Classic Album Review :: Placebo — Without You I’m Nothing

You know that song you heard somewhere and you really liked it but have no clue who it’s by and the internet is such that you cannot look it up and everything is horrible because you need to find that song? Yeah — that was me about 15 years ago.

The song that I could never find was Pure Morning. It is the first track on this not-punk album. Finding that out and purchasing the album brought me down a rabbit hole where I could never find the surface, but I also never wanted to find a surface. With deceptivly simple everything, this album is amazing.

Pure Morning has lyrics similar to a child’s rhyme. Of course, if you heard your child singing these words, you would be far from ecstatic at their choice of vernacular. The entire song appears to be about discovering ones sexuality while also discovering drugs. The title “Pure Morning” reflects the relief of discovering everything the night before. The act of reflecting on your actions and adoring every decision you made.

What did I mean by disceptivly simple? Look no further than track two. The guitar tuning is warped, the bass is full of exact slides that feel improvised but are very concise, and the drums are fast and loose. The vocalist confused me when I was younger. I couldn’t figure out their gender, neither by listening or by looking. That started my journey into the world of learning what exactly what gender is. Immediately, I learned that gender is a created term, and learned a lot of things about the existence of the LGBTQ+ world. Not that the band had lyrics that made me question everything, but the very existing of such people bending social norms in the ’90s intrigued me.deceptivelyWhat did I mean by disceptivly simple? Look no further than track two. The guitar tuning is warped, the bass is full of exact slides that feel improvised but are very concise, and the drums are fast and loose. The vocalist confused me when I was younger. I couldn’t figure out their gender, neither by listening or by looking. That started my journey into the world of learning what exactly what gender is. Immediately, I learned that gender is a created term, and learned a lot of things about the existence of the LGBTQ+ world. Not that the band had lyrics that made me question everything, but the very existing of such people bending social norms in the ’90s intrigued me.

Anyway, off the political stuff. That continues to be a sore topic for a large number of people, and delving down that rabbit hole will take me horribly off-topic from this fantastic album.

How would I describe the sound? Think Pixies meets Pink Floyd with a dance of The Clash. How? Pixies because they buck pop norms while also being pop. Pink Floyd because of the use of effects to not only add to a sound, but actually create a sound. The Clash because… well… there really is no reason. It was a proclamation that I made without putting too much thought into it. At the same time, it kind of fits because someone would have a difficult time making me ignore the obvious punk influence in the music. Yes, they are also a pop band. Maybe saying The Clash is too much of a departure, but leaving the punk aspect to just The Pixies feels like it ignores a whole facet of influence.

ANYWAY. I could go on circles all day speaking of influence, but there is no denying that the title track (Without You, I’m Nothing, track five) is a very Pink Floyd reminiscent track. On the next release (Black Market Music), David Bowie does a duet with the singer. As much as this is, by far, my favourite track on this album, that version of the song is perfect. In acknowledging that, it DOES NOT take from this version at all. It still contains one of the best soul crushing buildups in music that I have ever found. They literally go from minimal instrumentation to ALL the instrumentation in a matter of a few bars. To add to the finesse, it beautifully flows into the next track.

Fuck me, I could go on and on about this album, but most of it would just be repeating what I already talked about, OR it would just devolve into incohearent rambles that drone on and on for much longer than I would like them to. I mean, I have speant this long and I only bought up two songs, one of which I did no description for except saying that it is amazing. So, I will sign off on this review with a song that I didn’t talk about, but is equally amazing.

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~Courage My Love — Teenagers {REVIEW}

I admit, I am riding a small hype train here.
The words in this review are genuine, however.

My old guitarist joined Courage My Love roughly five years ago, and I was intrigued at how it would go. Brandon had, to my knowledge, played in only hardcore and metal bands his entire music career. My worry was not whether he could cut it, I was more concerned that he would get bored.

Before I go further, I would like to state that I like Courage My Love. The Twin played with them a few times years ago. Of course, this was before Brandon joined, and their sound was very different from this song. They used to be more punk. Their sound has evolved and, dare I say, matured. I cannot find example of what they used to play, but think mainstream femme punk circa 2007-ish. Very Paramour, without being Paramour. Since I am friends with all the members, past and present, I am probably going to get shit from them for making that comparison.

