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Top 25 Albums Of 2014: Part 1

December 9, 2014

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Well friends, I’m just about done with posting the site’s year-end music lists.  Today I have the first part of my Top 25 Albums of 2014 (25-11, plus various Honorable Mentions), tomorrow I’ll have my Top 10 selections, and then on Thursday I’ll have Top 5s from each of SOTO’s contributors.  Whew!  Anyhow, on with the rambling.  Enjoy.

PS – This year’s list is very heavily influenced by how often I revisited an album.

25) Swans – To Be Kind

There’s nothing about Swans’ To Be Kind that’s easy (or it would be ranked way higher), but if you can fully immerse yourself in its sprawling sound, you’ll find that it’s a rather rewarding album.

:Swans – A Little God In My Hands:

24) Interpol – El Pintor

While it’s no Turn On The Bright Lights, I do think that El Pintor is the best thing to come from Interpol in a long while.  Who knew that parting with Carlos D would turn out to be good for the band?!

:Interpol – All The Rage Back Home:

23) Future Islands – Singles

Future Islands’ Singles is one of those albums that I burned out on and then ending up excitedly coming back to.  It’s a pretty great effort, especially if you need something to dramatically dance to.

:Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You):

22) Sylvan Esso – Self Titled

Sylvan Esso’s self titled debut is an easily accessible effort that’s loaded with some of the year’s best electronic pop songs.  I often just put it on and let its warm sound fill the room.

:Sylvan Esso – Coffee:

21) Thee Oh Sees – Drop

Just when it looked like Thee Oh Sees were going to take a lengthy break, they released the lively Drop.  I approve of such indecisiveness.  Here’s hoping they continue on maybe going on hiatus.

:Thee Oh Sees – Penetrating Eye:

20) Ty Segall – Manipulator

Manipulator is the culmination of all the various sounds that Ty Segall has churned out over the last few years, and it’s great.  Way to bring everything full circle, Mr. Segall.

:Ty Segall – Susie Thumb:

19) Phantogram – Voices

I can’t say that Voices dominated my time the way that Eyelid Movies did (way back in 2010), but it’s definitely a high quality effort.  Phantogram craft great hooks.

:Phantogram – Fall In Love:

18) S – Cool Choices

Jenn Ghetto (formerly of Carissa’s Wierd) is S, and Cool Choices is her very sincere, introspective album.  She’s got the sort of voice that I can’t help but get hung up on.

:S – Vampires:

17) Mono – Rays Of Darkness/The Last Dawn

Technically, Rays Of Darkness and The Last Dawn are two separate releases, but I still consider them to be a two-disc effort.  As for the actual LPs themselves, I really dig how neither of them feel like the Mono that made the over-orchestrated For My Parents.

:Mono – Recoil, Ignite:

16) Jack White – Lazaretto

I can’t ever make any sense of the things that Jack White says and does these days, but I sure do like his music.  Lazaretto is a boisterous experience.

:Jack White – Lazaretto:

15) Abram Shook – Sun Marquee

Austin’s own Abram Shook put out the immensely pleasing Sun Marquee back in January, and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since.  It’s the kind of breezy, relaxed pop music that’s impossible to not get lost in.

:Abram Shook – Coastal:

14) Tune Yards – Nikki Nack

Nikki Nack is exactly what we’ve all come to want and expect from the talented Merrill Garbus (aka Tune Yards) – it’s creative and a whole lot of fun to listen to.

:Tune Yards – Real Thing:

13) Ex Hex – Rips

I miss Wild Flag, but their disbandment delivered Mary Timony’s equally catchy and rocking Ex Hex AND put Sleater-Kinney back together.  I’ll take that deal any day.

:Ex Hex – Hot And Cold:

12) The Dead Space – Faker

If you are even the slightest fan of post-punk, then you need The Dead Space’s Faker in your life.  There’s not a track on it that isn’t rad.

:The Dead Space – Behind The Wall:

11) Tacocat – NVM

I didn’t pay much attention to Tacocat’s NVM until kind of late in the year, but once I “discovered” it I was forever hooked.  It’s total surf-rock bliss.

:Tacocat – Crimson Wave:

Come back tomorrow for my Top 10 Albums of 2014!

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

To be honest, I could have easily detailed 50 albums this year, but since the bottom 25 slots would have been occupied by the various releases that I liked but didn’t listen to a whole super lot, I figured it was best to hold back.  For fun though, here are the LPs that more than likely would have made an expanded list.

