Phosphorescent – Muchacho
The album starts out with heart, beauty, & reflection & never looks back. The production on this album is outstanding. I usually don’t even notice that sort of thing right off the bat. This album scooped me up from the 1st listen & took me on a journey that I hope to continue many more times in the future. Muchacho contains some of the best song writing I’ve heard since Sharon Van Etten‘s Epic or Tramp or Kurt Vile‘s Smoke Ring for My Halo.
This album sounds more country than most stuff I even listen to. (I hate 99% of country music.) The lyrics are full of past relationships of love, the regret of past mistakes, & the awareness of personal flaws. I get the underlying feeling of loneliness from the album, but also that feeling that everything will end up just fine tomorrow.
After you go to a happy hour & have your favorite drink, or after you hear someone shouting “Last call!” – (don’t drink & drive) sit down & enjoy Muchacho the way Mr. Houck intended. Heck, crack open another cold one & take a beautiful journey with the sounds of Phosphorescent. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Shlohmo - Laid Out EP
Shlohmo is becoming one of my favorite producers. His latest release contains 5 excellent new tracks. The opening track features another fav of mine, Mr. Krell, aka How To Dress Well. Each of following tracks are just great & crafted to excellence. I’m going to stop typing right now so you can check it out for yourself.
Other releases of note from from March:
Bonobo – The North Borders
David Bowie – The Next Day
CHVCHES – Recover EP
Martyn – Newspeak EP
Benoit Pioulard – Hymnal
Rhye – Woman
Submerse – Algorithms and Ghosts
Wavves – Afraid of Heights
My Bloody Valentine – M B V
Godfather’s of shoegaze? Might as well be. I had always mixed up the band My Bloody Valentine with other bands- My Morning Jacket, Bullet For My Valentine, etc. Therefore I had never even listened to them at all. My mind mixed up the names & I was always just glanced past any mention of them. My homeboy Blake said that I HAD to listen to Loveless (their highly acclaimed ’91 album) before I did anything else. So, that’s exactly what I did right away.
I found Loveless to be excellently crafted, I realized that MBV was THE band that made the shoegaze genre popular. I then went on to listen to M B V & I found it to be very similar in sound & structure. I mean, what band waits 20+ years before they put out another album? When you swing for the fences & knock it out of the park like My Bloody Valentine, who cares if it was 50 years since your last album? M B V is one for the record books. How they made another album as good as Loveless is something that will probably be talked about for many years to come.
Grouper – The Man Who Died In His Boat
Grouper is the ambient & amazing music of Liz Harris. This album is one that you need to wrap around yourself & do nothing but listen. Turn off your phone, turn off your computer, & just sit with the sounds of The Man Who Died In His Boat. Take it all in, let Liz take you on a journey that to me almost feels spiritual. I can’t wait to go to a water’s edge somewhere & one day just sit there, with my headphones in, looking at the water & listening to this album.
Giraffage – Needs
How about taking R&B songs, screwing (slowing down) the lyrics & adding some hip-hop sounding drum beats over the top? Sound good? Well that’s exactly what the San Francisco producer, Giraffage, has done on this mixtape. Check it out for yourself below & download the whole thing for free HERE.
Other releases of note from February:
Foals - Holy Fire
Iceage – You’re Nothing
Inc. - No World
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away
There have been a lot of great albums that have come out this year already. Here are my 3 favorites from January.
Torres – Torres
The year stared off with an amazingly beautiful album from Mackenzie Scott, a 22 year old singer-songwriter from Nashville. She records under the name Torres. I love this album & encourage you to at least take 1-2 minutes to preview the song I have posted at the below. I hope you enjoy her singing as much as I do.
If you like singer-songwriters such as Sharon Van Etten, this album is just what you need.
Foxygen - We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
This album caught me by surprise. Sounds of late 60′s & early 70′s rock & roll were jamming from my headphones. I was intrigued & looked at my iphone to see this trippy artwork from Foxygen staring at me. My buddy Tuck had given my this album to listen to & I’d never heard of them. But, I’ll give almost anything a try once. As each song passed, I was impressed with the diversity of the songs. They all sound pretty different, but all have a classic rock funk that I hadn’t heard from a newer band in a long time. I grew up on classic rock & don’t really listen or enjoy much of it anymore. Burnout I suppose, but I do dig this album. Give it a shot & you might find yourself transported to 1972 like I did.
