Thursday, 29 December 2016


This year's pick for the final post has got to be the one, the only, the great and under-appreciated, Unwound. Though their influence in the world of post-hardcore and alternative rock is immense, they don't get nearly enough recognition as they deserve for doing so. Not to mention they're probably the only band to ever give Fugazi a run for their money as the greatest "post-hardcore" band of all time.

Unwound emerged out of Olympia, Washington in 1991 as a young three-piece band. They were clearly enamored with the flagship bands of American 80's alternative rock, including Sonic Youth, Big Black, The Wipers, Flipper, Minutemen, Mission of Burma, and many others. This is evident in the band's early work, which blends together dissonance and noise with hints of melody and technical prowess. Even early on, the band is an incredibly tight-knit unit that could knock out anything from 2-minute hardcore songs to 5+ minute noise opuses. They developed a distinctive sound involving angular, distorted guitar tones, dark, complex bass lines, and some powerhouse drumming. Along with contemporaries like Fugazi, Drive Like Jehu, and The Jesus Lizard, Unwound would grow to become definitive not only of post-hardcore, but of 90's punk and indie rock as a whole.

They released a steady stream of phenomenal LP's on Kill Rock Stars throughout the decade, each one better than the next. At the turn of the century, two major things happened to Unwound. In 2002, they broke up after over a decade as band. This would be sad if they had not released their London Calling in 2001, which was the breath-taking Leaves Turn Inside You. This was the first album the band recorded themselves, which also happened to be in their newly-built studio. Though they were on their final leg as a band, they stretched it out long enough to perfect what ended up being their grande finale. And holy shit, what a finale it is. The band stretches their sound into long-winding epics, bringing in the sound of post-rock. Unwound continuously build tension through repeated rhythms, meticulously crafting sonic layers. They incorporate strings and synths into their material, which divide up the band's usual chaos with some ethereal moments. In addition, this is by far their most melodic output, from the unique, angular guitar riffs to some borderline catchy vocal moments. Leaves Turn Inside You is a one-of-a-kind album, and is a phenomenal demonstration of the band's prowess and innovation on display. It's a big undertaking at first, but with each further listen there are many sounds and layers to delve into. It's sort of like the Pet Sounds of post-hardcore, in terms of production, songwriting, and experimentation.

There aren't many bands I would say have an "essential" full discography, but Unwound are definitely one of them. Each album is a display of an incredible band continuing to progress and push their boundaries to new limits. Though they do have a single, clear "best" album, I cannot stress enough that the rest of their material is absolutely worth the listen. It's difficult to ever narrow it down to another "essential" album of theirs, since each has such distinct and awe-inspiring qualities. To cut it short, just download e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. You won't regret it. Enjoy, Happy New Year, and I'll see you guys in 2017.

1. Dragnalus
2. Lucky Acid
3. Nervous Energy
4. Valentine Card/Kantina/Were, Are And Was Or Is
5. Honourosis
6. Pure Pain Sugar
7. Gravity Slips
8. Star Spangled Hell
9. Ratbite
10. Feeling$ Real

1. Entirely Different Matters
2. What Was Wound
3. Envelope
4. Hexenzsene
5. Abstraktions
6. All Souls Day
7. Usual Dosage
8. Arboretum
9. Fiction Friction

1. New Energy
2. Demolished
3. Natural Disasters
4. Re-Enact The Crime
5. Equally Stupid
6. Pardon My French
7. Descension
8. Accidents On Purpose
9. Petals Like Bricks
10. Vern's Answer To The Masses
11. Here Come The Dogs
12. Disappoint
13. Swan
14. Full Explanation Of Answer
15. Excuse Me...
16. ...But Pardon...
17. ...My French

1. Antifreeze
2. Rising Blood
3. Understand & Forget
4. Fingertips
5. You Bite My Tongue
6. Stuck In The Middle Of Nowhere Again
7. Warmth
8. Prospect
9. Kid Is Gone
10. Kandy Korn Rituals/Against

Note: Recorded in 1992, meant to be their debut but wasn't released until 1995

1. Message Received
2. Corpse Pose
3. Unauthorized Autobiography
4. Lowest Common Denominator
5. Sensible
6. Lady Elect
7. Fingernails On A Chalkboard
8. Murder Movies
9. Next Exit
10. Devoid
11. Go To Dallas And Take A Left
12. For Your Entertainment

1. Data
2. Laugh Track
3. Meet The Plastics
4. The World Is Flat
5. Sonata For Loudspeakers
6. Mile Me Deaf
8. Untitled 3 (Side Effects Of Being Tired)
9. Lifetime Achievement Award
10. Untitled 2 (What Went Wrong)
11. XLNT (Bonus Track)
12. The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Is A Train (Bonus Track)