A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Sea When Absent
Alex Napping – This Is Not A Bedroom
Alvvays – Self Titled
Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Ariel Pink – Pom Pom
Coathangers – Suck My Shirt
Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lose
Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita
Equals – Tracts
Eternal Summers – The Drop Beneath
FKA Twigs – LP1
Flesh Lights – Free Yourself
Literature – Chorus
Men – Tomorrow’s Hits
OBN IIIs – Third Time To Harm
Owls – Two
Pompeii – Loom
Ramesh – The King
Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
Thurston Moore – The Best Day
Tontons – Make Out King And Other Stories Of Love
Warpaint – Self Titled
We Were Promised Jetpacks – Unravelling
Wye Oak – Shriek
Yellow Ostrich – Cosmos

Also, for even more fun, here are my five favorite EPs of 2014.

Speedy Ortiz – Real Hair EP
Diarrhea Planet – Aliens In The Outfield EP
White Reaper – Self Titled EP
Otis The Destroyer – Dark Arts EP
Whiite Walls – Self Titled EP

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Stream This

June 6, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Please note that the majority of the streams expire as soon as the albums come out, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Jack White – Lazaretto

Pollen – Self Titled EP
The Fresh & Onlys – House Of Spirits
Tom Vek – Luck
Die Antwoord – Donker Mag
Tiny Victories – Haunts
First Aid Kit – Stay Gold
Clipping – CLPPNG
Craft Spells – Nausea
How To Train Your Dragon 2 – Soundtrack
Lust For Youth – International
Tomas Barfod – Love Me
Yesway – Self Titled
Vanish – Memory Work
Glass Animals – ZABA
Stagnant Pools – Geist
American Analog Set – Know By Heart

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Parquet Courts

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Quickdraw: Jack White, The Julie Ruin, Sunny Day Real Estate, Cold Beat, Manicanparty

April 24, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Jack White – Lazaretto:  Jack White has always been an aggressive fella (it’s part of what makes him great), but this track is something else.  He now sounds like he’s trying to rule over the world.  White will release Lazaretto on June 10 through Third Man/Columbia.

:The Julie Ruin – Brightside:  I found The Julie Ruin’s debut last year to be somewhat hit or miss, but it’s still nice to have Kathleen Hanna back making music.  I’ll take whatever I can get out of her creative noggin.  A 7″ with this song and one more was put out on Record Store Day.

:Sunny Day Real Estate – Lipton Witch:  Apparently, Sunny Day Real Estate tried to rally up a new album after their reunion tour in 2009, but it unfortunately didn’t work out.  At least those sessions resulted in this track, though, as Jeremy Enigk’s voice sounds rad.  The band’s split 7″ with Circa Survive came out on Record Store Day.

:Cold Beat – Mirror:  I’ve been waiting for word on a Cold Beat full length, so their announcement of one immediately slapped a smile on my face.  I’m not sure they’re capable of crafting anything that isn’t super catchy.  The band will release Over Me on July 8 through Crime On The Moon.

:Manicanparty – Warpaint:  I’ve been hooked on this Manicanparty track for a couple of days now.  It’s definitely a bit cheesy and kind of an overly dramatic piece of pop, but I also think it’s rather well crafted.  Look for The District EP when it gets released on June 10.

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Stream This

April 4, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ EMA – The Future’s Void

Ghetto Ghouls – Self Titled
Tweens – Self Titled
HighasaKite – Silent Treatment
School Of Language – Old Fears
Off – Wasted Years
Protomartyr – Under Color Of Official Right
Ital Tek – Mega City Industry
Todd Terje – It’s Album Time
Avey Tare – Enter The Slasher House
Little Racer – Modern Accent EP
SoftSpot – Mass

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Pure X

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Stream This

January 11, 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

Free Energy – Love Sign
Yo La Tengo – Fade
Wooden Wand – Blood Oaths Of The New Blues

VIDEOS

Grace/Confusion is the name of the latest Memory Tapes album.

Charlie XCX has a full length that’s expected to be out before the summer.

Writer’s Brotherface is currently available via 3 Syllables.

Foxygen will put out We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic on January 22.  They play the Mohawk on February 20.

Eraas self titled album is currently available.

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Top 25 Albums Of 2012: Part 3

December 5, 2012

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Because at least two of you asked for it, here’s the third part of my Top 25 Albums of 2012.  As I’ve said, I easily could have listed 50 releases, but I realized that half of those would have been albums that I only listen to when I’m in a particular mood.  In other words, they’re not immediately accessible, and that to me knocks them down a notch.  So, if you’re looking for 25 releases that you can immediately dive into and love, this is the place to be.  Enjoy.

15) Tennis – Young & Old

I didn’t expect to like this album as much as I did.  There are so many great songs on it, and I think that (for me, anyway) it establishes Tennis as one of the best pop acts currently working.

:Tennis – Petition:

14) The White Wires – WWIII

Even if I had wanted to, there was no escaping the garage rock glory of WWIII.  It’s loaded with so many hooks that the White Wires could cut a bunch out, and they’d still be providing an album that’s catchier than any of us deserve.