Gazelle Twin – Mammal EP
I know by picking this as my 3rd & final album of January I’m letting my some of my buddies down. (see Local Natives below) I was browsing Gorilla vs. Bear one day & read:
“Mammal is the darkly brooding and intensely beautiful new EP from Elizabeth Walling, aka Gazelle Twin, out today on Sugarcane. The record was “inspired by the 1982 Morricone score for John Carpenter’s The Thing” and Death Grips, among other things, and features gorgeous, widescreen remixes from an impressive cast of producers including Kuedo…..” (see full post here)
Right there, I was like- DAMN! John Carpenter’s The Thing- one of my favorite films….. and Death Grips? WTF?! Then it went on to say that my man Kuedo had a remix on the EP. I couldn’t wait to hear it! Mammal starts off with droning dark synth (I assume that was part inspired or sampled from The Thing ’82) & then I was then hooked. I can’t wait for more from Walling. I can’t ever listen to this EP enough. Check it out below.
Other releases of note from January:
Broadcast - Berberian Sound Studio OST
Ducktails – The Flower Lane
Gold Panda – Trust EP
Local Natives - Hummingbird
Since Oscar time is here, I decided to finally post my favorite films from last year. Up to this point I’ve seen around 30 films that came out last year. There are still a few I missed that I really want to see. Here is my take on movies I watched in 2012 starting with my top 10.
Continue to the bottom to see who I’d give an Oscar to if I had a vote.
#1 Beasts of the Southern Wild
I really didn’t expect to like this film quite as much as I did. It is a story told through a 6 year old girl’s perspective. She is raised in a poor region in New Orleans & has to deal with a Katrina-like event. It was extremely unique & beautiful. I recommend that everyone check it out sometime.
#2 Moonrise Kingdom
Yes, Wes Anderson- he has a style, a vision, & writing that is all his own. I’m a bit hit or miss on his films. I loved: Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, & The Royal Tenebaums. I was not very impressed with a couple of his more recent films: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou or The Darjeeling Limited.
That being said, this may be my favorite film he’s done to this point. Two young outcast kids on a small island community become pen pals & plot their escape together. The movie is funny, sweet, & unique in that typical Wes Anderson way.
#3 Anna Karenina
I really enjoyed this film overall. I thought the directing by Joe Wright was amazing. I’ll admit, I was a bit confused in the 1st couple of minutes of the film figuring out what was going on. Most the film is shot inside of a theater & as the characters would walk, the background would be changed behind them as they walked. They transitioned background settings like this quite often in the 1st 10 minutes of the film. I caught on quick & once I did, I thought the way that was shot was extremely impressive.
I’ll also state that I didn’t really get wrapped up in the story until 45 minutes or so into the film. The story is based on a Tolstoy novel, which if you know much about him, he didn’t write any short ones. With those minor flaws pointed out I still thought the acting, directing, cinematography, & costume design were all superb. I really enjoyed the film & I’m sorry Argo, but I had to bump you down 1 spot.
Thinking back to days of Dazed & Confused or any of the early Kevin Smith movies, I never thought I’d hear myself say that I liked Ben Affleck as a director. Gone Baby Gone, The Town, & Argo- all great films. I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t enjoy this film. From great acting & directing to a great script, Argo deserves all the cred & hype it receives. Bravo ‘Bennifer,’ bravo. (yeah, I’m not letting that stupid nickname die just yet)
#5 Django Unchained
I’m a huge Tarantino fan & add to that I’m a big Jamie Foxx & Christopher Waltz fan as well. This movie didn’t disappoint me one bit. I think Django Unchainded will become one of my favorite Tarantino films. I loved the script, Tarantino did an excellent job directing, & all of the acting performances were excellent.
If I based my list on personal favorites from the year without taking all factors into consideration, Django Unchained would probably be my #1.
#6 Zero Dark Thirty
Based on the events that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011. This just happened, everyone sort of knows about the story. This is another great military film by Kathryn Bigelow. I personally liked this even better than 2009′s The Hurt Locker. (which cleaned house in Oscar’s that year.)
#7 Silver Linings Playbook
From David O. Russell the writer & directer of I Heart Huckabees, he also wrote & directed this 2012 masterpiece. Cooper, Lawrence, & De Niro each gave amazing performances in this original & often dysfunctional romance film. I was completely engrossed with this movie from the very beginning. Go. See. It.
#8 Life of Pi
I’ve never read the book, I wasn’t even familiar with the story before going to see this film. Truthfully after watching the preview I didn’t even want to see it. It was a beautifully shot film in every way. There were a couple scenes in this movie where I was in complete awe. I can’t say I’d like to see this again, b/c that just wouldn’t be true. But I really appreciated the all the greatness that was accomplished in this film: acting, directing, cinematography, were all fantastic. It’s worth seeing at least once in my opinion.
