Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bunny Gamer's Top 100 Albums of 2012. Part Two: 75-51.

Part two is finally here! I know these come slower than a lot of you (and myself) would like, but unfortunately I'm just doing all this by myself, so it goes as quickly as it can. Anyway, as always, here's the next 25 of my top albums from 2012, the links are as stable as I could get them but please do let me know if one is broken and you can't find it elsewhere and I'll do my best to provide you with another working link. Comments, thoughts, and opinions are well appreciated, so lemme know what you think, and go ahead and click the title of this article to see the full list, after the break!

75. A.I.(d) - 'Solar Feelings'
Genre: Djent
Country of Origin: France
It seems like djent was a trend which existed almost entirely in 2011, and that's a bit of a shame. I suppose it was a bit too restrictive to have persisted, but it's good to see that one of the best artists of the genre is still pushing and keeping it alive. A.I.(d) released two records (a full-length and an EP) of simply mind blowing eight-string guitar work and ridiculous production. The EP, Solar Feelings, is simply a monstrous work of art, from the electronic blips here and there to the perfectly programmed drum machine to the unbelievable guitar talent and melodies. Not only are these parts incredibly impressive and insanely difficult, but they're also remarkably original, enthusiastic, and evocative. The breakdowns on this album are some of the heaviest things ever, the solos are ridiculously technical and intense, the melodies are expressive and extremely creative, and the album's sense of ebb and flow between heavy and soft is praiseworthy. Solar Feelings is pretty much the best recording by the best artist in the modern djent genre, and is a blessing for anyone who likes hypertechnical guitar playing, extremely tight production, and surprising emotionality in their heavy music.
Top tracks: Spearmint; Apocapilepsy

74. BATS - 'The Sleep of Reason'
Genre: Post-Hardcore
Country of Origin: Ireland
On their second full-length record, BATS have pretty much perfected their already wonderfully unique brand of post-hardcore. The noodly, dance-punk styled bouncy guitar/bass lines lay the perfect basis for catchy, off-kilter rock songs about various aspects of science. The vocals are almost reminiscent of late-period Fear Before, but much more to the point and digestible in a way that this is post-hardcore which is almost universally enjoyable. The melodies are easy to follow and the ideas, although completely off-the-wall, dark, and different are perfect understandable and fun as all hell. With The Sleep of Reason, BATS have made one of the most fun and epic post-hardcore albums of the year, and done it without compromising an ounce of artistic integrity.
Top tracks: The Sleep of Reason; Thomas Midgley Jr.

73. Soap&Skin - 'Narrow'
Genre: Dark Ambient/Neoclassical/Experimental Folk
Country of Origin: Austria
For being only twenty-two years old, Anja Plaschg is making some remarkably creative and powerful music. Her debut full-length as Soap&Skin was a masterpiece of dark piano-and-vocal pieces and strange electronic production at times, and her second record, Narrow, aims to top it in every way. Anja's aching voice, the evil, sorrowful piano, the swelling string, the giant electronic climaxes all work together in making Soap&Skin unlike anything else out there. Informed by her father's recent death, Anja has crafted a beautiful work of dark art, wrapped it all up in scary beats and gorgeous piano lines (usually not at the same time, however), and topped it off with some of the most interesting and unexpected melodies and vocal productions out there. Her dabblings in electronic music can be a bit strange, but still effective, and her sparse, tragic piano ballads are simply astounding. With the surprisingly short Narrow, Soap&Skin has proven that she is a force to be reckoned with, and I for one am eagerly awaiting her next release.
Top tracks: Boat Turns Toward the Port; Vater

72. Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin - 'Instrumental Tourist'
Genre: Ambient/Drone
Country of Origin: USA/Canada
I'm still upset that I forgot to include Oneohtrix Point Never's fantastic record on my list last year, as it was one of my absolute favourites. Thankfully, this year I have a chance to make up for it, as he has collaborated with my other top modern ambient artist, Tim Hecker. While not quite as inspiring as either of the artists' solo work, Instrumental Tourist is still a match made in heaven. Lopatin's mastery of nostalgia-ripping synth drone and Hecker's skill at drawing emotion through analog ambient drone mesh together to make an exciting and gorgeous piece of music. The work on here is an incredible combination of the two artists' distinctive styles, working in a sphere of beauty and fear, slowly creeping into your nightmares and slow walks to the corner store at 2AM, soundtracking long walks through a metropolis at night and revealing layers and layers of power and magic as it goes, eventually proving to be an all-encompassing work of varied and intense ambient music made by two of the genres modern masters.
Top tracks: Uptown Psychedelia; Racist Drone

71. Dads - 'American Radass (this is important)'
Genre: Twinkly Emo
Country of Origin: USA
Where the fuck did Dads come from? Maybe it's the silly album cover or clever song titles or simply flawless delivery of the most nostalgic, fun, powerful twinkly rock music probably ever, but when their debut full-length burst onto the music scene this year, it simply exploded. But honestly, I find it hard to disagree with the hype surrounding American Radass (this is important). This is a fantastic, fun, emotive and magical record of clean guitars and whiny vocals in the absolute best ways. If you've ever heard this style of emo, you know exactly what to expect, but that doesn't even matter, because the fact is that Dads do it better than absolutely anyone, period.
Top tracks: Awww, C'mon Guyz; Shit Twins

70. Memoryhouse - 'The Slideshow Effect'
Genre: Dreampop
Country of Origin: Canada
Memoryhouse are pretty much the most noteworthy band to come out of the recent dreampop explosion, and while their The Years EP was simply fantastic, I was a little worried about how the duo would do in a full-length context. It turns out I shouldn't have had any concerns, as The Slideshow Effect is a fantastic debut record full of dreamy guitars, simple drums and sleepy vocal melodies courtesy of Denise Nouvion. Memoryhouse have never exactly been a ground-breaking group in the dreampop genre, but they don't need to be. The Slideshow Effect is a snapshot of an artist who has absolutely perfected their specific craft, and the slow, hazy songs do just about everything right, from the tired and lonely feelings to the beautiful, relaxed instrumentation to the surprisingly catchy melodies. Memoryhouse are the kind of group that anyone can enjoy, and The Slideshow Effect is a fantastic debut full-length which only serves to cement them as the front runners for the new resurgence of dreampop.
Top tracks: Heirloom; Little Expressionless Animals

69. Twin Shadow - 'Confess'
Genre: New Wave/Dark Pop
Country of Origin: USA
The cover of Confess is a cocky, sexualized vision of George Lewis Jr looking like he came straight out of a cheesy '80s film, and that's pretty much exactly how I'd describe the record itself. Twin Shadow's second album is neo-'80s pop done right, and the massive choruses, bleeping synths and crashing guitars are all backed by some of the most bombastic beats around. Lewis has a knack for crafting surprisingly emotional songs while still keeping his confident sexuality going strong and coming up with huge, overly catchy choruses. Twin Show's music is like what would happen if M83 stopped hiding in the background of his production and instead brought forth a powerful persona with an incredibly powerful, sensual and husky voice and fell in love with guitars dripping with flanger effects. Confess is pretty much the apex of awesome neo-'80s pop, and I can't think of anything about this record that shouldn't appeal to anyone and everyone.
Top tracks: You Call Me On; Five Seconds

