RSS

Tag Archives: top 25 albums

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 25 Albums Of 2016

December 12, 2016

0 Comments

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.

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 25 Albums Of 2015: Part 1

December 10, 2015

0 Comments

Now that I’ve completed my Top 50 Songs of 2015 list, it’s time to rundown my Top 25 Albums of the year.  Entries 15-11 are just down below.  Jump back tomorrow for the final 10 selections.  Enjoy.

PS – As always, this list is made up of stuff that I legit listened to a lot throughout the year.

25) Carly Rae Jepsen – E-MO-TION

There are a couple of tracks on Carly Rae Jepsen’s E-MO-TION that aren’t great, but overall it’s definitely one of the most fun albums that I came across in 2015.  If you’re into lady-led pop jams from the 80s/90s, you need to become one with CRJ’s latest LP.

:Carly Rae Jepsen – Let’s Get Lost:

24) Joanna Newsom – Divers

If Joanna Newsom’s Divers had come out earlier in the year, I think it might have ended up higher on my list.  Like her other efforts, this album is beautiful but dense, and it needs to be digested over lots of listens.  In another month or two I’ll be able to decide whether it’s really good or really great.

:Joanna Newsom – Leaving The City:

23) Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect

Protomartyr’s The Agent Intellect isn’t exactly what I would call an easily accessible rock album.  On the bright side, if you fully commit to it you get back a rather rewarding experience.

:Protomartyr – Why Does It Shake:

22) Desaparecidos – Payola

Payola is exactly what I wanted Desaparecidos to deliver on their sophomore effort – it’s loud, inspired, angry and crazy infectious.  Here’s hoping they don’t stick to the 13-years-between-albums thing that they currently have going on.

:Desaparecidos – City On The Hill:

21) Gal Pals – Velvet Rut

While it still bums me out that Gal Pals jumped from Austin to LA, I do like that the move got them to finally put out a debut full length.  Velvet Rut is 29 minutes of garage pop perfection.

:Gal Pals – Ex-Marionette:

20) Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last

This is the fourth year in a row that Thee Oh Sees have managed to crack my Top 25 Albums list.  I don’t mind.  They make me want to be a louder person.

:Thee Oh Sees – Web:

19)  Sweet Spirit – Cokomo

I’ve jammed Sweet Spirit’s Cokomo a lot since it was released back in October.  It’s an upbeat listen that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

:Sweet Spirit – Baby When I Close My Eyes:

18) Joanna Gruesome – Peanut Butter

Joanna Gruesome‘s Peanut Butter is a completely schizo (but really fun) album.  They continue to be one of the best noise pop acts around.

:Joanna Gruesome – Honestly Do Yr Worst:

17) Sweet Talk – Double Perfect

Sweet Talk are one of the best bands in Austin, and Double Perfect is one of the year’s best straight up rock albums.  You need it.

:Sweet Talk – Witness:

16) White Reaper – White Reaper Does It Again

These fellas out of Kentucky really delivered the goods on their debut LP, White Reaper Does It Again.  It’s nothing but super catchy garage punk tunes.

:White Reaper – Make Me Wanna Die:

15) Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy

A 29-track, 93-minute rock opera from the one and only Titus Andronicus?  Yeah, there was never a chance that The Most Lamentable Tragedy wouldn’t be on this list.

:Titus Andronicus – Dimed Out:

14) Colleen Green – I Want To Grow Up

Colleen Green’s musings throughout I Want To Grow Up are both insightful and relatable.  Also, there isn’t a single track on it that isn’t catchy.

:Colleen Green – TV:

13) Leon Bridges – Coming Home

Leon Bridges pretty much owned 2015.  Coming Home is a warm, inviting effort, and it may just be the year’s most accessible album.

:Leon Bridges – River:

12) Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer

Admittedly, it took me a little while to fully come around on Foil Deer.  I think I was expecting a simple extension of Major Arcana, but their sophomore LP is way more than that – it’s them really evolving, expanding their sound and becoming an overall better band.

:Speedy Ortiz – Raising The Skate:

11) Ratatat – Magnifique

I think Magnifique is Ratatat’s best album.  From start to finish it’s loaded with really interesting sounds, and all of the songs move incredibly well.  I left it on repeat a lot in 2015.

:Ratatat – Cream On Chrome:

Continue reading...

Top 25 Albums Of 2014: Part 2

December 10, 2014

0 Comments

Here are the final 10 selections for my Top 25 Albums of 2014 list!  Be sure to check out PART ONE if you haven’t already.  Enjoy.

10) The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream

The War On Drugs’ Lost In The Dream is as dad-rock as it gets, but it’s also the most compelling album of 2014.  Grab some whiskey and give it all your attention.

:The War On Drugs – Red Eyes:

09) Tycho – Awake

Tycho’s Awake is a must-have for fans of instrumental music.  I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent with its post-rock-leaning sound swirling around in my headphones.

:Tycho – Awake:

08) Spoon – They Want My Soul

They Want My Soul is the latest high quality release from Spoon.  I advise that you take a moment to fully appreciate the fact that they’ve been consistently good for roughly TWENTY years.  Wow.

