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Old 12-02-2017, 09:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 25+ Favorite Albums Of 2017 (by Anteater)

Yep it's that time of year again fellas. You know the drill if you've followed me the last few years. I'll be updating this OP with links as they get posted.

~ Derek

25. Ancient Dome - The Void Unending
24. David Helpling - A Sea Without Memory
23. Steven Wilson - To The Bone
22. Tomi Malm - Walkin' On Air
21. Enslaved - E
20. Ruby The Hatchet - Planetary Space Child
19. Todd Rundgren - White Knight
18. The War On Drugs - A Deeper Understanding
17. Anubis Gate - Covered In Black
16. Circuit des Yeux - Reaching For Indigo
15. Coming Soon!
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Anteater's Favorite 25 Albums Of 2016 (And More!)
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Originally Posted by elphenor
Anteater's intelligence and utterly impeccable taste in music knows no bounds. Thanks to him I went from Communist to Libertarian overnight!
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What Ozzy was to Black Sabbath, Anteater is to MusicBanter. I am in awe of his majesty.

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Old 12-02-2017, 09:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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25. Ancient Dome – The Void Unending


Genre: Italian Thrash Metal

Sounds Like: Vicious Rumors, Exodus, Heathen, early Megadeth with more prog elements


If there's one thing I've learned over the years - when in doubt, see what's happening in Italy or Japan musically. The former has always had a fun metal scene in general, but never to the point where you'd think they could compete with the big boyz of America or Germany. At least when it comes to thrash anyway.

Now me, as long as the melodies are fun I don't care that much about the heaviness of the thrash band in question, but Ancient Dome go above and beyond to blend a multitude of things I appreciate in metal. They have that classic Big Four drive, but they play in modalities that will remind you at times of Megadeth when they almost turned prog-metal or early Vicious Rumors. There's also a hint of USPM in stuff like 6-minute epic D.I.E. (Droids In Exile). Nothing here that will rewrite the landscape necessarily, but these pasta-eaters know that variety is the spice of life and nothing drags on more than its supposed to. As we learned with the story of Goldilocks, sometimes being neither too hot nor too cold is just the place you want to be when you want a headbanging tour of the cosmos.



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Anteater's Favorite 25 Albums Of 2016 (And More!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by elphenor
Anteater's intelligence and utterly impeccable taste in music knows no bounds. Thanks to him I went from Communist to Libertarian overnight!
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord
What Ozzy was to Black Sabbath, Anteater is to MusicBanter. I am in awe of his majesty.

Last edited by Anteater; 12-02-2017 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 12-03-2017, 04:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I can see that this is going to be a splendid new music resources
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Gentle Giant Catalog Review

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Old 12-03-2017, 04:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You betcha!

24. David Helpling – A Sea Without Memory


Genre: Ambient, Post-Rock, Instrumental

Sounds Like: Brian Eno, Max Corbacho, Harold Budd, Explosions In The Sky


When he isn't doing film scores or working with art houses, Mr. Helpling takes his guitar experience and does stellar music on his own that reaches into some very deep spaces. He's also one half of the duo that did The Crossing back in 2010, arguably the best ambient album of the last ten years or so. But as much as I love that particular album, this latest outing is impressive in another way alltogether: it's a true bonafide "solo" effort. Everything you hear on A Sea Without Memory was done using just one guitar through some programmed pedals and recorded live to 2-track with very little processing, which is surprising when you actually sit down and let this thing wash over you and realize how much "bigger" it sounds than you'd expect.

While there are separate "songs" here, this is really an album experience in the textbook sense and when taken as such you can appreciate it to a greater degree. Definitely not a traditional "guitarist" album nor typical in the ambient / new age schema, I've come back to this musical well fairly often throughout the year....and hopefully for many more to come



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Anteater's Favorite 25 Albums Of 2016 (And More!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by elphenor
Anteater's intelligence and utterly impeccable taste in music knows no bounds. Thanks to him I went from Communist to Libertarian overnight!
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord
What Ozzy was to Black Sabbath, Anteater is to MusicBanter. I am in awe of his majesty.

Last edited by Anteater; 12-03-2017 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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23. Steven Wilson – To The Bone


Genre: 'Nu-Prog', Alternative Rock, Trip-Hop, "Art Rock"

Sounds Like: Tears For Fears, Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree (obviously), Peter Gabriel, Radiohead


While I find it ironic in a sense that a guy who hates the term "progressive rock" so publicly has become the modern spokesperson for said genre, the praise is deserved to a certain point. Other than guys like Devin Townsend or the real obvious bands like Opeth and Dream Theater, Steven Wilson is among a select few that has developed a truly lucrative career in a style of music relegated to mostly curiosity status by the majority of people out there. Not unlike today's biggest pop stars, all he has to do his snap his fingers and he could sell out an arena.

But make no mistake, To The Bone is the first album he's done since the mid 00's with Porcupine Tree that I could see headlining a major tour. Not because its the "pop meets prog" taboo that the player haters made it out to be, but because its a proggy alternative rock album with a lot of good hooks and accessibility. The pop elements are secondary, but just as prominent as anything on Deadwing or In Absentia. This isn't new territory for Wilson, but I think he's got it down to a science.