68. Ga-In - 'Talk about S'
Genre: K-Pop
Country of Origin: South Korea
This is the first of a few k-pop record that I have planned for this list, and is also a fantastic introduction to the genre for anyone who isn't already a fan. Ga-In (가인) would have earned a spot on this list just for the fantastic video for Bloom--and to be honest, a discussion of my respect for that video and GaiIn's remarkable ability to push boundaries and pave the way for positivism regarding women's sexuality in a country like South Korea in such an artistically moving way while framing it all around a heartfelt, IU-esque disco-pop song about losing her virginity could fill up an entire blog post of its own. But the magic of Talk about S is that even without her controversial and exciting videography, Ga-In's work stands remarkably strongly on its own. Famous for being one of the most notable members of the group Brown Eyed Girls, this wonderful collection of five songs proves that Ga-In is a force to be reckoned with in the k-pop world, making some of the most movingly sweet, fun, and unbelievably catchy music to come out in years. Not to mention the fact that anyone whose heart doesn't simply soar when Ga-In belts out her 'I love you' at the end of Bloom is simply broken.
Top tracks: 피어나 (Bloom); 팅커벨 (Tinkerbell)

67. Born Gold - 'Little Sleepwalker'
Genre: Downtempo Electronic
Country of Origin: Canada
For Cecil Frena's first album completely away from his Gobble Gobble moniker (last year's Bodysongs was largely comprised of songs he had previously released under the old name), he's really changed things up. While his music up to this point has largely been a loud, experimental take on the pop music formula, Little Sleepwalker is something completely different for Born Gold. Completely ditching the garish production and big hooks for a much more subtle, minimal sound more akin to Silent Shout-era The Knife than anything he's released in the past. What this means is that Born Gold's latest record is a unique, dark and surprisingly atmospheric affair. Cecil's eerily warped vocals chirp out across clicky beats and subtle synths to form memorable melodies and one of the thickets atmospheres in electronic music. This is scary, evil, and gorgeous electronic music from someone who's never done anything like this before, and it's simply awesome.
Top tracks: That Way; Pulse Thief

66. Every Time I Die - 'Ex Lives'
Genre: Metalcore
Country of Origin: USA
Man, Every Time I Die have been on a huge turnaround lately. It seems like just a few years ago when they decided to write southern party rock, filled with groovy riffs and dirty singing. Two albums out from The Big Dirty, the riffy-metalcore kings are back to their old selves in a big way. The big difference though is that they're also way better than their old selves. Ex Lives is probably the best album Every Time I Die have released, and considering their history, that's a big statement. The giant guitar riffs, huge breakdowns, and Keith Buckley's instantly recognizable howls all make for Every Time I Die simply kicking the most ass they ever have. These guys are back with a fast, technical, heavy and fun as hell album of short-but-vicious metalcore tunes. Ex Lives is impressively memorable and to-the-point, with practically no filler whatsoever, instead opting to make simply some of the most solid, unique, and brilliantly-crafted metalcore out there.
Top tracks: Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space; I Suck (Blood)

65. The Chariot - 'One Wing'
Genre: Metalcore
Country of Origin: USA
The Chariot have always liked their music to get straight to the point--their fifth album is their longest released yet, and it's still just barely over thirty minutes. But for its abrupt nature, One Wing is surprisingly effective and makes its point in the most impressive way. The music on display here is some of the most punishing metalcore this side of Converge, but The Chariot also display an impressive amount of maturity and experimentation, almost all of which is successful. Strange interludes, horns, spaghetti western guitars, and piano tracks break up the intensity of the majority of One Wing and allow the listener to catch their breath in between the vicious slabs of screams, fast tempos, dissonant chords, and even the occasional sludgy guitar line or massive buildup that make up the record. The song structure is sufficiently creative enough to constantly keep you on your toes, and the way the record utilizes tension and release to create an intense, chilling, intriguing and insanely creative listening experience is proof that The Chariot have graduated from being just another metalcore band to being truly masters of the genre. Simply put, this is one of the best metalcore records of the year, and proof that The Chariot are so much more than their peers.
Top tracks: Tongues; Forget

