Sunday, April 27, 2014

Listening Habits 03-04.14

Hope you all had a great time during the Easter and Record Store Day weekend. After a brief spring break, we’re back to the business of celebrating our favorite music by bringing you the lists of the albums and songs we’ve enjoyed the most during March and April 2014 in the latest installment of Listening Habits.

The top of our album list belongs to St. Vincent’s excellent self-titled LP, her fourth and best effort so far. Annie Clark continues to evolve and shape her individual sound, inventing a unique voice that transcends her influences. Her economic guitar playing never tries to steal the show, yet never seizes to offer subtle surprises and throw curve balls that catch you off-guard. The melodies are as strong as ever throughout the record while anxious synth-funk lines keep erupting here and there, keeping you on your toes. "St. Vincent" takes Annie Clark’s music to another level, one that very few will reach this year!

Of course Annie Clark was also in the news this month when she performed "Lithium" with the surviving members of Nirvana at the band’s induction ceremony to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was certainly a great idea to pay tribute to Kurt Cobain and what Nirvana stood for by having female singers to perform with them and I’m certainly jealous of the handful of people who got to see the band performing afterwards at a small club with some fine guests. Maybe they should do this again, but next time for more people, perhaps at a festival? Just a thought…

One of the bands that follow in the footsteps of Nirvana and all the other great '80s and '90s indie rockers is Cloud Nothings. Dylan Baldi’s group keeps the guitar rock fires burning with "Here and Nowhere Else", two years on after the amazing "Attack on Memory". Their furious sound doesn’t draw outside the lines of indie-rock’s past, but their passion and conviction is certainly impressive and their songs can hold their own next to those of their heroes.

The same can be said for Protomartyr who with their sophomore album "Under Color Of Official Right" do not reinvent the post-punk genre but offer plenty of evidence that this sound remains just as vital in the second decade of the 21st century as it was about 35 years ago. 

Real Estate also know the value of the underground musical treasures of the '80s but keep digging deeper, going all the way back to the '60s to find melodic inspiration. "Atlas" is another sure-fire hit for those who crave gentle indie-rock with a dreamer’s heart.

The Top 5 of our Spring 2014 album collection is completed with the highly anticipated return of EMA, a.k.a Erika M. Anderson, with her second solo album "The Future's Void". Not as raw sounding as her 2011 astonishing debut "Past Life Martyred Saints", but still an intense listening experience that draws inspiration from cyber-punk. The opening "Satellites" is an overpowering digital assault to the senses, without a doubt one of the finest tracks of the year, a song that opens up intriguing possibilities that EMA needs to explore further in the future.

Here are our 20 favorite albums and tracks for March - April 2014:

Top 20 Albums

1.   St. Vincent - ST. VINCENT
2.   Here And Nowhere Else - CLOUD NOTHINGS
3.   Under Color Of Official Right - PROTOMARTYR
4.   Atlas - REAL ESTATE
5.   The Future's Void - EMA
6.   Burn Your Fire For No Witness - ANGEL OLSEN
7.   Grassed Inn - BLANK REALM
8.   Tomorrow's Hits - THE MEN
9.   Motivational Jumpsuit - GUIDED BY VOICES
11. Big Inner: Outer Face Edition - MATTHEW E. WHITE
12. After The Disco - BROKEN BELLS
14. Corsicana Lemonade - WHITE DENIM
15. Drenge - DRENGE
16. Marginalia - BABY GURU
17. Once Part Of A Whole Ship - EGG HELL
18. March - FÜR IMMER
19. Zebratronic - POSTCODE
20. Punk 45. Kill The Hippies! Kill Yourself! The American Nation Destroys Its Young. Underground Punk In The United States Of America, Vol.1 1973-1980 - VARIOUS ARTISTS

Top 20 Tracks

1.   Satellites - EMA
2.   Disco//Very - WARPAINT
3.   Digital Witness - ST. VINCENT
4.   Pattern Walks - CLOUD NOTHINGS
5.   Scum, Rise! - PROTOMARTYR
6.   Talking Backwards - REAL ESTATE
7.   Falling Down The Stairs - BLANK REALM
8.   Hi-Five - ANGEL OLSEN
9.   Dead City Emily- MARISSA NADLER
10. The Littlest League Possible - GUIDED BY VOICES
11. Big Love - MATTHEW E. WHITE
12. 25 Bucks feat. PURITY RING - DANNY BROWN
13. After The Disco - BROKEN BELLS
14. At Night In Dreams - WHITE DENIM
15. Pearly Gates - THE MEN
16. Face Like A Skull - DRENGE
17. Especially When - BABY GURU
18. Concrete - WITCHING WAVES
19. Losing The Battle - POSTCODE
20. Wrapped In Plastic - FÜR IMMER

EMA - Satellites

Have a listen to our favorite tracks on Soundcloud:

No comments: