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Here's an idea for a thread:

Post your favorite music recordings from this year.

Here's what I've enjoyed, so far:

Disappears - Irreal

Krautrock influenced post-punk from Chicago.

Punch Brothers - Phosphorescent Blues

Chris Thile's bluegrass follow-up from Nickel Creek's 2014 album, A Dotted Line.  Not strictly bluegrass, however.

Illoquence & Rythmatical - D​.​E​.​A​.​T​.​H

Great instrumental hip-hop album.  Production is simple and has plenty of room for further development.

Moon Duo - Shadow of the Sun

A nice psychedelic and new-wave influenced album from San Francisco

Airøspace - All Dreams End

Good mixtape from a Washington, D.C. based rapper.  Makes fun and nerdy anime references in his music.

So what have you enjoyed this year so far?

Disappears - Irreal

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A few years ago I had the chance to see Chicago-based Disappears perform in Bloomington, Ind. at The Bishop.  Steve Shelley was playing drums and he showed such enthusiasm and motivation when playing.  He’s a terrific drummer, integral of Sonic Youth and Disappears’ set that night was fantastic.

Shelley’s time with Disappears was short lived, but the band today continues to experiment and explore new music territory while tipping their hats to notably-influential 70s krautrock and 90s alternative rock bands.  Irreal will be released Jan. 19 on Kranky Records.  These are just a few songs worth listening to:

Loud and expansive percussion rhythms soak up dissonant guitar rhythms and subtle bass melodies in “Interpretation”.  The guitar rhythms are very reminiscent of late 80s and early 90s Sonic Youth as well as early Blonde Redhead.  A nice harmonic melody briefly interrupts the guitar rhythms before they resume.  The lyrics “Anything could happen” can be heard as a louder and noisier guitar plays a slow melody.  The louder guitar melody ends the song almost sounding like the post-metal band Pelican.  Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but it’s a very fun coincidence nonetheless.

"I_O" again takes influences from early Blonde Redhead, but the vocals sounded quite a bit like that of Jeff Mueller (Rodan, June of 44, Shipping News).  Perhaps it seems like an unusual direction for Disappears to take influence from 90s post-rock and math rock bands, but tipping the hat to such obscure bands will leave a good impression on others.

"Another Thought" features a dark and repetitive rhythm.  The rhythms are repetitive and simplistic in the sense that it allows the music to be layered with other elements to grow in complexity.  It seems quite reminiscent of the Cologne-based krautrock band, Can.  They too, in albums such as 1971’s Tago Mago and 1972’s Ege Bamyasi, would take simplistic rhythms and build upon them to develop complex songs.

Overall, the album is quite minimalistic which seems to pay homage to the band’s krautrock influences.  Irreal rightfully confirms that Disappears are a krautrock-influenced alternative rock band.  The songs are layered and complex with rich and noisy texture.

Perhaps such influences weren’t as obvious in previous Disappears releases, but this is an exciting direction for the band as well as Kranky Records.  This is a very fun album.

image

Those who enjoyed Nickel Creek’s 2014 release A Dotted Line will not be disappointed with Chris Thile’s upcoming album with the Punch Brothers, The Phosphorescent Blues, set for release on Nonesuch Records on Jan. 27.

A few songs that stand out:

"Familiarity" starts with a strong and energetic mandolin melody, but the delayed string instruments that fade out allow Thile to emerge with a sincere and awe-inspiring vocal delivery.  Meanwhile, a marching-like rhythm develops and culminates at 2:48 with a rather enjoyable melody that seems to gradually edge itself down and up the scale.  The rest of the Punch Brothers chime in to create a harmonious vocal delivery as Thile softly sings, "I love you".  The fluttering fiddle is very bright and uplifting.  "Familiarity" is a long song, running almost ten and a half minutes, but it contains so many widely-ranging emotions.  Of all of Chris Thile’s work with Nickel Creek, Punch Brothers as well as his solo work, "Familiarity" ranks as one of his best album-openers.  It’s articulate and dynamic and helps to humanize contemporary folk and bluegrass music.

"Passepied", as composed by Claude Debussy, features grand ascending and descending mandolin melodies accompanied with enamored strings.  It’s wonderful to hear Thile continue to recognize his classical roots, and it’s quite exciting how he and the Punch Brothers can make classical music relevant for 2015.  A live performance of this song can be viewed on Youtube.

