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Lamp, broken circa 1988

IF YOU SHOW ME YOUR ALBUM OF THE YEAR I WILL LISTEN TO IT

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8 hours ago, Control said:

What is your album of the year?

first post

it's my favorite to think about and dissect and talk about. my favorite to just put on and listen to is king krule.

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I’m going to be busy for the rest of the week, so I’m gonna knock this out now and see if someone else submits something between now and December 31st. Regardless, this could be the last album of this whole experiment, and I’m pretty damn satisfied with how it’s turned out.

1. "The Order Of Time" by Valerie June
2. “in*ter a*li*a” by At The Drive-In
3. "Screen Memories" by John Maus
4. “Heartless” by Pallbearer
5. "No Dope On Sundays" by CyHi The Prynce
6. "Dark Matter" by Les Friction
7. “A Deeper Understanding” by The War On Drugs
8. "The Dusk In Us" by Converge
9. "Out in the Storm" by Waxahatchee
10. “So You Wannabe An Outlaw” by Steve Earle
11. “Life Is Good” by Flogging Molly
12. “Made Of Breath Only” by sleepmakeswaves
13. "Silenciado" by Diagnosis? Bastard!

I remember hearing about Pallbearer in 2012, when I was making a run at being a music critic. I don't remember anything about the record, and it’s not in my personal library, so at the time I guess it didn’t stick with me? Either way, I’m always down for some doom-y stuff, so let’s go.

Also- and I know how this is gonna sound but- The Quietus said this was their favorite metal record of the year, and the list of music sources I trust worth anything definitely includes them. Support The Quietus, They Run On Donations, They Are Great.

Aw hell yes, I love when albums just fucking get going. I get why drumless intro sequences are so alluring, but sometimes step on the damn gas. I’m here for it. This is going to sound bad, but I mean this with deep affection- I love the way that metal musicians confuse rudimentary counterpoint for advanced theory. It’s like people saying video game stories are good. Like, yeah, in the context of your medium, this is sophisticated. And speaking of “this is sophisticated,” I am loving the hell out of this intro track. It is an excellent mood setting piece, and the hook is very tightly constructed. The vocal tone is absolutely perfect in an engineering source: it is occupying a very narrow band because of the nature of the singer’s projection, but they have made sure it smoothly fills as much space as it can while keeping it’s own qualities. I struggle with this constantly in my own recordings. This is really really well made.

At the end of the last song, I was just beginning to think “if we’re starting so heroic, I hope we’re going to slide down into something else for a while,” and this totally counts. What is it about metal that makes it hard to talk about without invoking other metal bands? Maybe it’s the genre fixation element. I mean, this definitely has that, but they are creative enough that they’re still surprising me while holding on tight to their conventions, and that’s good enough. The thing I was going to draw a connection with is that the singer kind of reminds me of the Mastodon tracks that Brann sings on, and I’m way into those, so maybe that’s why I’m way into this. In the breakdown I went to see who produced this record, and it’s odd: Wikipedia says its the band, but there’s two engineers and a mastering guy listed. Maybe they just mixed it? Well, Credit to them- they know their own sound very well.

This was the first song on this record where I was most reminded about Rock Lyrics. “Beneath unyielding scythe” is some shit you say when you think verses have to rhyme and you can’t knock that urge out of your head. Even then, it’s kind of a minor complaint. Like, I knew what I was getting into. This is all very well made, even if it’s not drawing an emotional response from me. It’s just like airtight fundamentals, and I respect the hell out of it. It is doing everything right to the limits of their playing and their aspirations. It’s also worth noting that this has been three songs that last 20 minutes, which is a fucking lot to ask for, but at no point has it felt like it’s dragging. I struggle with making songs  good for longer than like four minutes, so, I appreciate that a lot.