:The White Wires – Let’s Start Over Again:

13) Twin Shadow – Confess

To be honest, I figured I’d listen to Confess and just repeatedly skip to Five Seconds while ignoring the rest of the songs on the album.  But that didn’t happen.  In fact, the “skip” button never even came into play.

:Twin Shadow – Golden Light:

12) The Eastern Sea – Plague

Austin’s the Eastern Sea have been slowly assembling all the right pieces for years, and Plague is them (finally) putting everything together.  I can’t wait to see where they go from here.

:The Eastern Sea – A Lie:

11) Jack White – Blunderbuss

While Blunderbuss may sound exactly how you’d expect a Jack White solo album to sound, it’s still a pretty great effort.  If we’re lucky, we’ll get a follow-up sooner rather than later.

:Jack White – Missing Pieces:

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Top 50 Songs Of 2012: Part 2

November 27, 2012

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You know who loves a good list?  Every single one of you.  Now get on with checking out the second part of my Top 50 Songs Of 2012.  In case you’re curious, I chose the songs from the 400+ tracks that I shared around here throughout the last 11 months.  Enjoy.

40)  :Passion Pit – I’ll Be Alright:  I’m still not sure what Passion Pit were aiming for on their sophomore effort, but I dig this track a lot.  I think it shows how adventurous their sound can be.  From Gossamer.

39)  :Why? – Sod In The Seed:  Just when I thought that Yoni Wolf was done with his collage-like rambles, he provided nearly five minutes of lyric-heavy joy via this song.  That guy has a wonderful brain.  From the Sod In The Seed EP.

38)  :Beach House – Myth:  I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to this song just to listen to it.  Not much else in 2012 was as well crafted as this.  From Bloom.

37)  :Dana Falconberry – Lake Charlevoix:  I’ve long supported Austin’s Dana Falconberry, but this song put her on a different level for me.  Folk music is often not overly accessible, but it is when she does it.  From Leelanau.

36)  :Alabama Shakes – Hold On:  The year began with nothing but buzz for this band, and somehow it all actually ended up being warranted.  Way to go, taste-makers.  This song is an outright jam.  From Boys & Girls.

35)  :Dirty Projectors – Gun Has No Trigger:  I love that the Dirty Projectors just do whatever they please.  How many other bands could release such a challenging single and actually have it go well for them?  From Swing Lo Magellan.

34)  :Bobby Womack – Please Forgive Me Heart:  Bobby’s soulful voice thrown over a modern electronic arrangement?  Such a thing seems like it should be all wrong, but then there’s this gem screaming otherwise.  From The Bravest Man In The Universe.

33)  :Jack White – Love Interruption:  It was nice of Jack to finally go solo, and it was even nicer of him to make his first single such a quality piece of modern rock.  From Blunderbuss.

32)  :Social Studies – Terracur:  Social Studies was always one of those acts that I knew about and liked, but didn’t love.  This inspired tune changed that.  Forever.  From Developer.

31)  :The Tallest Man On Earth – 1904:  Kristian Matsson is a fantastic songwriter, and this inviting number is just further proof of that.  It’s only a matter of time before I just hang out with him all the time on a mountain.  From There’s No Leaving Now.

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Stream This

October 11, 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

Savoir Adore – Our Nature
Majeure – Solar Maximus
Win Win – Double Vision
Daphni – Jiaolong
Ben Gibbard – Former Lives
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – ALLELUJAH! DON’T BEND! ASCEND!
Santah – You’re Still A Lover
Tamaryn – Tender New Signs
Boyfrndz – All Day Pass

VIDEOS

Cloud Nothings Attack On Memory is out now on Carpark.

Yeasayer put out Fragrant World earlier this year, and they are currently out on tour.

Sharon Van Etten is set to play Fun Fun Fun Fest.  This song is off of Tramp.

The Mountain Goats play Emo’s East on December 5.  Transcendental Youth is out now.

Matt And Kim just put out Lightning via Fader.  They play Stubb’s on October 20.

Trail Of Dead will release Lost Songs on October 23 via Richter Scale/Superball Music.

Rhye are expected to put out their debut full length early next year.

El Perro Del Mar will release Pale Fire on November 13 via The Control Group.

Taken By Trees just released Other Worlds on Secretly Canadian.  The play the Mohawk on November 13.

Gap Dream just released the Ali Baba 7″ on Suicide Squeeze.

Diamond Rugs put out their self titled debut earlier this year.  They’ll be playing Fun Fun Fun Fest.

Talk Normal will release Sunshine on October 23 via Joyful Noise Recordings.  They play the Parish on November 11.

Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros released Here a few months back.

Sleeper Agent are currently in the studio.  Celabrasion is out now on Mom + Pop Music.

Jack White plays ACL this weekend.  Blunderbuss is out now.

Levek’s Look A Little Closer is out now on Lefse.

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