December 31, 2009

Best of 2009 Pt. 2: Albums

Better inconspicuously late than never, I suppose. Stripped of all illuminating commentary and sentimental recollections of "first listens" and "realizations of essentiality", I present to you a list of albums I listened to, intentionally, more than a few times, over the course of 2009.

Honourable Mentions

M. Pyres – Cast Off / Cold Months
Desolation Wilderness – New Universe
Circulatory System – Signal Morning
Hey!Tonal – Hey!Tonal
Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms
Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer
A Sunny Day In Glasgow - Ashes Grammar
Cold Cave - Love Comes Close
Why? – Eskimo Snow
Bear In Heaven – Beast Rest Forth Mouth
Kona Triangle - Sing A New Sapling Into Existence
Health - Get Color
Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains
Inverness – Forest Fortress
Hermit Thrushes – Slight Fountain

Best "EPs"

Animal Collective – Fall Be Kind
Wet Hair - Dream
Gold Panda - Before/Miyamae
High Wolf – Animal Totem
Emeralds - What Happened
Oneohtrix Point Never - Betrayed In The Octagon

Best Albums

20. Magik Markers – Balf Quarry
19. Black Dice – Repo
18. Mount Eerie – Wind's Poem
17. Lightning Bolt – Earthly Delights
16. Thee Oh Sees – Help
15. Pterodactyl – Worldwild
14. Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport
13. Real Estate – Real Estate
12. Atlas Sound – Logos
11. Nosaj Thing – Drift
10. White Denim – Fits
9. Ganglians – Monster Head Room
8. Bygones – by-
7. Eric Copeland – Alien In A Garbage Dump
6. Here We Go Magic – Here We Go Magic
5. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
4. Dan Deacon – Bromst
3. Bibio – Ambivalence Avenue
2. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
1. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

December 27, 2009

Best of 2009 Pt. 1: Songs/Videos

That title should really read "Favorites of 2009" and, in truth, I can't account for my tastes beyond the past few months. My memory is terrible. So, yeah, songs like "My Girls" and "Two Weeks" would top this list if I was strictly orienting myself towards a band's "breakthrough song" or "first single from the album." But that is not the case. "Having said that," I have professional music sites to thank for giving those songs the recognition they deserve. Now, if you don't mind, here's my list of songs that should be getting the "real" attention. "Deep Cuts", as they say. (Okay, I suppose I'd be lying if I said there weren't any singles in here -- what are you gonna do, cry about it?)

I intended to write descriptions, but I realized after a few that the first sentence of each description was "This song was magic the first time I heard it." "Having said that," I've only described the ones I have something worth saying about.

(Note: The decision to include videos was made after all that was written. So pretend those last two paragraphs are just feigning ignorance. Additionally, I figured I might as well add a few to stream if they're on YouTube and lack official videos. Also, just because a certain video isn't on here doesn't mean I don't think it's awesome -- it just didn't happen to be one of my favorite songs of the year.)

15. Teebs - Untitled (Possibly unfair for several reasons -- namely, I first heard it only several days ago, and it is a 15-minute track containing elements of his other songs. Sorryyyy. This video is of a song that apparently is titled and that I'm considering an excerpt of the 15-minute mix thing.)

14. Gold Panda - Back Home

13. Teengirl Fantasy - Azz Klapz (I'm posting this video -- even though it's live and from 2008, and thusly not quite the song I'm talking about -- because: 1. It's refreshing to know that they actually perform most of what's going on instead of using laptops, and 2. That girl in the green shirt must be exactly what they were thinking when they named themselves Teengirl Fantasy. I think I'm in love.)

12. Real Estate - Pool Swimmers

11. Bygones - Up The Shakes
<a href="">bygones &#8211; up the shakes by Sargent House</a>

10. Toro Y Moi - Blessa (First heard from twenty feet and several walls away, drunk on a couch in Ren's common room; the dream-glazed harmonies melted me into a dusty LP from the attic of a man who had given up learning how to surf and settled for watching waves. I remember being too tired to move but too smitten to just let it slip away, and counted the number of songs that passed until I had gathered the energy to amble over and ask him what it was. That sounds so self-important. Ew.)

