Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bunny Gamer's Top Albums of 2012. Part One: 100-76.

Here it is, at long last--the 2012 installment of my albums of the year list. As per the usual, this thing is an absolute monster to make, and this is the first of four parts which should be coming out over the next month or so, time permitting. All these albums are legitimately fantastic, so don't hesitate to seek out any that pique your interest. This year, direct downloads have become less and less reliable, so a lot of the links on here aren't as stable as I like and may or may not get deleted over time (with the exception of the artist-provided ones) so please let me know if you're having trouble finding an album on here, I did the best I could. With that said, go ahead and click on the title of this post to view the first 25 albums on the list, right after the break!

100. Ellie Goulding - 'Halcyon'
Genre: Indie Pop
Country of Origin: England
Ellie Goulding's first record back in 2010 was an extremely lopsided affair. The good tracks (Guns & Horses, Starry Eyed, etc) were simply fantastic, but the other half of the album was simply...unexciting. However, it still made it onto my 2010 list (which I doubt any of you here have seen), because when she was on the ball, she delivered simply sublime, emotive, forward-thinking pop music that felt brand-new at the time. Now, two years later, her single 'Lights' is at least somewhat ubiquitous and she's received a lot more attention than I ever expected, and with it has come her sophomore record, Halcyon. It's almost tragic to see how Goulding's second album follows in its predecessor's footsteps, being similarly lopsided. I say it's tragic, because honestly, if some of these songs weren't so just-okay, the good songs from this record could carry it near the top of this list. Ellie Goulding's success has brought her into a more electronic state of mind, which works alright on her more 'pop' tunes, but is simply incredible when she starts to experiment. The best songs on here are immense and minimalistic at the same time, building on simply vocal loops before exploding into huge, dark, furious beats and layered vocals. And don't get me wrong, there's certainly no shortage of those songs--and when it's good, it's hard to imagine it being better. Despite its shortcomings, Halcyon is, in every way, worth your time, because when the awkward pop anthems give way to the vicious, intense, and insurmountable tracks that form the real heart of this album, it's simply on a whole different level than anything in the genre.
Top tracks: Don't Say A Word; Figure 8

Genre: Instrumental Hip-Hop/Trap
Country of Origin: Scotland/Canada
The collaboration between Hudson Mohawke and Lunice is a pretty big deal in the world of hip-hop production. Their debut release as TNGHT is the kind of EP that works perfectly in its format. Dirty melodies and spot-on beats drive full-speed ahead to make the kind of overwhelming record that blasts you in the face for 15-20 minutes and then is simply over. It begs for repeated listens and bobbing your head in the car with your friends while listening to it loud enough to make your speakers sound like shit, and almost every meticulously calculated second of it simply works so well it's hard to ignore. The rare sample and perfectly-toned drums work with the synths to produce the kind of hip-hop that doesn't need any vocals to be exciting, it simply is
Top tracks: Goooo; Higher Ground

98. Motion City Soundtrack - 'Go'
Genre: Pop-Punk
Country of Origin: USA
Motion City Soundtrack are the most important pop-punk band around today. I don't really even think that's subjective at this point--no one can write a catchy tune like these guys, and no one can write the kind of tongue-in-cheek self-loathing that Justin Pierre does. Their lyrics are so damn clever but so damn sincere and powerful that honestly they would make the band amazing alone, but their penchant for incredible rock tunes just pushes them above and beyond. That said, their fifth album, Go, is almost a little bit disappointing (hence its placement on this list). That isn't to say its bad, though. Even the worst album by these guys would be a masterpiece, and that's still true here. However, it's a bit more toned-down and a bit less emotive than previous efforts, which can make it a little bit of a bummer for long-time listeners. But that doesn't mean that it's anything short of wonderful, and for an album which isn't Motion City Soundtrack's best, it sure is a damn amazing record. The guitars and keys work together to crash down over Justin's flawless vocals and catchy-as-all-hell melodies (and that says nothing of the simply fantastic drumming constantly on display), and in the end, Go is still one of the best pop-punk albums out there.
Top tracks: True Romance; The Worst Is Yet To Come

