To me, the only thing that beats my connections with albums is my connection with people, and even that’s rare. Music is the supreme art form for me and albums are certainly the supreme form of music. They are such a binding concept in my mind, the epitome of the artistic statement. They hold such a vast importance in my mind and nothing really effects me like a good album. In almost every single wavelength of the emotional spectrum I believe music can express it like none other. And this year was no exception: My top 10 ranges from vengeful rage to pitiful misery. I listened to an expansive amount of music this year, and I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it all. In fact, the decisions I made in cutting certain albums off my list were some of the hardest choices I’ve ever had to make in my entire life, which really just shows how great a year 2011 was. To me, it was the most enjoyable and important year of my life, and that is mostly thanks to these 50 albums. So although I did leave a lot off this list, make sure you listen to these albums before finding things wrong with this list. The real purpose of this list is to show people new music, not categorize the ones already known. I am truly gracious for such a plentiful year and here’s hoping for another one, as music just seems to be getting better and better.
Shout out to the girl that caused enough trauma to need these records, I couldn’t have made this list without you.
I made a playlist of notable songs off of these albums to listen to here. But these are just samplers, every release on here should really be treated as a whole (possibly excepting Goblin).

To me, the only thing that beats my connections with albums is my connection with people, and even that’s rare. Music is the supreme art form for me and albums are certainly the supreme form of music. They are such a binding concept in my mind, the epitome of the artistic statement. They hold such a vast importance in my mind and nothing really effects me like a good album. In almost every single wavelength of the emotional spectrum I believe music can express it like none other. And this year was no exception: My top 10 ranges from vengeful rage to pitiful misery. I listened to an expansive amount of music this year, and I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it all. In fact, the decisions I made in cutting certain albums off my list were some of the hardest choices I’ve ever had to make in my entire life, which really just shows how great a year 2011 was. To me, it was the most enjoyable and important year of my life, and that is mostly thanks to these 50 albums. So although I did leave a lot off this list, make sure you listen to these albums before finding things wrong with this list. The real purpose of this list is to show people new music, not categorize the ones already known. I am truly gracious for such a plentiful year and here’s hoping for another one, as music just seems to be getting better and better.

Shout out to the girl that caused enough trauma to need these records, I couldn’t have made this list without you.

I made a playlist of notable songs off of these albums to listen to here. But these are just samplers, every release on here should really be treated as a whole (possibly excepting Goblin).


1) I’m Gay – Lil B
            Alright, I’m going completely based for this one: This is a one take write up, no editing and all in the moment. This year was the one that Lil B showed us that he was secretly a good artist. He does not get rid of his defining elements. The sounds, the voice and the stream of consciousness style of writing is still all present. But this time around his stream of consciousness is much more conscious. Lyrically this is his most cohesive output, almost everything has a positive or political spin to it (unless he’s talking about his vacation plans). He still has plenty of random statements to make, but this release would be preachy without them. With them it manages to be highly entertaining and at the same time highly thought provocative. If the messages were simply put down to paper anyone would be attracted to this album: The whole thing is just about living the way you want and how he believes that the world will come together in the future. This is an intensely positive take on a somewhat negative based genre, somewhat like Aesthethica. So I’ll be the first to say it: Lil B is the Liturgy of hip hop. I always knew he had a very based attitude (in fact I’m informed he coined the term), but I was never attracted to him as a rapper because of his massive output which always seemed to put quantity over quality. But this is a different beast; it is very apparent this is his personal masterpiece, an obvious labor of love. Hold on let me pet my cat right now. He channels a personal yet universal energy unlike many else (Lil B, not my cat). It’s just so based. His conscious lyrics can be very touching, especially on “Gon Be Okay” which even gives my jaded self some hope for the world. Of course, people are going to have the judgments already made when coming into this release, a subject which is touched on in the actually deep “I Hate Myself”, which discusses how he hated himself because of what people saw in him. But at the end he does a complete reversal and shows what he sees in himself. Wow, my based writing looks a lot like Joe’s… Regardless of how you feel about his persona and thematic content of I’m Gay, one thing is indisputable: the achievement made here in terms of sound. Excluding rap albums this year which were based off of dynamic, constantly shifting beats, this is my favorite sample based rap album of the year. The samples chosen are absolute perfection, with really interesting choices including shoegaze, anime movies and alt rock. Together they make such a warm sound which really embodies what this album is all about. This is the kind of album you round up the boys and put on by a fireplace (I actually did this). A true achievement in both sound and message, which is really what music itself is all about. (This was actually my #50 pick, but for a moment I liked the thought of putting it at #1 so I decided to prove I really did learn something from this album and live in the moment. So technically you can SBTRKT every other placement on this list by one :O ) 

