The Most Listable Time of the Year – Part Two

"Cool Santa" by Unknown Artist

my-christmas-list-medium

Editors’ Note: Hello. Go here and read this. Then come back here.

It’s been quite the year. We think. We’ve forgotten most of it already, and what we seem to have retained is just a swirling mass of bizarre faux-pas and horrific crimes committed mostly by famous people and politicians, as one after another after another was revealed to be either corrupt, a nonce, or both. That warm fuzzy Olympic glow never seemed so far away, did it?

We here at Demon Pigeon are now utterly convinced that we’re going through life at super-speed, too fast to be able to appreciate things like ‘writing’ and ‘music’ and ‘Demon Pigeon’. That’s because every turn of the clock gives us something fresh to anticipate and plan for. You’ve barely finished icing your Nigella Lawson Christmas cake before it’s time to start planning your New Year’s Eve pale ale and pomade party, by which time the Creme Eggs are already in the shops.

No wonder it feels like we’re getting flushed through life’s reeking U-bend at top fucking speed, getting mugged at every hand. And if it isn’t actually Valentine’s Day or Hallowe’en—neither of which are particularly different from the other (pissed people in fancy dress howling and moaning all night)—then the world just starts making up reasons why you should buy things. Our last actual vivid emotional memory is from July, of some teenagers fighting one another in an ASDA over a ~*SuMMeRY*~ Coca-Cola bottle with their name on it, while we struggled to pay for our groceries. 

Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, Demon Pigeon presents:

40-Ish Albums From 2013 About Which Our Lazy And Distracted Bunch Of Voluntary Content Creators (AKA Battery-Farmed Egos) Could Not Justify The Effort Involved In Writing; But Now—Having Been Pestered, Cajoled And Psychologically Wounded Into Compliance—They Have Roused Themselves From Their Respective Slumbers To Excrete Their Views Into A Spontaneous And Largely Unwelcome Puddle, Which You Can Inspect Below! Thank’s.

List begin:

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

I was a 15-year-old once, and Daft Punk was the thing to be seen to have knowledge of, along with JUSTICE. That was the high-water mark of a spectrum that I would like to call “the mistake phase” of young personhood, which submerged itself right alongside other totally unforgivable things, like nu-rave and Lostprophets. I’m not about to state that Daft Punk is music for arseholes; some of my best friends are Daft Punk fans. But even they’d agree this was a disappointing collection of elevator music, entirely absent any of the thumping impact of their previous records. Dross. JB

NailsAbandon All Life

As short and to the point as this write up, as unremittingly furious as a teenage gamer on Xbox Live, as brutal as Iain Duncan-Smith‘s welfare reforms, as powerful as Cillit Bang Extra and as intelligent and sharp as these similes are not—this is a ball of hateful grindcore that makes most rivals look like amateurs. Glad to see these fellas ageing disgracefully. AW

My Bloody Valentinembv

One day it was never going to happen. And then it did. It starts out kind of exactly how you’d imagine, all shimmering textural unriffs and ghostly murmurs, and honestly? If it had stayed sounding just like the child of Loveless that it first indicates it’ll be, that would have been just fine. It doesn’t do that though, preferring instead to channel that curious half-light that you only ever see on the way home from those nights where all you really remember is how much fun you had with no specifics available, and filters that uneasy smirk through a heady brew of ever-spiralling tension and paranoiac, splintered tones. A fine riposte to one of the longest-running musical punchlines. RM

Clutch – Earth Rocker

I remained agnostic on the subject of Clutch until earlier this year, when this album came along to reset the standard for whisky-necked fighting music. Nothing has really touched it since. NOX

FactorWoke up Alone

2013’s best hip hop concept album about a man attempting to bring his wife back from the dead using necromancy. GO

"Cool Santa" by B0bJones

“Cool Santa” by B0bJones

Weekend Nachos Still

Ridiculously fun grind-tinged hardcore that somehow managed to be the toast of the indie mags, despite it actually being rather good. PS