:Spoon – Inside Out:

07) Cloud Nothings – Here And Nowhere Else

I’ve listened to a lot of people ramble on about how “their last album was better” but Here And Nowhere Else is the first time I’ve truly loved something from Cloud Nothings.  There’s not one bad song on the thoroughly 90s-enthused effort.

:Cloud Nothings – I’m Not Part Of Me:

06) Solids – Blame Confusion

From start to finish, Solids’ Blame Confusion is just one lo-fi indie rock gem after another.  It seems unlikely that I’ll ever tire of the album.

:Solids – Traces:

05) Lace Curtains – A Signed Piece Of Paper

With A Signed Piece Of Paper, Michael Coomer (aka Lace Curtains) has further cemented himself as one of my favorite singer/songwriters.  We just get each other.  Or something.  Anyways, have you heard his debut, The Garden Of Joy And The Well Of Loneliness?  It was my #1 album back in 2012.

:Lace Curtains – The Fly:

04) St. Vincent – Self Titled

I’m just about out of ways to praise Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent).  This is the fourth time she’s landed in the Top 5 of my year-end album list.  Is she even capable of putting out something that’s not utterly fantastic?

:St. Vincent – Digital Witness:

03) Tony Molina – Dissed And Dismissed

12 songs, 11 minutes.  Tony Molina’s Dissed And Dismissed may not seem like it has a lot to offer, but it’s actually home to some of the best pop hooks I’ve come across in a long time.  Talk about infectious.

:Tony Molina – Nowhere To Go:

02) Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

There was a sizable stretch this year where I found myself listening to Parquet Courts’ Sunbathing Animal at least twice a day.  I really think the album features some of the best songs that the band has ever written.

:Parquet Courts – Instant Disassembly:

01) Run The Jewels – RTJ2

OH MY.  Here in the #1 slot of my Top 25 Albums of 2014 is none other than Run The Jewels’ RTJ2!  The explosive duo of Killer Mike and EL-P really hit a home run with their sophomore effort, and we should all celebrate accordingly.

:Run The Jewels – Oh My Darling Don’t Cry:

Continue reading...

Top 25 Albums Of 2014: Part 1

December 9, 2014

0 Comments

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

Continue reading...

Top 25 Albums Of 2012: Part 5

December 7, 2012

1 Comment

And then it was the end.  You guys now have my Top 50 Songs of 2012 and my Top 25 Albums of 2012.  Hooray for sharing!  Anyhow, I’m off to take a break.  The rest of the SOTO staff will be posting their 2012 favorites next week, so if you’re not listed out, come on back by.

For good measure in regards to my album list, I easily could have spewed out 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.

05) The Sword – Apocryphon

I thought the Sword’s last release, Warp Riders, was pretty fantastic, but Apocryphon is worlds better.  The album isn’t even what I’d consider metal, it’s just high quality rock n’ roll, and we all need that in our lives.

:The Sword – Eyes Of The Stormwitch:

04) Terry Malts – Killing Time

Slumberland put out a lot of nice albums this year, but the one that I felt stood above the rest was Terry Malts’ Killing Time.  It’s awesomely overloaded with fuzzed-out, two minute-ish punk jams that make you want to get up and go.

:Terry Malts – I Do:

03) Purity Ring – Shrines

I had very high expectations for Shrines, and Purity Ring actually managed to meet them.  Even after what seems to be a million listens, this album still sounds fresh and futuristic to me.   Wear headphones, friends.

:Purity Ring – Belispeak:

02) Japandroids – Celebration Rock

If you can listen to Celebration Rock and not immediately want to set out on a drunken, caution-free adventure with whoever happens to be around you at that moment, then you’re dead.  No one inspires like this duo does.

:Japandroids – The Night Of Wine And Roses:

01) Lace Curtains – The Garden Of Joy And The Well Of Loneliness

Well, this is it.  We have arrived at my favorite album of 2012, and it comes via a side project of Michael Coomer (from Austin’s Harlem).  The Garden Of Joy And The Well Of Loneliness is full of fantastic songwriting, and I’ve spent a lot of time just lost in each of its 10 tracks.  If only all pop music was this memorable.

:Lace Curtains – High Fantasy:

PS – I had a few other albums floating around in my head, so I made some mini-lists for fun.

5 Albums That Would Have Made The List Had I Done A Top 30
Dan Deacon – America
Reptar – Body Faucet
Titus Andronicus – Local Business
Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse
Frankie Rose – Interstellar

5 Great Albums That Require Patience
Mono – For My Parents
Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man
Beach House – Bloom
Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t
The Walkmen – Heaven

5 Great Austin Releases That Didn’t Make The Top 25
Dana Falconberry – Leelanau
The Calm Blue Sea – Arrivals And Depatures
Heartless Bastards – Arrow
Shearwater – Animal Joy
Letting Up Despite Great Faults – Untogether

Top 5 EPs
Icona Pop – Iconic
MS MR – Candy Bar Creep Show
Dum Dum Girls – End Of Daze
Rubblebucket – Oversaturated
FIDLAR – Don’t Try

Continue reading...