64. Enter Shikari - 'A Flash Flood of Colour'
Genre: Electronic Post-Hardcore
Country of Origin: England
I can see this one causing a lot of contention, but I have never understood the hate that Enter Shikari get. Sure, they kind of started the whole synth-lines-and-breakdowns trend, but these guys have always stood out from the back and made unique and exciting music. It's not hard to argue that A Flash Flood of Colour is their best recording yet, and it's their most enjoyable and consistent release yet. While past records have suffered from being overlong and top-loaded, every bit of Enter Shikari's third recording is enjoyable and to the point. Their sound jumps between moments of heavy bass dubstep, giant post-hardcore choruses, breakdowns, drum'n'bass beats, acoustic ballads, and anthemic riffs, often at the same time. While the band's over-political message is anything but subtle, the lyrics are still effective and memorable, and the band honestly excel at about every style they attempt. The album's lead ballad, Stalemate, is gorgeous and emotive, the loud tracks are gut-punch heavy (Sssnakepit even has a slam, of all things), and the choruses are massive works for giant crowds to sing along to as always. If you've written off Enter Shikari in the past, give them another shot, because A Flash Flood of Colour is simply fantastic.
Top tracks: Ghandi Mate, Gandhi; Stalemate

63. Ash Borer - 'Cold of Ages'
Genre: Cascadian Black Metal
Country of Origin: USA
The last few years have seen a huge renaissance in Cascadian black metal, peaking (at least for me) with Ash Borer's immense self-titled release last year, a record which is still standing out to me as possibly my favourite black metal album I've ever heard. Now that the craze is starting to dissipate a bit, however, things are changing. On Ash Borer's sophomore full-length, we see them clean up their sound and work on creating a more specific approach to their music rather than a lo-fi, atmospheric approach. It works fantastically, but it's sadly true that the magic from their 2011 release isn't quite there. However, that's not to say that Cold of Ages isn't still an absolutely wonderful work of intense, long-form black metal. While the instruments are more clearly defined and the melodies easier to pick out, the winding song structures, tortured howls and intense climaxes are still here in full force. The Arcata act's knack for creating songs which ebb and flow between droning bass, immense build-ups, and fast-paced black metal is impressive as always, and Cold of Ages paints a bleak, intense picture of a cold world that no one but Ash Borer could create. Although the hype may be dying down, this album still stands as proof that Ash Borer are a timeless band, capable of making some of the best music in one of the most divisive genres out there, and they are showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Top tracks: Convict All Flesh; Removed Forms

62. Between the Buried and Me - 'The Parallax II: Future Sequence'
Genre: Progressive Metalcore
Country of Origin: USA
Between the Buried and Me are one of those bands left over from the time of my life when all I listened to was prog rock and metal that are surprisingly still going pretty strong. Although some people really liked them, I couldn't for the life of me get very much into either of their last two albums, so when the new record was titled The Parallax II it didn't really inspire confidence in me. This album sure as hell taught me a lesson about assumptions though, because what I ended up getting is pretty much the follow-up to Colors I've been waiting for since it came out. Despite being their longest record by quite a lot, Future Sequence rarely drags, and highlights Between the Buried and Me's remarkable ability to weave a wide variety of influences and styles into their groovy, hypercomplex metalcore base. As anyone who's listened to the band knows, they have a penchant for working foreign genres and Tommy Rogers's gorgeous, pure clean vocals in with their lightning-fast guitar lines and harsh screams, and it's been years since they did so as well as they do on this album. The epic climaxes are huge, the twisting songs are impressive as ever, the instrumentation is tight and complicated, and above all the album is exciting in every way. Taking the one-long-song structure to new heights and practically crushing all expectations, Future Sequence is fast becoming a definitive album for a band who already have three definitive albums.
Top tracks: Melting City; Lay Your Ghosts to Rest

