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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    Jun 2011

    Best Albums Of The Year

    Yes it is that time of the year, everyone else has done there top albums but I'm looking forward to what RPS considers their top ones. So yeah give us your top albums of the year!

    Not much this year for me as for some reason this year I wasn't really getting into much new music, I hope you can give me a lot of stuff to consider.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    Nov 2012
    I don't think I've listened to any new album except excellent Pink Floyd's The Endless River.
    Oh, and Interstellar OST, but it's very forgetable thing.

  3. #3
    Sunn O))) and Scott Walker.

    Mainly because I'm very surface when it comes to experimental music (or rather just not dedicated enough), and I'm just pleased that this collaboration exists. Seeing as I, y'know, like Scott Walker and like Sunn O))).

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node Spacewalk's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    There were some doozies this year, here's five of the best:

    Ace Frehley - Space Invader
    Midnight - No Mercy For Mayhem
    Morbus Chron - Sweven
    Deathhammer - Evil Power
    Black Magic - Wizard's Spell

    Basically it's 1988 all over again. Speaking of 1988, Leprosy got reissued. I can have six can't I?

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Eight Rooks's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    UK, Derby
    I spent very, very little on music this year (as in I decided to stop buying it, to save money), but I got a ton of stuff from Bandcamp from labels and musicians who were kind enough to put little or no minimum price on their work. None of this is from particularly well-known acts, or known at all, but for what it's worth, in alphabetical order, with links to where you can hear them/pick them up (most of them for nothing if you're cheap or strapped for cash) -


    Blakesmith & Gifted the Great - Laila, from the EP Equals, on Cosmonostro

    Two DJ/producer types collaborating, one from France, one from the UK. Raucous, clattering breaks'n'beats both awesomely cool and hauntingly lovely.

    2 / 3

    Bleep Bloop - Crushed, from the EP 10 Watt Lazers, on Liquid Amber

    Bleep Bloop - Something Impossible, from the EP Feel the Cosmos, on Saturate!

    US electronic musician with two great releases this year, one on DJ Shadow's new netlabel, the other on Hamburg outfit Saturate! Superbly produced, stripped-down blippy trap/grime/techno/whatever, good for armchair listening or gitn rekt in the club.


    Boom Forest - Shadow of Doubt, from the album Boom Forest

    Seven-piece US epic folk rock outfit with a terrific album (okay, one clunky track, but no-one's perfect) culminating in this three-part, nine-minute stormer of which the middle stretch is pretty much the best thing I've heard this year. Anthemic yet stripped down, lyrical and heartfelt.


    effe - Retroposon, from the EP Visible/Invisible, on Bunkai-Kei

    Pounding, euphoric piano-led synthwave from the fantastic Japanese netlabel that got me started on downloading weirdo indie stuff off the internet. :)


    Epkitan - Sudah Lelé, from the album We Come From the Trees, on Dub Temple

    Superb Aussie downtempo bass music laced with richly textured, hypnotic field recordings from Eastern Indonesia. Go for the original, not the remixes.


    Eunoïa - Marie_Neige, from the EP Au Pas

    Swaggering French pop/trip-hop. Stunning vocals, catchy, bright, up-tempo, with just the right amount of melancholy.


    Heath McNease - Plane, from the album Among Thieves

    An openly Christian artist has to be something pretty special to hold my interest. Wouldn't follow this guy's Twitter feed if you paid me, but he's a great, great singer/songwriter - wonderful voice, beautifully sparse guitar-playing, fantastic lyrics that comment only artfully on his faith, if at all.


    Kupla - Alpha Waves, from the EP Subarctic, on Cosmonostro

    Finnish electronic musician who's a master at mashing up wonky, lurching beats and weird, off-kilter synth lines. Rough yet delicate - stamping retro drum sounds with fluttering vocal stabs and chiming melodies climbing up into space.


