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"Music For Steamed Rocks" - Oneohtrix Point Seven

Record Store Day, so successful that it’s spawned a similar day for cassettes, approaches, with this year’s slated for April 19. Though its impact on record sales and local music retailers is a predominant part of the ever-widening embrace of the day, the most delightful part of the proceedings is the odds and ends that are released on that day. Albums are cool, but we can get those every day. Bring on the weird stuff.

One of those weird stuffs is Commissions I. Daniel Lopatin, he of the Oneohtrix Point Never moniker, has done a number of commissioned works for various installations over the years. Tremendous and tremendously odd albums are not enough, after all. With Commissions I, three such works have been brought together on 12” of wax to be released by Warp Records.

The above track, 7 1/2 minutes of minimal tranquility interpreted from Witold Lutoslawski’s Preludes, will lead off the A side. It will be joined by “Meet Your Creator,” which was composed for ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi. B side take on “I Only Have Eyes For You" was created for Doug Aitken’s 2012 Happening.

- Tyler Hanan

"Ainnome" - Laurel Halo

I was just thinking about Laurel Halo while listening to Lopatin’s new R Plus Seven. Experimental music has been hitting in a big way lately, with Oneohtrix Point Never, Tim Hecker, and Laurel Halo being at the forefront. Quarantine was one of my favorite albums last year, and it was the intuitive melody and awkward vocal phrasings that seduced. So it’s intriguing to see “Ainnome” as a return to a regular electronic jam. Are those loving vocals going to appear on the new album? Are the gone forever? “Ainnome” simply sounds like a regular electronic track in comparison. Here’s to hoping for something great on the new album.

Chance of Rain will be out on Hyperdub on October 28th

-Eric Kossina

"Problem Areas" - Oneohtrix Point Never

Rather than the normal blurb, let’s take this to the bullet points.

- Tyler Hnanan

Nothing Sounds 13: This Halloween, the Batcat Cometh

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My favorite holiday is almost gone, but I’ll refuse to let it go for another few days still. Music is just as big a Halloween event for me as decorations and haunted houses; plus, I actually have the time and funds to indulge it. Epic post rock (Godspeed You!, Mogwai), drawn-out, creepy electronic and drone (Oneohtrix Point Never and Tim Hecker) and the queerer realms of ambient pop (Julia Holter, whose Halloween-ready Tragedy is sadly not on Spotify) - these are the things that pique my interest even more than normal this time of year. So enjoy your Halloween, folks. I wasn’t able to embrace it as much as I would’ve liked, but we’ll take what we can. Pick out some of your favorite soundtracks and blast those through the house, double-check your beds and closets, and for the love of John Carpenter, do not go outside to investigate that sound. I’ll be watching Trick ‘r Treat and Halloween if you need me. [link]

Tracklist:

  1. Oneohtrix Point Never - “Andro”
  2. Crystal Castles - “Year of Silence”
  3. Soft Moon - “Into the Depths”
  4. Mogwai - “Batcat”
  5. Young Widows - “Miss Tambourine Wrist”
  6. Tim Hecker - “Borderlands”
  7. Zomby - “Haunted”
  8. Julia Holter - “Goddess Eyes I”
  9. Zola Jesus - “Avalanche”
  10. Explosions in the Sky - “Greet Death”
  11. Mount Eerie - “House Shape”
  12. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - “East Hastings

"Uptown Psychedelia" - Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin

How far out of the loop must I have been to miss a new song off the much-anticipated Hecker/Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) collaboration? Regardless, the two masters of drone have a 12-track album due later this year, appropriately titled “Instrumental Tourist” and filled with a number of other well-named songs. The pedigree here is simply astonishing, and this first single and album opener plays as wonderfully and discordantly as one could hope. Instrumental Tourist is due November 20th on Software Recording Co [link].

- Tyler Hanan

"I Only Have Eyes For You" - Oneohtrix Point Never

Did you stop feeling haunted at any point after listening to last year’s “Replica” on repeat? In that track and much of what the album Replica had to offer, Oneohtrix Point Never succeeded in what many artists who exercise in minimalist and drone never could: penetrating disinterest with genuine emotional splices of editing and composition. It should be no surprise that Daniel Lopatin is heard here unfurling the legacy that revolves around “I Only Have Eyes For You,” stretching and dissipating vocals into a ghastly rendition that lingers as well as it evaporates. The track was born out of Doug Aitken’s “Happening,” an event aurally curated by Pitchfork to present Aitken’s “SONG 1” that aired on May 11 and can now be viewed in its entirety on YouTube (link). 

