Mike Lindsay, known for his work in folktronica band Tunng and experimental pop duo Throws, undertook a new project this year that, for all its far-fetched aspirations, works brilliantly.
The Bee in the Blackberry Bush: Illustrated by Don Lee
A cyclical record made up of droning synths, each song is played in the same key for full fluidity between tracks. Curse of the Contemporary. Rolo Tomassi have always been difficult to pigeonhole, and therein lies their charm. This was Rolo Tomassi 2. Balancing in the Dark. Loud, obnoxious, snotty, melodic On songs like Bathed In Light we saw their hooky side, while meaty riff-fests such as Pain of Infinity allowed Luke Bentham full licence to dish out shit-eating guitar lines while blotting out the sun with a bubblegum balloon.
That's What Heaven Feels Like. Cartoonish and contradictory they may be, but Swedish metallers Ghost have an amazingly refreshing sound. Embracing the occult through pop-rock, synthfests, sax and flute solos might not be what you expect at a glance but their love for the macabre, satanic schtick and sense of theatre is what really drives their appeal among metal fans. Here they blew the creative doors off through some of the catchiest riffs and sharpest hooks band mastermind Tobias Forge has written yet. You needn't look any further than tracks such as Rats and Dance Macabre to think that 'Prequelle' could be labelled as their 'Black Album'.
Three years later the world is a different place, and Rae Morris is a different artist. The record found them channelling sincere frustration and rage into poised, well rounded indie-punk tracks with far-reaching messages that in our current social climate are not only apt but vital. The Opener addressed gender imbalances on live line ups, while The Face of God tackled the issue of assault and its aftermath. They did, and the result is deeply affecting album. The UK is overflowing with vital, genre-defying heavy bands of late. Rooted in sludge, the Rugby four-piece threw everything into a blender, pitting grindcore against post-metal, black metal against hardcore.
As if this is just their debut. Synthesisers, drum machines and even a piece choir bring Ought up to a whole new level that transcends their earlier work.
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Make Time 4 Love. Over the years, a kind of intellectual snobbery has emerged around Paul McCartney that seems to want to belittle his youthful desire to keep making music. Its orchestration, arrangements and melody writing are all immaculate. The production is varied but consistent and the fundamental messaging of songs with titles like People Want Peace, Hand in Hand and Happy With You remains as relevant now as it was during the Vietnam War. Of course there is schmaltz in there. What the hell did you expect? Come On To Me. The melodies here are gilt-edged, while the polyrhythmic New Birth in New England is home to one of those glorious lyrics that feels tossed off but is in fact fathoms deep.
New Birth In New England. Combined with her immaculate vibrato-free voice and the nebulous synths, the result is a record that shimmers, both in its pulsing club-ready tidiness and some AAA songwriting. It is a peek into pop Valhalla—a land of golden citadels and crisp, cold air.
Toxic masculinity, death and xenophobia are just a few of the issues they take aim at, while polishing those rough edges.
The List: Stereoboard's Best Albums Of - Stereoboard
They could double down on the ferocious hardcore that made their name, or shake things up early to keep us guessing. Toy is agitated and addictive. The album features squeals, screams, raps and drawls, and thanks to the contrasting textures and intense production, seems physically incapable of misplacing our attention. It was also music that was keen to please, and while it got a little close to Steely Dan-style yacht rock Under Lime and Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter, for example , this is a musical group with enough self awareness to maintain a degree of edge.
I'll Keep Ramblin' feat. Fusing a loose concept with a diverse slate of sounds—from Springsteen-indebted rockers through industrial torch songs—Furman slipped easily into narrative mode and found an arch, vivid storytelling voice to examine themes that bled from this queer outlaw saga into our broken down reality. Their 12th full length has all the trademarks we expect from the poster boys for gritty guitar licks and quirky lyrics but also shows them exploring new rhythms and tones, even introducing a brass section on one of the record's highlights In Walks Barbarella.
Gwenno Saunders, singing entirely in Cornish, asks the real questions we want answered. As well as important things like the isolation and identity of Cornwall and the exploration of dying languages, Eus Keus? Go all in and learn a new language, dip into a phrasebook or commit to getting lost in the deliciously psychedelic haze—all good options.
Remember that great Daria quote? So many words have been written about what Deafheaven are stick post- in front of a genre seems to be the answer that we often forget to simply sit back and let their music wash over us. Its songs are like a long exhalation of ideas, which are allowed time to percolate out in the world.
