I'm going to be updating this every once in a while with albums I feel like more people need to hear. I'll supply a link for download.
January 8, 2012 Team Sleep - Team Sleep Released: May 10, 2005
A side-project of Deftones frontman, Chino Moreno, which expanded to include DJ Crooks, Guitarist Todd Wilkinson, (ridiculous) drummer Zach Hill, as well as guest vocals from Pinback's Rob Crowe, and Helium's Mary Timony.
I often feel that as soon as people see the name Deftones, they immediately think of 1999's Deftones who often, unfortunately, appeared alongside many nu-metal bands that were relevant for a whole 3 minutes such as Limp Bizkit, Korn, Sevendust, etc. They're not wrong, but it is misleading. Unlike many of their peers, Deftones were able to grow and branch out, probably largely due to the member's taste in music which has never been anchored solely to one genre. Deftones have shown a truly beautiful, more melodic side in recent years, and Team Sleep is perhaps a better avenue to showcase Chino's vocal talents.
The sound on Team Sleep's debut album is catchy and cathartic. You'll probably find yourself bobbing your head to the beats. There are shoegaze elements, as well as electronic, and trip-hop. The 3 vocalists featured on the album work very well together.
This album was released in 2005 and it's a damn shame that it is really all we have from the project so far. Although the album was met with glowing reviews, there hasn't been much activity for some time aside from a tour or two. In the meantime, enjoy this one.
Favourite tracks: Blvd Nights, Elizabeth, Ever Since WW1
15. Glassjaw - Our Color Green (The Singles) EP / Coloring Book EP
This probably could've been higher. At the beginning of 2011, Glassjaw graced us with two EP's spread a month apart. The first was Our Color Green, which was a collection of singles they released in 2010. Our Color Green felt like a mirage to fans of the band who had been kept waiting for over 8 years for new material. The songs on OCG sound familiar, as they retain the heavy qualities from previous years (I actually think OCG is the heaviest material they've ever released), but the big surprise came with Coloring Book. This EP features fat fucking grooves and soaring vocal melodies that sound kind of reminiscent of Deftones (maybe that isn't normally a good thing, but now it's clear that it's perfectly ok if you are a) Deftones or b) Glassjaw). The songs are a little softer in terms of structure, but there is still plenty of buzzing guitar strings and the transitions from verse to chorus are often enough to give you chills. I strongly believe Glassjaw is currently the best they've ever been.
The Drums know what they're doing. That's all you can really say about it. They're not re-inventing anything, but they are taking heavy influences from bands they admire. Personally, I get a lot of Joy Division vibes from this album (of course much cheerier than Joy Division ever was). They didn't wander too far from their first album, but that's ok with me.
I kind of want to see how Chad Vangaalen records his stuff. There is something so distinct about everything he's produced, including labelmates Women's two albums. The guitars have a very lonely sound to them, clanking away over beautiful melodies. Diaper Island is a solid follow-up to 2008's Soft Airplane, a record I thought was pretty close to perfect. 'Burning Photographs' got a lot of plays from me.
So, this turned out to be my beloved Thursday's final release. I'm perfectly ok with that. No Devolucion is a truly unexpected, beautiful work. The band decidedly took a turn away from the post-hardcore staples that made them who they are, and instead offered a new atmospheric soundscape. That being said, I still hear Thursday on this album. They're all still there. And in fact, there are some songs that sound like some of the heaviest stuff Thursday's ever written (see the end of "Past and Future Ruins"). No Devolucion is a nice final gift from the guys in Thursday.
Das Racist are probably my favourite current hip-hop artists right now. I was a big fan of their two previous mixtapes so I was looking forward to this debut. Alright, here's the thing about Das Racist. You have to be along for the ride. Their rhymes work on many levels and you'll probably catch things on the 3rd and 4th listens that didn't even occur to you the first two times. I will say this. They didn't really try on Relax, and it is still one of the better albums I heard this year. Michael Jackson, a million dollars.. ya feel me?
Loved this from the second I heard it. Loud, shouty hip-hop, and apparently Zach Hill has something to do with it. Exmilitary was a breath of fresh air. Throw on 'Takyon (Death Yon)' and yell things in your room
Transcendental? Sure whatever. Who cares. Listen to this shit. Roads to Judah is atmospheric, emotional, heavy, cathartic and beautiful. 'Unrequited' was one of my favourite songs of the year. I dare you to not be taken by it.
I have no idea why, but I thought this was going to suck. I wasn't terribly excited for it and when they released H.A.M. I actually stupidly thought I might be right. I wasn't, this is a fantastic album and a ton of fun. I love the soulful production on a lot of the tracks
Admittedly, I wasn't crazy about this new LP by Mogwai when it dropped. I listened to it once and was a little bummed by the lack of variety. I found it to be driven a little too much by guitar. But then I grew some balls and this became one of my most played albums of the year. 'San Pedro' is one of my favourite songs this year, it kills.
One of the most exciting records I heard this year. Danny Brown has a style that's eccentric, captivating, and at first probably a little abrasive. He's also funny as shit. This tape gets pretty heavy and personal, and I'd recommend it to anyone.
Every once in a while I go through a phase where all I want to listen to is country music. This year, Jessica Lea Mayfield filled that spot with Tell Me. I'll admit it leans a little closer to pop than country (moreso than her previous album, too), but nevertheless it's a great album mostly dealing with the loss of love. Mayfield's voice has a ghostly quality to it and combined with her subtle bite found in her lyrics, it gives the impression that she's a girl who's completely fed up with being in love ("I'd rather die young and be forgotten than live to grow old lovin' you").
The Weeknd is without a doubt my favourite new artist this year. When this mixtape dropped, everyone lost their shit, and with good reason. Truly talented vocalist with good taste (sampling Beach House and Siouxsie). Perfect night time record. Also worth mentioning, the other two tapes he released in this trilogy are also fantastic. Thursday took a little while for me to get into, but he dropped Echoes of Silence last week and it made an immediate impact. When was the last time such a talented artist released so much great music for free, within a year? Ridiculous. Plus, he's Canadian.
I really had no idea what to think when I first heard this. My first reaction was that it was horribly sparse. I actually thought it was kind of a joke. From the first listen though, I was into James Blake's voice. Yeah, it may be aided by effects, but it still works. When I decided to give it another chance and embrace the minimalism, I became hooked. Great album.
I am a sucker for this band. I love everything they do. I crave their sunny southern California aesthetic, and maybe it makes my harsh Canadian winters a little easier. As far as I'm concerned, there aren't any other bands right now who are so skilled at conveying the emotions having to do with love as well as Girls do. Whether it be heart ache or the bliss of being in love, they make it sound great and let you know they've been there too.