Foofer’s Top Picks of 2013

 Welcome to Staff Picks week here at Postrockstar! This week our writers will be going over their favorite albums of 2013.

Please click the album art to go to the artist’s Bandcamp/Website/Facebook/etc .

Set & Setting – Equanimity

“Easily my album of the year. Not a single note out of place, not a single song that doesn’t make you want more. It’s almost as if This Will Destroy You and Pelican had a child, and hired Mono as its nanny.”

Cloudkicker – Subsume

“There isn’t much to say about this that others haven’t. It knocks you off your feet and kicks you while you’re down, but he means it in the nicest way possible.”

Russian Circles – Memorial

“Less of a heavy hitter and more of a technical success, it still maintains the intensity of previous Russian Circles albums. After listening to Empros so many times, I felt that this was the right direction for them to take.”

The Shaking Sensations – Start Stop Worrying

“Six wonderful pieces of art, bookended by 10-minute epics. Everything about this albums just feels so right, it just feels no organic and natural. Even vegans would love this stuff.”

Nathaniel Noton-Freeman – Seabirds

“Criminally underrated experimental/acoustic post-rock, Nathaniel Noton-Freeman make some of the most beautiful sounds you’ll ever hear. The perfect soundtrack to a friend guiding you through the forest by hand. His music will never cease to be a source of inspiration, and a cause for relaxation.”

Lavinia – Take Shelter EP

“It’s only two songs, but what a great two songs they are. ‘New Blood’ is one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long time. It makes me very excited for their upcoming full length album.”

Owel – self-titled

“When everyone was listening to The World Is A Beautiful Place And I’m No Longer Afraid To Die’s ‘Whenever, if Ever’ I was listening to Owel. With less math and more dreaming, it’s a wonderful alternative for when you tire of ridiculously long band names.”

Intronaut – Habitual Levitations (Instilling words with tones)

“Intronaut’s come a long way since their first album. With each release, they’ve strayed farther from hardcore metal, and drifted closer to stoner metal. This is the culmination of their journey, and it is glorious.”

Hannibal Montana – 28-20 EP

“These twenty minutes of musical excellence are far too fleeting. From the progressive jazz, to the reggae overtones, to the sheer noise, it’s all so perfect in every way. I was released in late December, but it made a big enough impact with me to be on this list. I think their upcoming album will be one for the ages.”

Deafheaven – Sunbather

“In my opinion, this is what post-rock is meant to be like; Listening to two seperate post-rock albums means something wildly different now than it did in its early years. This isn’t a plethora of twinkly guitars and prolonged crescendos, it’s varied and diverse. This is what I want to see more of in 2014.”

 

Biggest personal disappointment: Explosions In The Sky & David Wingo’s “Prince Avalanche” OST.

“That Indie Drone attempt was beyond annoying.”

 

Honorable mentions:

Pelican – Forever Becoming

Degree of Arc – Halls In Hospitals

Lights And Motion – Reanimation

Mooncake – Zaris

The Octopus Project – Fever Forms

She Dreamt She Was Alone In An Empty Field (I Will Be Okay) – I Will Be Okay EP

The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – Whenever, If Ever

Caspian – Hymn For The Greatest Generation EP

Geodesics – Self-titled EP

Ohne-ka And The Burning River – Where The Real Wind Blows

Erich’s Top Picks of 2013

 Welcome to Staff Picks week here at Postrockstar! This week our writers will be going over their favorite albums of 2013.

Please click the album art to go to the artist’s Bandcamp/Website/Facebook/etc .

Jesu – Everyday I get Closer to the Light from Which I Came

“Yep, something beat out Deafheaven. Justin Broadrick again releases a subtle and powerful dream of an album. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Best Jesu vocals to date as well.”

Deafheaven – Sunbather

Having luckily gotten introduced to the mighty Deafheaven thru their demo, and thoroughly loving “Roads To Judah”, this was a no brainer for me. What impressed me most about this album was the progression that was made since “Roads.” Sure, they’ve blown up, but this is one of those cases where the critics got it right, though maybe for the wrong reasons. Hipsters come and go, but Sunbather is a black supernova.”

Cloudkicker – Subsume

“Epic, progressive, and, full of integrity, Cloudkicker deserves every bit of praise he/it gets. This rocked my fall and early winter. The fact that it’s free is a bonus too. Excellent free music made well? Wish fulfillment.”

Pelican – Forever Becoming

“Consistently great. Another epic post-metal album. Forever becoming flows so well. Heavy and solid.”

