RSS

Tag Archives: kendrick lamar

Top 25 Albums Of 2017

December 6, 2017

1 Comment

Here are the albums I listened to the most this year.  Enjoy.

25) Alvvays – Antisocialites

Antisocialites is a catchy, occasionally infectious collection of tunes from Alvvays.  Definitely a worthy follow-up to their self titled debut.

24) Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights

Julien Baker’s Turn Out The Lights isn’t exactly an easy listen, but it’s worth the effort.

23) Wolf Parade – Cry Cry Cry

Cry Cry Cry might be my favorite Wolf Parade album.

22) Growl – Won’t You

Austin’s own Growl really hit a home run with the indie pop-leaning Won’t You.

21) Alex Lahey – I Love You Like A Brother

Alex Lahey is an anthem-making machine.

20) Molly Burch – Please Be Mine

Please Be Mine is proof that Molly Burch is one of Austin’s best artists.

19) The Courtneys – The Courtneys II

The Courtneys sophomore effort has a whole slew of very catchy tracks.

18) SZA – Ctrl

SZA’s Ctrl is one of the best R&B albums I’ve heard in a long time.

17) White Reaper – The World’s Best American Band

White Reaper always rip it up.  The World’s Best American Band is their most complete effort to date.

16) Taylor Swift – Reputation

Reputation is no 1989, but it is a super solid effort.  Few have hooks like Taylor Swift.

15) LCD Soundsystem – American Dream

American Dream is a really nice comeback album for LCD Soundsystem.

14) Walker Lukens – Tell It To The Judge

The Jim Eno-produced Tell It To The Judge is one of my favorite albums to come out of Austin in 2017.  Nicely done, Walker Lukens.

13) The xx – I See You

Admittedly, I wasn’t a big fan of The xx’s I See You when I first heard it, but I came around (real hard) after experiencing the songs live.

12) Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me

Mount Eerie’s A Crow Looked At Me is a devastating album.  I can’t even believe I listened to it as much as I did this year.  Guess that just goes to show how well done it is.

11) Hazel English – Just Give In/Never Going Home

I got lost in Hazel English’s hazy Just Give In/Never Going Home quite a lot in 2017.

10) Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds From Another Planet

Soft Sounds From Another Planet is so fantastic that it has made me a Japanese Breakfast fan forever.

09) Spoon – Hot Thoughts

Hot Thoughts is Spoon not giving a whole lot of fucks, and I like it alot.

08) Jay Som – Everybody Works

I don’t do any sort of “best new artist” award here at SOTO, but if I did it would go to Jay Som for the excellent Everybody Works.

07) Gang Of Youths – Go Farther In Lightness

I just recently (maybe a month ago) got into Gang Of Youths’ Go Farther In The Lightness, but it’s had such an big impact on me that I had to give it a high spot on this list.  Just amazing stuff.

06) Waxahatchee – Out In The Storm

If I were sorting this list by number of play-throughs, Waxahatchee’s Out In The Storm would probably land in the top spot.  It’s such a great indie rock album.

05) St. Vincent – Masseducation

Somehow Masseducation is simultaneously St. Vincent’s weirdest and most accessible album.  I love it.

04) The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

The War On Drugs just keep getting better and better.  A Deeper Understanding is a real attention-grabber.

03) Protomartyr – Relatives In Descent

Protomartyr dialed back the intensity just a bit for Relatives In Descent, and it resulted in an album that I have yet to get enough of.

02) Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

Come on.  It’s Kendrick Lamar.  This guy is currently unstoppable.

01) The National – Sleep Well Beast

I’ve always liked, not loved The National, so it’s wild to me that their Sleep Well Beast ended up being my favorite album of 2017.  Here I am though, declaring all my love for it.  If you haven’t spent any time with it, be sure you fix that real fast.  It’s one of those efforts that just swallows you up whole.

For the heck of it, here are five albums that almost made my Top 25.

Bully – Losing
Conor Oberst – Salutations
Do Make Say Think – Stubborn Persistent Illusions
Jay-Z – 4:44
Why? – Moh Lhean

Continue reading...

Top 50 Songs Of 2017

December 5, 2017

2 Comments

Well look at that, here are my Top 50 Songs of 2017.  Enjoy.

