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Wemade shirt SUPPPPP
So I thought I'd say sup, since I haven't been as active as I was for a while due to university and taking 18 credits each semester :<. Being a music major with a composition emphasis will do that to you~. Anyways, I've been writing this up for my last.fm journal and I thought I might as well post it here, and see what albums you guys loved over this past year.
INCOMING WALL OF TEXT.
Now that the year is over, I will go ahead and say this straight up - 2009 was a freaking fantastic year for music. I can't emphasis enough how awesome 2009 was in music for me, there were SO many good albums put out this year that - for the most part - changed my way of thinking about music and in some cases my direction I take with music itself. Between the familiar bands' reliable releases, brand new faces to the scene(especially the midwest'mo, although some aren't necessarily 'new', e.g. Snowing), and bands that people never thought would get back together - the bar is set pretty high for 2010. Let's just say that every album on my top 10 list I listen to in some form daily, if not the whole album. Let's get on to the list:
20. Gaza - He Is Never Coming Back
19. The Red Chord - Fed Through the Teeth Machine
18. There Will Be Fireworks - S/T
17. Magrudergrind - S/T
16. Loma Prieta - Dark Mountain
15. SunnO))) - Monoliths and Dimensions
14. Austrian Death Machine - Double Brutal
13. Gorod - Process of a New Decline
12. Sleeping Giant - Sons of Thunder
11. Daitro - Y
10. Punch - S/T
Punch, once again, rises above and beyond my expectations. After reading review after review of how well their self titled blew Eyeless out of the water, the bar was set pretty high and then completely demolished after one listen through. Hailing from the best music scene in California(especially considering it's really the only prominent scene here..), Punch rips open the bay area scene with this 16 track powerviolence epic; solidifying it's position on my top 10.
9. PsyOpus - Odd Senses
Chris Arp, 2 things - I hate you and..well I hate you. Seriously, give me your fingers and your technical genius. Most of you aren't going to like anything that PsyOpus puts out - you'll take one listen and shut it off because it sounds like noise to you. While normally I would call you an idiot, I can understand why as PsyOpus(a.k.a. Chris with some people playing along) wouldn't appeal to the average listener..because that's exactly what they're going for. Taken from an interview with the man himself:
I’ve been playing for the song for 16 years, and I’m at a tour where no one is fucking getting it. I realized that I’m expecting 15 year old girls who can’t even spell “guitar” to understand what we’re doing. We've got to realize that there is a certain attitude that we have. Other people kind of have it, but the people are lazy. A lot of people just play music in the background and just want a sound. We’re an acquired taste. We’re for someone who thinks a lot and who wants to think about their music and follow that trip. For someone who wants to put in the time and effort to getting to know us and inquiring what we’re about, I think in the long run our music provides a more vivid experience. There’s more to offer with this band. Once you figure out our trip, I bet you could 20 years down the road go “wow, there is a vivid experience to be had here.” There is so much involved. There is so much more involved, and I don’t think that people want to challenge themselves that much. I realize that.
Odd Senses takes this a step further from the last album, going in the opposite direction of concieved tonal music and bringing you outside the spectrum of the norm. Take A Murder To Child, for example: it's the 2nd to last track and it completely shows Chris Arp's brilliance on guitar. A 9 minute instrumental featuring violins, electric and classical guitars, Arp takes one of the best approaches to modern composition that I've heard in a long time; creating an incredible dissonance between harmonic movements.
I'm a sucker for technical wankery, and PsyOpus really nails it on the head.
8. mewithoutYou - it's all crazy! it's all false! it's all a dream! it's alright
"Woah, I think someone tagged this album incorrectly." <--- my immediate thought when I opened up mwY's newest release, and to be completely honest - I didn't like this album at all in my first listen. However, like most amazing albums, it took 2-3 listen-throughs and it hit me how wrong I was. While this is not Weiss at his best lyrically, he still manages to tear me apart on the inside and forces me to reevaluate myself. To be completely blunt - this album is perfectly described by my friend Lane: "It's as if Aaron Weiss and Tom Waits had a baby and put out a record."
7. For Today - Portraits
I thought I liked metalcore. I was wrong. Unlike most metalcore bands out there that can only play 3-note riffs into br00tal breakdowns(and believe me there are way too many), For Today can actually play their guitars and can play them well.