Top 25 Albums Of 2012: Part 4

December 6, 2012

0 Comments

Well, here’s the fourth part of Top 25 Albums of 2012.  We’re so close to the top!  By this time tomorrow you’ll know all the songs and albums that I loved in 2012.  Whew!  I’m ready for a break.

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.

10) Tame Impala – Lonerism

Of the 25 albums that made my year-end list, it was Lonerism that took me the longest to love.  For the first slew of play-throughs I just couldn’t stop comparing it to the stellar Innerspeaker (2010), but now I’ve come to see (and greatly appreciate) that it’s just a more challenging listen.

:Tame Impala – Apocalypse Dreams:

09) Cat Power – Sun

I really want to high five Cat Power for Sun.  It feels like a well crafted combination of the various sounds she’s had over the last 17 years, and I greatly dig it.  It’ll be interesting to see if she holds onto this approach or just moves on to something entirely different.

:Cat Power – Ruin:

08) POS – We Don’t Even Live Here

We Don’t Even Live Here is a nifty album.  There are more than enough politically-charged messages that can be found throughout its 11 tracks, but the LP is also a big, fun listen.  Thank whoever that POS is smart enough to know that trying to say something important doesn’t need to be an obnoxious endeavor.

:POS – Bumper:

07) Lee Fields And The Expressions – Faithful Man

Every year there’s a soul-oriented effort that I want to champion forever, and this time around it came from Lee Fields And The Expressions.  These guys are a wild bunch, and I loved frequently revisiting Faithful Man in 2012.

:Lee Fields And The Expressions – I Still Got It:

06) Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel

I don’t know how she does it, but Fiona Apple is able to live up to super high expectations every single time she puts out an album.  Maybe such a winning streak and the amount of pressure that comes with it is why she always seems to be on the fritz.  Feel free to take a break now, Fiona.

:Fiona Apple – Werewolf:

Continue reading...

Top 25 Albums Of 2012: Part 3

December 5, 2012

0 Comments

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:

Continue reading...

Top 25 Albums Of 2012: Part 2

December 4, 2012

0 Comments

And just like that, we’ve arrived at the second 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.

20) Why? – Mumps, etc

There are few things better than listening to Yoni Wolf as he unloads a lyrical collage of images right onto your brain.  Oh, you don’t want to pay attention?  That’s OK.  There’s also plenty to sing-a-long with.

:Why? – White English:

19) Thee Oh Sees – Putrifiers II

Whenever I hear anything off this album, I immediately want to be in a sweaty club somewhere watching Thee Oh Sees play.  Putrifiers II is a fantastically fuzzed-out blast.

:Thee Oh Sees – Flood’s New Light:

18) Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky

I love that Dinosaur Jr. are still cranking out quality albums.  Those guys definitely have the right to just sit on a couch somewhere, and yet they’re out and about rocking harder than most of us ever will.

:Dinosaur Jr. – Pierce The Morning Rain:

17) Yellow Ostrich – Strange Land

Strange Land didn’t hit me like last year’s The Mistress did, but it does feature a nice step forward sound-wise for the band, and there are some really fantastic tracks on it.

:Yellow Ostrich – The Shakedown:

16) The Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

I’m not sure the Dirty Projectors will ever really be easily accessible, but I do think that Swing Lo Magellan is them actually giving it a shot.  The album is loud, oddly hooky, and just so very interesting to listen to.

:The Dirty Projectors – Offspring Are Blank:

Continue reading...

Top 25 Albums Of 2012: Part 1

December 3, 2012

0 Comments

Now that I’ve run down my 50 favorite songs of the year, it’s time to move onto my Top 25 Albums of 2012.  I easily could have listed 50 here, too, 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.

25) Tim Fite – Ain’t Ain’t Ain’t

Tim Fite is a man with a million neat things floating around in his head, and I love listening to him try to bring some of those ideas into the real world.  You’ll dig Ain’t Ain’t Ain’t if you like your albums to be full of songs that each have their own sound.

:Tim Fite – Joyriding:

24) Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

I really thought this much-hyped album was going to have a couple of great singles, and then a lot of filler.  Nope.  It’s an effortlessly inspired modern soul/southern rock effort that’s a great listen from start to finish.  Alabama Shakes are the real deal.

:Alabama Shakes – I Found You:

23) Pujol – United States Of Being

I don’t know how many times this year that I sang along with this effort from Pujol.  It’s a raucous album that’s also surprisingly smart, so while you’ve got the volume cranked, be sure to pay some attention to the lyrics.

:Pujol – Providence:

22) Santigold – Master Of My Make Believe

What a fun album this turned out to be.  I’ll admit that the eternity it took Santigold to put together a sophomore effort had me doubting that it would be a good release, but she pulled it off.  Kudos to her.

:Santigold – Disparate Youth:

21) Chairlift – Something

Just when you think a band is about to only be remembered for an iPod commercial, they come out with an album that features a sizeable jump in quality.  Something has made Chairlift into an act that I will now always pay attention to.

:Chairlift – Sidewalk Safari:

Continue reading...