The end of the year is usually pretty light on new releases, so I don’t have a lot to recommend right now. In fact, November was so sparse I’ve gone ahead and included albums from late last month as well. I realize this is being posted a little early, but I will be traveling for the next couple weeks. And once again, as much as I hate grouping these albums into posts like this, other aspects of life are getting in the way of individual recommendations. So, these types of posts will have to serve as ‘better than nothing’ for the time being.
The Weeknd – Trilogy
(Universal Republic, 2012)
Trilogy is nothing new to those who crashed the Internet every time Abel Tesfaye posted a mixtape last year, but even for those who are well aware of the next-level R&B coming out of this Canadian project, Trilogy is a new way to experience The Weeknd’s world. Combining the three mixtapes, starting with my #3 pick of 2011, House of Balloons, Trilogy adds a bonus track to the end of each and presents the material as a single body of work. Close to 3 hours is a dangerously long time to spend under the influence of The Weeknd, but once you find yourself at the party, it’s hard to leave until you witness the aftermath. This really is a truly stunning collection of tracks from a talented young artist.
The Weeknd – High For This
Dragged Into Sunlight – Widowmaker
I have said this about albums before, but Widowmaker is not for the faint of heart. Dragged Into Sunlight have slowed things down with their sophomore release, but that is not to say they have lightened up. The three-part, single track that makes up this disturbing statement is chock full of extremely frightening music, film and interview clips, and mangled vocals that sound like they are coming from an animal in excruciating pain. That being said, if you are a fan of that sort of thing, Widowmaker is one of the most interesting releases of the year.
Dragged Into Sunlight – Part I
King Dude – Burning Daylight
Apocalyptic folk rock from Seattle’s T.J. Cowgill. I first heard about this artist through other artists such as Chelsea Wolfe, but Burning Daylight is the first time I’ve got my hands on one of his post-world folk records. This is true, blood on your jeans, dirt under your fingernails kinda stuff. I hate to say he’s obviously influenced by Tom Waits and Johnny Cash, because I’ve never met the guy or read any interview where he has stated that, but…he is obviously influenced by Tom Waits and Johnny Cash.
King Dude – Holy Land
Neurosis – Honor Found In Decay
Neurosis have been doing what they do for almost 30 years now, and their first album in 5 years not only proves they are still capable, but that most bands who follow in their path are still leagues behind. Honor Found In Decay is concrete-heavy, sludge metal from the masters…enough said.
Neurosis – At The Well
Prince Rama – Top Ten Hits of the End of the World
(Paw Tracks, 2012)
OK, I’ve got to admit I gave in to the concept of this album. I am a victim of the gimmick. A duo from Brooklyn — the psychedelic folk band, Prince Rama — have put out an album called Top Ten Hits of the End of the World. On this album, each song is supposed to represent one of the top ten songs during the end of the world. Each song is supposed to be from a separate band. In the past, Prince Rama have never interested me, but the concept of this album did. So, I got sucked in, and I ended up liking the album. Although, if the end of the world really was upon us, I’m guessing Widowmaker would be the more likely soundtrack.
Prince Rama – Welcome to the Now Age
Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
(Modern Problems, 2012)
The name Andy Stott has been floating around my computer screen for a couple years, but I’ve never paid much attention until now. Coming in somewhere between minimal artists and dubstep (see Burial not Skrillex), the Manchester producer has released a late-in-the-year gem via Luxury Problems.
Andy Stott – Numb
Chad Valley – Young Hunger
Chad Valley has a way of making 80’s influenced synthpop that sounds like true 80’s synthpop instead of 2012 synthpop trying to sound like 80’s synthpop. On Young Hunger, he enlists Twin Shadow, Glasser, Active Child and El Perro Del Mar to help add a little flavor to his chilled out production. I’m not going to say I love every song on this album, but when I’m in the mood for something upbeat and just a little nostalgic, Chad Valley is never wrong.
Chad Valley – Tell All Your Friends