Thursday, December 30, 2010

LPC will be taking a break until Monday, January 3rd

Hope you're enjoying the holidays. If there's something important enough to post during that time I'll post it, but considering this is kind of a dead period for music we'll take some time off.

We'll see you guys next Monday!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tomáš Dvořák - Machinarium (2009)

Machinarium is an unusual indie game brought into the gaming world by a small recently established Czech independent studio called Amanita Design. Machinarium is a triumph of an outstanding game design, a retro universe full of complicated mechanical constructions. The fact that it has no dialogue at all makes the soundtrack to the game all that much more important.

At its heart the Machinarium soundtrack is an electronic album, creating an enveloping environment of sound that conjures up images of very simple, decaying machines. But it runs the gamut from beautiful, lush ambient arrangements with simple instrumentation, to catchy electro dance music, to childlike melodies.

Thou - Summit (2010)

Dense, atmospheric, harsh, all words that can describe the 3rd album by New Orleans band Thou. Summit is a departure from the band's norm, bringing tighter, more focused playing to the table, and it really does sound great. The atmosphere is dark & harsh but never does it come close to being stagnant or boring. It's not your average Doom Metal album, it's slow churning and raw. Definitely check it out.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Terakaft - Akh Issudar (2008)

Terakaft are a group of Touareg nomadic guitarists who have become increasingly prominent in the world music scene in the last few years. On Akh Issudar, their first major release, they've amalgamated Saharan nomad music with blues and a tinge of psychedelic rock. The result isn't at all complex but they're all the better for it.

With three guitarists (all of whom sing) and no percussion, you'd expect their sound to be an uncomplicated one and it is. But they put so much intensity into those sparse notes and they can easily turn down the burning passion for more trance-inducing cuts. They have a distinct meandering quality to their music which is not unlike their lifestyle.

Since it's their first wide release, Akh Issudar is as good a starting point as any for venturing into desert blues.


Merry Christmas from LPC

Because today and tomorrow are collectively titled Link Day, I'll throw some stuff out there for you to listen to in between Christmas dinners. Some of these (coincidentally!) happen to be on the LPC mixtape. Free preview, I guess?

Clive Tanaka y su Qrquesta - All Night, All Right
Vince Guaraldi - Skating
How to Dress Well - Endless Rain
Tennis - South Carolina
Beautiful Swimmers - Big Coast

You can tell what seasons I'm thinking of...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Track of the Day: Christmas Eve

The opening track of Blind Guardian's new album, At the Edge of Time, is one of the most impressive pieces of metal I have heard all year. It is epic yet intelligent. It is complex but still catchy. Basically, it is what Blind Guardian has evolved to be after so many years. What really amazes me about this song is the immense amount of variety. The melodies are constantly changing (aside from the epic chorus) so it never gets boring. Not only that, but there is also a great sense of depth to the sound. Listen to this song with a good set of headphones and you will notice some of the intricate details to the music. Hansi Kursch's voice is a particular highlight, especially in the epic chorus. His trademark doubletracking of his vocals is in full effect here and makes the music as powerful as ever. Sacred Worlds proves that these middle aged power metal pioneers can still come up with quality material. Merry Christmas everyone!

LPC Mixtape Series, Vol. 3, November/December 2010: Christmas Morning

Depending on how old you are as you're reading this, you're probably several years past the unmatchable excitement of waking up on Christmas morning to see what you've received from family, friends, other relatives, and, of course, Santa.

What were some of the best gifts you received during your childhood? There's always that one gift that you'll always remember because it was on a different level compared to the rest. Likewise, you'll also remember the gift you received from a (presumably) distant relative who was either a cheapskate, unintelligent, or thought you were five years old.

While this mixtape isn't strictly Christmas-themed, I'd like to think it is with several Christmas-related tracks (most of those, thanks to T_R_A, being comedic) and a general thought of Christmas morning in mind (except for the Odd Future stuff, of course!).

Because of the lack of a mixtape for the month of November, we decided to combine the two months into one giant mixtape for both November and December; we think you'll like this a lot.

With that, we'll let you enjoy 30 selections from our staff for the months of November and December.

  1. Afrirampo - Miracle Lucky Girls
  2. Clive Tanaka y su Orquesta - All Night, All Right
  3. Tame Impala - It's Not Meant to Be
  4. Bad Veins - Gold and Warm
  5. Earl Sweatshirt - EARL
  6. Dean Martin - Baby, It's Cold Outside
  7. Girl Talk - That's Right
  8. Max Bemis and the Painful Splits - Do the Dohnk
  9. Sun City Girls - Space Prophet Dogon
  10. Tyler, the Creator - French! Featuring Hodgy Beats
  11. Vince Guaraldi - Linus and Lucy
  12. Killer Bong - Are There Any Complaints
  13. Half Man Half Biscuit - All I Want For Christmas Is a Dukla Prague Away Kit
  14. Girls - Carolina
  15. NoMeansNo - Big Dick
  16. One Ring Zero - Half and Half
  17. Weezer - Trampoline
  18. Ducktails - Killin' the Vibe
  19. The Residents - Dumbo, the Clown (Who Loved Christmas)
  20. Stellar OM Source - Island Best
  21. Captain Beefheart - There Ain't No Santa Claus on the Evenin' Stage
  22. Electric Six - The Rubberband Man
  23. Atlas Sound - This Wheel's on Fire (Dylan)
  24. Man or Astro-man? - Mermaid Love
  25. Nuclear Rabbit - Santa Claus Is Selling Crack
  26. Jad Fair and Naofumi Ishimaru - Santa's Knee
  27. Big Troubles - Bite Yr Tongue
  28. Das Racist - Who's That? Brooown!
  29. Medecine - Christmas Song
  30. Vince Guaraldi - Skating

Download (197 MB)

With this post, I would like to thank everyone who has had a helping hand in the foundation or continuation of this blog. Every writer on this staff that contributes does a great job in writing and it's hard for me to not be happy with the writers we have.

Without the visitors and readers of the blog, though, we wouldn't be able to do any of this. Thanks to all of you for making this possible.

Now let's look at 2011 as the year we can make this improve in so many ways. Good night and Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A short sample of what LPC writers thought were the best tracks of 2010

Because we only got a few submissions for this one, I'll just post what I have. Mixtape coming tomorrow.


10. Belle and Sebastian - I Want the World to Stop
Classic Belle and Sebastian.

9. Beach House - Lover of Mine
Not the most recognized song on Teen Dream, the keyboard riff gets me.

8. The Roots - Now or Never
Really brings out the optimistic side of How I Got Over. Such a powerful chorus.

7. Crystal Castles - Empathy
The highlight of CC's second album. Production doesn't get much tighter than this.

6. Kanye West - Runaway
Of course Yeezy has to make a sincere song with ridiculous lyrics. But it's sincere nonetheless. Pusha T delivers a killer verse, the song has a powerful beat and dat outro.

5. LCD Soundsystem - All I Want
Definitely this album's 'All My Friends' or 'Losing My Edge'. Just gets more powerful with each verse. The guitar goes so well with the backbeat.

4. Big Boi - Shine Blockas
It's just so... smooth. The production is smooth, big boi's flow is smooth, and Gucci Mane's chorus, we're talking baby-bottom smooth here. The exact sort of hip-hop song I expect to hear about once a year.

3. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
The title track really sets the tone of the album in a similar way to how 'Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)' establishes Funeral. In my humble opinion, The Suburbs is the most memorable track on the album. The piano riff at the beginning, the chorus especially, and the guitar in the outro. It my not be the most intense, hard-hitting song on the album, but it sticks.