I MAKE THAT COMPARISON OUT OF LOVE! I MEAN THAT WITH ALL IMPLIED COMPLIMENT!

The new sound is very ’80s pop mixed with a more contemperary sound. Mercedes’ voice is strong. The melodies soar over the cacophony of sound. Phoenix’ drums are simple, but absolutely perfect for what the song needs. I am thoroughly impressed with what they are doing.

A part of me is incredibly jealous. They seem to be flying close to the sun without worry of burning, and it is a placement I have strived for. To think that this was a band that I used to see as that band that would open for me, now I would beg to open for them.

I digress. This article is very hard to write because I know all three of the members personally, and I have to stride a line between honest gushing and the glib, pretentious music-nerd that they know me as.

Regardless, congratulations and praise, Phoenix, Mercedes, and Brandon. Fuckin’ keep killin’ it.

New single, Teenagers.

Classic Album Review :: A Perfect Circle — eMOTIVe

I am breaking two promises I made to myself today! The first is that I would only do these once every calendar year. The second is that I would only review albums around 20 years old. After listening to this album the morning of writing these piece, I felt that it is underrated and ignored.

eMOTIVe by A Perfect Circle is one of, if not THE, most important albums to come out in my life. Between its cover of Imagine bringing the beautiful piece by John Lennon back to the modern times, or its reimagining of other contemporary anthems by bands like Black Flag and Marvin Gaye, it should not be as ignored as it has been since its release.

eMOTIVe is beautiful and haunting. A good potion of the tracks maintain an etherial guitar tone, allowing the vocals to pierce the music and driving their importance to the forefront. Some of the covers are simply reimagining of the original track in a different key, some completely break the mould and do something new. Prime example is “What’s Going On?” and its exploration of different sounds to subvert expectations of what the song could be. Even the most expressed fan of the song would be forced to hear it as a new listener, taking in the lyrics as someone who has never listened to the song before. This gives it new weight in the greater social scene.

There are two songs that really change the cemented pattern on the album. “Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie” is a track by Black Flag that sounds absolutely nothing like the original. I actually had a customer come into my record store and complain about the track. In the same breath, he asked about the original recording of very song that was playing, then argued with me for a few moments swearing that it was not the same. He then abdicated and claimed that Back Flag would be appalled with what they did to the song. I had to laugh, simply because APC changed it to something that continued Black Flag’s mission to make the upper class uncomfortable.

The second track that doesn’t quite fit is “Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm Of The War Drums” which is an APC original. The original was taken from the song “Pet” from their last album called 13th Step. In that song, it is just a line. The reimagining is five and a half minuets of tortured wales and distorted drums. The chanting of the title lyrics almost tantric in their repetition. Overall, I will say this song is irritating and abrasive.

I love it.

It conjures the feel of an Orwellian dystopia, and the video supports that image. The drums are a strange combination of distorted stomps and slaps. The bass is overdriven and blown out. The vocals are mildly distorted and harsh. You are meant to feel uncomfortable. You are meant to question a greater part of society while you listen to it. From the two-minute point to very near the end there is a sound similar to a fly buzzing that does not let up. It is grating. It sounds violent. It is the very definition of what music can accomplish when used as an artistic vision. I am having a hard time describing what I feel, so I will post the video here.

Before watching, it is important to remember the political landscape of the early 2000’s. It does still echo what’s going on now, but it is very geared towards the Bush administration and the reactions towards media at that time. The parallels are evident for the current administration, but uses imagery of that time.

My point? This album is amazing and it deserves more attention from the mainstream public. I completely understand if you feel this album doesn’t deserve the praise I am giving it. It’s abrasive, shocking, grainy and strange. If you have it in the background, it can sound mildly bi-polar and as if it doesn’t know what it is, or what it is doing. The reason it is amazing is because it knows EXACTLY what it’s doing.

I neglected to mention how it goes from “Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm Of The War Drums” to an ambient version of “When the Levy Breaks” by Jimi Hendrix. This whiplash-inducing transition perfectly encapsulates the point and purpose of this album. It demonstrates, in a track, how broken everything can be. Yet, it also shows that there is respite at the end if you choose to find it. There is a calm. There is a point.