    Luisterwaar - C.omplex R.hythm Y.outh, from the EP C.omplex R.hythm Y.outh

    Steely, unrelenting juke/footwork. Tight, minimal production but roof-raising synth lines that'd make for a phenomenal club banger.


    Maggie Rogers - James, from the album Blood Ballet

    US singer-songwriter with a great line in dreamy, achingly sad little folk ballads with sharp, incisive lyrics. James is a standout, a savage yet compassionate takedown of some hapless ex-boyfriend (real or not I've no idea) that's absolutely devastating.


    Miroist - The Closing of Your Eye, from the album Curve

    UK instrumental progressive metal act. An album full of dense, lurching, complex six- and seven-minute tracks that's still vast, expansive, atmospheric and littered with fantastic hooks for the more casual listener like myself.


    Moderns - Kowalski, from the EP Moderns

    (They seem to have pulled the EP for some reason, so have a YouTube link)

    As synthwave goes this is a beacon in the dark amid the endless nostalgia junkies peddling the same monophonic riffs and terrible cover art - no day-glo nonsense here, just great songwriting that sounds like some forgotten dancefloor anthem on an ancient cassette tape you found in the attic and can't believe you never heard before.


    Old Wolves - Light, from the album Municipalities of Heaven

    Bizarre, this. One gravelly-voiced dude, a badly-recorded acoustic guitar, and a dusting of very basic synth which taken altogether veers perilously close to "That drunk on open mic night who just won't shut up", and yet there's an elemental power in there that starts to evoke something like Swans.


    Owlong - desolation, from the EP desolation

    If you've got to be a blatant Burial knockoff, you may as well be really, really good at it. Wrapping up in little more than a couple of minutes flat helps, too. Listen to this on headphones or a proper sound system if you can. Dat bass: oh, Lord, dat bass.


    Pilotpriest - Wounded Bird, from the album Darknet

    (Minimum $2 for this, but it's so, so worth that and more.)

    Synthwave artist tries his hand at fake film soundtracks, and the results are quite something. Cold, desolate synth strings and lonely, echoing melody lines - I tried playing The Forest to this and then had to go and curl up in the corner for a while, shaking and muttering to myself.


    Pine Grove. - Bad Taste, from the EP Fights, on Senzu

    Pitch-perfect stoner downtempo with loping beats and blissed-out, wobbly synth work that's just a little bit miserable. Exquisitely composed, but so relaxed and loose you can just close your eyes and space out to it if you want, too. The remix EP is a pretty good aperitif.


    Vogel - Night City (Makeup and Vanity Set remix), from the EP Hologram

    And if you must go the standard synthwave route with the silly cover art, the robot voices, the twinkly synths and the marching beats... you may as well be really, really good at it. Tight, hypnotic and gloriously atmospheric, with a fantastic remix from Makeup and Vanity Set.


    Vytis Gruzdys - Untitled, from the EP Stay Gold, on Neon

    Laidback, soulful downtempo/breaks'n'beats, jazzy and laid back but with some serious bite.


    And for the twentieth spot I'll point you at UK beatmaker Mute Speaker, who's put out one, not two, but three masterful releases this year - old-school hip-hop in Take Yourself Apart, and two albums of beats mashed up with field recordings and old pop songs from Cambodia, Jong Wuk (a charity release to raise money for clearing landmines, minimum price £1) and Radio Bokor (no minimum). I couldn't possibly pick a single track off these three, but Radio Bokor is one of my favourite albums of 2014.
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    Thank you for this, I guess I'll spend the next couple of days delving into this list *o*

    As far as I'm concerned, I've listened to a lot of new artists, but they're not necessarily new to anyone else but me. My band of the year has been, no doubt, School Food Punishment, and they broke up in 2012 ;_;
    But let's see what is actually new to 2014...

    I liked this track by Liz Ryerson (which other people will know as a game critic, since I keep raving about her).

    I seriously loved Transistor's OST as a piece of music in itself.