2. Broken Social Scene - Romance to the Grave
The last song of the 'Strong point' in Forgiveness Rock Record, Romance to the Grave is how a crescendo should be done. It doesn't drag on and it's climax isn't too over the top. It just steadily builds up to a powerful and memorable finish.

1. Girls' Generation - Hoot
Haters gonna hate, simple as that.


10. Arcade Fire - The Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
9. Big Boi - Shine Blockas
8. Deerhunter - Helicopter
7. Sufjan Stevens - All Delighted People
6. The Black Keys - Tighten Up
5. Electric Wizard - Black Mass
4. World's End Girlfriend - Les Enfants Du Paradis
3. Sleigh Bells - Tell Em
2. Kanye West - Runaway
1. Flying Lotus - Galaxy In Janaki


10. Tennis - South Carolina
9. Arcade Fire - Sprawl 2 (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
8. Sleigh Bells - Rill Rill
7. Titus Andronicus - To Old Friends and New
6. Deerhunter - He Would Have Laughed
5. The National - Lemonworld
4. The Books - All You Need Is A Wall
3. Panda Bear - You Can Count On Me
2. James Blake - CMYK
1. How To Dress Well - Decisions (feat. Yuksel Arslan)


1. "Monster" - Kanye West feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj and Bon Iver
2. "Impossible Soul" - Sufjan Stevens
3. "Somethin"- Devo
4. "Fuck You" - Cee Lo Green
5. "Dog Days Are Over" - Florence and the Machine
6. "Little Lion Man" - Mumford & Sons
7. "POWER" - Kanye West feat. Dwele
8. "Brave New World" - Weezer
9. "California Gurls" - Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg
10. "Un-Break My Heart" - Weezer


Balkan Beat Box - Dancing With The Moon
Gogol Bordello - Immigraniada
Arcade Fire - Sprawl II
Big Boi - Tangerine
The Roots - Dear God 2.0
Kanye West - All of the Lights
M.I.A. - Born Free
Johnny Cash - Ain't No Grave
Neil Young - Angry World
No Age - Fever Dreaming


10. Women - Eyesore
9. Big Boi - Shine Blockas
8. Sufjan Stevens - I Walked
7. Big K.R.I.T. - Hometown Hero
6. Panda Bear - Slow Motion
5. Mark McGuire - Brothers (For Matt)
4. Beach Fossils - Vacation
3. Brothertiger - Lovers
2. Flying Lotus - Galaxy in Janaki
1. Arcade Fire - Half Light II (No Celebration)

Sorry for the mediocre post, but it's all I've got this time around. Next year, this should be more well-organized.

Thanks for reading. Mixtape is coming tomorrow and it's looking great. As a side note, this may or may not have a cheesy Christmas title.

The 2010 LPC Readers' Poll

Hello and welcome to the first annual Loving Peter Cetera Readers' Poll. Because readers only had a few days to submit ballots, the final tally may be somewhat small because there were only 48 ballots submitted. However, this is just a start - next year's poll will be bigger and better.

Here was the system used:
  • Readers were asked to submit a list of their top five albums for the 2010 calendar year.
  • For the top five lists, there were 5 points given for #1, 4 for #2, 3 for #3, and so on.
  • After all ballots were submitted, I added up every ballot into the mix and came out with these final numbers.
On to the poll.

9 (tie). Vampire Weekend - Contra and The National - High Violet (13 points)

Due to a coin flip, the album by Big K.R.I.T., K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, was left out due to space issues for the top ten poll.

Not too big of a surprise here as both Contra and High Violet were found on many top ten lists to end the year. High Violet had the higher points per ballot average (was on four), but Contra was on more top five lists.

8. The Roots - How I Got Over (14 points)

This surprised me by coming in at #8 as I didn't think the hip-hop heads could push one album up this much. While I still haven't heard it, I find the Roots listenable so I'll be checking this out if nothing else.

7. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (15 points)

I'd still like a new OutKast album at some point, but I guess this great release can hold me over for some time.

5. (tie) Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest and Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma (18 points each)

No surprise here either - you'll find both of these albums on many of the end-of-year top albums lists, including my own. Both albums are excellently crafted and both are unique (at least to me, anyway).

4. Curren$y - Pilot Talk (19 points)

Never would I have thought at the beginning of 2010 that a line about playing NBA Live and eating chips would become one of my favorites of the year.

3. Beach House - Teen Dream (44 points)

This album showed up on several of the ballots and was one of the clear-cut top albums, having over twice the points of Pilot Talk. A fantastic album and one I would label "can't-miss".

2. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (54 points)

Had a lot of points and normally could've contended for #1, but it didn't even come close to the runaway winner, which was...

1. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (122 points)

Yes, 122 points. It was included on nearly 2/3 of the ballots, beat the Suburbs by 68 points (!) and wasn't contested whatsoever.

Thanks to everyone who voted and everyone who helped make this happen. Hopefully, we'll be doing this at the same time next year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Official LPC 2011 Hype List

With just nine days left before the new year and no more new releases in 2010 outside of two new OFWGKTA releases in the final week, it's time to look forward to what 2011 has to offer. Release dates are not final and can change at any time, but for the most part they should be accurate.

Considering that there are currently no release dates determined for notable albums after the end of March, we'll stop there for now. However, at the end of the list, there will be a list of albums with either general release dates (such as sometime in February/March/summer 2011/etc.) or albums that are to be released in 2011 without a release date.


January 10th: Ducktails - Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics
White Fence - ...Is Growing Faith

January 11th: British Sea Power - Valhalla Dancehall
Rye Rye - Go! Pop! Bang!
Tim Buckley - s/t (1966 reissue)
Tape Deck Mountain - Secret Serf EP
MillionYoung - Replicants
N.E.R.D. - The Best of N.E.R.D.

January 18th: The Decemberists - The King Is Dead
Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde
Braids - Native Speaker
Social Distortion - Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes
Robert Pollard - Space City Kicks
Tennis - Cape Dory

January 24th: Demdike Stare - Tryptych

January 25th: Sic Alps - Napa Asylum
Cloud Nothings - s/t
Destroyer - Kaputt
Iron & Wine - Lick Each Other Clean
Gang of Four - Content
Deerhoof - Deerhoof vs. Evil
Talib Kweli - Gutter Rainbows
Thank You - Golden Worry

January 28th: Faust - Something Dirty

January 31st
: The Go! Team - Rolling Blackouts
Hercules & Love Affair - Blue Songs


February 1st: Kompakt Records - Pop Ambient Collection
The Dirtbombs - Party Store

February 8th: Cut Copy - Zonoscope
The Babies - s/t
James Blake - s/t

February 14th: Gruff Rhys - Hotel Shampoo
Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
P.J. Harvey - Let England Shake
Lifelover - Sjukdom
Dornenreich - Flammentriebe
Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972

February 15th: Bright Eyes - The People's Key
Yuck - s/t
Asobi Seksu - Fluorescence
Telekinesis - 12 Desperate Straight Lines

February 22nd: Adele - 21
Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place
Toro y Moi - Underneath the Pine
Porcelain Raft - Gone Blind EP
The Cave Singers - No Witch
The Books - The Lemon of Pink (2003 reissue)
Danielson - Best of Gloucester County

February 25th: Heretoir - Heretoir
Mani Neumeier and Kawabota Makoto - Samurai Blues


March 1st: Papercuts - Fading Parade
The Rural Alberta Advantage - Departing
Rainbow Arabia - Boys and Diamonds

March 4th: Kreidler - Tank

March 7th: Burzum - Fallen

March 8th: Lupe Fiasco - Lasers
Wye Oak - Civilian
R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now
Parts & Labor - Constant Future
The Dodos - Untitled

March 15th:
A Hawk and a Hacksaw - Cervantine
J. Mascis - Several Shades of Why
The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar
Heidecker & Wood - Starting From Nowhere (yes, Heidecker = Tim Heidecker from Tim & Eric/Tom Goes to the Mayor)

March 22nd: Belong - Common Era

March 29th: Mountain Goats - All Eternals Deck
Peter Bjorn and John - Gimme Some
Mars Classroom - The New Theory of Everything
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou - Cotonou Club

That's it for the release dates that have been determined. Now, here's the second half to your hype list for 2011.