- Kyle Minton

2011: The End

We are just about at the end of 2011 - in a few days, we’ll be sending it off with ball drop kisses and obscene amounts of alcohol. We’ve all been making our lists, scouring our favorites (and, in the case of some lists, least favorites), and throwing as big a bash as we can. Has it been as fun as a Girl Talk show? I wouldn’t know - one of you should take me to one sometime (ahem). It has been a blast, though. Down below are a few links to the pieces we threw together in our joyous spasms, full to the brim with good music for your ears, the best medicine, no matter the year.

Also, surprise! We did a staff list after all! Huzzah! After a series of complicated calculations and figures run through lengthy algorithms - with a little guestimation, failed compromises, and blind finger-pointing spicing up the process - we’ve compiled the albums we largely agree are pretty good, though they’re only a fraction of the number we’d all like to include. We will continue sharing all of our favorite music, though; we make a point to cover the newest music, but we enjoy revisiting past tunes as much as all of you. And now… The End!

Wye Oak - Civilian

Balam Acab - Wander / Wonder

tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l

Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica

Drake - Take Care

Bon Iver - Bon Iver

Beirut - The Rip Tide

James Blake - James Blake


2011 According to… Kevin Tappin

Read the rest of our end of the year coverage as well:

EPs of the Year

  1. Ricky Eat Acid - Like I Was Floating
  2. Belle Adair - Belle Adair
  3. Phantogram - Nightlife
  4. Fonda - Better Days
  5. Clams Casino - Rainforest

Songs of the Year

  1. Braids - “Plath Heart”
  2. Purity Ring - “Ungirthed”
  3. James Blake - “The Wilhelm Scream”
  4. Wye Oak - “Civilian”
  5. Coma Cinema - “Wrecked”
  6. The Lonely Forest - “Two Notes and a Beat”
  7. Okkervil River - “Wake and Be Fine”
  8. Givers - “Saw You First”
  9. Marissa Nadler - “Little King”
  10. Active Child - “Playing House (feat. How to Dress Well)”
  11. St. Vincent - “Strange Mercy”
  12. Youth Lagoon - “Seventeen”
  13. Future Islands - “Balance”
  14. M83 - “Intro (feat. Zola Jesus)”
  15. Phantogram - “Don’t Move”
  16. Oneohtrix Point Never - “Replica”
  17. Drake - “The Real Her (feat. Lil Wayne and Andre 3000)”

Hear all of these songs on Kevin’s Spotify playlist. [link]

Albums of the Year

20.  Braids Native Speaker

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2011 According to… Eric Kossina

Read the rest of our end of the year coverage as well:

Songs of the Year

These are in no particular order, I just wanted to make a mix that would flow and sound good from track to track. It is not a representation of my favorite songs but the following is a mix of songs that defined certain areas of my year. Whether for a moment, a minute, a day, a week, a month, these are areas that I remember listening, where everything else was void. You won’t feel the same, but I hope you might.

  1. Colin Stetson – “The Righteous Wrath of an Honorable Man”
  2. Holy Ghost! - “Do It Again”
  3. Light Asylum – “Dark Allies”
  4. Pale Sketcher – “Seventh Heaven”
  5. Jai Paul – “BTSTU (Edit)”
  6. Forest Fire – “Future Shadows”
  7. Kurt Vile – “Runner Ups”
  8. Austra - “The Choke”
  9. Todd Terje – “Ragysh (Original)”
  10. Xxxy – “Ordinary Things”
Hear all of these songs on Eric’s Spotify playlist [link].

Albums of the Year

Honorable Mention:  Cass McCombs & Forest Fire
Two artists who never get enough press and absolutely blew me away this year. It was a very hard decision but it had to be made.  This list mostly represents an area of music I felt deeply affected by this year, and these two artists just barely missed the cut.  I find many similarities between all the artists listed, including these two, it mostly comes down to the fact that I couldn’t find anything to say, so they shouldn’t be listed at all.  Thus Honorable Mention, I love them just enough that I couldn’t bare to cut them, so please enjoy them.

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2011 According to… Tyler Hanan

Trying to quantify all the best a year has to offer is, if we’re honest, more than a bit audacious. We feel a need to catalogue and rate everything - albums, movies, books, singles, remixes, videos, sports plays, memes, celebrity faux pas - an endless parade of people trying to establish their knowledge of all that is worth knowing in a single year. I’m not here to trash this exponentially growing phenomenon, though - that would be hypocritical of me. I just want to put into words what a “Best of“ list is to me..