50) Jamiroquai – Automaton

Jamiroquai still got it, man.

49) Matthew Logan Vasquez

I jammed this Matthew Logan Vasquez (of Delta Spirit fame) track on my radio show, 101X Homegrown, a lot this year. It’s fierce.

48) Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Matter Of Time

I miss Sharon Jones.

47) Sheer Mag – Just Can’t Get Enough

Pure retro goodness here by Sheer Mag.

46) Weaves – Walkaway

Weaves churned out a really nice low key anthem here.

45) Filthy Friends – Any Kind Of Crowd

Corin Tucker sounds adorable in this Filthy Friends song.

44) Julien Baker – Appointments

Sad! Classic Julien Baker.

43) Wiretree – Let Me In

I love this sweet little number by Austin’s own Wiretree.

42) Hazel English – Fix

What a wonderfully hazy pop tune by Hazel English.

41) Mogwai – Eternal Panther

Somehow the best song that Mogwai put out this year isn’t on the album they released.

40) Alyeska – Stones

This 90s indie rock throwback from Alyeska is fantastic.

39) Land Of Talk – Loving

It’s so good to have Elizabeth Powell back in action as Land Of Talk.

38) The Kills – Desperado (Rhianna Cover)

The Kills really make this Rhianna track their own.

37) Why? – Proactive Evolution

I’ll never tire of Why?. This is one of my favorite songs by them.

36) The Octopus Project – Small Hundred

This song by The Octopus Project always makes me want to get up and move.

35) Fujiya & Miyagi – Solitaire

Another year, another infectious jam by Fujiya & Miyagi.

34) Carly Rae Jepsen – Cut To The Feeling

Can’t stop Carly.

33) The Courtneys – Silver Velvet

This is the catchiest song on The Courtneys’ album of really catchy songs.

32) Growl – New Sincerity.

Here’s some jangly pop perfection by Austin’s Growl.

31) Kane Strang – Oh So You’re Off I See

I revisited this slightly weird Kane Strang track a lot in 2017.

30) Beth Ditto – Oo La La

Beth Ditto really goes for it here.

29) Sports – Making It Right

This is a charming pop tune from Sports.

28) Wolf Parade – You’re Dreaming

Wolf Parade with a legit ear-pleaser.

27) Ought – These 3 Things

Ought went new wave here. Good move!

26) Waxahatchee – Never Been Wrong

Indie rock perfection by Waxahatchee.

25) The Rural Alberta Advantage – Toughen Up

The Rural Alberta Advantage made a big time jump back onto my radar with this song.

24) Screaming Females – Black Moon

I can’t wait for the new Screaming Females album. This first single is so damn good.

23) Protomartyr – Don’t Go to Anacita

Intense but great. Protomartyr are the best.

22) Sweet Spirit – The Power

What a big track by Austin’s Sweet Spirit.

21) Perfume Genius – Slip Sway

This is one of Perfume Genius’ best songs.

20) Spook School – Less Than Perfect

Spook School are as catchy as can be here.

19) Rhye – Taste

This Rhye track has an immaculate sound.

18) Jay Som – Baybee

Hazy, dancey, perfect stuff here by Jay Som.

17) Walker Lukens – Don’t Want To Be Lonely (Don’t Want To Leave You Alone)

Here’s a total ear-worm from Austin’s Walker Lukens.

16) The Blow – Get Up

This song from The Blow is a rambly as can be, but I love it.

15) LCD Soundsystem – Call The Police

The best song on LCD Soundsystem’s comeback album.

14) Diet Cig – Barf Day

The line “I know that you’re sorry, I just don’t care” will forever make me smirk. Thanks for that, Diet Cig.

13) Molly Burch – Wrong For You

It’s just about impossible to not love this retro-leaning effort from Austin’s own Molly Burch.

12) Lo Tom – Overboard

David Bazan is so good in this Lo Tom tune. I love his voice.

11) Football, etc. – Save

This track from Austin’s Football, etc. has an early 2000s indie rock vibe that I really dig.

10) The War On Drugs – Holding On

Headphones + this track from The War On Drugs = my happy place.

09) The Coathangers – Captain’s Dead

The Coathangers are on a real roll right now. This song is a blast.

08) Spoon – Do I Have To Talk You Into It

I love how loose Spoon sound here.

