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Old 11-24-2019, 08:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2019 In Review - Anteater's Top 30+ Albums

Well Thanksgiving isn't even here yet, but might as well get a head start.

2019 has probably been the best year in music overall since at least 2016 for me, but it's all flown by so fast that it's weird to think we are a little less than a month away from 2020.

I'll be updating this initial post as I go down the list this month, so refer back to it if you see something you like but might not remember what it was. I'll try to link to YT vids, Bandcamp links, etc. where applicable from post to post.

This has become kind of a end-of-the-year tradition for me for the last four or five years, so if you see something you like give a shout out.

~ Derek
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Old 11-24-2019, 08:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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30. 3776 - ??? (Saijiki)

Genre: Japanese Avant-Pop
Put On A Playlist With: Boris, After Dinner, Mid-Air Thief

What if Geinoh Yamashirogumi had been a cute contemporary idol group instead of a bunch of disillusioned commune dwellers cultivating esoteric hymns to life and death out in the rice fields? That’s 3776 in a nutshell. Their leader Ide Chiyono is eccentric all the right ways, and it shows in these wildly varied zodiac-themed tunes that jump between genres and ideas like some people jump between medications.

It’s pretty sporadic stuff, but also immensely interesting (especially if you bother to translate and follow the lyrics). It’s also musically off-the-wall, touching on hip-hop, City Pop, EDM, post-punk, even prog and drum n’ bass. Not for everyone, but definitely one of the big highlights of the year for me.





29. Ole Børud - Outside The Limit

Genre: Jazz Pop, Westcoast, R&B, Gospel
Put On A Playlist With: Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, Justin Timberlake, Steely Dan

Ole is one of my favorite discoveries of the last decade or so. Not only is he the lead guitarist for progressive death metal group Extol, but he’s also basically Stevie Wonder with a jazzier, funkier edge on his solo material, as wonderfully displayed on his latest outing here. Plus he writes, arranges and sings everything to perfection. Very much a modern day prodigy. You'd think all the millions of people who like Meyer Hawthorne or Bruno Mars would be all over someone performing at this level, but I guess being from Norway probably doesn't help.

Lots of horns, great bass, killer guitar solos and in general a very good jazz-tinged pop release. If your going to eat cheese, you might as well go for the best.





28. Hypnotic Nausea - The Death Of All Religions

Genre: Doom-laden Desert Rock
Put On A Playlist With: Kyuss, Monster Magnet, Sleep, Dreadnaught

Gloriously groovy in all the right places but somehow not repetitive, Hypnotic Nausea are a band that understand the power of great pacing as they paint a picture in your mind. In particular, opener ‘Holy City’ is an immediate example of their methodology: drive those grooves deep into the soul and bring out the vocals at just the “right” time rather than what the listener is expecting.

These guys are case in point for something obvious but easy to miss as we stream or buy or search around as the years go by: sometimes the most important thing in music is not to be first or the absolute “best”, but just be a little bit different or better than those around you in your little sonic corner of the world.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OccultHawk
I was called upon by the muses for greatness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frownland
I'm bald, ja.

Last edited by Anteater; 11-24-2019 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 11-25-2019, 04:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Oh yeah!
I've been waiting for this thread.
Always bringing the good stuff.
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Old 11-26-2019, 07:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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^ I try, love. I put the ff in Effort.


27. Darkwater - Human

Genre: European Prawg-Powah Metal
Put On A Playlist With: Kamelot, early 2000's Stratovarius, Blind Guardian, Symphony X

Never really cared for these guys in the past, but Human was a welcome discovery for me earlier this year in my bid to scratch the keyboard/guitar heavy progressive metal itch I get sometimes. Everything sounds super crisp (including the bass) and there's lot of Gothic flair without being too cheesy. Hooks aplenty too. It helps that Henrik Båth is also a really gifted singer who reminds me so much of the great Roy Khan that it's a little eerie (but welcome).



