I’ve got a bad feeling about this…

Hello one and all! So marks the time of the year when I post a list of the new albums that meant the most to me this calendar year. It’s been a good year here in the KidAJoe camp. My girls are growing, getting so so much bigger and smarter all the time! They are NG to the age where they are developing musical opinions ands tastes, which is so cool to witness!

I, myself, am getting ever so close to completing my second go at “higher education”, I might have to start thinking about what I’m going to do with these big brains I’m building. I’m going to have to adult again aren’t I? Oh well, at least I should be able to do something I enjoy now…

Anyway, the ladies once again ruled another year for me this year. It seems that the females of the world have something to say, something to be angry about and something to prove! I think it really showed. For me these ladies demonstrate the real passion and urgency in the music that I personally crave. They are proving that you don’t have to be male to really rock.

I also showed my roots this year. Most everything us very guitar heavy, and strongly rooted in indie rock and alternative music. I’m OK with that. It’s my bread and butter. Well, here it is, my favorite albums for the year 2018. (I actually listened to each album as I wrote the following)

Weakened Friends – Common Blah

Easily my favorite album this year came from a local act. I’m guessing many of you have not heard this trio yet. Stop reading and put this album on! What I love about Weakened Friends is their style is in the vein of the alternative music I grew up loving and listening to, and they bring great energy, passion and even a little bit of pop hook sensibility. I was lucky enough to see them three times this year, first back last January, then again twice (once acoustic!) at the time of the record release.

Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel

The build up of the first track Hopefulessnes is still almost to much for me. It starts out such a slow burn, and almost takes off, until it doesn’t! It so makes crave more of it! That really how I felt about this entire record, making me eager for more music from my indie dear from Melbourne, Australia. I finally got to see Miss Barnett this year, and oh what a performance it was. I actually at one point forgot there were even people around me I was so immersed. Definitely one I recommend give a few spins if you get a chance.

Hinds – I Don’t Run

Hinds is a funny band for me. When I first heard about them, they were creating quite a bit of buzz in the indie scene, so of coarse I had to check them out. Upon my first listen I was entirely confused. I couldn’t understand how anybody could enjoy there mediocre vocals and harmonies. I just felt they had very little talent. Somehow I kept going back to them, and they eventually grew on me in a big way. With this release I think these lovely ladies pruned the rough edges, and honed in the style that makes them Hinds.

First Aid Kit – Ruins

I fell in-love with First Aid Kit the instant I heard them sing the Fleet Foxes Tiger Mountain Peasant Song. Johanna’s powerful leads and sister Klara’s beautiful harmonies have long made me happy. For some reason when Ruins was first released I was not all that excited about it. Now I think it might quite possibly be the best album they have released to date. I missed them this past September when they visited the State Theatre. Damn those evening classes!! I wonder how Lobster Pete is doing…?

Screaming Females – All at Once

This was my most anticipated album at the beginning of 2018. Marissa Paternoster’s vocals are so powerful, and when she wants to she can really rip on that ole guitar too! This album continues my guitar heavy love of rock n roll released this year. (Slash, rock n roll is alive and well!) I missed these guys this year, again thanks to my evening class load. Next time I hope!

The Breeders – All Nerve

LONG LIVE 90’s ALTERNATIVE!!! When I heard The Breeder were recording a new album if brought me some of the same excitement I had when Sleater Kinney went back into the studio. (Of coarse, I have to admit, I didn’t really grow to correctly appreciate either of there bands until after there respective breaks-ups). The Breeders picked up EXACTLY where they left off. I finally picked this up on wax this week actually, along side Last Splash. I’m not sure which I’ll listen to more since!

Kurt Vile – Bottle It In

I am a late bloomer when it comes to Kurt Vile. He is a name I heard thrown around the indie scene for years. I don’t know why I didn’t ever check him out. Courtney Barnett was my gateway. Last years collaboration Lotta Sea Lice was (and still is) high on my list. It also opened the gate to the kingdom of Kurt! Kurt definitely has his own style, a little toned down, a little turned up, and a little tongue in cheek. For a short time after this release it was ALL I listened to. My boss at one point even asked “what the hell is this shit?” *insert laughing emoji* I guess he didn’t appreciate it like I did.

