Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Picturesque Episodes - Endless Lullabies (sampler!)

the Picturesque Episodes has released a bit of a sampler for his upcoming album, Endless Lullabies. You can get it here. It has the first 4 songs of a proposed 11 song album, including The Endless Blooms. Now, I'm not an expert, but when a third of the album runs 40 minutes long, calling it massive is an understatement. The music? Massive as well. Really awesome drum stuff, like in the Eternal Nightmare. I still can't believe it's only one dude doing it all. This sampler certainly makes me excited for the album, which should be done soon enough

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Noctus' Top 10 Tracks of the Year

Similar in format to my top 10 albums, this one breaks it down a bit more. Welcome to my favourite tracks of the year!

10. Eluvium - Weird Creatures
A wonderfully relaxing and beautiful track. Some quite nice vocals too, despite the vocals on the album as a whole not being too great. They're at their best here, along with the guy's best ambient work. One of his best tracks.

9. Anathema - A Simple Mistake
You may wonder why this is so low down, but the reason Anathema's album was so high was the fact that it had no real dips apart from one song that easy to skip. The album is so consistent that it was so difficult to choose a track to put here.

8. Triptykon - Goetia
Before this I didn't really give much attention to Triptykon, Celtic Frost and the like. I do now, and this is the track that started it. This is black/doom-like metal completely perfected. Decades after Tom G. Warrior started and he's still making amazing music.

7. God Is An Astronaut - Age Of The Fifth Sun
This track surprised me, it tried a different approach to their normal stuff by focusing on an actual lead riff rather than the atmospheric twinkling guitars just in the background whilst the synth does its thing. The riff is great and it gives this track a great atmosphere, plus the double bass pedal ending is one of the best moments in their career.

6. Rosetta - A Determinism of Morality
This one took a while to grow on me but oh boy. This is probably their best track to date. It's the longest on their new album which was very, very condensed compared to their old stuff - and bloody hell, not a second of this is wasted on pretentious and progressive nonsense. The track builds beautifully into a climax that can only be described as immense. Wonderful track.

5. Alcest - Écailles de lune part 1
What can only be described as Alcest's best song to date, the first part of this epic is absolutely spellbinding and easily Neige's most beautiful track to date. It's exactly what Alcest is about, beautiful clean vocals with wonderful shoegazy guitars making some of the most melancholic melodies I've heard in recent times. The track flows beautifully and I only wish the rest of the album kept this standard. I stand by what I've said time and time again. Part 1 and 2 of Écailles de Lune would have made an amazing EP.

4. Ef - Sons of Ghosts
I knew Ef were decent, but this completely changed my opinion. This absolutely transcends their old material, I can't stress enough how fucking gorgeous this song is. Most people lose patience before the end, but near the end is when the vocal delivery comes in, and it's just pure magic. You will get goosebumps, guaranteed. Not only that, but the climax after is perfect - and it couldn't have come at a better time. Give this one patience, you'll be spellbound by what it has to offer.

3. Amia Venera Landscape - Nichólas
Though originally released in 2008 on their EP, their debut album this (which is fantastic) featured this track with a production makeover and a few minor changes. This track is brilliant, diverse and intense. Imagine Altar of Plagues with hints of Rosetta, with math rock and hardcore. That's what you're getting into with Amia Venera Landscape. The songwriting here is top notch and the playing is near perfect, the guitars making some of the best sounds I've heard in a while, with a variation of clean leads and distorted sludgy and powerful rhythm guitars. Not to mention the vocal delivery here is done with such conviction that you can't help but feel every word they sing, particularly at the very end of the song. I've never known such potential.

The following are joint first and second:

1. Agalloch – Black Lake Nidstång
This track is brilliant, and could easily be the highlight of Agalloch's career - perfectly merging everything they've always done best into a 17 minute epic. From the brilliant atmospherics to the almost Sunn O))) like drones, from the hypnotic clean lead guitars near the end to the brilliant, heart wrenching vocals of John Haugm - this track has everything Agalloch is and will be until the end of their career.

1. Altar of Plagues - Atlantic Light
This EP got a lot of hate, saying it's a massive step down from White Tomb. Despite that, it's my favourite EP this year - which made choosing a track from it difficult, because both tracks are fucking fantastic. I think this one had more impact on me though. It's absolutely brilliant, and almost certainly their best song. I've listened to this over 100 times and it still has a massive effect on me, and it's the one track and release I've always gone back to throughout the year since it was released early this year. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to their full length more than ever. I'm ready to be blown away. This is how experimental/post black metal is done.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Maybeshewill - To The Skies From A Hillside

To The Skies From A Hillside is the first single from Maybeshewill's next album, apparently due sometime in the second quarter of next year.
I haven't known this band for a long time so there isn't much I have to say about them, but after listening to this single, and especially it's b-side I am seriously hyped.