1) I’m Gay – Lil B

            Alright, I’m going completely based for this one: This is a one take write up, no editing and all in the moment. This year was the one that Lil B showed us that he was secretly a good artist. He does not get rid of his defining elements. The sounds, the voice and the stream of consciousness style of writing is still all present. But this time around his stream of consciousness is much more conscious. Lyrically this is his most cohesive output, almost everything has a positive or political spin to it (unless he’s talking about his vacation plans). He still has plenty of random statements to make, but this release would be preachy without them. With them it manages to be highly entertaining and at the same time highly thought provocative. If the messages were simply put down to paper anyone would be attracted to this album: The whole thing is just about living the way you want and how he believes that the world will come together in the future. This is an intensely positive take on a somewhat negative based genre, somewhat like Aesthethica. So I’ll be the first to say it: Lil B is the Liturgy of hip hop. I always knew he had a very based attitude (in fact I’m informed he coined the term), but I was never attracted to him as a rapper because of his massive output which always seemed to put quantity over quality. But this is a different beast; it is very apparent this is his personal masterpiece, an obvious labor of love. Hold on let me pet my cat right now. He channels a personal yet universal energy unlike many else (Lil B, not my cat). It’s just so based. His conscious lyrics can be very touching, especially on “Gon Be Okay” which even gives my jaded self some hope for the world. Of course, people are going to have the judgments already made when coming into this release, a subject which is touched on in the actually deep “I Hate Myself”, which discusses how he hated himself because of what people saw in him. But at the end he does a complete reversal and shows what he sees in himself. Wow, my based writing looks a lot like Joe’s… Regardless of how you feel about his persona and thematic content of I’m Gay, one thing is indisputable: the achievement made here in terms of sound. Excluding rap albums this year which were based off of dynamic, constantly shifting beats, this is my favorite sample based rap album of the year. The samples chosen are absolute perfection, with really interesting choices including shoegaze, anime movies and alt rock. Together they make such a warm sound which really embodies what this album is all about. This is the kind of album you round up the boys and put on by a fireplace (I actually did this). A true achievement in both sound and message, which is really what music itself is all about. (This was actually my #50 pick, but for a moment I liked the thought of putting it at #1 so I decided to prove I really did learn something from this album and live in the moment. So technically you can SBTRKT every other placement on this list by one :O ) 