Albums With Undetermined Release Dates by Month

Does It Offend You, Yeah? - Don't Say We Didn't Warn You (January)
Dr. Dre - Detox (February)
Duran Duran - All You Need Is Now (February)
Earth - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 (February)
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Belong (March)
The Strokes - TBA (March)

Albums With Undetermined Release Dates by Season

Virus - The Agent That Shapes The Desert (Winter... more than likely)
Vivian Girls - Share the Joy (Spring)
Hunx and His Punx - TBA (Spring)
Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 (Spring)
Black Lips - TBA (Spring)
Death Cab For Cutie - TBA (Spring)
Fiona Apple - TBA (Spring)
Red Hot Chili Peppers - TBA (Summer)

Albums With No General Release Date Determined (i.e., due sometime in 2011)

Battles - TBA
Blakroc - Blakroc 2
Man Man - Live Fantastic
Kanye West & Jay-Z - Watch the Throne
Santigold - TBA
Yelawolf - TBA
My Morning Jacket - TBA
Games - TBA
M83 - TBA
Pusha T - TBA
Panda Bear - Tomboy
Radiohead - TBA
Big K.R.I.T. - Return of 4eva
Lady Gaga - Born This Way
The Cars - TBA
Coldplay - TBA
The Cool Kids - When Fish Ride Bicycles
Fleet Foxes - TBA
Franz Ferdinand - TBA
Kraftwerk - TBA
No Doubt - TBA
Rush - Clockwork Angels
The Shins - TBA
Seaweed - Small Engine Repair
U2 - Songs of Ascent
The Wrens - TBA
Wilco - TBA (rumored to come out in either late 2011 or early 2012)
The Feelies - TBA (rumored for spring)
Lantlôs - Agape
Thränenkind - TBA ("Trying" for an end of 2011-beginning of 2012 release)

Albums That May or May Not Come Out in 2011 But Are Heavily Rumored to Do So

None of the bands listed (to my knowledge) have said anything about a new album in 2011 yet, but the general opinion is that each release listed will be out by the end of the year. This could fall in the above category of albums that WILL come out in 2011 at some point, but as stated in the first sentence none of the artists listed have officially mentioned anything about a new album to this point.

Air France - TBA
The Avalanches - TBA
Grizzly Bear - TBA
Neon Indian - TBA
Memory Tapes - TBA
Real Estate - TBA
Cults - TBA
Aphex Twin - TBA
Lil Wayne - TBA
The Lonely Island - TBA
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - TBA
Beck - TBA
Bon Iver - TBA
Burial - TBA
Crystal Stilts - TBA
Explosions in the Sky - TBA
Peter Gabriel - New Blood
Gorillaz - TBA
Islands - TBA
The Kills - TBA
Circle Takes the Square - TBA
Jens Lekman - TBA
Low - TBA
Portishead - TBA

Well, I think that's everything. If I missed something, let me know in the comments section and I'll add it. Hopefully, as these albums come out, we'll have a review of each one here on LPC.

Look out for the following this week:

Later Today - 2010 LPC Readers' Poll (the readers' top ten albums of 2010)
Tomorrow - LPC Writers' Top Ten Tracks of 2010
Christmas Eve - The LPC November/December Mixtape
Christmas Day and the day after - Link Day (we'll be posting anything and everything that we feel like posting)

Hopefully this all goes smoothly. Hope you enjoyed the Hype List and look for the Readers Poll either later this afternoon or tonight.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ghostface Killah - Apollo Kids (2010)

Rounding out 2010 is the latest installment from Wu-Tang superstar Ghostface Killah. Arguably the most consistent rapper in the game, with a total of 9 albums, 7 of them being at least very good and 3 classics of the rap genre. Apollo Kids does not disappoint, as Ghostface proves yet again why he's one of the best MCs around.

Overall, Apollo Kids is a great album, with many high moments and few lows. It may have scraped into my top 10 list, depending on how many times I listened to it beforehand. Assuming no one is expecting another Fishscale, hip-hop fans will be satisfied. The production is solid and Ghostface's flow is as smooth as ever. Opener 'Purified Thoughts' has strong verses from both GZA and Killah Priest, which begins what is a very consistent run for guest rappers on the album. Busta Rhymes, Cappadonna, The Game and Raekwon all have great guest spots. Not to be outdone though, Ghostface just spoils his listeners with witty rhymes. On '2getha baby', Ghostface rhymes "momma" with "Obama" and "no no" with "go" and "Tony Romo". The sampling is top notch as well, with a nice little Tears for Fears sample in 'Starkology'. 'Street Bullies' my personal highlight of the album, has a delightful Spongebob reference from guest rapper Sheek: "I'm infatuated with money like Mr. Krabs."

To put it simply, Ghostface has delivered with style once again. It's a great album to close off what has been a solid year for hip-hop and a tremendous year for music in general.

Stellar OM Source - Trilogy Select (2010)

Short review since I'm in a hurry, but what you're looking at is more excellent drone/electronic/experimental in the style of Oneohtrix Point Never. Christelle Gualdi makes nice soundscapes under this handle, using four selections each from three albums of hers released in 2009. Very 80s nostalgic-like. "Rites of Fusion" is a collab with Daniel Lopatin/Oneohtrix Point Never. "Island Best" has this really awesome video.

Try it
Buy it (ctrl + F "trilogy select")

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Advantage - Elf Titled (2006)

For a blog that came to be from a video game website, I think it would fitting to put up an album that does some math rock-esque style covers of classic video game soundtracks. They have covered songs from numerous video games, including Mega Man, Batman, Castlevania, Contra etc. The cover of the album also does the justice of what you would expect.

There is little intrinsic cheesiness to the original compositions - most of the songs are wiry and ambitious on bass and guitar with interesting counterpoints, such as the extremely frantic bass and high, graceful guitar soloing of the Batman stage 1 music, or the stumbling, disorienting time changes of the Contra themes.