I don't know what this genre would be. But they call themselves instrumental rock with electronica mixed in. And I do think that the b-side to this single is a perfect example of how to blend the two near perfectly. I'll let you judge the two tracks yourselves.

"To The Skies From A Hillside"


there's also a remix of To The Skies From A Hillside but nobody cares about that!
nah here you go but don't tell your parents

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Angels Of Light - New Mother

What would happen if Swans went folk? Well, they would be Angels of Light. Giras band after Swans ended is much more laid back, much more acoustic, much more 'folk-ey'. This album, the first under the Angels name, starts off with a bit of an ode to Swans - Praise Your Name. In this song, Gira says goodbye to Swans: it's been a good run, you were marvelous, but it's time to move on. After that, Gira takes us on an hour long romp through his aged, yet still twisted mind. I guess that's ultimately what this album is - Gira still being himself, except later in life. This could have been a Swans album very easily, but for whatever reason Gira decided to give it a new name. It's still got the darkness of Swans, along with the brighter folk bits. All in all, a great album.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

the Picturesque Episodes - The Endless Blooms

The Picturesque Episodes is a post rock/ambient/drone/experimental/neo classical/music solo project by Darius Gerulis. This track is the opening for his upcoming album, Endless Lullabies (I think that up there is the album art for it...not positive though), which Gerulis is calling 'massive'. And this track certainly lives up to that name. Great build, great climax, great ending...another great climax, another great ending...this song takes you for a ride. It really doesn't sound like only one guy is doing this, which certainly shows Gerulis' talent. This is one hell of a track, and it makes me quite excited for the album

I should get around to reviewing some of his other albums - for a one man project, there's a lot of music out there under his name. All of it available for free on his blog, here.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Decemberists - The King Is Dead

The Decemberists' new album never claimed to be a grand epic as the bands earlier works. Right from the get-go, we were promised a very laid back, folk-ridden record. No epic prog masterpieces, not sea shanties, just tunes. And this album keeps good on that promise - 40 minutes of catchy, folk tunes that you know the words to by the time the chorus comes around the 2nd time. It is a pretty damn good album, that's for sure. Down By The Water and January Hymn are of course great tracks. Other highlights are Rox In The Box, Rise To Me, June Hymn, Dear Avery, and my favorite track, This Is Why We Fight. It sounds pretty dead-on The Smiths, more so than anything else they've done. I'm not a huge Smiths fan, but I do dig their sound, and this song works very well. So while this new album might be missing the grandness of the past, it's a very good album.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Goldfish - Get Busy Living

I was introduced to Goldfish through radio, sometime at the start of this year, when I was just starting to really get into music, looking for new bands. I fell in love with their second album "Perception of Pacha", which pretty much dominated my earliest scrobbles on I'd since forgotten about the band until I found out about the new album.

They're from South Africa!
And they're electronica, dance, nu-jazz thing

I'm not a good critic, I'm just a music enthusiast. The only thing that I've picked up on is mention of texting and such-like in the lyrics, which irks my soul ever so slightly.
And I'll mention that I really like the music video for "Get Busy Living". Such a cute style I think.

Hope you enjoy it!
(got to love the bull playing a Nintendo DS at 2:47)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Decemberists - January Hymn/Row Jimmy

This new single off of the upcoming Decemberists album, The King Is Dead, is a nice folk-ey tune about a snowy day in January. Fitting for a very snowy day in December, eh? It's rather simple, mainly Colin and his guitar, with some other sounds in the back and some oohs and aahs. Kinda reminds me of Wonder from Colin's solo live album, in style and all that. Good track, and hopefully the rest of the album is as good as this and Down By The River (I'm not worried about that at all). The B-side to this is Row Jimmy, a Grateful Dead cover. I'm not much of a Dead, at all. But this cover is pretty decent.