2) James Blake – James Blake
            So here’s what I wrote more than half a year ago:
            This is my favorite album of 2011. I realize that is a bit of a brash statement considering we are merely halfway throughout the year, and yet I feel more confident in this decision than many of my others for completed years. Any forthcoming album could never usurp its place, as it would always be attempting to catch up with the emotional connection I am constantly strengthening through this year. Most emotional albums I listen to sacrifice musical uniqueness and experimentation for the feeling. Yet not only is this one of the most emotive albums I’ve ever heard, but one of the most progressive. The voice has never been used as such an instrument before, with many instances of voices providing not lyrics, but detail which would usually be left to a synth. And although he experiments with pitch shifting and the vocoder, an emphatic sense of pain and soul remains shining through these voices, most of which are overdubs of his own. And his voice is gorgeous, often evoking black soul, while still having an audible British accent. Throughout these pieces, multilayered vocals are contrasted against much negative space, creating a tension which fills every song. This tension is often centered on regret and sadness, which form the thematic content of the album. Hints of paranoia are suggested as well, with the dubstep edge of the record conveying the more psychedelic and panicked side of sorrow. Most indicative of his many strengths would have to be the track “I Mind”, in which simply the title is repeated and yet the sorrow is felt as much as more lyrics oriented tracks. The pitch and stereo effects are also very inventive on this track, bringing a disorienting sentiment which adds to this feeling of depression. But technicalities aside, this album just truly struck a chord with me. In my opinion, it is a wholly perfect album, melding both futurism of dubstep and the dark past of soul, to create something truly original and outstanding. Essential.
            A lot has changed in half a year. For example, I haven’t the slightest how I could have described the cold sounds of this album as psychedelic. I’d probably also avoid the fire starting term “dubstep”. What hasn’t changed is my passion for this self titled release. This was the first album I really attached to this year. It was something so fresh and new that it inspired me to make this list, to motivate me to see what else is out there that I’ve been ignoring all these years. And for that, I am eternally grateful to this album. It still is a perfect meld of emotion and progressivism. And it still is an instant classic to me. It got me through one of the worst times I’ve had this year and brought me to where I am today. I love it, I really do. My relationship with it is like that between two people; over time I have become less obsessed with this album and I can the flaws it has and still love it for them, not in spite of them. It has shown me a connection with music I’ve never felt before. One thing I feel like I should have mentioned before is “Measurements”. I listened to that song during the earthquake in Japan and I changed the person I was. It was a truly human experience and it made me feel not sympathy but empathy for what was going around me. In fact, that is what the entire album did for me.

2) James BlakeJames Blake

            So here’s what I wrote more than half a year ago:

            This is my favorite album of 2011. I realize that is a bit of a brash statement considering we are merely halfway throughout the year, and yet I feel more confident in this decision than many of my others for completed years. Any forthcoming album could never usurp its place, as it would always be attempting to catch up with the emotional connection I am constantly strengthening through this year. Most emotional albums I listen to sacrifice musical uniqueness and experimentation for the feeling. Yet not only is this one of the most emotive albums I’ve ever heard, but one of the most progressive. The voice has never been used as such an instrument before, with many instances of voices providing not lyrics, but detail which would usually be left to a synth. And although he experiments with pitch shifting and the vocoder, an emphatic sense of pain and soul remains shining through these voices, most of which are overdubs of his own. And his voice is gorgeous, often evoking black soul, while still having an audible British accent. Throughout these pieces, multilayered vocals are contrasted against much negative space, creating a tension which fills every song. This tension is often centered on regret and sadness, which form the thematic content of the album. Hints of paranoia are suggested as well, with the dubstep edge of the record conveying the more psychedelic and panicked side of sorrow. Most indicative of his many strengths would have to be the track “I Mind”, in which simply the title is repeated and yet the sorrow is felt as much as more lyrics oriented tracks. The pitch and stereo effects are also very inventive on this track, bringing a disorienting sentiment which adds to this feeling of depression. But technicalities aside, this album just truly struck a chord with me. In my opinion, it is a wholly perfect album, melding both futurism of dubstep and the dark past of soul, to create something truly original and outstanding. Essential.

            A lot has changed in half a year. For example, I haven’t the slightest how I could have described the cold sounds of this album as psychedelic. I’d probably also avoid the fire starting term “dubstep”. What hasn’t changed is my passion for this self titled release. This was the first album I really attached to this year. It was something so fresh and new that it inspired me to make this list, to motivate me to see what else is out there that I’ve been ignoring all these years. And for that, I am eternally grateful to this album. It still is a perfect meld of emotion and progressivism. And it still is an instant classic to me. It got me through one of the worst times I’ve had this year and brought me to where I am today. I love it, I really do. My relationship with it is like that between two people; over time I have become less obsessed with this album and I can the flaws it has and still love it for them, not in spite of them. It has shown me a connection with music I’ve never felt before. One thing I feel like I should have mentioned before is “Measurements”. I listened to that song during the earthquake in Japan and I changed the person I was. It was a truly human experience and it made me feel not sympathy but empathy for what was going around me. In fact, that is what the entire album did for me.


