A Belated List of The Best of 2016

I absolutely love making lists and I know no one is actually interested in my musical opinion, but here’s my best of 2016 (by category!)

Best Albums Of The Year

1) Bon Iver – 22, A Million
2) An Autumn For Crippled Children – Eternal
3) The Dear Hunter – Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional
4) Overhead, The Albatross – Learning To Growl
5) Violet Cold – Magic Night
6) Plini – Handmade Cities
7) Marble Sounds – Tautou
8) Frightened Rabbit – Painting Of A Panic Attack
9) Astronoid – Air
10) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree
11) Alcest – Kodama
12) Dakota Suite & Vampillia – The Sea Is Never Full
13) Mice On Stilts – Hope For A Mourning
14) Scrapbook – Scrapbook
15) SPORT – Slow
16) Preoccupations – Preoccupations
17) Arcadia, Forever – Arcadia, Forever
18) Numenorean – Home
19) Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith – A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke
20) Band Of Horses – Why Are You OK?
21) Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
22) Tom’s Story – Tom’s Story
23) Clouds – Departe
24) The Album Leaf – Between Waves
25) The Day We Left Earth – To The Shores
26) Thanks For Coming – Brand New Anxiety

Best 10 Songs Of The Year

1) An Autumn For Crippled Children – Eternal Youth
2) The Dear Hunter – Mr. Usher (On His Way To Town)
3) Frightened Rabbit – Get Out
4) Bon Iver – 10 Deathbreast
5) Plini – Electric Sunrise
6) Violet Cold – For Amelie (Polish Lullaby)
7) Band Of Horses – Casual Party
8) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – I Need You
9) Scrapbook – Alex’s Song
10) Astronoid – Up And Atom

Bonus Tracks

1) Alcest – Je Suis D’allieurs
2) Marble Sounds – The Ins And Outs
3) Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
4) Sigur Ros – Ovedur

Albums You Might Wanna Check Out

1) Sleep Cycle – Sleep Cycle
2) Abstract Rabbit –
3) Silent Island – Equator
4) Neurosis – Fires Within Fires
5) Oathbreaker – Rheia

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What I’ve Been Up To

It’s strange to return to a place you used to spend so much time in, and suddenly a small thing just drives you away from it. I’m afraid I can’t be specific about every little event that’s led me to where I am. This isn’t the place where I usually write about feelings and shit, it’s a place I created as a musical haven, so that’s what I’ll doing here from now on and will be updating more and more often.

I just read back that first paragraph and laughed at loud at how ambiguous I’ve become as a narrator. I’m what you would call an unreliable narrator!
Anyways, thanks for reading and I hope you all are excited for the reviews, interviews and articles that are coming soon.

 

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Kauan / Sorni Nai

What makes an album “good”? Is it the production? The performance? The emotionality? Or is it the combination of all those elements?
Sorni Nai may be THE album of the past few years that encapsulates every aspect of what makes music art.

I rarely ever compliment albums in the way that I’m going to write about Kauan. This is a band that I hadn’t really heard of until late 2015, and the impact it has caused in my way of seeing art is just…yeah, exactly.

For those of you who do not know Kauan (in a way that includes myself), they’re a Russian metal/folk band. Now, don’t let the term “metal” overwhelm you beforehand, they ARE metal but not THAT kind of metal. And they sing in Finnish. Can you really not give them a shot? I swear Finnish has this very poetic feeling. And although I have no fucking clue what he’s saying, I get the final message anyways. The magic of art!

Sorni Nai was written inspired by the Dyatlov Pass Incident in 59. I’m sure many of you have heard the story one way or another, or at least a mention of it.
Basically, a whole crew disappeared in the middle of an expedition in the Ural region, only to be found far from their tents, half-dressed and dead from strange wounds and hypothermia. Not much information was ever released from the Soviets, given that they had no answers to give. That is unless you are part of the group that says this crew ran into a Soviet military base and got killed for discovering it. There’s plenty of mysticism around the case, obviously. Not just from the lack of facts, but from the ghostly folklore that surrounds that area. You probably get the idea by now, right?

I’m not entirely sure if all their previous albums are as conceptual as this one. Albums usually have a concept to bind the songs, but it’s not always in a story-driven fashion.
These days it’s hard to release a record with such characteristics, because people are looking for something more immediate. But I can assure you that Sorni Nai has all the qualities of a masterpiece, whether you enjoy the stillness of its snowy passages or its darkened gloomy verses. If you don’t feel a thing listening to it, then you better check your pulse.