Sleep – The Sciences

The Sciences was easily my top metal album this year. Its so sludgy and guitar heavy and melodic, I fucking love it! So these guys are apparently old like me, having released three albums back during the 90’s. I am going to have to check those out for sure! If anything, at least check out the track The Botanist, I could play it on repeat for an eternity!

Anna von Hausswolff – Dead Magic

I stumbled upon Anna this year though my daily trip through the news feeds of several music websites. What caught me was the stunningly haunting album cover. I was very interested to see who might pick a cover image like this. I assumed it was going to be a metal band to be honest. I soon found out that the artist behind this cover was equally haunting in her own way. I actually need to spend more time with this album than I actually did.

Alice in Chains – Rainier Fog

I actually had written these guys off with out giving them a chance. I don’t really don’t know why. I’m glad I broke down and gave this a listen. It was the album that surprised me the most this year, which is funny because it really isn’t anything any different then anything else Alice in Chains has ever put out. It’s weird how my brain works.

Honorable Mentions…

I really could go on forever I think. There was some much good stuff out this year! I do have to mention a whole bunch more albums I enjoyed this year, even if I can’t dedicate entire paragraphs to them all.

My wife turned me onto I’m With Her’s See You Around. If you like Americana/Bluegrass and harmonies you should check it out. All three of these ladies are solid solo artist on their own, together they are pretty amazing! Eleanor Friedberger released Rebound this year and it didn’t fail. I think Eleanor has started to distance her own style from her work in The Fiery Furnaces, while still keeping a foot firmly planted in that door. The amazing Florence Welsh released the new Florence + The Machine album, High As Hope. As always Florence’s strong vocals and incredible energy carried this one. Of the honorable mentions, I listened to this the most.

I thoroughly enjoyed First Aid Kit’s other release, and EP titled Tender Offering. It contains a handful of unused songs recorded during the Ruins sessions. Another surprise for me this year came from Mr. Lenny Kravitz. Raise Vibrations for me went back to Lenny’s roots a bit, which is the Kravitz I loved.

I didn’t partake in much, but two metal albums I did listen to a lot were were Amorphis Queen of Time and Voivod The Wake. I was supposed to see Amorphis with my good friend Andy, but my damn girls had a cheer leading thing, so…I do know Queen of Time was Andy’s favorite album of the year.

Danielson’s Snap Outtavit, Cat Power’s Wanderer, St. Vincent’s MassEducation and Greta Van Fleet’s Anthem Of The Peaceful Army were all on my radar also, are all worth listens. Although Billie Eilish did not release an album this year (or even yet), I have to mention her. I don’t recall how I got turned onto her, but she has hundreds of millions of streams for the songs she has released, and despite that mainstream attention was amazingly good.

Well, that’s my two cents. If you like this read, check back for a post about the albums I discover this year that weren’t released in the year 2018, or my incredible rant about the Vinyl resurgence. As I get closer to graduation I hope to resurrect this blog, hoping this is a start!

2017, A year of turmoil and good music.

As the title indicates, this was a tumultuous year for my family and for the world around us.  It was a year for learning and growing and just dealing.  Music for me is always an escape and 2017 was a great year for new music to wash away all the pain and fears.  (Just for the record everything is looking up and we are in a very good place now!) 

This year my musical tastes were all over the map.  Seriously, quite literally everywhere.  I knew I have diverse taste, but after creating my preliminary list of albums I really saw the vast pool of genres I submerged myself in this calendar year.  I listened to rock, alternative, indie rock, indie pop, pop, country, folk and metal to fame a few.  My list started out with 23 albums, which are all listed here.  I’ll only comment on the top 10 or so, but you all should really check them all out.

Without further ado…

Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins

This was easily my favorite album this year from one of my favorite bands.  From beginning to end this one talks to me.  I love how this one flows, and love its slight indie pop sensibility.  Although is does have its upbeat moments, this a great album just to sit and chill with.