For Today starts off this album on the opening track Immanuel (The Challenger) with a gut-pummeling 808 hit letting everyone know what they're about - their faith. Whether you think they are incredibly blind with what they are saying, or wholeheartedly agree, I completely respect these guys sticking to what they believe and openly proclaiming it amongst the disdainful and sometimes disheartening comments thrown out at shows. The following track, Saul of Tarsus (The Messenger) backs this up further with vocalist Mattie proclaiming over and over May the world know/That I am Yours/I will/never be silenced, and I/AM NOT/ASHAMED. For Today repeats the process of their last album with Benedictus (Song of Zechariah), taking a break from the heaviness and inserting a down-tempo, melodic song complete with a solo that sounds eerily familiar to Between the Buried and Me. Oh wait, that's right, Dustie Waring lent his talents and performed this song. I can't really put my finger on what makes this album so good, I just know the mixture of sweeps and 808 breakdowns get me in the mood to shout out THIS IS THE END OF THE WORLD.
6. Between the Buried and Me - The Great Misdirect
I ALMOST didn't put this on my top 10, just for the fact that the beginning of Fossil Genera is so horrible. However, everything else is completely golden; and if their previous album Colors wasn't OH GOD SO GOOD - this would be my favorite. It's almost unfair to compare this album to Colors, but you have to. BtBaM set the bar for progressive with that album, exceeding the point of metalcore and entering a whole new realm of wankery. TGM goes in the same direction - and is even proggier..if that can be achieved. Btbam opens the album the same way as Colors with a nice little melodic ditty proving that they are one of the most talented bands around. Again, TGM follows the same pattern as Colors in that each song leads into the next, creating the feeling that the album is one gigantic song that must be listened in one go through. I will say, however, that their best track on this album is the last track, Swim To The Moon. Their song Selkies: The Endless Obsession is in my top 5 of favorite songs of all time, but this is quckly encroaching on it's spot. Swim To The Moon is a 17 minute long piece of beauty, and it's one of the few songs of that length that I can listen to for an hour straight and still every minute of it. The beginning riff sounds as if Rush tracked guitars, except it didn't suck. The tapping piece is one of the best progressions I've heard in a long time, not including the 2 measures of classical guitar tapping out the beginning movement's riff before the electric guitars pick up. This is all within the first 2 minutes of the song and there's so many time signature changes and non-chord tones, and we're just getting to the first verse. The chords progressions are incredible, the riffing is incredible, the vocals are actually good, and there's an organ solo and drum solo..and they're both amazing.
I'll stop slobbering all over Swim To The Moon and put it simple - it was incredibly hard for BtBaM to follow Colors. They're still following the same formula with this album - proggy metalcore riffage into odd-time measures into 4/4 chorus into incredibly proggy weird instruments thrown everywhere - but it still works. If Fossil Genera seriously didn't suck so bad, this album would be a lot higher.
5. Kaospilot - Shadows
These guys hail from Norway, and no this is not a melodic death metal band nor a black metal band. Kaospilot has put out some of the best screamo I've heard in a long, long, long long lg nogoanrg;ioaneiuan time, and yet it's still not your typical 4 chord grind-esque chaos. There's so much depth to this record that it's drastically different from the last. The songs Ad Infinitum and Lunar sound like they'd fit perfectly on an Isis album, with it's spaced out chord progressions and haunting violins. The track before it, The Indian Became A Thunderbird, as well as Colossus are incredibly chaotic - keeping to Kaospilot's original sound. It's passionate, dissonant, harmonic, intelligent, many many other descriptive words; so just listen to it and take me on my word.