3) Plains of the Purple Buffalo – *shels
            It took about 20 seconds for me to realize this was not your average post rock affair. A blast of trumpets rains down as if on a battlefield the listener is jarred into attention. Sonically this is one of the most varied releases of this year, its range encompasses everything from screamo to emo to metal to orchestral music; but it sounds like none of those. It is truly original in every regard, maintaining a perfect balance between the powerful and the pristine. There is an excitement to every sound made on this album, I could tell that the band is relishing in the splendor of everything that’s happening as much as I was. The opener really serves as a fantastic taster to everything this band has to offer, going from acoustic then opening up into orchestral music and settling down into an intense screaming build. And although this band really gets in one’s face, the second they settle into a softer more beautiful sound they are immediately forgiven. They make it incredibly easy to forget that the charming man singing about love was just screaming in your ear but a few moments before. There’s so much to this record I’m having difficulty writing about it as every time I listen to a certain portion of it I’m so involved I forget everything that came before. It’s truly an album that just has to be experienced. Do it. 

3) Plains of the Purple Buffalo – *shels

            It took about 20 seconds for me to realize this was not your average post rock affair. A blast of trumpets rains down as if on a battlefield the listener is jarred into attention. Sonically this is one of the most varied releases of this year, its range encompasses everything from screamo to emo to metal to orchestral music; but it sounds like none of those. It is truly original in every regard, maintaining a perfect balance between the powerful and the pristine. There is an excitement to every sound made on this album, I could tell that the band is relishing in the splendor of everything that’s happening as much as I was. The opener really serves as a fantastic taster to everything this band has to offer, going from acoustic then opening up into orchestral music and settling down into an intense screaming build. And although this band really gets in one’s face, the second they settle into a softer more beautiful sound they are immediately forgiven. They make it incredibly easy to forget that the charming man singing about love was just screaming in your ear but a few moments before. There’s so much to this record I’m having difficulty writing about it as every time I listen to a certain portion of it I’m so involved I forget everything that came before. It’s truly an album that just has to be experienced. Do it. 


4) Giles Corey – Giles Corey
            In terms of how I define myself as a person, Giles Corey should be my album of the year. The albums that beat this for that position do so because I think they are more essential in terms of their respective genres. But as my year stood emotionally, sonically and aesthetically, this album best encompasses who I was. And dear lord, what does that say about me!?  This project is Dan Barrett, who after attempting to kill himself thought it to be more productive to purge himself through music instead. He recorded many of these songs while wearing a mask to asphyxiate himself. And he named this project after a famed subject of witch trials who chose death over trial and asked for more weight as he was crushed to death. Although you don’t have to be a full on sadomasochist to enjoy this record, one must accept that Giles Corey seeks to writhe in its pain to attempt to forge something new (one of my favorite pastimes). I’ve cried to this record, kissed to this record, screamed to this record, felt scared for my life to this record, and I’ve tried to make myself throw up to this record, from how sickeningly sad it can be. And what’s more is that it can take all the aforementioned seemingly conflicting moods and make them all into one seamless cohesive body. This is hauntingly disturbing music. He takes everything from dark ambient to gospel as influence on this album but always makes sure it’s coated in the oddest, most shuddersome production technique I’ve ever heard. While swimming, I can’t help but thinking of these songs as the voices I can hear underwater sound unnervingly similar to some of the ones on this album. There is a spectral and otherworldly sound to the way every voice, sung or screamed, is treated. Noises will rise out of the background and completely take over like on the truly horrifying “The Haunting Presence”. And at times this release will be straight acoustic but still overbearingly powerful in its production. But despite all the sounds being very confident, the lyrics on this thing are surprisingly personal, self conscious lyrics like the ones on “Graves Filled with Books” being especially relatable for me. This album shows an amazing depth in its scope and meaning. I really loved it. 