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice

This was an interesting release for me.  Kurt Vile, a quite popular singer/songwriter/indie artist, teamed up with the much newer but very similar artist, Courtney Barnett to record Lotta Sea Lice.  Being the indie music nerd that I am, you would have thought I would have a long musical relationship with Vile, but the truth is that this album is my first real contact I’ve made with him.  And it is awesome!  Both artists have an uncanny tongue in cheek way with lyrics and both share a very down trodden tone to their vocals that are a perfect match.  I look forward to discovering more of Kurt music in the months and years to come!

Wolf Alice – Visions of A Life

Visions of a Life itself is a little bit eclectic.  Wolf Alice, in its very short historywould best be considered alternative rock or shoegaze.  Although this record is definitely a little of both of those, it also dips its feet into pop rock, electronica and punk.  It has brutal harsh moments followed by soothing melodic moments.  You can band your head to one track and dance you butt off to the next.  It one reason I loved it so much, I feel like just as I was getting settled, it would give me a sucker punch.

 Avatarium – Hurricanes and Halos

Thanks to my fellow Four Northmen, I can enjoy the bellowing vocals of Jennie-Ann Smith and Marcus Jidell’s wailing guitar licks.  This one always gets me howling away with a fist in the air!  To me this is quintessential heavy metal.

Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper

What a slow burn!  Every moment of this one had me anxiously waiting for the next.  This is not for the faint of heart, or for one looking for a catchy tune.  The single 83-minute track meanders its way through a dark, dreamy landscape that never really takes off.  Its treasure is in that slow melodic burn.

Aldous Harding – Party

Party was a substantially late addition to my top albums.  I discovered this album from an end of year top albums list posted by Rough Trade in early December.  Again, I was drawn into a landscape that is a bit darker and more melodic.  Vocally and musically Aldous reminds me a bit of Joanna Newsom, although quite a bit more melancholy.  I found myself singing some lyrics for days.

Father John Misty – Pure Comedy

Another interesting adventure for me.  There was quite a bit of promotion swirling around before the release of this one.  I hadn’t really followed the former Fleet Foxes drummer since he had gone solo and really didn’t really know what to expect.  I took a shot and upon my first listen I was quite underwhelmed and confused.  I mean he certainly wasn’t bad, but I didn’t think he was doing anything special.  If anything, I thought his songs were overly weighed down by lyrics.  But then I listened again, and again…and again!  Now I amazed he spins an very clever web of lyrics that submerges itself into our present turbulent world.  It has me excited to see where his song writing travels in the future.

Lana Del Ray – Lust for Life

The beautiful Miss Del Ray’s breathy vocals have always made me weak in the knees.  I’ll claim my hipster moment by saying that I’ve flowered her since her “Video Games” Myspace breakthrough back in 2011.  Yup, I heard of her first!  (haha, well maybe not…)  I’ve heard others claim this is more pop sounding album than her previous outputs, but I’d argue she always had a very pop tilt to her unique style.   Like much of what I like this one is a bit more low key and requires a bit more dedication to really get it.


Oh my god I love St. Vincent!!  I got to see her live at the House of Blues in Boston this year (free tickets even!).  She has to be one of the best performers (and guitarists) alive today!  MASSEDUCTION was so much different then what I expected.  I expected an indie rock album, dripping with guitars. What we got was a crazy indie art pop album with minimal dripping guitars.  I found this album much more upbeat and bright as anything Annie Clark has ever done. Albeit different, still a masterpiece.

Beck – Colors

Beck surprised with a unexpectedly good pop album.  If anything, this was my guilty pleasure for the year.  Beck being a guilty pleasure sounds absurd considering his status as an alternative music legend, but that just shows how far from familiar this Beck record was.  I couldn’t stop listening to it in the weeks after its release.  I’ll be interested in seeing how this one holds up over time for me.

The Shins – Heartworms

I was surprised I did not see this one on more year end lists.  I even heard a few music aficionados comment they were disappointed with this album.  Due in part to it being released early in the year it was the album I listened to the most this year.  Classic Shins songwriting if you ask me.



