Saturday, December 26, 2015
the Top 10 Rock Albums of 2015
This year there is an eclectic mix ranging for folk rock to hard rock, some albums are darker than others. The inclusion of a pop category this year took anything to happy to rock with it. Most of these albums speak for themselves. A couple of these some lists have had as metal, but not every one knows what metal is...oh, well. Here are the Top 10 rocks albums of 2015.
10 Cairo Pythian: "Touched"
Cairo Pythian might have been the best kept secret of the Pacific North Wast. There have been enough post- punk band's worshipping Ian Curtis and friends so why no one at the alter of Love and Rockets. Often they weave a weird piece of dark wave that pulls out the rock n roll more than I anticipated. The synths are darker than the guitar solos that are more Brit pop. The singer can sing, on some songs he carries a seventies glam streak. But we are getting ahead of our selves because it starts of with a colder electro synth pop streak.The industrial elements are glamorized for the dance floor and not really for rivet heads throwing punches in latex. The genius in the production is the lo-fi indie rock distance the songs have to keep them from sounding like something on the oxymoron that is mainstream alternative radio.If you are tired of "cold wave" albums that sound like they were recorded on a four track in the bathroom and open to some genre defying drug crazed nonsense that is fun as all hell, do not waste another second of your life by not hearing this "band". I was able to just stop keeping score as I knew I was going to like each song.
9-Nostalgist:"Of Loves and Days Ago"
It's hard to argue against this Seattle band. The baritone vocals like if the singer from Bellicose Minds sang for a shoegaze band. They have an incredible guitar tone and have combined an interesting array of elements, I can hear touches of every thing from Hum and Failure to the more shoe gazing side of black metal. Not that they go any where near a blast beat but they have a similar atmosphere. Being a product of the 90s I enjoy any band that can use samples as a narrative in the songs and they really contribute here.Luckily with a little clicking I found the band's "name your price" as life currently has me too broke to pay the 8 bucks, though it would have been worth every penny and one of the few albums I would have put on my forced to buy list. Good Job kids.
8-King Dude:" Songs of Flesh & Blood -In the Key of Light"
Being the Chelsea Wolfe that I am you would think I'd already be all over this considering he is one of the few artists she has collaborated with and midway into the first song I am not sure why I haven't been. It's more post- punk meets rockabilly than folk or the Johnny Cash singer-song writer thing I assumed it to be. There is more of a Rome like strum to "Deal With the Devil". The things I like about it that is remains dark. Sure Nick Cave is an obvious influence, but Cowgill doesn't get lost in the narrative and forget he is singing a song an not narrating a story. I prefer the fuller sounds and production on this album to some of his older work I heard a few years ago. If you are a long time fan then some of the more sparse and droning moments that didn't grab me off the bat will be more of you thing.
7- No Joy :"More Faithful"
I was anticipating this new full length from No Joy. Having liked the glimpses I got from this project in the past , but have never gotten a solid taste of what the band could really do so now we get the big picture. The show you many side right from the first song which has the driving post-punk bass pumping under dreamy vocals. The guitar doesn't come into clearer focus until the second song, which conforms to more indie rock standards than the opener. The vocals smooth out and glide over their brand of dream pop, that comes across more vocal more in the forefront than their previous work. Not quite dancey and shaded with equal dabs of My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth.Sure they can gleam like fragile crystal, but can also rock out when they feel like it.
6- The Decemberists: "What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World"
What do I want from a new Decemberists album ? Why am I even asking that question aren't they out of place among the typical fare.You might not have guessed that I would be a huge fan of the Decemberists, having listened to the for over a decade and seen them four times live during that time. Their last album the "King is Dead" was a quaint stab at radio airplay, a gamble that paid off for them. So what do a think would be a perfect Decemberists album, well I would like to see the lyrics darken back up...of course and get back to the murder balladry of the past. A cross between the Hazards of Love with Picaresque.I get this in doses, but not completely.Colin Meloy's voice has improved over the years.This can be heard in the tonal quality of it on "Lake Song". Strummed folk with a jazz like under current it works a familiar magic for the band. Other songs find bands classic sound minus and pirate shanty elements with "Till the Water is Gone". There are moments when You really get a good picture of how good of a guitarist Chris Funk. This is followed with "the Wrong Year" a pop song that is written in the classic world folk sound the band excels. It carries a hook with all the intention that they wrote the last album with, but draped in sounds long time fans should feel more comfortable with.