4) Giles CoreyGiles Corey

            In terms of how I define myself as a person, Giles Corey should be my album of the year. The albums that beat this for that position do so because I think they are more essential in terms of their respective genres. But as my year stood emotionally, sonically and aesthetically, this album best encompasses who I was. And dear lord, what does that say about me!?  This project is Dan Barrett, who after attempting to kill himself thought it to be more productive to purge himself through music instead. He recorded many of these songs while wearing a mask to asphyxiate himself. And he named this project after a famed subject of witch trials who chose death over trial and asked for more weight as he was crushed to death. Although you don’t have to be a full on sadomasochist to enjoy this record, one must accept that Giles Corey seeks to writhe in its pain to attempt to forge something new (one of my favorite pastimes). I’ve cried to this record, kissed to this record, screamed to this record, felt scared for my life to this record, and I’ve tried to make myself throw up to this record, from how sickeningly sad it can be. And what’s more is that it can take all the aforementioned seemingly conflicting moods and make them all into one seamless cohesive body. This is hauntingly disturbing music. He takes everything from dark ambient to gospel as influence on this album but always makes sure it’s coated in the oddest, most shuddersome production technique I’ve ever heard. While swimming, I can’t help but thinking of these songs as the voices I can hear underwater sound unnervingly similar to some of the ones on this album. There is a spectral and otherworldly sound to the way every voice, sung or screamed, is treated. Noises will rise out of the background and completely take over like on the truly horrifying “The Haunting Presence”. And at times this release will be straight acoustic but still overbearingly powerful in its production. But despite all the sounds being very confident, the lyrics on this thing are surprisingly personal, self conscious lyrics like the ones on “Graves Filled with Books” being especially relatable for me. This album shows an amazing depth in its scope and meaning. I really loved it. 


5) Black Up – Shabazz Palaces
            I usually have a pretty clear idea when going into these write ups. But with Black Up I’m left dumbfounded. There’s just so much to this album yet in the end the definitive aspects of this record for me are wholly indefinable. Everything about this release from production to lyrics is so radical and fresh that I’m am unequipped verbally to describe it. The stylistic approach to this project is just so effortlessly weird. The sounds this music is constructed out of are so unidentifiable, and they’re processed through the best production I’ve heard this entire year. It is spaced out yet involving, sparse yet monumental. It is a nocturnal sound which can transform any brightly lit day into a grimy night with one listen. And these are the most dynamic and developed hip hop beats I’ve ever heard. Most rap is often based off of a looped sample broken up by a hook. These beats are almost all hookless and constantly changing, always evolving until it’s a completely new beat. One could view every single song on here as a suite, as they all go through at least three phases in progression. This is my favorite sounding rap album of all time. And this transcendental take on hip hop comes out in their rhymes as well, which are very surreal and cool and very harsh towards the commercialism in rap. Every line Ishmael says just comes off with such an importance and depth regardless of how incomprehensible. There is something truly introspective when after he repeats the lines like, “Who do you think you are?” and then follows it with, “Who do you think who you are?” In getting many to question their identity Shabazz Palaces have forged their own, and it is one of the strongest personalities I’ve seen in years. 

5) Black Up – Shabazz Palaces

            I usually have a pretty clear idea when going into these write ups. But with Black Up I’m left dumbfounded. There’s just so much to this album yet in the end the definitive aspects of this record for me are wholly indefinable. Everything about this release from production to lyrics is so radical and fresh that I’m am unequipped verbally to describe it. The stylistic approach to this project is just so effortlessly weird. The sounds this music is constructed out of are so unidentifiable, and they’re processed through the best production I’ve heard this entire year. It is spaced out yet involving, sparse yet monumental. It is a nocturnal sound which can transform any brightly lit day into a grimy night with one listen. And these are the most dynamic and developed hip hop beats I’ve ever heard. Most rap is often based off of a looped sample broken up by a hook. These beats are almost all hookless and constantly changing, always evolving until it’s a completely new beat. One could view every single song on here as a suite, as they all go through at least three phases in progression. This is my favorite sounding rap album of all time. And this transcendental take on hip hop comes out in their rhymes as well, which are very surreal and cool and very harsh towards the commercialism in rap. Every line Ishmael says just comes off with such an importance and depth regardless of how incomprehensible. There is something truly introspective when after he repeats the lines like, “Who do you think you are?” and then follows it with, “Who do you think who you are?” In getting many to question their identity Shabazz Palaces have forged their own, and it is one of the strongest personalities I’ve seen in years. 