Man, I could go on and on.  Some of the honorable mentions below I love dearly.  But since I’ve already covered 11, here are the rest of my favorites:

Primus – The Desaturating Seven
Wolves in the Throne Room – Thrice Woven
Filthy Friends – Invitation
Elder – Reflections of a Floating World
Arcade Fire – Everything Now
Haim – Something to Tell You
Fleet Foxes – Crack-up
The Weeks – Easy
Feist – Pleasure
Lorde – Melodrama
Thurston Moore – Rock N Roll Consciousness
The XX – I See You
Margo Price – All American Made

So…this blog is pretty defunct at this point.  I now only use it to post my year-end lists.  If any of you stumbled upon this page and want to follow me and counterparts in our quest to spread our love of music, you can follow us on Facebook here à @FourNorthMenOfTheRockpocalypse.

Crow’s Short List 2016


Andy had a very metal year.  List is also short and sweet!

1. Metallica – Hardwire … Self Destruct

2. Anthrax – For All Kings

3. Testament – Brotherhood of the Snake

4. Opeth – Sorcerss

5. Hatebreed – The Concrete Confessional

6. Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence


2016 List of lists…


Hello all, time for my yearly blog post.  This time my good friend Andy is going to post his top ten list long side mine.  If your reading this you already know how awesome a year it was for music.  Most might even say it was the only good thing to happen this year, but that opinion I’ll leave to you.

My year in music was jam packed and diverse.  Seems every year I open up to more forms of music.  I actually took a course related to classical music this past fall.  It was very interesting indeed.  Well with out further ado…

Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool  and Aurora’s  All My Demon’s Greeting Me as a Friend.  

These two albums were most definitely top albums of the year.   Radiohead as always put out an amazing album.  Anyone who knows me isn’t surprised that this album is here.  Aurora was a new artist I discovered in the wake of the death of David Bowie.  YouTube suggested her cover of Life on Mars.  I was immediately in love with her powerful voice.   I was lucky enough to get to see here this year down in Boston and even go a poster and record signed!

Fruit Bats’s Absolute Loser and The Glory of the Fruit Bats

Yes, that is two separate releases from Eric D. Johnson.  Absolute Loser was a more traditional release, while The Glory of the Fruit Bats was a Record Store Day exclusive.   I found myself leaning pretty heavy on the Alt Country sound this year.

Bon Iver’s 22, A Million

It took me a little time to get into this one, Justin is pushing into some interesting territories.  It seems something new unravels each time I listen to this.

Andrew Bird’s Are You Serious

This came out in April but I didn’t really give it a listen until late in the fall.  It has by far been my most played album in the last few months of the year.  I’m still kicking my self for not seeing him when he came to Portland!

Frightened Rabbit – Painting of a Panic Attack 

Got to see them live this year!  Amazing intimate show at Port City Music Hall.

Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial

Late dicovery from most the end of the world end of year lists,  amazing guitar driven album!  I gotta get the on vinyl soon…

The others:
Hinds – Leave Me Alone
Mitski – Puberty 2
Eleanor Friedberger – New View
Juliette Lewis – Future Deep
Lady Lamb – Tender Warriors Club
Metallica – Hardwired…to Self Destruct
My Dying Bride – Feel the Misery
Suicidal Tendancies – World Gone Mad
The Temper Trap – Thick as Thieves
Wilco – Schmilco
Xiu Xiu – Plays the Music of Twin Peaks
Paul Simon – Stranger to Stranger
Weakend Friends – Crushed
Beverly – The Blue Swell

I could write a lot about the above, but I’ll spare you.  Check them all out!

See you next year!

KidAJoe’s Top Picks for 2015

2015-12-12 11.43.30

Here we  go with another edition of my favorite albums of the year. Unlike how I felt last year, this year was full of great music. This year had a bit more of a female flavor, which is just fine with me.

