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Albums of the Year 2017

*Best of 2017*

10) Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2
Star Stuff


09) Lorde


08) Mac Demarco
This Old Dog
[Captured Tracks]


07) Playboi Carti
Playboi Carti

06) John Maus
Screen Memories
[Ribbon Music]


05) Future Islands
The Far Field

Future Islands - The Far Field

04) Vince Staples
Big Fish Theory
[Def Jam/Blacksmith]


03) Fever Ray


02) The War On Drugs
A Deeper Understanding


01) Ariel Pink
Dedicated to Bobby Jameson
[Mexican Summer]


Here is a list of my 25 favorite songs from 2017. These are listed in alphabetical order and has been limited to one track per artist.

2 Chainz – 4AM (Feat. Travis Scott)
Ariel Pink – Time To Live
Cardi B – Bodak Yellow
Charli XCX – Boys
Charlotte Gainsbourg – Sylvia Says
Dirty Projectors – Cool Your Heart (Feat. Dawn Richards)
Drake – Passionfruit
Fever Ray – Musn’t Hurry
Future – Mask Off
Future Islands – Ran
John Maus – Touchdown
Kelela – LMK
Kendrick Lamar – HUMBLE.
LCD Soundsystem – Tonite
Lorde – Perfect Places
Migos – T-Shirt
Moon Diagrams – End of Heartache
Moses Sumney – Quarrel
Mura Masa – 1 Night (Feat. Charli XCX)
Playboi Carti – Wokeuplikethis* (Feat. Lil Uzi Vert)
Phoenix – J-Boy
St. Vincent – Pills
SZA – Love Galore (Feat. Travis Scott)
The War On Drugs – Thinking of a Place
The xx – On Hold


Albums of the Year 2016


*Best of 2016*

10) Porches


09) Chance the Rapper
Coloring Book


08) Bon Iver
22, A Million


07) Animal Collective
Painting With


06) Young Thug
[Atlantic/300 Entertainment]


05) Blood Orange
Freetown Sound


04) Danny Brown
Atrocity Exhibition


03) David Bowie



02) Solange
A Seat at the Table


01) Kanye West
The Life of Pablo
[Def Jam/GOOD]


Here is a list of my twenty favorite songs from 2016. These are listed in alphabetical order and has been limited to one track per artist.

Blood Orange – Best To You (Feat. Empress Of)
Bon Iver – 1 0 d E A T h B R E a s T
Cass McCombs – Bum Bum Bum
Chance the Rapper – Smoke Break (Feat. Future)
Danny L Harle – Supernatural (Feat. Carly Rae Jepsen)
David Bowie – Lazarus
Deakin – Golden Chords
DJ Diamond – Lab 2 This
Frank Ocean – Nikes
Kanye West – Real Friends
Kero Kero Bonito – Trampoline
KING – The Greatest
M.I.A. – Survivor
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Need You
Pusha T – Got Em Covered (Feat. Ab-Liva)
Radiohead – Ful Stop
Rae Sremmurd – Black Beatles (Feat. Gucci Mane)
Rihanna – Work (Feat. Drake)
The Weeknd – Starboy (Feat. Daft Punk)
William Tyler – Gone Clear

2015: Albums of the Year


*Best of 2015*

10) Panda Bear
Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper


09) Carly Rae Jepsen


08) Lower Dens
Escape From Evil
[Ribbon Music]


07) Neon Indian
VEGA INTL. Night School


06) Beach House
Depression Cherry / Thank Your Lucky Stars
[Sub Pop]


05) Future
[Epic/Free Bandz]


04) Deerhunter
Fading Frontier


03) Kendrick Lamar
To Pimp a Butterfly
[Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope]


02) Vince Staples
Summertime ’06
[Def Jam]


01) Tame Impala


Here is a list of my twenty-five favorite songs from 2015. These are listed in alphabetical order and has been limited to one track per artist.

Beach House – Elegy to the Void
Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You
Courtney Barnett – Depreston
Deerhunter – Breaker
Drake – Hotline Bling
easyFun – Laplander
f(x) – 4 Walls
Galcher Lustwerk – I Neva Seen
Grimes – Realiti
James Ferraro – Skid Row
Jamie xx – I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) (Feat. Young Thug & Popcaan)
Jason Derulo – Want to Want Me
Julia Holter – Feel You
Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean?
Kanye West – All Day
Kelela – Rewind
Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta
Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin
Mac DeMarco – I’ve Been Waiting For Her
Miguel – Coffee
Tame Impala – The Less I Know The Better
Tate Kobang – Bank Rolls (Remix)
Vince Staples – Norf Norf
The Weeknd – As You Are
Young Thug – Constantly Hating (Feat. Birdman)

2014: Albums of the Year
Ariel Pink

*Best of 2014*

05) Eno/Hyde
High Life

04) Spoon
They Want My Soul
[Loma Vista]

03) Aphex Twin

02) Future
[Epic/Free Bandz/A1]

01) Ariel Pink
Pom Pom
Ariel Pink

Here is a list of my favorite songs from 2014. These are listed in alphabetical order.