Classic Album Review :: Matthew Good Band — Beautiful Midnight

I have not written one of these in a while, but the last one keeps getting new readers! If this is something you want me to do more of, let me know in the comments! I have a few albums I can think of that I feel everyone should remember or experience for the first time.

Oh, Canada! You make such good music!

I know that I keep doing retrospectives in Canadian music of albums from the ’90’s, but that was my bread and butter. I was a huge alternative nerd back then, and some of the best music came from Canada. I am sure, if this article does well, I will hit on Our Lady Peace.

I digress. I lovingly call this album “The Soundtrack for Nihilism” to no one ever.

(I need friends.)

This album has some of the bleakest outlooks on life ever put to lyrics. From the bombastic opening of Giant right through to the somber ending of Running For Home. Every song croons about “everything is fucked is and we’re all going to die so make the best of what you’ve got.”

I love it so much.

Giant is probably one of the best intro songs ever. It opens with a cheerleading group spelling ‘KICKASS’ with no backtrack what-so-ever. Then, with piercing squeals preceding it, the drum line comes crashing over everything. It’s beautiful.

From that point on, the lyrics and music paint a picture of how great it is that everything is the way it is in the most sarcastic, unfeeling way. The music reminds me of the epic crescendo’s of the ’80’s metal scene mixed with the independent movement in the early 2000’s. Leads and little more than jangles placed perfectly over steady rhythms laid out by a steady bass line. This, of course, is punctuated by the slap of crushing swells and pounding drones. The strings sound like they would be simple in execution, but they are covered in flairs you might not notice unless you were looking for them. The drums accentuate the standard pop song structure then vier wildly into the realm of progressive meters and timing without the listener even noticing.

To put it simply, this album should not work in the mainstream archetype, but does so beautifully. The bleak lyrics help along this feeling of ambiguity that the album contrives. Metaphors abound and the similes used illustrate the mind of someone defeated by society, but they do not celebrate it. They are used more to illustrate how messed up everything is, but drive home the hopeless emotion that permeated the ’90’s.

I think my ravings have proved how much I love this album. In fact, I am having a hard time picking a favourite song to share with everyone. When you have massive tracks like the aforementioned Giant and piano ballads like Strange Days with only one song between the two, to find a standout track that dictates the general feeling is really difficult. It would actually be a lot of fun to break the album down, song by song, and write a piece about each one. There is enough content in each song individually that doing so would be interesting. Even taking what they sound like they mean and comparing what they are actually about would be interesting.

I, however, am far from the right person to do such a task.

If I had to make a generalization as to what states-of-mind the album elicits, I would have to say crushing realization combined with an acceptance of just how wrong everything can be.

SO, I TOLD MYSELF I WOULD NOT PICK GIANT.
I found a really good version of Giant live.
The first guitar solo is ignored by the camera operator. Epilepsy warning, though I was okay.

Enjoy.

Music :: Die Hexe

Between the quiet demise of Mind the Music TO and me just not talking about anything music related for a very long time, I feel like I have something missing. Like a part of me is incomplete.

I recently read over my review of Die Hexe’s first album and realized that I rated it highly, but really did not explain why I loved it. Why I found it one of the greatest albums I have had the pleasure of listening to.

I think a part of my reason for writing the review as I did was that I was just putting it bluntly. I constantly had the task of writing those reviews for an audience who did not know me from a hole in the wall, so I made my statements general and exact without going into long winded explanations and stories detailing why I felt the way I did.

I will now rectify that.

DIE HEXE :: ST EP

If my fist three paragraphs and long winded explanation for revisiting this piece of art was not enough reason, this is (without hyperbole) one of the greatest albums I have ever heard.

The EP starts with a perfectly orchestrated guitar feedback, then launches into chaos. I really reminds me of a strange cross between Counterparts’ Prophets and Buried Inside’s Chronoclast: Selected Essays On Times Reckoning And Auto-Cannibalism.

Now, with that said: it is absolutely nothing like either of those albums. It just reminds me of the same heavy emotional feel that they evoke. The best way of putting the feeling into words is being late for something important and everything is going wrong: that feeling of your heart beating hard with every passing moment. The need, not just feeling, to scream along with the words even if you don’t know what they are.

