Fuller, more proper review coming, but had to take a moment to share the new Snowden video for the first single (The Beat Comes) on album # 2 (No One In Control). Six years after the debut Anti-Anti, No One In Control drops this fall on Serpents & Snakes Records, but why wait to get your Snowden fix? Catch them on tour right now (dates below) and look out for remixes possibly coming as quick as next week.
I can’t even articulate how excited I am to be able to share this one with you. I saw Rasputina on (Friday) April 13th at the Ottobar in Baltimore. Thanks to Rasputina’s tour manager, Gabe, I was able to get a soundboard patch out. Amazingly, despite a recorder malfunction and a month of believing this recording was lost forever I had the help of joemck and was able to recover the data, and bring this show to you in it’s entirety. The vocals and high band were pretty hot in the mix, but I’ve done some EQ work and the resulting sound is excellent.
Please note: if you attempt to sell this recording I will track you down, slay thee, and drink blood from thy skull.
Source: Soundboard > Nomad Jukebox 3
Transfer: NJB3 > RAW PCM (16-bit, 48 kHz) > Sony Soundforge 10 Pro
Edit: Sony Soundforge 10 Pro (EQ/Resample/Split) > FLAC 1.2.1 > Tag & Rename
02) Humankind, as the Sailor
03) 1816, The Year Without a Summer
04) Holocaust of Giants
05) Sweet Sister Temperance
06) Identity Tokens
07) Secret Message
08) Momma Was An Opium Smoker
09) The 2 Miss Leavens
10) Any Old Actress
11) I Want You to Want Me (Cheap Trick cover)
12) Kinderhook Hoopskirt Works
13) High On Life
14) In Old Yellowcake
15) A Retinue of Moons,The Infidel is Me
16) The New Zero
18) Hunter’s Kiss
Rasputina – April 13, 2012 – Ottobar, Baltimore, MD
This seems to be getting more difficult every year! 2011 was filled with so much great music and I feel like I had such little time to appreciate that. This year’s rankings were truly the hardest ever to compile. Looking past the sheer volume of great new (and “newish”) acts which have emerged, old favorites returned with new offerings, there’s also the fact that my tastes have been diverging in two distinct directions.
My love for shoegaze has has come into the forefront this year, somewhat shattering the usual suspects for top 25 positions. Nevertheless, all those beautiful walls of noise simultaneously crashing down upon my ears couldn’t ever make up for good song writing and talented vocalists. I think that’s reflected in the mix of albums in this year’s Top 25.
I had originally planned doing “reviews” for the top 10. However, I only had enough patience and focus to get the top spot for you. I have included a sample mp3 for each of the top 25 albums. If you would like to grab all of these at once (plus a few bonus tracks), click here.
[UPDATE DEC 26 2011] The honorable mentions have been updated after reading my colleague betweenthesound’s amazing 2011 write up. If you haven’t seen that, you should go read it now (or perhaps right after you finish this post). She managed to (once again) slam me with a gang load of records that were way beneath my radar, but that would definitely have put huge dents in my Top 25 list as it stands.
In nearly every review, interview, blurb, or blog post post you’ll read about Ringo Deathstarr, you’ll find three common elements.
1. Trio from Austin
They’ve actually gone through a couple lineup changes over the past 5 years, but have mostly stuck to this formula. The creative element is lead vocalist/guitarist Elliott Frazier. After bassist Alex found her way into the band (2007) by apparently just showing up for practice, things have mostly settled down, just finding the right drummer (as of this writing / hopefully “final” – that’s Daniel Coborn).
2. These guys sound like My Bloody Valentine
Drownedinsound put it this way “ If in the meantime you’ve lost your copy of Loveless, you could do far worse than listen to Colour Trip.” Yeah, it’s true. Too bad Loveless
3. The bassist (Alex Gehring) (now going by “galexy”) is so hot
So there, that’s out of the way. If it’s a more recent post you might read about how these kids just toured the UK/Europe with The Smashing Pumpkins. I have to admit kind of hate those dudes, but ultimately it means more exposure for Ringo Deathstarr and so I guess it’s not a bad thing. Moving beyond those tidbits, you get into a the music.
