Sunday, April 27, 2014

PoS Top Ten: Will Conrad Byler (Piles and Piles)

Greetings fellow's and fellettes. This post kicks off what will be a normal feature of the site where I ask individuals and/or groups to slap down a Top Ten music list for all times. I've always found the task particularly interesting and have more on deck so stay tuned. 

Will Conrad Byler is the current bassist of the "mathgaze" group Piles and Piles from the Boston area. Having been featured on the site before I asked Will....what makes your top ten?


10) Deathconsciousness – Have A Nice Life
this is the first album I’ve ever listened to that is truly exhausting to get through. 
Shoegaze/black metal/ post punk encompassing dreary, 
suicidal lyrics does not get as old as you might think. Dan Barrett can do no wrong.

9) World’s Bliss: Medieval Songs of Love and Death – John Fleagle
Fleagle was given two years to live when he was in his mid-20s, and with that came this album. Rather than using music as a buffer between his own mortality, World’s Bliss is a lens into facing death head-on. Fleagle played all of the instruments on the album (harp, lute, sinfonia, fiddle, and bodhran), providing a mournful backdrop for poetic lyrics, sung entirely in old English (olde englishe?) that gives the listener an awareness of their own mortality. Personifying death as an old friend has been done so many times before, but never has it carried so much weight.

8) King of Limbs – Radiohead
This isn’t even my favorite Radiohead. Shit, I doubt it breaks the top three or four best Radiohead releases. KOL was the first Radiohead album that I heard right when it came out. OK Computer, The Bends, Kid A – all those great records had seeped into my subconscious so
listening to them is more nostalgic, whereas KOL is a deliberate first-time listen.  

7) 12 – The Notwist
I picked up this album because the album art looked so cool. Neon Golden may be their claim to fame, but it doesn’t compare to their first full release A noisy album with the most understated 
vocals I’ve ever heard. Somber somber somber.

6) The Shape of Punk to Come: A Chimerical Bombination in 12 Bursts – Refused
I know I don’t get any punk street cred for this because it’s the Rubber Soul of hardcore punk, but               it’s still the best album from start to finish in its genre. TSOPTC holds my personal favorite                           production of any album.

5) Wish – The Cure
This is a perfect album, from start to finish. Only Robert Smith can open an album singing about how anxious and bored he is at a party. Wish also has some of the most bitchin bass lines of the 1990s – with all the layers that The Cure heaps onto each song, the only way to find the beat is through the bass and drums.

4) Dude Ranch – Blink 182
It’s hard to admit it, but when I’m asked why I started playing music, I have to say it’s because of this album. Dude Ranch is saturated with believable angst, something that I haven’t heard from the pop-punk scene since. Tom actually sounds good on this album for the last time – listening to him sing now embarrasses me. For him.

3) This Year’s Model – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
I’ve been listening to this album since it was released in 1978, and I was born in 1993.  My bass instructor at school once learned all the bass lines off of TYM, a feat I plan to do when Subway isn’t eating all my time. Elvis Costello gets you to sing “I keep thinking about your mother, no I don’t want to lick them” with no trace of shame.  A cooler album than This Year’s Model does not exist.

2) Nothing Sadder Than Lonely Queen – From Bubblegum to Sky
            These last two are no-brainers for me. All three From Bubblegum to Sky albums are unbelievable – there isn’t a single song I don’t like on any of them. Nothing Sadder is their saddest and most beautiful work. While the idea behind Me Amy and the Two French Boys of over-the-top cheery instrumentals with lyrics about how much they (he – it’s just one guy) hates the universe makes for a really cool juxtaposition, Nothing Sadder writes the instrumentals to fit the lyrics. It’s a perfect portrait of the day-to-day life in Brooklyn, while you’re in your late twenties and the shallow relationships that come with it. Straight up pop music has never had so much depth - Mario Hernandez is a pop genius, and good god I wish he’d come back  

1)    The Goat Rodeo Sessions – Yo Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Myer, Chris Thile
The Goat Rodeo Sessions is easily the greatest album and music I’ve ever heard. Yo Yo Ma and company break and manipulate and combine classical, bluegrass, jazz, and Appalachian music into one final product (thus a “goat rodeo” or for the layman, clusterfuck). For those of you who get sick of Chris Thile (Nickel Creek and the Punch Brothers are just super cheesy I’m sorry) and think he’s a pretty boy, he takes a back seat while working with the three greatest musicians alive today, while still managing to absolutely make the mandolin his bitch. Yo Yo Ma has bridged another musical and cultural gap with his usual grace. As celebrated as he is, we really don’t fully appreciate and understand all that he has done for music. The hard-nosed/unapologetic face of the institution of classical music will forever be replaced with a handsome, slightly nerdy looking, gleefully grinning cellist.

Just missed the cuts: 
The Pink Album – Sunny Day Real Estate, 
Crimes – Blood Brothers, 
Crack the Skye – Mastodon, 
Trouble Will Find Me – The National, 
The Dreaming – Kate Bush, 
Teethed Glory and Injury – Altar of Plagues, 
See You in Another City – Blakfish, 
World of Echo – Arthur Russell 

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