And true to form, there's a lot of variation here: the title track has a hi-tech bounce / groove going on that hearkens back to Pink Floyd circa The Wall or maybe So by Peter Gabriel, and 'The Same Asylum As Before' could have easily been a Side B number on Radiohead's The Bends, Brit-pop guitar shreddage and all. And then there's the big single 'Permanating', which is the Baroque glory of Electric Light Orchestra by the way of New Radicals and all the better for it.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your car is to put some air in the tires and get some new rims instead of going for something completely out there. To The Bone won't change any minds about the modern "prog" sound, but the great arrangements and hooks certainly don't disappoint.




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Anteater's Favorite 25 Albums Of 2016 (And More!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by elphenor
Anteater's intelligence and utterly impeccable taste in music knows no bounds. Thanks to him I went from Communist to Libertarian overnight!
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord
What Ozzy was to Black Sabbath, Anteater is to MusicBanter. I am in awe of his majesty.

Last edited by Anteater; 12-04-2017 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 12-05-2017, 08:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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22. Tomi Malm – Walkin' On Air


Genre: Yacht Rock, Westcoast-AOR

Sounds Like: Steely Dan, Ambrosia, early 70's Chicago, Burt Bacharach


Cheese this may be, but boy is it the best damn refined $50 block of gouda you'll hear this year. Tomi Malm is a producer / songwriter who has been very active in Finland, Norway and Sweden's commercial music scene for over a decade and has made some seriously good connections to some of the best session players from Los Angeles in the process. This is his first solo outing, but he's got legendary cats involved including Vinnie Colaiuta of Frank Zappa fame on drums, plus Eric Marienthal and Brandon Fields on sax.

As far as passion projects, this particular brand of jazz-pop is a dying breed but done fantastically well at times. Favorites include 'Favor', where Frank Ĺdahl takes his gospel honed pipes to some pretty eye-popping places, and the title track where former Chicago singer Jason Scheff comes in with a killer chorus that puts his old band to shame. The ballads don't stand out to me quite as much as the uptempo cuts do, but Warren Wiebe (R.I.P.) is featured on 'Show Me A Sign' and reminds you why Celine Dion and Whitney Houston named him as their favorite singer at one point. He's up there with Steve Wonder in sheer vocal character.

Overall, this is a great record to indulge in if you are looking for classy songwriting from an older era without needless pretensions.



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Anteater's Favorite 25 Albums Of 2016 (And More!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by elphenor
Anteater's intelligence and utterly impeccable taste in music knows no bounds. Thanks to him I went from Communist to Libertarian overnight!
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord
What Ozzy was to Black Sabbath, Anteater is to MusicBanter. I am in awe of his majesty.
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Old 12-06-2017, 10:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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21. Enslaved – E


Genre: Experimental Viking Metal / Black Metal

Sounds Like: Darkthrone, Mayhem, Emperor. Bathory, prog-metal awesomeness


As their black metal roots have receded over the last ten years or so, the unconventionality that have always differentiated Enslaved from their fellow countrymen who came into their own in the early 90's becomes more and more obvious witch each successive release, with E (at least for me) being the best they've done so far in regards to blending all their different tangents together into one sound. I've liked the last few (including In Times), but this one ups the ante in subtle ways.

Their closest counterpart in the metal world as far as overall trajectory is concerned is probably Opeth, but where I feel the latter band lost their way a bit by embracing their 70's prog roots above all other aspects of their sound, what Enslaved are doing on E actually sounds best when a Hammond organ, flute or saxophone suddenly rolls in over a tremulous riff storm (such as the bangin' 'Sacred Horse' or the billowing 'Hiindsiight'). Those out of left field slices of instrumentation complement the primordial atmosphere and give you more variety than your average metal fan likely bargained for, and that goes double for some of those wordless Norwegian vocal harmonies that occasionally show themselves between bouts of snarling.

Could this end up being in that rare company of black metal albums that could help introduce more people into the genre and still hold its own against the big boys? Only time will tell, but it has certainly been one of the highlights of 2017 for me.



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Anteater's Favorite 25 Albums Of 2016 (And More!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by elphenor
Anteater's intelligence and utterly impeccable taste in music knows no bounds. Thanks to him I went from Communist to Libertarian overnight!
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord
What Ozzy was to Black Sabbath, Anteater is to MusicBanter. I am in awe of his majesty.
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Old 12-08-2017, 07:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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20. Ruby The Hatchet – Planetary Space Child


Genre: Stoner Rock, Doom Metal, Southern Rock, Classic Rock, "Pop-Sludge"

Sounds Like: Royal Thunder, Saraya, Subrosa, Blood Ceremony


Classic stoner rock idioms adorn Ruby The Hatchet's sound like medals on a uniform: the arena-ready howling from a very talented Jillian Taylor, the blues / sludge inflected Zeppelin riffs, a larger than life production effort and plenty of hooks scattered 'round like ashes. That latter area in particular is something these guys have in spades that many of today's hard rock throwbacks struggle a bit with: memorability. It's why neither Elder nor Bell Witch nor even Pallbearer made my list this year: too much emphasis on the jamming and not enough thought into the songwriting. Yet here's a band as heavy as any of those three yet can put together a rollicking single like 'Killer' (complete with a goddamn Hammond organ) and make it look easy. Funny how that works.