In case you haven’t noticed I don’t do traditional reviews. I leave it to others to finely dissect the record. Instead of telling you how it sounds (just listen for yourself), I offer you how the record felt. Colour Trip hit hard for me. This was probably my favorite record Fever Ray’s 2009 debut, and going back further it would have to be Snowden’s Anti-Anti (2006). Before I totaled my car, this record could very often be heard at extremely high decibels pulsing through the streets of Baltimore weekday evenings. Dark reverberation and the haunting fuzz draped chanting of Alex form the basis of my song of the year – Two Girls (stream/download below). For the life of me I can’t tell you what the fuck she is saying, but she is saying it just right. Besides being the single most addicting track of 2011, there’s an equally worthy video directed by Alex, which you can also find below. Be forewarned: One might say it’s NSFW.
Austra – Feel It Break
Girls – Father Son Holy Ghost
Hunx & His Punx – Too Young To Be In Love
Metronomy – The English Riviera
Radical Face – The Family Tree – The Roots
Shadwbx – Lady Doome [EP]
St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
SBTRKT – SBTRKT
Washed Out – Within & Without
Honorable Mentions [Enjoyed]
Arc In Round – II [EP]
Apparat – The Devil’s Walk
Battles – Gloss Drop
Björk – Biophilia
Big Black Delta – BBDLP1
Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind Of Fix
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Brazzaville – Jetlag Poetry
Chad VanGaalen – Diaper Island
Class Actress – Rapprocher
Com Truise – Galactic Melt
Computers Want Me Dead – Computers Want Me Dead
Cut Copy – Zonoscope
Destroyer – Kaputt
Dolorean – The Unfazed
Ducktails III – Arcade Dynamics
East River Pipe – We Live in Rented Rooms
Echo Orbiter – More Batteries
Feist – Metals
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Grimes & d’Eon – Darkbloom [split ep]
Haley Bonar – Golder
Haujobb – New World March
Hercules & Love Affair – Blue Songs
High Places – Original Colors
IAMX – Volatile Times
Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean
Kate Bush – 50 Words For Snow
LAKE R▲DIO – Delta
Little Insects – Brighter Than Darkness
Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – On Welfare
Lumerians – Transmalinnia
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
Malajube – La Caverne
Morpheme – Infection
Niva – Feverish Dreams [EP]
Mogwai – Earth Division [EP]
Music for Headphones – Life.in.Mono
Niva – Feverish Dreams [EP]
ohGr – Undeveloped
Passwords – Passwords
Phantogram – Nightlife [EP]
Pipes You See, Pipes You Don’t – Lost in the Pancakes
Prefuse 73 – The Only She Chapters
Rachel Goodrich – Rachel Goodrich
Seapony – Go With Me
Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
Starfucker – Reptilians
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Mirror Traffic
Stevie Nicks – In Your Dreams
Stumbleine – All for your smile
Taken By Cars – Dualist
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Belong
The Rosebuds – Loud Planes Fly Low
The Sea and Cake – The Moonlight Butterfly
Tropic of Cancer – The End of All Things
TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light
Tycho – Dive
Ume – Phantoms
Vondelpark – nyc stuff and nyc bags [EP]
Wagon Christ – Toomorrow
Warm Ghost – Uncut Diamond EP
Wooden Shjips – West
Woodsman – Mystic Places
Wire – Red Barked Tree
Young Galaxy – Shapeshifting
Yuck – Yuck
††† – † EP
Here’s my recording of The Mountain Goats at the Ottobar on April 14, 2011. This show was all kinds of amazing. I will let the recording speak for itself. Unfortunately, I had a recorder mic input issue which caused some loss of stereo in my recording. I have made a best effort to clean this up by replacing these instances with dual mono. In some cases I have removed portions of the audio. The vast majority of this (luckily) occured in between songs. Overall, the audio quality is excellent. This show may not be sold under any cirumstances.
Anna Calvi. Yr blowin my mind dewd! A buddy of mine recommended her a few weeks back, and I promptly downloaded the record… which sat in a folder unlistened to. Then the other night he actually burned the CD and brought it to me. I guessed he was trying to tell me something. After about 30 seconds of the opening track, “Rider To The Sea,” I knew what it was: this lady is mind blowing. Her sound is probably something bordering on Cat Power and PJ Harvey vibes, but also very distinct and best of all – transporting. I have to be careful with this record on while driving!
You’ll find “No More Words” (also included as a download below) on my most recent “since we last spoke” mix, and above all check out the video below, a live performance of “Love Won’t Be Leaving” which just may be my favorite thing from 2011 so far. Also below, you’ll find a pretty interesting NPR interview. After hearing her belt out those notes it’s surprising to hear her tiny gentle voice. Okay, that’s all for now.
