Tag Archives: swans

Top 25 Albums Of 2014: Part 1

December 9, 2014


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!


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

May 9, 2014


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


ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Equals – Tracts

Swans – To Be Kind
La Sera – Hour Of The Dawn
Baths – Ocean Death
Sylvan Esso – Self Titled
Young Widows – Easy Pain
Tobacco – Ultima II Massage
Cheap Girls – Famous Graves
Mirah – Changing Light
Tori Amos – Unrepentant Geraldines
Le Butcherettes – Cry Is For The Flies
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Days Of Abandon
Chromeo – White Women
The Black Keys – Turn Blue
Amen Dunes – Love
Walter Martin – We’re All Young Together
Visionist – I’m Fine: Part II
Tiny Ruins – Brightly Painted One
The Trouble With Templeton – Rookie
Dawn Golden – Still Life
Cousins – The Halls Of Wickwire
Barrows – Red Giant


Real Estate

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Quickdraw: Pujol, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Twin Shadow, A Sunny Day In Glasgow, Swans

April 17, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Pujol – Circles:  This will sound odd, but I’m actually relieved that the first couple of singles off of Pujol’s upcoming full length have failed to make me think it’s going to be much different than his last effort.  He churns out simple but catchy rock ‘n’ roll tunes, and I sincerely hope he never changes anything.  Saddle Creek will release Kludge on May 19.

:The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Eurydice:  The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart seem to have set aside a little bit of their shimmer in exchange for a more anthemic sound, and I’m really digging it.  I think it fits them well.  Days Of Abandon is due out on May 13 via Yebo Music.

:Twin Shadow – To The Top:  While I sort of feel like this song could be the title track for some schlocky Sylvester Stallone-lead 80s sports movie, I totally love it.  Here’s a question though, has Twin Shadow somehow warped himself into just being a guilty pleasure?  Details on a new album should be available soon.

:A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Crushin:  This relaxing number isn’t as much of an attention-grabber as A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s last single, but I do think it’s just as good.  Their upcoming album is now pretty high on my anticipated list.  Expect Sea When Absent to be released on June 24 via Lefse.

:Swans – Oxygen:  Like everything else that comes from the entity known as Swans, this song isn’t something you just casually play in the background.  If you dare hit play, be sure to strap in and get ready to focus.  Look for To Be Kind on May 13 Young God.

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Quickdraw: OBN IIIs, Swans, Haunted Hearts, Lafawndah, Woods

March 31, 2014


Music!  Enjoy.

:OBN IIIs – No Time For The Blues:  Austin’s OBN IIIs are such a wonderfully raucous bunch.  Expect this new single to get you up and moving.  Unless, of course, you just hate having fun and whatnot.  Look for Third Time To Harm on May 27 via Tic Tac Totally.

:Swans – A Little God In My Hands:  This is such an epically bizarre and awesome track.  If you ask me, the only way to tackle it is to crank the volume and just let Swans take over for a bit.  A stiff drink or two is also highly recommended.  Young God will release To Be Kind to the masses on May 13.

:Haunted Hearts – Johnny Jupiter:  Dee Dee (of the Dum Dum Girls) and Brandon Welchez (of the Crocodiles) are the main brains behind Haunted Hearts.  I think the two sound pretty stellar together.  You’ll be able to get Initiation on May 27 via Zoo Music.

:Lafawndah – Butter:  My opinion of the name Lafawndah is still way up in the air, but I do really dig this song.  It’s got a bouncy variety of electronic sounds, and I find the vocals to be infectious.  A self titled EP is due out on May 6.

:Woods – With Light And With Love:  Here’s the nine minute title track from Woods’ upcoming album.  The song is thoroughly psychedelic, but it’s still rather accessible and I expect that you’ll find it impressive.  With Light And With Love is due out April 15 via Woodsist.

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