Damascus – Heights

“I was bowled over by the musicianship of this album. Damascus should be exceptionally proud of themselves. A great record from a great band that I hope will become better known this year.”

We.Own.The.Sky – Glass/Nails

“As James mentioned earlier, this is technically an EP. Fuck that. I declare this a full-fledged album. I also declare it nuanced and powerful. It kept me interested thru many, many repeat plays. Super worthy.”

My Bloody Valentine –MBV

“What needs to be said about Kevin Shields and Company? This was worth the 22 or so year wait for me. This picked up right where “Loveless” left off, with some awesome surprises thrown in.  I hope it doesn’t take another generation for a follow up album.”

65daysofstatic – Wild Light

“The left field surprise of my musical year. Delightfully off center and stellar. I’m actually still digesting this fully. This blog teaches me things too!”

Russian Circles – Memorial

“How many amazing albums does Russian Circles have to put out before its understood just how much of a musical powerhouse they are? Another flawless release. The drums are produced so well on this record I could cry.”

RQTN – Passenger

“Nuanced Neo-Classical soundtrack-ish perfection. RQTN seems to take great leaps of progress with each album. “Passenger” is just so smooth.”

The Best of the Rest:

Carcass – Surgical Steel

“Hello, old friend. I’ve missed you. Arguably better then “Heartwork.”

Subrosa – More Constant then the Gods

“Deep, Heavy, and weird. Don’t sleep on SubRosa.”

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks

“Mr. Reznor and company got creepier during the NIN hiatus.”

Childish Gambino – Because the Internet

“Could this be “post Hip-Hop?” No matter what it’s labeled, it’s smart and emotionally evocative.”

Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe

“Wow, I like this album. Just the perfect mixture of indie, electronic, and dreampop.”

Clutch – Earth Rocker

“Any sentences written about this album, or Clutch as a whole, for that matter, should include the words “Rock,” “Fucking,” “Roll,” and “Kings,” in them.”

Skinny Puppy – Weapon

“One of my favorite bands ever making another great and complicated statement about the world. I enjoyed the analogue synth and effect touches to bring it back to days of Puppy past.”

Gorguts – Colored Sands

“Do you like guitars, drums, and great songwriting? One of the many metal warriors of the past that have found their way back to the light of day, and, along with Carcass, one of the best.”

Windhand – Soma

“Maybe the next Deafheaven if the “kids” continue on the “blackened sub genre” wagon train. However, Windhand is way better then that last sentence.”

Melt Yourself Down – S/T

“Freaky – Deaky, jazzy, and throbbingly heavy.  Another out of nowhere home runs this year.”

Runners up:

Lesbian – Forestelevision

Bastille – Bad Blood

Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rivals

Kylesa – Ultraviolet

David Bowie – The Next Day

Inter Arma – Sky Burial

Bryan’s Top Picks of 2013

 Welcome to Staff Picks week here at Postrockstar! This week our writers will be going over their favorite albums of 2013.

Please click the album art to go to the artist’s Bandcamp/Website/Facebook/etc .

Hammock – Oblivion Hymns

“Picking this as my album of the year was a tough call, but Hammock does too much with this album for it to be ignored. Hammock has always been known for gorgeous music that creates images and landscapes. Oblivion Hymns does this again, but with new tactics and original ideas. This is definitely one of the best ambient albums not only this year, but in the past few.”

 

Julianna Barwick – Nepenthe

“It’s wonderful to see someone as talented as Julianna Barwick starting to rise in the ambient/ambient folk realm. She has a unique sound of looped vocals and her latest album, Nepenthe, might be her best yet. She keeps her traditional sound, but incorporates a children’s choir and some electronic flair. This adds up to an album that is beautiful and haunting. A must listen.”

EF- Ceremonies

“I thought EFs Ep last year, Delusions of Grandeur was as close to perfect as the band can get. While Ceremonies isn’t flawless, it gets damn close. This is a testament to the fact that post-rock doesn’t have to be the prescribed notion of build-up to breakdown. The instruments are gorgeous, the vocals flow seamlessly into the music. EF is staking their claim as one of the best and most influential post-rock bands with this album and their contributions to music.”