9. Atlas Sound - Quick Canal ft. Laetitia Sadier

8. Dan Deacon - Woof Woof

7. Bibio - Lover's Carvings

6. Here We Go Magic - Tunnelvision (Their album was posted on this blog by Tara and taken down before I had decided to give them a chance. If I had known Luke Temple was involved, I would have downloaded it immediately, but I wouldn't actually discover that until over the summer. Regardless, I recall seeing the Tunnelvision video posted on Pitchfork and thinking, "Gee whiz! Tara really is jivin' with the haps." I was nothing short of hyptonized, and watched the whole thing all the way through -- which is a rare occurrence for me with music videos, and wouldn't happen again until my number 5.

5. Grizzly Bear - Ready, Able (The subtle details in this song eluded me until I saw the video. The switch that they hit at 1:53 was called to my attention with that first viewing -- I had grown tired of Veckatimest a few months prior, but now I wondered why. So, yeah, you could say I owe my rediscovery and appreciation of that album to this video.)

4. Eric Copeland - Alien In A Garbage Dump

3. White Denim - Paint Yourself

2. Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is The Move

1. Animal Collective - What Would I Want? Sky

December 25, 2009

Joyful Joy!

I got y'all a little something because I love y'all so much. What is it? Why, opinion-based retrospectives of the year, of course! Possibly to arrive later today or over the weekend, in several editions. Enjoy your holiday ham and, if you're lucky, ironically awesome (but secretly just plain awesome) sweaters.

December 23, 2009


The Acts of Men

Has been on repeat since I downloaded it.
I maintain that fleet foxes wanna be midlake, couldn't be this awesome if they tried, should keep their day jobs, have lamer cover art and beards, etc etc etc etc


For Long Tomorrow

"The Long Tomorrow" is the title of a futuristic short comic written by cyberpunks. Though i've never read it, clearly it's inspired some diverse shit... first the timeless classic Blade Runner (<--sarcasm), and now Toe's latest album. Sorry I took my time putting it up, but you know. finals. and stuff.

For those of you not familiar with Toe, they're Japanese prog-rock/post-rock instrumentalists. They sometimes mince their music with vocals. Other times (read: now), they disappear for 3 years and then reemerge with an amazing album. If there's a bone in your body, you'll gulp this shit down. I might not be able to decipher half of the titles, but that hasn't stopped me from bumping both parts of モスキートンはもう聞こえない pretty hard.


Teebs 09

I don't know too much about this, other than I couldn't recommend it more highly. I wouldn't be posting this so soon after hearing it, except that its been a while since the last time I was compelled to listen to an album twice in a row. I really can't find any information about this particular release anywhere -- a Google search of "Teebs 09" basically brings up a bunch of forum and blog posts not unlike this one. Crazy shit, man. Just get this, okay?

Sounds like equal parts Four Tet, Gold Panda, Flying Lotus, and just a pinch of The Avalanches.


December 22, 2009


Lichens - Omns (2007)

Lichens - The Psychic Nature of Being (2005)

For those of you who enjoyed that last post I made with the Julianna Barwick stuff, you might enjoy this as well. I've heard this guy doin lots of cool vocal drone stuff that was pretty cool. Just some stuff on youtube or whatever, unfortunately I have not seen him live which sucks cuz I know he's always playing shows. Anyway, yeah this dudes stuff is pretty cool, check it out. lots of layering of vocals and some acoustic guitar and electronics and what not.

December 21, 2009

Cassettes For All-Hours

Exactly a week ago, and three hours from now, I was entering my school's library. Little did I know -- or hadn't I planned it? -- I wouldn't leave for another fifteen hours.

Do any other schools do this? Set up a 24/5 library program during the last few weeks of school, I mean? They should. It saved me, in a way -- or, if it didn't, and I was totally distracted anyway (which I was), at least I got to experience my first three all-nighters (I'm a real live college student now!), and at least I got to experience going wayyy over my prescribed dosage of Adderall for a few days straight. But that's three all-nighters, and the first two are their own stories. And they lack a musical context from which to draw inspiration for posting. Regrettably, they also happen to be about the more drug-induced all-nighters. Sorry.

So this one is about the third all-nighter, and it involves me, staying in front of the same computer from 12:30AM to 4:30PM, with a brief half-hour break at some point between 5AM and 6AM to eat a Clif Bar and some Fruit & Nut mix. And some bathroom breaks, duh.