Wow, dropping all the aggressive drive stuff helps them set the scene for a ballad really easily. That is a premature assessment calling this a ballad, but I think if they’re going to do that, I am going to be the most ready for it right now with the way this sounds. Oh, that was just an intro. Well, hell, that intro’s been my favorite thing on here so far. I think the reason Rock Lyrics bother me so much is that there’s a theatricality to it that makes it hard for me to take the ideas that seriously. All I can think of when I hear stuff like this is of like crude renditions of the painting of Socrates drinking hemlock, but instead of a cup it’s a flying V in his hand. Like, shit is really bad right now. Do we really still need non-conversational metaphor? If you said “The serpent whispers and the haze must return,” what are the odds someone would tell you “that’s a good point?” I can’t imagine they’re that high. Maybe I’m just biased by the stuff I expose myself to, but I happen to think that rock has a lot to learn from rap these days. If you just thought of the most ignorant rap song you know to scoff at that idea, get well soon. This song is not as great as the intro was, which is kind of unfair. I’m idly considering breaking that intro off of the file and putting it on a mix.

I’m starting to reach the point that I’m concerned that I’m not feeling anything from this music other than “this is really nailing what it’s going for.” I’m going to chalk that up to not being the target audience. They chose the right time to speed up on the record though, following the 12 minute midpoint of the record. Like, I can’t begrudge anything that’s happening on this record musically. I just don’t have anything to hold onto in the lyrics and it’s not exciting me. It moves exactly when it feels like it should, to exactly where it should move. I think I’m just spoiled.

Okay, that was an excellent fakeout. When the acoustic guitar started I was like “oh please not Singer And An Instrument Kinda Ballad.” That is the first surprising thing they’ve done on this record, and it’s definitely welcome by this point. The rest of it just blasted through my head up until the ambient break, which is the second major surprise the album’s held for me. Since the intro of Dancing in Madness is not a unique track, I think I can pretty safely say this is my favorite track so far, just by actually stretching their range outside of the thing they’ve been proving they’re good at all record long.

I appreciate that the intro of the conclusion of the record is moving ever so slowly back towards that major heroic vibe of the intro, like trying to leave out the same door it came in. this can actually be a pretty tricky thing to do- I have no grasp on it, so all my records end with radical departures. I don’t know that I’m ever going to be smart enough to do it the other way. It requires a lot of focus, either in coming back to the same kinds of motifs, or restraint in writing the two songs at similar times but not sequencing them back to back. Maybe that’s a personal weakness of mine? Anyways. The vocal break kind of reminds me of that Les Friction record I listened to earlier in this process. It’s kind of ending in the same place, of this feeling of exhaustion and affection. Affection might seem like a weird way to phrase that, but if you care enough about the rest of the world to write a twelve minute song about it without condemnation, I’m gonna call that affection. It is as good an outro for this record as you could ask for.
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It’s dumb that this is tricky. I have no complaints with the record. It’s as good as it can possibly be. I just think the ceiling of that is only so high for me. There was never a point where I felt joy or awe or anything like that on the record. It is excellently made, but it’s too familiar to work those nerves over for me. It can only be so high on this list because of that. If you don’t have the rocky relationship with rock lyrics that I do (and the odds of that are good!) I reckon you’ll find this album totally delightful.

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It's no Foundations of Burden but Heartless is a good record. Since you have the attention span for them I'd recommend listening to that prior LP and New Dark Age by Solstice which is similar in nature.

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Since I'm home 

 

Even if one just wants to peep the first songs on either of those, it's worth it. 

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FWIW I enjoyed the sleepmakeswaves album a good deal.  It is very post-rock but I was in the mood for that.

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It's totally well made, it just exists in a place that drives me up the wall. It's only personally vexing. I imagine most people won't feel the same.

ANYWAYS

Just a friendly reminder for everyone else that you have until New Years Day to submit a record for this whole thing!

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They are very much an acquired taste. I think a lot of my love of the record comes from seeing them live and seeing how those songs work in a live setting. 

Thanks for listening anyway though!

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 The live video got them a lot of praise in Australian music media this year. The second track posted is probably my fave sleepmakeswaves song.

 Australia has a very strong post rock/prog rock/prog metal scene, lots of different scenes bleeding into each other. Two other bands that had strong years were Voyager from Western Australia and Toehider from Melbourne.

 

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Hi! This is open for business again, thanks to the two hours a day I spend on public transport monday through wednesday.

As with last year, only nominate one album. If you nominate two, I will listen to zero. There's three additional caveats:

1) Since I'll be listening to the album on the bus and making notes on the bus, the style of writing might be different. Before I was just typing while the music was going. Can't really do that on a bus (I don't have a laptop, before you ask).