5- Algiers: "S/T"
Matador records is released this, but not doing much else to promote it. Good thing for the band they have a unique sound that should set them apart. They formed in Atlanta, but like most other good music Atlanta doesn't know what to think of it so they relocated to varied parts of the world meeting up again in New York. They do take string synths that are slightly goth and set them as a backdrop to the gospel dirge. The singer's husky soulful voice has more rawness to it than I expected and it sits in a bizarre juxtaposition to the noisy industrial clanging that it emotes over. Sometimes it sounds like the rest of the band is going to go along with him and start busting out some 60s soul from within the din. fitting comparison to this band would be they fuse dark electronica to gospel in the same way Chelsea Wolfe has done it with folk. Lyrically I think any religious imagery is being used as a metaphor. If you have any inkling in regards to my spiritual path based on my writing for Cvlt Nation then it should be clear that if this was a christian band I would not give them the time of day. Without a doubt this is an excellent piece of work that was well worth the searching it took to hunt this down.
4- Nadine Shah: "Fast Food"
So many of these new post-punk revival bands are jacking from Siouxsie, but they are only latching onto one element of what she does. Nadine might be jacking from Siouxsie, but at least it's a different aspect of Siouxsie that is a path less travelled. The album opens up in a more straight forward manner than I suspected. It still has air-tight song writing.There is an interesting tone to album that juggles an androgynous longing in the lyrics and their delivery. I have no problem just keeping this album on and letting it play.
3-Marriages: "Salome "
This trio spawned off of the Red Sparrows and have been killing the stage opening for the likes of Chelsea Wolfe after releasing the impressive "Kitsune". The first thing that grabs your attention this go around is their singer. Her singing gets the most improved award for the album. Not that she was a bad singer before, her vocals have really stepped up to the next level and given the space to be used as an instrument just as impressive as the guitar, bass or drums. She was a more purring alto, which she flexes into some vocal lines that are more aggressive that the guitar that has taken on an even more dreamy quality time time around. At times this gives them more in common with A Perfect Circle or Tori Amos then the Russian Circles post-rock they brewed before. Sure some of the melodies are more radio friendly, but this is a far cry from selling out. You can't blame a girl for wanting to sing. They deserve all the praise they might get for not being afraid to shed some of the pretense of post-rock and just focus on writing good vocal driven songs. Emma has stepped up to the mic with a vocal performance few albums are going to be able to beat this year.
2- Ryan Adams : "1989"
This album served as the methadone for my Taylor Swift addiction. My wife doesn't like Taylor Swift, she is banned from being played in the car, but this album is totally acceptable. Ryan Adams who also must be a pretty big fan as well as a metal head...just look up his cover of "Holy Diver", made a bold move in covering Swift's "1989" in its entirety and the results are pretty great.He really makes these songs his own which is an impressive feat and colors them with more of a Bruce Springsteen feel.
1- Royal Thunder: " Crooked Doors"
This band continues to evolve from the blues soaked stoner rock, they have put the Black Sabbath albums away and now have become more of an indie rock band that takes on a rough edged hard rock dynamic. On the opener "Time Machine" which the band premiered on Npr, Parsonz puts some angry husk to her voice when the band begins to climax toward the end of the song. The band was never fully committed to being a metal band even they they had a fetish for playing with metal bands , but they have taken another step away from metal with this album. This is not a bad thing as the new direction lends it's self to a compelling array of sounds and emotive glimpses into who this band is.