Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fanch's Albums of the Year

It's the end of year list that you didn't even want! Here are my top 10 albums of 2013. None of them are particularly out there or weird and most of them are kind of heavy. Maybe Kingo will chime in with his own list. First some albums that almost made it: Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends, Ohio Sky - This House is Old, People Like Us - A Nightmare, People Like Us - The Royals, Tomahawk - Oddfellows, Davenport Cabinet - Our Machine.

                           Baklavaa -Spiral Cramps

This record is absolutely insane. These guys are a noisy breath of aggression from somewhere in Baltimore, MD.  Spiral Cramps is a quick burst of noise, clocking in at less than 25 minutes, that leaves the listener sort of wondering what the hell just happened. If I had to compare them to someone I'd probably say they're similar to Tera Melos. This album is pay what you want on Bandcamp or you can buy a physical copy for just $10.

                          NIN - Hesitation Marks
I guess you might call this album a return to form for Trent Reznor's NIN. Maybe not, but it's the first NIN album I've enjoyed front to back since With Teeth. The album features Adrian Belew and Lindsay Buckingham so how could it not be awesome?

          The Elephant In the Room - The Collective and The Individual

There's some bias here because I contributed to the Kickstarter for this album, before ever hearing a note. The record is produced by Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter. This is a big sounding record with choruses of voices that borders on prog rock, Crescenzo's influence is definitely there. It says something though that this record made my list and The Dear Hunter's Migrant album did not. This is an excellent record that anyone with an affinity for rock music should enjoy. Track 2, Monsters, is the highlight of the album for me. 

                                Sannhet - Known Flood

 I first heard Sannhet via NYC Taper and their recording of the Known Flood release show. Sannhet was opening for Deafheaven, a band you'll find further down. They're an instrumental band from Brooklyn NY. Experimental black post everything metal. Known Flood is and unrelenting blend of swirling guitars and thunderous drums. Check out the opening track Absecon Isle to get an idea of what Known Flood is all about.

                 Oathbreaker - Eros/Anteros

This is an album I just discovered by trolling through the Deathwish records site looking for something to listen too. It's heavy X 1000. Somewhere between black metal and post-hardcore lives Belgium's Oathbreaker.This is your album if you need to run around and wreck stuff.

                      I The Mighty - Satori

Probably my second most played album this summer. I the Mighty is a sort of prog/emo band similar to Coheed and Cambria. This album lived in my wife's car and accompanied us on many long car trips. It's a great record to sing a long with. It's got some heavy moments, some quiet moments. We also had the chance to see these guys live this fall. They only had a 5 song set, but they had tons of energy.

                       Coheed and Cambria - Afterman: Descension 

My favorite band, I've seen most of the songs on this album performed live. A much stronger effort than the first half of the Afterman record. Just go listen to Gravity's Union.


                        Russian Circles - Memorial 
Another band I had the pleasure  to see live a few times over the course of the year. Another instrumental album. Russian Circles are just so good. This album could probably fit in any spot on the list, so I stuck it here. It might be the heaviest album on the list.

                Touche Amore - ...Is Survived by
This album clocks in a at just under 30 minutes. It's like a punch to the gut. It's that post-hardcore emo stuff that I enjoy so much. This album is just plain good. “So write a song that everyone can sing along to/So when you’re gone you can live on, they won’t forget you.”


Another album with ties to black metal. It's definitely not for everyone, but for me this is far and away the best record of 2013. It's totally captivating. From the beginning of Dream House to the ending of The Pecan Tree my jaw is on the floor. Between each of the album's four main tracks are some sound collage segues/ shorter acoustic pieces that bring perfect balance to the record. George Clarke's vocals are gut wrenching while Kerry McCoy's guitars dance between meandering shoegaze and black metal brutality. I will admit that having seen these guys live this year has only enhanced my opinion of this record. Listening to Sunbather is almost a process, it really needs to be absorbed as a whole. If you're willing to dive into some experimental black metal Sunbather is the place to start.

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