Now, take that high stress feeling, and puncuate it with absolute bliss and a calm that can only be experianced in music.Yeah, that feeling.

Yes, this is a metal/hardcore album. That should not disuade fans of lighter music to at least expeience it. That is exactly what this album is: an experience. The emotional rolling coaster one feels as the tracks seemlessly bleed into one another is pure extacy.

I think my favourite part about this album is that it is never showy. There are no traditional solo’s. There is a lead guitar part in Long Live the New Flesh, but it is more of a lead than a solo.

Yeah, if you havn’t noticed, I fucking love this album. I want this band to get the recognition they deserve. Please, do yourself a favour and listen to it. I never push listening to the whole thing. Usually the first couple of songs give you enough to go on. I will not go that way with this album: PLEASE LISTEN TO THE WHOLE THING. Every song is beautiful. Every emotion is felt in full.

This is where I justify how this recording reminds me of death. I mean, I could do the whole pretentious breakdown how it starts running, mildly slows down,  and ends with my third favourite crescendo ending, only to be topped by Cursive’s Domestia and Sparta’s Wiretaps & Scars, but I will leave that description to you.

Seriously, float them a few dolllars for the album, check them out on FaceBook, and remember that I love them to no end.

Just a friendly reminder that I will be releasing the first of anewsin Publications on the first.. The story is called “Elaine” and I am very excited to hear what everyone thinks. There is a .sample available if you want to read what is coming up. If reception is okay, there will be another story in September. I am working on November’s release already, and my good friend Hannah has something set up for September (more information on that soon). Please, support me on Patreon to help me get through life.

<3

Another Top 10

I awoke this morning with lyrics in my head. I assume that is not strange for the masses, but I am a drummer: I usually do not remember lyrics because I am distracted by the music. I had this urge to highlight songs that actually mean something to me, so here are the top 10. I know that I have done something like this before, but I am going to point out the songs that mean something to me, not the albums. This list contains tracks from albums that would never touch a top ten, and there are one or two that I only listen to the album for that song.

I reiterate: I am a drummer. A couple of these songs are just on this list because the drums are so fucking cool. In the interest of transparency, I will point that out when it comes to fruition.

Animals as Leaders- CAFO
Let’s start with one where the drums sold me on the very premiss. CAFO is easily one of those complicated songs I have ever heard. I think why I put this on my top ten as opposed to something from Godspeed You! Black Emperor is because it remains one of my favourite memories. I saw this back open for BTBM a few years ago. They were playing a flawless set, then they got to this song. The drummer added just ONE snare hit before a fairly easy part (compared to the rest of the song, anyway), and the guitar players got SO lost. It was just so fantastic to see that even Gods can fuck something up.

Samsaris- Góða Tungl
No, I cannot pronounce this title to save my life. I can, however, proudly put it in my top list. This song is absolutely beautiful. There is something incredibly haunting about the clarinet in contrast with the vocals. This song speaks to me on every level, though I have no clue what they are saying.
I refuse to look up a translation. I am afraid of hating what they are actually saying.

Blood Brothers- Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck
A rather bleak way of describing eternal love and blind devotion, I first heard this song around a time when I thought I was in love with a girl. In hindsight, she was horrible. I know she does not read this blog (because we hate each other now) but, this song is for you.
Love love love love love love love. (rhymes with pity now)

Kevin Drew- TBTF
There was a time I almost got those four letters tattooed on my person: TBTF (to beautiful to fuck) is a story about love. Innocent love. A desperate person holding onto the relationship they have with a friend who is attractive.
ALTERNATE MEANING:
Someone who is rejecting someone they should be interested in, but they cannot justify it.
To be honest, I have no fucking idea what this song is about. I just know that I love it and relate far too much to it. Because I am oblivious to what it is actually about, I use it to rationalize uncomfortable situations I found myself in with friends.

The Dresden Dolls- Girl Anachronism
Piano and drums? Yes, please! Is it to bold to ask for sarcastic and self deprecation on the side? No? Perfect.
I play. This whole album is amazing, but I think that it is perfectly summed up by this track. Fast. Angry. Dynamic.

