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Old 12-10-2013, 11:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Scrotum is a goodass band, strong pick big dick X2
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:49 PM   #12 (permalink)
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^ Lol! Nice to see I have David Lee Roth as a fan...


21. Shpongle - Museum Of Consciousness


Genre: Psybient, Psytrance, World Music, Electronica

Sounds Like: Other psybient bands and artists, but better. Or maybe the Ozric Tentacles with more flute and CLUBBINZ'


Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, the great Carl Jung said that the pendulum of the mind alternates not between right and wrong, but between sense and nonsense. A rather fiendish perspective of our psychological habitations to be sure, but one that seems more and more true whenever the bong-ripping rhythms of duo Shpongle happen to shamble their way into my virtual nightly turntable, which is what happened quite often in the second half of 2013.

Despite how fresh & modern their take on World Music/Trance hybridization has remained since their formation in 1998, the kings of psybient have an elusive primordial quality to the musical tapestry they've assembled on each LP that pulls you back to eras long past, those lost years where man danced naked under the light of the moon and the winds and rains were gods that needed to be communed with even as you struggled to appease their whims.

So fifteen years into their career and many good albums later, how does Museum Of Consciousness fare? Sense and nonsense certainly abound in equal measure, with some songs coalescing into a clear direction early on ('Brain In A Fishtank') whilst others feel fit to have your brainwaves wander a plethora of astral planes before crashing you back down to Earth ('The Aquatic Garden Of Extra-Celestial Delights'). The flutes, the skull-reverberating synthesizers and all the insidious grooves and texturing you expect reappear in full and glorious prominence...and, if anything, they sound better than they ever have before.

Like all iconic bands & projects in their respective spheres of influence these days, Shpongle would have been hard pressed to reinvent the wheel without alienating their audience under even the most ideal of circumstances. But if the music is this engrossing despite its familiarity...do you really need to? Rave on!! \m/




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Old 12-12-2013, 06:52 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Hey! I just realised I have that Votum album waiting in my shopping cart. Guess I'd better go complete the purchase if it's as good as you say my man!
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:03 PM   #14 (permalink)
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^ Oooh, what a koinkydink. I assure you, dear TH, that it is worth every penny you'll spend and more.

Anywho....ONWARD to numbah twenty!

20. Fates Warning - Darkness In A Different Light


Genre: Old school progressive mutha****in' metal!1

Sounds Like: Fates Warning obviously. What, you thought I was gonna say DREAM THEATER?! *laughs hard*. THINK AGAIN YOU FOOLS!


It's been a long, long journey to get to 2013 for the world's oldest progressive metal band: 31 freakin' years in fact. After cementing the genre alongside Iron Maiden, Queensrˇche and a couple of others, the 90's and 00's brought countless imitators and competitors, and since 2004 the band that started it all has remained in a state of uncertain hermitage until Darkness Of A Different Light emerged a month or so ago out of a 10 year abyss. That's a pretty damn long gap between albums...so how good could it really be?

In one word, I'll go ahead and say phenomenal. Anyone with a passing interest in heavy metal at all is probably familiar with the guitar prowess of Jim Matheos and the distinctive tenor of long time Texan vocalist Ray Alder, but even if you've never heard a Fates Warning album before, you'd be quite impressed with this one. Its crushingly heavy, very melodic and despite being primarily guitar driven, the songs are superb and rank among the most distinct they've ever laid to the recording pasture.

This sucker is simply a winner through and through. Looking for a thrash-oriented number to add to your DJ Plug queue? Opening song 'One Thousand Fires' is your new best friend. Into the more modern groove of bands like Tool & Karnivool? Take 'Firefly' and 'I Am' on for size and let Alder's voice pull you into the sky. And for anyone who wants to hear an example of how to do a 14-minute epic right, there's closing cut 'And Yet It Moves' to satisfy your hankerin' for a deep-dish progger.

There are many bands out there who certainly qualify as "progressive" metal...but there's only one Fates Warning. And if there was ever an album to give you that segue into their fascinating dimension, 2013 just delivered it on a shiny silver platter.