97. Fatima Al Qadiri - 'Desert Strike'
Genre: Witch House/Vaporwave/Beat
Country of Origin: USA
The newest EP from the woman besides the awesome Ayshay moniker starts off with a bang, very literally. From the first second, Fatima's latest 5-track recording is a  beast of massive beats, dark melodies, and the kind of synths that I used to dick around with in my garage as a kid. Fatima is often considered to be one of the main inspirations for the vaporwave genre, and while her penchant for early '90s synth patches is noteworthy, it doesn't call to mind nostalgia so much as dread. Desert Strike is about as evil as this kind of music can get without simply turning into another clone of The Knife's latest works, and it absolutely delights in how well it soundtracks the cruel underbelly of a completely foreign world to. This is the kind of music that would play in the background as you were exploring a new planet after escaping murder at the hands of its inhabitants. It's dark electronic music based on political disenfranchisement and science-fiction worlds, and it creates atmosphere that is simply stunning.
Top tracks: Ghost Raid; War Games

96. Beach House - 'Bloom'
Genre: Dreampop
Country of Origin: USA
For all intents and purposes, I shouldn't love Beach House the way I do. They're just another dreampop group making intangible songs out of their shimmering guitars, hazy female vocals, soft synths and simple drums, and to top it all off, they're overhyped like crazy. Normally, that would drive me nuts, but there's just something about Beach House that I can't turn away from. 2010's Teen Dream was honestly awesome, if not a bit samey, and Bloom fixes all that. The songs differentiate themselves, not only from each other, but from past works, sounding like something truly creative in the dreampop genre. The simple guitar lines crash and swell over analog synth chords and acoustic drums, setting the perfect stage for Beach House's gorgeous vocal melodies and ethereal atmosphere. Bloom is a fantastic dreampop album, but more importantly, it's a unique dreampop album, and that's really saying something special here.
Top tracks: Lazuli; Troublemaker

95. THEESatisfaction - 'awE naturalE'
Genre: Experimental Hip-Hop/R&B/Soul
Country of Origin: USA
According to my computer, this is in my top five most-listened albums this year. This is interesting, because (as you can see) it wasn't in my top five albums of the year. But it's pulled me back to it over and over again, making me want to understand it and figure out why it exists, what makes it tick, why it's special. And honestly, I still don't really know the answer to that. For how firmly awE naturalE is rooted in contemporary hip-hop, soul, and old-school R&B, it feels like something completely new. The melodies weave in and out of artistic beats, constructed from reversed samples and thick basslines, forming something that both fits snugly within genre classifications and defies them entirely. The songs feel confused and almost too short, as if these two women are simply hinting at what they're really trying to say, and trying to piece together the message underneath this avant-pop creation is exactly what makes it so special. This is one of those albums that seems so ordinary until you listen to it, and it really makes you sit up and listen for its short runtime. Don't miss out.
Top tracks: Earthseed; Existinct

94. Portico Quartet - 'Portico Quartet'
Genre: Trip-Hop/Modern Jazz/Ambient
Country of Origin: England
There's this strange little jazzy trip-hop movement going on right now, and it's gaining a lot of steam thanks to the antics of a little group called BADBADNOTGOOD. However, for whatever reason, they've never appealed to me--I've always preferred the more atmospheric stylings of Portico Quartet. The combination of stand up bass, hang, drums, some minor synth parts, and saxophone allows for some honestly remarkable textures, and these guys take full advantage of it.The laid back beats and gorgeous sax melodies go brilliantly with the thick basslines and otherworldly textures produced by the star of the show, the hang. The songs on Portico Quartet's third full-length ride wave after wave of huge atmospheric crescendos, haunting lows, and brilliant execution throughout. No, it's not really jazz at all, but it's an absolutely jaw-dropping take at bringing the basic jazz floorplan into a modern setting with an incredibly textured and creative touch, and you'd be doing yourself a disservice to overlook it.
Top tracks: Spinner; Rubidium