Check out both songs below. The King Is Dead comes out January 18th

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Joysubtraction's Top 10 Songs of 2010

For whatever reason, 2010 has been a generally disappointing album year for me. Good albums were made, of course, but often by artists who simply could have done much better, or with just as many bad or annoying tracks as decent ones. I haven't heard enough good 2010 albums to make an end-of-year album list, so I'm not. However, on these mediocre-to-decent albums, none of which I would award more than a B, a few gems have sprouted. Quite a few, really, even in the infamous popular music scene plaguing America and Europe. 2010 has been a satisfying year for songs. Here are my top 10 of the year, and why. Oh, and I didn't put album covers, I think you can suffice without.

Also, don't think the diversity in genre of the list was's just how it turned out.

10. Magic Kids - Hey Boy from Memphis

I saw these guys play a happy, sunshiney set at a record store near my house, and I enjoyed hearing the music but I really didn't think it was anything far above most indie pop. Nonetheless, I bought the album, got it autographed, and brought it home. Weeks later, when I finally got around to listening to its brief 29 minutes, my opinion stood. Except for one song, which I vaguely remembered from the concert. Hey Boy may be a shameless imitation of circa-1963 Beach Boys, but it's as good of a pop song as Little Deuce Coupe or Fun Fun Fun. And it's so happy. So fucking happy.

9. Brian Eno - Emerand and Stone from Small Craft on a Milk Sea

Brian Eno, as we all know, is the king of non-music. He's really become a god in the musical world. So when he collaborates with Jon Hopkins (the guy who composed the electronic piece bookending Coldplay's latest album, which Eno produced), it's no surprise to anyone that it winds up being great background music. But not much else. Yet, in the middle of brief percussive pieces and through-the-keyhole miniature soundscapes (neither of which are at all unpleasant) comes a short ambient piece, barely breaking two minutes in length, but with all the beauty Eno and Hopkins spent the whole album trying to muster. Though not much more than a piano on top of a soft synthesized texture, and certainly not trumping anything on Another Green World or Music For Airports, Emerald and Stone is a fantastic piece describing everything Eno must be acknowledged for.

8. Menomena - Queen Black Acid from Mines

Menomena is one of those great bands who I was expecting more from with their 2010 release. The longer Mines goes on, I feel, the more sloppy it sounds. Thus, it would be expected that the best song on the album would be the first songs, and indeed it is. I don't know why on so many albums the first song is the best, but it's true. Here, Menomena stripped down as much as they would on the whole album, being as minimalistic as their phenomenal debut and creating a song that is their best since that debut. Queen Black Acid is fairly straightforward indie. It's in the same vein as Modest Mouse, and doesn't do anything particularly new. But with its sparse instrumentation and soulful singing, it succeeds as something that's unique to its album and unique to itself.

7. Planning For Burial - Wearing Sadness and Regret Upon Our Faces from Leaving

It's post-rock. It's shoegaze. It's slowcore. It's everything. And although it's the only song I've heard from this small-time New England band, it's certainly one of the better compositions of 2010. It begins with slow guitars which build into a dark, mischevious wall of sound that, at times, verges on being metallic. Its hymnal vocals and acrobatic crescendos make it a composition comparable to a noisy Low or a slowed-down Slint. And it's definitely the best post-rock track of 2010.

6. LCD Soundsystem - Dance Yrself Clean from This Is Happening

This Is Happening is one of my favorite albums of the year; I think it's almost as good as, and at least more consistent than, Sound Of Silver. And like all my favorite LCD Soundsystem tracks, Dance Yrself Clean builds itself up until it's the most danceable shit out there. It opens the album (which is one of my favorites of 2010) with an introduction. James Murphy begins with a mostly vocal performance, in which he sounds like David Byrne, accompanied only by slow bass and percussion. It reminds me of Byrne opening Stop Making Sense with a drum machine and acoustic guitar. Murphy is joined after three minutes by noisy synths and more danceable percussion, and turns the introduction into a funky 9-minute dance song that really sounds exactly how I feel 2010 is supposed to sound. It's fresh as fuck, and you can certainly dance yrself clean to it.

5. Kanye West - Runaway from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is probably my favorite hip hop album, so it's fitting that Runaway, its best song, is one of my favorite hip hop songs. And it certainly is. Granted, I'm not a huge fan of hip hop, so it's not saying much. But seriously, the piano intro plus that incredible beat just immediately say that Kanye's a force to be reckoned with. And his chorus about having "a toast for the douchebags" is as world-weary as it is self-centered. Kanye realizes he's a douchebag, and he embraces it, and he writes a damn good song about it. And then the whole thing is so intense that it takes a 3-minute outro, which is absolutely beautiful, and makes the nine minutes completely worth it.