I could use many more over the top adjectives to describe this record, but that’s pointless if you don’t just give it the chance to enter your system. You don’t get to hear something as profoundly written as this often, so just go on YouTube, type “Kauan – Sorni Nai” and enjoy the 52 minutes.
And for those who don’t enjoy the darker vocals (screaming), there really isn’t much to do other than get through the little parts that have it. Most of it is sung in a very calm voice, so don’t worry. I think it has 3 parts where you go “okay, that’s rough”, but nothing serious.

F

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The Best Phish Songs Of All Time

How exactly do you make a list from a band that’s played around 1709 different songs live (including covers). How do I know? Well, Phish turns out to be one of those bands that has such hardcore fans that they register even when Trey Anastasio farts on stage. I’m pretty sure that if I search for “Mike Gordon sneezing” on Google, I’ll find the exact number of times he’s done it live. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but then again, they ARE hardcore fans. I don’t expect people to agree with this list. But do I ever care? Nope. So here we go.

P.S: I could spend hours talking about how great they all are, and praise skill and quality, but I won’t. We ALL know how great they are. No denying it.

20) Farmhouse
19) Golgi Apparatus
18) Bouncing Around The Room
17) A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing
16) Axilla, Pt. 2
15) Waste
14) Down With Disease
13) Stash
12) Joy
11) You Enjoy Myself
10) The Connection
9) Bug
8) David Bowie
7) Fuego
6) Theme From The Bottom
5) Heavy Things
4) Wilson
3) Taste
2) Time Turns Elastic
1) Secret Smile

Yes, Secret Smile is my top choice. I KNOW! But it’s true, it’s their greatest musical achievement in terms of emotionality and dexterity. It requires to be in a specific mood to truly enjoy it, but it’s worth the voyage.

Peace out

 

 

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The Best Of 2015

I know, I know…we’re still in overtime (sports reference, for the dim witted), but I couldn’t wait to do this, so fuck it.

Best Albums of 2015 

1.- The World Is A Beautiful Place… // Harmlessness
2.- Lights & Motion // Chronicle
3.- Deafheaven // New Bermuda
4.- abstract rabbit // fine
5.- ecco // Freedom Summer
6.- Father John Misty // I Love You, Honeybear
7.- Max Richter // Sleep
8.- Modest Mouse // Strangers To Ourselves
9.- Elara // In The Depths of Time, In An Ocean Made Of Stars
10.- Wilco // Star Wars
11.- Grimes // Art Angels
12.- An Autumn For Crippled Children // The Long Goodbye
13.- Public Service Broadcasting // The Race For Space
14.- Tallest Man On Earth // Dark Bird Is Home
15.- Endless Melancholy // Her Name In A Language of Stars
16.- Clouds Collide // All Things Shining
17.- Slow Meadow // Slow Meadow
18.- Ashbringer // Vacant
19.- Thierry Maillard // The Kingdom of Arwen
20.- Mark Kozelek & Nicolás Pauls // Dreams Of Childhood
The Best Of The Rest (In No Particular Order)
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat // The Most Important Place In The World
Being As An Ocean // Being As An Ocean
Mutemath // Vitals
Jessica Curry // Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture (Soundtrack)
Keith Jarrett // Creation
Alpaca Sports // When You Need Me The Most
Violet Cold // Desperate Dreams
Glen Hansard // Didn’t He Ramble
Caspian // Dust and Disquiet
Mauro Beltrán // Mueren De Pie Los Arboles Que No Saben Crecer
Helios // Yume
Myrkur // M
David Duchovny // Hell Or Highwater
The Paper Kites // twelve four
Foals // What Went Down
Sleevenotes // Anchorage
Low // Ones and Sixes
Bjork // Vulnicura
We Lost The Sea // Departure Songs
Godspeed You! Black Emperor // Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress
Sleater Kinney // No Cities To Love
Sorority Noise // Joy, Departed
Sun Kil Moon // Universal Themes
Mumford & Sons // Wilder Mind
Colin Stetson/Sarah Neufeld // Never Were The Way She Was
Inventions // Maze of Woods
Jeff Bridges // Sleeping Tapes
The Decemberists // What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World
Best Songs Of 2015
1.- Deafheaven // Brought To The Water
2.- The Tallest Man On Earth // Sagres
3.- Father John Misty // Bored In The USA
4.- Lights & Motion // The Spectacular Quiet
5.- Ghost // Cirice
6.- The World Is A Beautiful Place… // Wendover
7.- Ashbringer // Ethereal Aura Pt. II
8.- Modest Mouse // Coyotes
9.- Wilco // You Satellite
10.- ecco // Welcome Home

