AOTY 2023
Between the Buried and Me - Colors
You wouldn't expect one of the most schizophrenic albums in prog metal to carry heavy emotional power with it. Then again, Between the Buried and Me has been bringing the unexpected since they gatecrashed the metalcore scene back in 2002. This is definitely an album you should listen to all in one sitting for at least your first few trips through it. Colors lacks some of the subtlety and finesse that BTBAM learned starting with The Great Misdirect, but it never finds itself lacking aspirations.
The Bad Plus - For All I Care
I really enjoy the covers of the more contemporary rock and pop songs here. Barracuda, Long Distance Runaround, and Feeling Yourself Disintegrate are all stellar energetic covers which elegantly and creatively adapt the source material to a jazz-quartet setting, but the weird spacy morphine-jazz of Comfortably Numb, Radio Cure, How Deep Is Your Love?, and Lock, Stock, and Teardrops is where The Bad Plus really shines through, straining the characteristics of jazz to their very limit. The modern ... read more
Anamanaguchi - Endless Fantasy
The rare case of an album where every song is good and it would benefit from cutting tracks out. There's really no reason for this to be 22 tracks when it could be 14 and under an hour. Personally, I'd have taken some of the more redundant tracks out (SPF 420, U n ME, Everything Explodes, etc.) and put them on a companion EP to keep the album from being overlong. That said, it's still a hell of a ride and a longtime favourite of mine.
Alestorm - Sunset on the Golden Age
The fact that this album has a cover of a Taio Cruz song right next to an 11 and a half minute folk metal epic and still somehow has a good flow baffles me, and that's just one of the many reasons why you shouldn't write Alestorm off as a pure novelty.

Side note, these guys kick ass live, definitely a band to see if you ever get the chance.

Airospace - Øscillation
This was a pretty big disappointment compared to 羽川 翼 [ hanekawa ]. Where that album was atmospheric and poetic, this one is more straightforward both instrumentally and vocally and is a lot more tuned to trap. Luna and A Mother's Lullaby standout as tracks that bring back the feel of Airospace's more emo-informed releases, while Sweater sticks out as a particularly pointless excursion into brag rap.

The production is still pretty great, thanks to the great beatwork from JAMES, but the ... read more

Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Arc
Kick ass guitar work and fantastic vocals. This is a really underrated release in the ANB canon - it's different and a bit underpolished, sure, but it more than holds its own in the realm of sludge metal.
Agalloch - Pale Folklore
A bunch of really fantastic ideas held back by a lack of technical skill and composition experience. As Embers Dress the Sky really knocks it out of the park, but there are just too many moments here where somebody doesn't play very well or the transition to a new section is super rough for it to work nearly as well as it should.
ABSRDST - Imaginary Friend
ABSRDST, the man who once made a banger trap remix of the world's most saccharine happy hardcore song, puts out an album that sounds like if you vaguely described The Chainsmokers to Kai Whiston and then asked him to make their next album without letting him listen to them. This is the anti-dynamic duo's melodic EDM-pop, but way more experimental, spacey, and overall quirky - in short, the bizarro version of a Chainsmokers album, and about 5 times as good as one too. At just over 31 minutes, ... read more
2814 - 新しい日の誕生
I came into this with a bit of knowledge about HKE limited to his work under Subaeris and almost no knowledge t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者. I've always found vaporwave to be best when it approaches ambient, and this was almost always held as one of the best vaporwave albums (if not the best) in conversation, so I had decently high hopes for it. While 新しい日の誕生 is certainly quite good as an ambient album, I found it a little lacking in execution. Though it attempts to ... read more
공중도둑 [Mid-Air Thief] - 무너지기 (Crumbling)
Funnily enough I found that this actually reminded me of Cornelius and Sweet Trip a lot more than most folktronica and neo-psychedelia I've heard, at least in atmosphere and overall vibe. This is one of those albums you listen to when you want something just absurdly pretty - though, in that respect, it can be both the happiest album in existence and a pit of inescapable sadness, depending on the context it's presented in. There are definitely parts of this album that I think would be improved ... read more
!!! - Myth Takes
This album is absolutely untouchable when it just grooves. If you're a fan of oldschool dance-punk like Liquid Liquid, the kind where rhythmic jamming comes before anything, this is the album for you. The hooks are a bit hit or miss, and in general the more melodic songs tend to be the weak link, but when this album decides to just groove on something it's unbeatable.. The highlights here are All My Heroes Are Weirdos and Bend Over Beethoven, absolutely incredible tunes that echo the ... read more
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November Playlist