Every year I come up with a list of albums, and every year I have trouble trying to firmly rank them. Also, doesn’t everyone just scroll to the end to see what the best album is? I know I do. So here’s my list where the first entries are the best, and it gets decidedly fuzzier after that. But one thing is certain, every album on this list is one of the best albums of the year. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
(ed: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or just happy Wednesday, whatever. Consider this a break from the family deal where there’s too many bags of torn gift wrap and cousin Eddie is playing banjo on your last nerve. Enjoy Charles’ picks and check all these out seeing as you’ve got all those gift cards and/or extra cash burning a hole in that pocket.)
Sometimes you listen to a new album from a band and wonder what went down in their lives to cause such a drastic change. Enter Town Portal’s Of Violence. Something about math rock, to me, has always had trouble ever sounding anything other than upbeat and, if not happy, then at least contented. Yet Of Violence manages to sound dark, eerie, and foreboding. Where The Occident was a triumph of soaring delights and feelings of overcoming diversity, Of Violence sounds like the fossil record of an event that left an indelible scar. Continue reading
Guys, 2015 was pretty rad, at least in terms of music (I’d also argue it was a watershed year in almost all creative and entertainment media I follow, but that’s a different discussion. Plus, I just had a really good year, in general).
The nine albums listed below earned their spots because they stuck with me all year for one reason or another. However, I wanted to give lip service to a few that ultimately didn’t make the top nine, but that still brought some great musical moments into my life. For instance, I have spent many a rainy night nodding to the cyberpunk synthwave of GosT’s Behemoth while riding the train home, feeling like a character in a William Gibson novel; I took long hikes in Oregon’s lower Willamette Valley to the sounds of Enslaved’s In Times and Misthyrming’s Söngvar elds og óreiðu; and I got to experience the sonic energy of Mutoid Man’s Bleeder (and Helium Head) live in its entirety, in what was probably my favorite show of 2015. These little moments are just a few in a year filled with them.
Anyway, enough nostalgic waxing from me. Here’s to hoping 2016 is as good of a year as 2015 (I’m looking at you Gorguts, Gojira, and Horrendous).