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Category Archives: year-end lists

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Okay, wow, I haven’t posted in a month. I’m almost done with my finals (thank god) and I get to return to good ol Charlotte in a few days and attempt to make up for lost sleep. Speaking of finals…

I’ve compiled my 50 favorite songs of the year (that were available on Spotify*) in this nice little playlist. Now, it’s organized alphabetically by artist, AKA unranked, so I’m gonna extract my top 7 and write a little more about each of them.

7.  Chastity Belt- “Joke”

The first time I listened to Chastity Belt was after my boyfriend dressed up as the band for Halloween (by which I mean he made a cardboard chastity belt and wrote “Chastity Belt” on it).  It’s a good thing I did. “Joke” is a gloomy jam, just the way I like them. And the guitar is just so beautiful, especially on the excellent outro.

6. Heems- “Sometimes”

Apparently this was my most-listened track on Spotify this year. After the breakup of Das Racist, Heems’s solo career took off, with song topics ranging from dark drone humor to breakup songs to the simultaneously self-depreciating and energetic “Sometimes.” The track deals with conflicting sides of Heems’s personality, yet it ends on a positive note- “I won’t change, I’m dope,” Heems  ultimately declares.

5. Hinds- “Chili Town”

Hinds kinda came out of nowhere, at least in my sphere, but as soon as I heard their debut EP I was in love. They kinda remind me of a more jangly (and Spanish) Vivian Girls. Their songs are all fun and danceable with great guitar tone and overlapping vocals. “Chilli Town” is my favorite; there’s something about the vulnerable lyrics (I am flirting with this guy just to pretend I’m fine/Saliva mixed with lies/My laugh is oversized/Forever yours, right?) that gets me every time.

4. Beach House- “Rough Song”

Depression Cherry who????? Beach House’s surprise release ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’, a whimsical and airy record with a sound most similar to their sophomore release ‘Devotion’, more than made up for what I considered a very disappointing album earlier in the year. “Rough Song” is my favorite cut off the record- delicate and absolutely gorgeous with a hint of sadness.

3. Alex G- “Snot”

I saw Alex G in October and I almost cried when he played this song. It might be the last song on ‘Beach Music,’ but it’s also the best. I don’t even know how to describe how I feel when I hear this song. All I can say is that it makes me super emo in the best way possible.

2. Lilys- “Day of the Monkey”

I know, I know, this is a reissue. But ‘Eccsame the Photon Band’ is my favorite shoegaze album ever EVER. Lilys is a band that knows when to be quiet and when to raise the energy, which is an essential quality in shoegaze. It was hard for me to pick one favorite track off the album, but “Day of the Monkey” is so beautifully layered that I decided on this song.

1. Shopping- “Take It Outside”

Oh my god, I’ve listened to this song SO MANY TIMES and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. I’m willing to fight whoever says it doesn’t have the best opening riff of the year. Shopping is a fairly bare-bones band- bass, drums, and a single guitar (with a tiny sprinkle of synth)- but they are a powerful trio. The lyrics are brief and confrontational- actually, the only lyrics are “Outside, can we take it outside/ you heard me right, you heard me right” and “break it, break it up/ don’t shake it, shake it up.” I know this sounds cheesy as all hell, but the music speaks for itself. When I play “Take It Outside” I picture in great detail a barfight in some dingy pub. A+. I hope a Netflix original or something uses this song in a fight scene someday.

 

*Bonus non-Spotify favorites: “Alexandra” by Elementals and “Artvocado” by Whalo

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lol

Hello everyone, and happy New Year’s Eve eve!

I’ve compiled a playlist of my favorite songs of the year (with help from Kevin). Please enjoy! The songs are in no particular order.

The playlist can be found HERE AT BOP.FM.

P.S: I know that Bradford Cox’s VHS Dream is a re-recording of the Deerhunter song, but… details.

2014 was a spectacular year for music, but there was some…regrettable album artwork floating around. Here I have rounded up the ten worst offenders. Happy holidays, everyone.

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After suddenly coming to the realization that it’s already December 29th, I’ve decided to pull the plug on the month-by-month overview and get straight to the main event. So, without further ado, here are my favorite albums of 2013. Since I’m indecisive, I decided not to rank the albums and instead place them in two groups: my top 9 and top 3.

Top 9 Albums of 2013

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‘Sunken’ by Twin Peaks

‘Sunken’ has a cavernous feel to it that creates a unique atmosphere. It’s rock and it’s lo-fi, but it’s also….something else I can’t describe. Regardless, I really love ‘Sunken’ and I can’t wait to hear more from Twin Peaks.

Mala

‘Mala’ by Devendra Banhart

This album is absolutely gorgeous. Banhart is without a doubt my favorite folk artist, and Mala is some of his best work.  It’s a really great balance of listenable and strange, which is what makes the album great.

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‘Comedown Machine’ by The Strokes

Forget it’s a Strokes album and it registers as an arty mixtape that you maybe don’t quite get but grows on you until you end up loving it. It’s a quietly great album.

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‘6 Feet Beneath the Moon’ by King Krule

There’s something so captivating about 19-year-old Archy Marshall’s debut album. (You can see my review here to read more about it).