"Boll Weevil" seems to return to some of Thile’s roots with Nickel Creek, such as "Smoothie Song" from This Side and “When in Rome” from Why Should the Fire Die?  Bright and vibrant melodies are accompanied by strings playing some delightful double stops.

The entire album is gold, and it’s hard to be disappointed by Thile.  Even though influences of bluegrass, folk and classical music are apparent in The Phosphorescent Blues, the album remains truly unique, making it difficult to categorize the album into a single category.  An early 2015 favorite, by far.

carlsimmons.tumblr.com/post/10…

So here’s a quick list of my ten favorite music recordings from this year.

10) Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2

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The sophomore release by El-P and Killer Mike enjoys a sense of lyrical clarity as it weaves in and out of darker and noisier rhythms.  Songs like Oh My Darling Don’t Cry, Blockbuster Night Part 1, Love Again, amongst others, feature El-P, Killer Mike and some high-profile guest appearances by Zack De La Rocha, Gangsta Boo and Travis Barker.

Lyrical delivery in this album is very well-poised.  Paired with smart production, this is a smart hip-hop album.  One of the best from 2014.

9) Jerome and The Psychics - Money is Violence

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A late addition, but a surprise favorite. With roots in Rio de Janeiro as well as Bloomington, Ind., Money is Violence expands the band’s soul music influences.  Combining lo-fi garage rock with 60s soul influences, Money is Violence makes extensive use of brass instruments and seems to take some notable influences, perhaps from the likes of Sly & The Family Stone as well as the Isley Brothers.  This is a very soulful and groovy album.

8) Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World

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A decade after the release of You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine, Death From Above 1979 finally follows up with The Physical World.  It partially pays homage to their first album, especially in songs like Crystal Ball, Trainwreck 1979 and Right On, Frankenstein!On the other hand, White is Red seems to deviate away from DFA 1979’s original sound.  The bass melody is still noisy, but enjoyably melodic and serves as an experimental deviation from the rest of the album.  The Physical World obviously recognizes the older repertoire of Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F. Keeler, but that shouldn’t be disappointing.  If anyone was expecting something so drastically different, they probably wouldn’t be listening to DFA 1979.  On the other hand, I’m quite glad they’ve re-united after hiatus.

7) Cult of Youth - Final Days

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New York-based folk-punk outfit Cult of Youth squeezed in a surprise punk favorite this year.  Experimental folk influences are substantial, but more subtle and very enjoyable hardcore and post-hardcore punk influences pop up throughout the album. Perhaps Ian MacKaye was there in spirit, because influences of his vocals are quite apparent in Final Days.  Songs like Dragon Rouge and Empty Faction reinforce that. God’s Garden almost sounds like John Darnielle’s Mountain Goats, but  with an aggressive punk attitude.  Down the Moon is the best song from Final Days.  Instrumentation begins as any other folk song, but the post-hardcore vocals are irresistible, especially with the line, “The moon is rising!” as soft and hearty brass instruments add harmony.

6) Vince Staples - Hell Can Wait

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Another fine release from the hip-hop community.  Vince Staples seems to take some very interesting influences from the lyrical delivery of Ishmael Butler (Digable Planets, Shabazz Palaces) with songs such as Fire, Hands Up.  Staples also takes some interesting influences from the likes of Chance the Rapper, with songs such as 65 Hunnid, Screen  Door, Limos and Feelin’ the Love

Feelin’ the Love is a very memorable EP closer.  The rhythm in particular seems to exist as two separate entities that are arranged with such particular sense.  It sounds complicated but it works very succinctly.

Production is noisy and original which adds good texture.  Hip-hop with texture is always appreciated.

5) Lantlôs - Melting Sun

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The German metal scene made the list this year with Lantlôs’ Melting Sun. Very nostalgic influences of the noisier days of Pelican, Isis and Red Sparowes are apparent in Melting Sun. Interestingly, Lantlôs isn’t an instrumental band and they employ talented vocals that help harmonize noisy stoner and doom metal influences.  Their tone is also quite atmospheric with a prominent ambiance.

Melting Sun is also one of the best album covers I’ve seen in some time now.  Very bright, vibrant colors very accurately reflect the nature of the album.

4) Busman’s Holiday - A Long Goodbye

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Notable influences from The Unicorns and Grizzly Bear earn Bloomington brothers Lewis and Addison Rogers a spot on the list.  Additionally, as Busman’s Holiday expand their career with Indianapolis-based Joyful Noise Records, they’ve toured quite a bit with other notable Joyful Noise artists. Best of all, they played this year at WARMFest in Indy in Broadripple Park with bands such as Of Montreal, Sebadoh, Half-Japanese and others.  Coming from Indiana, Busman’s Holiday is quite relevant in the alternative music scene, being signed to one of the most relevant independent labels, Joyful Noise.

