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Top 25 Albums Of 2016

December 12, 2016

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Alright friends, here’s my full album list.  Unlike my Top 50 Songs of 2016, there are Austin acts here. As always, this isn’t some sort of “critical” list, it’s just the albums that I jammed the most this year.  Enjoy.

PS – Here’s a playlist of all the albums on Spotify!

25) Deftones – Gore

While I’ve always liked the Deftones, I haven’t legit loved an album of theirs since 2000′s PonyGore wrapped me up though – it’s really well crafted and features some great songs.  I went back to it often in 2016.

24) Nothing – Tired Of Tomorrow

At first I was slightly let down by Nothing’s sophomore effort, but after I spent some quality time with it I became pretty damn attached.  If you’re into shoegaze, then you need to listen to Tired Of Tomorrow.

23) Explosions In The Sky – The Wilderness

I love me some Explosions In The Sky.  By the way, my instrumental album rankings for 2016 go like this: 1) EITS’ The Wilderness, 2) Russian Circles’ Guidance and then 3) Mono’s Requiem For Hell.

22) Tancred – Out Of The Garden

There isn’t a song on Tancred’s Out Of The Garden that isn’t infectious.  Definitely a must-listen for fans of 90s indie/pop rock.

21) Thao And The Get Down Stay Down – A Man Alive

Thao continues to be one of my favorite singer/songwriters of all time.  I just connect with everything she churns out.

20) Bleached – Welcome The Worms

Bleached took a step away from surf rock on Welcome The Worms and it turned out to be a great move for them.  This album is so energetic.

19) Yung – A Youthful Dream

This kid – 22-year-old Mikkel Holm Silkjær – out of Denmark really impressed me with his debut as YungA Youthful Dream is noisy in all of the right ways.

18) A Giant Dog – Pile

Austin’s very own A Giant Dog have long been a favorite of mine, so I love that they totally crushed it on Pile, their debut for Merge Records.

17) Savages – Adore Life

I was obsessed with Savages’ Adore Life for the first few months of the year.  Eventually I was able to wiggle myself out of its intense pull, mostly.

16) Preoccupations – Self Titled

Just in case you forgot, Viet Cong is now Preoccupations.  In regards to their self titled effort, I love that the majority of it sounds like Interpol on artsy steroids.

15) Cross Record – Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi is a rather ethereal effort from Cross Record, a newer band out of Austin.  The whole thing is really damn good and it totally turned me into a big fan of theirs.

14) The Hotelier – Goodness

For those of you that love anthemic rock (with a dash of emo on top), here’s Goodness from The Hotelier.  I passionately rocked this album a lot in my car.

13) Frankie Cosmos – Next Thing

There isn’t a single song on Frankie Cosmos’ Next Thing that isn’t soaked in sincerity.  She has one of those voices that makes everything feel so very genuine.

12) Terry Malts – Lost At The Party

Any time Terry Malts put out an album, you can count on it being high up on my list.  They write super catchy stuff and in general are reliably awesome.

11) Cymbals Eat Guitars – Pretty Years

Pretty Years is one hell of an album.  At one point will the masses open up to Cymbals Eat Guitars?  Those guys should be playing huge rooms.

10) White Denim – Stiff

Stiff is another high quality set of jams from White Denim.  They remain a really big favorite of mine.

09) Whitney – Light Upon The Lake

Light Upon The Lake is quite possibly the most accessible album that I came across this year.  Seriously, there’s not a single track on Whitney’s debut that isn’t instantly likeable.

08) Basketball Shorts – Hot And Ready

Hot And Ready from Austin’s Basketball Shorts was a big go-to for me in 2016.  It’s 20-ish minutes of pop punk perfection.

07) Angel Olsen – My Woman

My Woman made me go from liking Angel Olsen to loving her.  What a next level effort.

06) Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book

For a while there, I only listened to Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book.  It’s an inspired, energetic effort that features a lot of great songwriting.  It’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here.

05) Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo

Kanye’s The Life Of Pablo is a manic listen with a lot of layers.  He sure does have a lot going on in his head.