2) Also, because of the whole bus thing, they'll be coming out slower than they did last year. As an added benefit, this means if you're next up you'll have more time to change your mind if something comes out. Also if you want to hear whatever else is happening this year (I know new Solange is on the horizon so I understand) before suggesting anything, the cut off date is the same as last year: December 31st.

3) No Kanye West anything. I didn't listen to Pusha T's new album because of Kanye. If I'm not going to listen to my favorite rapper's new album for my own satisfaction, I'm not going to listen to whatever else he did this year for yours. Sorry Teyana Taylor.

 

Oh, and for the record, my album of the year is "In A Poem Unlimited" by U.S. Girls. I think it's perfect. Start to finish perfect.

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Phew, this year has stunk for new albums. I could probably come up with something you'd hate as much as last year but why bother.

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This is a year where I absolutely haven't paid attention to new stuff from acts I don't already know. It's also been a year that's been really thin on releases from artists I dig.

That said, I'd be shocked if something I like more than Sleep - The Sciences is lurking out there from this year. They picked up after nearly twenty years and immediately were fucking awesome again. And, it's really rare to see a band as heavy as Sleep getting anything close to the level of universal critical love this did, so I feel like I'm not out on some island calling it album of the year. To their enormous credit, this was absolutely not an attempt to recreate Dopesmoker (which remains a singular album that I don't think anyone will ever really replicate.) 15 years after that masterpiece finally saw a complete release (and 19 years after the edited version Jerusalem came out) they just kinda stepped back into being the best doom metal band and the best stoner band on the planet.

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Since I listened to it again today and I still like it I will pick something: Wytch Hazel - II: Sojourn. You can find it on Youtube or posted by me in the random music thread a couple pages back. Excellent NWOBHM/Thin Lizzy-esque metal/hard rock, despite the unfortunate Xtian lyrics. Count them in with Trouble, Warlord and Stairway as one of the only "white metal" bands I can stomach -- which means you need to be REALLY FUCKING GOOD, and they are. Plus there are parts you would easily accept as Japanese wrestling themes.

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Well, Lamp, looks like you are at least getting a crash course in 2018 metal 

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9 minutes ago, Lamp, broken circa 1988 said:

ah yes, exactly what everyone likes about me: my opinions on metal

Clearly

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It's not out until the 26th, but Daughters- You Won't Get What You Want is my album of the year and maybe decade. On balance, I'm willing to endure the fact that any criticism of it will feel like an attack on a close family member, as I want to read as much serious analysis of it as I possibly can.

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13 minutes ago, SturmCRF said:

It's not out until the 26th, but Daughters- You Won't Get What You Want is my album of the year and maybe decade. On balance, I'm willing to endure the fact that any criticism of it will feel like an attack on a close family member, as I want to read as much serious analysis of it as I possibly can.

 

2 hours ago, Brian Fowler said:

Well, Lamp, looks like you are at least getting a crash course in 2018 metal 

As I was saying

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Well then, allow me to change it up. My album of the year is Macy Gray - Ruby. It isn’t re-inventing the wheel or anything, and I don’t care much for the 1st track (“Buddha”) but it’s got Soul for days. At times, it feels like some gem unearthed from 1974. I’ll be wearing this one out.

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1 hour ago, SturmCRF said:

It's not out until the 26th, but Daughters- You Won't Get What You Want is my album of the year and maybe decade. On balance, I'm willing to endure the fact that any criticism of it will feel like an attack on a close family member, as I want to read as much serious analysis of it as I possibly can.

oh shit I totally forgot this was coming out this year, I'm fukin ready for it

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It changes depending on my mood, but right now, overall, I'm leaning towards Courtney Barnett's Tell Me How You Really Feel. My #1b is Kanye West's Ye, but that's a super polarizing album.

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On 10/17/2018 at 1:46 PM, Lamp, broken circa 1988 said:

As with last year, only nominate one album. If you nominate two, I will listen to zero. There's three additional caveats:

...

3) No Kanye West anything. I didn't listen to Pusha T's new album because of Kanye. If I'm not going to listen to my favorite rapper's new album for my own satisfaction, I'm not going to listen to whatever else he did this year for yours. Sorry Teyana Taylor. 

like what

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I wasn't nominating two. I clearly said my top choice was the Courtney Barnett album. I was proving context on the earlier statement where I said it changes depending on my mood.

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