10 records I've been into recently in no particular order.....
10. Ashdautas - Where the Sun Is Silent CS
9. Iceage - New Brigade LP
8. Krieg - The Isolationist LP
7. Die Kreuzen - Die Kreuzen LP
6. Omegas - Blasts of Lunacy LP
5. True Widow - As High As the Highest Heavens and From the Center to the Circumference of the Earth LP
4. Volahn - Dimensiónes del Trance Kósmico CS
3. Arts - Vault of Heaven LP
2. Lush - Gala LP
1. Mauser - 2010 Summer Tour CS
PJ Harvey - The Last Living Rose. Listening to songs on repeat makes me feel like a giddy teenager. Maybe it was because I was on a plane and thought I might die. Maybe it was the goddamn Europeans line or maybe it just reminded of listening to Rid of Me on a cassette walkman when I wasn't worried about trying to act like an adult.
Baptists - 7". Harnessing some of the beauty that was His Hero Is Gone, Discharge, and maybe even some Conflict? Nice one, fellow Canadians!
Zola Jesus - Live and on record it's a beautiful thing hearing the future and past melt into one.
Mater Suspiria Vision - Crack Witch. Sometimes a good logo and great album cover is all you need. Nice to clip your toenails to!
Earth - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light. The only thing else I could ask for is Shirley Collins gracing these beautiful dirges. Time can stand still.
Balam Acab - See Birds EP.
This 'witch house' stuff is fantastic. Slow electronic with haunting melodies and great atmosphere. Tri Angle artists have been dominating my ears a lot lately and this might be my favorite of them all.
Hellsaw - Phantasm.
Raw black metal can be very hit or miss with me. These days, I just tend to shy away from it. This record is great though because while it maintains a harsh sound, Hellsaw isn't afraid to play with rich melody and atmosphere. The depressive track 'In Memory', especially.
Zola Jesus - Stridulum EP.
Dark, simple song structures with incredibly infectious choruses. However, what's setting her apart is her voice. It's honestly entrancing. I can't say enough good things about this EP. Every track is great.
Black Monolith - S/T EP.
A chaotic, crushing mix of crusty d-beat and black metal that is as catchy as it is harsh. This is Black Monolith's first release and they have it available for a pay what you want download via their Bandcamp. Really hoping someone picks up on this and decides to release it.
Touche Amore - PTSBBAM.
Honestly, this band was never my thing. I had friends that loved them, I recognized the hype, etc., but I don't know. They just weren't on my radar for whatever reason. But after getting to see these songs live a number of times, I already knew I wanted to hear this record. It's mature, expansive, more experimental, and well thought out. Addtionally, for this type of music, lyrics can make or break an album and in this case, they completely make it. Especially the last song 'Amends', which in a way, sums up a lot of the record's content. I think I'm going to bug Jeremy about singing this song with him the next time I see them play.
This Will Destroy You - Tunnel Blanket
This album has set the bar pretty high for 2011. Delicate textures of guitars, samples, and loops swirl, putting you in a trance before the band bludgeons you with mountains of loud, drone influenced post-rock. The production is flawless and the songs are incredibly well written, such as my favorite track "Killed The Lord, Left For the New World." Definitely my personal favorite of the year so far.
Explosions in the Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
This is a very close second. While they don't branch as far out from their tried and true formula, this record is definitely an interesting step for the band. There are the memorable guitar melodies and powerful bursts of emotion that we've come to expect from them, but they're surrounded in decaying layers of pitch-shifted guitar swells, acoustic instrumentation, and profoundly subtle loops and samples. Along with Tunnel Blanket, this album shows that post-rock is headed in an interesting direction, one that I am incredibly excited about.
Tamaryn - The Waves
A lot of reviews of this disc have been quick to neatly stuff it into a dismissive "nu-gaze" box, but it's not hard to see why. Mazzy Star, Galaxie 500, and My Bloody Valentine all come to mind, but the songwriting on this album more than makes up for any homage paid. Layers of simple, catchy melodies are hung over gritty bass lines and subtle drumming, with Tamaryn herself tying it all together with her siren-esque voice.
Panopticon - Collapse
Panopticon seamlessly combines elements of lightning fast, despairing black metal, post-rock and incredible bluegrass jams on this album. All of this is performed lo-fi and raw enough to get the point across, while not being dramatic. The track "Aptgangr" is a personal favorite.
Desaparecidos - Read Music/Speak Spanish.
Blind To Faith - The Seven Fat Years Are Over
Descendents - I Don't Wanna Grow Up
KiD CuDi - Man on The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Joyce Manor - S/T
Drake - Thank Me Later
Wavves - King of The Beach
Crowbar - S/T
Big L - The Big Picture
Vitamin Piss – Demo
Enabler – Eden Sank To Grief
Integrity – Thee DestoyORR
Cold Cave – Cherish the Light Years
The Secret – Solve Et Coagula
Rudimentary Peni - Death Church
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Curtains - Forced Thoughts on the Humdrum River
Starcircleanatomy - (the album name is a drawing of an upside down pentagram)
Thou - Summit
French Quarter - French Quarter
Neil Young - Tonight's the Night
Blackmoon Warrior 88 - White Power Gang
Francis Harold and The Holograms - Mirror of Fear
Nicole 12 - Substitute
Vlad Tepes / Belketre split
Genocide Organ - Mind Country
Infest - No Man's Slave
Integrity - To Die For
Eyehategod - Dopesick
Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster
Darkthrone - The Cult is Alive
Entombed - Clandestine
Cult Ritual - 1st lp
Nicole 12 - Substitute
Francis Harold and The Holograms - Mirror of Fear 7"
Weekend Nachos - Unforgivable
THE AUSTERITY PROGRAM - Backsliders And Apostates Will Burn
We just took these guys out for a string of shows and everyone in Coliseum was completely blown away and in love with them. One of the few bands all of us really, really like. They aren’t really a touring band, which is a shame if only because I think it takes seeing them play to fully grasp their music. Regardless, this is their best work and a moving amalgam of inspiration from the worlds of Touch & Go, Dischord and AmRep, with bits that inevitably remind me of the best moments of Godflesh and Ministry because of the intense 90s drum machine action.