18+ – All The Time
Ariana Grande – Problem (Feat. Iggy Azalea)
Ariel Pink – Lipstick
Aphex Twin – Circlont6a [141.98] (syrobonkus mix)
Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks – Little Fang
Bobby Shmurda – Hot Nigga
D’Angelo & The Vanguard – Sugah Daddy
Death Grips – Have a Sad Cum
Eno/Hyde – DBF
Future – Benz Friendz (Whatchutola) (Feat. Andre 3000)
Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You)
ilovemakonnen – Club Goin’ Up On A Tuesday (Feat. Drake)
Mac DeMarco – Passing Out Pieces
Migos – Fight Night
Panda Bear – Mr. Noah
Pure X – Valley of Tears
Real Estate – Crime
Spoon – Do You
Taylor Swift – Shake It Off
The War On Drugs – Red Eyes

2013: Albums of the Year

*Best of 2013*

10) Chief Keef
Almighty So
Chief Keef

09) Pusha T
My Name Is My Name
[Def Jam/GOOD Music]
Pusha T

08) Factory Floor
Factory Floor
Factory Floor

07) Arca
[Hippos in Tanks]

06) Deerhunter

05) Autre Ne Veut
Autre Ne Veut

04) Oneohtrix Point Never
R Plus 7
Oneohtrix Point Never

03) Death Grips
Government Plates
Death Grips

02) Kanye West
[Def Jam]
Kanye West

01) Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire

Here is a list of my favorite songs from 2013. These are listed in alphabetical order.

Autre Ne Veut – Play by Play
A$AP Ferg – Shabba (Feat. A$AP Rocky)
Arcade Fire – Afterlife
Chief Keef – Salty
Daft Punk – Doin’ It Right (Feat. Panda Bear)
David Bowie – Where Are We Now?
Deerhunter – Sleepwalking
Dirty Beaches – Casino Lisboa
Drake – Hold On, We’re Going Home (Feat. Majid Jordan)
Ducktails – The Flower Lane
Haim – If I Could Change Your Mind
Kanye West – New Slaves
The Knife – A Tooth For An Eye
My Bloody Valentine – Only Tomorrow
Pusha T – Suicide (Feat. Ab-Liva)
Rhye – Open
Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines (Feat. T.I. & Pharrell)
Signor Benedick the Moor – All Revere (le narrateur)
Volcano Choir – Comrade
2 Chainz – Feds Watching (Feat. Pharrell)

2012 Albums of the Year

Frank Ocean

*Best of 2012*

10) Grimes

09) James Ferraro
[Hippos in Tanks]

08) Dirty Projectors
Swing Lo Magellan
Swing Lo Magellan

07) Dean Blunt
The Narcissist II
[Self-released/World Music Group/Hippos in Tanks]
The Narcissist II

inhale C-4 $$$$$
inhale C-4 $$$$$

05) Wild Nothing
[Captured Tracks]

04) Death Grips
The Money Store
The Money Store

03) Kendrick Lamar
good kid, m.A.A.d. city
[Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope]
good kid, m.A.A.d city

02) Lotus Plaza
Spooky Action at a Distance
Spooky Action at a Distance

01) Frank Ocean
Channel Orange
[Def Jam]
Channel Orange

Here is a list of my favorite songs from 2012. These are listed in alphabetical order.

Andy Stott – Numb
Austin Cesear – Cloud Hall
Beach House – Myth
Bear in Heaven – Sinful Nature
Bob Dylan – Narrow Way
Dan Deacon – Lots
Death Grips – Hacker
Dirty Projectors – Dance for You
Farrah Abraham – After Prom
Frank Ocean – Bad Religion
Gary War – Superlifer
Grimes – Oblivion
James Ferraro – SO N2U
Jessie Ware – Running
Kendrick Lamar – Backseat Freestyle
Lotus Plaza – Monoliths
Lower Dens – Brains
Wild Nothing – Paradise
情報デスクVIRTUAL – iMYSTIQUE エジプト航空「EDU」

2011 Albums of the Year

John Maus

I’m not a great blogger that is for sure. The start of the year witnessed my streak of blog posts and reviews, until summer came and my time and resources went elsewhere. Now, at this year’s end I am back to give you my input of 2011 in music:

