Prepare for the Black Panther to be your new favorite Avenger. Not only is the film opening to rave reviews, the excellent Ta-Nehisi Coates now writes the comics, and we’ve been granted worthy enough to receive this incredible soundtrack curated by Kendrick Lamar, featuring a who’s who of hip hop. Kendrick is the reigning king of rap, and his production and choices have made this the most fun rap album to come in a long time. Continue reading →
The Grammys are usually predictable, but not painfully so, like this year. This has been a year with a lot of heartache, and after the Grammys have blown it in nominating rock artists of consequence or giving the album of the year to an undeserving pick two years in a row, it’s hard not to get a little cynical, but here are my best guesses of who will win and should win:
There’s never really a bad year for music. There are always going to be great albums from popstars like Lorde or underground masterpieces like Mount Eerie’s new album. When it comes to deciding a personal top ten, it becomes a mix of what releases seemed most significant and what I returned to the most. Where there were excellent albums from Kendrick, Japandroids, and Kesha, these were the albums that defined my year. Also, shoutout to Run the Jewels. RTJ 3 would’ve made the list, but they leaked it Christmas Day 2016, so too bad.
The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die-Always Foreign
TWIABP continue to carry the torch they helped ignite in the emo revival. Always Foreign sees the band inching forward where Harmlessness left off. It’s the band’s most politically-minded release-to-date. “Marine Tigers” and “Fuzz Minor” are scathing social commentaries delivered by an impassioned David F. Bello. The band also doesn’t shy away from creating indie-rock with a sense of grandeur, as “Infinite Steve” and “Faker” see the band embracing post-rock the size of which the band hasn’t grown to before. With the songs “The Future” and “Dillon and Her Son,” TWIABP don’t shy away from Blink-182 style pop-punk, making this the most diverse set of songs TWIABP have ever released.
Earlier this year, I made an effort to keep track of every album (regardless of release date) I listened to in 2017. I gave up around May, but maybe I’ll try again for 2018. By the time I called it quits, I’d listened to 122 albums, and upon reviewing the list, I did see a bunch of albums I did really enjoy but forgot about. My best-of list will feature my top picks of albums that stuck with me from the time they came out until now, but these honorable mentions were also pretty great albums that I feel deserve some recognition. In no particular order, some of the other great albums from 2017 are:
Lil Peep-Come Over When You’re Sober (Part One)
The morning I found out about Lil Peep’s death was strange. I’d liked some of his songs, but his music hadn’t really grabbed and held me like it had for others. I still felt sad, mainly just seeing someone younger than me die of an overdose. I went back and listened to this album again that day, and I was surprised by how much it resonated with me. Lil Peep is the sort of artist I wish I had when I was fourteen, because it’s relatable and catchy. It really makes me upset that I wish I could’ve seen what else he could’ve done, not just for music, but for young sad kids that I do see a lot of myself in.
Black Kids’ first album in nine years was a lovely return to form. It’s an easily danceable indie-rock record with a bunch of quotable lines. “Iffy” and “Obligatory Drugs” are perfect examples of how Black Kids maintain the same energy that could’ve left them an indie one-hit-wonder. Continue reading →
Hanif Abdurraqib is one of the most unique voices in modern journalism and poetry. His 2016 poetry collection The Crown Ain’t Worth Much was a standout last year, and his often calm delivery of poetry is hypnotic. Like Crown, this essay collection They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us is a beautiful meditation on pop culture, race, personal history, and the places where those conversations meet. Abdurraqib sculpts his prose in a conversationally engaging but also comforting tone. Continue reading →
The festival will take place over the weekends of April 14-16 and April 21-23, and it features some of the most popular artists of 2015 and 2016. Some lesser known treats are Preoccupations, Ezra Furman, Car Seat Headrest, Mitski, Sampha, and many others.
Now, the polls have closed. Clinton won the popular vote, but Donald Trump received the majority of electoral votes. He will be our next president. Eight years of progress will be undone once Trump takes office in January. While I legitimately do hope that Trump is a good president, my better senses tell me he won’t be. Even though it seems that no good can come of all of this, some of my favorite music came out of anger for politicians. Here are some songs for a Trump presidency:
American Idiot has been in heavy rotation today. Even though the title track is often used as the marker for discontent, “Holiday” is easily the most political fueled track on the album. Billie Joe has recently been altering the lyrics to include “Pulverize the Donald Trump Towers,” and just as Green Day amplified a nation’s disgust in 2004, this song still rings true. Continue reading →
Shape Shift With Me has been in heavy rotation for me over the weekend, and the second track is easily one of the most fun and catchiest. Laura Jane Grace captures all the excitement and anxiety of the start of a new relationship. It’s very similar to the Searching for a Former Clarity song “Pretty Girls.” Also, Laura’s calling out Topshop for that $700 Against Me! jacket is punk as fuck.
Beach Slang-“Noisy Heaven”
I thought about including a song from Here, I Made This For You, but with the release of A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings coming up, I’ve been revisiting Beach Slang’s first album.
The Front Bottoms-“Tighten Up”
New Jersey’s The Front Bottoms have sprung two b-sides from Back On Top onto the internet, and it’s fucking awesome. The band will be touring with Brand New and Modern Baseball this Fall, followed by their own Champagne Jam 2016 in New York City. Hopefully this and “Joanie” will be played at each show. It’s classic catchy and bizarre TFB.
Motion City Soundtrack–“Pulp Fiction”
Motion City Soundtrack may have played their final show this weekend, but I’m not ready to let go. This My Dinosaur Life is an easy favorite deep cut from a band that won’t soon be forgotten.
Kendrick Lamar-“m. A. A. D. city”
I’ve been reading Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib’s The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, and his poetry has had me revisiting some of my favorite artists, and I just read his poem “The Author Explains Good Kid, M. A. A. D. City to His White Friend While Driving Through Southeast Ohio.” Music is obviously very important to Abdurraqib, and he pays tribute to everyone from Pete Wentz and Elliot Smith to Drake and Kanye.
Crying-“Wool in the Wash”
I’m getting on the Crying bandwagon a little late, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this track over the weekend. I’ve gone back and listened some of the chip-rock band’s older work, and this is them at their most realized. They have the large soaring video game sounds, but with some of the poppier, jingliest work yet.
The Hold Steady-“Chips Ahoy”
The second of three “Wish I was at Riot Fest” entries, I’m just upset about not seeing The Hold Steady this weekend at Riot Fest, because I missed Riot Fest. The only other options I’m truly bummed about are…
The Misfits-“Hybrid Moments”
Here’s to crossing my fingers for a Misfits tour!
Leonard Cohen-“Chelsea Hotel #2”
Following terrorist attacks in Chelsea, it seems fitting to play this Leonard Cohen cut a gloomy, rainy Monday. It’s been raining in New York, and this mellow song about Janis Joplin is fitting.