A Slappy 2013!
It's the most wonderful time of the year! People are sharing their favorite albums of the year (or it Nat's case, last year) with cool threads that are full of great music (for the most part)! This year was a pretty good to me. Sure, there were a couple of disappointing records here and there, but that's life. Most records I was looking forward to I throughly enjoyed, even if they weren't all Top 10 material. Before I start, I'm gonna let y'all know what to expect from this thread, as it won't be quite like last year's.
For starters, with the exception of my Top 10, none of these albums are really ordered. I'm gonna be putting records into 3 separate categories. Albums I thought were really good, albums I thought were great, and of course, my Top 10. I'll be going through the "really good" and "great" records in alphabetical order, in increments of 4. Top 10 will be the usual increment of 5. Something worth noting is that I only listened to like 5 EPs this year, and was only impressed by 3, so I'll just be including those with the regular albums. I'll also be writing about my Top 10 favorite concerts of the year, meaning the whole deal, not just specific performances. As with many lists, don't expect to just see metal albums. In fact my first batch only has 1...
I'll get started with the first batch real soon. Hopefully this list isn't too "hipster" for some posters out there ;). Thanks in advance for reading.
You have no idea how ready my body is.
Boris – Präparat
Boris, possibly the world’s most diverse rock band, starts off the year with a vinyl only release, Präparat. Like many Boris releases, Präparat has a lot of different sounds and textures on display, but this album feels kind of like a sampler platter. It seems as if all of these songs could’ve just been jams that they rehearsed like 3 times and then recorded. That’s not a bad thing though because Boris writes some of the tastiest jams ever. The first 4 tracks are more post-rock /minimalist rock in style, similar to Feedbacker, featuring bright guitar sounds and deep crescendos. The next couple of tracks are heavy-as-hell, sludge sluggers. The first one, Method Of Error, is kind of spastic and not really centered, but the next track, Bataille Sucre is an awesome stoner jam. The rest of the album is more laid back Boris, and it’s a chill way to end the album. Overall, the album kind of feels like Boris on autopilot, but Boris on autopilot is a lot better than most bands trying their best. Dig it.
Childish Gambino – Because The Internet
This was the one of the last records I checked out from this year, and I was pleasantly surprised. Childish Gambino is comedian Donald Glover’s rap stage name. He makes a poppy style of hip-hop that’s full of absolutely genius one-liners. With Because The Internet, Glover released an 80+ page screenplay to go along with the concept of the record, but I’m too lazy to read that so I’m basing my opinion on solely the album (crazy concept, huh?). I haven’t had too much time to really dive deep into the concept of the record, but from what I’ve gathered, there’s a decent amount of social commentary regarding the internet, songs about girls and love, and drug dealing. I’m not sure how it all ties together, but that’s kind of beside the point right now. What really impressed me with this record is the stellar production. Gambino is the main producer on the record, working with Ludwig Goransson and a feature from Thundercat. It’s all original production, not just sampled stuff. The album features beats with a lot dark synth sounds with some industrial sounds and weird vocal samples. There’s a sax solo at the end of WORLDSTAR and a guitar solo at the end of The Worst Guys, which is pretty cool and works really well. In about the middle of the record the album takes a bit of poppy turn, but it’s done really well the songs are incredibly catchy. But staring with The Party it goes back to these dark beats that are magnificent. The last songs go back to brighter, poppier sounds and it’s just infectious. Overall, Because the Internet is full of witty rapping and amazing production. I can see myself getting even deeper into this as time goes on
Danny Brown – Old
Detroit rapper, Danny Brown, is probably one of the most unique characters in hip-hop right now. He raps with a high-pitched voice, has impeccable style, raps over some of the zaniest beats I’ve heard and covers a wide array of topics in his music. On his commercial debut, Old, Danny displays all of these characteristics more than ever. The album comes with a dichotomy; the first half of the record, Side A, being more introspective and more representative of Brown’s older style; and the second half of the record, Side B, being chockfull of EDM inspired party anthems centered around drugs and such. The production throughout the album is absolutely phenomenal. The record mainly features production from Brown’s main man, SKYWLKR, along with a lot of contributions from Paul White, and some tracks feature production from Purity Ring and BADBADNOTGOOD. And the first half of the record features some awesome performances from Danny Brown. On tracks like Torture, Lonely, and Gremlins, Danny Brown covers his upbringing in the ghettos of Detroit and paints really vivid pictures of the hardships he and his family went through growing up. And Side B has some great tracks like molly anthem, Dip and the closest thing you’ll hear to double bass in hip-hop on Kush Coma. I think my main issue with Old is that the dichotomy is so strong and apparent. While there was something similar to this on his 2011 mixtape, XXX, it didn’t seem as forced then as it does now. On top of that, there are some tracks on Side B of Old that I didn’t think were that great, mainly Way Up Here, featuring Ab-Soul, and I also didn’t think the album was quite as quotable or lyrically as impressive as XXX. Overall Danny Brown’s Old is a fine hip-hop record with exceptional production and great material from Danny Brown’s more introspective/serious side and his party side but the strong dichotomy from the first half to the later half in both lyrical content and sound kind of brings it down.
