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Love | Amen Dunes

The courtesans of outer-sound have approached the doorstep. “This is the album of the year!” they cry. They are undoubtedly correct. This is the seventh best album of the year. There are infinite images to put to this perfectly licked magnum opus, a steady composite of organic and analog that flickers on the mind like a lyrically drenched Stan Brakhage film. There are myriad avenues to access in describing Love—I’d rather you listen to it.

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Sylvan Esso | Sylvan Esso

NPR got their stranglehold on this little gem like a 40-foot python finding a baby calf with an asthma attack in the wilderness. Although I’ve been following this project since seeing Mountain Man at Newport in 2011 (personal zing!) they are not wrong. Opening for t-U-n-E-y-A-r-D-s in south Denver I saw Sylvan steal the show.  

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ATOMOS | A Winged Victory For The Sullen

Suddenly listening to these dudes on a Saturday night (given up all hope on the singles bar scene, am I right ladies???) and loving every second. Then learn it’s Dustin O’ Halloran and Adam Wiltzie, champions of everything I hold dear in music—how did I miss this? OK. Discover it scores interpretive dance choreography by Wayne McGregor. Jesus. Stick a fork, fellas. Sensual strings and exploratory spaces to the nth.
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Scraps Of Tape | Sjätte Vansinnety

The most pivotal driving prog-rock of our generation comes from… the Swedes. This latest unidentifiable blurred line between what is earnest and groundbreaking and what is guitars, time signatures, and trying vocals comes from Scraps Of Tape, a band that couldn’t stop playing while I was wandering videogame territory or washing the dishes. The perfect companion when there isn’t a love interest for a million miles and you want to rock.

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Foundations of Burden | Pallbearer

Behold, the sludge. Pallbearer’s sophomore ode to the heavier than ununseptium downtempo road that Black Sabbath paved brings more raucous than their first, as if that were possible. Suspiciously great after dab of the dispensary’s finest hasish oil, this joyous barrel-roll through gloaming smog is 2014’s keystone doom release.

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Lost In The Dream | The War On Drugs

Dad rock. Beer commercial music. These labels courtesy of Mark Kozelek, whos name has become synonymous with ‘the internet.’ Before that: there were jams. I particularly like these. Jerry Garcia would have approved.

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A U R O R A | Ben Frost 

During the bands leading up to Ben Frost at a major music festival I was asleep. Curled up like a little capybara in dreamland. The moment he took the stage I bolted awake, driven by his music to jettison my festival-mates, rush the stage and rip. This dense, choc-fulla-chaos and quietness work is a love letter to that moment and Frost’s burgeoning legacy.

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Woodfall | Musk Ox 

I just don’t see this record reaching my ears a decade ago. It would have ended up in the cistern, backlogged in the pseudo-classical archives by a mustachioed gentleman in a pith hat. Woodfall is beautiful; it’s the most objective example of nice music, like when someone asks you “how was your vacation to Hawaii?” Well, I was on vacation. In Hawaii. Woodfall is gloriously technical like a commissioned composition yet it shimmers with a grassroots fast and loose luster. Make love to this record’s windswept tones and enharmonics.

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Tyranny | Julian Casablancas + the Voidz 

Where have you gone oh darling young Julian? Caught in a time warp, Casablancas taps the pulse of sloshy, discordant recreation and gives us a quilt of hullabaloo that should have been The Strokes’ fourth album. The combination of mass producing and Casablancas’ ‘jesus, I’m the shit, can’t you pay attention to me please’ locution work almost too magnificently completing a brick and mortar wall of sound that only Berlin could grasp the gravity of.

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EP1 (EP) | Operators

We all wanted a song of the year that made us look cool to have a song of year and we got it. Operators’ ‘True’ swooped in like Angel Nephi and gave us the plates and location to find the book of boombox. But don’t discount what comes after. This EP is great, harboring a disgruntled, sonic creature that may give us all a run for our $.

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Nitrogen Narcosis Scuba Death 

Unsuspecting as per usual, Dr. Ricardo Donoso (note: our research team could not verify if he is in fact a real doctor and that is pure speculation based on the classiness of his name) begins his latest quest with an ocean coming in and out then eventually labored breathing. High minded and on the nose, yes, but Donoso submerges his compendium into a digital peril of tact and restraint. You’ll thank your lucky stars you’re at an agreeable altitude.

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Trouble | Hospitality

I want chords. And not the normal kind you learn while taking guitar lessons with the beardy guy down on Hoplessness Court. Hospitality seem to pride themselves on their commitment to diminished and negative minor sevenths. Yet the songwriting is groovy as ever. They bring into question: when does composition become so good you’ll never be a headlining band?

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