Carpet – Elysian Pleasures

Easygoing, laid-back organ-rich jazz-rock provides the underpinning to this morsel of summery psychedelia. NOX

DeafheavenSunbather

When the dust settles on the infinite best-of-year lists across the music press and blogosphere, this album will likely have secured enough number one picks to ensure its inevitable reissue will have a sticker big enough to cover its subversively pink cover. Thankfully, the hype is mostly justified, as Deafheaven’s oh-so-clever meld of black metal and hipster douchebaggery manages to emerge as something both brutal and understatedly beautiful. PS

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks

I’m quite pleased that Trent popped his muscular tree-trunk neck out of the mud and spat up a new album. This has a striding enthusiasm that is good to see out of a musician this prolific. This naughty, groovy album pumps like set-dressing music from an Underworld/True Blood crossover fanfic, and yet NO—it sounds cool, still. Really, I promise. JB

Church of Misery – Thy Kingdom Scum

Like belching up a throatful of stagnant ditchwater and then murdering a prostitute with a hammer. But in a good way. NOX

"Cool Santa" by Dreamstime.com

“Cool Santa” by Dreamstime.com

Boards Of CanadaTomorrow’s Harvest

*swoon* Yeah, that’s how I feel about this, pretty much. Seriously lovely electronica from the masters of the art, all analogue squelchy niceness underpinned with some disturbing, devilish arpeggios and head-wrecking, yet still comforting beats. RM

Altar of PlaguesTeeth Glory and Injury

Absolutely disgusting. Sounds like Satan being sick on an animal shelter that’s on fire. At Christmas. I love it. GO

KataKlysmWaiting For The End To Come

Blander than a beige cardigan wrapped around a tub of vanilla ice cream and painted magnolia, this album couldn’t be more aptly named. No chuggy gooey delicious yum here, just robbed Arch Enemy riffs and the worst vocals ever. WD

MogwaiLes Revenants

Scotland’s finest instrumentalists soundtrack France’s blockbusting horror export to overwhelming success, ranging between eerie and terrifying with remarkable ease. PS

Kanye West – Yeezus

Despite Kanye West being, for many, a laughing stock akin to internet troll victim Christian Weston Chandler, there’s actually some excellent stuff to be found on Yeezus. Savant sampling of Nina Simone—that would have sounded ridiculous, had anyone else done it—made me grin from ear to ear. People call Kanye West a narcissist, but the anger and urgency on Yeezus make me think he might be far more grounded than people say he is. JB

"Cool Santa" by gts

“Cool Santa” by gts

Norma JeanWrongdoers

Having somewhat underwhelmed on their last few efforts, metalcore’s sole remaining interesting band return with a snarling, feral beast of an album, which even manages to remain listenable when the inevitable emo choruses kick in. PS

Ghost – Infestissumam

Fuck knows what this is supposed to be. Fucking do one mate and take your stupid fucking hat with you. NOX

Billy WoodsDour Candy

Billy Woods released one of the best albums of 2012 in History Will Absolve Me. Billy Woods also released two of the best albums of 2013. Billy Woods is clever. GO

Armand HammerRace Music

Billy Woods again, this time with Elucid. This one has a Cold Vein vibe about it. If that means anything to you then you should get onto this album right away. If that means nothing to you then you should get onto this album right away. GO

Run The JewelsRun The Jewels

Well, it’s El-P and Killer Mike innit. It could hardly fail to be at least fun, and it fulfilled the vague brief of ‘old-school type shit’ fantastically well. El-P has some serious songwriting skills, and proves he also knows how to sequence a record almost perfectly to keep you interested and occasionally make you do a big old eyes-bulging ‘WTF!’ face (see the drop from DDFH into Sea Legs for one stellar example). Full attack mode from everyone that raps on this makes it a charged, occasionally funny as fuck (Prince Paul as Chest Rockwell, notably) romp through some effortlessly modernised gangsta rap. RM

