Showing posts with label the war on drugs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the war on drugs. Show all posts

Saturday, January 6, 2018

the top 25 best albums of 2017 (VIDEO)

Well, nearly forgot about this one... but not to worry, it's still here. Enjoy!

Next up, the debut of The Trailing Edge - stay tuned!

the top 25 best albums of 2017

Of all the years I've put together year-end lists for albums, this might be the hardest it's been - and believe it or not, it's for the best possible reason: I covered an abundance of incredible music in 2017, arguably more than I ever have before! Even though I didn't give out any perfect scores, this year showed multiple genres giving us the goods, from a revitalized rock scene to several country gems to underground hip-hop making a major resurgence to pop putting forward its best showing in years - and that's not even getting to the genre-defying oddities that utterly blew my mind!

But what this also meant were cuts... in a year where I could put together a top 50 and still feel like I'm leaving stuff off, this was particularly brutal. Once again, I was very tempted to expand this list, but again, I'm highlighting the best of the best, and that means while these could have made it in a weaker year, for 2017 they didn't cut it. I won't deny that hip-hop got hit hard in this, as I really wanted to include records from Quelle Chris, Jay-Z, milo, Armand Hammer, Tyler the Creator, Rapsody, Yelawolf, and yes, Kendrick Lamar on this list and I can't. And queue the outrage by everyone that DAMN. is not making this list, but considering there are  five hip-hop records that beat him out to get here, there isn't room for complaining. And I don't want to hear anything from the indie set either than Father John Misty, Kirin J. Callinan, Spoon, The xx, St. Vincent, and Alvvays missed the cut too - all great records, to be sure, but not quite good or consistent enough. Honestly, the most painful cuts for me came in rock - where Creeper, Chelsea Wolfe, and Ayreon all missed it - and especially country, where Natalie Hemby, Angaleena Presley, Dori Freeman and Chris Stapleton all didn't make it - again, great albums, but limited slots. Finally, we have three records that would have sparked controversy had they landed on the list so there is a part of me they just missed the cut: Jhene Aiko, Brand New, and Niall Horan - although there is another part of me that would love to see everyone's expression if Niall made my year end list and Kendrick didn't.

But again, those are my Honourable Mentions... and now onto the list proper.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

the top 25 best albums of 2014 (VIDEO)

And that's it for me for 2014! The last of the lists, probably one of the more controversial ones, but hey, it's what you get.

I want to thank all of you for sticking with me this long - if it wasn't for you crazy cats, I wouldn't have gotten this far or I probably would have spent my time elsewhere long ago. As it is, let's keep up the hustle, and I hope to see you all with more album reviews, Billboard BREAKDOWN, and maybe something new in that new year. Stay tuned!

the top 25 best albums of 2014

And now, the final list, the most important and likely the most hotly debated selection, the top 25 albums of 2014. Some of these entries you will recognize as they've been acclaimed by plenty of publications already, but there are a few surprises here that definitely need their due consideration.

One thing to preface this list: while I have seen many year-end lists, these are all my personal choices based upon what stuck with me the most this year. And to qualify, they have to be one of the 210 albums I reviewed in full this year. And believe me, this list had a few painful cuts, but I'd prefer to keep this list smaller and respect the cream of the crop rather than reward albums that might not deserve the same acclaim.

But enough, wasting time, let's get this started!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

the top 50 best songs of 2014 (part ii: 25-1) (VIDEO)

And there's part two. One last list to come, stay tuned!

the top 50 best songs of 2014

And now onto the third list, and by far one of the hardest to make. This year I discussed 210 albums and from there I had just under 700 songs that I considered eligible for this list. From there, the task of narrowing it down and ranking them was excruciatingly difficult, because I want to make sure this list was of the best of the best, and even with that I had to make some painful cuts. And once again, keep in mind these are not the hits. We have singles and deep cuts here, from artists who are defiantly mainstream to those lodged deep in the underground. And one more thing: for a song to land on this list, it has to have been released from an album I reviewed this year. If it was just a single, it doesn't cut it - but on a contrary note, if the single dropped last year or even the year before and the album was only released now... well, it qualifies in my books.

But enough wasting time, let's get this started with...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2014

Holy shit, this video took hours. Really happy with it... except for some of the volume levels on the music, but that was such a pain in the ass to get right that I'm fine with where they are.

Next up, Mastodon. Stay tuned!

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2014

I've been debating with myself pretty consistently over the past few weeks whether or not to make this. It's a pretty common thing with critics to take stock of their favourites at this point of the year, and considering I've covered 108 albums thus far this year, in terms of sheer volume it'd make sense for me to go back and take stock of what I've heard and what deserves consideration going into the second half of the year. And while I'm leery about spoiling my year-end list, long-time fans will probably be able to figure that out anyways, so why not go the extra mile and draw a spotlight to some acts that are definitely worth the consideration. 

So without further ado:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

video review: 'lost in the dream' by the war on drugs

Holy shit, I did not see this album coming. Genuinely gripping and an early contender with 'Daylight & Dark' and 'Sun Structures' as one of the best albums of the year.

Next up... well, I need to talk about that Freddie Gibbs & Madlib collaboration, but I need to do a little more research on that one first, so I'll probably tackle something like the Shakira album next. Stay tuned!

album review: 'lost in the dream' by the war on drugs

So believe it or not, I actually do like indie rock.

And it's always a little exasperating when the presumption is made that since I've handed out some pretty harsh reviews to indie bands recently that I might dislike the genre - or hate good music in general, because that tends to be the hyperbolic jump-off point. Because while I might listen to plenty of pop and hip-hop and country, I still have a big spot in my heart for indie rock, and I'd much prefer to hear it on the charts than other miscellaneous crap that gets popular. 

However, I will admit that there are currently popular trends in indie rock of which I'm not exactly fond. The current brand of percussion-heavy, melody-light, reverb-and-effect-swollen brand of indie rock is not exactly my cup of tea, especially in comparison with the jangly edge of mid-80s college rock, the explosive distorted edges of the 90s indie scene, or the garage-inspired riff-based roughness of the early 2000s. And on top of that, I'll wholeheartedly admit that I tend to be harder on indie rock with grander ambitions and goals than acts that are just trying to make simple pop songs. Just because you step up to the plate with big ideas doesn't win credits in my books unless executed well.

And thus it's been a real treat for myself to revisit the discography of The War On Drugs, the band that was originally formed as a collaboration between Adam Granduciel and Kurt Vile. I covered Kurt Vile last year with his album Wakin' On A Pretty Daze, but The War On Drugs is decidedly more Granduciel's project, with Vile departing on amicable terms after doing a bit of work on the band's excellent second album Slave Ambient, a record that features a blend of Dylan-esque vocals, mid-80s REM-inspired riffs, U2-driven bombast, and lyrics featuring potent journeyman themes and great songwriting. And considering their newest album Lost In The Dream, the first without any involvement from Kurt Vile, has been receiving rave reviews, I figured it was about damn time to give it more than a few listens. How did it go?