07) White Reaper – Judy French

So infectious. White Reaper continue to be big favorites of mine.

06) Alex Lahey – Every Day’s The Weekend

My favorite song from 2017 to sing-a-long to. Alex Lahey sure knows how to write an anthem.

05) The National – The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness

Heavy but accessible. Great track by The National.

04) SZA – Supermodel

I spent a couple of months obsessed with this SZA song. It’s so dramatic.

03) Kendrick Lamar – Humble

It was impossible to escape this Kendrick Lamar song in 2017. I didn’t mind.

02) St. Vincent – Los Ageless

St. Vincent is rather aggressive here, and it’s awesome.

01) Alvvays – In Undertow

This was practically my default song this year. It’s perfect. Thanks, Alvvays!

Continue reading...

2015 SOTO Staff Picks

December 30, 2015

0 Comments

Hey!  Here’s what the SOTO staff dug this year.  Enjoy.

Here you go!

1. Tobias Gesso Jr. – Goon

2. Shamir – Ratchet

3. Tame Impala – Currents

4. Mild High Club – Timeline

5. Ultimate Painting – Green Lanes

Assembled from my list other list of Best Albums of 2015, I wanted to give the fine SOTO readers who may not be into metal a little taste of what some of the borderline metal albums this year achieved. These bands can be classified as metal, but in reality when the non-metalhead hears these records will think, “I can understand the words,” and “They are actually singing a melody,” so I call this list the Best Non-Metal Metal Albums of the Year … enjoy!

5. Clutch – Psychic Warfare (Weathermaker)

The decision to stick with a more rock based approach for Clutch worked on Earth Rocker, and Psychic Warfare presents more of that same powerful attitude and emphasis on their abilities to write strong hooks and lyrically profound jams. A balanced album that seamlessly continues the trajectory of the band gives us some great new singable tunes … and, of course, mentions Texas (so I have to love it even more).

4. Soilwork – The Ride Majestic (Nuclear Blast)

At some point Soilwork will write a terrible record – but The Ride Majestic is not that record. I am astounded by Soilwork’s ability to continually write albums that stretch what they do as a band, yet somehow fit perfectly into their catalog. This record has everything for the Euro-metalcore fan to celebrate.

3. Refused – Freedom (Epitaph)

While watching Refused on their reunion tour at Fun Fun Fun Fest, not one of their diehard fans could have possibly guessed that they could even put together another album, let alone a release as striking as Freedom. Almost two decades have passed since their ‘final’ album, The Shape of Punk to Come, and all we wanted was perfection. In many ways, Dennis Lyxzen and company have not only succeeded, but essentially created an album that did exactly what it needed to do: began the next era of punk to come.

2. Intronaut – The Direction of Last Things (Century Media)

The strange thing here is, whereas failing to pin down Paradise Lost made me move away from them, Intronaut’s similarly diverse catalog feels like a creative continuation, rather than a struggle to find a place amongst the ferns. The Direction of Last Things‘ breadth will surprise even the most hardened critic. If you aren’t BTBAM, prog metal is not an easy thing to make palatable – yet this record is undeniable.

1. Baroness – Purple (Abraxan Hymns)

Unlike the rest of the modern metal world, I did not hold Baroness’ last album in the highest regard. There were some great moments, but it was a double album that could have been boiled down to one spectacular album. So much has transpired for the band since then – setting aside the bus crash and the fallout of having to relearn how to do even menial tasks, rebuilding a band after two core members cannot continue must be daunting. After getting on the road and touring for a year with a new rhythm section, the iron seemed hot enough to get the recording going. As we hear the pieces of Purple, all that has transpired falls into the rear view. When consumed in full? Enlightened, transcendental, and mature beyond their years, Baroness’ Purple grows in stature with every listen. Heavier than the last two records, but with more subtle strides in structure, this is as close as we may get to a perfect album. Baroness tapped into something I hope they can channel for many years to come.

Enjoy!

1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

2. Vince Staples – Summertime ’06

3. Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside

4. Fashawn – The Ecology

5. Lizzo – Big GRRRL, Small World

1. Kurt Vile – B’lieve I’m Goin Down (Matador)

I’ve jammed this more than any other 2015 release. Vile’s songs are intriguing, yet detached. BIGD manages to say a lot about us as people and our continued course towards ultimate self involvement/destruction. It’s Vile’s own cosmic navel gazing that somehow speaks for the mass of all lost human beings looking for recognition while yearning to be left alone.