    The DrakenGard 3 (or Drag-on Dragoon 3) soundtrack was also an excellent surprise. Haven't even played the game, actually. CD 1 is mostly orchestral/classical instruments, CD 2 is aggressive electronic metal. I love both CDs.

    have been as great as always.

    Maybeshewill's Fair Youth
    may be their best album ever.
    And thanks to seeing them live, I discovered Flood of Red. Something in between Circa Survive and Thursday.

    Anathema's Distant Satellites
    continues the band's trend. It's not their best album, but a good Anathema album is still an awesome album.

    Imogen Heap's Sparks was heartbreaking (in a good way) - the most emotional album of the year for me.

    I also discovered Underhill and Chris Zabriskie, whose entire discography is free.

    Other notable mentions:
    Slipknot's .5: The Grey Chapter. I'm kinda over them in terms of music, too traditional, still taking a lot of cues from Metallica, but I still love Corey Taylor's incisive lyrics, and the album is solid nonetheless.
    Shelley Harland's The Girl who Cried Wolf.
    Opeth's Pale Communion was ok, but unremarkable.
    The Atomica Project's Self Notes didn't stick with me, but I should give it another chance.
    Uchu Conbini
    was a nice discovery, although I don't love them exactly. But they're quite interesting.
    Jim Guthrie's Sword and Sworcery songs have been remixed by Solid Mas. Not my favourite thing, but you know. I don't particularly like Solid Mas, but I love Jim Guthrie.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Faldrath's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    São Paulo
    I've listened to very few albums actually released in 2014, but to my mind the highlights were Aphex Twin (even though it wasn't revolutionary at all), Christina Vantzou's "Nº 2" (excellent stuff), Pink Floyd's "Endless River" (a rather touching, low-key farewell album for the band), Alcest's "Shelter" (amazing! very Sigurrósy), and Mogwai's "Rave Tapes" (not as good as "Hardcore Will Never Die", but Mogwai is always great. Is it technically from 2013? Now I'm not sure). Thom Yorke's "Tomorrow Modern Boxes" was disappointing, though.
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  8. #8
    Activated Node
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    Aug 2014
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Wow, I hardly bought any new albums this year (which is pretty unusual for me), and some of what I bought wasn't really that good. But I did really like Himalayan by Band of Skulls, Bad Self Portraits by Lake Street Dive, Turn Blue by The Black Keys, and Ultraviolence by Lana Del Rey. This year was pretty meh for music I enjoy.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Huh...what was about this year that didn't get us into music? I think Indie music has gone into slow and repetitive, I mean its always been repetitive but now a days its just like every song has to basically have a minute intro of nothing much. Please nly on intro tracks!

    You really thought the Endles River was good? I listened to a single and it was almost like they were trying to do a cop of pink floyd but they had no idea how Pink Floyd worked.

    Two albums that stood out for me this year was:

    Present Tense by Wild Beasts

    Another solid outing from these Indie Rockers, I love their voices and slow moving songs but this album also had some rockers as well. I don't have the whole album listened to but Wonderlust is a great different song from them and Nature Boy is there usual formula done very well.

    The Souljazz Orchestra - Inner Fire

    This is special for me putting this on...I really dislike instrumental...I always want it to have lyrics sorry I'm a philistine. And yet here is this instrumental, jazz freewheeling album on the notable list. Yeah this is because it is very memorable I always dream of a film in my head whenever I listen to this, ah this is what I have been missing from Instrumental most instrumental just washes away for me without those words to hook me in but this makes pictures without words.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    Nov 2012
    You really thought the Endles River was good? I listened to a single and it was almost like they were trying to do a cop of pink floyd but they had no idea how Pink Floyd worked.
    Yup. I've listened to the whole album twice in a row, which is quite an achievment as I don't really like most of instrumental rock albums.

  11. #11
    The Endless River is basically leftovers from the Division Bell plus some new bits.