Top 10:

  1. Lady Lamb, After – One and two are pretty interchangeable in my book.  I pushed Lady Lamb into the top spot for a couple reasons.  Mastermind, Aly Spaltro is from Brunswick, Maine, so I have to root for a local artist!  Second reason is that my two beautiful six year old twins girls love her as much as I do.  Check out Cal and Mal singing Violet Clementine CalNMal sing Lady Lamb.
  2. The Staves, If I Was – I didn’t know much about these ladies until I read that Justin Vernon was producing  their new album.  I took some time to listen to Dead & Born & Grown.  I instantly fell in love with their harmonies. Based on my Last.FM account The Staves outplayed the next artist on my list by over 150 scrobbles.  That must say something…
  3. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit – Discovered Miss Barnett via a NPR’s live stream from this years Courtney Barnett – SXSW Music Festival Down in Austin Texas.  This raw performance and amazing lyrics drew me in. Her Aussie drawl also adds another small piece that makes this record so cool.
  4. Screaming Females, Rose Mountain – Sometime big things come in little packages!  That is certainly the case with Marissa Paternoster, the petite lead singer of this trio.  I had the pleasure of catching them live at the Space Gallery in Portland.  I was blown away by both her powerful vocals as well as her impressive guitar skills.
  5. Sleater-Kinney, No Cities To Love – This was certainly a return I was excited about.  I had previously dabbled in the world of SK, but No Cities To Love enabled me fall completely in love with these ladies.   The first time my girls heard them, I told them about SK being an all female lineup.  They both just looked at me with puzzlement in their faces.  I then gave them a short and sort of basic lesson in the Riot Grrrl movement.  It all starts somewhere!!
  6. Florence and the Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – My wife had already referred to Florence as “your girl” whenever a song of hers came on.  Well ‘my girl’ put out probably my favorite record yet!  Such a good mix of songs that sometime pull at your emotions and other times just make you want to dance.
  7. Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color – Again another strong entry from a band I had previous love for.   A lot of people rave about how powerful Adele’s vocals are, but I personally think that Brittany Howard blows her away.
  8. Will Butler, Policy – Will finally breaks the girl party that is my top seven.  (other than a few band members)  This was one of the records I grew into a bit.  Of course coming in the shadow of big brother Win Butler isn’t exactly easy.  (Will is a member of his brothers band, Arcade Fire, for those out of the loop)
  9. Joanna Newsom, Divers – This is another album that probably needs multiple listens to really open up.  I’m still unwrapping this one otherwise it might have actually pushed itself higher on the list.
  10. Wilco, Star Wars – In another year an album this strong would be near the top.  Mr. Tweedy surprised us with another strong record.  But then again Jeff might just have the Midas touch!
Honorable Mentions:

Lower Dens – Escape From Evil, The Myndabirds – Lover Know,  Noun – Throw Your Body On The Gears And Stop The Machine, San Cisco – Gracetown, Metric – Pagans in Vegas, The Dead Weather – Dodge and Burn, Bjork – Vulnicura

Crow’s Tiny Tunes 2014

Here is my list for 2014,  It was a tough decision on what to include and not to include.  My list is not in any order .  It ranges from Death metal to rock and some in between.   Let me know what you think 🙂 Check out
Alcest you will probably like it .   They have moved away from metal much like Opeth which is also made this list.
1) Iced Earth – Plagues of Babylon

2) Alcest – Shelter (former black metal band )

3) Beck – Morning Phase

4) Opeth – Pale Communion

5) Wolves in the throne room – Celestite

6) The Black Key – Turn Blue

7) Arch Enemy – War Eternal

8) Jack White – Lazaretto

9) Karen o – Crush Songs

10 ) Pink Floyd – The endless river

11) AC/DC – Rock or Bust

12) Neil Young – A Letter Home

13) Neil Young – Storytone

14) King Diamond – Dreams of Horror

The weird wonderful world of 2014. (Best of)

2014 Top Two Albums

Great googly moogly!  Another year gone and another busy January.  Thanks to Blizzard 2015, I have the time today to finally post my favorite albums from the past year.  I really had a hard go this time around.  I really didn’t find this to be an overly strong year.  Either way, with out further adue…

St. Vincent – Eponymous:  Annie Clark created a masterpiece.  She combined her artier indie cred. with some pretty catchy pop hooks.  She also is a pretty interesting and talented guitarist to boot.  This one and First Aid Kit were by far the most played albums on this list.