04) The Coathangers – Nosebleed Weekend

The Coathangers really hit a home run with Nosebleed Weekend.  It has a ton of great hooks and just the right amount of snarl.

03) Frank Ocean – Blonde

Frank Ocean’s Blonde is a hypnotic experience.  I’m not even sure how often I’ve listened to the entire thing after only intending to revisit one particular song.

02) Car Seat Headrest – Teens In Denial

They may not sound alike at all, but Car Seat Headrest’s Teens In Denials is like Frank Ocean’s Blonde – they’re both really hypnotic listens.  That Will Toledo is one hell of a songwriter.

01) White Lung – Paradise

Of all the EPs and LPs I listened to 2016, White Lung’s Paradise is the one that I jammed the most.  It’s loud and heavy and the best modern rock album I’ve come across in years. Congrats to the band for nailing it and grabbing the top spot on my list.

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Deftones

June 28, 2016

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If you asked me to make a mid-year album list, I’d probably put Deftones’ Gore somewhere in my top 10 or 15.  It’s got such a nice, big and fully realized sound, and I just really dig it.  Side note, is there another band out there managing to age as well as they are?  I really don’t think so, and I’ll totally type in all caps at you if you disagree.

Anyhow, Deftones pulled in Com Truise to do a remix, and he churned out something super chill and neat.  Enjoy.

:Deftones – Prayers-Triangles (Com Truise Remix):

Bonus Video:

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Beats & Eats: Volume 3 (James)

April 15, 2016

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Beats & Eats is a mixtape and a meal. A collection of tunes (sometimes there’s a theme, sometimes it’s just whatever I’m into this month) and a recipe to cook (bake, mix, whatever) while you listen to the songs. Enjoy!

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Earlier this month, music blog Consequence of Sound published a listicle on the Top 20 Deftones songs of all time. The Sacramento, CA quintet just released their eighth album, Gore, to critical and fan acclaim, so a career spanning listicle seems like the right thing to do. And the critics are right. Gore is really good.

I’ve always loved Deftones. The band changed what I thought metal and hardcore music had to sound like. Moody and emotional with pummeling riffs. Drummer Abe Cunningham’s beats are the unheralded backbone of the band and a huge influence on me as a drummer.

There’s nothing wrong with Consequence of Sound’s Top 20, in fact it’s fairly good, but it wouldn’t be my Top 20.  For no particular reason other than my own enjoyment, here is my Top 20(ish) Deftones songs along with a recipe for Spaghetti Squash Tacos. Because nothing is more metal than Spaghetti Squash Tacos.

Bored, Deftones’ ‘side one, track one, album one,’ kicks things off. Sure — nobody likes the guy who was ‘listening to band XYZ before anyone else was listening to band XYZ,’ but I vividly remember my bestie Ivan Torres Torres bringing Deftones Adrenaline to school and letting me borrow it for the weekend (Ivan’s version of the story may or may not involve the CD being returned scratched to shit and the case cracked – oh well).

I’d like to think this mixtape spans the length of Deftones’ career, including newer cuts from Koi No Yokan (Swerve City), Diamond Eyes (You’ve Seen the Butcher) and new release Gore (Doomed User). But in reality, this mix probably errs heavily on the band’s early stuff, Adrenaline and White Pony, especially.

You might have noticed by now that this playlist is 24 songs long. Missing from the COS Top 20 were the Deftones covers. The band has always chosen good songs to cover, and I love a good cover song. Depeche Mode’s To Have and To Hold kicks off this Deftones cover block, tracks 8A – 8D, followed by The Chauffeur (Duran Duran) and the even more unlikely No Ordinary Love (Sade). Jawbox’s Savory closes out the set of covers, with the last two featuring former Far and Onelinedrawing frontman Jonah Matranga.

An assortment of moody (Passenger, Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away), Good Morning Beautiful), aggressive (Rocket Skates, Hexagram, Acid Hologram) and rap metal efforts (Engine No. 9 cause I had to) round out my Deftones Top 20 (yeah, yeah, 24).