6) Ravedeath, 1972 – Tim Hecker
            I heard “The Piano Drop” towards the beginning of this year and became instantly depressed. Although it is a somewhat sad song, that was not the reason. It was the fact that I wasn’t going to let myself listen to what seemed like such a promising album until it snowed, which seemed years away. When it finally did snow in Albuquerque, I found myself in for quite a surprise. Compared to the first dazzling “single”, the rest of this album is a much more minimal affair. I actually ended up listening to “In the Fog” in the fog and I found it to be a perfect ode to the natural event. There’s an unnamable energy to this album that is perfect for channeling the core of what makes winter my favorite season. The sounds on here are very cold and at times severe, yet they are elegant and graceful as well. Songs flowing into one another has been quite a trend and I’ve yet to hear it done better than this.  All of this makes for an engulfing and immediate listen in a genre that is not known for either of those things. All of this makes for my instrumental album of the year.

6) Ravedeath, 1972 – Tim Hecker

            I heard “The Piano Drop” towards the beginning of this year and became instantly depressed. Although it is a somewhat sad song, that was not the reason. It was the fact that I wasn’t going to let myself listen to what seemed like such a promising album until it snowed, which seemed years away. When it finally did snow in Albuquerque, I found myself in for quite a surprise. Compared to the first dazzling “single”, the rest of this album is a much more minimal affair. I actually ended up listening to “In the Fog” in the fog and I found it to be a perfect ode to the natural event. There’s an unnamable energy to this album that is perfect for channeling the core of what makes winter my favorite season. The sounds on here are very cold and at times severe, yet they are elegant and graceful as well. Songs flowing into one another has been quite a trend and I’ve yet to hear it done better than this.  All of this makes for an engulfing and immediate listen in a genre that is not known for either of those things. All of this makes for my instrumental album of the year.


7) Exmilitary – Death Grips
            In my attempt to understand James Ferraro’s Far Side Visual, I decided to torture myself by forcing myself to be around the oversaturated lights and food products of Wal-Mart for a whole hour. Needless to say, I was very pissed afterward (the album was good though). And I knew just where to go to for my anger: “Culture Shock” by Death Grips. This intelligent musing is just one of many and concerns just what is wrong when everything in the world becomes “convenient”. It might be the softest song on the album, and it is NOT soft. With the loud, hideous sounds inescapable on this release, this album is instantly polarizing and at first, I found myself on the negative side. After showing it to my friends as a joke, I found that our many replays of “Guillotine” became less and less about the shock value. It came to be about the insightful lyrics, the extremely unorthodox sounds and the pure, raw anger. MC Ride, the rapper on this album, simply screams nearly every lyric; whether it is about prison, drugs, super soldiers, witches or execution, it’s coming at you loud and hard. And this barrage of vocals is backed up by some of the most experimental and interesting “beats” of all time. I put beats in quotations because the makers of this album are not content to loop a soul/funk sample; these are loaded, dynamic sounds which are absolutely never at ease staying put, in terms of genre or structure. Take “Thru the Walls” for example, where a beat closer to Liars than hip-hop will sporadically sputter out a glitched skeleton of the song or nothing but a spoken word sample. As if that wasn’t enough, the listener is treated to another instrumental beat at the end which could have served as another song ala Shabazz Palaces. Zach Hill (who was responsible for another great album this year) is the only known musician credited with the music and it really shows; this is rap from a percussionist’s point of view. Although drums have more of a presence on some songs than others, nearly all the sounds are treated as percussive; little to no melody is concentrated on in vocals and other various pieces of this music. There is an energy and originality to this album like none other, and if that’s not enough to sell you… where else are you going to hear tribal drums paired with Black Flag? FREE RELEASE