26. she - Aspire

Genre: Chiptune, Glitch pop, Synthwave, Vaporwave
Put On A Playlist With: Every Sega Saturn game you wish you could revisit.

Producer and keyboardist Lain Volta Trzaska (AKA she) has been doing video game oriented pop music since before it was cool, but from the early 2000's onward, he began blending chiptune with early synthwave idioms, coupled with a hefty dose of glitch thrown in - a style that's come to define the "she" project's various releases. His 2015 release Chiptune Memories is one of the best pop albums of the last twenty years, but Aspire has a lot of fun moments and was really welcome in 2019 at at time when others in this arena seem to have moved away from any form of fun or accessibility.

Long story short: if you like electronic pop music, the synthier side of 80's, or video game music from the mid 90's, this album is heaven in a ramen cup.



25. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Bandana

Genre: Hip-Hop
Put On A Playlist With: Freddayyy, Madlibbbb, Kno

Was there anyone who wasn't looking forward to this particular 2nd go around? Two legends, one at the mic and one at the board. It's a little smoother, a little more confident than Pinata (which was also great), but there are little things here that make me feel they took a bit more time on this set to get the flow just right, especially with the sample choices. Crime Pays in particular takes what sounds like a George Duke-esque Rhodes line from the late 70's and builds a smooth sailing banger over it, and even Anderson .Paak works on Giannis when he'd normally be a distraction.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OccultHawk
I was called upon by the muses for greatness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frownland
I'm bald, ja.

Last edited by Anteater; 11-26-2019 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Great thread as usual. No idea how you find the time to discover all this awesome stuff
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Old 11-26-2019, 11:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YorkeDaddy View Post
Great thread as usual. No idea how you find the time to discover all this awesome stuff
Surprisingly, its not hard with something like Notepad+. Basically just a list doc I keep adding to as I buy albums, get recommendations, listen to something that catches my ear, etc. over the months. Then I refresh myself through the completely compiled list of names around mid November and pick my top 30 to spotlight.
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Originally Posted by OccultHawk
I was called upon by the muses for greatness.
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I'm bald, ja.
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Old 11-27-2019, 10:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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24. Thank You Scientist - Terraformer

Genre: Jazzy, Cinematic Math Rock
Put On A Playlist With: Coheed & Cambria, At The Drive-In, TesseracT

Off kilter kinda-prog rock with a little ska (there's a horn section), some post-hardcore and a decent amount of djent. Couple that with a vocalist who sounds exactly like the guy from The Mars Volta and a sci-fi underpinning...yeah, I'm sold. It's taken me three albums to really warm up to their spastic approach to songwriting, but there's some great hooks and ideas to explore here, especially on the X-Files inspired FXMLDR, the lovely zither-led New Moon and the relentless title track.



23. Magma - Zëss (Le Jour De Néant)

Genre: Zeuhl
Put On A Playlist With: Ruins, other Zeuhl bands.

If this turns out to be the "final" sequence in Christian Vander long running Kobaia sequence of works under Magma, then nobody could have asked for a better ending. Zëss is a wondrous cherry that's been placed on top of one of my favorite musical cakes, filled with gorgeous choral sections, lots of piano and of course the frenetic 70's jazz-rock meets opera energy that characterizes the Zeuhl sound. Not a bad way to close out a 40+ year saga.



22. Source - Totality

Genre: Post-Grunge, Smart-Rawk, "sounds like Tool"
Put On A Playlist With: Tool, Karnivool, Tool, Melvins?

Got recommended this awhile back: gimme those Tool clones baby! But in all seriousness, I think this was legitimately the album Tool actually wanted to make, but didn't quite know how. It's got all the existential noodling and groovage, but a stronger sense of melodic immediacy and "hooks" than what these fellas' more popular counterpart gave us with Fear Inoculum. It helps that the singer has his own "voice" that isn't a carbon copy of Maynard James Keenan, so points for that.
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Anteater's Daily Tune Roulette

Quote:
Originally Posted by OccultHawk
I was called upon by the muses for greatness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frownland
I'm bald, ja.