    Don't know what you's be expecting with that in mind.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Faldrath's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    São Paulo
    Yeah, Endless River is mostly an ambient album that wasn't released back in the 90s. After Rick Wright's death, though, it becomes quite poignant. It has tons of nods to earlier Floyd albums (even Saucerful of Secrets), and to me it felt like an amazing band knowing that this will be the last thing they'll ever release, and deciding to close their book softly, not with a bang. Which is fitting for Pink Floyd, even if it's not one of their best albums (how could it be?). Some of the guitar solos are really quite good, too.

    (of course, Gilmour/Mason can make a fool of me and decide to release something else in the future... but until then I think my interpretation stands!)
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  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    Nov 2012
    Nope, not "leftovers", guys from Pink Floyd wanted to release The Division Bell as double album, but it ended with only one, so calling Endless River "leftovers" is kinda unfair.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    Jul 2011
    I was hoping you'd do one of these threads as the last one set me up with some nice albums to listen to throughout the last year. Anais Mitchell in particular was a nice discovery.

    I have also not bought much new this year. Family has meant that over the last few years I don't tend to have time to keep up with what's hip.
    I mostly ended up with a lot of female singers this year (Mitchell, Lorde, Lana Del Ray (the first), etc..) and a lot less indie rock than I might normally have.

    I also bought Velociraptor by Kasabian (didn't really grab me, tempted to get their new one) and the Guardians of the Galaxy Mixtape. (bought this before actualyl watching the movie as it was cheap. It has a few nice tracks, but was less awesome than I expected... seems to have mainly impressed people who were too young to experience them the first time).
    I'm tempted to pick up Ultraviolence and Turn Blue on google play music, as they are pretty cheap right now.

    For me, the internet and the indie scene seems to have fragmented and multiplied music, to the point that there are so many new bands and variations that it's hard to pick out the good stuff from all the rest. That might just be me getting old though.
    More recommendations please!

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Wenz's Avatar
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    Oct 2013
    Gorizia, Italy
    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    the indie scene seems to have fragmented and multiplied music, to the point that there are so many new bands and variations that it's hard to pick out the good stuff from all the rest.
    Yeah, I'm pretty much lost too and I don't have much time to actively search for everything.

  16. #16

  17. #17
    Moderator Anthile's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    People's Republic of Germany
    Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io
    Few bands are as variable as Kayo Dot, and few are as progressive in their sound. Every album sounds very different from the others and even if I don't like it as much, I can still appreciate the artistic effort. Hubardo was borderline black metal. Coffins On Io? It's proggy, Blade Runner-inspired dark wave, and it's amazing. Look at Library Subterranean which starts out harmless enough but turns into a King Crimson-esque replicant halfway through. Beautiful.
    The only cure is to listen to even more Kayo Dot...

    Closure In Moscow - Pink Lemonade
    Five years we had to wait for a new album since the stellar debut First Temple. I, and I imagine many others, lost sight of them and thought they split up again - a common fate for new prog bands. Imagine my surprise when I found out about there was going to be a new one. Turns out, Pink Lemonade is an even better album than First Temple. Contemporary prog far outside the cliches of mellotron, drum solos and twenty-minute songs. Instead every song sounds different and unique, and you can never quite get enough of it.
    In a way it's the true successor to The Mars Volta (one of my favourite bands). Prog for people who hate prog.

    Manes - Be All End All
    I only found out about this album the other week. Another band I thought lost. Manes are arguably one of the most underrated bands there are. Their history is oddly similar to that of Ulver. Both bands are from Norway, both started with a celebrated black metal album and just like Ulver, Manes almost completely shed their black metal sound in favour of a more melancholic jazz/trip-hop inspired thing. Vilosophe and How The World Came To An End.
    Be All End All is not far behind but I'm not familiar with it quite yet in order to give it the top spot. You should really listen to some Manes now.

    Solstafir - Otta
    Atmospheric Rock'n'Roll, that's what the band itself calls it so I'm just going to roll with that, too. Otta is a spectacular album and almost impossible to classify. Perhaps a darker Sigur Ros?
    The title track might be my favourite song this year.


