Monday, December 26, 2011

Best of 2011: Post-rock/Math Rock/Instrumental

I am going to put this one out now, and hopefully get to the final one during/after the Red Wings game tonight.  The Emo/Punk/Indie one has turned into a monster that will be a top 40.  Oh, found out we aren't doing anymore radio shows until next semester, so no countdown thing.  Just gonna put it on here later tonight or possibly tomorrow.  I have been trying to avoid other people's top 2011 album lists, really looking forward to what other people are saying after I finish this.

This Will Destroy You- "Tunnel Blanket"

Instead of steady flowing and climaxes characteristic of post-rock bands, This Will Destroy You makes this album more about ambiance and subtleties.  Still there are the occasional build-ups into sonic walls of sound that still fit into the overall feel of the album.  It's definitely not something for the impatient or easily distracted, it's not for everybody, but I don't think this band really gives a shit.

Battles- "Gloss Drop"

This album was definitely a grower, at least for me.  You can see it in my initial review that I was unsure of it from the beginning.  After going through it a few times throughout the year, there are just a few too many songs that are just too damn good to deny this from being one of the better releases of the year.  Especially the one featuring Matias Aguayo.

Giraffes? Giraffes!- "Pink Magick"

This is the duo's first release since Milk Mouth in 2007.  I find it to be a bit crisper and less sloppy.  It is better overall than their last release, although there are still parts in Milk Mouth that I find awesome.  This album is just much better executed, this would especially please fans of Tera Melos's older work like their Drugs EP.

Cloudkicker- "Let Yourself Be Huge"

I have a great respect for the reclusive artist, it makes a lot of their work that much more personal and genuine when you know it's an outlet more than anything.  He is mostly known for being a progressive/metal artist, but this release shows his take on softer music but still incorporating aspects of his other work.  That is another thing I am big on, taking an art you are comfortable in and applying it to something you aren't necessarily comfortable in to make it your own.  

Vessels- "Helioscope"

These guys are based in Leeds and I remember scouring for this album after getting a few samples of it.  They aren't completely an istrumental or traditional post-rock band, but this should definitely appeal to fans of bands like Explosions in the Sky that are looking for something a different, but not too different.  Either way, it is an amazing album that I don't think many people states-side has given a chance.

Stage Kids- "Killer Tofu"

I think I was destined to stumble upon this band, there is just too much I like about them let alone their unique take on the math rock genre that incorporates a electronica swing to it.  Generally, a band's taste and outlook on many other facets only intensifies an interest in them.  At least that's what happened with me.  Not only am I excited to hear what they will be up to next, I hope to work with them at some point.

Russian Circles- "Empros"

This made my list for being some great steps back in the right direction.  After the falter with Station, I had everything but given up on this band as far as studio releases (nothing can deny their showmanship).  Geneva was better, but it wasn't enough to make me really get back into this band.  Then this album came out this year, and it is even better.  It will be hard to woo me in the way that Enter did, but this album went a long ways for me in regards to this band.

And So I Watch You From Afar- "Gangs"

I called this band "Gangs" so many times, and called the album "And So I Watch You From Afar", when it was the other way around.  With Adebisi Shank not being able to make this list because their latest release fell just short of being in 2011, this other Irish math rock/post-rock band does not disappoint.  Their biography says it best: "We are the bull.  You are the china shop.  That is all."

Earth- "Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I"

Honestly, I keep going back and forth between this one and the number one on which one is better.  It's a tough call.  This one is stripped down, featuring drums, guitars, bass and a lone cello.  When I first reviewed this I called this the chillest album of 2011, and that was way back in February.  It certainly has held up to that tag as 2011 winds down.  The tones of the instruments are absolutely perfect, and I keep kicking myself for not picking this up in record stores whenever I see it.

Grails- "Deep Politics"

This band won it for me mainly for the fact they are an extremely underappreciated "post-rock" band up until this year.  I feel like this album has garnered some attention, but still may be destined to collect dust like their other albums.  I would like to do my best to get people to at least give it a try.  This isn't the typical post-rock band that draws from classical epic arrangements, but is in more of a world of "grind house fringe music" as one reviewer called it.  This is truly a meeting of eastern and western sounds in the best way.  And just like the Earth album, I keep kicking myself for still not having this in my record collection yet.

Actually I have a $20 gift card for the Record Lounge in East Lansing.  Hopefully they have one of these...

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