2022 Music Rewind

Once again, I am WAY behind in listening to this year’s releases. My Spotify “listen later” playlist has 772 songs and would take 50 hours, 25 min to listen to all the way through. My downloads folder has over 3000 items, almost all folders of mp3s from the last few years. I know there’s gold in there. Anyway, here are my favorite albums that I heard this past year (in alphabetical order):

Continue reading “2022 Music Rewind”

2020 Music Rewind

Spivak - Μετά Το ΡέιβWhat a year. Historic. COVID-19 is a global pandemic and it has disrupted life all over the world. We have lost many entertainment legends this year, including many musical giants (not all to COVID). RIP Harold Budd, Tony Allen, Eddie Van Halen, Neil Peart, Manu Dibango, Millie Small, Little Richard, Ennio Morricone, Julian Bream, Toots Hibbert, Bill Withers, and many others.

There has been a great outpouring of music during the various lockdown periods this year. I, unfortunately, have not had time to keep up because the remote nature of my job meant that the pace never dropped when everything else ground to a halt (though, really, I should count it as fortunate because I have been steadily employed and even started a new job).

Here are my favorite music releases that I heard this past year (in alphabetical order):

Continue reading “2020 Music Rewind”

2019 Music Rewind

So… last year I confessed in my annual blog post that I couldn’t keep up with my usual listening habits so my list of favorites was pulled from a very limited pool. This year was even worse in terms of listening time! As such, my list is super short.

But, thankfully, not having time for listening did not mean no musical activity. Ever since my daughter was born I have been writing lyrics again. I only managed to write and record one of those songs this year. Click through to give a listen…

Continue reading “2019 Music Rewind”

2018 Music Rewind

Mary Jane Leach – (f)lute songs

For much of this year I felt like I had less time than usual for active music listening. I got married, my wife was pregnant, she gave birth to our beautiful daughter, I had work commitments, my band The Twilights recorded and released a new album, etc. As a result I have a huge backlog of albums that I wanted to check out that I have not listened to yet.

So, this year’s list consists of albums that I did hear that made a strong enough initial impression on me that I either 1.) wrote it down to remember for this list, or 2.) immediately suggested some like-minded friends have a listen — with the caveat that my survey was woefully incomplete as I probably only made it through half of my to-do list of albums.

Anyway, here’s my list in alphabetical order:

Geoff Barrow (of Portishead fame) has brought his attention to groove and atmosphere to a fusion of prog rock and krautrock. It’s not highly technical music, but I use the prog rock label because of the production style and drum sounds as well as some pretty precise playing.

Continue reading “2018 Music Rewind”

2017 Music Rewind

2017 was Donald Trump’s first year as president of the United States. Perhaps it is “outrage fatigue” at play, but it seems in retrospect that the albums that resonated with me this past year share certain qualities. Most of my favorites exhibit patience, steadfastness, focus, and determination. I needed music that is restorative. I needed it to provide space for my brain and my soul.

Jared C. Balogh – Between Probabilities (Evgeny Gerasimchuk, Grigory Bazhanov and Jared C. Balogh)

Balogh’s compositions are complex thorny things sometimes. Rhythmically dense, melodically spiky, angular in all the best ways. What a treat to hear this set of compositions realized with live guitar (played by Evgeny Gerasimchuk) instead of rendered via computer. Available as a free download on WFMU’s Free Music Archive. Disclosure: Jared is my friend and bandmate.

Continue reading “2017 Music Rewind”

2016 Music Rewind

For much of this year I felt as though I was not able to keep abreast of music releases well enough to even pick favorites. Then suddenly towards the end of the year I came across several really great releases and A Tribe Called Quest dropped their first album in years which turned out to be amazing. Who knows, another great album might get released in the few remaining days of 2016…

The Body – No One Deserves Happiness
Starting off quiet and dark like Miranda Sex Garden, this album soon gives way to slow-crushing heavy guitar glaciers. Almost like Swans in the 90s turning back into Swans in the 80s.

Continue reading “2016 Music Rewind”

2015 Music Rewind

Here’s my list of favorite releases for this past year, presented in alphabetical order:

Lucrecia Dalt – Ou
This is filmic, cinematic music. Sounds creep in and out of view with the seamless rhythm of the best film editors. Texture and grit are key ingredients but harmonies do sometimes emerge to lend a familiar emotional anchor to the abstraction. There’s a radiophonic wooziness that bathes the whole affair in nostalgia.

Continue reading “2015 Music Rewind”

2014 Music Rewind

There were so many interesting album releases in 2014 I felt I could barely keep up. In fact, I was still adding titles to my Best of 2014 contenders list late into December. Here are some of my favorites, in alphabetical order:

The Bug – Angels & Devils
Kevin Martin returns to his The Bug alias for a full length LP and several EPs worth of mutant bass music in 2014. More than any other electronic music producer, Kevin understands the equal importance of mass/weight and texture. Both aspects are deployed extremely effectively whether the track is an atmospheric snarling dub-wise bass mantra or a neck-snapping mutant-dancehall-cum-grime firestarter.

Continue reading “2014 Music Rewind”

2013 Music Rewind

Time, once again, to review some of my favorite music releases from the past year (pretty much the only regular feature of this “blog”). 2013 was a very fruitful year for alt-R&B/future-R&B as well as for Chicago-London bass hybrids. All the usual caveats apply. There is always too much music to hear all the great releases in a year but these grabbed me more than the rest. I look forward to reading all the other lists to catch up on what I missed.

Chants – I Feel Like I Feel It
If memory serves, I heard about this release via dj /rupture’s Mudd Up blog. The most obvious signposts are Shlohmo or Origami Sound’s post-Burial soundscapes but Chants manages to make an electronic music album that sounds extremely personal and expressive. There is a strong enough identity to shrug off easy comparisons.

And the pricing starts at zero dollars: http://hushhushrecords.bandcamp.com/album/i-feel-like-i-feel-it
Continue reading “2013 Music Rewind”