61. Sacred Tapestry - 'Shader'
Genre: Ambient/Vaporwave
Country of Origin: USA
The final part of the New Dreams Ltd project is also one of the most curious. The semi-anonymous woman behind what is honestly the biggest juggernaut in the new vaporwave movement, most famous for her work as Macintosh Plus, decided to (somewhat) forgo her worship and repurposing of early '90s commercial and elevator music and instead move into an almost ambient realm with the Sacred Tapestry project, and it worked beautifully. There are subtle beats and slow, cheesy synth melodies swirling around to turn Shader into a world of ambient, nostalgic bliss in the best way. Just like all of the other New Dreams Ltd projects, Sacred Tapestry carries a weight of subtle importance and emotionalism that's hard to put your finger on, but it never feels pretentious or overindulgent, instead simply choosing to be beautiful, powerful, and pitch-perfect music for a tired evening of remembering.
Top tracks: 移住; 花こう岩Cosmorama

60. Fiona Apple - 'The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do'
Genre: Experimental Piano Folk
Country of Origin: USA
For her first album in almost seven years, Fiona Apple did not waste a single second knocking it out of the park. Despite the over the top title, Apple's fourth record is remarkably sparse, consisting almost entirely of jazzy, off-kilter vocals, intensive piano lines and busy background drumming. But for how pared back the instrumentation is, Fiona Apple's songs are extremely effective, combining a meandering structure and simply fantastic lyrics to turn the album into a masterful journey through Fiona's twisted mind and emotions. The record can jump from sad to pretty to sexy to scary in seconds, and the fact that Fiona Apple does this so well with such simple instrumentation is remarkable, and the way that the record manages to wander with such purpose is unique and commendable in every way. I can't think of a single real thing to dislike about Apple's newest record, and it wouldn't be far fetched to say it is one of the best records released in its genre.
Top tracks: Jonathan; Daredevil

59. Lil B - 'Glassface'
Genre: Rap
Country of Origin: USA
One of my biggest mistakes (along with quite a few others, honestly) on last year's list was not including anything by Lil B. While I can't say that I fully digested even half of his monstrous amount of music this year (over 18 releases, one of which had more than 800 songs on it), there are definitely some which stuck out and impressed even more than the averaged BasedGod album. Late-year release Glassface was one of those, filled to bursting with 28 tracks of fantastic beats, stream-of-consciousness rapping. and BasedGod's keen ear for atmosphere and style. Glassface has a rare amount of focus among Lil B's work, leaning towards slow, powerful and atmospheric tracks with frankly gorgeous beats, and its all the better for it, as every single song on here is an excellent work in its own right. A lot of people seem to not take him seriously, but the fact is that despite how ridiculous he appears on the outside, Lil B is one of the most next level rappers out there right now, successfully working in every single style imaginable, producing amazing songs at a rate that no one can even come close to, and Glassface is proof of exactly why he deserves pretty much everyone's respect.
Top tracks: Mr Igloo; Dancing at Night

58. Whirr - 'Pipe Dreams'
Genre: Shoegaze
Country of Origin: USA
In my earlier entry about DIIV (see Part One of this list), I lamented the state of the shoegaze scene without My Bloody Valentine, and wondered if there would ever be a time when new shoegaze bands wouldn't be compared to them. In response, I would like to point out Whirr--formerly known as Whirl--a basically-local group whose biggest claim to fame is probably that their guitarist is also in post-black-metal act Deafheaven, are pretty much taking the scene back as far as I'm concerned. On their long-awaited debut full-length, Whirr deliver on every front, producing a beautiful, wistful, and dreamy shoegaze-styled rock album which trumps pretty much all recent releases in the genre, period. The shimmering guitars, hazy vocals, and heartfelt melodies are some of the best in the scene, and the record gives off a dreamlike melancholy feeling that few other artists have been able to accomplish. Pipe Dreams may not exactly be the king of shoegaze--although I doubt anything new ever will be--but it's certainly the best shoegaze album to come out of this generation, and that's something worth the highest commendation.
Top tracks: Junebouvier; Hide