Here's the part where I throw this whole "theme" away and just say, okay, when I was listening to the following albums, I didn't "study" very much. I was barely productive or lucid at all -- or maybe I was, and that's why I remember listening to them? And if I was barely productive, why do I remember them helping me finish that essay? Had I only become more productive after I started listening to The Disintegration Loops? Am I losing my mind and writing more about the things that this post isn't about than what it is about?


Death Chants - Ether Works, Vol. 1 & 2

Four songs over the span of an hour, originally released in 2006 separately on two cassette tapes. I had forgotten about this for a while, which was easy because it lands right after Death Cab For Cutie and right before Death From Above 1979 in iTunes. Pretty unfortunate, because this is probably one of my favorite psych/drone/folk releases ever. Reminds me of John Fahey, Grouper, and hell, a lot of shit from the same labels as the two releases below.

Peaking Lights - Imaginary Falcons

Another release I inexplicably forgot -- at least this one's from 2009. Somehow, I had "Silver Tongues, Soft Whispers" stuck in my head for weeks, and didn't figure out who it was until December rolled around. Worth getting just for that track.

Koi Pond - Volcano

How did I not realize the theme of "inexplicably forgotten" until I started writing these descriptions? Whatever. This one is ridiculously better than I remember it being, but it is best suited for late-night listening. Putting it on in daylight will only confuse you. Reminds me of Tortoise's first album except it's mostly post-apocalyptic in an Epitaph One kinda way. All underground and brain-scrambling. Mmm.

December 19, 2009

La Campanella

Maybe I should start listening to classical music

December 18, 2009


There's just something about Christmas that gets me thrashin'. All the holly and shit, just gets me PUMPED. This is Blacklisted, they are hardcore from Philly. They are signed to Deathwish, a top of the line Hardcore label, and released an album this year. The first album below is a collection of some early EP recordings they did. It is a bit more intense than their most recent release, which shows a lot of growing musicianship and experimental tendencies on their part.

We're Unstoppable (2005)

No One Deserves To Be Here More Than Me (2009)


December 17, 2009


These guys are so. fucking. raw. Hardcore/Thrash from San Francisco. Meghan's vocals are killer, the band's sound is tight and cohesive, and there are some really good grooving parts. Their self-titled debut LP got released this year and I can't wait to hear their future efforts. Cheers to the friend who got me into them.

Punch - Punch (2009)


December 11, 2009

Here We Go Magic - Tunnelvision (Live)

Soooo I didn't expect myself to want to post this so soon, but wow! I came across it while thinking about making a "Best Live Acts of 2009" post, and just couldn't contain myself. This song live is as epic as the fact that they are performing in front of a huge boat. No, it is more epic. Imagine they are performing on the boat, and it is a Viking boat on its way to discovering Iceland, and then they encounter a portal into another dimension, or something. I don't understand how this video only has three-hundred-something views.

If their new songs are any indication (they played maybe four*, I think, when I saw them two months ago), and if they release an album in 2010, I can't imagine a world in which they do not become huge.

*Sadly, there is no Youtube evidence of this. Total bummer.

P.S. I almost forgot -- Noisevox also has several other videos from this show up on Youtube and they are all Olivia-Wilde-goddamn-beautiful. Check them out.

Julianna Barwick

Julianna Barwick - Florine [EP (2009)]

Julianna Barwick - Sanguine (2006)

Sorry I'm so late with this, I meant to put it up sooner but I've been very lazy. The first link is her new EP which released Dec. 1st, the second link is her full length release which is pretty much perfect. If you haven't heard her yet definitely give her a listen, shes starting to gain a lot more listeners. Her music is mostly all loops of really beautiful droning vocals that blend sooo nice together. She creates an amazing sound with the range of just using vocals as an instrument.

December 10, 2009

Rumors, Rumors, Rumors.

A triumphant (hopefully) return?

My god, let us hope.

(Your) Favorite Albums Of 2009

You can totally just go ahead and visit the


to voice your opinion about that shit. We may or may not post our own lists in full -- with colorful images and fancy word-based synopses! -- in a week or two, when we're done busying ourselves with the desperate goal of passing all our classes. I suppose I was referring to myself as a royal we, just then. Hmm.

Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder (2009)


A supergroup that doesn't suck. It does the opposite. It blows. In a good way. It blows your throbbing organs.

Those throbbing organs are your ears.

Scott Weinrich of The Obsessed, Al Cisneros of Sleep/Om, Scott Kelly of Neurosis, and................ DALE FUCKING CROVER of MELVINS.

From the first track it is obvious that he is laying down the skins. This album is really tough and really spacey. If it wasn't coming from the men whom they base their entire careers off of, I would say the aethereal vibes I got from the vocals and effects in this are reminiscent of Mastodon's newer material. It has some very relaxed moments woven fairly seamlessly into some pieces fit for the battlefield. Good, solid release.


December 07, 2009

Cobalt - Gin (2009)


Black Metal.

What did you think of?
Norway? Early 90's? Church burnings? Satan? Murder?
Those are all perfectly justifiable. They are the words that come to mind whenever I hear the name of one of metal's most notorious subgenres. I mean, when it comes to Black Metal it gets no better than those staple bands that came out of Norway: Mayhem, Burzum, Emperor, Gorgoroth, Enslaved, etc. However, this band is up there with the quality of those power houses, and they released this album in some small Colorado town. That's right, Colorado. This album is one of my favorites of the year, it got suggested to me by a close friend and I have been listening to it since. It shows a great amount of musicianship and stays true to the Black Metal sound whilst incorporating some unexpected turns here and there. The bleak lyrics dealing with such themes as war, death, and sorrow are screeched out by the vocalist at times and sang in a haunting harmony at others. Black Metal lives on.

EDIT: I don't know what is happening with this link, but it keeps dying. I can only resuscitate it so many times. After so long, I am only playing god. God apparently thinks nobody should download Cobalt. As he should, they are heathenistic Black Metal sons of bitches. It's alive for now, but no guarantees.




I was originally going to post this for the amazing non sequitur album title. Then I was going to post this because it features Bobby Burg of my favorite Joan Of Arc Family band, The Love Of Everything. It also features two members of the somewhat Joan of Arc related band Chin Up Chin Up that broke up some time ago and whom I admit I never was totally into (awkward sentence structure ftw). Then I was going to post it because I started listening and was all like, holy smokes, this is actually really good. And then I remembered, damn, last time I posted something from Record Label it was taken down by Mediafire.

And then something amazing happened. I visited their Myspace and made the incredible discovery that they are offering the album on a pay-what-you-want basis. Fate has been kind to us today, folks.

Oh yeah, and if you're wondering what it sounds like -- kind of a cross between the aforementioned bands and then some Ukulele.

Big Spider's Back : Warped


don't dismiss this as ac fandom.
there's good stuff here.
it's spectacular, especially given that it's only one guy.

perfect machine is amazing.

give this a chance to grow on you.
because it will.


December 06, 2009

Oneohtrix Point Never

Because Rifts seems like a heavy introduction to devote your time and money into on a whim (or a 4 1/2 star review, for that matter), I'm going to give you just a taste: My favorite three releases that happen to contribute their bulk to that 2-disc collection. If you are unaware, Oneohtrix Point Never (pronounced on-ee-oh-trix) is Daniel Lopatin, an extremely lovable ambient musician/cyborg equipped with his trusty Roland Juno-60 and miscellaneous effects. This is another artist I'm tempted (at the risk of coining a term) to describe as hyperactive ambient -- because, sure, all those swirling synth arpeggios and crescendos wash over you like a wave of meteor dust drifting in a vacuum, but it also feels like a swarm of TIE fighters* are slowly approaching from beyond the vast luminous hydrogen clouds that obscure your path. Or maybe that cloud is made up of nanobots preparing to absorb your organic fuel. I'm in a sci-fi mood, I guess. This is certainly the kind of music that'll take you there.

A Pact Between Strangers

Betrayed In The Octagon

Zones Without People


*I really hope some knowledgeable nerd says something like, "Ha, that simile makes no sense! TIE fighters don't travel in swarms, idiot." There's possibly something scientifically inaccurate about "vast luminous hydrogen clouds" too, but that's a different story, and, well, I'm no astrophysicist. Even though I have a vague suspicion that's not even the right kind of scientist for this.