 

Caspian – Hymn for the Greatest Generation EP

“Not a full album, but definitely on the top of my list. I didn’t know how Caspian could possibly need an EP after Waking Season, but they proved me wrong. The title track sounds like it was a tough cut from Waking Season. The Heart That Fed is a more traditional post-rock song, but uses vocals as a build-up instead of guitar and has an epic breakdown. Finally, CMF sounds like a goodbye to their wonderful bassist who passed away this year. These three tracks work alone and as a unit. Caspian continues to push the boundaries of this genre and I cannot wait to see what they have in store for 2014”

Eluvium – Nightmare Ending

“The return of Eluvium was fantastic this year. Few acts can capture feeling across two cds, but Eluvium did it. I could go on for days about the use of strings and the overall mood and feel of the album, but this wins my award for ‘Album that You can Put on and Forget About.’ It just flows from track to track and gives you a mood to live in. A fantastic return to form by a fantastic artist.”

Olafur Arnalds – For Now I am Winter

“It’s hard to describe why and how Olafur Arnalds succeeds. If you know him, you understand and if you don’t you need to listen. I was skeptical of the vocals, but listening to the album dozens of times and seeing it performed live made me understand how the vocals fit with the music. An outstanding album from a younger musician and definitely worth a few listens. For Now I am Winter is an evolution for Arnalds, but one I can fully endorse.”

 North Atlantic Drifts – Monuments

“I could ramble about this album for awhile, but there’s one thing about this album that gets it into my list: every minute is good. That might be a strange reasoning, but this is the kind of album I would recommend to those wanting to know what the ambient genre is about. It’s completely solid from start to finish. Just put it in, enjoy it, and be glad it exists.”

Mountains – Centralia

“Probably the most subdued of my top ten. This album is hard to describe. The flow of the music and the smoothness of the guitar is really what brought me back to it. Probably my favorite album to put on while relaxing and it does a good job of mixing the acoustics of the guitar with some synth.”

65daysofstatic – Wild Light

“This album got a lot of mixed reviews when it came out. I was never a big 65days fan, but something about this album grabbed me. To me, it’s just fun post-rock with some great tones and riffs. Perfect music for the car and one of the most fun albums I listened to all year.”

Sigur Ros – Kveikur

“I’d be remiss to not include Sigur Ros on this list. They somehow manage to pump out solid release after solid release. Admittedly, this album seems to have more critics, and it took me longer than I’d expected to really get into it, but once I did there was no going back. Sometimes heavier and definitely pulsing, this is a great album that was a pleasure to see live. “

Shooter’s Top Picks of 2013

 Welcome to Staff Picks week here at Postrockstar! This week our writers will be going over their favorite albums of 2013.

Please click the album art to go to the artist’s Bandcamp/Website/Facebook/etc .

And So I Watch You From Afar – All Hail Bright Futures

“I really like fun. And that’s why I really enjoy this album. It’s the most outright fun I’ve had with any kind of music since Two Door Cinema Club released their debut album in 2010. I want to bounce around the room just thinking about it.”

EF – Ceremonies

“There’s something about the innocent sweetness of Ef’s first album that I never thought could be recaptured. The vocal passage in “Hello Scotland” made me feel warm and fuzzy like no other song did. I was wrong, because “Bells Bleed and Bloom” now has that effect too. On top of this, Ceremonies is a much more sophisticated work than any of Ef’s past releases, as it relies less on repeated crescendo-vocals-crescendo structures, and instead succeeding more consistently in its ever-intricate melodies and captivating flow.”

Lights & Motion – Reanimation

“It’s no surprise that Lights and Motion seems to have blown up in this, its monumental opening year. Lights and Motion’s music is inspiring, uplifting and immediate to the utmost. This is what makes it perfect for movie trailers and scores, so it’s also no surprise that Hollywood has been knocking at the door of Deep Elm in 2013. What makes Reanimation stand above the follow-up Save Your Heart, in my opinion, is the way in which the album seems to float through its captivating dream-like narrative, particularly in its final half.”

Explosions In The Sky & David Wingo – Prince Avalanche OST

“No matter the number of imitators or the media platform, Explosions in the Sky’s music has always has a distinct, heartfelt quality that shines through in everything they do. Whether it’s the reverb-soaked swells and melodies (“Dear Madison”), or the eruptions of sound that inspire parade-like celebration (“Send Off”), Explosions in the Sky know how to make me feel good. It’s hard to say exactly where Explosions in the Sky’s contribution ends and David Wingo’s begins — or even if there exists such a distinction — but regardless, this is a match made in heaven.”

Russian Circles – Memorial

“Though I’m partial to Empros’s more wandering structures, Memorial demonstrates Russian Circles at their most refined. There are walls of sound so dense and intoxicating that every riff is felt to be beating mercilessly at the chest. But it’s the impassioned, inventive drumming that steals the show.”