Earl Sweatshirt – Doris
There was a lot of anticipation for this record. Shortly after 15-year-old Earl released his 2010 mixtape, EARL, he was sent to a boarding school in Samoa. After about two years, he returned in 2012, and since then people have been highly anticipating Earl’s debut album. After a year of waiting, Doris finally dropped and showed that Earl’s rapping skills have greatly improved from his already impressive mixtape. The album has an overall dark vibe, using really spacious beats that focus on low end and a lot the songs feature really dark imagery, but it’s not as childish what’s presented in his earlier work. Earl’s use of assonance is as apparent as ever and his word play is extremely impressive. Tracks like Burgundy and Chum give us a window to Earl’s emotions and perspective of what he’s been feeling since his return. Other tracks like Centurion are reminiscent of his older work, getting a little graphic. Other tracks like Whoa and Molasses are just Earl having fun and displaying his ability. The production on the record is pretty good too, featuring a lot of production from Earl and also featuring production for Tyler, The Creator, RZA, and BADABADNOTGOOD. Overall, Doris sows that earl is still a great young rapper to keep your eye on and definitely met many people’s expectations.
Forgot about Boris releasing an album :eyes: I'll get on that.
And.... I guess this Christmas I will be listening to rap/hip-hop to see if any of those three click.
I'm a big fan of Präparat. I don't think it's up to the par of other recent Boris albums, and what you said is kinda true about it being a bit autopiloty. But as an album it's still a great listen and some of the songs (Mirano and Bataille Sucre in particular) are amazing.
I only listened to 10-15 hip-hop cd's in 2013 and those 3 were some of the best. I liked the new Lil Wayne better than Kanye and Jay-Z put together and would only have that one over those 3.
I'm surprised Gambino isn't bigger than he is. Dude is clever as hell
I really dug Danny Brown's "Old" I think Dip, Dope Song, Smoking + Drinking and Kush Coma will be on the party playlist for quite some time.
I have only listened to Gambino's "Because The Internet" in the last week or so but have found it's sound super infectious and catchy. I have not read the associated screenplay but I have to applaud the slick beats, production and rhymes - I wish more hip hop releases would have this much effort put into it.
[QUOTE=Datjazzfusion;550496]Forgot about Boris releasing an album :eyes: I'll get on that.
And.... I guess this Christmas I will be listening to rap/hip-hop to see if any of those three click.[/QUOTE]
Thanks for the enthusiasm man, I appreciate it. Definitely check out Boris' new one. If you happen to dig any of the hip-hop releases, that's awesome, but don't feel weird if you don't dig it. Since you're into jazz, I'd highly recommend checking out BADBADNOTGOOD, they're a jazz/improv trio that does interpretations of a lot of hip-hop tunes.
[QUOTE=SomewhereInTime72;550610]I'm a big fan of Präparat. I don't think it's up to the par of other recent Boris albums, and what you said is kinda true about it being a bit autopiloty. But as an album it's still a great listen and some of the songs (Mirano and Bataille Sucre in particular) are amazing.[/QUOTE]
I actually liked Präparat more than all of Boris' 2011 output. I think Boris also put out a hardcore punk album this year, but I haven't checked it out. They're such a nutty band
[QUOTE=jhdeity;550742]I only listened to 10-15 hip-hop cd's in 2013 and those 3 were some of the best. I liked the new Lil Wayne better than Kanye and Jay-Z put together and would only have that one over those 3.
I'm surprised Gambino isn't bigger than he is. Dude is clever as hell[/QUOTE]
Yeah I didn't listen to too many hip-hop releases either. I didn't even check out MCHG, and I definitely didn't check out the new Lil Wayne. I liked Yeezus a lot but after the initial hype I've noticed too many flaws with the album for it to warrant a write-up. Tracks like On Sight, Black Skinhead, New Slaves, and Bound 2 are still awesome though.