2011 was a fruitful year, although this year lacked a definitive “best” album (like last year’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) it featured numerous quality releases. The list I’m writing for you here was limited to just ten, leading me to leave several albums I found great off of this list. Trends that began in past years continued, specifically the small-imprint trend, growing in quality and quantity. The exodus from bedroom to studio has continued from bands in the independent music scene, few artists are releasing anything that sounds like it came from modest production efforts. Listen to the production in albums like Bon Iver or Father, Son, Holy Ghost, they’re deep, round, and spacious. Yet on another hand, artists are still borrowing sounds of the past and re-appropriating them as their own, although now in ways that blur the past and the present. An example would be John Maus’ release; We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves, this album sounds natively 80s, but, is it really? Despite synthesizers turned all the way up, nothing in the 80s could be related without argument. Better yet is Daniel Lopatin’s Oneohtrix Point Never project, in his latest album, Replica, he samples 1980-90s daytime/late-night television commercials (which sounds like) straight from VHS. The final result is a creation that romanticizes one’s feeling of nostalgia.

Here are my top albums of 2011…

*Best of 2011*

10) Girls
Father, Son, Holy Ghost
[True Panther Sounds]

09) Drake
Take Care
[Cash Money]

08) Shabazz Palaces
Black Up
[Sub Pop]

07) Bon Iver
Bon Iver

06) Gang Gang Dance
Eye Contact

05) Atlas Sound

04) Destroyer

03) Future Islands
On the Water
[Thrill Jockey]

02) Oneohtrix Point Never
[Software/Mexican Summer]

01) John Maus
We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves
[Ribbon Music]

Here is a list of my twenty favorite songs from 2011. These are listed in alphabetical order.

A Winged Victory for the Sullen – Steep Hills of Vicodin Tears
Atlas Sound – Te Amo
Cass McCombs – County Line
Death Grips – Guillotine
Destroyer – Blue Eyes
DJ Diamond – Horns
Drake – Doing It Wrong
Ford & Lopatin – Too Much MIDI (Please Forgive Me)
Gang Gang Dance – Glass Jar
Girls – Alex
Jay-Z / Kanye West – Otis
John Maus – Hey Moon
Kids on a Crime Spree – Trumpets of Death
Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
Laura Marling – Sophia
Nicki Minaj – Super Bass
Oneohtrix Point Never – Up
Thee Oh Sees – The Dream
Tom Waits – Bad as Luce
2 Chainz – Spend It (Remix) (Feat. T.I.)

The King of LimbsIn 2007, Radiohead released the album In Rainbows and it was met with much critical acclaim. It had a pioneering “pay-what-you-want” marketing scheme and it featured music that pushed the band forward from their experimental-leaning Kid A and OK Computer albums. Then, in the years between 2007 and 2011, the band essentially kept quiet. In late 2009 we were able to hear the song “These Are My Twisted Words” which was generally OK, perhaps sounding a little like a forgotten track from the same mindset that created In Rainbows. Rumors then began to circulate about Radiohead releasing an album in 2010 from interviews with Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood. This never came to be, but in February of 2011 Radiohead revealed that they were to release an album just a week after their announcement. This isn’t too surprising though as they did this same release-schedule with In Rainbows. Another thing that isn’t too surprising is that everyone began hyping the album to high expectations.

The King of Limbs is an album that sounds like a band just beginning to explore new territory, although ultimately it does retread steps taken in previous albums. It is more in-tune with Amnesiac or perhaps Kid A, but that doesn’t mean that great music isn’t to be heard here.

The album opens with “Bloom” and “Morning Mr. Magpie” and each sound chaotic, with the sense stemming from Jonny Greenwood’s quick electric guitar plucks and Phil Selway’s snare taps. On an early listen of the album I wrote them both off as sounding too similar, but with repeat-listens I was able to hear the exploratory electronic rhythms that set each track apart.

The third track of the album is “Little by Little” and it is probably the album’s best track. It continues with the chaotic soundscape from the preceding tracks, but an acoustic guitar is brought in during the track’s chorus. As this track is written more like a pop song I feel that it can resonant more with the listener, instead of washing over them like “Bloom.” Thom Yorke’s famous falsetto and his ever-cryptic lyrics comment on the hardships associated with monotonous everyday life. “Obligations/Complications/Routines and schedules/A job that’s killing you.” “Feral” is the track that follows and it is the album’s only instrumental, which is actually uncommon for Radiohead. This is the track that has the band exploring new sounds, particularly UK dubstep as it has a huge sense of space, bass, and a vocal loop of Thom Yorke’s voice that picks up tempo to give the track an idea of urgency.