Overall this is a fun release from some dudes that love their childhoods enough to form a band and cover some of their favorite songs from their NES/Super Nintendo games. All of the albums tracks are fun with the second half of the album owning more standout tracks that seem to fit the Math Rock mold almost perfectly. The songs are all translated quite well and there is almost no way of telling a difference, for better or worse.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Circle of Ouroborus - Cast To The Pits (2010)

It's a bit unfortunate to do an end of the year list so early. Not only do we miss out on a month of records, but there are, frequently, records we miss, or don't let settle in by the time we need to write. That's partially the case with one of my favorite bands, the prolific Circle of Ouroborus, with one of their several 2010 outputs.
They've made serious progress throughout the years. Early, they were a rough band, mostly working as a sort of blackpostpunk sound. They spit droning vocals, sprawling bass lines and catchy drum patterns under a thick guitar and tincan production. As they moved on, they began to get more expressive, Antti Klemi became less monotone (though still keeping that distraught tinge in vocals), production cleared a bit (still rough, it couldn't be any other way), and guitar lines shaped a bit to match. 2008's acoustic diversion, Venerations, marked a subtle change in their atmosphere, as well as a hidden bit of range, and 2009's Tree of Knowledge signaled a band in maturation, a full sound that kept the sordid tone of the earlier, with lush composition including very atypical measures, including the use of horns occasionally, as well Antti straightening his growls and groans to heighten his emotional contribution.
And here, with Cast to the Pits, it continues. They're back to their acoustic sound, as with Venerations, creating more of a black-folk sort of sound, with it's tinge of post-punk, mostly casting out those notions of some sort of black metal. Antti has seemingly become even more confident in his ability to project emotions; his trademark groans no longer set in some "Love Will Tear Us Apart"-esque Ian Curtis. He bends and shifts with the music, as well as the occasional growls that join in, and, although it probably won't make many fans that disliked him before, it works to great advantage with the full, folk sound the band is working with here. With bright guitar passages, he has a more contemplative tone, he keeps a hush whisper in the mystic rhythms of "Wind Rhyme", and he throws an near spiteful gasp in the pounding, drum-and-chord heavy "You Are A Sleeping Ghost Like Me". Somewhere in-between a nihilistic blackness and a sanguine meadow rest Circle of Ouroborus with a sort of demonic presence. Equally menacing and inviting, there may be something to gain if you let them in, and as hypnotic they are on Cast in the Pits, it's hard to not be in a trace.

Ice Bound Majesty - A Tomb To Erect (2008)

Again, True Sheffield. This one coming from the other half of Skultroll (the one not Black Vomit), with his own work, Ice Bound Majesty. This one, like Black Vomit strays from the more straight, punk sound of Skultroll, again throwing around samples and varying styles of music at will. Starting with the usual dark ambiance, slowing working into an acoustic folk-esque section, entering flute (or some other small woodwind), and then to a thick, ugly drone, all within the first two minutes of this ~35 minute EP. It really has no concern for expansion. While mostly contained within the usual dark atmosphere, somewhat dungeonesque, it variates into doomy ambient passages, into furious blasts, into a cleaner drone into a heavy electronic sound, and back in a manner both smooth and jarring.

That "dungeonesque" sound doesn't always permeate, however. It's occasionally somewhat angelic, as with the "choir" starting and jumping within Wardragon Bones, it's sometimes modern, and mechanical, the drone sometimes takes a sharp, electronic sound, and it's occasionally, unabashedly beautiful. Bright, again almost angelic passages, rise from the grit (again, much like the Black Vomit I posted earlier), doing it's best to warp the listener's mind. There is really no way to prepare for what happens next, no mood one can set oneself into to "fit" the record. It's a twisted universe.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Skultroll - Skultroll (2007)

More True Sheffield. Although one shouldn't expect the outlandish range of the Black Vomit I posted earlier, this group, a side-project from the mind behind Black Vomit (or perhaps the other way around), this is a particularly good example of the general sound that ties this scene together. Guitar shreiks with a "blender" of effects, spiking and droning from one second to the next, and the drums again making a thunderous presence. No heavy use of samples and classical instruments, no lengthy ambient passages, this is much more of a punk-ish interpretation of the True Sheffield sound.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The LPC Staff's Top Ten of 2010: A-Gorm

I need to stop neglecting this site. Apologies, again.
1. Devo - Something For Everybody
This album really took me by surprise. I enjoyed a lot of Devo’s classics, and when I decided to Something For Everybody a shot I immediately became entranced. The whole album is incredibly well done, original, and the lyrics are incredibly catchy. Devo’s first release in 20 years sounds just as good as their older work. I can’t get enough of this album.

2. Kanye West - My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy
Kanye West keeps displaying why he is one of the best rappers out there with MDBTF. The album has the beats that Kanye is known for, as well as some big named featured artists like Bon Iver, Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, and John Legend. Kanye West is almost like David Bowie in a way, each of his albums seems to completely distinguish themselves from one another.

3. Vampire Weekend – Contra
Vampire Weekend’s sophomore album is very laid back and easy to listen to, with catchy songs like Cousins and Giving Up The Gun. Contra is an all-around solid album; as a matter of fact it was my most played album of the year for 2010.

4. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
I saw Deerhunter open up at a concert a few years back, and have been a huge fan of them since. Halcyon Digest is a bit on the experimental side, but great nonetheless.

5. The National - High Violet
The National’s first album since 2007 debuted to wide critical praise, the album itself is pretty melancholy. I found this album to be very well done and enjoyable.

6. Sufjan Stevens - Age of Adz
I didn’t know what to expect going into my first listen of Age of Adz because I had not listened to Sufjan’s older work before. The album is very relaxing to listen to, some of the songs almost sound like they could be church hymns. I put it on while studying and found that it helped keep me calm.

7. The Black Keys – Brothers
Brothers is a very gritty, bluesy rock type album with a couple of songs that I absolutely love. “Howlin’ For You” was my personal favorite; I was surprised to hear it in Entourage and NHL 11. I absolutely love the use of the kazoo in the song’s background.

8. Childish Gambino – Culdesac
I did a write up of this album in the summer. Culdesac is an album that deals with pretty serious topics, but it feels very fresh and sincere. Childish Gambino uses a lot of different metaphors and is very clever in the way that he delivers his raps, he mixes humor and seriousness very well in this album.

9. Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks
I listened to this album on a recommendation from my friend and actually enjoyed it, even though I was told that it wasn’t one of Frightened Rabbit’s better releases. Scott Hutchinson, vocalist and guitarist for the band, said that the album is a type of “storytelling album”, and that the lyrics often deal with some of life’s heavy issues.

10. Jimmy Eat World – Invented
Invented did not get amazing reviews from the critics, but I thought that it was a pretty solid album nonetheless. There are some typical catchy Jimmy Eat World songs on here, but a solid chunk of the album failed to stand out, which hurt the album in my opinion.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The LPC Staff's Top Ten of 2010: Omagunk

I have no opener.

10. OMNI - Minus The Bear
I had never heard of Minus The Bear before this album, and decided to check them out after seeing them on -of all places- 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!'. The album is definitely worthwhile, the instrumentation (particularly the guitar) makes for a great listen and lead vocalist Jake Snider really shines. Any and all alternative rock fans are encouraged to check it out.

9. To The Sea - Jack Johnson
There isn't so much to say about this album. If you're familiar with Jack Johnson's previous attempts, you'll know what to expect on this album. If you aren't then you should know that this is 13 tracks of well-played and expertly-sung songs -mostly about love or the loss of it- that beg to be played through your speakers during a road trip or on the way to the beach. Definitely a goodie here, folks.

8. The ArchAndroid - Janelle Monae
Not being familiar with Ms. Monae, this album took me completely by surprise. It is a blend of soulful hip-hop and electronic music with a large helping of sonic weirdness mixed in. Its greatness is compounded by the fact that its wrapped up tidily in a neat, concept-album package. Janelle Monae is truly firing on all cylinders with this one both with her arrangement, production, composition as well as switching her style between soft, whispered raps and fantastic singing. Get this album!

7.Everything's Berri - A.G.
For a long while I thought this would be the best album of 2010, instead of just one of the best. Still, A.G.'s return after his 2009 album Oasis (with O.C.) is great. His cool, calm, collected flow works in perfect harmony with his deep voice and the fantastic production on the album. There are alot of earworms to be found here.