93. Xibalba - 'Hasta La Muerte'
Genre: Hardcore/Crust/Sludge
Country of Origin: USA
Every once in awhile, a hardcore album comes around that just perfectly captures the rage and brutality that the genre has always been known for so perfectly that it's almost difficult to compare it to any album but the classics. Last year Weekend Nachos did it, this year it's Xibalba, and man, did they nail it with Hasta La Muerte. These guys literally get every single piece of the hardcore formula right and then some, from the sludgy guitars to the gruff angry shouts to the huge breakdowns to the thick bass to the simple but effective drums. Every once in awhile they set the mood with some drone or some doomy segments, but it only serves to heighten how hard the big moments hit. When the album slows down it gets heavy beyond belief, when it picks up into a two-step it gets catchy and intense as fuck, and don't even get me started on the final minute or so of the album--it's probably the most insane thing I've ever heard in heavy music. Bottom line is, this is one of the best hardcore albums to come out in a very long time, and that's simply that. Xibalba have kicked a whole genre's ass.
Top tracks: Cold; Sentenced

92. Brian Saia - 'Ancient Lakes'
Genre: Experimental Dance Music
Country of Origin: USA
This album is pretty much undeniably the surprise of the year for me. Brian Saia is someone who I (and probably you) had never heard of up until I was emailed this album as a submission to this blog. I was intrigued by the submitter's description and explanation of Brian's techniques and wide variety of instrumentation--including a player piano running off of a MIDI feed--but I was also a bit apprehensive, considering the general quality of home albums submitted to me with the 'experimental' tag on the front of them. To my great delight, this album turned out to be simply stunning. I've never heard anything like it, and I'm still more than a little bit at a loss as to what it even is. Brian Saia's extremely clever use of a ridiculous array of bizarre and household instruments to build catchy melodies that somehow hold up over the dense experimentation and original beats that he creates is just something you have to hear to understand. If you like interesting music with a beat you can bob your head to, this is for you. If you like stuff your friends have never heard of and you can't quite make sense of, this is for you. If you want experimental music to challenge what you've heard before, this is for you. Honestly, even if you just want a catchy melody and fun rhythm, this is for you. To make a long story short, Ancient Lakes is the kind of creative and new music the world needs and that, somehow, everyone can find something to love about.
Top tracks: The Sailing Stones; Song of Dunes

91. Botanist - 'III: Doom In Bloom'
Genre: Experimental Black/Doom Metal
Country of Origin: USA
Last year, Botanist kind of popped up out on nowhere with his debut double-album of extremely experimental black metal, surprising and impressing the absolute hell out of me. The idea of plant-themed black metal composed with only vocals, drums, and a hammer dulcimer was not only intriguing, but surprisingly effective. Botanist's fast-paced, chaotic songs were like nothing I'd ever heard, and honestly, they still are. However, with 40 songs of almost impenetrable intensity, it was nothing if not a difficult album to get through. This year, his follow up has taken a surprisingly different approach, and the change of pace is wildly successful. By slowing down and stretching out his songs, Botanist has managed to take his unique dulcimer-based black metal and changed it from an interesting experiment to an emotionally nuanced, and powerfully expansive work of art. The slower, longer song structure allows him to create memorable melodies and explore emotions and atmosphere simply not possible on previous efforts, and the raw power driving Doom In Bloom is something to be commended on every front.
Top tracks: Deathcap; Ganoderma Lucidum

90. Wreck and Reference - 'No Youth'
Genre: Black Shoegaze/Experimental Black Metal
Country of Origin: USA
Wreck and Reference are special in the black metal scene. A lot of people won't figure out why at first--is it the floating song structures, the swift transitions between vicious feedback-laden shrieks and calm ambient segments? Those certainly characterize them, but the truly remarkable thing about these guys is that there are no guitars on this album. You wouldn't guess it just from listening, but it's all just drums, vocals, and synth. However, with that, they manage to create an atmosphere and intensity that is akin to any of their peers in the genre, making No Youth one of the most unmistakably bleak albums of the year. Using combination of melancholic singing and desperate shrieks, Wreck and Reference back up their unique instrumentation with the know-how and tense emotionalism to compete with the greats of the genre.
Top tracks: I Am A Sieve; Winter