The World is a Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid to Die – Whenever, If Ever

“Undoubtedly the poster child of the so-called “emo revival”, The World Is a Beautiful Place… with their debut full-length tap into that warm feeling of sentiment. Whenever, If Ever recalls Moving Mountains’s Pneuma, but with the distant, conceptual lyrics now supplanted by relatable, nostalgic imagery.”

Mooncake – Zaris

“Mooncake has always been enamoured with the “third wave” of post-rock, yet until now I felt as though they had never quite pinned down where they want to be. Their debut album Lagrange Points was beautiful in its own right but also at times lacked focus. With Zaris, it seems that Mooncake know exactly what kind of music they want to make — calming and beautiful post-rock that drifts and wanders as much as it soars. And they succeeded.”

Umber – Sunshine Young

“Sunshine Young is umber’s latest full-length, and it’s the perfect example of beauty in simplicity. This is an ambient album that can exist either in the background or as the focus of your attention. Unintrusive ambient wanderings bleed into delicate melodies and back again. My mind loves to get lost in this.”

Daughter – If You Leave

“Daughter are a band that seems to have been taken under the wing of the British indie scene, no doubt thanks to the accessible vocals and catchy — yet never overbearing — hooks. Daughter are different, though, in that they are clearly influenced heavily by the post-rock aesthetic. Guitar melodies and textures are drenched in reverb so delectable that every song is brimming with an enchanting atmosphere. The album is dark, too, and with its vocal and musical style it resembles a more cynical and bleak Immanu El.”

there_will_be_fireworks

There Will Be Fireworks – The Dark, Dark Bright

“I can’t even remember the last time I was this floored by an album on first listen. The Dark, Dark Bright is, simply put, incredible. The vocals remind of Biffy Clyro, yet they’re laced over a beautiful and cinematic instrumental approach that recalls none other than Sigur Ros’s Takk… Combine that with the explosive and impassioned climaxes of Athletics’s Who You Are Is Not Enough; throw in the wistful and soaring passages of Gates’s You Are All You Have Left To Fear; and you might come close to imagining what There Will Be Fireworks’s sophomore album has to offer.”

James’ (Iamhop) Top Picks of 2013

 Welcome to Staff Picks week here at Postrockstar! This week our writers will be going over their favorite albums of 2013.

Please click the album art to go to the artist’s Bandcamp/Website/Facebook/etc .

Post* Top 10 Albums of 2013:

Lights & Motion – Reanimation 

“My Absolute go-to favorite album of the year without question. I’ve spoke about this album at length on this site, but it truly is in a class of its own.Some people critique this album for having too much studio gloss but I feel like if you can’t see the emotion that Christoffer pours into each and every song, which is what sold me on this album, then you are missing something truly beautiful.”


Set & Setting – Equanimity

“Witnessing this band perform most of this album live was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. If I had the means, I would have followed them around the country catching every gig, because ‘Equanimity’ is an amazing album backed by talented musicians who are able to replicate their studio work perfectly in concert. Set & Setting are a band waiting to catch fire and set the genre ablaze in 2014.”


Consciousness Removal Project – Tacit

“I am a sucker for a concept album. The jazz saxaphone in this album is brilliant and so is the reprisal when the guitar duplicates the sax intro is post-metal glory in it’s finest form.  Rarely do I find post-metal to be catchy, but I couldn’t get enough of this album.”


Lights & Motion – Save Your Heart

“I think the biggest difference between ‘Reanimation’ and ‘Save Your Heart’ is that this time around there were base level expectations. While I certainly equally impressed with ‘Save Your Heart’, the initial first time listen just wasn’t quite as special as with ‘Reanimation’. Still though, ‘Save Your Heart’ easily surpasses ‘Reanimation’ when it comes to keys/piano, no more evident than in “Crystalline”


And So I Watch You From Afar – All Hail Bright Futures

“‘Gangs’ will always and forever be one of my favorite albums, but ‘All Hail Bright Futures’ is definitely another stellar release from ASIWYFA. This album is just too fun. Nobody quite takes a light-hearted approach to making music the way these guys do. “


Ólafur Arnalds  – For Now I Am Winter

“I’ll be honest I’m just now really starting to have a deeper understanding of ambient and neo-classical musical. ‘For Now I Am Winter’ embodies everything that makes a great ambient album and the level of detail here is simply incredible. “Only The Winds” is the most sensual and mellow dramatic song of the year in my book.”