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Spaghetti Squash Tacos

INGREDIENTS:

- 3 lbs (1 large or 2 small) spaghetti squash
- tortillas
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained well

SQUASH SEASONING:
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 fresh squeezed lime

GARNISH:
- 4 ounces crumbled queso fresco, feta, or cojita cheese
- 1 avocado
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- hot sauce (Sontava or Cholula)
- lime wedges

RECIPE:

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray pan with coconut oil cooking spray or coat with 1/2  ounce of olive oil. Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and roast the halves facedown on baking pan for 35-40 minutes or until flesh is soft.

- Once the squash is cooked, remove and allow to cool 5 minutes, then scrap the flesh with a fork to loosen and separate the strands. Add strands of flesh to bowl and discard skins.

- In a separate bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, and salt, whisk in lime juice and pour over squash strands. Gently toss to mix seasonings throughout, taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.

- To assemble the tacos… oh what the fuck you know how to assemble a taco. Warm em up, put down some beans, put down some spaghetti squash.

- Garnish with cheese, avocado, cilantro, onion,  couple drops of hot sauce  and a squeeze a lime.

- Serve with an ice cold Modelo Especial.

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Stream This

May 10, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

MS MR – Secondhand Rapture
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City
Dirty Beaches – Strange Pleasures
Small Black – Limits Of Desire
Peals – Walking Field
Wampire – Curiosity
Eluvium -  Nightmare Ending
Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood – Black Pudding
Pure X – Crawling Up The Strairs
Sam Amidon – Bright Sunny South
Survival – Self Titled
Dungeonesse – Self Titled
Phaseone – If I Tell U
Snowden – No One In Control
Adult – The Way Things Fall
The Features – Self Titled
Saturday Looks Good To Me – One Kiss Ends It All
Luke Rathborne – Last Forgiven
Burnt Ones – You’ll Never Walk Alone
PacificUV – After The Dream You Are Awake

VIDEOS

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Mosquito is out now on Interscope.

Smith Westerns will release Soft Will on June 25 through Mom + Pop.

Alpine’s A Is For Alpine is due out May 21 via Votiv.

Wolf People just recently released Fain on Jagjaguwar.

David Bowie’s The Next Day is out now.

The National will put out Trouble Will Find Me on May 21 via 4AD.

Gary Clark Jr. released Blak And Blu last year.

Queens Of The Stone Age are set to release Like Clockwork on June 4 via Matador.

Deftones have an album out now titled Koi No Yokan.

Girl Names put out The New Life earlier this year on Slumberland.

Wild Moccasins’ Gag Reflections single is out now on New West Records.

Secret Colours will release Peach on May 28.

Theophilus London is expected to put out a new full length later this year.

Cool Ghouls have a self titled album out now on Empty Cellar Records.

Tycho have a 12″ available now titled Fragments.Ascension.

Hands just recently put out Synesthesia on Kill Rock Stars.

Blake Hazard (of the Submarines) will release The Eleanor Islands on July 9.

Coma Cinema’s Posthumous Release is due June 11 via Fork & Spoon Records/Orchid Tapes.

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Stream This

November 9, 2012

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

How To Destroy Angels – An Omen
El Ten Eleven – Transitions
Social Studies – Developer
Vinyl Williams – Lemniscate
The Babies – Our House On The Hill
El Perro Del Mar – Pale Fire
Deftones – Koi No Yokan
Crystal Castles – (III)

VIDEOS

Arms have an album titled Summer Skills that’s out now.

Jon Hillcoat (The Road) helped direct this video for IO Echo.  The band has an album due out next year.

Icky Blossoms play Emo’s East on November 28 with The Faint.  Their self titled debut is out now.

The Joy Formidable will release Wolf’s Law on January 22 via Canvasback Music/Atlantic Records.

Tame Impala’s Lonerism is available now.

Jonti currently has a new album titled Sine + Moon that’s out now.

Phantogram recently released an EP titled Nightlife.

Correatown’s Pleiades is currently available.

Columbia will release Wild Belle’s debut, Isles, early next year.

Dumbo Gets Mad will release Quantum Leap sometime in 2013.

The Luyas recently released Animator.

Jeff The Brotherhood’s Hypnotic Nights is out now.

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