I was ready for this album to be big and explosive. And it is, about three times for 30ish seconds each time (total) during two songs. This album is surprisingly thin at times, but it’s thin in the same way that the air is in space. This is a headphone record, only because I doubt there is a system out there that could give you the same weightless feeling in a real space. The cosmic aesthetic of her videos and infamously progressive apps isn’t just a sales technique. This is music without a top or bottom. The sounds seem to go on into infinity. And without getting to long with this… the moments of release on this record after the ‘cosmic drifting’ are some of the most emotionally affecting moments ever recorded. (did I use affecting correctly?) My favorite record this year. I haven’t ever even seen what the apps look like, but I sure am looking forward to it.
La Dispute - Wildlife
Six months ago, I wouldn’t have expected La Dispute to be on a list like this. I liked them a lot for pushing boundaries, but only listened to a couple of songs and not very often. After listening to this album on headphones, doing nothing else- I was floored. I finally understood the friends of mine who find themselves obsessed, and reminded me why I found them exciting in the first place- giving me a whole new appreciation for their first LP as well. There’s no way I can fully explain my new found affection here. The vocals are probably unlistenable for some, but compared to the other loud band on this list, Jordan Dreyer’s vocals and lyrics are constantly audible. Even more importantly, they convey the emotion they need to. Tidal waves of the stuff. Surprisingly groovy-yet-melodic post-hardcore fuzzes and shimmers into a backdrop for story telling that is undeniable and vivid. These are stories in the truest sense. The climaxes of some of these songs manage to “shake the earth to the core”. This is something special.
Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver
There’s really nothing to say about this that hasn’t been said by every other music publication. This album is proof that For Emma, Forever Ago wasn’t a fluke, or just the result of some spirit of nature or snow or cabin speaking through a guy with a beard. It’s just a guy with a beard- but he clearly understand what music is. He plays with everything here, instrumentation, space, color (SOMUCHCOLOR). For Emma was a beautiful once in a lifetime record, but this sophomore triumph is a masterpiece of a different kind. And Colin Stetson is on it, so like… fuck-yeah.
James Blake - James Blake
When my friend Luca sent me a link to this guy’s tunes… I didn’t realize what I was getting into. I remember listening to a couple of track out of my (terrible) computer speakers. I’m obsessed with his style. All of his work. This is album is terrifying in how expertly it uses space and tension/release.
O’Brother - Garden Window
This only just came out, but it’s gorgeous. Grungy, bright, pulsing. Many of the song march, pound, and pump… but throughout there is also a tragic sort of melody, ringing with lyrics seemingly out of an ancient fairy tale
Colin Stetson- New History Warfare Vol. 2
The technical feat of the year. Airy and deep. This will destroy whatever predispositions you have to the word Saxophone. For perspective, these were one-take songs. The percussion you hear is actually the mechanisms of the saxophone pounding. Giant, but intimate.
Probably my second favorite piano album ever. Nils laid actual FELT on his keys, cranked the gain on his microphone. He created the most intimate album, ever. I’m pretty sure of it.
Olafur Arnalds- Living Room Songs
For a second time, Oli spend 7 days recording one song a day. The result is beautiful. Simple, elegant. This time he even filmed it.
Psychic Babble- My Brother’s Ears/ My Sister’s Eyes
The smoothest record ever. Colin from Circa Survive, making amazing soundscapes that flow and flow and flow. These songs always get stuck in my head when I haven’t even heard them in a while. Catchy, groovy, and even danceable. You won’t find a more honest-sounding record anywhere.
Other notable records:
Jeniferever - Silesia Pianos Become the Teeth- Radiohead- King of Limbs Nicholas Szczepanik- Please Stop Loving me Fleet Foxes- Helplessness Blues
If there’s something missing you really loved this year, I may not have listened to it! WHAT IS IT? nothing I absolutely loved in hip-hop this year
So now tell me how your story goes. Have you ever suffered? If so, Did you get better or have you never quite recovered from it? Did You find your lover laying in your bedroom with another and then Did You let it hover over you and everything else well after the fact? Show me all your bruises. I know everybody wears them. They Broadcast the pain–how you hurt, how you reacted. Did cancer take Your child? Did your father have a heart attack? Have you had a Moment forced the whole heart to grow or retract? Or just Shrink. Does the heart shrink?