6.Sir Luscious Left Foot - Big Boi
Big Boi's first solo effort (unless you count Speakerboxx) is a rousing success. Every song is expertly produced to create a mood that precariously dangles on the edge between hip-hop and electronica, and maintains its balance excellently. Of course, it goes without saying that Big Boi's delivery, flow, and lyrics are of course in full effect, putting almost every track over the top. Fantastic guest appearances by Janelle Monae, T.I., and trap-music heavyweight Gucci Mane only seal the deal.

5. The Kardashev Scale - Greydon Square
Also known as "Best Album Nobody Listened To In 2010"

Greydon Square is one of my favorite rappers, and I've been following him since his debut album, "The Compton Effect." (This is his third album and best yet). Greydon square is the latest in the never ending stream of "conscious" rappers, most of his topics he raps about include atheism and inflammatory remarks against religion, as well as his life growing up in group homes. Expertly produced by Traumah and Greydon himself, this album is a must-listen.

4. Album Of The Year - Black Milk
In 2007, Black Milk released the great album Popular Demand, then produced all of Elzhi's The Preface in 2008. In 2008 he dropped an instant classic with Tronic. I think it is a testament to his ability that Album Of The Year is far and away his worst album, and still one of the best releases of the year. Its done in the typical Black Milk style of fast, machine-gun style raps tuned perfectly to the beat, and filled with appearances from other Detroit's MCs just when you think Black's voice is getting dangerously close to boring.

3. Curren$y - Pilot Talk
Curren$y has been on a huge roll in 2010 (get it because he raps about weed and you roll joints and...forget it) with his great mixtape Smokee Robinson, Pilot Talk and Pilot Talk's sequel album. However, Pilot Talk is head and shoulders above everything else he's released this year, and most hip-hop releases. As per usual Curren$y shows a fantastic ear for beats that fit fantastically with his slow rapping style which almost makes him sound disinterested. Great guest spots from Snoop Dogg, Mos Def, Jay Electronica, Smoke DZA, and Devin The Dude only help his cause.

2. TSOL - Shad
Shad is probably my favorite rapper to come out recently, and I can count the songs he's released that I don't like on one hand. TSOL is his third album and best yet. The production is handled well, but the real shine of the album comes from the way almost every track is written perfectly. Shad makes fun and funny wordplay and multisyllabic rhymes ("I do enjoy some lychee ice-tea with pearls/find me on a nice beach doin' tai chi with girls") seemingly out of thin air; he makes hip-hop look ridiculously easy. If you'd like your favorite rapper to remain your favorite rapper, avoid this album at all costs.

1. Authenticity - The Foreign Exchange
This is the best album of the year, in my opinion. Soulful, thoughtful and fun to listen to. You should, -nay, need- to acquire this album if you enjoy R&B, Soul or anything else up that alley. You can see me gush more about it here:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

aronrayzz. - карман для слёз (2010)

Among the lists, we've seem to forgotten to post album reviews, so I'll plan to supplement these lists with some relatively unknown 2010 albums, as well as some general favorites I've been meaning to post. So to start, an obscure trio post-rock band from Mother Russia.
And I can sense the grimaces from the mention of "post-rock", a genre so packed with artists I'm sure most of us prepared to hear nothing but mediocrity and cliches. Perhaps they do fall for some of the traps of the genre. For the 45+ minutes this album lasts, you'll hear plenty of remnants of all the classics that appear in the majority of these bands, but it's not strictly that. They have certain moments of deviation. Like within the fifth track, the guitar compositions become more riff-centric, falling into thick distortion and the drums come from the background to punch in furious blasts with quick snare rolls to break it up, even to the supplement of screams. And it's really in these moments where they gain strength. As strong as their more ambient moments are, it's highlighted from the contrast of intensity. It happens a bit too infrequently for my tastes, especially for a band I've heard described as "screamo", but when it's there, it hits.

buy... idk where.
download or on

The LPC Staff's Top Ten of 2010: JTRobertsNY

Apologies for the inactivity, here's another list. And it's ok, JT, I think a lot of us love Devo here... and I think there will be another list that has it *wink*

Number Ten: Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons
It’s not the most creative or diverse album ever made, nor is it the best written. But what it lacks in things reviewers look at, it makes up for in Soul and a good-time. Many people have just heard the radio hit “Little Lion Man”, which might be the catchiest folk song of all-time, but the album isn’t without its deep cuts. “Dust Bowl Dance” being a powerful piece that catches me off guard every time.
There are more than a few things to pick apart in Sigh No More, but I felt it deserved recognition for one thing, above all others, its ability to make me want to come back to it for more.

Number Nine: The Lady Killer – Cee Lo Green
There is really no good reason for this album to be here, other than it might be the toe-tappingist album of the year. Not without radio hits, like the outstanding “Fuck You” and “It’s OK”, The Lady Killer isn’t so much a complete album as it is a collection of fun songs for you to enjoy while you’re doing daily chores and the like. The album has gotten me through more than one tough day.

Number Eight: The Age of Adz – Sufjan Stevens
While this kind of music has never been my preference, the amazing quality of this album was hard to ignore, and was quite often on repeat on my iPod. I imagine this will be one of the albums people look back on in 30 or 40 years and mention how the ‘10’s weren’t such a bad decade for music, after all. I’ll be entirely honest; I had never listened to this album before a few weeks ago when it started popping up on Top Ten lists. In the last few weeks, however, it has been one of my favorites to go back to and re-listen. It’s almost like a new experience every time.

Number Seven: The Big To Do – Drive-By Truckers
When I was first putting this list together, I almost failed to include The Big To Do. It never really registered on my music radar, especially when I listened to 2008’s Brighter Than Creations Dark much more this year, but Drive-By Truckers’ newest effort absolutely deserves a spot on my list. Blending Alternative Rock and Southern Country isn’t an easy task, but it seems effortless on yet another great album from this Northern Alabama group. Even if you aren’t a country fan, I can’t recommend this album (and band) enough.

Number Six
: Volume Two – She & Him
After finally listening to the incredibly moving and beautiful Volume One at the beginning of this year, my anticipation for Volume Two was very high. While it seems to lack the same charms as Volume One, this is still a damn fine Pop-Folk album, and really should have gotten more attention from the music-listening public as a whole, and not just Starbucks-Hipsters.

Number Five: Invented – Jimmy Eat World
After a disappointing effort a few years ago in Chase This Light, I had little hope that Invented would be more than just another cash in on the Jimmy Eat World name. However, I was pleasantly surprised when listening to this album for the first time. While it’s not Jimmy’s best album, it’s a step in the right direction, and another great release from an all-time favorite band in 2010.

Number Four: Hurley – Weezer
Now, my Username on IGN might suggest a bit of bias towards this band, but their placement on this list is not unwarranted. After a string of 3 or 4 disappointing albums (depending on who you talk to), which culminated in the absolutely miserable Raditude, many wrote Weezer off for dead. Thankfully, on the first effort with their new indie label, Weezer put together a collection of songs that felt more Pinkerton than Make Believe. Something most music fans had a hard time believing, until they listened.
It’s not without its faults, and to be quite honest, the spot on the list is partially because of what an overall improvement this album was for my favorite band. The thought of another new album in 2011 has me worried, but let’s hope they build on Hurley and give us another great effort.

Number Three: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West
Another entry where I’m just the next in a long line of acclaim for this amazing album, but I can’t just throw 10 albums together that you’ve never heard at you just to be an exciting list. Hip-Hop’s greatest musician puts together another beautiful piece of art, for all of us to enjoy. While it might not be Kanye’s best effort, its damn close, and worthy of any praise it receives.

