Friday, December 21, 2012

STN Albums Of The Year 20-17

20 Why? - Mumps etc.
Most of Yoni Wolf's career has been built on the processes of TMI, but now he's even more self-absorbed, a bout of illness giving him maybe just too much time to reflect on his own fate, health and general upkeep. Returning to the lazy hip-hop beats of before Eskimo Snow but with more organically produced textural depth beneath with choirs and strings, Yoni reaches into his own depression and mortal thoughts and comes out with a take on his endlessly Tumblr-quotable arrythmic crossword clue flow which finds graphic poetry in the dark nights of the soul and comes out with a curious semi-hidden optimism.

[Amazon] [iTunes]

19 Islet - Illuminated People
Their full-length debut couldn't match up to their all-action live shows - and frankly nothing really could - but recorded at length they made an intriguing, playfully experimental and ambitious sonic collage of everything they hold dear. That is to say, groove-laden drumming underpinning cranky constructs that alternately shimmer and batter, moments of serenity giving immediate way to squalls of madness. Fizzing, coiling guitars, squelching bass and vocals that dart from languid to urgent yelp add to the impression that everyone is basically leading each other on, a proggier end of krautrock band stuck in the bodies of discordant psychedelic clique inhabiting a drum circle.

[Amazon] [iTunes] [Spotify]

18 Shearwater - Animal Joy
Dedicated to wildlife and the coast, the adventurous spirit of Jonathan Meiburg's post-Talk Talk chamber-pop may never before have touched so many bases and certainly hasn't as sounded as encompassingly huge in its production scope to the point of Springsteen-stadium, if this sort of thing could ever be sold that big. More direct and rhythmic, the foreboding in Meiburg's tone and imagery are contradicted by what seems a more open, even celebratory musical pack, often coming to a crashing climax with more guitar effects then they've pulled out before. As big as it may sound, though, the subject matter and ambition still keep it squarely in Shearwater country.

[Amazon] [iTunes] [Spotify]

17 Mission Of Burma - Unsound
Four albums into what once seemed an unlikely second wind, the Boston trio have settled into their own groove of hyperitchy staccato post-hardcore where taut riffs scurry about and ping off each other, bass levels plunge into the red and Roger Miller and Clint Conley are in friendly competition as to who can sound the most bug-eyed. As such it quite often seems like they're challenging each other to go further within their self-set parameters. The jagged edges have if anything been roughed up from last time out, sounding as if things would fall into a help if someone gave out first. Still mightily relevant.

[Amazon] [iTunes] [Spotify]

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