Incubus- A Crow Left Of the Murder
Puns in the name and probably the coolest guitar riff ever written by a band, it is easy for me to talk about how much I love this song. The more interesting way to do it is to leave the link up top and see how many of you listen to it.

Placebo- Without You I’m Nothing
Think Pink Floyd, but modern. I almost put the version with David Bowie on this list, but the original will do beautifully.

Nine Inch Nails- La Mer
I fucking love this song. Soothing, beautiful, haunting. The trifecta of amazing. I actually refuse to look up the translation for this song for fear of ruining the feel of it.

Poison the Well- The Realist
Does this song demonstrate everything I love about this band? No. It does the opposite. This song contains the most beautiful vocal melody I think I have ever heard and I just need to share it with everyone I meet. Listen. Enjoy.

Sufjan Stevens- I Want To Be Well
This was the song that actually inspired me to make this list. I fell in love with this song back when the album came out in 2010. I was working in a record store and was trying desperately to be the cool-indi-music-guy (and failing very hard at it). I had gotten into Sufjan about a year earlier from the Illinoise album, and I thought I got where he was coming from. The Age Of Adz proved to me that I should shut up and admit that I do not understand anything about music what-so-ever.
This song was my anthem. When I was cruising around at three in the morning, I would blare this song out my windows, singing along and staining my voice. I am positive that I disturbed a few sleeping people, but I was earnestly saying those words in all their glory. “I want to be well.” If I only knew then that not five years later I could relate more those words than I did at the time. If I only focused on what I had and not what I was loosing. Maybe, just maybe, things all could have been amazing.

I digress. Do yourself a favour and PLEASE listen to these songs. Especially the last one, it holds a place in my life that only I know of.

To state again: these are just 10 that remind me to listen to the whole album again. They are in no way my top favourite albums, and not even the top recommendations I could make. They are just some great songs that I find myself thinking about a lot.

Have You Not HEARD? Part II

I realized on Thursday that this was being posted on October first. Happy spook-month, everyone!

This is a series of blog updates where I either remind you of bands you forgot, or show you things you may have never heard before. Every album listed here is one of my favourites, and I will try not to bring up duplicates from other lists I have done.

Bloc Party :: Four
This band confuses me. I am very aware that they are far from the scope of the mainstream (or, were huge at one time, anyway), but no one seems to talk about them. I have been made well aware that they are terrible on stage, but that does not change the fact that Four is one of the greatest albums I have ever heard. Hard-hitting, spiteful, dark, yet beautiful.
Recommended listening — We Are Not Good People

Boards of Canada :: Music Has the Right to Children
Yes, I admit, this is a strange album that not many people would be interested in. It is electronica, but very much background ambience. Brought to you by the same record label that brought Aphex Twin and Squarepusher to the world, this exists in a kind of strange vacuum that could be considered Adult Contemporary, but it is far too strange and fantastic to be degraded in such a way. (I’m sorry if you like Adult Contemporary, just not my thing)
Recommended listening — Wildlife Analysis

Broken Social Scene :: You Forgot It In People
To set the record straight early: I really hope that no one has actually forgot this band. Seriously, when was the last time you listened to this album? Not recently enough is the answer. Interesting Canadian Pop-Rock, with an impressive collection of vocal artists and very talented musicians.
Recommended listening — K.C. Accidental

Broken Social Scene Present: Kevin Drew :: Spirit If…
Strange, honest, jangly… this album contains everything that could be considered great in the early-2000’s Canadian Indi scene. It contains one of my favourite songs ever recorded and, for the last decade since its release, I rarely go a week without treating myself to this forgotten gem.
Recommended listening — TBTF

Dear in the Headlights :: Small Steps, Heavy Hooves
I feel so badly for this band. They were released on Equal Vision in 2005 and were quickly overshadowed by the emo and hardcore movement that was taking place at that time. Ignored by the masses, the world dejected one of the most talented bands to ever grace our planet. Good from beginning to end, please do yourself a favour and give it a fair listen. Do it for you.
Recommended listening — Sweet Talk

Deathmole :: Present Peregrine
This is a fake-not-fake band. Jeph Jaques created Deathmole as a joke in a comic he writes, and then used the opportunity to flex his creative muscles musically. The result is a very interesting take on the Djent genre. As far as I am aware, the drums were all programmed. I must say, he did a fantastic job on them despite that fact.
Recommended listening — Personal Charm

Death From Above 1979 :: You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine
My friend Kevo and I did a rendition of “Turn It Out” for a school pep-rally over a decade ago. The album dropped back in ’04, and I think we performed it ’05? Does anyone remember, or have a link? Was there ever a video taken of this? I would love to see it. That occasion stands as one of the first times I tried to sing and play drums: and I forgot the words half way through. It was awesome.

