Friday 28 December 2018

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Alright, so this wraps up another year. Not only that, but this is the blog's 800th post, and as you might know, I like to feature a major, noteworthy band for every 100 posts. This long-awaited, highly requested, and absolutely essential band seemed like the perfect choice for this for this milestone and year end. As always, thank you guys so much for your continued support, I'm happy to keep this thing going well past the expiry date of the mp3 blog. I'll see ya in the New Year (though I won't feel any different).

It's difficult to even know where to begin with a band this gargantuan. They're momentous in their respective genre, and very well known and loved across the musical spectrum for their orchestrated apocalypse, reaching new heights in post-rock and drone music. Of course we're talking about Godspeed You! Black Emperor, one of the most essential and breath-taking bands ever to exist. I'm not going to go into much detail about their history (since it's fairly well-known and documented), but they're (currently) a 10-piece post-rock band that originated in Montreal, Quebec (Canada) in 1994. They began as a small outfit (3 musicians and 1 film projectionist, the visual component has always been massively important to them). They released the limited hallowed cassette All Lights Fucked On The Hairy Amp Drooling, which was limited to 33 copies and has never been unearthed since its release. To this day, there are no copies online. Allegedly it sounds very different from the band we know today (they utilized vocals), and as their line-up expanded, so did their sound.

By 1997, they had rounded out a large line-up of musicians and instrumental variety, as they crafted these massive pieces marked by movements, crescendos and desolate atmosphere. This resulted in F# A# ∞, the band's debut record. Initially released on vinyl, it was re-recorded and re-arranged for a CD release the following year. Their next major output was a two-track EP, which is just as essential as any of their full-lengths. "Moya" in particular is an incredible piece on that EP. Y2K rolls around, and the world implodes at the release of their magnum opus, Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven. This is one of my favourite albums ever, one of the best and most highly regarded post-rock albums ever released, and all in all an incredible listening experience. It ranges from drone passages to gorgeous heaven-reaching crescendos, with incredibly layered instrumentation and seamless movements. It's been discussed to death, just listen to this masterpiece if you have not already. Following Lift Your Skinny Fists... they released Yanqui U.X.O., which was a much more raucous affair than its predecessor. It unfortunately didn't live up to the group's first few standout projects, but it's still a very solid album and well worth the listen. In 2003 they disbanded, though many of its members were active in other projects such as Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Fly Pan Am.

The GY!BE spark was reignited in 2010, as they started to play shows again. In 2012 they came out with a new record, which consisted of material recorded both before they broke up and after they reunited. Their sound alternates between the massive ebb-and-flow movements of their early records and these new, droning interludes, providing something familiar and something new. It's a phenomenal record, and an absolute staple in their catalogue. They've since released two new albums in this decade, both of which are very solid outings, but again don't quite hit the same highs as their best albums. Having said that, even relatively "decent" GY!BE is still absolutely outstanding in the canon of post-rock. There's really not much more that needs to be said, this band and their music are super well-known and often discussed. The only thing I would like to add is if you get a chance, pick up physical copies of their material. The visual components of each album are integral to the full vision of these projects, and the artwork is always amazing. Thanks for another good year, and enjoy.

1. Nervous, Sad, Poor...
2. Bleak, Uncertain, Beautiful...

1. The Dead Flag Blues
2. East Hastings
3. Providence

1. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Sunshine + Gasoline
2. Fly Pan Am - L'espace Au Sol Est Redessiné Par D'immenses Panneaux Bleus

1. Hung Over As The Queen In Maida Vale

1. Moya
2. BBF3

1. Storm
2. Static
3. Sleep
4. Like Antennas To Heaven...

1. 09-15-00
2. 09-15-00 (cont.)
3. rockets falls on Rocket Falls
4. motherfucker=redeemer
5. motherfucker=redeemer (cont.)

