The Division – Mantras
The Division aka Matthew Schultz is dark ambient magick of the ancient fraternal order of The Division with the help of legends like Genesis Porridge, Lydia Lunch, and Chris Connelly. You may remember him for his inventive instrument the Anti Tank Guitar heard on Pigface albums or his multiple soundtracks for movies as varied as “Candyman”, “Paperhouse”, and “Snuffmovie”
Canvas Solaris – Sublimination
Instrumental metal that goes beyond the cerebral bashing your temple into cement that has glass embedded in it all just for effect. It’s hard to imagine that an instrumental metal band can be so heavy hitting without the tongue lashings of a vocalist, but “Sublimination” rips out your jugular with passion.
Mellowdrone – Angry Bear
Rock band whose mission seems to be to rewrite Morrissey jams with more upbeat tempos and less woe-is-me lyrics. Not bad for a band that had one member suffer through a near-death experience and a resulting coma. Big stadium quality indie rock for those people who have heard everything.
Delicate Noise – Filmezza
Sophomore records can make or break an artist’s career. “Filmezza” proves that Delicate Noise won’t fizzle out with a warm electronica album of atmospheric fuzziness that finds Steven Seibold of Hate Dept. mixing. Intriguing…
Unagi – Reinventing the Eel
Not just sushi, Unagi is a tempting hip-hop artist extraordinaire whose excellence in mixing is perhaps only and ironically overshadowed by DJ Shadow himself. “Reinventing the Eel” features such emcees as Motion Man, Chee Malabar, Linkletterz, Orukusaki, Eddie Meeks, Uppanotch, and Unagi himself. Nice one brother.
Growlers – What Heights?
Chaotic post-punk that is the alter-ego of rocksteady punk band Destroy Babylon that finds its voice with energetic and super-charged vocals and melodic guitars with sparse brass and keyboards to provide a dub backdrop. Listen to an MP3 of “All but the Bones”.
Jared McCloud – Romance of the Atlantic
The album title may ring of a long-lost Indiana Jones movie adventure, but the music is heartfelt folk singer-songwriter tunes that boast radio-and-pub friendly lyrics.
ASECRETDEATH – ASECRETDEATH
Bands come and go in the metal genre, a lot are forgettable from the get-go. Some linger for an album or two, but pass in time. This album was written by a band determined to not let that happen to them – good thing they continue to write memorable blasts of chaotic metalcore that aspires to be a lot to a lot of people. I think it hits on almost every cylinder.
Vale of Pnath – Vale of Pnath
Progressive extreme metal garnering their moniker from H.P. Lovecraft, Denver’s Vale of Pnath outshines their peers with sick vocals, crushing guitars, and extremely bashed drums.
Jason Dove – Illegal Activities
Uplifting rock produced by legendary engineer/musician/producer J. Robbins (Jawbox, Channels, Burning Airlines), “Illegal Activities” is a songwriter’s paradise of pop ballads, harmonizing vocals, stirring Fountains-of-Wayne-esque rock crushers, and dynamic songwriting bliss. Get this now.
Inf – The Go Round
Dutch hip-hop pioneer Inf should be proud of his debut instrumental hip-hop album “The Go Round” that will prove to be one of the best albums of the year hands down. Breaks galore, this album astonishes.
Various Artists – Global Lingo
Hip-hop compilation benefit album that hopes to empower our youth through music that features musicians from Nicaragua, Ghana, Thailand, India, and Tanzania.
Dodd Ferrelle – Lonely Parades
Americana with attitude, vision, and plenty of gummy pop harmonies to shake a stick at. Nice formula that sounds like what would happen if Springsteen had decided to explore the indie route.
Skiggy Rapz – Bang to the Boogie
Skiggy Rapz is a Dutch hip-hop artist/producer that is the Netherlands answer to the Beastie Boys late career.
Curtain Rod Character – Schizophrenic Trooper Escorts Witness
Dear Beck, you have a follower. Okay, that’s not 100% fair, but it’s pretty goddamn close. But hey that ain’t necessarily a BAD thing, unless of course you can’t stand Beck.
Outrage – Broken
New England hardcore outfit Outrage deploy an angry debut record that traverses through all that is known as hardcore sound. Not bad but perhaps a few crunchers removed from true inspiration.
The Golden Age – Unlock Yourself
Youth crew hardcore bands should step aside – The Golden Age wants in, and wants in baaaad. “Unlock Yourself” is a decent foray into hardcore’s more melodic genre but as a sophomore album you’d expect a little bit more than your standard clichéd formula.