OH YEAH, THE ALBUM. It is Punk with just bass and drums. Hard, strangely funky, a lot of fun. I don’t put it on often, but I am always happy when I do.
Recommended listening — Turn It Out

Hot Hot Heat :: Future Breeds
Fun. Fucked. Amazing. I love this album. (I just noticed just how much of this list is Canadian, and I am far from sorry about that.) This album is a great example of what you can put in music that will annoy people, yet still do incredibly well at the end of the day. Phenomenal lyrics that hide time and key changes masterfully. Something else I feel like I should mention: the vocals are much less obnoxious than they were on earlier releases. I am not saying that they were bad, back-in-the-day, but they were grating if you could not get behind them.
(secret: if you want to see a drummer cry, get them to drum along to this album. It sounds simple, but it’s noooooot)
Recommended listening — JFK’s Acid

The (International) Noise Conspiracy :: A New Morning, Changing Weather
I will be candid here, I hate this band. In my eyes, this album was fantastic, Survival Sickness had some good tunes: THAT’S IT. You may recognize the singer as being the front man from Refused, but he does NOTHING to that caliber. Not that he should, however. This album is a strange combination of Surf-Rock and Punk: it worked once, at least.
Recommended listening — Up For Sale

Lullabye Arkestra :: Ampgrave
This band is strange. Like, proper strange. Just bass and drums (on stage, anyway), and they were very artsy. The drummer was from Do Make Say Think, and his wife was on bass. They put on one of my favourite live acts I have ever seen. It was awkward, fun, loud, and inviting: you felt like they wanted you there, and everyone else was your good friend. Really recommend listening to a few songs off this album before you jump to a conclusion.
Recommended listening — Unite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maximo Park :: A Certain Trigger
This album means more to me than it probably should. I picked it up randomly when I was still working at the music store on a whim. I was immediately caught off guard by how much I enjoyed it. It reminded me of The Smiths, without sounding anything like them. They are one of the tightest bands I have ever heard, and the lyrics are very ridiculous, but still important.

Random personal story: when I was fresh out of the coma, and finally starting to realize the world around me, I identified with the song “Apply Some Pressure” in a morbid way. Something about the way the singer keeps repeating the phrase “What happens when you loose everything? You just start again. Start all over again.” It just resonated with everything that I was and still am going through.
Recommended listening — Apply Some Pressure

(Of course, I would point out the song that keeps the album close to my heart.)

AMENDMENT TO MAXIMO PARK: After listening to “The Queen is Dead” I no longer agree with my Smiths comparison. I do hold true to the fact they sound like that era. The Smiths are their own beast, and few bands will ever be able to recreate that sound reliably.

I am not here to tell you what you need to listen to. I just simply need to remind the world of these artists and/or bands. If you do not love them, as I do, that is okay. I still want to make these exposés every once in a while. As I have stated in the past, I do aim to do a music update at least once a month. I have not done one since June 25th, and I am not proud of that. Please, share this list with your friends. Tell me if you found something awesome, or recommend something that you think I might like!

You have not HEARD?

I have not done a music spotlight since the beginning of April. I find that strange because music plays such an important roll in my life, and has since I was a young child. So, for today, I am going to direct your attention to a few albums you really need to listen to that there is a good chance the majority of people have never even heard before.

Kill the Lights — Buffalo Of Love
Band from Montreal, Quebec. Very reminiscent of the indi sound of the early 2000’s including a singer who can’t-sing-but-does-anyway-and-no-one-else-should. This album has some of the fastest drumming I have heard outside of metal. I saw them open for the Constantines a few years ago. At that show, the keyboard player did an awkward chicken dance through most of the set — it was awesome/awkward. Did I mention that it was awkward? Does not change the fact that this is one of the best albums with this sound I have ever heard.