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My Top 30 Albums of 2018
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Old 12-13-2013, 11:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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19. St. Lucia - When The Night


Genre: Indie pop-rock, Synth-pop, Electro-pop, Dream Pop

Sounds Like: A-ha, The Shins, Toto, Vampire Weekend, Johnny Hates Jazz


A little disclaimer going into this: forget CHVRCHES. Forget Lorde. Forget Haim or whatever half-baked "retro" 80's synth-pop acts topped your list this year. They all suck compared to the uncanny brilliance illustrated by St. Lucia's magnificent debut When The Night, sax and all. I mean, seriously dudes...go ahead, try to find a better indie-pop album this year, cause it ain't The 1975 or whatever Pitchfork-endorsed poseurs pass for pop sensationalists in this corner o' the century.

Honestly, I've heard my fair share of indie-pop and "chillwave" and everything in between over what feels like a decade or more at this point. For every decent album with actual hooks and some nuance there's 50 more records of disposable garbage without any real personality or staying power. So you can imagine how surprised I was when the single best indie-anything album I've heard since Wincing The Night Away back in 2007 happens to get recommended to me out of the blue by a band I was already following.

What struck me like a thunderbolt was this act's strange yet entrancing tropical vibe, an atmosphere conjured from some nether realm between The Flaming Lips, Wild Nothing and Lionel Ritchie. I spun the album's lead single 'Elevate' over and over again for the following 24 hours like my life depended on it: I subsequently learned that the damn thing is auditory crack-cocaine with gated drums.

Flash forward a month or so later, and I get to hear the whole record. Lo' and behold, I learn that the rest of the album is just as good yet nothing like it in some respects...and that's just more to this debut record's credit methinks: it changes things up enough from song to song to keep you invested, yet it never sheds its festive mood. A real record with a raison d'etre to match, conceived and produced from the ground up by the sort of trendy Brooklyn act that wouldn't survive 5 seconds in a mosh pit...who woulda ever thunk it.

Vocalist and band mastermind Jean-Philip Grobler is a strange creature: his voice isn't particularly strong or unique on its own, but his songcrafting prowess rivals some of the best pop acts of the 80's. For example, a tune like 'Closer Than This' starts off with synthesizer line straight out of a Survivor album before morphing into a lilting, call-and-response slice of pop nirvana...and the song isn't even half over yet by this point!

But enough rambling: I can't think of a more crowded musical arena outside of metal in 2013 than the mainstream oriented, ADD-riddled landscape of pop music, but if there was some kind of race to see who could put together the end-all to end-all of "nu-80's" pop albums before Xmas came and went, I'd say St. Lucia is the clear winner by a landslide of sunshine, coconuts and tiki dancers.





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My Top 30 Albums of 2018
Quote:
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You can't blame the Jews for everything...just most things.
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Trump might be the best thing since free jazz.

Last edited by Anteater; 12-13-2013 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 12-14-2013, 11:17 PM   #16 (permalink)
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18. Blue Cartoon - Are You Getting On?


Genre: Power Pop, Art Rock, West Coast Rock, Glam Rock

Sounds Like: Todd Rundgren, Jellyfish, David Bowie, The Beatles, Elton John, Big Star, Fleetwood Mac, Blue ÷yster Cult


So, I'll be the first to admit it: the phrase "one of the best kept secrets in ____"is a bonafide cliche. Say two different people pick two completely different obscure records nobody's ever heard of: I'd bet you $50 and a three day old pizza that each will say their respective record is a best kept secret even if neither actually is. xD

Yet every so often, you WILL find albums that turn cliches on their head: for me, the album that falls into the previously mentioned cliche category would be this latest one from Austin, TX power-pop favorites Blue Cartoon. Five albums into their career since the 90's, why these guys never got huge in that heyday alongside groups like Guster, Jellyfish, Foo Fighters, the New Radicals, etc. has always been a mystery to me. They're gorgeously guitar driven, catchy to an unprecedented degree and seem capable of pretty much doing anything they set their mind to musically. They're a camaraderie equipped with musical magic in all the right places, that one-in-a-million outfit capable of taking over the planet if someone could simply get their existence across to all those Beatles and Badfinger fanclubs who waste their time searching for rare F-sides on vinyl of said bands.