Number Two: The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
I could go on a five paragraph rant going over all the great things you heard about this album before. But instead, it seems like an easier task to praise the band as a whole. In a time when even “Indie” and “Alternative” bands are just putting out albums of hits to score a quick buck, it always seems like Arcade Fire sticks to making music they enjoy, evolving as a band, and thriving in an area that others have left behind. If I’ve got to wait 3 years for another classic from the best new band of the decade, so be it, if The Suburbs is any indication, it will be well worth the wait.

Number One: Something for Everyone – Devo
It’s unfortunate that I’ll probably be the only person to even consider this album for consideration (professional and otherwise). It’s everything a modern New-Wave album should be. It takes everything that you loved about Devo of 30-years-ago and morphs it into an album that feels more modern than other albums on this list.
The most redeeming quality of this album is that there are no bad or filler tracks. One after another, Devo pleases your senses with charming New-Wave synth-beats and catchy guitar hooks. It doesn’t strive to be great, or even try to put the band back on the musical map, but in its simplicity, it achieves what it set out to be and even more.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The LPC Staff's Top Ten of 2010: Tweedsmatic

"My list, this be it" - Tweedsmatic

10. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles II
The first Crystal Castles' s/t album packed a lot of punch and had a crazy intensity to it matched only by the antics of singer Alice Glass. The second feels a lot more complete, with smoother sampling and more interesting beats, while still maintaining that edge that made them. Glass' uses a more broader vocal range than just the shouting and screaming on the first album, which really works on songs like 'Celestica' and 'Empathy'. A bit of a grower, it's as much a growth for the artist as it is the listener.

9. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
People have always said that Andre 3000 is the strong point behind Outkast. Better flow, more interesting rhymes, just a better rapper in general. So how does Big Boi respond? Firstly by having the better half of their double-album, then by releasing a solo album that can arguably compete with any of Outkast's best work. His rhymes and wordplay are beastly and the production is tight. It's just a really fun album to listen to.

8. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
If this album had turned out to be anything less than what it is, quite a few fans probably would've been disappointed. To jump from shoegaze-oriented rock to folky pop music needed some good songwriting and a sense of familiarity, which is what Halcyon Digest has. The album still sounds like Deerhunter, which is certainly a part of its success. It's emotional, it's varied, and it seems to get better as it goes on. The final song is one of probably one of the greatest tribute songs you'll ever hear.

7. Beach House - Teen Dream
I tried about 4 times to review this album for LPC, but could never get it properly into words. Teen Dream really is dream pop. It's simple, pop music with a nice, dreamy feel. It has beautiful vocal harmonies and great echoing instruments. Teen Dream is one of those albums that fits a cliche'd situation, like a sunny spring day or a walk in the park (spoilers: That's the name of a song on the album).

6. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
I'm just gonna say it straight up - This Is Happening is better than Sound Of Silver. Sure, SoS will probably have a more cemented legacy on hipster history, but This Is Happening is just, well, better. It feels more like a post-record jam (with their first album being the extended warm-up and SoS being the production stage). Of the 3 albums, This Is Happening feels like the one that takes itself the least serious, which has always been one of the strong points behind Murphy's music. And like its predecessors, it's a great album to dance to.

5. The National - High Violet
The National just keep getting better. Not only have they developed their own recognizable sound, but they seem to improve on it with every album. Their music has that emotional feel to it which makes it believable, the kind of feel you get with bands like Arcade Fire and Belle & Sebastian. High Violet produced songs that will inevitably become fan favorites for years to come, such as 'Terrible Love', 'Afraid of Everyone' and 'England'. High Violet is their strongest, most convincing album yet, It's no wonder Obama pre-ordered it.

4. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
There's not a whole lot I can say about MBDTF that hasn't already been said. No, I don't think it's his best album. In fact, ranking his 5 albums from best to worst, I'd place it bang-smack in the middle. But that takes nothing away from MBDTF. It is an incredibly consistent and memorable album, which for its size is impressive. Not a single song sounds the same. Kanye's rapping is generally good and at times surprisingly great. Some of the quests (Pusha T in particular) destroy it. The production is typical Yeezy brilliance. The amount of memorable rhymes and lyrics is staggering. MBDTF isn't the comeback or return to form it was originally hyped to be, it's just Yeezy reminding us he never left in the first place.

3. The Roots - How I got Over
Edging out Kanye for my top hip-hop album of the year is The Roots. You'd be hard-pressed to find two albums so different to each-other within the same genre. Where MBDTF is this grandiose display of personal feelings with too many different sounds and samples to list, How I Got Over is this raw, jam-like collaboration of a band that's stronger and more unified than ever and they're telling the world how they feel about it in more ways than one. Every guest is tight and plays their part as convincingly as possible. I love an album with seamless transition between songs. With How I Got Over, it adds an entirely new flow dynamic to it.

2. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Looking back on my review of The Suburbs, I wonder how much the hype got to me. I mean, it's a very long, repetitive album. There's undeniable filler. There are weak songs here and there. Then I realize, I don't care. I love the filler. I love the length. I love the repetition. For a first attempt at a concept album The Suburbs is very impressive. It's big leap from their anthemic, larger-than-life sound to a more concise and structured album. Arcade Fire weren't aiming to make another 'Wake Up' or 'No Cars Go' this time around, they were aiming to make an album. A properly themed and structured album. And I'll be damned if they didn't succeed.

1. Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record
It's no mystery to BSS fans that Forgiveness Rock Record is probably their weakest LP to date. For some fans, it's too different. For others, it's too tight and controlled in comparison to the clusterfuck of awesomeness that defined their sound in their second and third albums. But in a year's time these issues will be insignificant. Forgiveness Rock Record has grown on me like few albums ever have (only one that comes straight to mind is In the Aeroplane Over the Sea). A lot of BSS fans say that starts off weak, then picks up from tracks 5-12 and finishes even weaker. But I completely disagree. 'World Sick' is an amazing opener, 'Chase Scene' is very unique, 'Texico Bitches' is catchy and 'Forced to Love' is even catchier. 'Water In hell' my least favorite track on the album, is still a very nice song, and 'Me and My Hand' is a hilariously (somewhat sadly relatable) charming closer. With its chart success being undoubtedly helped by its accessibility, Forgiveness Rock Record serves a purpose to the fans aswell. It's a reminder of the band's diversity. It's a reminder that their last album wasn't an immediate favorite either. Most importantly, it's a reminder that they're fantastic.

The LPC Staff's Top Ten of 2010: Ace_Of_Spades

Another user I feel like I have a lot in common with, and the lists show it a bit clearer this time. A little black metal, a little of the avant-stuff, all reasonably good.

10. A Forest of Stars - Opportunistic Thieves of Spring
A Forest of Stars are one of the best examples of newer bands that take black metal and eschew all its traditional elements such as a cold atmosphere, grim lyrics, and lo-fi productions while injecting something new and fresh into the mix. In this case, they add some ambient interludes, progressive song structure, and flutes and violin, as well as spacey keyboards that bestow a somewhat psychedelic atmosphere. Definitely one of the most original black metal releases this year.

9. Alcest - Écailles de Lune
Better than Souvenirs if you ask me. Sounds more pure without trying to be "blackgaze".

8. Burzum - Belus
Now that Varg Vikernes is finally out of prison, he has released his first metal album in years. I’m not one to support Varg’s various illegal actions, but I still love him because his music is just that good.