Really unfortunate: I cannot find any music anywhere on the internet. However, it is on Spotify, but I hate that site.

June — If You Speak Any Faster
EMO EMO EMO EMO.
I hate that I love this album. It is in the same veign as Taking Back Sunday’s Louder Now, but less epic and awesome. (sell it better, Jay. Come on) I love this album. It does have it’s low points, but it starts  perfectly. Dueling vocals, playful guitars, and powerful drums. The best part is that it is fun to sing with.

The Junction — ST
I really enjoy the contrast between this and the EP. Half the EP is somewhere on this album, but the songs are SO much darker. It’s just so damned interesting what they changed and what they kept. The first song is nothing but an assault on the ears (in the best way) and it never lets up until the end. Remember Love is so delicate compared to most of the album, but that does not make it less amazing.

The Last Shadow Puppets — The Age of the Understatement
Singer from The Arctic Monkeys, and I find this project so much better. Think Spaghetti-Western but rock. So good.

Pretty Girls Make Graves — Elan Vital
This was a random album that a co-worker threw into the player one day. The result was both he and I scrambling by the end to purchase it before the other. It is haunting, beautiful, complicated… Yeah. I was very tempted to put this on my list from a month ago, but it just lacks the emotional attachment to my life.

Quicksand — Slip
It actually offends me that more people do not know of this album. Yes: I admit that he cannot sing. However, the influence this sound has had on music is massive. This album does it better than every other in my opinion. The fact that his voice is so terrible adds to everything. Again, so close to my list, but not quite.

Samaris — ST
I went to Iceland on the one week where there was no live music. To make myself feel better, I walked into a record store and picked up a random album by a band that I have never heard of. What I got was one of the darkest and beautiful albums I have ever heard. Who knew that you could combine clarinet and electronica so well?

A Silver Mt. Zion — Kollaps Tradixionales
(Probably one of the coolest songs once it gets going. Really watch at the 3:06 mark)
Montreal: you slay me. That city has produced more music that I am obsessed with than anywhere else. I probably should have put “Godspeed You, Black Emperor!” instead of this band. What I find so amazing about this album is that it maintains being equal parts punk and folk.

Stars — Set Yourself On Fire
I hate this band. They put on one of the worst live shows I have ever seen. I say that, but I have never heard such an evocative set of lyrics matched with beautiful music before I heard this album No matter how I try, I cannot top it. Everything in me just has to love an album that open with “when there’s nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.”

Stills — Logic Will Break Your Heart
I FORGOT ABOUT THIS ALBUM. THIS IS ACTUALLY IN MY TOP 3. CAN’T YOU TELL THE CAPS ARE DUE TO ME FORGETTING ABOUT THIS ALBUM UNTIL RIGHT NOW AND NOW I AM TRYING TO BE CLEAR THAT I LOVE THIS ALBUM AND FEW WILL EVER MATCH HOW AMAZING IT IS.

Ahem.

Full of atmosphere, brilliant lyrics, beautiful tones. There are few albums that I will ever describe as essential for any reason, but I honestly feel like this album is essential for anyone looking for an ironically-dark journey into a depressing-but-funny world. As simple as they are, the drums on this album are what kill me. There is nothing overly interesting about them on the entire recording, but they are mixed to a cathedral level of amazing that is amazing and amazing amazing amazing.

Ikara Cult — Basic Instructions
It took me WAY too long to remember how to spell this band’s name without looking it up.
This song defines punk to me: it’s so fast! I have been trying for years to move my arms as fast as this drummer. I have never succeeded. I’m not here to talk about the drums, this time. It amazes/hurts me how few people know this band. This was the first song I heard by them, and still remains my favourite by this group. The only song that got close to making me change my mind was OneNote, which is similar in how quick it is (and also remains a more-traditional punk sound).

Really, this band is what drove me to make this list. Like I said, I honestly do find it astounding how few people know of this British troupe. If I have sold you on them, get the EPs first. The album is good, but is missing the intensity that comes with the EPs.

A week later, and I have thought of 302130583405914 more bands to share. If there is interest, I will do another list of greats that you need to check out.