4. Arcade Fire - Half Light II (No Celebration) from The Suburbs

I admit it. If the parentheses in the title had been replaced with a colon, it would sound like the crappy sequel to an already-crappy horror movie. But this is music, not film, and Arcade Fire still, after three albums, can do no wrong. Now, The Suburbs was one of those disappointments to me. Funeral was sheer genius, and Neon Bible was pretty damn close. I was expecting more. Nonetheless, The Suburbs is really good. And in the middle of it all comes this little gem. I love it because it draws upon the Funeral or Neon Bible sound, except it's more electronic and synthesized and it works wonderfully. It's beautiful, needless to say. It feels like dance or pop, while still being distinctly Arcade Fire.

3. Cee-Lo Green - Fuck You! from The Lady Killer

What can I say? It's just about as sincere lyrics as you can get. It's punk. Except it's not even the slightest bit dirty or nasty or rebellious. It's clean, polished, and perfected. Cee-Lo's singing is phenomenal. I honestly wasn't sure how well he could do without Danger Mouse behind the scenes, but while Danger Mouse makes the sound of the future (currently with Broken Bells), Cee-Lo Green is doing a throwback to Motown, to soul, to classic R&B. Yet, it couldn't have been made any time but now. Except the part where he sounds like a colicky baby, which could have been made when Cee-Lo was about 35 years younger. But still, this is an incredible song.

2. Beach House - Zebra from Teen Dream

Right off the bat, I'll tell you that it took me the longest time to figure out that Victoria Legrand, lead singer of Beach House, was a woman. I had never seen her name, and she sounds so androgynous, but I guess that's okay. It suits her music. And on the phenomenal Teen Dream, which sounds like a float above heaven, looking down but not quite being able to reach it, Zebra is the crowning moment. It's the first song, the first time you see this heaven. It's like taking an ecstatic drug, losing your virginity, having a massive adrenaline rush. It's never the same the second time. And with the beautiful first riffs throughout Legrand's increasingly dreamy vocals, Zebra is a jewel of 2010.

1. Vampire Weekend - I Think Ur A Contra from Contra

And my favorite song of 2010. It closes the rather unsatisfying (in my opinion) Contra album, the follow-up to Vampire Weekend's extravagant debut, and it is unlike anything the band has done in the past. It is defined by Ezra Koenig's ridiculously talented vocals, on top of an ambient soundscape which begins only with Enoesque vocorders and faint synths, and gradually add piano, strings, Spanish guitars and African drums. It defies classification endlessly, and I can only hope to God that Vampire Weekend pursues this sound a little more on their next album. Until then, it's only the song of the year.

Shiba's Top 10 Songs of 2010

10. Blind Guardian - At The Edge of Time - "Curse My Name"

Found it on some forced listening thread on a forum a while ago, maybe halfway through this year. Listening to the album and becoming a fan of the band made me a lot of friends with Blind Guardian fans, and some Blind Guardian fans out of friends after I forced the band on them until they bothered to listen to the full 9 minutes of Sacred Worlds and realised that they love it and that 9 minutes isn't too long for a song, which is what they told me over and over while I played the song and they covered their ears, denying change and screaming at the top of their lungs.

9. Les Discrets - Septembre et ses dernières Pensées - "Une matinée d'hiver"

Noctus was the one that got me into this band, I'm pretty sure. I took on a metal challenge of 200 bands I'll never listen to and Les Discrets was one of the bands I managed to listen to. And this was the one song that I latched onto and haven't let go of since I first listened to the album. It would get a higher position if it wasn't for the fact that it was fairly new to me, and I'm discriminative of new music.

8. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs - "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)"

The Suburbs is a fantastic album, but the downside is that no track really gets me like with a lot of albums. It's an album where I love the whole thing, every single song together. "Empty Room" and "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" are the two tracks I prefer above the others, likely because I love female vocalists.

7. Jónsi - How To Train Your Dragon - "Sticks & Stones"

As with American Beauty and Grey's Anatomy, it's the soundtrack that got me into the movie or TV series it was featured on. Following my phase of listening to Jónsi's album Go a whole lot, I decided to go hunting for some B-sides or unreleased tracks or something, and I came upon this. Why is it so much better than his whole album?

6. God Is An Astronaut - Age of the Fifth Sun - "In The Distance Fading"

This was the first song with a real climax I ever listened to. And by 'real climax' I mean euphoric eargasm climax and not just "this is as good as it gets, you're not going to enjoy it any more than this and if you aren't enjoying it now you never will enjoy it at any other point in the song". It was also a wake up call in that I never realised people could dislike something so absolutely glorious.