7. Yellow Swans - Going Places
Amazing ambient/drone music; chaotic, majestic and incredibly dense. Listen to this with high-quality headphones and prepare to get lost in its incredibly vast, moving soundscapes.

6. Lantlôs - .neon
Beautiful, melancholic post-black metal with some almost jazzy jamming parts interspersed throughout. Not much else to say other than the fact that it’s one of the best black metal releases in a year without many good ones.

5. Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit
Agalloch teaching metalheads how to do proper black metal. And succeeding.

4. Mount Eerie - Song Islands Vol. 2
Phil Elverum is without a doubt, a genius and this latest release, which is over 30 tracks long, gives him plenty of opportunity to display that genius. His subtle, lo-fi, and lyrically dense fuzz-folk style is on display in full form here. Although not quite as stunning as last year’s Wind’s Poem, a magnificent piece of music nonetheless.

3. Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky
Michael Gira does it again. The only thing missing is Jarboe.

2. Deathspell Omega - Paracletus
I’ve only heard this album once, but I can already tell it will end up being one of my favorites. A few more listens and this might just blow away every DSO release before it. Aspa’s vocals are some of the best he’s ever done and there’s significantly more melody added to the songs. Overall, there is more emotion here is almost every aspect than there has ever been. Absolutely mind-shattering.

1. Kayo Dot - Coyote
With this album, Kayo Dot seems to have made the final transition from avant-garde metal to something completely different. While this change may alienate some, many fans, such as myself, will still love it. The music, which is dark and foreboding, sounds like some kind of collaboration between Miles Davis and Joy Division with a little bit of Scott Walker thrown in. The “goth fusion” sound of this album is one of loneliness that takes you through a hallucinatory world of fear and wonder. Fantastic chamber rock.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The LPC Staff's Top Ten of 2010: moazzam23

Although I don't think he's joined the staff yet, moazzam23 gets his list in today. Let it be known that I do not share his sentiments with Metal Machine Music.

Balkan Beat Box - Blue Eyed Black Boy

BBB's music can best be described as Israeli-Palestinian-Gypsy. On this album they've got a message - anti-gun and anti-racism songs are a-plenty. Their trademark horns - live and recorded - are in full swing. BBB have a freewheeling feel to their music which a lot of other world musicians can't capture. I don't know how they do it, but by combining Balkan and gypsy music with Reggae, Rock and Hip-Hop they've made one of the best dance albums of 2010.

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

Arcade Fire certainly do not like to repeat themselves. They've replaced their anthemic crescendos for more space to just wander around in. The two songs that are the best examples of their fondness for change are Month of May and Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains). One is a straight-up punk rock song with amped-up church organs and the other goes into electro territory, with the mirrorball sound bringing out the best in Regine Chassagne.

Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot

I thought this would be good stuff to listen to while waiting for the Outkast comeback, but it turns out Lucious Left Foot is a main event itself. His rhymes are at their best, but where you would expect Andre 3000 to come in and pick up the slack - the beats department - Big Boi, who co-produces most of them, dishes out as much variety as you could expect on any Outkast record.

Neil Young - Le Noise

Neil Young continues his tradition of following nobody's rules on Le Noise. It's just him, a guitar and producer Daniel Lanois. The result is a stripped-down distorted sound that isn't all that epic, but it also doesn't have to be. A lot of people get turned off by the spontaneous approach he has to his music nowadays, but I feel that that's where the ragged quality of his recent albums lay, and Le Noise is the best example.

Nas and Damian Marley - Distant Relatives

One of the best collaborations of the year and also one of the best political albums of the year. It's the melody of reggae meeting the "real hip-hop" that Nas champions. Both these guys love to wax poetic about the wisdom of the ancients and they have the skills to do it. Nasir Jones is as great of a critique as he's ever been, and contributions by K'Naan and Stevie Wonder make the album all the better.

The Roots - How I Got Over

The Roots are a very forward-thinking band, but they still retain a 90's hip-hop feel on How I got Over. There are some good contributions from Dirty Projectors and Joanna Newsom, but The Roots steal the show themselves. Black Thought shows he's every bit as politically aware as Nas. The album has a sobering feel that's appropriate for these times.

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

I like to think of Fantasy as a concept album - about fame, porn and the walking contradiction that is Kanye West. Can't really say anything about the production and sampling that hasn't already been said. College Droupout was his introvert album, Late Registration was the well-rounded one, Graduation was a celebration and 808's was the one that always got picked on. Now Fantasy can take it's place in the center of all his work and compliment their strengths.

Sleigh Bells - Treats

From Wikipedia: As a radical departure from the rest of Reed's catalog, Metal Machine Music is generally considered to be either a joke, a grudging fulfillment of a contractual obligation, or an early example of noise music. The album features no songs or even recognizably structured compositions, eschewing melody and rhythm for an hour of over-modulated feedback and guitar effects, intricately mixed at varying speeds by Reed himself. In the album's liner notes he claimed to have invented heavy metal music and asserted that Metal Machine Music was the ultimate conclusion of that genre. The album made Reed a laughing stock in the rock industry while simultaneously opening the door for his later, more experimental material. Historically, Metal Machine Music is now considered a seminal forerunner of industrial music, noise rock, and contemporary sound art.

That album was shit. Now 35 years later Sleigh Bells debut with an album that's almost as rakish as MMM, but easy to dance to. I don't know how that works, but it does.

Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle

One of my personal favorite bands from the last 10 years and for my money the most splendidly unique. Having already incorporated Arabian, Reggae and Dub into their brand of Gypsy Punk, in Trans-Continental Hustle they also throw Brazilian folk-music into the cocktail. The emphasis on this album isn't so much on the raucous crew mentality that make them an awesome live band, but rather on Eugene Hutz' songwriting. So lyrically it's on another level but the simple and fun Gogol Bordello formula is still there.


As a fan of M.I.A's, I feel the need to defend this album, so I re-listened to it, accepted it for what it is and learned to appreciate it. The beats may take some getting used to and there are still some lyrics that draw a grimace from me, but now I've started to love the beats and notice that the opinionated lyrics that made me love Kala in the first place are still intact in MAYA. Everybody who has this album and liked Kala and Arular owe it to themselves to replay MAYA a few times.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sweet Trip - Velocity : Design : Comfort (2003)

Since all we've had up lately was "best of" lists, I think it's about time we get a new album posted. This is just a really enjoyable record from a band that knows how to make great electronic and dream pop music. The songs feel very spacey and diverse, and no song sounds like the very next. On some songs, such as the intro it sounds sort of like a Venetian Snares CD but on others you get a glitchy sort of "Loveless" feel from it like my favorite track "Fruitcake and Cookies". The flip flopping that goes on here feels almost abrupt but it all adds to the overrall feel of the album. It's probably a love it or hate it album, for some it would sound fragmented to a fault, yet for others it could that album that grabs your attention right back everytime it manages to lose it. It's definitely something everyone should try out though.

FLAC (Cause the FLAC was too big for Mediafire)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The LPC Staff's Top Ten of 2010: motorhead069

Now that I'm filling in for cedar, I'll start off with probably my most compatible contributor, motorhead069. Despite that opener, however, you shouldn't expect our lists to be similar. From varieties of noise rock, punk, metal, jazz and all sorts of vanguard music, he has only one album that appeared on mine, and few that will appear much elsewhere. A very unique list indeed.