3) Flying Lotus - You’re Dead!

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Owning the vinyl of You're Dead! is especially fun to view the bizarre and graphic album art in detail.  Of course, Never Catch Me is one of the most memorable songs from the album.  Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus complement each other quite well, and it makes sense why these two would be so well-received by critics and fans.  Turkey Dog Coma seems to return to Steven Ellison’s roots with a quirky but catchy melody and rhythm.  Turtles is another fun song that emphasizes Ellison’s rhythms.  Some brighter and fluffier elements can be heard, but this song is decidedly about the rhythm and it showcases how far along Ellison has come with his production.

2) Ghostface Killah - 36 Seasons

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Wu-Tang Clan’s A Better Tomorrow was enjoyable, but 36 Seasons blew it out of the water.  Ghostface Killah brought lyrical clarity with his distinctive production, which was very reminiscent of Fishscale.  The guest appearance of AZ on songs such as Here I Go Again, Double Cross and Blood in the Streets complements the production with a succinctness that makes for an excellent hip-hop album.

1) The Antlers - Familiars

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Atmospheric piano and sentimental horns paired with Peter Silberman’s airy and somber vocals create a heartwarming album.  Songs such as Hotel, Parade and Refuge are undoubtedly sad, but it’s such a great album for anyone who is feeling sad.  Familiars warms the heart and soul and can make a seemingly woeful situation seem a lot more bearable.

All told, 2014 was quite successful and 2015 will undoubtedly be even better.

carlsimmons.tumblr.com/post/10…

Can we talk about Chris Thile's new album with the Punch Brothers?  I think this is one of his best recordings yet.  Bluegrass and classical influences are still evident, but The Phosphorescent Blues is quite a unique album, which makes it all the more special.

Their performance of Claude Debussy's Passepied is particularly exciting because it showcases Thile's classical mandolin background while still making classical music relevant in 2015.  The Punch Brothers adapted Passepied wonderfully for string instruments.

Your thoughts?

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mphtmnslt
United States
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Disappears - Irreal

image


A few years ago I had the chance to see Chicago-based Disappears perform in Bloomington, Ind. at The Bishop.  Steve Shelley was playing drums and he showed such enthusiasm and motivation when playing.  He’s a terrific drummer, integral of Sonic Youth and Disappears’ set that night was fantastic.

Shelley’s time with Disappears was short lived, but the band today continues to experiment and explore new music territory while tipping their hats to notably-influential 70s krautrock and 90s alternative rock bands.  Irreal will be released Jan. 19 on Kranky Records.  These are just a few songs worth listening to:

Loud and expansive percussion rhythms soak up dissonant guitar rhythms and subtle bass melodies in “Interpretation”.  The guitar rhythms are very reminiscent of late 80s and early 90s Sonic Youth as well as early Blonde Redhead.  A nice harmonic melody briefly interrupts the guitar rhythms before they resume.  The lyrics “Anything could happen” can be heard as a louder and noisier guitar plays a slow melody.  The louder guitar melody ends the song almost sounding like the post-metal band Pelican.  Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but it’s a very fun coincidence nonetheless.

"I_O" again takes influences from early Blonde Redhead, but the vocals sounded quite a bit like that of Jeff Mueller (Rodan, June of 44, Shipping News).  Perhaps it seems like an unusual direction for Disappears to take influence from 90s post-rock and math rock bands, but tipping the hat to such obscure bands will leave a good impression on others.

"Another Thought" features a dark and repetitive rhythm.  The rhythms are repetitive and simplistic in the sense that it allows the music to be layered with other elements to grow in complexity.  It seems quite reminiscent of the Cologne-based krautrock band, Can.  They too, in albums such as 1971’s Tago Mago and 1972’s Ege Bamyasi, would take simplistic rhythms and build upon them to develop complex songs.

Overall, the album is quite minimalistic which seems to pay homage to the band’s krautrock influences.  Irreal rightfully confirms that Disappears are a krautrock-influenced alternative rock band.  The songs are layered and complex with rich and noisy texture.

Perhaps such influences weren’t as obvious in previous Disappears releases, but this is an exciting direction for the band as well as Kranky Records.  This is a very fun album.

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