Wednesday, November 26, 2014
I've got a few things to say about this year because it was a rough one in a lot of ways. It was a year of extremes to be sure. On one end, I feel as though there was/is an over abundance of young groups this year on the poppier end. Just barely enough chops to throw a quick syncopated change in and call themselves "math". There's nothing wrong with being an indie rock group but embrace that if thats what you are....Other side of the coin was a complete retreat into over indulgence. You want blistering riffs that never end? check. but wheres the meat? the soul?
I digress. on to my list.
1) Sleep for the Nightlife - Minimalist Cities
( Bandcamp, Facebook)
This was an easy choice for me this year. Released all the way back in January, this album had legs for miles. It has all the trappings of a true blue math rock band that has formally come into their own as well as totally embracing their past. What sets this apart from the throng? Well for one...Drums. As in a majority of the greatest progressive groups the drummer isn't merely a supporting character, nay. Percussion is very much the motorist to this car. Also its groovy as fuck and is constantly getting stuck in my head, what a deal. When sheer passion and love for the music can be felt then you know you're listening to something that you shouldn't easily dismiss, but an album to hold onto for years to come.
2) The Slaughterhouse 5 - Alban B. Clay
Having struck my death radar in march of 2013 their full length wouldn't be released until 2014 which given that time I'd gladly waiting another year. Few times do I listen to a progressive/math group with the intention of listening to lyrics and following the story at hand but I've gotta say these boys from Denmark hit onto something so very much their own. Its been a favorite ever since. While its light on the instrumental twists the lyrical drama and atmosphere is enough to keep you coming back.
Stepfriends - All We've Got
Ok, for sheer number of times I've listened to this beast since it was handed over to me it should win some kind of special award. But seriously there is no denying the power of an album this eclectic and on point. It pulls from so many lovely sources and sprinkles them throughout the course of the album that you know that an incredible amount of effort was put into each individual song. Every song is a no skip situation to be sure and if your on the fence for a recommendation there is honestly something for everyones tastes here. Need a song stuck in your head for weeks at a time? check out track two and I double dog dare you not to sing along by the second chorus.
Equals - Tracts
Post-Rock gets such a bum wrap these days. The genre is absolutely flooded with godspeed and explosion wannabee's that its hard to suss out groups that are honest to frack trying to create something thats not only rhythmically satisfying but that works within the context of the *cough* genre *cough* These Texas cats come with all guns blazing and you'd be easy to think that this was a first however ive been a pretty large fan since their very first EP in 2011. Listen to that as well because its incredible to see the growth and is a perfectly wonderful release in its own right. Constantly engaging with some punishingly excellent drums, equals creates such a exciting space to operate in. There's some cool down moments for sure but on the whole your treated to some post rock thats isn't afraid to step outside the box a bit not too mention the welcome addition of keys.
U Sco - Treffpunkt
Where to start with this one? Its no surprise to me really how good this album turned out. I mean I've been singing the praises of Ryan Miller's guitar work well before he ever joined up with the Sic rhythm section of Duck Little Brother Duck. Both in their own rights completely under rated in the community. But here we have a sterling example of what can be done with some honest to gosh creativity and technical prowess. This album is punishing, and as such should be listened to at abnormally high volumes. We can throw out terms like "brutal prog" and "math noise"but really what this is to me is a true further-meant of classic groups like Jesus Lizard had they embraced a truly progressive nature and dropped the vox. Whatever your feelings on origin story no group this year came close to matching intensity and emotion like U Sco did here.