#9 The Queen of Versailles
I read comments this guy said around presidential election time & let’s say I found him to come across in an interview as a complete arse. After watching this film I can actually say I think he is even more of an *ss than I thought.
Take the biggest timeshare owner in the US, a ‘trophy wife’, & building the biggest home in the country….. then here comes the recent housing crash. From fine catered foods to McDonald’s drive-thru runs, this documentary has all the right things going for it to have you laughing, yelling, & sitting in amazement.
#10 Shut Up & Play the Hits
I’ll round out my top 10 films with another documentary. Following around James Murphy for his final days as lead singer of LCD Soundsystem & before the band calls it quits. This film gives you an insight to his life & thoughts before showing you footage of their final show in 2011. I actually blogged about this last July which you can read HERE.
#11 The Perks of Being a Wallflower
#15 The Five-year Engagement
#16 Robot & Frank
#17 Ruby Sparks
#18 Uprising: Hip Hop & The LA Riots
#20 The Master
Other films watched #21-#25 in alphabetical order:
Dark Knight Rises
The Hunger Games
This Is 40
21 Jump Street
Films I didn’t like so much:
The Cabin in the Woods
Friends With Kids
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Take This Waltz
Oscar voting: (to be fair I didn’t see every film, but of the ones I did, these would get my vote)
Best Picture - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Actor in a Leading Role – Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Actor in a Supporting Role – Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Actress in a Leading Role – Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Actress in a Supporting Role – Amy Adams, The Master
Cinematography – Anna Karenina
Costume Design – Lincoln
Directing – Beasts of the Southern Wild
Music (Original Score) – Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Music (Original Song) - Skyfall, Adele
Production Design - Anna Karenina
Sound Editing – Django Unchained
Visual Effects – Life of Pi
Writing (Adapted Screenplay) – Argo, Chris Terrio
Writing (Original Screenplay) - Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola or Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
I’d have to flip a coin on that one!
December is usually a slow month for music releases, this past December was no exception. Of all the releases, only a few EPs really caught my full attention.
Burial – Truant / Rough Sleeper EP
What can I say? I really enjoy everything Burial puts out. Truant / Rough Sleeper EP is only 2 tracks, but spans over 25 minutes. I liked it just as much as his Kindred EP he released last year. Kindred ended up being #7 on my favorite albums list from 2012. This may not make my top 10 cut for the year this time, but I still encourage you to buy these 2 tracks if you enjoy Burial at all.
Twigs – EP
Twigs is an artist I really don’t know much about. I do really enjoy her EP she released last month. I remember my friends showing me the video she put out for “Ache” last year. It is pretty damn strange. Some dude doing some weird dancing with a pair of cut up Jordan sneakers on his face that were made into a mask. Check it out for yourself below.
Other releases of note from December:
Katy B - Danger EP
Memory Tapes – Grace/Confusion
Solange – True EP
“Ain’t nobody do it like my clique.”
Every year me & my homeboys take time (probably too much) to make a list of our favorite albums. We go HAM on new albums all year long. I counted 345 albums, mixtapes, & EPs that I listened to last year from Dec ’11 – Nov ’12. (see I wasn’t joking) This year, I thought it would be fun if I combined all of our list to come up with an overall top 20. So I did just that.
Below I have posted our combined top 2012 albums & if you scroll below that I have also listed all of our top 10 albums. Be sure to check out both my homeboys’ blogs GHOSTGOTH & Independent Gentleman. They also posted their top 50 albums for 2012 & I have posted links to each of their lists below.