Dorena – Nuet

“I appreciate Dorena’s ability to create a fun atmosphere within a more straight-forward emotional post-rock package. And even though And So I Watch You From Afar generally wins in the gang vocals department on a yearly basis, there is nothing more fun than yelling out the “WHOA OAH OAH’s at the end of ‘My Childhood Friend’ . “


This Patch of Sky – Heroes & Ghosts

“Guitarist Kit Day sent me a demo a few months before this album came out and I knew the album was going to be pretty good. I had no idea however just how special it would be. I respect any band that goes out of their way to reinvent their sound, but TPOS outdid themselves on this album. “


Snöhamn – Snöhamn

“Nobody put out an atmospheric post-rock album better than Snöhamn this year. This dreamy yet brooding album is perfect for any mood and I’m sure it will be on my ipod for the long term future.”


Psycho Tree – Black January

“Damn they know how to make post-rock in Russia. When I just want to let my mind wander to some distorted riffage I generally turn to ‘Black January’ . I would like to see these guys have a much stronger web presence, it is just criminal how difficult it is to acquire this album right now. Bandcamp please!”

Post* EP’s of 2013


Caspian – Hymn For The Greatest Generation

” Caspian. Acoustic guitar. ‘Nuff said”


We.Own.The.Sky – Glass/Nails EP

“Probably could be classified as an album. The ‘A Stain of Ink’ trilogy is brilliant and my only complaint is that it should be longer”


Au Revior – Black Hills EP

“These guys absolutely killed it in terms of capturing a bleak, dense atmosphere of despair. Love the samples.”


Watermark High – Murmurs EP

“I got insanely hooked on Watermark High’s work earlier this year. Murmurs is so obnoxiously catchy.”


5. J.R. Alexander – Moments EP

“I prefer this EP to his Message To Bears material. The downtempo vibe and looping samples here keep drawing me back. I really wish his other stuff was similar.”

Best of the Rest 2013

(Yes, I love Electronic, Hip-Hop & Country music. I don’t discriminate against genres, when I say I love all types of music, I actually mean I love all types of music.)
1.  Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
2.  Childish Gambino – Because The Internet
3.  Black Cowgirl – Black Cowgirl
4.  Agrimonia – Rites of Separation
5.  Boards of Canada – Random Harvest
6.  Darius Rucker – True Believers
7. Drake – Nothing Was The Same
8.  Typhoon – White Lighter
9.  Kvelertak – Meir
10. Dream Theater – Dream Theater
11. Windham – Soma
12. Wooden Shjips – Back to Land
13. ASG – Blood Drive
14. Clutch – Earth Rocker
15. Eminem – Marshall Mathers LP II

TenaciousListening’s Top Picks 2013

 Welcome to Staff Picks week here at Postrockstar! This week our writers will be going over their favorite albums of 2013.

Please click the album art to go to the artist’s Bandcamp/Website/Facebook/etc .

When it came to creating this list I realized that although I had thought I had listened to a lot of music this year I had also missed out on a lot. Mainly due to having given quite a lot of time to releases that I did not really like, all in the name of a being a reviewer, and to a lot of releases from 2012! So this list misses out some of the big releases that a lot of “top #” lists will include and a lot of those I thought I would include, but were from 2012. I do however think that you will find some gems here that you may have overlooked yourself. So. Here. We. Go. 

Wild Light – 65daysofstatic

“Lots of synth, lots of guitars, lots of great! 65dos never fail to impress me when they release a new album and Wild Light is no different. This time the tracks brood and pulse rather than scream and build as you might expect. Both beautiful and cathartic, Wild Light is the sound track to our apocalypse and my favourite album this year.”

Monuments – North Atlantic Drift

“This year I decided that I wanted to get into ambient music a little more. It is a genre too easy to dismiss as music to sleep to. North Atlantic Drift completely blew that out of the water with the second album in a trilogy of releases. Title track Monuments is a highlight of my year in music and the whole album stands as a perfect blend of electronica and post-rock that keeps you attentive rather than reaching for the duvet.”

Our Disintegrating Museum – IO

“Released on 1st January 2013 IO gave plenty of time for their third album to be overtaken as my favourite post-metal album of the year. Nothing has beaten it for me. Their sound is classic post metal with hardcore flavourings. Compositionally they are at the top of my list in that every track flows within itself without ever becoming boring or disjointed. If you’ve been blinded by the sun(bather) this year then check this release out, you won’t be disappointed.”

Conversation Skills for the Socially Anxious – Alright The Captain

“Absolute fucking madness! Mental noise, crazy guitar, spastic bass, and drums trying to hold it all together! This EP is math rock at it’s absolute finest.”