I have been an avid fan of Asobi Seksu ever since I was introduced to them via a 2005 blog post in which David (or was it Chandler?) of Snowden outlined some bands he was listening to at the moment (Snowden had played Gothamist’s Movable Hype show with them the previous November in NYC). In 2006, after having jammed their 2003 self titled debut full length probably tens of dozens of times, I was really excited to hear about a forthcoming follow-up, Citrus.
Citrus lived up to my every expectation, including a crushing combination of face-melting walls of distortion and Yuki’s super-catchy vocal and keyboard harmonies I fell in love with on their first. Going one step further, the album featured a much improved audio quality, no doubt due to its being recorded at Gigantic Studios and featuring production by Chris Zane (by the way, it’s worth mentioning that despite being a minor label release, the s/t features excellent production and sounds teriffic). Citrus still blows me away, and I placed it at #31 on my Best Albums of 2000-2009 list.
I was a bit worried when the band’s next move was signing with Polyvinyl. While I generally think it’s got a great lineup of bands, I feel there’s been a “Polyvinyl Curse” on many bands I like. The curse was – after signing with the label, the band would put out something way less impressive than previous records. Just one week prior to the Asobi Seksu announcement, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin released their Polyvinyl debut, Pershing, a disappointing follow-up to their self-released Broom, which is an epic record (I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t heard it). My only comfort was in the fact that label mates of Montreal were putting out some of their best records one after another on Polyvinyl, namely a trilogy consisting of Satanic Panic in the Attic, The Sunlandic Twins, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? The last of which, by the way, is my #2 record of the last decade.
Anyway, Hush was released in 2009 and my reaction was mixed. I definitely felt the familiar Asobi vibe and was digging it, but the noticeable difference was the missing wall of sound. While the name Hush suggests something like an acoustic record or stripped down / intimate set, this wasn’t quite “quiet,” at least not in a traditional sense. Compared to their previous records, though, Hush definitely missed the mark in terms of the layers of distortion I had come to know and love (and expect). Still, with a batch of excellent songs and the solid production of Zane, the record left on me a favorable impression.
Asobi followed through with a tour only release of an acoustic set recorded at Olympic Studios (later reissued as Rewolf – and I would claim this would have more aptly been the release named “Hush”), and the Transparence EP whose title track was a glimmer of hope for the Asobi I was craving, but was otherwise mainly electro-leaning. While these were fantastic in their own right, I was beginning to wonder if the full sounds I had enjoyed so deeply on s/t and Citrus were gone for good. Signal 2011, and Fluorescence.
On their fourth full length, Asobi Seksu strikes a sweet balance between the supremely pleasing walls of noise found on Citrus, the evolved song-writing illustrated on Hush, and yes they have even honed that flirtation with the electro on tracks such as “Counterglow” (rounded out with a more trademark Asobi sound that leaves a more organic end result). The band also explores some new ground, including an almost Goblinesque “Deep Weird Sleep,” and “Leave The Drummer Out There,” which borders on the Pink Floyd inspired. Maybe the next record will be a full-out 70′s prog rock revival? (let’s hope its not!) :]
All of this coupled with excellent production (once again the work of Zane) and the result is: after only a few listens I am in love with this record! You can pre-order CD or 180g vinyl (two versions, one limited) here. And in the meantime, check out a preview track, “Leave The Drummer Out There.”
I just found out that Trish Keenan of Broadcast has passed away. As I write these words I am holding back tears at my desk. I ranked Broadcast’s Haha Sound as the 18th best record of 2000-2009 and featured “Lunch Hour Pops” in my parasol mix.
Looking back at 2010, there were quite a few wonderful records , many coming from new (to me) acts. I noticed, though, that I tended to start falling behind this year in terms of volumes listened to. That wasn’t despite a massive amount of downloading, thanks to probably the best (and worst) thing to happen to my constant new music addiction since ever, what.cd. Scouring through literally tens of dozens of records either listened to once or maybe missed entirely, I scrambled to put together this year’s list for the last couple weeks. This probably happened more haphazardly than in previous years. I also realized I hadn’t quite given enough attention to many things I either liked or loved upon first listen. So, for the first time, this year’s “top 10 albums” may be more symbolic of what I listened to most than the my actual perceived ranking of them. Nevertheless, I think I have made up for this by including a more exhaustive than ever section of honourable mentions for the completist or those who are looking for a serious challenge in completing their year in lists/libraries.