I’m not going to pretend that our lists contain everything worth knowing. Making these lists is a personal endeavor. They do not answer “what was 2011?” These lists answer “what was 2011 to me?”

A question that could seem like a copout or a way of hedging our bets even before any criticism is made, but it’s one that is honest about what this is. Unless one is staying within very specific boundaries - say, English horror films or Canadian black metal - it’s impossible to see or hear everything. Without hearing everything, there can be no list that is 100% definitive. It might be 75% or 85% or even the 99%, but we are still undereducated for the task of getting all of the very best.

So what was music in 2011 to you? What will we look back and remember, and what should we remember? As we looked back on Nevermind this year, what album will we be looking back on in 2021, 2031, and beyond? Perhaps we will remember two of the greatest artists of their time uniting to create Watch the Throne, an album and tour the likes of which we may never see again. It could be that this is the year people point to and say, ‘there, there the great hardcore band of their age peaked, that is when Fucked Up cemented their legacy.’  The new albums from Wye Oak, Girls, and tUnE-yArDs can be found topping many lists. Will they last? Or will we find ourselves looking back in ten years, brows knit with a mixture of perplexity and fond nostalgia, wondering how we could possibly have ranked them above the true classics?

What was this year in music to me? It will be a long time until I know for sure. I have always believed a top five is easy, but a top twenty is impossible. Picking a few favorites immediately, those few having cemented themselves indelibly into our minds having conquered all of our objective and subjective criteria, is not difficult. Picking out the differences between numbers eighteen, nineteen, and twenty versus twenty-one and twenty-two, though is a far more difficult task. Long-time favorites - Joan of Arc, The Mountain Goats, and Thursday - released albums that number among their best. Youth Lagoon crafted the heart-rending “Montana,” my favorite song, with a video that made me weep at the combined beauty. Kurt Vile, Girls, Bon Iver, PJ Harvey - all topping lists, all containing at least a few elements I enjoy. Liturgy and Deafheaven either changing or disgracing the black metal landscape, depending on who you ask. M83, Drake, The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown, James Blake, St. Vincent, Wye Oak - none of them are here. The Roots and Common, two more favorites of mine, simply arrived too late in the year. How the fuck do we organize all this (especially for the unfortunate saps that have to work this all around a day job and school - for now). 

So this list is what I’ve cobbled together. There are albums I love missing. There are records I have yet to hear lurking. This list could easily change by the time it goes up - it’s an inevitability. This is a picture of my 2011. There may be less Kanye, less dubstep, less of the burgeoning mainstream indie rock, than what was present in the headlines… but that’s the point. This is my 2011, which I would like to share with you. We share our personal years in music so that we can expand our own, learning more about the year even after it is long past. 2011 was a wonderful year for music, and it will only get better with age. 

EPs of the Year

  1. The Golden Filter - Syndromes
  2. Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) - Home After Three Months Away
  3. matt pond PA - Spring Fools EP
  4. Mogwai - Earth Division EP
  5. Holy Other - With U
  6. Jens Lekman - An Argument With Myself

Songs of the Year

  1. Arrange - “When’d You Find Me?”
  2. Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi - “Two Against One” ft. Jack White
  3. Fucked Up - “Serve Me Right”
  4. German Error Message - “In Comforting”
  5. The Golden Filter - “Mother”
  6. The Humans - Sea of Size
  7. Iceage - “White Rune”
  8. Joan of Arc - “Love Life”
  9. Mister Heavenly - “Pineapple Girl”
  10. The Mountain Goats - “Damn These Vampires”
  11. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - “Heart In Your Heartbreak (Twin Shadow remix)“
  12. Pygmy Lush - “Yellow Hall”
  13. Shabazz Palaces - “free press and curl”
  14. St. Vincent - “Cruel”
  15. tUnE-yArDs - “Bizness”
  16. True Widow - “Skull Eyes”
  17. TV on the Radio - “Caffeinated Consciousness
  18. Yacht - “Dystopia”
  19. Youth Lagoon - “Montana”
  20. Young Widows - “Miss Tambourine Wrist”
  21. Yuck - “Get Away”
  22. Zola Jesus - “Skin”

Hear (almost) all these songs on Tyler’s Spotify playlist. [link]

Albums of the Year

Arrange - Plantation

As great a place as any to start the list, the music of Malcom Lacey has grown exponentially over the last year. Plantation may sound soft and delicate, but it gave my mind a proverbial slap to the face with how it unexpectedly floored me. The piano sprinkled liberally throughout, vacillating between a deep serenity and a twinkling pretty vision, serves as a tremendous hook for many tracks and as the piece that ties them all together. 

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