89. Le1f - 'Dark York'
Genre: Seapunk/Experimental Rap
Country of Origin: USA
Man, I don't really even know what to say about this one. A lot of hubbub is surrounding Le1f as one of the first big deal queer rappers, but there's a lot more to his work beyond that. His rapping is pretty solidly unlike anything else I've ever heard, drawing out some words like he's falling asleep, mumbling others, occasionally spitting verses out as fast as the best of 'em out there, other times barely even speaking his lines. Some of his pieces work on the kind of obscure plane that they're hard to follow, while other feel like massive trap numbers with giant, memorable hooks. This is message with a deeply important message, rife with rebellion and subtle power, but you're likely to spend hours trying to decipher it through the metaphorical lyrics and insanely obtuse production. And let's talk about that production for awhile, because it's simply nuts. Synth blips and bloops chirp about above simple drum loops and bass so thick it regularly completely overpowers Le1f's vocals make this album pretty much in a league all its own. Dark York is an impressive look at the future of the experimental rap world, and is pretty much mandatory listening for any fan of the genre.
Top tracks: Wut; Giddy Up

88. Epicardiectomy - 'Abhorrent Stench of Posthumous Gastrorectal Desecration'
Genre: Slam
Country of Origin: Czech Republic
I wasn't as present in the slam world this year as last, but I do know one thing: Epicardiectomy are absolutely insane. Originally known for the ridiculous 'macarena pit' live video, these Czech beasts have finally released their debut full-length, and oh man does it go hard. As the brilliant metal-archives review put it, there are exactly seven seconds on this album which aren't a slam, and honestly, that's pretty accurate. This thing is insane, brutal, disgusting, and overwhelming. Honestly, I don't even know if this needs a blurb--the album cover tells you everything you need to know about this record. If you like ignorant slamming brutal death metal and disgustingly guttural vocals, you'll love this. If you don't, you'll probably hate it. I know a lot of people will hoist new albums by Abominable Putridity or Pathology above this record, but I have to say, this is one of the filthiest, heaviest, and most unrelenting albums I've heard, and you'd be doing yourself a disservice to not slam along.
Top tracks: Gobbling the Erupted Intestinal Mush; Ulcerous Cadaveric Decrepitation

87. Gaza - 'No Absolutes In Human Suffering'
Genre: Sludge/Hardcore
Country of Origin: USA
I have this terrible feeling that if I wrote that Gaza are one of the heaviest bands in the world, I would get tons of comments pointing me to other groups proving me wrong. But honestly, if you can listen through No Absolutes In Human Suffering and refer to it as anything but 'one of the heaviest records I've ever heard,' more power to you. As for me, this thing is nuts. On Gaza's third record, they really pulled out all the stops. These are some of the most oppressive riffs ever, complete with crushingly slow rhythms and furiously howled vocals. The fast moments are brutal, the thick sludgy moments are simply ridiculous, and the melodic moments are sublime. The bleak atmosphere and viciously emotional delivery simply serve to further how intense and powerful this gut-punch of an album is, and I can't imagine a single fan of heavy music not loving this to death. To put it simply, this is how you make sludgy hardcore sound fucking immense. 
Top tracks: When They Beg; This We Celebrate

86. Senpai - 'They Say Just Wait Till Morning'
Genre: Piano-Oriented Downtempo/Trip-Hop
Country of Origin: USA
Now, this is a new one for me--in a way, I'm putting two different albums in the same spot on my list. Senpai's newest record was first released as an EP, and then expanded to a full-length about a month later. I'm honestly not sure which version of the wonderful They Say Just Wait Till Morning I like more, as they both have their own strengths, although I tend to lean towards the original EP because it holds together better as a unified, atmospheric listening experience which doesn't overstay its welcome. The LP version of the album strays from its focus much more, but in turn offers a much more interesting and varied listen. Whichever you prefer, though, Senpai's 2012 album is something which would be hard to describe any way besides breathtakingly beautiful. The simple beats, the occasional guest vocal spot, the heartaching piano parts all point to the fact that this is a truly special piece of music. The occasional hint at the world that Senpai exists in, from chirping birds to subdued piano melodies, open up this record to be so much more than the sum of its parts, and absolutely something that stands on its own in a simply gorgeous way.
Top tracks: Hanami; Stones Over Styx