The Killer – Not All Who Are Lost…
Chicago hardcore that is as pathetic as the Cubs’ season. I believe this sums it up nicely:
Za – Macumba o Muerte
A melting pot of divergent genres, tastes, cultures, and philosophies that finds itself as a one-of-a-kind gem, “Macumba o Muerte” is yet another sequenced piece of genius from our friends at Acuarela.
Vasen – Vasen Street
Swedish folk music that features the nyckelharpa, which is a type of fiddle with a keyboard, traverses through Nordic folk, Americana, bluegrass, for a sly and polished string-based musical sound that is both smart and glorious.
Various Artists – Luaka Bop Presents: Twenty First Century Twenty First Year
David Byrne (the Talking Heads) eclectic indie imprint label that features the best in Brazilian, Cuban, Afro Peruvian, and Psychedelic African music – you know all that stuff that only the truly cool music nerds are into. This is twenty-one years of that collected musical oddities that are polished gems that Byrne is nice enough to share with us plebes.
Pombagira – Black Axis Abraxas
Dense doom metal anthems that clock in around 30 minutes a piece mark this two-song epic EP. London’s Pombagira have their feet implanted on their distortion pedals and churn out crunchy guitar-centric doom.
Animal Noises – Oh Yes You Better Do
Vancouver’s indie artistic punk rockers Animal Names sound a whole lot like late ‘90s emo bands before emo became a trend and something you could buy at the mall. Quirky eccentric emotional indie rock that refuses to not have fun while rocking you out.
Megafaun – Gather, Form & Fly
Sophomore album from experimental folk musicians who combine field recordings, white noise, banjos, and drone to forge an alliance with no one – because no one is doing this right now.
Carrion Crawler – Rot Crumble Collapse
Grind-y death metal with pitch bent grunts and growls. It’s fun but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it something I’d fall back onto when I need to hear disgusting death.
New Roman Times – On the Sleeve
Dramatic boy/girl vocals with dance-punk rhythms that is post-rock fun. Think Block Party or Arcade Fire or maybe even Stars…
Dark Knights of Camelot – Hurrication
Mississippi based grunge heavy rockers Dark Knights of Camelot turn in a nice debut record of hypnotic grungy stoner rock.
Night Owls – Night Owls
Syracuse post-hardcore outfit Night Owls toss a little Jawbox, Big Black, and Helmet into the blender to see what would come out of it.
Eyes Set to Kill – The World Outside
Eyes Set to Kill is metalcore featuring female vocal melodies that are far from wimpish. While the band certainly has the knob set to cliché, “The World Outside” is more than passable.
Tim Ripper Owens – Play My Game
Known for his recent vocal appearance on guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Perpetual Flame”, Tim “Ripper” Owens unleashes his debut solo heavy metal effort with the help of friends from bands like Nevermore, Queensryche, Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, Dio, KISS, and Megadeth.
Miss Autopsy – Caterpillar
Weird songwriting with music that bounces from apartment folk to blues to post-punk to indie pop. Interesting and very stripped down to sheer barrenness.
The Delfields – Ogres!
Formed in early 2006, The Delfields write honest vocal-centric indie pop with a heavy lean towards The Shins. This will most definitely be a band that all the hipster indie music blogs will be blabbering about, so catch on now because not be hip is so square.
Gnawledge – Granada Doaba
Recorded in Spain, “Granada Doaba” is a mixture of flamenco and hip-hop. Yes you just read that and yes you must hear it to even begin to fathom it. Oh yeah, and its pretty damn awesome too.
My Son My Executioner – The Burning
Deathcore? Perhaps. Produced by Jeremiah Scott (Living Sacrifice, The Showdown), “The Burning” is a gut-wrenching low blow of metalcore with grunts, scowls, growls, and screaming alongside your traditional powerful breakdowns, melodic choruses, and thrash-y drumming.
Palenke Soultribe – Oro
L.A. based Palenke Soultribe releases “Oro” their first in a trilogy series in honoring the colors of the Colombian flag. Synching up Afro-Colombian rhythms with electro-house synths and sexy vocals, Palenke Soultribe is a group to keep an ear or two on.
Suit of Lights – Bacteria
Unbelievably grand follow-up to their ’05 debut that showcases their uncanny ability to craft memorable pop classics with power-pop guitar chords and emotional songwriting.
Oliver Dumont – Living in Holes and Disused Shafts
Lo-fi noise amplified by weird electronic fuzz, noise, and drone experimental insanity finds Oliver Dumont as a noise artist you simply must follow. Limited edition of only 500 – and I got one!
Aluk Todolo – Finsternis
Black metal mayhem of noise shuttered in an obelisk of shrieking, metallic noise, and utter horror. Scary shit man. Album means “eclipse” in German.
Gog – Mister from the Random More
Hallucinogenic cinema of soundscapes rotten with guitar effects and distorted mischief. Challenging but in the good way.