5. Kate Nash - My Best Friend Is You - "Don't You Want To Share The Guilt?"

Kate Nash, being mainstream alternative-pop was probably something close to the first band I listened to while getting into music, after a 15 year period of "I will listen to music when it's on but I don't care for it" rubbish. So I got her newest album when it released earlier this year. Having been warped beyond recognition by depressing music, I looked over the poppy stuff and really got into the other stuff that everybody else didn't like. I hate Kate Nash's fans for letting this track become the least listened track on I like to think it's because people love it so much they buy it on vinyl and don't listen to it on their computer because they're convinced that vinyl is the only way to fully appreciate how good this song is.

4. Vampire Weekend - Contra - "I Think Ur A Contra"

Okay so Vampire Weekend I vaguely remember my sister liking in the times of their debut album. I never really thought much of them then, but when Contra was released I remember FP talking about them, and I decided to give it a listen. A few months later I bothered to listen again and this one caught my attention, because I like the slow sad kind of ones. This and "Taxi Cab" are my favourite tracks from the album for just that reason.

3. The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt! - I Love You! I Love You! I Love You and I'm In Love With You! Have An Awesome Day! Have The Best Day of Your Life! - "[Ride Friendship.]"

FP again, from back when he posted it on the blog. It makes me so absolutely happy and I want nothing more than to pack my bags and become a massive hippy. I think it had the negative effects of making me feel really carefree about life and now I don't care about growing up I just want to be a kid forever as a big fuck you to the system. And then I listen to The Suburbs to make me feel awful about growing up just to bring me back a little bit. I can sing the whole song "grouphug!" and I've listened to it much more than this, but "[Ride Friendship.]" really is where it's at.
I would be a part of you would you please be a part of me.

2. 65daysofstatic - We Were Exploding Anyway - "Tiger Girl"

I have no idea when I found 65daysofstatic, but I did and I love them. And "Tiger Girl" is another one of those songs that puts me in a state of euphoria. And I'm still waiting on the day when a band comes along and decides that they really love making songs like this. That build up to a huge sharp colourful climax that somehow exceeds your idea of the best sound you could ever hear. And every time you listen to it, you don't understand how they could get even better than what you just heard seconds ago, but it continues getting better and better. This and "Hoppípolla" by Sigur Rós are the only two songs that do that for me.

1. Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks - "Not Miserable"

Frightened Rabbit are my favourite band ever. They were one of the first bands I listened to back when I started getting into music and they're still my most listened. And if I didn't want to limit this list to 10 different artists, so many more tracks from The Winter of Mixed Drinks would be on here. I love all the tracks from that album, but I absolutely adore build-up songs like this.


00. Holy Fuck - Latin - "Stilettos"

I, in my rush to get this post up and done, totally forgot about the incredible rush of adrenaline which is 2:50 onwwards.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