1. Hexenszene
2. Side Effects Of Being Tired
3. Kantina / Were, Are And Was Or Is

1. Mile Me Deaf
2. Broken E-Strings
3. Totality
4. MK Ultra
5. Seen Not Heard
6. Caterpillar
7. Miserific Condition
8. Everything Is Weird
9. Negated
10. Said Serial
11. Census
12. Plight
13. Stumbling Block
14. Eternalux
15. New Radio Hit
16. The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Is A Train
17. Crab Nebula

1. We Invent You
2. Look A Ghost
3. December
4. Treachery
5. Terminus
6. Demons Sing Love Songs
7. Off This Century
8. One Lick Less
9. Scarlette
10. October All Over
11. Summer Freeze
12. Radio Gra
13. Below The Salt
14. Who Cares

On a quick little side note, their entire discography has been reissued by The Numero Group over the past few years, and included in a number of box sets. They all contain 3 LP's, with each containing two of their albums, and a third LP consisting of rarities and other material. They come in some very impressive packaging as well. In addition to the LP's, they've also released a 10-disc CD boxset spanning their entire career, which is also a very cool collection. You can find all of this over at Numero Group's website, which is here:

Friday, 23 December 2016

Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)

First of all, what Frank said. Second of all, 'tis the season of giving, and I just wanted to share some of my personal favourite Christmas albums with you guys, since I have gotten a few requests for recommendations. There's a few modern indie favourites, and a few essential classics. Some are best enjoyed alone fixing sandwiches with a few too many rum nogs, and others better suited for yuletide gatherings with friends and family. However you spend the holiday season, hopefully there's a soundtrack here for it. This will only be up for the next few days, so grab whatever you want now before it disappears into the abyss. Note: I decided to leave this up anyway, I just removed all the links to avoid any copyright issues. I left the Bright Eyes album, since it's already up on here and must be enjoyed at least once each month all year long, haha. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

1. Away In A Manager
2. Blue Christmas
3. O Little Town of Bethlehem
4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
5. The First Noel
6. Little Drummer Boy
7. White Christmas
8. Silent Night
9. Silver Bells
10. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
11. The Night Before Christmas

Sufjan Stevens - Songs For Christmas (2006)
1. Silent Night
2. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
3. We're Going To The Country!
4. Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming
5. It's Christmas! Let's Be Glad!
6. Holy, Holy, Etc.
7. Amazing Grace
8. Angels We Have Heard On High
9. Put The Lights On The Tree
10. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
11. I Saw Three Ships
12. Only At Christmas Time
13. Once In David's Royal City
14. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
15. What Child Is This Anyway?
16. Bring A Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
17. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
18. Come On! Let's Boogey To The Elf Dance!
19. We Three Kings
20. O Holy Night
21. That Was The Worst Christmas Ever!
22. Ding! Dong!
23. All The King's Horns
24. The Friendly Beasts
25. The Little Drummer Boy
26. Away In A Manager
27. Hey Guys! It's Christmas Time!
28. The First Noel!
29. Did I Make You Cry On Christmas? (Well, You Deserved It)
30. The Incarnation
31. Joy To The World
32. Once In Royal David's City
33. Get Behind Me, Santa!
34. Jingle Bells
35. Christmas In July
36. Lo! How A Rose E'er Blooming
37. Jupiter Winter
38. Sister Winter
39. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
40. Star Of Wonder
41. Holy, Holy, Holy
42. The Winter Solstice

Sufjan Stevens - Silver & Gold (2012)
1. Silent Night
2. Lumberjack Christmas/No One Can Save You From Christmases Past
3. Coventry Carol
4. The Midnight Clear
5. Carol Of St. Benjamin The Bearded One
6. Go Nightly Cares
7. Barcarola (You Must Be A Christmas Tree)
8. Auld Lang Syne
9. Christ The Lord Is Born
10. Christmas Woman
11. Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light
12. Happy Family Christmas
13. Jingle Bells
14. Mysteries Of The Christmas Mist
15. Lift Up Your Heads Ye Might Gates
16. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
17. Ah Holy Jesus
18. Behold The Birth Of Man, The Face Of Glory
19. Ding-a-ling-a-Ring-a-ling
20. How Shall I Fitly Meet Thee?
21. Mr. Frosty Man
22. Make Haste To See The Baby
23. Ah Holy Jesus (With Reed Organ)
24. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
25. Morning (Sacred Harp)
26. Idumea (Sacred Harp)
27. Eternal Happiness Or woe
28. Ah Holy Jesus (A Capella)
29. I Am Santa's Helper
30. Maoz Tzur (Rock Of Ages)
31. Even The Earth Will Perish And The Universe Give Way
32. Angels We Have Heard On High
33. Do You Hear What I Hear?
34. Christmas In The Room
35. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
36. Good King Wenceslas
37. Alphabet St.
38. Particle Physics
39. Joy To The World
40. The Child With The Star On His Head
41. I'll Be Home For Christmas
42. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
43. The Sleigh In The Moon (feat. Cat Martino)
44. Sleigh Ride
45. Ave Maria (feat. Cat Martino)
46. X-mas Spirit Catcher
47. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
48. Holly Jolly Christmas
49. Christmas Face (feat. Sebastian Krueger)
50. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
51. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
52. Up On The Housetop
53. Angels We Have Heard On High
54. We Need A Little Christmas
55. Happy Karma Christmas
56. We Three Kings
57. Justice Delivers Its Gift
58. Christmas Unicorn