10. Nobunny - First Blood

Nobunny is a character that Justin Champlin has been performing with since 2001, originally made his stage debut as an animal-masked Elvis impersonator under the moniker Elvis Bunny.
In this album Nobunny goes through several genres of rock ‘n’ roll including subgenre–bubblegum pop, garage, rockabilly and psych. First Blood is an album that is my personal favorite lo-fi pop album of 2010. Being a fun, high energy album that you can dance to. It has moments where you would think it was a 50s doowop pop album with a dirty mouth.

9. Emancipator - Safe In The Steep Cliffs

“Safe In The Steep Cliffs” is a set of finely-crafted, epic instrumentals from Portland-based electronica/hip hop/downtempo producer Emancipator, featuring tight, syncopated percussion, organic melodies and eclectic samples.

To some, it must seem like this young electronic producer came out of nowhere this year. Emancipator played his first live show in July 2009, opening for Bonobo at the Roseland Theater (cap. 1500). Since then, he’s toured with Bassnectar, drawn crowds at festivals like Trinumeral and Symbiosis, and closed out Sound Tribe Sector 9’s late night parties in Denver at the request of the band.
But those in the know have been following Emancipator since he self-released his first album, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, at the age of 19 in 2006. His agile melodies layered over headnodic, immaculately-produced beats captivated fans across the internet and across the world.

“Safe In The Steep Cliffs” blends new instrumentation and organic samples with the signature Emancipator style of clean production, silky melodies and addictive drums. Dense layers of choirs, horns, American folk instruments such as the banjo and mandolin, violin and some distinct Asian influences make for a playful but refined album built out of intricate tracks listeners can enjoy on as many levels as they want. Dance to it, chill out to it, immerse your mind in it.

8. We Were Skeletons - We Were Skeletons

Citing such admirable influences as Hot Water Music and Off Minor, We Were Skeletons is the brand of scream-filled, rampageous hardcore that long-time fans of the genre will be able to relate to and respect. Mixing the best elements of post-hardcore, screamo, mathrock and melodies that would make any musician step back and question their own abilities, this album is a breath of fresh air and would be a great addition to anyone's CD collection.
The lead singer delivers an uncompromising scream, back to the basics style, back to the passionate emotion that fueled the rage back in the day.

7. Happy Birthday - Happy Birthday

Kyle Thomas sings in a great, distinctive voice. It’s weird and nasal, but still kind of tough. Though the songs are actually tightly woven and structured, there’s a trashy element and sloppy feel to the sugary melodies they deliver on their self-titled debut. Lyrically the album is totally adolescent, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. While today’s pop scene is taken up by a questionable nostalgia for childhood, luckily Happy Birthday’s return to youth is not prepubescent but forcefully teenager.

6. Zs - New Slaves

One thing that is for certain is that Zs cannot be accused of being slaves to any particular soundworld. Their discography is a whirlwind of sonic references, from free-jazz to minimalism to noise to punk to downtown and beyond. While making sense of their body of work as a totality is daunting, New Slaves is arguably their most challenging album yet, which doesn’t make the task any easier. One must eventually stop totalizing and learn to love the chaos of the darting sound-instances and their elusive origins. The sounds — created by guitars, mysterious electronics, percussion, and tenor sax — are grinding, emphasizing friction and rough texture. While the inverse of Steve Reich-like tranquility is captured.

5. Univers Zero - Clivages

The best songs happen when Univers Zero sticks to what they know and do best: disturbing, classically orchestrated, meticulously composed pieces. "Warrior," "Earth Scream," and "Straight Edge" are among the best on the album, dark and brooding, just the way I like UZ. This album will not disappoint fans of chamber rock, and as far as that goes it's not a bad place to start either. So far, this is one of my favorite Univers Zero albums, but I have only heard four of them. Still, the debut is the only one I prefer to this right now, and both are incredible. Clivages is an absolute progressive pleasure, and so, Univers Zero reveals that it still has lots of creativity and strength to go on providing us great classics for the present of avant-garde rock.

4. Nice Face - Immer Etwas

Immer Etwas is an LP with 13 tracks of drum-machine driven blown out hook-laden punk rock. Shock_Troop was the one to so kindly introduce this band to and while I enjoyed their first release 'Can I Fuck it?' quite a bit, Immer Etwas just puts that album to shame.
By employing a third-world super-group of sorts, with members of Livefastdie and Imaginary Icons, Magee’s new Nice Face still manages to honor the wrist-slash of the perfunctory solo-version of Nice Face on “Selectron,” convulsing on drum machines and flammable guitars, and vocals underwater. But for the bulk of Immer Etwas, the band barrels through big menacing, almost possessed rock songs. Nice Face embrace a rebellion past meaning, a subculture which has evolved into a culture parallel whatever it tried to once sneak under.

Nice Face is cockiness without fronting, a gospel of dirty, chanted melodies pulled from under the twin bed into the master bedroom without making a big deal about it. One could practically say they’re bringing it back to the unselfconscious swagger Iggy epitomized.

3. Electric Wizard - Black Masses

This isn't Dopethrone,this isn't Come My's something more intune with the late 60's...early 70's vibe. All the heavy sludge of graves and occult insanity is here..just more under produced. I mean this in a good way...The album starts off a bit on a faster note than you would expect. With a full blown devil chorus.. Black Mass..Black Mass...almost like a mantra of evil fury.
Black Masses follows quite the same production pattern as A Witchcult Today, only this time is more crisp but at the same time more heavy and dirty, creating a perfect drugged up, psychedelic atmosphere. While I understand that the overall production might seem a bit weak to some fans, I also believe that this dirtiness, this noise galore (indistinguishable noises and samples form movies and recordings that are constantly in the background) are acting somehow as an added value to the whole psych atmosphere. I for one think that this is probably the most accessible record in Electric Wizard’s catalogue and also their best since Dopethrone.

2. Heaven In Her Arms - Paraselene

I don't know what to say for this album that T_R_A hasn't already said, it's an incredible album with an amazing blend of Screamo and Post-Rock. And while this style of music seems to becoming popular in the Screamo community, Heaven In Her Arms pulls it out fantastically with this album and I would recommend it to anyone.

1. Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky

What else can be said about Swans that hasn't already been said by their millions of fans? Swans is one of the most unique groups to ever enter the world of music and have a distinct sound that no other band can match. Travelling through several genres such as Avant-garde, Post-punk, Experimental, Art rock, Noise rock, Industrial, Post-rock, No Wave it's hard to imagine what their next album is going to sound like. And after 14 years of absence when a message appeared on their myspace titled "SWANS ARE NOT DEAD" I could have cried. I will admit that I was a little scared that they would have lost their touch after all this time (as Atheist did with their latest release bleh). But this album did not dissapoint, the return of Swans brings a new sound with echoes of the old and of Angels of Light. Five of the eight tracks exceed 5 minutes, making this an album of mostly epic pieces with complex tempo variation and shifting textures around that wall of sound which oscillates between jangles and drones. The exceptions, Reeling The Liars In, My Birth and Little Mouth stand out in their own ways.

To me the most impressive are the 9+ minute No Words/No Thoughts and the one in the middle, You Intercoursing People Make Me Sick. The first opens with glockenspiel/chimes before setting off on a winding road in a barrage of layered guitars and shifting rhythms, whilst a didgeridoo introduces the second of which the first part juxtaposes the voice of a guest vocalist with that of a little girl to eerie effect, somewhat like Identity on Love Of Life. Then the metal/industrial sounds burst forth with great ferocity.

Gira, through his many years as a champion of alienating force, has come up with something pretty amazing. My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky is an advance for Swans, and Gira comes across as less of an eccentric noise-generator, and more of a presence that requires our attention.