Year of the Tiger. Oh, and lots of fun. The title track will be a wedding party playlist essential in no time. Though still packing a lyrical punch, it finds her more understated when delving into deeply personal topics, including her children and past relationships. Music with the personality of beige wallpaper is regularly trumpeted as being exciting, so what word would you use to describe Marissa Paternoster? Melodic to a fault and shot through with fuzzed out leads to set synapses flaring, here Screaming Females completed by bassist King Mike Abbate and drummer Jarrett Dougherty took their boisterous power-trio approach to its logical conclusion and turned in a collection of songs that were loud, uncompromising and perfectly formed.
I'll Make You Sorry. While Paul Simon may not be as prolific as Bob Dylan 38 solo albums or Van Morrison 39 , he might beat both artists in terms of consistent quality. His 14th solo release is a superb, terse reworking of 10 potentially overlooked songs from his catalogue, which calls upon various musical grandees in a marvellous late afternoon assembly of rich, easy-ish listening.
Simon may be retiring from touring, but let us all hope his music making is far from finished. In The Blue Light. What makes music beautiful? Is it the timbre, delicacy of composition, song arrangement or all of the above? Nils Frahm's 'All Melody' isn't life-affirming, scream from the top of a mountain beauty; it's meditative, close-your-eyes, use your imagination and bask in the warm glow beauty.
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Frahm's skill as a composer isn't just in his use of melody but what he does in the space around it. Balancing Berlin-inspired electronics with a capella harmonies and majestic live instrumentation, he creates stirring, motif-led soundscapes that become more addictive with every listen. Some prefer the analogue elements, others the digital, but it's the combination that make this so compelling. My Friend the Forest.
Troye Sivan signalled a fresh perspective for pop music this year. Dance To This ft. Home to some of his boldest ideas and a sense of melodic swagger, these songs pushed the former Bomb The Music Industry! One of the most exciting songwriters in punk appears to be entering his imperial phase.
All This Useless Energy.
So, there's another one ready for the history books. This year has been a weird, often depressing ride, but the tunes have been great. There was Christian religious content, too, so a parent might want to pre-read this book which I recommend anyway for the scary content and mixed messages the story puts forth to make sure it fits their beliefs.
The illustrations varied from good to amature at best.
The List: Stereoboard's Best Albums Of 2018
I didn't care for the way the book was formatted either. View all 3 comments. Jan 01, Barbara Ann rated it really liked it. Charming beginning chapter book presenting Christian values of the responsibility to help others even if it means placing the needs of others before oneself. The protagonist is an adorable worker bee who has no name as do all the others in his hive because each has a job to do. This bee is quite dedicated and industrious. One day he learns of nectar in a blackberry patch and almost loses his life to an observant chicken.
The bee encounters a sad mother bird who has lost her mate and has no one t Charming beginning chapter book presenting Christian values of the responsibility to help others even if it means placing the needs of others before oneself. The bee encounters a sad mother bird who has lost her mate and has no one to watch over her nest while she searches for food. The bee takes on the job of protector, while completing his own worker bee assignments.
One day he faces danger while protecting one of the hatchlings. He must make a difficult choice. How far must one go in carrying out his sense of duty? Soft pastel illustrations enhance the mood and message of the tale. While the story is slow moving in parts, the characters are endearing and realistic; the message sometimes uplifting but also sad. Recommended especially for readers in the seven to ten year old age range. Aug 11, Camilla rated it it was amazing. An effective and precious story based on the Golden Rule and the gift of sacrifice, the characters were very real to my 8 year old.
He was very attentive from the start, and became very attached to the bee and birds. The illustrations were adorable and unique; with an attractive use of colors. Wording was easy to read and drew us in with a story that was relatable. I am very pleased with this story and how the moral was presented; Creatively and simply accomplished.
Five stars fro An effective and precious story based on the Golden Rule and the gift of sacrifice, the characters were very real to my 8 year old. Five stars from me! Amy White rated it really liked it Sep 24, Charles Areson rated it it was amazing Jul 30, Elizabeth Michelle Areson rated it it was amazing Jun 17, April rated it really liked it Mar 08, Elizabeth Lisanti rated it it was amazing Aug 20, Ashley marked it as to-read Jan 17, Jennifer Lynn marked it as to-read Sep 22, Rose marked it as to-read Nov 08, Jennifer Bast marked it as to-read Feb 20, Megan the Vegan marked it as to-read Apr 03, Robert added it Apr 23, Debee Sue marked it as to-read Apr 23, Islin Munisteri marked it as to-read Apr 25, Mary marked it as to-read Jul 04, Nancy Cothrum marked it as to-read Aug 10, Jennifer marked it as to-read Aug 11, Jenifer Lawson marked it as to-read Nov 16, Catherine Lafleur is currently reading it Dec 15,