F.P.'s Top 15 Songs of 2010

15. Portugal. The Man - When The War Ends (American Ghetto)

14. Vampire Weekend - I Think Ur A Contra (Contra)

13. These New Puritans - Drum Courts: Where Corals Lie (Hidden)

12. Berry Weight - Equations (Imaginary Movies)

11. John Knox Sex Club - In The Ditch (Blud Rins Culd)

10. Planning For Burial - Wearing Sadness And Regret Upon Our Faces (Leaving)

9. Frightened Rabbit - Things (The Winter Of Mixed Drinks)

8. Iko - Look What You've Done To Me (Ctrl Alt Delete EP)

7. Kanye West - Runaway [the 9 minute version!] (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy)

7. The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt! - Ride/Friendship (Have The Greatest Day Of Your Life!)

5. Menomena - Intil (Mines)

4. Fuck, I'm A Ghost - Short Straw (Fuck, I'm A Ghost)

3. LCD Soundsystem - Home (This Is Happening)

2. Swans - No Words/No Thoughts (My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky)

1. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

Sunday, December 12, 2010

F.P.'s Top 10 Albums of 2010

10. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

I've never been much of a rap fan. From songs I'd heard in the past, all rap had the same beat, same lyrics, same boring crap. So when I started hearing about Kanye's new album being incredible, I was skeptical. But, mainly for shits and giggles, I took a listen when it leaked a few weeks before release. Boy oh boy, was I surprised. This was way more than just some rap album. Every song had actual instrumentation behind it - incredible instrumentation, at that. Stuff like Power and So Appalled send chills down my spine. Interesting samples, as well - King Crimson, Bon Iver, Aphex Twin - all used quite well (except the King Crimson one, in my opinion). No doubt, my favorite track is Runaway. In a nutshell, it's Kanye saying "hey, I'm a douche bag, but I speak the truth", and it's done with such elegance and grace that only ballerinas could be on the music video. And that vocal solo at the end? Incredible. Of course I have my problems with the album, mainly with the lyrics. Pretty much every song is about money, pussy, or Kanye being awesome. It does wear thin after a while. But honestly, the music behind it makes up for it. It's more than just bass and snare. Is this the first post-hop album? Hopefully not, cause that sounds kinda dumb.

9. These New Puritans - Hidden

Keeping with the theme of musical enlightenment, These New Puritans are a band who combine orchestral elements with indie vocals and guitars and such, along with hip-hop rhythm. What comes out of that is a very interesting and (dare I say it?) epic album, with music that makes you want to get up, run around, and punch shit. In a good way, of course. My personal favorite track is Drum Courts. It showcases arguably one of the best aspects of this album, the drums. Pounding forever is pretty sweet when you've got horns behind it. Not much else I can say about this, honestly. It's a great album, and that's the long and short of it.

8. Owen Pallett - Heartland

This was my first favorite album from 2010, and for good reason - it's damn great. Someone described this album as "too much like a soundtrack", which I actually find to be one of the positives. It's very cinematic, quite like a soundtrack to some non-existent art flick. Owen is a violinist/keyboardist fellow, and on this album, he works with an entire orchestra (which gives it it's cinematic feeling) to make soaring pop tunes about an imaginary universe where he is God. Self indulgent? Maybe. But it's still great music. Best track is probably Lewis Takes Off His Shirt, where Owen's voice soars over quick horns. It's quite lovely.

7. Fuck, I'm A Ghost - Fuck, I'm A Ghost

This year, I started paying much more attention to the small labels and bands, and in doing so I found a number of gems. I developed a good relationship with Futurerecordings Label, a post rock label that hand-makes all of their releases. Nice guys over at Futurerecordings. I got a number of albums from them, but the one that really stuck with me was this one. It was less post-rock and more 'indie rock', if you wanna call it that. In the same vein as Slint or Modest Mouse. The first time I listened to this, I was playing Red Dead Redemption, so it kinda makes me think of cowboys. Favorite track is Short Straw. Swaying guitars, pounding drums, ended with soothing piano. Great, great album

6. John Knox Sex Club - Blud Rins Culd/Posirawkmademenego

It probably can't get smaller than this. A local band from Scotland (local enough that my copy of this album was their first shipped to the states...not that I'm bragging or anything :) ), playing music in the style of Frightened Rabbit and other such Scottish-Indie bands. The difference with these guys is that they add a touch of darkness and grit that makes it seem more...human? Something like that. So, along with the catchy-ness that comes along with Scottish Indie, there's a human nature that, while dark, certainly makes it that much more relatable. My favorite track is, without a doubt, In The Ditch. I think it's a song about being in war, and diving into a ditch away from enemy fire. And when you think about it, you really do get transported to that scene while listening. Fucking great stuff. When I bought this album way back when, it came packaged with a live EP, entitled Posirawkmademenego (your guess is as good as mine), which is a pretty nice artifact showcasing their reportedly incredible live shows. On this EP, they play similarly to the style of the album, but much dirtier and louder. I prefer the album but the EP is certainly great

5. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening

If I ever pick the music to a dance party, it would be this album on repeat all night. I mean, my GOD, this shit is so dance-able. Better than that hokey hair-whipping shit out there now. But the thing about this sucka aside from it's incredible dance-ability is it's musicianship. Really great stuff. Great, sentimental vocals too. Fuck it, just listen to it, I'm too busy jamming my ass off