2. Dean McPhee – Fatima’s Hand (Hood Faire)

Over the course of Fatima’s Hand and its five meditative (and fully improvised) tracks, you are offered a range of solar spirituals. The depth and variance guitarist Dean McPhee is able to achieve with just a Telecaster, some pedals, and an amp deserves serious accolades.

3. Sun City Girls – Torch of the Mystics (Abduction Records)

Richard Bishop, Alan Bishop, and Charles Gocher’s finest moment gets its first reissue since 1993! Whether you consider it an underground footnote or THE best album released in the 1990s (which this writer does,) it’s easy to be pumped to not have to pay $150 for the original 1990 Marjora release on vinyl. Now Space Prophet Dogon can be jammed on wax for $17 thanks to Abduction Records.

4. Joshua Abrams – Magnetoception (Eremite)

It’s not often that a double LP of extended ensemble performances can be so damned captivating. With his magical guimbri in tow, Abrams and crew are to put it mildly, fucking killing it. This side of music has not sounded this fresh and appealing in a long damned time. Abrams is proving that solar/fire music can and will last way beyond its original purveyors.

5. Jack DeJohnette – Made In Chicago

The best jazz release this year by a mile. Recorded in 2013 at Chicago’s Millennium Park, it features pieces by DeJohnette, Mitchell, and Threadgill as well as improvised group pieces – all of them stunning. Even as each of these players age, their work continues to be timeless and endlessly inventive.

With honorable mentions to Lithuania, Metz, Beach Slang, Mike Krol, OBN IIIs and Sweet Talk, I give you my five favorite albums of the year:

1. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

2. Girl Band – Holding Hands With Jamie

3. Bop English – Constant Bop

4. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love

5. Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect

Continue reading...

Top 25 Albums Of 2015: Part 2

December 11, 2015

0 Comments

Here are the final 10 entries in my Top 25 Albums of 2015 list!  You can see the whole thing on one page here.  Also, a Spotify playlist of most of the albums can be found here.  Enjoy.

PS – Just in cased you missed my Top 50 Songs of 2015, that list can be found here.

10) Bop English – Constant Bop

Constant Bop is my favorite album to come out of Austin this year.  I adore White Denim and want frontman James Petralli to get things back underway there, but I hope he doesn’t take too long to roll out another Bob English effort.

:Bop English – Dani’s Blues (It Was Beyond Our Control):

09) Youth Lagoon – Savage Hills Ballroom

It took me a few months to get around to giving Youth Lagoon’s Savage Hills Ballroom my full attention, but once I did it pulled me in and refused to let go.  It’s a sprawling effort that’s best experienced via headphones.

:Youth Lagoon – The Knower:

08) FIDLAR – Too

FIDLAR’s Too is a worthy follow-up to their 2013 self titled debut.  I love how sloppy, scatterbrained and loud it is.

:FIDLAR – 40oz. On Repeat:

07) Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly has grown on me more and more as the year has gone on.  At first I liked about half of its songs, and now I think that from front to back it’s an experience that shouldn’t be missed.

:Kendrick Lamar – Alright:

06) Annabel – Having It All

Whether or not you’re a fan of emo music, you should give Annabel’s Having It All a shot.  It’s really well crafted and the songwriting is fantastic.

:Annabel – Having It All:

05) Tame Impala – Currents

Currents is another stellar set of tracks from Tame Impala.  Now if only I could decide whether it’s their weirdest album or their most accessible.  It might actually be both.

:Tame Impala – Let It Happen:

04) Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

Courtney Barnett is a woman with a lot on her mind, and she shows it all throughout Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit.  It’s such a charming, interesting album.

:Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian At Best:

03) Screaming Females – Rose Mountain

Every single song on Rose Mountain is fantastic.  I really thought the album would serve as Screaming Females’ big break, but the band seems to still be flying under the radar.  That’s all wrong.  They deserve all the love!

:Screaming Females – Criminal Image:

02) Doomtree – All Hands

Doomtree really hit it out the park with All Hands.  If you like intense, anthemic, energetic, brainy hip hop, then you need to make sure that the Minneapolis collective’s latest effort is in your rotation.