Doom-anything and the bands that revolve tangentially around the genre in 2017 is a crowded place to be (especially if you spend any time on Bandcamp) but the best will always rise to the top. For me this year, that's Ruby The Hatchet in all their retrotastic glory. Bon apetit....



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Anteater's Favorite 25 Albums Of 2016 (And More!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by elphenor
Anteater's intelligence and utterly impeccable taste in music knows no bounds. Thanks to him I went from Communist to Libertarian overnight!
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord
What Ozzy was to Black Sabbath, Anteater is to MusicBanter. I am in awe of his majesty.
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Old 12-10-2017, 12:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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19. Todd Rundgren – White Knight


Genre: Avant-garde, EDM, R&B, Soul, Pop, Industrial, Hip-Hop

Sounds Like: Trent Reznor, Dâm-Funk, Hall & Oates, lots of others


Ol' Todd Rundgren is someone who doesn't really need any introduction. He's been recording music since the late 60's and probably is involved (somewhere) in an album you know and love. He did God's work with XTC in the 80's and almost all of his solo albums and band efforts are fantastic as well.

Unlike a lot of musicians from his generation, Todd is pretty forward-thinking in regards to technology and the applications of it in today's recording processes. To that end, White Knight is something of a snapshot / retrospective of his whole career with an added edge of experimentation courtesy of some of the big players who show up on this album (Trent Reznor perhaps being the most recognizable name).

So he basically recorded and collaborated this whole thing with just his laptop and some proprietary software, and the end result is boundlessly creative even if it lacks that "in-studio" sound that some tell you is necessary to produce a truly "human" sounding album. In this case though, the goal was to experiment and bring in as many outside ideas as he could into a completely digital, cloud-based type of workflow.

You get a little bit of everything here. Daryl Hall comes in with his trademark blue-eyed soul prowess on 'Chance For Us', 'Naked & Afraid' is straight up EDM, 'This Is Not A Drill' has Joe Satriani jamming over some early 90's post-punk sounding thing and even Steely Dan's Donald Fagen shows up to make fun of Donald Trump on the snarky Hammond organ led 'Tin Foil Hat'.

While not my favorite Rundgren album overall (that honor goes to 1989's Nearly Human), this was one of the dark horses of 2017 and has the benefit of being both a fun album to go through while throwing in a lot of variety where you'd least expect it from someone approaching 70.




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Anteater's Favorite 25 Albums Of 2016 (And More!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by elphenor
Anteater's intelligence and utterly impeccable taste in music knows no bounds. Thanks to him I went from Communist to Libertarian overnight!
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord
What Ozzy was to Black Sabbath, Anteater is to MusicBanter. I am in awe of his majesty.

Last edited by Anteater; 12-12-2017 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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18. The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding


Genre: Indie Rock, Singer-Songwriter stuff, Heartland Rock, Power Pop

Sounds Like: Bruce Hornsby and the Range, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, The National


In the book Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell, a constant thematic touchstone you see is a concept known as the Rule of 10,000 hours. The idea, of course, being that anyone who practices or dedicates to something productive for 10,000+ hours can achieve a mastery of it. Reading any interview with Adam Granduciel, the leader behind The War On Drugs, and you can tell he's at least that much time into this in regards to his recording process. Maybe more.

As a listener, it was obvious to me even few minutes into A Deeper Understanding that there's a consummate power brought about by sheer obsession and attention to detail. The arrangements are classy, lengthy statements with a lot of ebb and flow. When 'Up All Night' starts with a repetitive piano riff a'la Randy Newman, Billy Joel, you think "yeah I know how this goes'. But once that acid drenched axework comes in like greased lightning, you suddenly don't. Adam's plaintive voice isn't special in any way: the songwriting is just that good.

Still, this is a very moody, reflective record. The production is bright enough to snort a line off of, but so immaculate that its hard not to get sucked into the subtle details. A hint of trumpet here and there. A Rhodes piano lick reverberating between the verses, just out of focus but strangely present. There's a point in the second half of 11-minute centerpiece 'Thinking Of A Place' where a harmonica comes rolling in like a miniature tsunami and its just damn beautiful. Like the best thing Destroyer has never done on steroids, with some 80's college rock-styled guitar melodies near the end as interpreted by Wes Montgomery.

In short, this is an 80's styled album for people who would normally hate the 80's. This thing may be saddled with enough E Street Band nostalgia to make John Hughes blush, but it works like a charm.



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Anteater's Favorite 25 Albums Of 2016 (And More!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by elphenor
Anteater's intelligence and utterly impeccable taste in music knows no bounds. Thanks to him I went from Communist to Libertarian overnight!
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord
What Ozzy was to Black Sabbath, Anteater is to MusicBanter. I am in awe of his majesty.

Last edited by Anteater; 12-14-2017 at 09:03 PM.
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