First Aid Kit – Stay Gold:  As mentioned above this album was in heavy rotation.  I love these girls voices and harmonies.  Based on what I read of all the other top 2014 lists, this was the most underrated album of the year in my opinion.

Metronomy – Love Letters:  This one definitely falls into the indie pop category.  Much like there first album the songs are very catchy.  The thing I love about these guys is that they seem just a little of kilter.  I love weirdos!

Beck – Morning Phase:  Beck’s new record was one of my most played records of the first half of the year.  At some point it seemed to not draw me in as much.  The fact that is a pretty mellow album probably didn’t help, as I was frequently in the mood for something more upbeat.  Still makes it at the top because I do return to it and enjoy it greatly.

The remainder of this list really falls into the category of albums that I spent some amount of time with but couldn’t really say I loved enough to call them favorites.   I guess the fact that I didn’t repeatedly come back to them signaled to me a lack of true love.  Maybe with some more time a few of them will stand out a bit more…So the honorable mentions are:

Conor Oberst – Upside Down Mountain, Jack White – Lazeretto, The Bots – Pink Palms, Triptykon – Melana Chasmata, Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita, The Unicorns – Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?, Agalloch – The Serpent & The Sphere, Broken Bells – After The Disco, tUnE-yArDs – Nikki Nack, Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, Perfect Pussy – Say Yes To Love, The Flaming Lips – With A Little Help From My Fwends, Luluc – Passerby

What do you think?

Crow’s Favorite Albums for 2013

Sorry for the delay…70 hours work weeks get old!  Here is my buddy Andy’s top albums for 2013.

1) Dream Theater – Dream Theater   –  I have gotten into prog metal in the last few years and this album shows just how good they are.   Dream Theater still puts out amazing albums
2) Neil Young – Live at the Cellar Door –  This album is pretty cool and of coarse a live album.  I dont know if the album was recorded in 2013 but it was released in 2013 .

3) La Yo Tengo –  Fade –  A indie rock band from Hoboken, New Jersey which I have love for a long time.  I was listening to them back in high school before I got into punk rock.

4) Deicide –  In the Minds of Evil  –  A Death Metal band that is right up there with Cannibal Corpse who paved the way for America Death Metal bands.   This album starts off kind of thrash metal and by half way its pure death metal.

5) MGMT – MGMT – Another great album by indie band.  Its not my favorite MGMT album but Its good if I am in the mood to listen to it.

6) Bad Religion – Christmas Songs –  Traditional Christmas songs

played punk .

7)  Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories)   Porcupine Tree are one of my favorites and Steve’s solo work is amazing.

8) Suicidal Tendencies – 13 –  I am surprised you didn’t pick this one.  Pretty solid album.

9) Yeah Yeah Yeahs  – Mosquito –  I also agree that this album is great to see Yeah Yeah Yeahs more back to there roots.  I was not impressed with much of there electric period.

10) Iron & Wine – Ghost on Ghost – Just recently started to listen to this album and like it.

11) Christopher Lee – Charlemagne: The Omens of Death – That’s Correct the Actor from Lord Of the Rings Movies plays  Heavy Metal. Should I mention he is the oldest to play this form of music (91 years old).

12) Black Sabbath – 13 –  I am very surprised this did not make anyone list.  How could this be missed.  This album is a true master piece with Sabbath returning to there dark sound.

KidAJoe’s Top Albums of the Year 2013

KidAJoe’s Top Vinyl for 2013

I cannot believe that another year went by so quickly.  I feel like it was just yesterday I was trying to get this blog rolling, now it’s been dead for a whole calendar year!   I certainly wish I could find the time to keep it up but I obviously have other priorities.    So this list is for my boys in the “Four North Men Of The Rockpocalypse” group on Facebook.

It was an amazing year in music.  It was completely impossible to make a top 10 list, so I’ll just list a bunch of my favorites in no particular order.