:Doomtree – .38 Airweight:

01) Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love

I was packing totally unreasonable expectations for Sleater-Kinney’s No Cities To Love – their first album in a decade – and it not only managed to impress the hell out of me, but it kept me engaged for nearly the entire year (it came out in January).  That means every other album released in 2015 had the chance to dethrone No Cities To Love, and it never happened.  SK forever!

:Sleater-Kinney – A New Wave:

Continue reading...

Top 50 Songs Of 2015: Part 5

December 3, 2015

2 Comments

This is it!  The end of my Top 50 Songs of 2015.  Dive into the final 10 tracks and then let me know your thoughts.  Enjoy.

PS – You can check out the entire song list on one page here, or the majority of it (47/50 tracks) on Spotify right here.

PS – Look for my Top 25 albums and my Austin Essentials mix next week.

- 50-41
- 40-31
- 30-21
- 20-21

10)  :Chairlift – Ch-Ching:  I never would have guessed that Chairlift had something this edgy in them.  I hope there’s more of the same to come.  From the land of one-off tracks (though I assume it’ll pop up on an album next year).

09)  :Tame Impala – Let It Happen:  This is such a sprawling, wonderful number from Tame Impala.  If I were to rank out all of their songs, I’d put this somewhere near the top.  From Currents.

08)  :Ratatat – Cream On Chrome:  While I’ve been a fan of Ratatat for a long time, this is the first song of theirs that I’ve truly been crazy about.  It’s so very groovy.  From Magnifique.

07)  :Annabel – Having It All:  Earlier in the year my care-level in regards to the resurgence of emo was roughly a 6/10. This Annabel track is what shoved it to 10/10.  It’s just about perfect.  From Having It All.

06)  :Speedy Ortiz – Raising The Skate:  When I ran into front-lady Sadie Dupuis at Fun Fun Fun Fest I had the urge to nervously ramble about how much I love this track and how I think it’s Speedy Ortiz’s most complete sounding effort, but instead I just played it cool and helped her find the bathroom.  Nailed it!  From Foil Deer.

05)  :Sheer Mag – Button Up:  This fuzzy, Thin Lizzy-esque song from Sheer Mag is just about as infectious as it gets.  I blame Christina Halladay’s rad voice.  And the rad guitar riffs.  And all the other rad bits, too.  From the II 7″.

04)  :Built To Spill – Living Zoo:  I don’t remember the last time that Built To Spill sounded so inspired.  The build-up at the beginning of this is something I’ll never tire of.  From Untethered Moon.

03)  :Ought – Beautiful Blue Sky:  Yes, there’s a strong Talking Heads vibe at play here.  Yes, this song is rather pretentious.  Regardless, not much else has captivated me quite like it has over the course of numerous listens.  Good work, Ought.  From Sun Coming Down.

02)  :Kendrick Lamar – Alright:  If I were to sort this list based on “times played” then it’s likely that this hope-themed track would have landed at #1.  It’s one of Kendrick Lamar’s best. From To Pimp A Butterfly.

01)  :Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian At Best:  I like that most artists these days feel lifted out of the 90s, but it’s probably time for everyone to shift gears.  This Courtney Barnett song is as good as that throwback sound is going to get.  Even the video is 90s perfect.  Also, I think “Put me on a pedestal, and I’ll only disappoint you” might be one of my favorite lines ever.  From Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit.

Continue reading...

Stream This

April 3, 2015

0 Comments

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 are released, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Toro Y Moi – What For?

Fred Thomas – All Are Saved
The Mountain Goats – Beat The Champ
Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp
Jessie Baylin – Dark Place
Waters – What’s Real
Weed – Running Back
Young Fathers – White Men Are Black Too
American Wrestlers – Self Titled
Drenge – Undertow
Nudity – Astronomicon
Lord Huron – Strange Trails
Doldrums – The Air Conditioned Nightmare
Long Knives – This Is Your Life EP
Elsa – Never Come Down EP
Tei Shi – Verde
Temple Invisible – Enter EP
Shana Falana – Set Your Lightning Fire Free
This Is The Kit – Bashed Out

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Blur

Continue reading...