I have been a horrible blogger. Not simply because my writing is pretty shit sometimes, but more so because since starting my masters program, HBAB has been the last thing on my mind. I always told myself my blog would be my hobby, and my passion, not my job. Shit at school took precedence, and for that I’m disappointed in myself for not being on top of what I love to do: talk about music.
Since we just ended the year 2013 (and lets just say that it was a pretty legit year for tunage, amirighttt?), there were some albums that were never discussed on HBAB. I did the mind blowing (…Like Clockwork) and I did the not so impressive (Loud Like Love? Comeonn Placebo). In order to fully celebrate a year of music, lets acknowledge albums that you may (or may not) have known about, and whether they amount to shit!
1) Arcade Fire- Reflektor
I have always been a big fan of Arcade Fire (or when wasted, the Arcade Fries courtesy of the Who is Arcade Fire? Tumblr). The Suburbs kind of blew everyone away, and obviously the follow up and some seriously high expectations. Even before The Suburbs, they dished out great album after great album. To me, Reflektor is easily forgettable.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s OKAY. It’s a little bizarre, a little jarring at times. But nothing from that album stands out to me (aside from the single Reflektor, which is unavoidably the best thing off that album). Something that also bothers me about this album (and it just might be me) is that it sounds like the album was mixed down so much lower than the standard. No matter how loud my speakers are, the album sounds quiet. This might be on purpose, but it just kind of pissed me off. Way to go, Fries!
OVERALL RATING: Meh!
SONGS TO LOOK OUT FOR: Reflecktor, Joan Of Arc, It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheous).
2) After The Burial- Wolves Within
Wolves Within, bringing After The Burial back from their 2012 release In Dreams, was high on my list of anticipated releases. I am pretty stoked to say that I was happy with the end result, although sometimes I feel that lead singer Antony Notarmaso’s voice gets washed up in the mix sometimes. The guitar’s are on spot, and there is enough interesting variations within each song to keep your interest stoked. And let’s be real – anytime there are epic screams, I notice, and everyone notices, and it’s amazing (Disconnect rocked it).
With time, this band lands on the more progressive metal “side of life”, and it suits them. While some of their older stuff can sometimes sound sloppy, this sounds coherent. This might not be their best, it is definitely something to be proud of on their end, and something any metal fan should listen to from the year 2013.
OVERALL RATING: Pretty Dope.
SONGS TO LOOK OUT FOR: Pennyweight, Disconnect, Neo Soul.
3) Senses Fail- Renacer
I was pretty surprised when Renacer came out, mostly because I feel that it completely flew under the radar. For years, Senses Fail has publicly denounced their newer albums as shit, and this was their comeback after founding member Garrett Zablocki peaced out. It is absolutely their hardest album to date, and anyone knowing the band from their Let It Enfold You days might be disappointed. However, I happen to think the change is pretty good for the confused band.
Sounding more confident then ever, the album seems to prove that Senses Fail belongs in the hardcore/metal scene more than ever (for me, I get wicked inspiration from Norma Jean, which is working for Senses Fail). But when you wonder where their old sound went, they surprise you with the old pop-punk riffs you expect from them (Holy Mountian ftw.) I was actually really impressed with this album, and highly recommend anybody who ever shunned the band before to try out Renacer. You will be met with low growls, heavy bass, and naturally, some breakdowns.
OVERALL RATING: Pretty Dope.
SONGS TO LOOK OUT FOR: Holy Mountain, The Path, Canine, Frost Flower.
4) MGMT- MGMT
Holy fucking mind blown. This album is the underrated star of 2013, and that was made apparent as soon as the band started releasing their singles Alien Days and Cool Song No. 2. While old fans will probably be discouraged at the path the band chose after Oracular Spectacular, I have something to tell you: Get the fuck over yourselves. Once the band released Congratulations, they admitted the path they were taking with that album was much more their style. While that album was mediocre, this album was more articulate and planned.
Its trippy, beautiful, and will appeal to electronica fans (its like a surf-rock band met up with Aphex Twin). The album proves you can never overdue synth when it is done right, and that delay is a beautiful, beautiful thing. I am in love.
OVERALL RATING: Perfection.
SONGS TO LOOK OUT FOR: Alien Days, Introspection, A Good Sadness, Plenty Of Girls In The Sea.
5) James Blake- Overgrown
It would be so cruel if I didn’t acknowledge this beautiful masterpiece from the god, James Blake. Overgrown is his second LP, and has put him on the map musically (he’s nominated for the Grammy’s for Best New Artist. It doesn’t make sense but im over it). His voice will haunt your soul, and its incredible the things he can do on the keys and with a fuckload of effects. He is his own musician, and nobody has been able to replicate his style.
While the singles of the album get you in, the material of the album will keep you around. Especially worth mentioning is his pairing with RZA for song Take A Fall For Me, which pairs the mind fuck of Blake with the flow RZA offers up (it is arguably the best song on the album). If you haven’t listened to Blake yet, Overgrown is going to be pivotal for you. He is becoming increasingly known, and is going to be on the map as one of the best musicians of our era. Go. Now.
OVERALL RATING: Perfection.
SONGS TO LOOK OUT FOR: Life Round Here, Take A Fall For Me, Retrograde, Digital Lion.
There it is everyone! If I missed any albums you would like to acknowledge for 2013, leave a comment and blast my ass. Now, on to 2014!