  • Kanye West, Yeezus – I’m guessing that this one is not on any of my friends year end lists.  I’ve never really given Kanye much of a chance in the past.  The two main reasons are:  I’m not usually to into hip hop and Kanye West  is a complete jack ass.   That being said, I gave this one a chance partially out interest to finally see what he is all about as a self proclaimed “creative genius”.   The first couple listens I was really jolted by the oddness of the tracks, and had almost written it off.  But then a week or so later I put it back on after not being able to get lyrics from the song “New Slave” out of my head.  In the next few weeks I hardly listened to anything else.   I hate to admit it, but this just might be my favorite album of the year.
  • Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City – This is another one of those albums that took me a little bit of time to latch onto.    Ezra Koenig is such an amazing lyricist and writes some pretty catchy indie pop.
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito – I love my Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  I love that they went back to there rock/punk roots on this one too!  I even had the pleasure of seeing them live this year.  Karen O. is fn crazy on stage.   I was surprised that this one wasn’t on any other lists I’ve seen this year.
  • Quasi – Mole City – Probably one of the most overlooked indie bands of my lifetime, (even by myself for a time) Quasi put out yet another strong album.  If Yeezus isn’t number one, then this one was.
  • Eleanor Friedberger – Personal Record – Another amazing song writer, who I had the benefit of seeing live this year.  The sad part was that I was one of about 30 people at the show.  In Miss Friedbergers defense it was a whopping 8 degrees outside that night.  In any case, one half of the Fiery Furnaces put out a pretty cool indie rock album.  This just proves to me that her brother Matt isn’t the only “artistic genius” in this family.
  • Typhoon – White Lighter – This album crept up on my out of no where.   I had previously fallen in love with there EP Hunger and Thirst, but for what ever reason the band had fallen off my radar.  I had fallen behind checking my weekly email of album releases when discovered this release.  I quickly fell in love with this one and will have the pleasure of seeing them in March at Port City Music Hall in P-town.
  • James Blake – Overgrown – Mr. Blake’s  (not to be confused with Mr. Blunt) sophomore output was not a dud.   Still amazed that I can love something that relies so much on synthesizers and autotune.  Just proof that even the worst inventions can be made cool.
  • Kim Deal – Solo Series – This wasn’t actually an album, but a series of 7″ singles from the former bassist of Pixies.   The trilogy of singles quickly became a main stay in my playlist rotation this year.
  • Volcano Choir – Repave – Justin Vernon is a god.  Enough said.
  • Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rival – Noise Pop?  I think that is what they have been dubbed.  Regardless Sleigh Bell is best listened to with the volume turned up to 11.
  • Arcade Fire – Reflecktor – I have a love/hate relationship with this album.  I think it is pretty cool “art pop” that sometime just goes on way to long.  A lot of  songs drone off with the main lyric just repeated over and over for several minutes to end the song.   It is good in practice, but the fact that so many songs on this one tend follow the same exact formula makes the album slightly boring.   So the question is: “Did I add this one because it was a good album or because it was the Arcade Fire?”  Something I guess I’ll have to reflect on in 2014.
  • Haim – Days are Gone – Anyone who knows me at all, know that I’ve been in love with the sister’s Haim since I saw them on Mumford and Son’s Gentlemen of the Road tour.  Most of the songs on this were not new to the Haim realm, so listening to this one initially didn’t contain many surprises.   It will be interesting to see what 2014 will bring for these girls.  I know they are huge in the UK and are getting lots of press in the US.  I also have tickets to see them in Boston in May!
  • Lorde – Pure Heroine – I figured I would book end this list with the two most main stream outputs.  Lorde stormed onto the national stage like crazy this year.  (something I predicted I might add)  If you have only listened to her hit single “Royales” you are missing out.

Other albums worth checking out include:  Foxygen – We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic,  Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II,  Atoms for Peace – Amok, They Might Be Giants – Nanobots, Suicidal Tendencies – 13,  The Flaming Lips – The Terror,  Noah and the Whale – Heart of Nowhere,  The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars,  Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks,  Arctic Monkeys – AM, Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt, and The Avett Brothers – Magpie and the Dandelion.

In creating this list I have noticed about 10 albums by artist I love that I still haven’t had a chance to listen to.  So I guess my 2013 still has some surprises uncover.  If you want to listen to my favorites from the year on Spotify follow this link.  I invite you to tell me what you think of my list and/or to post your list for the year 2013!