7) Exmilitary – Death Grips

            In my attempt to understand James Ferraro’s Far Side Visual, I decided to torture myself by forcing myself to be around the oversaturated lights and food products of Wal-Mart for a whole hour. Needless to say, I was very pissed afterward (the album was good though). And I knew just where to go to for my anger: “Culture Shock” by Death Grips. This intelligent musing is just one of many and concerns just what is wrong when everything in the world becomes “convenient”. It might be the softest song on the album, and it is NOT soft. With the loud, hideous sounds inescapable on this release, this album is instantly polarizing and at first, I found myself on the negative side. After showing it to my friends as a joke, I found that our many replays of “Guillotine” became less and less about the shock value. It came to be about the insightful lyrics, the extremely unorthodox sounds and the pure, raw anger. MC Ride, the rapper on this album, simply screams nearly every lyric; whether it is about prison, drugs, super soldiers, witches or execution, it’s coming at you loud and hard. And this barrage of vocals is backed up by some of the most experimental and interesting “beats” of all time. I put beats in quotations because the makers of this album are not content to loop a soul/funk sample; these are loaded, dynamic sounds which are absolutely never at ease staying put, in terms of genre or structure. Take “Thru the Walls” for example, where a beat closer to Liars than hip-hop will sporadically sputter out a glitched skeleton of the song or nothing but a spoken word sample. As if that wasn’t enough, the listener is treated to another instrumental beat at the end which could have served as another song ala Shabazz Palaces. Zach Hill (who was responsible for another great album this year) is the only known musician credited with the music and it really shows; this is rap from a percussionist’s point of view. Although drums have more of a presence on some songs than others, nearly all the sounds are treated as percussive; little to no melody is concentrated on in vocals and other various pieces of this music. There is an energy and originality to this album like none other, and if that’s not enough to sell you… where else are you going to hear tribal drums paired with Black Flag? FREE RELEASE


8) Wildlife – La Dispute
            Somewhere at the Bottom… was one of my favorite releases of the last decade. But it took me months to even be able to stomach it. La Dispute’s frontman has one of the hardest voices to handle, surpassing most metal for how repelling it is at first. He has a desperate whine which makes it sound like every word he says could mean the end of the world. But in an emotional regard, that’s kind of true. The lyrics on Wildlife are always piercingly involving, more similar to poetry than anything else, foregoing any kind of rhyme structure. And the lyrics have even more strength in the way they’re structured. This album has a series of songs whose titles begin with “A” that lyrically concern very personal subjects. The more interesting side to this album are the others, where stories of everything from a rundown church to a suicidal musician are pursued. On the standout “King Park”, the narrator floats through various scenes as he explores an innocent child’s shooting and the killer’s remorse. I don’t want to spoil the ending but it manages to be one of the most disturbing songs I’ve heard this year (and I’ve heard “I Will”). This perfection in lyrics is complemented by one of the most sonically interesting screamo bands I’ve heard. Every single instrument’s place in these songs are composed with every other instrument in mind, the interplay on this album is truly remarkable. Each part will have times where it plays in the other instruments silences and times where they will all swell together in something wholly orgasmic and overwhelming. When all of these parts are added up, the some is something more: The most intense album of the year.

8) Wildlife – La Dispute

            Somewhere at the Bottom… was one of my favorite releases of the last decade. But it took me months to even be able to stomach it. La Dispute’s frontman has one of the hardest voices to handle, surpassing most metal for how repelling it is at first. He has a desperate whine which makes it sound like every word he says could mean the end of the world. But in an emotional regard, that’s kind of true. The lyrics on Wildlife are always piercingly involving, more similar to poetry than anything else, foregoing any kind of rhyme structure. And the lyrics have even more strength in the way they’re structured. This album has a series of songs whose titles begin with “A” that lyrically concern very personal subjects. The more interesting side to this album are the others, where stories of everything from a rundown church to a suicidal musician are pursued. On the standout “King Park”, the narrator floats through various scenes as he explores an innocent child’s shooting and the killer’s remorse. I don’t want to spoil the ending but it manages to be one of the most disturbing songs I’ve heard this year (and I’ve heard “I Will”). This perfection in lyrics is complemented by one of the most sonically interesting screamo bands I’ve heard. Every single instrument’s place in these songs are composed with every other instrument in mind, the interplay on this album is truly remarkable. Each part will have times where it plays in the other instruments silences and times where they will all swell together in something wholly orgasmic and overwhelming. When all of these parts are added up, the some is something more: The most intense album of the year.