As usual I have also included some additional lists including records which disappointed me (i.e. I was either expecting or hoping for more from this) and popular records I disliked. Some rules I established for myself last year (noted below) are supplemented with another new addition, “best eps.” I have also tried to include lots of sample mp3 stream/downloads too. If you would like to grab all of these in one sweep, you can do so by clicking here. Also, just for fun, I decided to put all the samples from top records and top EPs up as 8tracks mixes too. You can find those here. Now, without further delay: cyanide breathmint’s best of 2010.
01) no compilations, live recordings, re-releases, etc.
02) electronic (primarily) and/or instrumental albums have a seperate list (see below)
03) each end of year list may contain albums released over last 15 months. once rated, an album may not appear on a subsequent best of year list.
04) EPs have their own list.
Top 10 Albums:
10) The Knife – Tomorrow, in a Year
I talked about this record earlier this year at the outset of this blog. I think it’s pure genius, and its release just so happened to oddly coincide with my own reconnection with a lifelong love of opera music. I probably listened to this a hundred times early on and then put it to rest for the remainder of the year. Check out Annie’s Box, probably the best example of Karin’s ability to sing opera.
Like The Knife, Deerhunter is a standby favorite favorite for me and probably wont surprise anyone by making my top 10 – but I have to say this wasn’t included by obligation. I found Halcyon Digest to be their most enjoyable offering yet. And after getting to see them live for the first time in 2010, I have an all new appreciation of Bradford’s quirky awesomeness. It was hard to choose which mp3 to sample, but Desire Lines seemed to be the best fit for an intro.
2010 was the year in witch (harhar) I became acquanited with this emerging “style.” I had originally written up a primer, believe it or not, on the entire “genre.” After putting hours of work into it I decided it wasn’t really publishable. If anyone really wants this, though, drop me an email and I’ll send it your way. Anyway, amongst the large variety of styles which are bulked together under the witch house label, my favorite has been that of ✝ DE△D VIRGIN ✝. After a few EPs, a full length called Anxieties emerged and blew me away. Anything less distinguished from “witch house” wouldn’t stand a chance of making my top records list.
If you know and love Rasputina, this record is as good as any other. Wish I could say more, but that’s all I’ve got. I’m going to see her in February at the Ottobar in Baltimore and I’m planning on recording audio. If you’re interested, there will definitely be downloads links up here after the show.
I think this is the most ambitious and probably technically the best record of the year. The songs spanning three discs strike me in so many different ways it’s hard to believe these are all one studio album and not some retrospective “best of.” I very much hear/feel a Joni Mitchell vibe in this. Robyn and I had the chance to see her play a few months ago and we were thrilled. Joanna is probably one of the best performers I’ve seen, and her entire crew was impressive. I also got the sense she is a real perfectionist (best evidenced by the woman who took about 45 minutes to tune Joanna’s harp before the show). Once again, very hard to choose a sample. This one is probably my favorite of the record… today.
01) School of Seven Bells – Disconnect From Desire
So, that brings me to the best. As I mentioned above, this probably wouldn’t have one on technical merits alone, but thats not what good music is all about. School of Seven Bells connects with me on a very personal level and that’s what I look for in trying to rank out records. 2010 was a mixed bag for the band, riding on a wave of late success from their last record Alpinisms which slipped underneath the radar in 2008 but was noticed in a huge way last year. Everything seemed to be working well for them, but I was both shocked (and not-so-shocked, this is for another post) when they announced Claudia was leaving the band – but, luckily for us, they would be continuing on just Alley and Benjamin. I had the chance to see them play in Baltimore shortly after and they managed to melt faces regardless. Sure the missing harmony was sad, but they held their own and put on a ridicurad performance. It will be interesting to see where album # 3 falls with the new dynamic. In an appropriately titled summary…
People who know me know about my Snowden addiction. Jordan Jeffares is my heroin. After waiting the last four years for a follow up to Anti-Anti (the 2nd best album of the last decade), 2010 brought an EP featuring five tracks comprising a preview of Anemone Arms (album #2). If I could justify counting this as a record, it would be #1. I could not, so it made top EP instead. I’ll have more to write about Snowden soon, over on Good News.
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