[QUOTE=W0unds;550757]I really dug Danny Brown's "Old" I think Dip, Dope Song, Smoking + Drinking and Kush Coma will be on the party playlist for quite some time.
I have only listened to Gambino's "Because The Internet" in the last week or so but have found it's sound super infectious and catchy. I have not read the associated screenplay but I have to applaud the slick beats, production and rhymes - I wish more hip hop releases would have this much effort put into it.[/QUOTE]
100% agree on both accounts. All my friends go nuts when Dip comes on the playlist. And only listened to Because the Internet a few times in the last week, but the production is just too stellar to not include it in my list.
Grayceon - Pearl and The End Of Days
If you don't know Grayceon by now, you haven't been on this site long enough. San-Francisco prog/sludge trio has one of the weirdest line-up's you'll hear of, featuring a guitarist who doesn't use a pick, cellist/vocalist, and a drummer. The most interesting thing about their sound is that the cello takes the roll of the bass, giving low-end, but is still provides a lot of the bands melody. Grayceon expanded further in this dynamic with a monster of an EP this year: featuring two tracks; one clocking in at 10 minutes, and the other at 17. Pearl and The End Of Days sees Grayceon stepping into more aggressive territory, but the band still retains their quirky prog, highly melodious and sludgy tendencies. Pearl starts off with an ominous intro, the blasts into some fairly thrashy goodness for a bit, before going into the typical Grayceon sludge jam. End Of Days is an epic piece, that features every signature Grayceon you know and, with a meaner tone than ever before. This EP has some really badass material, so if cello based sludge metal sounds cool to you, get this one now.
Listen to the full EP [URL="http://theflenser.bandcamp.com/album/pearl-and-the-end-of-days"]here[/URL]
In Solitude – Sister
Like many Scandinavian metal acts, In Solitude embrace the darker things in life. Unlike a lot of Scandinavian metal acts, In Solitude’s music is actually haunting and chills the listener to the bone. Originally seen as one of many Mercyful Fate worship bands coming out of Europe, In Solitude presents a new sound on Sister. This time around, they have a more gothic rock sound, bearing similarities to Samhain, along with some post-punk sounds as well. Throughout the record, the young band crafts a bunch of sinister rock tunes with infectious hooks, eerie vocals, and killer riffs. There are still elements of their earlier sound present on the album, strongly heard on the track Horses In The Ground, but overall In Solitude does a masterful job of mastering a new style of music and still honing in past influences to create a horrifically beautiful record. If a mix of 70’s metal and gothic rock sounds awesome to you, you need to hear this record.
Kylesa – Ultraviolet
Savannah sludge metal veterans, Kylesa, presented their 6th(!) studio album this year with Ultraviolet. As alluded to on their previous release, Spiral Shadow, Kylesa has continued substituting the in-your-face, hardcore vibes that’s apparent on their earlier releases with more experimental, psychedelic vibes. Singing covered in reverb is now more prominent than ever, the tones are features just as much modulation as they do fuzz and distortion, and overall, most of the songs are a lot more relaxed, and aren’t nearly as aggressive as their older material. Even so, Kylesa still retains heavy, trudging riffs (Unspoken, We’re Taking This) and fast-paced face melting tunes (What Does It Take, Vulture’s Landing), they just throw in elements of psychedelic rock and early noise rock to give their already signature sound a new dimension and a new appeal. If psyched-out sludge metal sounded appealing to you, definitely give Ultraviolet a spin.
[URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWRUMMPG5uI"]We're Taking This[/URL]
Leucosis – Leucosis
Leucosis are an atmospheric black/doom metal band out of Santa Cruz, California. Their self-released, self-titled album is full of great atmospheric black/doom metal. The six tracks are all pretty long, the shortest being 9:22. The album is full of doom jams that slowly eat their way into your brain and intense black metal passages that capture some of that lo-fi feeling but the music is still easy to make out. The music really builds on atmosphere and creates some soundscapes that border beautiful and horrific. The album is full of melancholic riffs that build and explode into epic riffs that you can’t help but bob your head to. The only real problem with this album is its length. It’s 68 minutes long, and to be frank, relays a little too much on repetition to get the point across. There are some absolutely great moments like the intro to Anaesthesia, the intense black metal passage in Taiga and the guitar sweep driven doom outro of Aponea. But a lot of the tracks do sound kind of similar, so at times it can drag if you aren’t 100% vibing on it. But if you’re looking for awesome atmospheric black metal with elements of doom, dig this.
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