"Cool Santa" by Unknown Artist

“Cool Santa” by Unknown Artist

AmenraMass V

The bleakest, most horrifying album of the year, this post metal epic is harrowing in every way, from its blood-curdling vocals to discordant guitars and forays into bleakest doom. In other words it’s fucking great. PS

CelesteAnimale(s)

What is it with the French this year? Couple this with the aforementioned Amenra album and you’ve got two possible signals that French need to up their collective Valium intake. PS

Action BronsonSaaab Stories

He’s a dead good rapper, this bloke. Especially if you like Ghostface Killah and wondered what he might sound like about five minutes before his tea’s ready. Interesting flow with a voice that’s easy to listen to, with some fine production care of Harry Fraud. Whilst this is much darker than the likes of Blue Chips, Bronson is still fun and nonchalant enough to carry it off. RM

Melvins – Everyone Loves Sausages

I love Melvins and their cover of You’re My Best Friend here instantly brings a grin to my face, so it’s already better than anything else on this list. NOX

Black Sun EmpireVariations On Black

A fucking ace collection of remixed tracks from the finest drum & bass production crew out there, in my opinion. Two and a half hours of headbanging, bassface-inducing floor-pointers – seriously dark and nasty, but never forgetting the crucial element of funk that makes all the best d&b so irresistible. RM

"Cool Santa and Reindeer" by ICP_SyntheticDarkness666

“Cool Santa and Reindeer” by ICP_SyntheticDarkness666

Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School Of MedicineWhite People And The Damage Done

We can see from your Twitter and Facebook feeds how angry you all are; angry about trains being late, angry at people putting apostrophes where they should’nt be and absolutely furious at who got voted off I’m A Celebrity when it should have been her off that thing with that bloke from Hollyoaks. You’re at boiling point, mate. Where do you go from here? Well, if you can’t get any more angry, then Jello Biafra can do it on your behalf. Except he does it with wit, sarcasm, and – well – with something worth actually being angry about as the subject matter. The most punk lyrics these days seem confined to hip-hop or grindcore over actual punk rock. Glad to see Eric still showing the young pups how it’s done. Visceral. AW

Light Bearer Silver Tongue

There’s a bit on this album that sounds like all 16 of the colossi from Shadow of the Colossus losing their shit (probably over being systematically stalked and killed by some little twerp) and stomping the shit out of the whole world. Actually only 15 of them, because there’s one that can’t move isn’t there? That one’s shooting its fireballs anyway. GO

Stuart WarwickThe Butcher’s Voice

High-voiced man sings lovely sounding songs about gender identity and taking a staple gun to the mouth of Ann Widdecombe. GO

YC The CynicGNK

This guy is about 12 but his rapping skills are ridiculous. God knows how good he’ll be when he finally gets some pubes. GO

Sleepers AwakeTranscension

Depsite almost universal acclaim from the very best music writers out there—and also us—this metal epic seems to have remained firmly under the radar. With nods to Opeth, Iron Maiden, Porcupine Tree and While Heaven Wept, this is packed with ideas, melodies, riffs and all the other things that make a classic album. Lyrics too. It’s got lyrics. AW

"Santa Looking Cool With A Bit Of An Attitude On His Shiny New Red And Chrome Chopper" by Anon

“Santa Looking Cool With A Bit Of An Attitude On His Shiny New Red And Chrome Chopper” by Anon

No Bird SingDefinition Sickness

Caused my other half to exclaim “what the fuck is this shit?” So I really like it. GO

Russian CirclesMemorial

Wilfully ignoring the fact that it is no longer 2005 and nobody really cares about instrumental post rock any more, Russian Circles deliver another crushing mammoth of an album. PS

PelicanForever Becoming

Wilfully ignoring the fact that it is no longer 2005 and nobody really cares about instrumental post rock any more, Pelican deliver another crushing bore of an album. PS