Tell me everything. Tell me everything you know. Were you told as a child how cruel the whole world can be? Did Anybody ever tell you that? Tell me what your purpose is? Who it was That put you here and why? Did anybody really put you here at all? And what of those necessities? Like how to cope with tragedy and Pain? Did anybody ever show you how? When it hits will my Heart burst or break or grow strong? Is there really only one way to Know now? I’m not sure if I’m ready yet to find out the hard Way How strong I am. What I’m made of. I’m not sure if I’m Ready yet to walk through the fire. I’m not sure I can handle it. Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking One day there Will be no heart at all? And how long does it take? Am I Better off just bursting or breaking? Because I don’t see my heart Getting strong.
Tell your stories to me. Show your bruises. Let’s see what humanity Is capable of handling. She lost her kid, only seven, to cancer. She answered with faith in her god And carried on, While he was attacked by his son and was stabbed in His stomach and his back and his arms. He showed me scars. 82 Years old, told me, “I still have my daughter and my wife. And I still Have My life and my son.”
Tell me what your worst fears are. I bet they look a lot like mine. Tell me what you think about when you can’t fall asleep at night. Tell me that you’re struggling. Tell me that you’re scared. No, Tell me that you’re terrified of life. Tell me that it’s Difficult to not think of death sometimes. Tell me how you lost. Tell me how he left. Tell me how she left. Tell me how you lost Everything that you had. Tell me that it isn’t ever coming back. Tell me about God. Tell me about love. Tell me that it’s all Of the above. Say you think of everything in fear. I bet You’re not the only one does.
Everyone in the world comes at some point to suffering. I wonder When I will. I wonder. Everyone is out searching for someone or Something. I wonder what I’ll find. I wonder.
do you like you koss headphones, just want a persons opinion
I really do. They are super comfortable, stay on your head, and are absolutely the best headphones I’ve heard for less than 100$. They sound incredible, and it’s really worth listening to high-quality mp3s or lossless on them if you’re into that. They are also really small, but very sturdy. I’m really hard on headphones because i take them everywhere, but these are holding up really well. They also come with a really good warranty.
I probably sound like a fucking salesmen or something. The only drawback is they don’t isolate the sound, so outside sound bleeds in, and it will sound like they are really loud to people around you.
but from my experience, noise-cancelling headphones are crap unless you spend a lot of money.
"To steal from someone and not feel bad, you either have to be a sociopath or view the act differently. One way is to remove “Someone” from the equation. You’re not stealing from a person. Big companies do a lot to help people view them as less than human. I heard a speech by Noam Chomsky who said that corporations are like super humans. They cannot be hurt like a human can and they never die. They are not susceptible to scrutiny or accountability. This makes them more profitable. If companies want to enjoy these benefits to some degree they have to live with what else comes with being not human. You miss out on compassion, forgiveness, camaraderie, empathy, trust all kinds of shit."
“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realizes an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past. ”—Virginia Woolf (via atomiclanterns)
And I remember the skin of your fingers, the spot three quarters up I’d always touch when I was out of things to say. You held my hand, but you were too afraid to speak and I could never understand. I remember when you leaned in quick to kiss me, and I swear, not a single force on earth could stop the trembling of my hand. And I remember how you smiled through the smoke in a crowded little coffeehouse and laughed at all my jokes, and I remember the way that you dressed and how we wasted all the best of us in alcohol and sweat. And I remember when I knew that you’d be leaving, how I barely kept up breathing and I bet if I had to do it all again, I’d feel the same pain.
I love this song so much for it’s earnestness and how direct it is.
And I remember panicked circles in the terminal in tears.
How I wept to god in fits. I’ve hated airports ever since. It must be true what people say, that only time can heal the pain. And every single day I feel it fade away, but - I still remember how the distance tricked us, and lead us helpless by the wrist into a pit to be devoured. I still remember how we held so strong to this, though we had never really settled on a way out. I still remember the silence, and how we’d always find a way to turn and run to our mistakes. I still remember how it all came back together just to fall apart again. My dear, I hear your voice in mine. I’ve been alone here, I’ve been afraid, my dear. I’ve been at home here. You’ve been away for years. I’ve been alone. I breathed your name into the air; I etched your name into me. I felt my anger swelling; I swam into its sea. I held your name inside my heart, but it got buried in my fear. It tore the wiring of my brain; I did my best to keep it clear. So, dear, no matter how we part, I hold you sweetly in my head. And if I do not miss a part of you, a part of me is dead. If I can’t love you as a lover, I will love you as a friend. And I will lay a bed before you; keep you safe until the end.