57. iamamiwhoami - 'kin'
Genre: Dreampop/Witch House/Dark Pop
Country of Origin: Sweden
It seems like years that fans of Jonna Lee have been anxiously awaiting her debut full-length album, and when it finally dropped, I'd have to say absolutely no one was let down. For fans of iamamiwhoami, kin was everything that could have been hoped for and then some. The record perfectly fits Lee's eerie, beautiful vocals over muffled beats and icy synths to form a sublime dark pop soundscape. The songs are memorable and the wintery atmosphere allows for songs to range from sad and cold to those that are legitimately filled with absolute joy, letting some light and warmth poke through even the densest parts of the record. On her debut, iamamiwhoami has released a sublime work of subtle beauty, complete with a vast array of emotion and incredible production and vocals to fill it out. If kin is how she's introduced herself to the world at large, I for one can't wait to see how she chooses to progress from here, because this album is simply wonderful.
Top tracks: play; sever

56. Frank Ocean - 'channel ORANGE'
Genre: R&B
Country of Origin: USA
Anyone who knows me has probably heard me complain about the hype that hip-hop collective Odd Future get and how much I pretty much entirely dislike their style and message. However, Frank Ocean seems to exist simply to remind me that I can be too quick to judge, as his works are simply wonderful. His minimalistic take on dark R&B music is a far cry from the bland 'shock'-rap of Tyler and co, with Ocean instead choosing to create extremely nuanced and sensual songs with fantastic production and his pitch-perfect voice. The music on channel ORANGE works on just about every level, whether Frank is making smooth love songs or dark, foreboding pieces more in line with The Weeknd's work from last year. The true magic of channel ORANGE, however, is its experimentation. This is a record which is never afraid to try something new, from minimal, single-beat pieces to massive soul numbers to evil 9-minute epics, Frank Ocean's work goes wherever it needs to do and doesn't half-ass anything. And somehow, despite all this, it is also massively effective, forming an album which, with only a few brief exceptions, is intense and engaging to the very end, an absolutely stunning work of R&B.
Top tracks: Pyramids; Sweet Life

55. eaststrikewest - 'We're Important and We Keep the City Running. We're Important. We're Important. We're Important.'
Genre: Indie Rock/Post-Rock
Country of Origin: England
I only just recently discovered eaststrikewest and their unique take on the post-rock genre, and boy do I wish I'd discovered them earlier. At first, We're Important... feels like just any old post-rock record, opening with twinkling guitars and huge, tremolo-picked crescendos. By the second track, however, eaststrikewest reveal their true capabilities. Mixing in powerful, ever-present vocals to their formula changes everything, thoroughly basing the songs in ridiculously climactic rock music, but still utilizing the unique song structure and powerful ever-higher rising of post-rock. The music on this record is so huge and well written that it's hard to believe that these guys aren't veterans of the scene already. The band's ability to work the usually slow and formulaic post-rock genre into a giant, accessible and exciting contemporary rock environment is something to be praised, but even more praiseworthy is how simply inspiring the whole record is, and the feelings you'll have by the end of even the second track are something hard to top.
Top tracks: Twisting Muscles; Must Not Sleep, Must Warn Others

54. Exotic Animal Petting Zoo - 'Tree of Tongues'
Genre: Progressive Mathcore/Experimental Post-Hardcore
Country of Origin: USA
I remember way back in 2008 seeing Exotic Animal Petting Zoo open at a little local show headlined, somehow, by Heavy Heavy Low Low and Fear Before, and being blown away enough to pick up their debut album the day it came out the following year. Almost four years after I Have Made My Bed in Darkness dropped, Exotic Animal Petting Zoo are finally back with their sophomore effort, and it's absolutely amazing. It's almost impossible to believe Tree of Tongues is only the band's second record, as it's one of the most impressive and creative post-hardcore-style albums out there. The band's ability to jump across styles, from hectic mathcore-like segments to massive melodic chorus to genuine experimentation is something hard to top, and the epic and powerful style that they do it all in makes every moment all the more breathtaking. Transitioning from a near-breakdown to a soaring climax to a gorgeous soft section, these guys cover it all, and in the process destroy just about every preconception about the post-hardcore genre. From chaos to beauty to inspiration, with Tree of Tongues Exotic Animal Petting Zoo have, for a second time, singlehandedly crushed what dozens of other bands have been trying to do for the last four years, and it's simply incredible in all ways.
Top tracks: Through the Thicket...Across Endless Mountains; The Great Explainer