IhsahnDas Seelenbrechen

Careering out of the speakers and mashing up all manner of noises like some preposterous aural smorgasbord, old Vegard the bearded wizard spat this opus at us as the year drew to a close. A dark and sexy fusion of black metal, jazz and prog (if you find that sort of thing sexy), this album is so dense and weird that you will either love it or you will just not get it (in which case you will need to pretend you get it to look clever). Buy it, if you like. AW

HumanflyAwesome Science

Completely shedding their bleak metal  past in favour of progtastic deftness of touch, Humanfly released a stunningly good album and then promptly split up. Boo, hiss etc. PS

"Cool Santa (Royalty Free)" by Dreamstime.com

“Cool Santa (Royalty Free)” by Dreamstime.com

ASGBlood Drive

Stoner pop veterans return to a market buoyed by the success of Baroness, Torche et al, and deliver rather an excellent album. PS

WindhandSoma

More doom than you can shake a gloom at. PS

Red FangWhales And Leeches

No doubt utterly fed up of being compared with Mastodon and considered a pale imitation, we are here to compare them yet again, but venture the controversial opinion (#edgy) that they are a better version of Mastodon—less bloated and meandering, more focused and to the point. A tasty juggernaut of proto-metal noise. AW

HacktivistHacktivist EP

Hacktivist are a band who have conjoined words for their band name and we don’t like this. Portmant-no! Far too 90s. They have also conjoined grime/dubstep and djent too. Individually these things are quite good but mixing them up is just wrong. If you think this sounds like your cup of tea then you should listen to them (Hacktivist) and they have done a record and it is an EP called Hacktivist. AW

The Old WindFeast on your Gone

This was originally a solo project of ex-Breach singer Tomas Liljedahl, then he decided to round it out with a full band, so he hired most of Breach. But it isn’t Breach. It does sound quite a lot like Breach, to be fair, except with a bit more gloomy doomy about it. This is in no way a bad thing. Basically if you like Breach, you’ll like this. If you don’t know Breach then they sound a lot like this, except a bit less gloomy doomy. Just buy the fucking thing, will you? PS

"Cool Santa" by DarkVigilante

“Cool Santa” by DarkVigilante

KEN ModeEntrench

Thoroughly enjoyable pissed off techy hardcore from one of the genre’s unfairly unsung bands. PS

Inter ArmaSky Burial

Hands down this reviewer’s new favourite band, this takes all the best bits of black metal, post metal, doom and prog and squashes them into one thoroughly unpredictable lump of excellence. PS

milothings that happen at day/things that happen at night/cavalcade

Actually impossible to pick the best out of these three EPs so they’re all going in. However, if you’re after a rap EP that samples folk rock band America (and of course you do) then start with Cavalcade. milo sounds like no one else. GO

"Cool Santa" by GoneGalt1993

“Cool Santa” by GoneGalt1993

NoisemAgony Defined

12-year-olds release album of outrageous goodness. Everyone over 16 feels ancient and useless. GO

RestorationsLP2

When I listen to this I put my rucksack on both shoulders, I grab the straps and I sway back and forth, pointing my face to the sky with my eyes closed. GO

Armed for ApocalypseThe Road Will End

The kind of metallic hardcore that will get you windmilling in your office if you don’t pay close enough attention to what you’re doing, with the added bonus of a Phil Anselmo-alike singer that allows you to imagine that Mr Anselmo has been in a good band at least once in his long career. PS

Pro-PainThe Final Revolution

Punch things and kick things and maybe join the army and invade a small Arab nation or at least play Call Of Duty whilst swearing down a microphone. Gary Meskil is back to teach you a lesson and to play the bass very loudly in your general direction whilst shouting stuff. Effortlessly brilliant thumpy, jumpy, groovy hardcore with more than enough yelling and probably some pointing too. AW

"Cool Santa" by peter_h_hammond_1953

“Cool Santa” by peter_h_hammond_1953

THE END. Have a magical M&S Coca­-Cola Tesco McChristmas. We love you.

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