4. Castevet - Summer Fences
This album is so close in favorites with Snowing's release it's not even funny. Castevet is another band in the midwest emo scene that knows what it's doing, and they're doing it sooooo well. Summer Fences is one of my favorite albums of all time since it's release, albeit I had heard the majority of the songs before on their demo release, and I feel that it's going to take a lot to change that on their next album. This album is perfect for any situation - chilling, skating, driving, playing Starcraft - everything. So many other reviewers have said this about them, and it's still incredibly accurate: Castevet is American Football meets Explosions In The Sky meets Hot Water Music. Noodly guitars pumping up post-rock build-ups, dropping you right into a scruff yell that makes you want to punch someone in the face while sitting in a bean bag chair writing about it on livejournal. Just listen to the opening track Between Berwyn and Bryn Mawr and you'll understand immediately(and as you can tell each track title is a non sequitur - When a Movie Is Made In France, It's Called 'Cinemas' ). Summer Fences isn't a tiny little 4-track tape either, clocking in at a little over 45 minutes with 8 tracks. However, for you ADD people out there, I can guarantee it is one of the easiest listens that I've experienced in a long time. Each track leaves you wanting more and more and more, and did I say leaving you wanting more? Yeah. Get this album.
3. Snowing - Fuck Your Emotional Bullshit
Vulgar title aside, if motW didn't put out an album this year, this would have been my number one. I don't care if this is only a 5 track demo, this album destroyed 2009 for me. Snowing brings noodly and mathy guitar parts, sporadic yet intricate drum fills, yet they still don't sound like a Kinsella project knock-off..I mean every midwest emo band today..I mean..anyways. The opening track, Sam Rudich, has one of the most emotional breakdown I've ever heard; and after a few listens I found myself getting pumped at the cheesy yet GENIUS bah da da da da da da bop bop bop bridge, then finally screaming along to the lyrics I feel nothing/like my father/he's been sleeping/underground.
While Sam Rudich and Important Things(Spectar Magic) open the demo fairly fast and heavy, it slows down a little with Pump Fake; finding a nook in the middle of the album to display the band's ability to show off on their instruments. The guitar work sounds so smooth and easy, albeit nowhere near simple; accompany this with beautiful drum fills and snare hits..this may be Snowing's best track on the demo. Kirk Cameron Crowe picks up the pace, leading to a perfecting balance of everything Snowing has to offer with Methuselah Rookie Card.
I think what attracts me the most about this album, though, is how emotional AND catchy the lyrics are. Everything John Galm throws out at me I take in and find myself wanting more. I already mentioned Sam Rudich, but each song has this; from Important Things' "THIS IS A SONG THAT WILL MOST LIKELY BORE YOU, THIS IS A SONG THAT WILL MOST LIKELY PUT YOU TO SLEEP" and Why can't I/see the sun spots/in your eyes, to Methuselah Rookie Card's "Hey/I'm dazed on your front lawn/I'LL DRIVE HOME SCREAMING AT THE DRIVE-IN". I feel as though John Galm has been through a lot, he wants to tell me all about it, and I sincerely want him to tell me more.
This is what real emo music is.
2. SNSD - Gee
It's me, I mean come on what else would you expect?
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It's me, I mean come on what else would you expect?
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1. maudlin of the Well - Part the Second
I shouldn't even have to explain why this is number one, I really shouldn't. The fact that the funds for this album were raised by fans alone should signify the significance of Toby Driver's music. However, if you have NO idea who motW, Toby Driver, Kayo Dot, or Tartar Lamb are, I suggest you do some research; or at least listen to this. motW has been and will always be my favorite band, bringing elements of Doom Metal, Death Metal, Post-rock, Prog rock, and Jazz and compiling them into one beautiful juxtaposition of music.. Furthermore, seeing a new album put out when the had been on haitus for so long brought me so much ridiculous joy I can't explain it. While this album is incredibly less metal than previous releases, Toby Driver's musical genius is presented really well start to finish. Just..just download it for free and listen to it. That is all.
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- Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Agorapocalypse
Thursday - Common Existence
John Zorn - O'o
Touche Amore - To Beat A Dead Horse
Megadeth - Endgame
August Burns Red - Constellations
Team Teamwork - The Ocarina of Rhyme
Coeur de Pirate - S/T
Converge - Axe to Fall
Pianos Become The Teeth - Old Pride
my heart to joy - seasons in verse
\\\Maytag - the saga of frostbitten lands of frigidaire
Disappointments of '09:
- Killswitch Engage - S/T
Mastodon - Crack the Skye
Nile - Those Whom The Gods Detest
the chariot - Wars and Rumors of Wars
Emery - In Shallow Seas We Sail
So yeah, after that ridiculous post - what were your guys' favorite albums of 09?
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fuck you scott, i have the red chord on here don't i?