Low - Christmas (1999)
1. Just Like Christmas
2. Long Way Around The Sea
3. The Little Drummer Boy
4. If You Were Born Today (Song for Little Baby Jesus)
5. Blue Christmas
6. Silent Night
7. Taking Down The Tree
8. One Special Gift

She & Him - A Very She & Him Christmas (2011)
1. The Christmas Waltz
2. Christmas Day
3. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
4. I'll Be Home For Christmas
5. Christmas Wish
6. Sleigh Ride
7. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
8. Silver Bells
9. Baby, It's Cold Outside
10. Blue Christmas
11. Little Saint Nick
12. The Christmas Song

Weezer - Christmas With Weezer (2008)
1. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
2. O Come All Ye Faithful
3. O Holy Night
4. The First Noel
5. Hark! The Heralds Angel Sing
6. Silent Night

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Eve and Other Stories (1996)
1. An Angel Come Down
2. O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night
3. A Star To Follow
4. First Snow
5. The Silent Nutcracker
6. A Mad Russian's Christmas
7. The Prince Of Peace
8. Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24
9. Good King Joy
10. Ornament
11. The First Noel
12. Old City Bar
13. Promises To Keep
14. This Christmas Day
15. An Angel Returned
16. O Holy Night
17. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Various Artists - A Christmas Gift For You from Phil Spector (1963)
1. Darlene Love - White Christmas
2. The Ronettes - Frosty The Snowman
3. Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans - The Bells Of St. Mary's
4. The Crystals - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
5. The Ronettes - Sleigh Ride
6. Darlene Love - Marshmallow World
7. The Ronettes - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
8. The Crystals - Rudolph The Red-Noised Reindeer
9. Darlene Love - Winter Wonderland
10. The Crystals - Parade Of The Wooden Soliders
11. Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
12. Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans - Here Comes Santa Claus
13. Phil Spector and Artists - Silent Night

The Beach Boys - Christmas Album (1964)
1. Little Saint Nick
2. The Man With All The Toys
3. Santa's Beard
4. Merry Christmas, Baby
5. Christmas Day
6. Frosty The Snowman
7. We Three Kings Of Orient Are
8. Blue Christmas
9. Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
10. White Christmas
11. I'll Be Home For Christmas
12. Auld Lang Syne

Frank Sinatra - A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra (1957)
1. Jingle Bells
2. The Christmas Song
3. Mistletoe And Holly
4. I'll Be Home For Christmas
5. The Christmas Waltz
6. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
7. The First Noel
8. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
9. O Little Town Of Bethlehem
10. Adeste Fideles
11. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
12. Silent Night
13. White Christmas
14. The Christmas Waltz

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Youth Of Today

Here's an early Christmas present, the long-awaited Youth Of Today!

Youth Of Today are a four-piece hardcore punk band from Danbury, Connecticut that were originally around from 1985 to 1990. Despite being from Connecticut, their impact was really felt in New York. Without a doubt, they're easily one of the most important and influential bands in hardcore history. They were integral in the original Youth Crew scene, as well as furthering straight edge to incorporate vegetarianism. They only released material in their original five-year run together, which included putting out classics like Break Down The Walls and We're Not In This Alone, which are both monumental records in hardcore punk.

In addition to the obvious influence Youth Of Today had, their members were also active in a ton of other burgeoning punk bands at the time, including Gorilla Biscuits, Side By Side, Project X, Judge, Shelter, CIV, and Quicksand, to name just a few. Youth Of Today have reunited numerous times since their original run. Like I said before, their only recorded material is from their first five years, though they still ended up being fairly active over the next few decades through tours and festivals and such. The first two reunions were one-off shows in 1994 and 1999, then a European tour in 2003. Since 2010, they've played shows fairly frequently each year, mostly making festival appearances. This year particularly, their classic line-up that recorded We're Not In This Alone has reunited. Enjoy.