Last edited by Anteater; 11-28-2019 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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21. Curren$y & Statik Selektah - Gran Turismo

Genre: Rap
Put On A Playlist With: Wiz Khalifa, Big K.R.I.T., Tyler the Creator

It was a real pleasure this year to hear some nu-school cats like Curren$y & Statik Selektah work together on something with as much groove and panache as this particular project. Nothing too special lyrically as far as the rap game goes, but I'm a sucker for the instrumental side of it and Statik knocks it out of the damn park. Midnight driving meditations.



20. Silver Snakes - Death And The Moon

Genre: Industrial / Alternative
Put On A Playlist With: Pretty Hate Machine (the album), Skinny Puppy, Godflesh, early Fear Factory

L.A. based producer and singer/songwriter Alex Estrada is a rising star in more ways than one. While he definitely comes across vocally as a cross between Trent Reznor and Chester Bennington, the music he conjurs up with Silver Snakes has all the classic industrial-synth-pop spades in a row and even throws in a few surprises like closer 'Gone Is Gone', which sounds like a super abrasive take on Depeche Mode's sound circa Violator but somehow makes it gel into something with real feeling. Incredibly good stuff and a talent to keep an eye on in the coming years.



19. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Infest the Rats' Nest

Genre: Thrash Metal
Put On A Playlist With: Early Metallica or Megadeth

I can't really add anything to a review of this album that likely hasn't been said elsewhere to death, but I do find it rather impressive that anyone can pull off an authentic recreation of Kill 'Em All era Metallica without being cringey...yet also somehow have an actual concept that hasn't been done to death by the thrash groups I listened to so much as a kid (in this case, environmental apocalypse). If anyone was ever under the illusion that KG&TLW were a one trick pony, this should settle that argument for awhile.
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I was called upon by the muses for greatness.
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I'm bald, ja.
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks Antman for writing this. Lot of effort in this post. Will listen to each.
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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^ Thanks mang! Let me know if you hear something you like.


18. The Panic Division - TOUCH

Genre: Indie Pop-Rock
Put On A Playlist With: The 1975, St. Lucia, Passion Pit, Friendly Fires

Chunky pop rock with a strong 00's radio commercial sheen to it. What makes it work are a combination of some pretty snappy songwriting combined with Colton Holliday's distinctive vocals - kinda like Roland Orzabel from Tears For Fears crossed with Richard Patrick. The vaguely 80's synth flourishes and the thoughtful lyrics aren't a bad...touch either.



17. Bright Curse - Time Of The Healer

Genre: Classic 70's Psychedelic / Stoner Rock
Put On A Playlist With: Mid 70's Sabbath, Camel, Robin Trower

A London-based heavy psych trio with more than a few welcome surprises up their sleeve, including Peruvian flute noodling and trumpet solos amidst the thunderous grooves and prophetic vocals from lead guitarist and frontman Romain Daut. All without losing the bluesy, mind expanding appeal of their core classic doom aesthetic: grooooovy.



16. Momo Said - Break The Rules

Genre: Soul/Funk/R&B
Put On A Playlist With: Smokey Robinson, Victor Davies, Maxwell

Born in Morocco but raised in Italy, Momo Said is a soulful dude who really pulled out all the stops on his sophomore outing Break The Rules. He covers a wide swath of styles across R&B's well tread spectrum, including P-Funk, more orchestral, old school fare like 'Time Gives Lessons' and even jazzier, experimental material like 'Basement' or the rhythmic 'Post Scriptum", but somehow comes out of the whole thing with his own stamp upon the landscape.
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Anteater's Daily Tune Roulette

Quote:
Originally Posted by OccultHawk
I was called upon by the muses for greatness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frownland
I'm bald, ja.

Last edited by Anteater; 12-03-2019 at 06:21 PM.
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