85. Submotion Orchestra - 'Fragments'
Genre: Fusion Jazz/Dubstep
Country of Origin: England
Submotion Orchestra's debut album last year was the kind of thing which pretty much blew my mind as far as genre-capabilities go. The combination of silk-smooth female vocals, gorgeous jazz horns, and flowing dubstep bass and beats was something original, exciting, and inspiring, and to be honest, I didn't put it anywhere near high enough on last year's list. Their debut is a bit of a different beast, though. The first thing you'll notice is that it's a lot less subdued: the beats rise and explode, complete with huge bass and shrieking trumpets. Although there are a handful of more relaxed tracks, in general, Fragments is much more energetic, exciting, and vocally-oriented than its predecessor, and it both grows and suffers for it. The change in pace means that the album is much more immediate, impressive, and intriguing, but it also means that it feels a little less unique and atmospheric, and the last quarter or so of the record gets a bit samey with more dubstep influence and less of a combination of the band's styles. Don't let that turn you off though--this album is a simply sublime work of art, and the kind of things that Submotion Orchestra do with their genre mash-up is still pretty much completely unmatched in today's music scene. It may not feel quite as groundbreaking as it did last year, but Submotion Orchestra make up for that six-fold by delivering a powerful, exciting, and emotive release, worthy of nothing but the highest praise.
Top tracks: Blind Spot; Thinking

84. DIIV - 'Oshin'
Genre: Shoegaze
Country of Origin: USA
Shoegaze honestly kind of exploded over two decades ago and realistically never really recovered from the huge blow that Loveless dealt to it. I don't know if I've ever seen a whole genre quite so insanely focused on a single album. So, let's get the obvious question and answer out of the way: Is Oshin as good as Loveless? No, of course not. But that's okay. It's also a wonderful piece of shoegaze from a great up and coming band, and really manages to feel special while sticking pretty thoroughly to the formula. There's a bit of dreampop influence in the lazy vocals and twinkly guitar tone, but the hazy atmosphere and attitude are all shoegaze. Everything is washy and reverb-soaked, the melodies are beautiful and intangible, and although the record is about as samey as any shoegaze album, these songs will still manage to get stuck in your head and make themselves recognizable. There's really only so much I can say about DIIV's wonderful debut, because the fact is, it's a shoegaze record--if you like that, you'll love this. If you don't, well, it's still a pretty damn great album. And if you're like me, constantly trying to find some band to fill the shoegaze-shaped void in your heart, this one will do wonderfully. Oshin is a fantastic album filled with shimmering instrumentals, catchy melodies, and reverb everywhere you look. Check it out.
Top tracks: Earthboy; Follow

83. iNTRiKeT - 'The Woods'
Genre: Ambient Electronic/Downtempo
Country of Origin: Canada
The Woods is one of the most breathtakingly gorgeous albums I've ever heard. Sure, it's a little lacking in variety and excitement, but that pales in comparison to the simple beauty of this work. On iNTRiKeT's debut record, the producer melds acoustic and electronic to make an incredible piece of art, ambient sounds and relaxed acoustic guitars guiding the swirling layers of atmospheric synth and relaxed beats through the eight long songs present here. iNTRiKeT's production tricks aren't exactly groundbreaking, but he really does stand out in the ambient electronic world for his ability to draw his songs out and truly get the most out of his masterful fusion of real and digital recordings. This is the kind of thing everyone in the world can (and should) love, this is unbelievably beautiful music to relax, fall in love, sleep, or have an existential crisis to, and it is one of the most relateable and human records existing in a genre known for how detached it can be.
Top tracks: As I Am (Will You Take Me); Enough

82. きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ - 'ぱみゅぱみゅレボリューション'
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - 'Pamyu Pamyu Revolution'
Genre: J-Pop
Country of Origin: Japan
Confession: this list will have a lot more fun asian pop than last year's. There were actually a lot of Japanese and Korean pop albums I loved last year, but I was hesitant to post more than one on the list. After how well-received it was, I figured I could be a bit more adventurous. That said, Kyary released her first full-length this year! That's a pretty big deal, if you ask me. While her brand of cutesy j-pop doesn't last quite as well over a full album as it did on an EP, Pamyu Pamyu Revolution is still as joyous and fun as ever. Yasutaka Nakata's simply masterful production allows Kyary's adorable voice and fantastic melodies to soar like never before, and the album as a whole is just so exciting that it's hard to turn it down. If you don't like j-pop, I'm not sure if Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's wacky cuteness will change your mind (although I don't see how anyone could help but fall in love after watching one of her videos), but if you do, this is just pure sugary goodness for any fan. Don't let her ridiculous exterior turn you off, this is about the happiest music out there, and if you don't think the world needs more of that, you obviously haven't realized how good Kyary can make you feel.
Top tracks: つけまつける (Tsukema Tsukeru); Drinker

81. Woulg - 'Tussed'
Genre: Ambient/Experimental Electronic/Glitch
Country of Origin: Canada
I love Woulg. He's one of my number one electronic producers in the western world, and the only reason he isn't higher on this list is because he hasn't released his masterpiece Crash Landing In Alaska in full yet. But even with how tragically short Tussed is, it's still just amazing. Woulg's penchant for intensely bassy, cavernous beats over extremely minimal atmospheres makes some of the most engrossing music there is. Although this time he seems to be focusing more on an underwater aesthetic than his previous work's space vibe, he still nails it perfectly, building each of Tussed's four tracks from the ground up to get the most mood and drama out of the little things he gave them, and it just all works so well. If you didn't check out Woulg on my 2011 list (you blew it), don't sleep on him again. This guy rules, plain and simple.
Top tracks: The Water; Tussed

80. Taylor Swift - 'Red'
Genre: Pop
Country of Origin: USA
Do I even really need to write anything about this album? C'mon guys, it's friggen Taylor Swift, you literally know exactly what this sounds like. Except, not quite, because the just-23-years-old Swift is finally starting to step outside of the box she's built for herself, and it's the best thing she could have done. Shedding almost any pretenses of being a 'country' star from her music, Taylor Swift has finally accepted the fact that she's a full blown pop idol in every sense of the term, and on Red, she's given that newfound excitement her all. Yes, it still has her trademark acoustic ballads and upbeat, absolutely adorable guitar-pop, and yes, it's still way too goddamn long (even moreso than her first three albums), but this is also the album where Taylor Swift is finally starting to push her boundaries, create songs like she's never made before, and really gain the kind of huge confidence and attitude needed for a pop star of her caliber. There are hints of adult alternative here, with pleasant folksy numbers backed with acoustic guitar, bass, and drums, and ballads galore, but it's the big numbers where Taylor truly shines. When she drops any pretense and goes all out with a massive pop number, complete with immense beats and fantastically dark production, it's hard not to sit back a little bit in awe that this is the same girl who broke out with Love Story and You Belong With Me. But for those who loved the old Taylor, don't worry, she's still here. Most of these songs follow her tried-and-true cute acoustic pop formula, and that's not a bad thing--this record is full to bursting with songs which are practically impossible to do anything but smile along with. Fact is, on Red, Taylor Swift has absolutely kicked the ass of the American pop music formula, and come out on top in every way.
Top tracks: I Knew You Were Trouble; We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

79. Xiu Xiu - 'Always'
Genre: Experimental Post-Punk/Dark Art-Pop
Country of Origin: USA
Xiu Xiu are one of those bands that pretty much have never stopped impressing me. Their live show is a wonder to behold, but their albums hold a magical power all of their own. Jamie Stewart's panicked emotionalism and the groups experimental, terrifying electronic instrumentation always combine to create a stream-of-consciousness intensity that could really only come from Xiu Xiu. Always focuses a bit more on dancey beats and hooks than previous records, but that doesn't mean it isn't every bit as intense as everything the group have become known for. The choral samples, the crazy instruments, the ridiculously powerful vocals, every bit of the duo's music oozes creative power, and despite being a bit more accessible, Always can absolutely sit in with the best of their works. The way that Xiu Xiu weave almost incomprehensible personal sorrow, torture, and confusion into their music with an air of authority and knowledge is simply remarkable, but the way they can make you truly feel the things they're singing about is doubly impressive. Simply put, if you like experimental music with a deeply desperate, over the top emotional core, Xiu Xiu are the band for you, and Always is their best release in years.
Top tracks: Black Drum Machine; Joey's Song