My crew’s top 20 albums of 2012:
#20 Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
#19 Grimes – Visions
#18 Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland – Black Is Beautiful
#17 How To Dress Well - Total Loss
#16 Liars – WIXIW
#15 Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man
#14 Jessie Ware – Devotion
#13 Death Grips - The Money Store
#12 Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
#11 Japandroids – Celebration Rock
#10 Burial - Kindred EP
#9 Crystal Castles – (III)
#8 The xx – Coexist
#7 Chromatics – Kill For Love
#5-6 [tie] Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE / Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
#4 Purity Ring – Shrines
#3 Wild Nothing – Nocturne
#2 Beach House – Bloom
#1 Kendrick Lamar – good kid m.A.A.d. city
Our honorable mentions:
|Actress – R.I.P.|
|Best Coast – The Only Place|
|Big K.R.I.T. – Live From The Underground|
|Cat Power - Sun|
|CFCF – Exercises|
|Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory|
|DIIV – Oshin|
|Frankie Rose - Interstellar|
|Grizzly Bear – Shields|
|Holy Other – Held|
|Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music|
|Swans – The Seer|
|Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror|
|01. HOLY OTHER – Held|
|02. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!|
|03. Death Grips – The Money Store / No Love Deep Web|
|04. Burial – Kindred EP|
|05. Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE|
|06. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City|
|07. Purity Ring – Shrines|
|08. Jessie Ware – Devotion|
|09. Japandroids – Celebration Rock|
|10. Andy Stott – Luxury Problems|
|01. Beach House – Bloom|
|02. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp|
|03. Frank Ocean - channel ORANGE|
|04. Jessie Ware – Devotion|
|05. CFCF – Exercises|
|06. Wild Nothing – Nocturne|
|07. Whirr – Pipe Dreams|
|08. Oddisee – People Hear What They See|
|09. Frankie Rose – Interstellar|
|10. The xx – Coexist|
Matt’s top 10:
|01. Best Coast – The Only Place|
|02. Beach House – Bloom|
|03. Lotus Plaza – Spooky Action at a Distance|
|04. Purity Ring – Shrines|
|05. Sleigh Bells - Reign of Terror|
|06. DIIV – Oshin|
|07. Wild Nothing – Nocturne|
|08. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.D.D. City|
|09. Crystal Castles – (III)|
|10. Lana Del Rey - Born to Die|
Nolan’s top 10:
|01. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.D.D. City|
|02. Japandroids – Celebration Rock|
|03. Grizzly Bear – Shields|
|04. Swans – The Seer|
|05. Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory|
|06. Chromatics – Kill For Love|
|07. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!|
|08. Beach House – Bloom|
|09. Wild Nothing - Nocturne|
|10. Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE|
|01. How To Dress Well – Total Loss|
|02. Andy Stott – Luxury Problems|
|03. The xx – Coexist|
|04. Chromatics – Kill For Love|
|05. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid M.A.A.D City|
|06. Frankie Rose – Interstellar|
|07. Burial – Kindred EP|
|08. The Weeknd – Echoes of Silence (Dec 11)|
|09. Purity Ring – Shrines|
|10. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp|
By request of my homeboy, I bring you my bottom of 2012 list. I hated all these albums more than any of the other 340+ albums I listened to this year. I always try to be polite & only point out music I really like, but with this post, I’m letting out all my hate.
#1 being the absolute worst, let’s get started with the unlucky & unfortunate 13 albums.
- Muse – The 2nd Law
- Riff Raff – Birth of an Icon
- fun. – Some Nights
- The Killers – Battle Born
- Kreayshawn – Somethin ‘Bout Kreay
- Band of Horses – Mirage Rock
- Kool A.D. – The Palm Wine Drinkard
- Future – Astronaut Status
- Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday…. Roman Reloaded
- Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes
- 2 Chainz – Based on a T.R.U. Story
- Chiddy Bang – Breakfast
- Chief Keef – Back From the Dead
Muse you made me hate all music for almost an hour. Please stop trying to make annoying music. Thanks
Riff Raff, is there a better reason to make a rapper famous other than being a reality TV star for being a complete idiot? I guess not.
fun., at the time I listened to this it was the worst thing I’d heard since I listened to Skrillex’s debut EP. Nails on a chalkboard.
The Killers should just hang it up. After a great 1st album they are scraping the bottom of the music barrel.
Kreayshawn was almost a 1 hit wonder. Just too bad she has no hits & never will. Please get a real job.
Band of Horses what the hell happened to you guys? “Living in a dumpster world” – I’d rather live in a dumpster than listen to your album ever again. Face
Kool A.D. is 1/2 of Das Racist. This mixtape was so boring & awful I have completely blocked it from my memory. Not even joking.
Future, never has a rapper gotten more internet buzz (except maybe Chief Keef) that I thought was below average at best. I don’t think there is anything special about his style & his rhymes are weak. I just don’t understand.
Nicki Nicki Nicki your album sucks sucks sucks.
Ariel Pink, I thought the only good song on this was “Baby”……which was a cover. Big disappointment after the last album.
2 Chainz, has any rapper been featured more on EVERY rap song that came out in 2012? I liked 2 Chainz okay before listening to this album. I often found his rhymes clever & witty but for some reason he couldn’t come up with enough material for even 1 good song on his own album.
Chiddy Bang, what was the point of this mixtape? Please go back to the studio & try again. Are you calling the next one “Lunch”? That would be really fun! Then “Dinner” or maybe “Brunch” the possibilities are endless.
Chief Keef, that’s that sh*t I don’t like BANG BANG!