Noel Gallagher / Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
It’s been a while since I really cared about Oasis other than the funny stories about Noel and Liam talking shit on one another. Liam’s band (Beady Eye) did nothing for me, but Noel on the other hand proved that he doesn’t need his brother around to execute a batch of very well written songs.
I’m not a member of that sad Maynard-worshipping fan club that is somehow still thriving. His other projects (Tool, A Perfect Circle) are past their prime, and most of what I’d seen and heard from Puscifer has been a mostly unfunny attempt at some comedy/music lounge act. But somehow, ‘Conditions of My Parole’ is a damn fine album. There’s enough tongue-in-cheek lyrical content to keep you smirking, but it feels like a “serious” attempt at making a real album. “Horizons” is probably my favorite song on this one.
Saul Williams / Volcanic Sunlight
I was just barely aware of Saul Williams before Trent Reznor hooked up with him to produce ‘The Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust’ which was one of the coolest albums I’ve ever heard. And it seems now that Trent is gone from the mix, so is my enthusiasm for Saul. I was really looking forward to hearing more great material from the guy, but this album bores and annoys me. Sad.
dredg / Chuckles And Mr. Squeezy
Once it was announced that Dan The Automator would be producing a dredg album, it was clear that some sort of serious change was brewing. And it does prove to be a considerable change for sure, especially when it comes to the awesome drums that we’re used to hearing. This record could never be my favorite dredg album, but it’s still a damn good one. It still sounds like dredg, just… different. Making changes and taking risks musically like this is a ballsy move that deserves respect. Good goin’, dredg.
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead / Tao Of The Dead
Tao Of The Dead falls into the same hard to explain category as last years Album of the Year. This is a tragically overlooked album with extremely full, well written songs. The band stripped down to it’s core 4-pieces to record the album, but man is it dense. Some awesome guitar sounds here.
The Streets / Computers and Blues
I discovered The Streets years ago while shopping in a store on South Street. “Turn The Page” was playing and it stopped me in my tracks. I had never heard anything like it, and I had to go ask the guy behind the counter what it was. Now years later, The Streets (Mike Skinner), decided that Computers And Blues would be the last album. “Turn The Page” will probably always be my favorite song from The Streets, but this last album is really solid all the way through. I imagine for most Americans it sounds unusual, if not downright shocking at first, which pretty much rules. Fresh sounds are hard to come by these days.
Minus The Bear / OMNI
I wasn’t even aware of this album until a year after it was released, but boy did I ever make up for lost time. Between Darwin requesting it and my own obsession, this album got a ridiculous amount of play this year. This album is full of sex, drugs, and wild slinky guitar sounds all over the place. A must listen.
ALBUM (EP’S) OF THE YEAR
Glassjaw / Our Color Green + Coloring Book
Instead of one album, Glassjaw released two separate EP’s. Either way, they’re both fucking awesome. Our Color Green is a bit noisier and surely the more aggressive of the two, and Coloring Book veers into new territory altogether and adds way more keyboards into the mix, not to mention the coolest drumming we’ve ever heard from GJ. Altogether, two very impressive releases from a band that seemed to be nonexistent in recent years. Hopefully we’ll hear more before too long.