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‘Sleeper’ by Ty Segall

Never before has a  Ty Segall album nearly driven me to tears (not an exaggeration). ‘Sleeper’ is truly a work of art.

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‘II’ by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

The best psychedelic album since Lonerism. Also, the best bass since Josh Fauver left Deerhunter.

Top 3 Albums of 2013

OLE-998 Kurt Vile-Walkin On A Pretty Daze

‘Wakin On A Pretty Daze’ by Kurt Vile

What can I say about Kurt Vile? That he’s one of the best singer/songwriters alive? Yeah, I can definitely say that.

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‘Hummingbird’ by Local Natives

More proof that Local Natives can’t put out a bad song. Despite the terrible album art (gag), it’s a true gem.

Deerhunter-Monomania

‘Monomania’ by Deerhunter

I will defend this album with all my heart. ‘Monomania’ is the essence of Deerhunter’s creative energy and a true pleaure to listen to.

Honorable mentions:

 ‘Anything in Return’ by Toro Y Moi

‘Yeezus’ by Kanye West (yeah, yeah)

‘Soft Will’ by Smith Westerns

‘Modern Vampires of the City’ by Vampire Weekend

‘True Romance’ by Charli XCX

And there it is! Feel free to yell at me in the comments!  xoxo

PicMonkey Collage

#1: ‘Stills’ by Gauntlet Hair

I was so disappointed with this album. Until a few weeks ago I’d only heard one song from ‘Stills’ (Bad Apple, which I absolutely love) and I had hopes that the rest of the album would live up to the high bar set by Bad Apple. But alas, the other songs were murky and boring at times, and none left any sort of good impression on me, which is a shame. And a bigger shame is that Gauntlet Hair broke up shortly after the album’s release, before they had a chance to redeem themselves.

#2: ‘Sleeper’ by Ty Segall

All hail the king of garage rock! Segall has a very impressive discography and an even more impressive musical prowess. His songwriting talent is spotlighted in ‘Sleeper’, where Segall puts his electric guitar and surface fuzz aside and goes acoustic. I was initially very surprised by this, but by the end of the album I found myself marveling, ‘Man, this guy really can’t put out a bad song.”

#3: ‘Paracosm’ by Washed Out

Honestly, I thought that chillwave was dead by now. I had completely forgotten about it until ‘Paracosm’ dropped out of nowhere. I can’t decide how I feel about it- maybe I’m influenced by its drop in relevance, but it feels  just a little forced. (Sorry, Ernest, but more synths are not always better.) Most of the songs are drowned in noise, which I’m usually happy with, but to me, “chill” and “noise” is not a winning combination. The album does have some songs I really like, notably ‘It All Feels Right’, and the bass especially is excellent. But, to put it tritely, the whole album sounds a little…..um….. washed out.

#4: ‘Major Arcana’ by Speedy Ortiz

I don’t have a clue how one would begin to categorize Speedy Ortiz- punk? indie? lo-fi rock? But no matter how you spin it, the album is fantastic. It’s unsettling and discomforting in a raw and blunt way, with off-kilter guitar and jarring lyrics about bullies, abandonment, and no-good creeps. But the most bizarre (and successful) part is that the music itself is upbeat and catchy, and in some cases even cheery, which makes it even more interesting. If you’re looking for an emotionally thought-provoking record, ‘Major Arcana’ is a safe bet.

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PicMonkey Collage

#1: ‘…Like Clockwork’ by Queens of the Stone Age

I don’t know why I’ve never listened to Queens of the Stone Age before, but I wish I had earlier. My first thought upon hearing ‘…Like Clockwork’ was, “yeah, this is my kind of thing.”  It’s spectacularly moody with its grimy guitar and infectious bass. And it seems timeless, too; this is an album that could have been made 20 years ago but still sounds great (and probably will another 20 years from now.) A very, very good album.

#2: ‘Desire Lines’ by Camera Obscura

I like chill music, and I think of myself as a pretty chill person, but ‘Desire Lines’ is a little TOO chill. I almost fell asleep a solid four or five times while listening to it. I’m not saying it’s a bad album, but I couldn’t pay attention for long enough to really comprehend it. (I have to admit, I was vaguely disappointed- Desire Lines by Deerhunter is one of my all-time favorite songs and I had hoped the good vibes would carry over.)

#3: ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ by The National

‘Trouble Will Find Me’ is one of those albums that makes you really think about things. I can imagine myself sitting on a mountaintop, listening to it and silently crying into the wind. It’s good, very good, but it’s one heck of an emotional ride. Not gonna lie, I almost cried during “Sea Of Love.” And “Heavenfaced.” And the whole rest of the album.

#4: ‘Once I Was An Eagle’ by Laura Marling

There’s something about Laura Marling I can’t help but love.  Her music has a very intimate feel to it; it’s beautifully crafted, but retains a level of organicness that gives it emotion and personality. The album is incredibly powerful; even at her most subdued, Marling glows with a strength and passion that captivates and awes. She’s a superb songwriter; the arrangements are gorgeous and her lyrics are intelligent and honest.

That’s a wrap for this segment! Stay tuned for July/August.

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