4. Menomena - Mines

I owe a lot to Menomena. If it weren't for I Am The Fun Blame Monster, I probably wouldn't care about music as much as I do today. So of course when I heard about their new album coming out, I was excited. This is certainly Menomena's most 'mature' album - songs are still built on small loops as their other releases, but unlike their other releases, it's much harder to tell what's a loop and what's not. It all blends together seamlessly, where as on some older tracks it was pretty easy to figure out. The songs themselves are of course incredible; lots of vocal harmonies, lovely piano, blaring saxophone (one of my favorite aspects of Menomena) - it's all here. It's a near-flawless album. But I think thats why it's only 4th on my list. What I loved so much about Fun Blame Monster was how experimental it was - it almost sounded like it was written and recorded within an hour, which I like. This album, while incredible in it's own right, is almost too...'polished'. Too clean. There's not a whole lot of experimenting going on. Which, when the music is this good, is fine - but oh how I'd love another Fun Blame Monster. (There is, however, a 16 minute bonus track only available on vinyl called Bomb Me Back. Holy shit, this should have been on the album, or at least the album should have had more stuff like this. This is 16 minutes of those three dudes jamming the fuck out. If you're gonna listen to this album, do yourself a favor and check out Bomb Me Back as well.)

3. The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt! - I Love You. I Love You. I Love You And I’m In Love With You. Have An Awesome Day! Have The Best Day Of Your Life!

If you don't know me very well, you might look at that album cover and say "What the fuck? That looks like some shitty twee pop shit! How can THAT be any good? And that NAME!" Well ladies and gents, this is Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt, self-proclaimed best band ever. This is their debut album (they released an EP a year or two ago, all the tracks on that are on this), and it's full of songs about love, friendship, hair and snowdays. This really is the happiest album I've come across, and one of the catchiest for sure. I've never been upset while listening to this album. I think it's impossible. But, okay, sure. Happy music about love, woo hoo. What's so great about that? Well, for one, you've got about 20 people singing about love, with instruments fucking everywhere. That's pretty sweet. And the other thing that I really love about this album is it's lyrics. These guys can take the cheesiest shit and make it the deepest thing you've ever heard. It's downright inspirational at points. "We're gonna make it through all the shit." "All my love's for you, you can have it all if you want it boo!" "We're alive, we're in love, we've got hope just because!" This album is full of stuff that could fill a hundred self help books. Do yourself a favor - listen to this, and hug everyone in the process.

2. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
I have a weird relationship with this band. I only started to like them around 2008 - way behind the rest of the world - and even then I wasn't the hugest fan. But I still realized that Arcade Fire could really do no wrong. I mean, I could argue that both Funeral and Neon Bible are 'perfect'. When I first listened to The Suburbs, however, I found it to be very lackluster. I mean, sure it was good and all, but it wasn't really anything spectacular. I started to fall in with the crowd calling this a concept album about the suburbs themselves - repetitive and boring. But one way or another, I kept coming back to this album, and started to realize how great it was. The Suburbs, Rococo, Empty Room, Month Of May, Sprawl I and II...all incredible, incredible songs. So, okay, another great album by Arcade Fire. Normally that wouldn't get so high on my list. This album, came at one hell of a point in my life. I turn 17 in a few weeks. I'm looking at colleges. Nostalgia rears it's cruel head more and more nowadays. Growing up is really hard for me. Childhood was a beautiful thing, and this album encompasses childhood eerily well. I've honestly gotten teary-eyed at the title track - "move your feet from hot pavement and into the grass". I really connected with this album, as a young adult longing for the first time he played Pokemon. Maybe this album is a form of therapy for those feelings. Maybe it's just making that longing even greater.

1. Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky

Michael Gira is a god among men. Swans were an incredible, incredible band in the '80's and 90s', making music unlike anything else. The music was dark. The music was scary. The music was mind-blowing. When they decided to split, Gira continued his musical vision with Angels of Light, a 'folk-ey-er' version of Swans. This new album, the first under the Swans moniker in 15 or so years, is a combination of both styles. Along with the thrashing, crushing epics (No Words/No Thoughts, Eden Prison) there are country songs (Reeling The Liars In), love songs of sorts (Inside Madeline) and 3-year-olds (You Fucking People Make Me Sick). If you look at Gira's past, this progression makes complete sense. The music is, as always, incredible. Gira can still belt like a motherfucker at 56. The only issues with this album I found were it's length (it's too damn short!) and, like Menomena, it's lack of experimentation. I mean, Swans ended on Soundtracks For The Blind, a sprawling experiment unlike anything I've ever heard. That level of genius isn't really found here, unfortunately...on the main album, anyway. See, there's two versions of My Father - a standard, 40+minute album, and a 2-disc, which includes Look At Me Go, a nearly 50 minute instrumental attack on your senses, in the best possible way. Similar to Body Lovers/Body Haters, this track combines instrumental parts from the main album altered and built upon with grandeur, along with new sections that all come together very nicely. THIS is the kind of experimentation that I was waiting with bated breath for. And it shows that Gira still knows what the hell he's doing. Honestly if it weren't for Look At Me Go, this album would be around #2 or #3. But again, just like Menomena, the extra music makes this album one hell of an experience.

