By Tyler Gibson
I’m a hater. I’m very picky. I don’t really have the palate to stomach most music, and I generally only listen to something for about 30 seconds before deciding I don’t give a shit. With that in mind, these are the records that either caught me off guard, I had been waiting for, or just grew on me this year.
Go ahead and tell me about the records I forgot. The Internet desperately needs to know how wrong I am. There are a million albums I haven’t heard, and it’s entirely possible I haven’t met my soulmate record yet. Does it even exist? Who knows? These are the ones that keep the sadness at bay long enough to get by: the words and the rhythms, the cadence and the movements, the fragile and the bitter sounds that make up the songs I have fallen in love with.
“I mean, Led Zeppelin didn’t write tunes everybody liked. They left that to The Bee Gees.” – Wayne Campbell
10. Atmosphere – Southsiders
After a few turds, Slug and Ant are back with their sumthingteenth album Southsiders. Though I miss the version of Slug who had energy in his voice, the monotone, over-enunciated storytelling style the middle aged rapper has settled into kind of works with the mellow tone of this album.
“Don’t throw no stones if ya livin’ in a fish bowl. Blow a kiss though. Where the aim is based on which way the wind floats, and pride is a bottle on a fence post.”
9. Frameworks – Loom
When that four-way split featuring Prawn, Kittyhawk, Droughts, and Frameworks came out, the latter’s track “Preamble” stuck its head above the rest and said, “Yo, we got some shit to prove.” And prove it they have. With the release of Loom, Frameworks created a much more cohesive version of their previous releases. I’m definitely gonna wear this one out on my turntable.
8. Say Anything – Hebrews
Back and snarkier than ever, Max Bemis has crafted something we haven’t seen in quite a while: an album worth listening to. The wordsmith is at his best here without the aid of guitars or really anything else. He is left to his own devices and it works. Wonderfully orchestrated and unique to its genre, this album is gonna grow on anyone who gives it a chance. Easily the best album since “…Is a Real Boy”
7. Future Islands – Singles
I have no fucking idea what this band is about. I was shown a video of Future Islands performing on David Letterman, and – being a fan of Fitz & The Tantrums – was immediately locked in to the yacht rock-ish vibe of the song. The thing is: this version is live, and the dude’s voice goes from Michael McDonald to full-on Corpsegrinder in an instant… And it’s really fucking cool. The whole album is great, but this live performance is definitely something unique. Pay close attention around 3:10 for a great surprise.
6. Grieves – Winter & The Wolves
I’ll admit it: I wrote Grieves off as being some schmucky white kid who was overhyped and probably couldn’t rap. Then I gave his previous album a listen one day and, to my surprise, enjoyed it. Come 2014, he releases Winter & The Wolves, and it’s legitimately good enough for me to throw it on the platter. I’ve spun this thing a bunch since it came out. If you’re into hip-hop with a little swagger, give this one a chance.
5. Beach Slang – Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?
At this point, what the fuck do I need to say about this EP? It’s been a long time since four songs completely changed the way people thought about punk rock. Beach Slang hasn’t even TECHNICALLY released a physical copy of this album yet – although pre-orders are shipping as I write this – and they’ve already gotten signed to Tiny Engines for a full-length coming out later this year. If you’re unfamiliar, just imagine The Goo Goo Dolls. Now imagine they are REALLY good, and a little dirtier, and you’ve pretty much got Beach Slang.
Any Flatliners fan will tell you how long they’ve wanted a solo record from Mr. Cresswell. Finally, with the help of Joey Cape and his weird and wonderful idea to record and produce an album in under a week, we finally get the crooner jams we’ve been waiting for. This guy’s voice just keeps getting better. Forever my #MCM.
3. PUP – S/T
That’s cool. Just go ahead and change all the rules, PUP. You came out swinging with one of the most original punk records to come along in a LONG time, and one of the most explosive live shows in recent memory. And let’s not forget the amazing videos you’re putting out! SideOneDummy was smart when they pulled you out of the tank. Just remember to keep your head on straight, and you’ve got a bright future of fucking shit up and being one of the best in your genre. For those unfamiliar, think Weezer meets Choke Up meets Comadre, or something. Whatever.
2. Vallenfyre – Splinters
I love my metal fast, heavy, and dirty. I like old style doom and death metal, and I absolutely adore it when drums sound like drums. Vallenfyre put out Splinters and I will probably not listen to another metal album this year, (until the new Baptists and/or Nails comes out). The term “retro death” gets thrown around a lot, but this album doesn’t feel like a time warp. It feels like a refreshing take on a classic formula, and a much-needed break from everything else heavy that’s going on right now. If you’re searching for a bangover, look no further.
1. The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace is There
This album came out early in the year, and I only had three days to listen to it before I saw The Hotelier live. I had no idea it was going to consume my life. I listen to it at least once a day. I’ve memorized it like a rookie cop memorizes the Miranda Rights. It’s perfect. It evokes the contrasting coupling of longing and contentment, and everything it brings – including its imperfect vocal deliveries and guitar biffs – is utter perfection. This is the album that needed to be written. I know I’m laying it on thick, but it’s been years since an album has bitten me this hard. I can’t wait for the next record by whomever to hit me in the chest like Home, Like Noplace is There has. Until then, I’ll happily keep listening to this one.