11.- Marble Sounds // The Ins And Outs
12.- Godspeed You! Black Emperor // Peasantry Or ‘Light! Inside Of Light!’
13.- Grimes // Flesh Without Blood
14.- Foals // What Went Down
15.- Thierry Maillard // Hieroglyphs
16.- The Decemberists // Make You Better
17.- Clouds Collide // Perihelion
18.- Tortoise // Gesceap
19.- abstract rabbit // eyeglasses for piety
20.- Alpaca Sports // Need Me The Most

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Albums That Mainstream Sites Won’t Ever Show You And That You REALLY Should Hear

I’m aware that’s a pretty long title, but it’s so damn true. I wouldn’t have to do something like this if sites like Pitchfork and Stereogum gave some attention to small time artists. Sure, there are cases where those sites have made artists get more likes and shares, but are those artists/bands really worth our time? You be the judge.

These all are records that I’ve listened to in the past year, so bear with me.
Doesn’t mean they’re all extremely new though. So…here we go.

(I’ll add some links to help out)

1.- abstract rabbit // fine (experimental/ambient)

2.- Newhampshiretrees // Teeth (noise/experimental)

3.- Ashbringer // Vacant (atmospheric black metal/folk metal)

4.- Clouds Collide // All Things Shining (post-metal/blackgaze)

5.- Audrey Fall // Mitau (cinematic post-metal)

6.- Aural Method // When I Drifted I Heard A Faint Melody (post-rock)

7.- Blurry Lights // A Romantic Dream (neo-classical/post-rock)

8.- ecco // Freedom Summer (post-rock/indie pop/ambient)

9.- Go-qualia // Aurora Wave (idm/post-rock/electronic)

10.- snffn // Lucht (ambient/experimental)

11.- SPORT // Bon Voyage (indie punk)

12.- Thierry Maillard // The Kingdom Of Arwen (free jazz/fusion) (sorry, you will need to find it by torrent, no links to listen available for now)

 

I will be updating this list eventually, I promise. Enough to enjoy for a while, right?!

 

 

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Frightened Rabbit: The Finest 15 Songs (Yep, Just 15!)

It’s super hard to decide these things, but I just love lists. And given the news about Frightened Rabbit’s fifth album, I could not resist!
No fucking around today, I’ll list them below!

15) Good Arms vs Bad Arms

Why start with a fan favourite? I don’t know, to be honest. All I know is that it needs to be here!

14) Architect (with Manchester Orchestra)

Sometimes in life, you’ll feel like these lyrics describe your entire social circle. There’s no going around it.

13) Escape Route

Third bonus track from the Pedestrian Verse record. Out of the three, it’s definitely the strongest and a bridge between the album and what came next.

12) Today’s Cross

Another bonus track. Well, more like a B-side. The videoclip they made for it was brilliantly hilarious and you all should check it out. I once asked Scott about the chords and he told me he rarely remembers how each song was crafted. So much for artistry!

11) Keep Yourself Warm

The ultimate “I fucking hate you” song. And that’s that.

10) Backyard Skulls

Some called this Scott’s finest pop-rock venture. Or maybe it was just me. Either way, great lyrics, great tune.

9) Living In Colour

Li-livin’ in colour! Li-livin’ in colour!

8) Extrasupervery

For me, the greatest track from The Midnight Organ Fight. An experiment gone right, you could say.

7) Swim Until You Can’t See Land

What can you I about this one?…Nothing at all? Yeah, that seems okay.

6) Who’d You Kill Now?

At first I couldn’t understand the point of this song. Then I got my heart broken and it became an anthem to me.

5) Acts Of Man (Live Version)

Chose the live version because of the ending, not the performance. Although Hutchison’s nasal falsetto on stage isn’t as strong as in the studio, the balls it took to choose this song to end concerts…wow.

4) The Modern Leper

Probably the most recognisable tune until The Woodpile came out. I bet many broken teenagers would make this their top choice.

3) The Woodpile

This one marked a change in their style of production. I’m glad they did, I was kinda getting tired of the lack of purpose behind distortion. And goddamn, it’s catchy and complex chorus is worthy of accolades.

2) State Hospital

I got a tattoo of the lyrics “A bloody curse word in a pedestrian verse” not long after the album came out. I had already been listening to the song for a while (it was on the EP). Its meaning may be hidden, but not to me…not anymore.

1) Home From War

I consider this their best song because it contains everything I like about them. The lyrics, the atmosphere, the self-loathing, the doubt, the crescendos, the explosions, the drumming….I could go on for days. But in the end THIS is their quintessential piece.

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