2012, The year the world ended.

2012 Record of the Year

So some of you may have seen my list of ten albums of 2012 on our new blog Four North Men of the Rockpocalypse.  If you are one of those who hasn’t yet, go check out the three other North Men and see what they thought the top albums of the year were.  Remember we are four completely different guys with four greatly varying opinions, so the lists should be pretty interesting.  You should also be careful, you may just discover something new…

Here, I will get into a little bit more details on to what I liked so much about some of the albums I chose for my version of the list.  I will be very interested in seeing if any albums I picked even make it onto any of my counterparts lists. Anyway, here I go…

1.  Fionna Apple – The Idler Wheel – This albums was one of my biggest surprises this years, although most of that was probably self inflicted.  I may have had a unfair bias against Miss Apple from my youth.  (a misguided one at that)  I have since discovered that she has an amazing catalog of albums.  Like much of the music I like I need to contain substance.  This album was both passionate and even abstract at times.

2.  Jack White – Blunderbuss – Does anything Jack White touches not amazing?   Mr. White has an incredible way of taking classic american sound and taking modern spin on the sound.  He is constantly stealing from the past while creating something new and fresh.

3. David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant – I did love this giant!  I couldn’t stop playing this album for a while.  I even frequently would start this one right from the beginning after listening to once. It’s funny, I didn’t even know who David Bryne was before this, so this album opened the door to the Talking Heads. It is now one that I am happy to have passed though this door.  The music has so many layers, and it makes me want to get up and dance.  Not much I listen to does that.  Now I finally see why so many artists love them.  

4.  First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar – I was in love with these young ladies even before this record came out.  These ladies have such beautiful harmonies!  I love the modern Folk movement.  I still find the lyrics so mature for such young song writers though. 

5.  Grizzly Bear – Shields  – At the beginning of 2012 I  thought for sure that this would be #1 on my year end list.  As you can see it isn’t, and I actually wonder if their previous album Veckatimist may hurt them.  Veckatimist is certainly one of my favorite albums of all time and it may have made it hard for this one to live up to.  All together, I obviously did like this album if it is here, but it just wasn’t as cohesive as Grizzly Bears previous album.  

6.  The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter – These brothers are so good.  They much like Mumford (and the Lumineers) bring that old time country sounds a modern feel.  These albums just make me feel warm and fuzzy and I do like me some bluegrass.

7.  Heartless Bastards – Arrow – This is the only album in my top 10 that I did not discover on my own.  A special thanks to Andrea Civello for introducing me to this blues group from Ohio.  It is a very soulful album, and is somewhat is the realm of the older Black Keys albums.

8.  Mumford & Sons – Babel – See both 5 & 6, that pretty much sums up this one.

9.  Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill – I have always been fond of Neil Young.  Despite varying opinions of his more recent albums,  I have been quite a fan of everything he releases.  You really never know what your going to hear out of him next.  The first track on this album alone is worth giving this one a listen.

10.  Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror  – This on just rips.  If you put this one on, be sure to turn it way up!

Honorable mentions: The xx – Coexist, Cat Power – Sun, The Mars Volta – Noctourniquet, Poor Moon – Poor Moon, The Shins – Port of Morrow, Lisa Marie Presley – Storm & Grace, Muse – The 2nd Law, The Lumineers – The Lumineers

Biggest suprise by far is Lisa Marie Presley.  She has always just been a pop artist until now.  Storm & Grace actually had a lot of substance, and was nothing like you would expect!  The Lumineers came to me from another blog I follow,  You Hear that?.  I was instantly in love.  Then this band blew up!  It’s amazing the trend of great music in the mainstream realm at present.  Last one I’ll mention is Poor Moon.  Another great folk record coming from former members of the Fleet Foxes.  I just missed seeing these guy this past summer.  Poor me!

If you would like to listen to these on Spotify here is the link…

So what do you think?  Am I crazy? Amazing? Crying? Living on the Edge?  Tell me what you think!  And share your top albums with me too!