Showing posts with label el vy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label el vy. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

the top 25 best albums of 2015 (VIDEO)

And now we've got the last of the lists - damn, this video took WAY too much work to get online...

Okay, next up... well, it's Rachel Platten, so nobody cares, but after that is Billboard BREAKDOWN, so stay tuned!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

the top 25 best albums of 2015

We're now onto my final list, the one that always produces a certain amount of frustration as I struggle to recognize the best of the best. And as I said in my last list, it's always difficult to narrow it down to the best of the best. And this year was probably the hardest yet, mostly because it started so damn strong and was able to sustain that momentum into late this year. And while I was able to trim this list down to 25. And thus for the sake of my own conscience, I need to mention a few Honourable Mentions in no particular order that just missed this list. 

Because believe me, when you have comeback records like No Cities To Love by Sleater-Kinney and Tetsuo & Youth by Lupe Fiasco that show huge returns to form, they deserve at least a shoutout. Hell, an album that features a creative rebirth like Baroness' Purple which dropped very late in the year deserves it too. And then you have underappreciated gems like Escape From Evil by Lower Dens, one of the great unsung synthpop records of this year. And on that note, as much it might be a bit of a contentious statement to say that hip-hop had a great year, I stand by it - when you have Earl Sweatshirt, Jay Rock, The Underachievers, Yelawolf, Pusha T and Czarface dropping stellar sophomore records, coupled with comebacks of unexpected quality from Ludacris and killer debuts from Joey Bada$$, all of which might have had a shot for this list in a weaker year, that's saying something. And that's not counting the list itself that's at least twenty percent hip-hop, but we'll get to that - hell, might as well start with...

Friday, January 1, 2016

the top 50 best songs of 2015

And now we're onto the list that's always the hardest for me to make, mostly because it requires by far the most work: the best songs of the year, overall. Not just hits, but singles and deep cuts from album ranging from widely successful to barely out of the underground.

And this year was harder than most, mostly because it was a damn great year for music. The charts may have been strong, but that was nothing compared to the cavalcade of great music we got, which meant that cutting this list down from thousands to around 630 to 165 to the fifty we have meant that there were a lot of painful cuts, so much so that I seriously considered instituting a one-song-per-album rule. In the end... I couldn't do it, because there were some records that were so unbelievably good that I had to include multiple entries. Now we'll be covering those albums in greater detail a bit later this week, but in the end I held to the rule that at most I could put three songs from any one album on this list - and that we easily had more of those makes my argument that was a damn solid year of music, probably better than last year's, all the more powerful. 

One more thing before we start: while I can describe music well and why it works for me on a technical level, most of the songs on this list cut a fair bit deeper than that, and thus I'll endeavor to provide some emotional context as to why they worked so well beyond a purely intellectual exercise. And of course it's my picks - there might some common overlap between my choices and other critics, but it would be disingenuous to choose tracks for 'cultural importance' rather than what really got to me more deeply.

So let's start with a track that completely threw me off-guard.

Monday, November 2, 2015

video review: 'return to the moon' by EL VY

Oh, I can imagine this review will be controversial - mostly because from the reviews I've seen this record is pretty controversial among critics. I personally think it really works and absolutely love it, but I can see the other side for SURE.

Next up I want to talk about Joanna Newsom, but I've got one bit of old business to finish first. But of course we've got Billboard BREAKDOWN coming, so stay tuned!

album review: 'return to the moon' by EL VY

You ever have those albums that the first time you hear about the idea, you wonder why on earth nobody has ever thought of it before?

Yes, I know, I've used that tagline before when I've talked about Casualties of Cool and FFS and Algiers, but when I heard about the team-up of frontman of The National Matt Berninger with former Menomena member and current Ramona Falls frontman Brett Knopf... well, the thought didn't come immediately. The National might be one of the most stable and acclaimed groups in modern indie rock - for good reason, they're awesome - but Menomena was something different altogether, an experimental group specializing in looped progressions and an oddly democratic and programmed composition process that sparked enough curiosity for me to dig into their early albums. And holy God, I'm glad I did, because while it was experimental in an oddly regimented way, this group had a knack for fantastic melodic loops and progressions that if married to the crescendos and intricate lyricism that had made The National a favourite of mine, we could have something special. And just for curiosity - and to check to see if Menomena hadn't been an amazing fluke - I also checked out Ramona Falls, and while they're a looser act, the great melodies are still here along with a slightly more eclectic and theatrical presentation that also happens to be pretty damn awesome. 

So, okay, two great tastes coming together to make an album that Berninger described as his most personal and inspired by a blend of the musical Grease and the punk band Minutemen - and you should know them because they're awesome and Double Nickels On The Dime is a goddamn classic... look, this was bound to be interesting at least. Was I right?