The Most Listable Time of the Year – Part One
Editors’ Note: It’s the nub-end of the year again, the time when we draw another metaphorical line in the accumulated sands of time (by now burying us up to our armpits) and try to use it to accurately gauge the worth of whatever the hell the last 12 months of our lives have been about. It’s a tradition as old as time itself.
For those of us who feel important enough to flick our opinions out into the void of the internet like extra-long, deeply-rooted bogies (or “boogers”, for our foreign readers), it also means declaring our list of the tippest-of-the-top, absolute-cream-of-the-crop top 10, or 20, or 50, or a hundred and four of all the albums that came out in the calendar year; as if it is actually possible to stack and assess against each other all the many, many albums strewn out into the world, across all the many genres, because music, and therefore life, is really just a childish game of Top Trumps. It’s a tradition as old as music journalism itself.
Obviously, as you know by now, we here at Pigeon Towers are above such things. Yet, at the same time we really, really want to show off how knowledgeable we are about music, (much more knowledgeable than you are, you see), so we settled on doing this instead.
So without further ado, ladies and jellyspoons, Demon Pigeon presents:
23 Albums From 2013 About Which Our Heroic Crew Of Writers Felt Strongly Enough To Actually Review, Without Realising That At The End Of The Year Some Needy, Self-Important Editor (Hi Mum) Would Harvest A Few Words, Completely At Random, From Their Carefully Considered And Constructed Opinions, To Hastily Cook Up An End-Of-Year List, In The Increasingly Frayed Hope That Readers (That’s You) Might Click On The Links, And Provide An Ailing And Practically Defunct Website With Some Desperately-Needed Traffic!
This just can’t fail.
“If it had been released in December it would have been adorned with all sorts of ‘album of year’ histrionics, but it wasn’t. So now every reviewer has to find room for the line ‘We’ve only just seen the back of end of year lists but mark my words,come next December, Vertikal will be challenging for album of the year honours.’ It’s the law.” PS
“I love this. In fact I bloody love this. You can now refer to me as Will ‘I bloody love Tomahawk’ Downes.”WD
“Nine tracks, and not an ounce of fat.” PS
“The lyrical highlight for me is Jamey Jasta screaming ‘nothing fucking scars me!’ like he’s fucking Wolverine or Wolverine’s brother with the nails and that.” WD
“Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats haven’t made a bad record, here. It’s pretty decent drugs-rock, as drugs-rock goes… but there’s surely a dozen other perfectly decent drugs-rock records of equal unoriginality that have been released in the last month or so. Can I recommend this record over those records? Having not heard them, of course I can’t.” PGR
“Not bad for a bunch of old farts. Here’s hoping they finally achieve the recognition they so thoroughly deserve. If they do, it won’t be because of their history, or their legacy, it’ll be because 15 years after their debut, there’s still nobody out there who can touch them.” PS
“Scary noises now. Guitars and keys all doing different things. Can’t concentrate. Can’t get a handle on any one thing. Time… slowing down. Stretching.” CM
“It rocks like a motherfucker.” PS
“There are some decent bits, there are some absolutely terrible bits, there’s way too much of it and the artwork is pathetic. Ozzy is drenched in so many effects to mask his ailing pipes that it sounds like Stephen Hawking burst into the studio—obligatory heavy metal horns raised—skidded his wheelchair to a tyre-smoking halt in the vocal booth and refused to leave until he’d overdubbed the whole thing in his best ‘sad robot’ voice.” RM
“I can’t pretend I hate Like Clockwork, and it’s hard to imagine why anyone would give a shit about it, either. But if you do, that’s great.” NOX
“If you like weird loops and lumpy time signatures that gleam like a petrol puddle caught in a chrome hubcap, and which stick in the musical bit of your brain like roofing nails in a horse’s hoof, then you’ll wanna check these six instrumentals out sooner rather than later.” PGR
“Right off the bat it has a rubbish cover, a rubbish title, and Layne Staley is no more alive than he was four years ago, so the omens aren’t great. But while still nowhere near as enticing as the band’s historical output, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is at least seven per cent more interesting than its predecessor. And that’s a money-back guarantee, if not exactly a glowing endorsement.” PS
“What do you need to know about Euporie Tide? It’s fully instrumental. It is one hour long. It grooves. It swings. It writhes. It rocks. It rolls. It JAMS. And it riffs. Oh, how it riffs. All across its length, this record is bursting not to piss itself over its own building euphoria, its joyful momentum driven by the interplay of jazzy organ passages, lightning-hot, soaring guitar licks and a craggy, dusty, desert rock atmosphere.” NOX
“Josh Whomme?” NOX
“If I were alone on a desert island with just this, a generator and a means to play it, I would live out my years with all the musical entertainment I need, nursing my painful, distended loins, and weeping under the starless, bible black skies.” CM
“This record is perfectly acceptable. And that isn’t good enough.” NOX
“It’s 33 minutes long, full of what I suppose you might call ‘faceripping riffs’ and ‘full-on bangers’ if you were a wally prone to insane hyperbole, wrapped in some lovely artwork, and buying it will instantly make your record collection 1.45% cooler (2.18% on vinyl).” RM
“Like losing control and wiping out while sledging down a reeking mountain of sticky bud on the back of an exploding Marshall stack.” NOX
“It’s rare that an instrumental album is so full of melodic hooks, never taking its eye off the goal of entertaining the listener, even rarer for one to do so in juxtaposition with noise and academic compositional theory; advanced harmonic sense and polyrhythms.” CM
‘There’s a machine-like quality to Monkey3’s sound; the loping, lazy turns of its rhythm possess precision, like an enormous, eternally meshing internal clockwork; the squealing guitar leads and grinding organs that outgas in vivid curlicues, like coronal mass ejections; and a shimmering halo of reverb that blankets the work in a furious, wincing light, even when it goes dark—like staring at your warped reflection in the glowing hull of something completely alien.’ NOX
“Lightning Bolt is crammed from start to finish with the kind of masterful songwriting that Pearl Jam do so well. If you enjoy hooks, then this is like walking into a giant out-of-town fishing emporium that’s having a BOGOF and a January sale, simultaneously.” PS
“They’ve got bits of all the good things about the sort of heavy metal you wore baggy jeans and facial piercings to a few years ago, grounded in a proper appreciation for the sort of heavy metal that still demands you have long hair and wear jeans that fit you properly.” RM
“Unforced, loose-limbed strut and shimmy.” RM
Part two is coming soon! Bye!