TRUE WIDOW - As High As The Highest Heavens
I’m always looking for heavy music that rocks and has a sense of melody, and this fits the bill perfectly (as do some of the other records on this list). A bit of a mash up of heavier Codeiene-esque slowcore and non-wall of noise shoegaze, with really great male and female vocals.
MILK MUSIC - Beyond Living
Cool fuzzed-out melodic punk/grunge from where else but Olympia, Washington. It seems very sincere and without pretension, just some dudes writing some tunes and pressing it onto 12”. Awesome little guitar parts throughout the EP.
SHAVED WOMEN - Self Titled
I’m glad to see these guys have gotten some love on this site as they are way better than just about every other hardcore band that has gotten hype lately. They kill it live, have awesome tunes, and even with their snotty, pessimistic musical and vocal approach they don’t have the detached posturing that sucks the enjoyment out of a lot of bands for me.
PRIDESWALLOWER - Split 7” Session
The best band currently active in Louisville. If they can keep it together they are going to blast eager eardrums across the world. The comparisons I would make wouldn’t do it justice, because while there’s a lot in common with Nirvana, for example, but I like this way better than I ever liked Nirvana (which admittedly ain’t that much). Maybe some Melvins, maybe some Hammerhead. Anyway, I love it and I hope these fuckers stay together so they can craft the incredible legacy they deserve. These tunes are coming out on a split 7” with Louisville’s Straight As on local label Noise Pollution – louisvillenoise.com
BILL CALLAHAN - Apocalypse
Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle was a life changing LP for me so I had high hopes for this one and it subverted my expectations a bit, which is cool. It’s not one of those life altering types of records, it’s more of a slow burn. The second side of the record and especially the last song “One Fine Morning” are powerful listens.
OBITS - Moody, Standard and Poor
The first Obits LP had a handful of songs I really liked and a handful that didn’t quite grab me. I’m happy that they seem to be writing even better songs and finding their voice as a band, while still keeping things varied. There’s a little more of the Froberg vitriol in the songs he sings and I’m happy that Sohrab takes lead for three songs this time around instead of just one.
PJ HARVEY - Let England Shake
This record is a bit bigger and better than something I could sum up in a few lines... I think it’s her best work. I’ll leave it at that.
Stephen "Scuba" LaCour:
I have to narrow it down to the 10 records this week. I know every Tom, Dick, and Harry born between 1973 and 1992 says, "High Fidelity was totally about me. I'll never be able to narrow my top 5, top 10, top infinity," and to a degree they're right. Some are newer, some are things that I keep going back to.
Dead and Gone - The Beautician/Creeps on Candy - Wonders of Giradia
So I cheated, I don't care. 3/4 of the same band. Creepy deathrock from Oakland hardcore punks. Definitely the best Dead and Gone record (the others aren't shabby either) and the only Creeps on Candy record. On top of that, sharing members with Filth, Blatz, Look Back and Laugh, Talk is Poison, and California Love? What the fuck have you ever done?
The Birthday Party - Junkyard
I've watched the clip of the Birthday Party playing "Junkyard" on some German TV show called Gotterdammerung about 100 times in the past month. Turning weird skronky guitar lines, a puffy shirted, leather pants wearing, spastic, pelvic gyrating bass player, and Nick Cave smoking the longest cigarette through the whole song into a total mindfuck.
The Murder City Devils - Thelema
Everyone gives me shit because I don't really care for the first MCD record. I know, "You prefer their earlier work." That said, every song on this record is the best song the ever wrote. I don't care, it's my list and I'll say what I want.
El-P - I'll Sleep When You're Dead
Argue that it's not hip-hop. Bitch that you think he's a hipster. Get mad because he loves Das Racist. The record is flawless. I used to hate the song with Trent Reznor on it, but it's totally grown on me.
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - Fear is On Our Side
I'll say it first, horrible fucking band name. I hate when people look through my shit and even see that name. Awesome record title though. Sidenote - I took a nosedive off my bike in Manhattan while listening to this record. When I came to the record was still playing and a city bus was honking at me while I was laying in the middle of the street. Fuck that bus driver. The song "The Owl" has the creepiest video.
Deafheaven - Roads to Judah
I never really liked scream, so when I heard they were "screamo/black metal" my balls screamed and hid in my body cavity. But Brian Izzi checked them out and he notoriously hates 99% of "American Black Metal" bands and he liked it, so I gave it a shot. "Language Games" is so epic that it hurts.
EMA - Past Lives of Martyred Saints
I liked the Gowns record, so I checked out EMA, especially after she did an acoustic cover of a Danzig song. I listened to this record three times in the Munich airport.
GDP - Useless Eaters
Awesome hip-hop from a hardcore kid from Jersey. Weird, I know. He keeps making solid records and I'll keep listening to them.
True Widow - As High as the Highest Heavens and from the Center to the Circumference of the Earth
Ex-Slowride. Saw them at SXSW and you couldn't help but be floored.
Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness
I started listening to this record again because I absolutely hated the new song they put out. I just don't dig it, but that's just me. So I put on "Altars..." I remember when shit was awesome.