    Seven Impale - City Of The Sun
    Motorpsycho meets Kayo Dot? Absolute killer debut from these Norwegians. Where do they get all these musicians from, anyways? Definitely worth checking out if you like jazz-fusion stuff.

    Ne Obliviscaris - Citadel
    If you like prog extreme metal (the likes of Between The Buried And Me, Unexpect or Enslaved) and you somehow managed to avoid this band, then this will be a real treat. Citadel is divine.

    iamthemorning - Belighted
    Ah, progressive art pop from Russia? Difficult to point down. Some people like to compare them to Tori Amos but I don't know a whole lot of Tori Amos. In any case, Belighted turned out to be a true gem.

    Animals As Leaders - The Joy Of Motion
    How good can instrumental metal be? Very good indeed. Some people like to call it music for musicians but I'm not much of a musician and I love it just the same. It's truly inspiring.

    Motorpsycho - Behind the Sun
    Another year, another Motorpsycho album. Sure, it's not exactly a revelation but they can't put out a Unicorn every year. That would be unfair towards all the other bands.

    Devin Townsend - Z²
    Kind of difficult to review. It's a double album where both discs have a very different sound. The first one (Sky Blue) is fairly mellow while the second one (Dark Matters) is a continuation of the Ziltoid album from a couple of years ago and as such much heavier. Quite frankly, I like Sky Blue a lot better.

    Skyharbor - Guiding Lights
    Perhaps it would have never caught my attention if it wasn't for the amazing vocals by Daniel Tompkins. The album has a couple of problems here and there but it's still an excellent prog metal record - even if it is no Altered State.

    Destrage - Are You Kidding Me? No. [sic]
    Faith No More in the 21st century? Perhaps blasphemy but they were certainly the main inspiration (well, besides Dillinger Escape Plan) behind this young band from Italy. Chaotic and creative, this is a real treat for Mike Patton fans and I can't wait to see what they do next.

    Honorable mentions:
    Amplifier - Mystoria
    Not nearly as proggy as Octopus and at this point I doubt they will ever go there again. Quite frankly, I don't think I would have ever started listening to them if they weren't the last remnant of Oceansize, one of my favorite bands. Still decent rock music, I guess.

    Cynic - Kindly Bent To Free Us
    Listening to Cynic is not just music to me, it's almost a spiritual experience. Cynic seem almost completely removed from all space and time, music from another dimension. Kindly Bent To Free Us may be their weakest album yet and they kinda overdo it on the new-age lyrics this time but it's still Cynic.
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  18. #18
    Lesser Hivemind Node Henke's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Good thread, I did not pay much attention to new stuff this year, and missed out on tons. Listening through the stuff in this thread right now and finding some really cool stuff. Souljazz Orchestra, Fatima, Bleep Bloop. Anyway, this is the top 5 out of what I did listen to this year:

    5. Nehruviandoom - s/t
    MF Doom teaming up with a young cat called Bishop Nehru for a short but sweet album.

    4. Badbadnotgood - III
    Hip-hop infused jazz.

    3. U2 - Songs of Innocence (YES REALLY)
    Never been a huge U2 fan, but this one is pretty solid the whole way through.

    2. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2
    Ok I only found this one last week when people started discussing their fave albums of the year. I like it a lot.

    1. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Give The People Whay They Want
    Been digging this one since early 2014. Really solid soul album.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus coldvvvave's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Moscow, Russia
    Frankly, I wasn't paying much attention but here are albums I enjoyed this year:

    Cocksure - TMALSV
    Cyanotic - Worst.Case.Scenario Vol.01
    The Birthday Massacre - Superstition

    Iris and Seabound new albums were kind of 2meditative4me even though I kind of liked both.

    Deadliner and UCNX released nice cover and remix albums.

    I'm off to IDUD to listen to their picks.

    Still waiting for new Fix8:sed8 album.
    Last edited by coldvvvave; 08-01-2015 at 02:40 PM.
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  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mrpier's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Röyksopp - The Inevitable End

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