1. Expectations
2. Crucial Times
3. I Have Faith
4. Youth Of Today
5. Take A Stand
6. Positive Outlook
7. Can't Close My Eyes
8. We Just Might
9. Youth Crew

1. Make A Change
2. Thinking Straight
3. Stabbed In The Back
4. Take A Stand
5. Honesty
6. One Family
7. Break Down The Walls
8. Shout It
9. Time To Forgive
10. Positive Outlook
11. Standing Hard
12. Free At Last
13. Youth Of Today

1. Flame Still Burns
2. Slow Down
3. Choose To Be
4. Put It Aside
5. Wake Up And Live
6. No More
7. What Goes Around
8. Potential Friends
9. A Time We'll Remember
10. Live Free
11. Understand
12. Prejudice
13. Keep It Up

1. Disengage
2. Modern Love Story
3. Envy

1. Slow Down
2. Malfunction (Cro-Mags)
3. Can't Close My Eyes
4. Potential Friends
5. I Have Faith
6. Stabbed In The Back
7. Keep It Up
8. Better Than You (Gorilla Biscuits)
9. Put It Aside
10. Youth Crew
11. Break Down The Walls
12. Anarchy In... (Sex Pistols)
13. Make A Change
14. Flame Still Burns
15. Take A Stand
16. Pushed Too Far (Sick Of It All)
17. A Time We Will Remember
18. Shout It
19. Choose To Be
20. One Night Stand
21. No More
22. Can't You See (Crippled Youth)
23 Prejudice
24. Wake Up And Live
25. Honesty
26. Talk Is Cheap (Bold)
27. Positive Outlook
28. Together
29. Youth Of Today
30. Understand

1. A Time We'll Remember
2. No More
3. Break Down The Walls
4. Can't Close My Eyes
5. Malfunction (Cro-Mags)
6. Minor Threat (Minor Threat)
7. Standing Hard

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Best Of 2016

Here we are again, at the end of another year. Slightly off topic, but I am still astounded at the longevity of this blog. I definitely did not expect it to live this long when it started years ago, but I'm happy to keep it up and hope you're all still finding it of use. It's been a really good year for music; both with a ton of major releases and a slew of solid underground ones. There's no shortages of classics this year, so picking 50 was honestly tough.

Of course this isn't an objective "best of" list, despite the title. These are simply my personal favourite albums released this year. Please share yours with me too, I'm really curious to know what everyone's been listening to for the past 12 months. Thanks for another great year, and here's to a great 2017. Enjoy.

Honourable Mentions:

Hesitation Wounds - Awake For Everything
La Luna - Always Already
Gouge Away - , Dies
Oathbreaker - Rheia
Sun Kil Moon & Jesu - Sun Kil Moon & Jesu


PUP - The Dream Is Over


Trap Them - Crown Feral


The Hotelier - Goodness


Owen - The King Of Whys


Thrice - To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere


Dinosaur Jr. - Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not


Dangers - The Bend In The Break


Graf Orlock - Crimetraveler


The Weeknd - Starboy


The Body & Full Of Hell - One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache


Pity Sex - White Hot Moon


American Football - LP2


Ty Segall - Emotional Mugger


Neurosis - Fires Within Fires


James Blake - The Colour In Anything


Culture Abuse - Peach


Angel Olsen - My Woman


Pinegrove - Cardinal


Drake - Views


Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression


Jeff Rosenstock - Worry.


Rae Sremmurd - SremmLife 2


Old Gray - Slow Burn


Childish Gambino - "Awaken, My Love!"


The Dillinger Escape Plan - Disassociation


Savages - Adore Life


Joyce Manor - Cody


Frank Ocean - Blonde


Aesop Rock - The Impossible Kid


Modern Baseball - Holy Ghost


ScHoolboy Q - Blank Face LP


Swans - The Glowing Man


Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker


Death Grips - Bottomless Pit


Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book


White Lung - Paradise


Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.


Conor Oberst - Ruminations


Touché Amoré - Stage Four


A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service


Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition


Car Seat Headrest - Teens Of Denial


Bon Iver - 22, A Million


The Dirty Nil - Higher Power


David Bowie - Blackstar


Nails - You Will Never Be One Of Us


Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree


Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool


Kanye West - The Life Of Pablo


Brian Fallon - Painkillers

That wraps up my 50 favourite albums of 2016. Again, it's purely based on personal favourites (thus why #1 should come as no surprise to anyone aware of my fandom). Feel free to comment your own lists of favourites, and thanks again for a great year.