Hatherton Lake – Arbor Lights

“Hatherton Lake is the best album that I wrote a review for this year. In short a beautifully crafted album that flows perfectly from the very start and is essential listening to anybody who says that they listen to post-rock. You can read my review here

Build Seas EP – Nordic Giants

“With such an immense live show I honestly did not think that the recorded version of Nordic Giants would live up to my expectations. When I first spun this EP I was proven wrong. Nordic Giants deal in catharsis and I feel restored and refreshed after every listen.”

Halls in Hospitals – Degree of Arc

“This one snuck in last minute as it was only released in the second week of December. Degree of Arc play straight-up post rock like Explosions in the Sky and the like. However what really makes it stand out is the atmosphere created by these guys. There is a darkness infused across the album with pockets of optimism pushing through the mix. To me post-rock is all about atmosphere and Halls in Hospitals deals it out in spades.”

 

Stranger in the Alps – Lost in the Riots

“Mathy, post-rocky goodness filled to the brim with in your face riffing and moments of calm that are very much sat before the storm! You could be forgiven for dismissing Lost in the Riots for the obvious And So I Watch You From Afar and Maybeshewill influences, but I urge you to give them the time they deserve.”

To Call Each Thing By Its Right Name – Man Mountain

 “Wonderfully uplifting and truly epic! Three songs in twenty-five minutes and each one is a journey that I cannot help taking again and again.”

Dawn – A Last Salute To Byss

“Dawn is a solid debut for ambient post rockers A Last Salute To Byss. Electonic and classical elements fuse with rock to create a relaxing, but insistent, 5 track EP.”

ShaneXedge’s Top Picks of 2013

 Welcome to Staff Picks week here at Postrockstar! This week our writers will be going over their favorite albums of 2013.

Please click the album art to go to the artist’s Bandcamp/Website/Facebook/etc .

Deafheaven – Sunbather

“No real surprise here for anyone that knows me at all (or read my review here of this album). This album has continued to impress me with each listen, and is easily my most listened to record of the year. “

Chelsea Wolfe – Pain is Beauty

“If I were to do a tie for first place, this would be side by side with Deafheaven. An absolutely incredible record, and (in my opinion) a big improvement from previous releases. I can listen to this whole album on repeat for days.”

The Fauns – Lights

“Speaking of big improvements, The Fauns really outdid themselves on this release. SOme of the best shoe gaze/dream pop I’ve heard in years. “4 AM” is very easily my favorite song of 2013. Here’s to hoping for a US tour…”

Lumbar – The First and Last Days of Unwelcome

“I won’t get too into the details of this record here (as I could go on and on), but it’s absolutely crushing. Lyrics and music born from the pain that one of the members (Aaron Edge) goes through as a result of MS, it’s NOT an easy listen. Unbearably heavy, both musically and emotionally. Definitely worth a little searching online to find all of the details.”

Light Bearer – Silver Tongue

“I don’t know that I’ll ever not be a fan of the music that these guys put out (whether it’s as Light Bearer, or in any of the various associated acts). That said, I think this album fell a little from the greatness that was Lapsus, but it’s still an incredible record.”

Touché Amore – Is Survived By

“I don’t listen to nearly as much hardcore as I used to, but Touché Amore certainly isn’t textbook hardcore. This is a gorgeous record, everything from the music to the lyrics to the artwork is stunning.”

Mazzy Star – Seasons of Your Day

“2013 had a couple of very notable bands reemerge from their slumber, and in my opinion, none did it better than Mazzy Star. Granted, the band never technically broke up, they just stopped releasing music. Whatever the case, Seasons of Your Day is a marvelous return.”

Locrian – Return to Annihilation

“Lociran is not an easy band to pin a genre on – black metal, drone, electronic… who knows. With that in mind, don’t expect an album that will play in the background while you go about your day. This is an incredibly complex, attention grabbing record, and should have your full attention.”

Volcano Choir – Repave

“I’m typically a sucker for most things that Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) does, but even with that little tidbit, this album is fantastic. Gorgeous indie rock with touches of folk (of course), and even a hint of post-rock here and there. The guitar work is sparse at times, but absolutely awesome.”

Celeste – Animale(s)

“Another band that’s hard to place into a neatly laid out genre, Celeste is a French “black metal” band that certainly doesn’t fit the mold (none of the band had even listened to any black metal before people started mentioning the supposed influences to them). Heavy, dark, and beautiful, all the hallmarks of a Celeste release.”