53. Kendrick Lamar - 'good kid, m.A.A.d city'
Genre: Rap
Country of Origin: USA
Section.80 is still, in retrospect, my favourite rap album to come out since My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy dropped. I know that's not a very long time, but the fact remains that Kendrick Lamar's 2011 record completely blew me away the more I listened to it, so I was naturally extremely excited for good kid, m.A.A.d city to finally come out. In the end, Kendrick's latest didn't blow my mind like Section.80, and that's okay. It might not be the best thing Kendrick has ever released (although judging by this record's hype, many of you may disagree), but it's still fucking incredible, because Kendrick Lamar is arguably one of the most creative and powerful rap artists around right now. His strange vocal quirks and unique flow top some of the most gorgeous beats out there, tying together good kid, m.A.A.d city's intense story-driven style between its many different styles. Lamar's ability to jump between ideas and lyrical styles at the drop of a hat to fit whatever he's trying to say is impressive, and his honest commentary on his life and drug culture is moving and lends the album a healthy sense of weight. With his newest release, Kendrick Lamar has proven yet again his ability to grow, change, and continue to create some of the most impressive and atmospheric music in the rap genre today.
Top tracks: Swimming Pool (Drank); Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe

52. Downfall Of Gaia - 'Suffocating In The Swarm Of Cranes'
Genre: Post-Metal
Country of Origin: Germany
This is one of those albums that has absolutely perfect artwork. No, it's not exactly a unique or special photograph, however, it's a perfect expression of the music contained within. Downfall Of Gaia's sophomore full-length is a wonder to behold, and although it takes awhile to get going, once you're in the thick of it, this album is truly something remarkable. Naturally, being a predominantly post-metal record, Suffocating In The Swarm Of Cranes is essentially one huge build-up, slowly growing from a slight rumble into a massive roar of crushing guitars and desperately shrieked vocals. The weight of the record forces it to constantly teeter on the edge of collapsing in on itself, but it never does, instead allowing for the dark beauty of their slower sections to give way only to the quiet desperation and realization that the gorgeous view expected from the top of the mountains on the cover has been replaced by nothing but fog and thin air. Melodramatic? Yes, but this album's mastery of tension and release is nothing if not over the top, bleak, and awe-inspiring.
Top tracks: Beneath the Crown of Cranes; Giving Their Heir to the Masses

51. mmpsuf - 'Retina'
Genre: Ambient Trip-Hop/Electroacoustic Indie Pop
Country of Origin: Lithuania
I know next to nothing about mmpsuf, except that they're Lithuanian and they're also awesome. The five songs on Retina are like a compilation of everything good that ever came out of whatever genre mmpsuf fit into. The duo's ability to write stunningly gorgeous songs pieced together with electronic beats, swirling keyboards, drums, piano, and Eglė Sirvydytė's beautiful, melodic vocals is truly impressive. I would almost say that these aren't songs so much as experiences, as the melodies and instruments move around you, push and pull on your emotions and the boundaries of genres, and somehow still remain extremely accessible and pleasant. Yes, this is experimental and unique music, but it's also heartbreakingly beautiful, inspiring, and remarkably enjoyable to just about anyone out there. In the end, Retina is one of the most surprising and incredible records to come out of the underground music scene in a long time, and absolutely no one should ignore it.
Top tracks: God's retina; The sailors



  1. Amazing, thank you.

  2. cant wait to see the rest! :D

  3. Very eclectic blog. LOT'S to try. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the kind words guys, this list is something I really put effort into and enjoy doing every year, it's great to hear people like it. Part three comes out today, four and five soon to come!