78. capsule - 'STEREO WORXXX'
Genre: J-Electro/House
Country of Origin: Japan
Yasutaka Nakata is just amazing. I really can't think of a single project he's worked with that I wasn't incredibly impressed by, whether it's been Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Perfume, or his own duo, capsule. As a producer and songwriter, he simply can't stop making great material, and his newest work with partner Toshiko Koshijima is nothing short of awesome. I've always kind of felt that capsule are what Daft Punk should have been (I know I'm treading on thin ice here), and STEREO WORXXX just reinforces my belief. The simple house beats and catchy instrumentals complement Toshiko's gorgeous voice perfectly, and all of it comes together to make some simply excellent music which succeeds both in a dance context or in your own home. The club bangers go hard enough that anyone could get into them, and when Yasutaka takes a breath to make a more emotive track, he works wonders. Simply put, if you like electronic music, you should get into capsule immediately.
Top tracks: Never Let Me Go; Step On The Floor

77. Twelve Foot Ninja - 'Silent Machine'
Genre: Progressive Alt Metal/Melodic Genre-Bending Djent
Country of Origin: Australia
Genre bending alt metal from Australia with band members dressed as ninjas. What could go wrong? Surprisingly little, actually. Twelve Foot Ninja base themselves in a melodic djent structure with semi-clean vocals and heavy, angular guitars, and they then proceed to step outside of this structure every chance they get. By the third song of the album they've jumped between their alt metal basis, latin grooves, disco, and even reggae. Sure, their style is dripping with gimmicks, but it's also simply fucking awesome, and it's incredibly impressive how well Twelve Foot Ninja combine their huge spread of genres with epic choruses and a singer with an obvious love for Mike Patton. Every song is unique, catchy, huge and inspiring. Beyond their talent for switching things up, this band also has a remarkable knack for incredible melodies and guitar lines, making just about every second of Silent Machine genuinely enjoyable and exciting. The concept may be cheesy and the band may not take themselves as seriously as most, but don't let that turn you away from this record. I almost wrote Silent Machine off as another silly alt metal theme band, and I can't imagine how much I would have regretted it. This is an incredible impressive, dynamic, powerful and exciting debut full-length from a band who have nowhere to go but up.
Top tracks: Coming For You; Vanguard

76. The Brave Little Abacus - 'Okumay'
Genre: Emo
Country of Origin: USA
The Brave Little Abacus are one of those fun, twinkly emo bands that just never get old to me. And that's actually saying something, cuz usually I get really turned off by this brand of emo, with a few exceptions, but these guys just do it perfectly. They're fun, silly, heartbreaking, and awesome all at once. Their newest EP is a brilliant amalgamation of emotive singing, fast saxophone, twinkling guitars and nostalgic power coming at you full-force, complete with a throwback to An American Tail. There's remarkable instrumental variation, incredibly powerful emotionalism, and simple joy oozing from every inch of this EP. The guitars swell to bursting and the childlike love that these guys throw into their craft is simply wonderful, and I just don't have enough great things to say about Okumay. Simply put, this is how all rock music should sound.
Top tracks: 45 Minutes From "Somewhere Out There"; For geOn (for Colin)



  1. Soooo much diversity <3__<3

  2. post more!
    this list fucking rules

  3. exactly. I keep coming back each day for the continuation lol

  4. So sorry they're taking so long guys! I'm really glad to hear you like it, unfortunately, making these is a ton of work because I try to listen through the whole album while writing to get an accurate opinion and decision on the best songs, and I'm pretty busy these days. But I promise part 2 is in the works.

  5. Good list. Cross genres is nice.

    Looking forward to part II.

  6. very cool stuff. Really interesting blog. Not sure how I got here but thanks for the Portico Quartet and Thee Satisfaction reccos. Looking forward to the rest of the list.

  7. Thanks man, always glad to hear people enjoying this list, I put a lot of time into it. Part three is up to day, and the rest soon to come!

  8. Awesome list man, i've discovered some amazing music through it.

    Keep up the good work!