1. Mladic
2. Their Helicopters' Sing
3. We Drift Like Worried Fire
4. Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable

1. Peasantry or 'Light! Inside Of Light!'
2. Lambs' Breath
3. Asunder, Sweet
4. Piss Crowns Are Trebled

1. Undoing A Luciferian Towers
2. Bosses Hang
3. Fam / Famine
4. Anthem For No State

1. A Military Alphabet (five eyes all blind) / Job's Lament / First of the Last Glaciers / where we break how we shine (ROCKETS FOR MARY)
2. Fire at Static Valley
3. "GOVERNMENT CAME" / Cliffs Gaze / cliffs' gaze at empty waters' rise / ASHES TO SEA or NEARER TO THEE

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Best Of 2018

Another year end, another Top 50 "best of" list. Keep in mind this is based solely on my personal preference/enjoyment, so it's more of a "favourites" list than an objective ranking in quality. Additionally, don't take the numbering too seriously, it's super hard to pit one album against another, so the actual order is fairly relative. This list only contains full-length albums, thus no EP's are included. Let me know what your favourite albums from 2018 were, how terrible mine are, etc. Thank you guys for continuing to check out this blog, I've got one last post coming for this year, enjoy the holidays, and I'll see you in 2019.

Honorable Mentions:
Messes - The Ever Closing Door
Cloud District - Dont' Give Up, Skeleton
Pool Kids - Music To Practice Safe Sex To
Gulfer - Dog Bless
Infant Island - Infant Island


Night Birds - Roll Credits


Cassus - Separation Anxiety


Pianos Become The Teeth - Wait For Love


Super Unison - Stella


Turnstile - Time & Space


Cloud Nothings - Last Building Burning


Jay Rock - Redemption


Frank Turner - Be More Kind


Candy - Good To Feel


Jesus Piece - Only Self


Ostraca - Enemy


Snail Mail - Lush


Courtney Barnett - Tell Me How You Really Feel


Jeff Rosenstock - POST-


Antarctigo Vespucci - Love In The Time Of E-Mail


Gillian Carter - ...This Earth Shaped Tomb


Camp Cope - How To Socialise & Make Friends


Sleep - The Sciences


Mount Eerie - Now Only


Foxing - Nearer My God


Respire - Dénouement


Fiddlehead - Springtime & Blind


Portrayal Of Guilt - Let Pain Be Your Guide


The Armed - Only Love


Fucked Up - Dose Your Dreams


awakebutstillinbed - what people call low self-esteem is really just seeing yourself the way that other people see you


Earl Sweatshirt - Some Rap Songs


Vince Staples - FM!


Deafheaven - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love


Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy


Kanye West - Ye


Culture Abuse - Bay Dream


Brockhampton - iridescence


Iceage - Beyondless




Birds in Row - We Already Lost The World


mewithoutYou - [untitled]


Beach House - 7


Gouge Away - Burnt Sugar


Pusha T - Daytona


Single Mothers - Through A Wall


Hop Along - Bark Your Head Off, Dog


Father John Misty - God's Favorite Customer


Low - Double Negative


Death Grips - Year Of The Snitch


Kids See Ghosts - Kids See Ghosts


The Dirty Nil - Master Volume


Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want


Idles - Joy As An Act Of Resistance


Brian Fallon - Sleepwalkers

So there ya go. I drove myself up the wall trying to pick these out, because so much good material came out this year (some I had to unfortunately exclude). Coming up with the ranks for the final few albums was especially excruciating, because I love them all for different reasons. On a side note I'm sure nobody cares about, I spent almost this entire year telling myself I was not going to make Brian's new album my #1 pick, because I did that in 2016 and 2014 (with TGA) and later regretted both. Not because they're bad albums, but looking back there were better, more definitive albums that should have taken those spots (Atrocity Exhibition and Negative Qualities, for the 1 person who was wondering). So even though Sleepwalkers is a fantastic album, I didn't want to let my fanboyism get in the way again. But lo and behold, when it came down to making this list, I couldn't place it anywhere else but #1. It's probably my most-listened to release this year, one that I'll probably always associate with 2018, and in two years time I'll look back and regret it all over again. I don't know, I found that to be a funny factoid that I'm sure is only amusing to myself. If someone is still reading this, please do let me know what your top albums of this year were, I'm super curious to hear what you've been digging for the last 365 days.