Still, I'm not much for nostalgia or speculation: Are You Getting On? is a spectacular album whatever your parameters, one that could have topped my list in any year. The fact it happens to be 2013 is of no consequence whatsoever, and might be something of a plus depending on your own tastes.

Expect a very 70's styled album in any case though. Unlike their last few albums, they're drawing upon a very unique crossover bent which incorporates psychedelia and more experimental ideas into their core West Coast power pop signature blend, and the results are sublime to say the least. Whether they're cruising down a fuzz-lined highway with their sitar/guitar/keyboard interplay on 'Remission' or even throwing a flute into the mix on 'Pity Party', these guys pull no punches. And when you take a moment to consider the skintight drumming talents of powerhouse Mike Reynolds and the slick, knotty basswork of Lee Elliott that levitate the group's already stellar sound right off the ground...hell, I'm simply sad that the majority of people this year missed the boat on this one, because its a killer ride in the biggest, baddest 70's-sounding muscle car I've heard in over a decade.

So, who likes any of the bands I mentioned so far in this review? If you don't fall in love with Blue Cartoon like I did after going through this LP based on what I've said so far, I will serve you my left arm (and armpit) in mustard sauce with a slice of pineapple. Such is a small price to pay to get an album this good into the collections of people who are looking for something truly special in 2013.




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My Top 30 Albums of 2018
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frownland
You can't blame the Jews for everything...just most things.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OccultHawk
Trump might be the best thing since free jazz.

Last edited by Anteater; 12-15-2013 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:58 PM   #17 (permalink)
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17. Janelle MonŠe - The Electric Lady


Genre: R&B, Jazz, Funk, Soul, Pop, Experimental

Sounds Like: A crazy blend of every great soul, funk and R&B pioneer, served chilled then sci-fied up to cosmic, expansive levels of awesome


I must say, artists like Janelle MonŠe serve as guided missiles of illumination in regards to one of 2013's more interesting trends...specifically, the trend of 2013 having been helluva explosive and creative year for R&B. We're living in an amazing era when all sorts of commercial players in the genre are branching out and taking risks in all the right ways. Mainstream music may not have gotten a game changer like 1969's In The Court Of The Crimson King or 1991's Nevermind, but this is most certainly a very progressive year...and The Electric Lady does it pretty damn proud.

To those of you who have been following the titular lady Cindi Mayweather since 2010's The ArchAndroid, her story just seems to be getting better and better it seems, expanding forth into new frontiers in proportion with the ever growing musical confidence Monae brings to the songs this time around. Even moreso than her last masterpiece, The Electric Lady is loose, savvy and deliciously saturated with pure kinetic energy from start to stop. Side A (Suite IV) gives us cameos of everyone from Prince to Miguel amidst its series of feet jamz, especially on the title track and ukelele-inflected 'Dance Apocalyptic'. However, as fun as that is, second album half Suite V gives us Janelle doing what she does best: gorgeous ballads and soulful stormers that would make Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye go green with envy ('It's Code', 'Dorothy Dandridge Eyes'). But because the album is so perfectly paced and balanced despite its lengthy nature, The Electric Lady works like a charm where its ambition would normally be off-putting to your typical listener.

Going against my agnostic tendencies for a moment...thank God for this girl. This is only her sophomore full LP and she's already penned some of the best R&B..hell, some of the best music PERIOD of the last decade. They say the best and brightest among us always burn out the fastest, but by all accounts Janelle is just getting started. Mind = blown





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My Top 30 Albums of 2018
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You can't blame the Jews for everything...just most things.
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Trump might be the best thing since free jazz.
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Old 12-16-2013, 08:21 PM   #18 (permalink)
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16. Blood Ceremony - The Eldritch Dark


Genre: Hard Rock, Occult Rock, Doom Metal, Acid Folk

Sounds Like: Black Widow, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Witchfinder General, The Devil's Blood


At some point within the last couple of years, female-fronted doom rock bands started popping up out of nonexistence and took on something resembling a novelty value amongst the savvy Internet musicgoing crowd. But of the many acts that call the 70's occult rock greats and the 80's doom progenitors mom & dad, none have made quite as big a splash nor sharpened their sound so succintly over so short a period as Blood Ceremony, Canada's queen ensemble of dark enchantment.

