascending” and a melange of dissonant chords, cracking crash cymbals and a pounding double bass, the record shows some really strong points on first impression. The instrumental-ship namely is really sophisticated and promising, demonstrating some great potential by each of the band members. But can they exploit it during the full length of the record?

    Sadly no. On each great guitar riff comes a boring everyday mosh part; on each superb drum fill comes an overused double bass roll and a too frantic bridge pattern. It almost seems as if guitar and drums are trying to bid over each other to take the leading role instrumentally, resulting in overdone breakdowns and ruined song structures. Take the aforementioned “The Ascending”: The whole song consists of a complete breakdown with some refrain-esque parts only distinguishable through the increased tempo and the more catchy singing. It bobs up and down from part to part, no direction is noticeable based on the repetitive breaks and stops, which eliminates every clear line and increasing climax in the bud.

    Same with “Her Last Winter”, which starts in the middle of a verse, searching for his own good in a more pop-punk oriented sound. But instead of constantly evolving this approach into a cracking hook or catchy chorus, they return to the same start-stop break formula that ruins every arising flow. What is very regrettable, because Matt Geisers voice is much more compatible in this regard. Having a subtle sense for catchy vocal melodies, he puts out some great work on the chorus with convincing and highly memorable singing. Finally there is a totally enjoyable piece of music, existing not really often during the 21min long playtime.

    While Matts voice isn’t particular overwhelming, he shows some ambitious vocal interplays, reminding in spots on Daryl Palumbo and his vast vibratos. But drowning the generic breakdowns with the sleekly and not very vigorous voice creates a contrast which Lower Definition can not defuse, neither with ingenuity nor with song writing means. Sure there are some killer leads, some really catchy moments at times and some of the multiply breakdowns kick in at the right moment, but overall it’s too wishi washi and kinky, which incidentally applies also for the corny lyrics and the barely noticeable bass work.

    Lower Definitions firstling could definitely smooth their way to the top of scene. Containing all things for a great “screamo” record, the band manages it to structure it in the most generic and conformed way. Lacking in all departments, from song writing to variety, "Moths" will afford pleasure by listeners of Dance Gavin Dance or Emarosa.
    But everyone else should stay away.

    Rating 2/5
  • Review, Element Eighty - The Bear

    Out 1 2007, 11h21



    Weird story.
    After their big major label deal in 2003 with Universal/Republic and a featured track on the popular Need for Speed: Underground soundtrack, Element Eighty seemed to be on the right track to popularity and mainstream success. But they weren’t.
    No video, no promotion and a poor availability (at least in Europe) of their second full-length Element Eighty, led to a lack of interest in this upcoming band from Tyler, Texas. Only the Need For Speed single “Broken Promises” made a lasting impression, peaking in the U.S. mainstream rock charts at #36. Anyway, the band wasn’t satisfied with the work of their label and left Universal/Republic in late 2004 to found their own label Texas Cries Records and release their third album, The Bear, one year later.

    With a new bassist, the new label and the help of producer Eric Delegard (Edgewater, Jibes), Element Eighty delivers a strong effort without any squiggles. Right from the start, the first song “Guntruck” offers the direction this record will take: Furious, sophisticated guitar work with huddling rhythm figures and squeaking pinch harmonics goes hand in hand with an adequate rhythm section and a powerful, varying vocal performance that delivers strong screams and catchy chorus-lines.

    Sounds stale?

    Hm, not necessarily. Combining elements of Nu Metal, Metal and some Hardcore, Element Eighty accomplish a much more confident and independent sound compared to their predecessor, which gets bogged down in too many different basic approaches, also lacking in songwriting and durability.
    On the contrary, The Bear, is straight from start to finish.
    Musically variation regarding musical styles and genres is, except for the already mentioned Nu Metal / Metalcore mixture, pretty much non existent. All the 10 songs take the same line in the matter of rhythmic, dynamic, heaviness and songwriting, making the record flawless, but in the longer term more unimpressive than inspirational.
    Songs like “Spite” or “Boars” bring along a proper amount of heavy, mosh-esque riffs accompanied by pounding double bass attacks, but fail to create a worthwhile song structure. However, the guitar work by guitarist Matt Woods is insanely technical and constructive, with some ambidextrously intersections of lead and rhythm parts, providing the songs with new impulses and giving them much more catchy and memorable nuances. Simple power-chord refrains are just as little to find as generic high-speed solos or an exceeding use of overdubbed twin-guitar riffs. No countless background guitars are trying to create a bombastic wall of sound to deflect from recycled riffs and lacking creativity.

    Next to the guitar shines the vocal work of Dave Galloway. Ranging between higher-pitched singing and rasping screams, Dave’s vocals is at its best when his singing styles merge into each other without any lacks in tone pitch or length, creating a flawless changeover. Also you can find some cool vocal-guitar interplays where the vocal line follows the guitar notes in changing intervals, such as in the refrain of “Victims”.
    On the other hand his lyrics are pretty average. Only standing out with some cool lines like “This is not me now / can you tell me / why I'm self destructing”, the most writings are typical clichés about relationships and self-findings.

    In general the sound of the record is very minimalist, referable to the unspectacular production and the abandonment of stereotype intros or interludes. In the foreground are clearly the lead tools, guitar and vocals, backed by drums and bass and nothing more. While the drums only shine with some cool fills and apart from this with an adequate attendance, the bass is plainly overshadowed by the guitar, only following its root notes and holding the song together. An exception is the song “Beaumont” with its booming bass intro leading into a pounding guitar riff with filling pinch harmonics, hart-hitting and to the point.

    On the first 30min long listen, this record offers you 10 well-executed metal songs with a great guitar and a very talented singer, much interesting riffs and catchy refrains. But just off the second way through offers The Bear, its undeniable faults. The songs are too repetitive and alike, failing to create a prevailing mood that keeps the listener interested for a longer time. But apart from that, this is an enjoyable record with its own congeniality; standing out from most other Metal releases in the past years.

    Recommended Tracks
    Price To Pay
    Guntruck
    The Itch
    Killing Me


    Rating 3.5 / 5