The second half of the album (or so I am to assume, since I don’t have a physical copy of this recording yet) starts with the most poppy song of the album, “Lotus Flower.” Before The King of Limbs was released this song was released as (essentially) its single, with a music video. The video has Thom Yorke dancing around and singing, reminiscent of an R&B music video, and in actuality, it sounds like an R&B song. With Yorke’s ever-present falsetto, ear-perking hooks, and handclaps, the track sounds radio-ready. The chaos of the first five tracks is left behind during the rest of the album. “Codex” and “Give Up The Ghost” are percussion-less and full of space, with keys, strings, brass, and chirping birds. The latter is an album highlight, most importantly for its songwriting. The repetition of the lyrics “In your arms” offers emotion to an album that has an otherwise critical and cold outlook on today’s societal norms.

The King of Limbs could become Radiohead’s divisive album simply because of the hype that was generated when this album was announced. Many found In Rainbows to be Radiohead’s best (although I will counter that notion) so the hype surrounding its release was justified, to an extent. The album does not sound like In Rainbows but it does explore new territory with limited success. If one wanted a continuation of their rock sound from In Rainbows, the album may disappoint.

Another important aspect of this album that hasn’t been mentioned is how it will be released. Initially as a digital download, The King of Limbs will be later released as a newspaper titled “The Universal Sigh” (a lyric taken from “Bloom”). I can’t comment on this newspaper (as I had previously mentioned, this is a review of the digital download), but it contains art and poetry. However, I will comment that this album, and how it is released as a newspaper, continues with Radiohead’s trend of commenting on how music, or any other form of art, is represented as a tangible item and how the item can be distributed. The music industry (or lack thereof a music industry) must adapt to the changes that have occurred in reference to society’s ideas of how music is received by an audience. Fortunately for us, we have a creative group of musicians pioneering this change.

(Reviewer’s Score: 3.9/5)

Tennis Shoes & Tuxedos If you’re into hip-hop by any means at all, you must check out Curren$y’s blog. This site possesses some of the most exciting hip-hop mixtapes that are being released. Earlier this year we heard solid music from Curren$y’s Return to the Winner’s Circle (Mixtape), Stalley’s Lincoln Way Nights (Mixtape), and now we can add Tennis Shoes & Tuxedos, from the ex-No Limit/Ruff Ryder O.G., Fiend, to the list of great mixtapes from this blog.

The element that sets this release apart from anything else in the current hip-hop landscape is the production effort. Tennis Shoes… sounds like maximalist Ski Beatz, drawing from influences of lounge (“Paradise”), jazz, psychedelic rock (“Luvin Life”), even spaghetti-Western soundtracks (“Cali-Fornia”). The track “Absolutely” features the stand-out beat, utilizing a digitized voice sample that stutters throughout the track emphasizing the bass-thump layered beneath.

As is the case with a lot of these Bluroc mixtapes, there are several featured artists who are essentially label mates on some of the tracks. Big K.R.I.T., Smoke DZA, Trademark da Skydiver, Corner Boy P, and Curren$y appear intermittently throughout the course of the mixtape, and Fiend’s flow holds up to the everyone on that list. Well, perhaps not quite with Curren$y, who is featured on the album’s anthemic “Luvin Life,” and it can be said that Curren$y’s verse is distinctly better than anything else on here for that matter. Perhaps he’s riding the vibe of just signing to a major-label (which is Warner Bros., here’s to hoping that he doesn’t sell-out, I’m not interested in hearing any WILL.I.AM. beats, that is for sure). But to specific about the verses, remember that this is dirty-South hip-hop. You’re going to hear a lot about cars, money, women, and weed. But, if that doesn’t bother you, you will be satisfied with this mixtape and you’re also going to be anticipating whatever it is these guys release next. Now, for the time being, JETS!

(Reviewer’s Score: 3.7/5)

Following this link will bring you to the widget that plays Gang Gang Dance’s latest song, titled “Glass Jar,” which will be on their forthcoming album Eye Contact (due to be released 5/10 on 4AD). When I last saw this band, nearly two years ago at the Bug Jar in Rochester, NY, the band was starting to explore the material that comes to fruition in this amazing 11-minute track. At that show, they played just two tracks from Saint Dymphna and then went into long playing disco/house jams (they did play “House Jam” too). “Glass Jar” has a long intro but near the five-minute mark, the percussion rolls in to give the song a sense of pace and structure to back-up the synthesizers and arpeggioed keys. Also, Liz Bougatsos’s gentle coos sound better than ever in this house-y track that will allegedly be the album’s opener.