After getting signed to Metal Blade and having their previous material reissued, 2013 was most certainly this Toronto act's finest year so far, least of all since their 3rd release The Eldritch Dark not only marks their first release on the emperor of all metal labels, but also because it is a magic-infused kick to the ass and probably the best set of songs we've scrounged out of 'em yet!

As a lover of all things doom and gloom, these guys were probably a shoe in for me either way, but this truly does cast a remarkable spell. Sure you expect the sludgy guitar harmonies, mudslinging rhythm section and enough flutes to make you wonder if you stumbled into a Tull record on accident, but when that haunting mandolin steps in on songs like 'Ballad Of The Weird Sisters' or that wailing organ rushes to the forefront on closing epic 'The Magician" as lead vocalist Alia O'Brien mantras wordlessly into a strange drone...yeah, you could almost see these guys around a magic circle in the Northwestern woods somewhere, baiting devils out of hell with fresh virgins hung by their feet on a redwood tree.

Needless to say, this was my top 2013 LP for all things Satanic and bloody fun, so throw on those rune inscribed robes and celebrate Halloween all over again before the New Year arrives. You'll be glad you did!




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My Top 30 Albums of 2018
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You can't blame the Jews for everything...just most things.
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Trump might be the best thing since free jazz.
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:23 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Nice. I imagine this is what Drake thinks he sounds like. thanks for the suggestion

not much grabbed me hip hop -wise this year, but Lewis Parker's The Puzzle Episode 2: 'The Glass Ceiling' and MC Melodee & Cookin Soul's 'My Tape Deck' were good albums.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:16 PM   #20 (permalink)
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^ Yeah, as I mentioned, I like a fair amount of hip-hop this year, but David Dallas was the only one of the bunch who put out an album that hit me hard enough to make it on my top list. Drake was disappointing this year. :-/

So, time for #15!

15. Ed Motta - AOR


Genre: AOR, Westcoast, Bossa Nova, Jazz Pop, "Yacht Rock"

Sounds Like: Steely Dan, Christopher Cross, Stevie Wonder, Chicago, early Toto, late 70's Fleetwood Mac


Now this killer little album is the very definition of a left field slap upside the head: AOR is Brazilian soul/funk singer Ed Motta's first ever record released into the English/International market. And while I've been peripherally aware of his uncle Tim Maia (who is a big decades-old player in the bossa nova/MBP scene), Mr. Motta's own output has always been released exclusively in Portuguese since his own career started back in the late 80's. On top of that, he owns one of the largest vinyl collections on the planet and is supposedly a real purist when it comes to how things go down in studio. So after his debut record in English happened to come my way, I gave it a spin not expecting much...

*picks jaw off floor*. So, to put it mildly, this guy has a marvelous voice that just screams CHARISMA in fat neon letters through your speakers. Doesn't hurt that he has a huge range coupled with a tone that could melt coffee stains off the carpet either. And how 'bout dem songs eh? Well, they're all miniature poptastic masterpieces that would have been at home on any of those L.A. classic jazz-rock records of the late 70's like Aja by Steely Dan or maybe on one of the more inspired Chicago recordings. And to make the deal even sweeter, consider the fact that this dude goes out of his way to use analog equipment through both the recording and mastering processes. Pure ear candy, ladies and gents, candy I say!

2013 didn't have too many albums of this pedigree (much less this style), but for anyone who misses Steely Dan and good jazz-pop in general...well, this is a mandatory acquisition. Seriously!




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My Top 30 Albums of 2018
Quote:
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You can't blame the Jews for everything...just most things.
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Trump might be the best thing since free jazz.
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