Noctus' Top 10 Albums of 2010

As 2011 approaches, I feel it's quite fitting to make a list or two. This is my first. Remember, this is obviously opinion, if you disagree, well, feel free to make your own list. :)

10: Alcest - Écailles de lune

This would be higher in the list if it wasn't for the second half of the album, because the first half is the best material Alcest has ever written. Écailles de lune parts 1 and 2 would have made an amazing EP, maybe with the third track thrown in too. Really though, the first half alone makes this absolutely fantastic.

9. Les Discrets - Septembre Et Ses Dernières Pensées

Known as the brother album to Écailles de lune, this was a much darker and more consistent release all around - hence I prefer it. The hypnotic as hell vocals, the beautiful guitars... Really looking forward to hearing more Les Discrets. Can't wait for their next album.

8. God Is An Astronaut - Age Of The Fifth Sun

Though far from their best, Age of the Fifth Sun proves to be a competent album full of some of their best work. I would probably say it's their most consistent effort yet, and it's their first album I've listened to where some of the songs don't bore me or don't go down well with me - which is why it gets a place in this list. It's a shame that the great moments here aren't quite as great as their old stuff, though. But hell, a great effort.

7. Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky

I don't think anything really needs to be said. Swans returned and brought back a brilliant album, full of brooding and frightening pieces that I enjoy whole-heartedly. I like to think it's their most cohesive effort yet, all the tracks working wonderfully together and well organized - and to my pleasant surprise, Gira still has it.

6. Year Of No Light - Ausserwelt

Though I wasn't keen on their debut, the dark brooding mix of post-metal and doom here is irresistible - 4 tracks that crush you whilst at the same time whisking you away to god knows where, a really enjoyable listen and definitely my favorite from this band without a doubt.

5. Amia Venera Landscape - The Long Procession

This one really, really surprised me. Well, it shouldn't have, since their debut EP in 2008 was absolutely fantastic - this follows in the same footsteps in both quality and aesthetic, but amplifies everything that is brilliant about this. The raw energy, the amazing atmospheres and the aural assault that is this post-hardcore/sludge monster. What a record.

4. A Forest of Stars - Opportunistic Thieves of Spring

This album is a beast. It's massive, flows wonderfully and most of all the songwriting here is superior to their older stuff (though some disagree, which is coo'). The orchestration used here really lifts this album above the rest of progressive black metal bands, and it's a shame this isn't better known and appreciated.

3. Rosetta - A Determinism of Morality

I didn't think I'd ever prefer a Rosetta album with the heaviness tuned out somewhat, but here it works beautifully. Imagine 7 massive monster tracks like on Wake/Lift but condensed, and that's what you have here. A wonderfully refreshing change from Rosetta, and probably their strongest album yet. It's nice that they've found a niche of their own.

2. Anathema - We're Here Because We're Here

How Anathema came back and blew us all away with this one is something I'll be wondering for quite a while. It makes a bunch of their previous albums look like a joke. The mood here is more positive, but it still has the beauty of all the previous Anathema albums before it - but this time with consistency, the album flowing much better than their previous albums making it sound like a cohesive and complete album from start to finish. The best of their career.


Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit

Agalloch really perfected their formula in this one by amplifying all of their good aspects and adding new ones at the same time. The post-rock has broadened (with some songs even sounding like Godspeed You! Black Emperor), the black metal has become more prominent, the album has diversity which flows and fits together beautifully from the jarring Into The Painted Grey to the calm, post-rock sounding outro To Drown. Everything here is absolutely perfect and Agalloch have made the best album of their career, despite already making 3 masterpieces prior to this one. They could be the best band in the world.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Free Goodies From Organical!

Just showing off what I got in the mail today from Organical. If you remember from my review of their album, the postal service didn't take the best care of the sticker they sent me. Because the guys at Organical are so awesome, not only did they read the review and link to it on their website (, Facebook, and Twitter, but they also sent me these to make up for the sticker. A nice handwritten letter, FOUR new buttons, and FOUR stickers (in pristine condition)! Thanks a ton guys!

And as a reminder, be sure to check out Organical's album We've Lost Contact With Monster Island. You can get a physical copy here or you can download it from iTunes here. And if for some reason you missed it, you can check out my review post of the album here.