Archive for January, 2012

Lately I’ve been listening to less and less hardcore and metal. Not for any particular reason. Just going out and exploring other genres and bands. In the past few months, there has been a small explosion of bands doing Shoegaze a la 90’s. Most people who are into music will always think of My Bloody Valentine when they hear the term Shoegaze. But there were so many more bands playing the style of swirling guitars and whispered dream-like vocals. Along with Whirr and even Deafheaven, there’s ANNE from Portland, OR. I was turned on to them by my friend Justin from XUnrestrainedX. He knew that I was big into Shoegaze and recommended that I check out ANNE. I am glad that I did.

ANNE are all things Shoegaze but more synth-driven like mid-career Cure and even early Depeche Mode. But they make it all their own. I initially picked up their Demo 2010 and Mixtapeone CDs and was instantly hooked. A few months later they announced that they signed with A389 Recordings, which was a bit odd in itself. Nothing whatsoever against A389. It’s a great label and Dom who runs it is a a great individual. ANNE is the odd-man out on the label’s roster which is mostly made up of hardcore, black metal, and very musically-aggressive bands. But in the end it was a great signing and move.

ANNE released their debut LP, Dream Punx, back in September, 2011. And it is awesome. They took a few songs off their Mixtapes and re-mastered them for the release as well as new songs. Dream Punx is all things that make Shoegaze great: swirling and layered guitars, hard-driven tempos and rhythm, whispered and pained vocals, and overall sense of the music washing over you. It’s a tidal wave of sound.

Two colors for Dream Punx: Black and Purple/White Swirl. No idea what the pressing numbers are on each. I don’t believe that A389 really makes the pressing info on their releases known. And that’s OK. No one should get their panties in a wad over it.

In the process I also managed to pick up the test press. Even less of an idea how many there are, but it does come in a custom-made jacket with different artwork. I enjoy when labels do that for test presses and rare versions of their releases.

Dream Punx is a solid release. Great songs fitting in the Shoegaze style but all so much more. It’s the perfect music to get lost in at any given time. The release turned out fantastic and A389 have outdone themselves once again. I’m confident that ANNE will achieve great things in their music and this is a great start.

As I mentioned them before, if you’re into Whirr and Deafheaven, then by all means check out ANNE. You’ll be glad you did. I know I am!

Here is the video for the song “Punk Bike”…so far it’s my favorite track off Dream Punx.

Nick’s Albums Of The Year 2011

Posted: January 2, 2012 by Nick_J in Uncategorized

1)      AA Bondy – Believers

Beautiful songs, amazing atmosphere and bags of style. This rapid departure of Bondy’s normal sound/style is a masterpiece of an album.It is very unusual for me pick a record this moody as my album of the year but Believers set me back a few steps when I first heard it and that’s what I’m looking for.

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2)      Frank Turner –  England Keep My Bones

This album could have easily been my album of the year. I love it and I think it’s a classic. For sure, some of the best songs I’ve heard in a while. Perfect cohesion and depth.

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3)      Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire

This record is very hard for me to place. Ryan Adams is my favorite but this album didn’t immediately blow me away. I love it but it’s sound is still growing on me. This record has the potential to be that record that in a year I wish I would have placed at number one.

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4)      Jay Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne

I hate to say it but Watch the Throne was the best rap record I heard this year. This record is probably under appreciated by most rap fans. I don’t care if it sold a shit ton. I think it’s a classic and proof that even big labels can put out good rap.

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5)      Deafheaven – Roads to Judah

Best metal album I bought this year. Glad Juan was going on about it cause this is fantastic. The blend of shoegaze and black metal is an amazing combination. I watched youtube clips of these cats live and it looked intense.

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6)      Atmosphere – The Family Sign

Atmosphere finally created a very instrument rich album that isn’t over the top wuss rap. To me this record is kind of a comeback album for Atmosphere. I like The Family Sign as much as Sevens Travels or God Loves Ugly.

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7)      Black lips – Arabia Mountain

This record is just fun! I wondered what a Black Lips record would sound like produced by Mark Ronson and it just sounds like the next Black Lips record. This is my favorite of their stuff so far.

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8)      Jason Isbell – Here We Rest

This is the year I have really discovered Jason Isbell and I think he’s a genius. I kept thinking that this record would place a lot higher on my list but I really don’t listen to it as much as the stuff I have higher than it.

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9)      Samiam – Trips

Samiam are one of my favorite bands of all time. This record isn’t as good as their classic material but it smokes that last hunk of crap they put out so it’s good enough for a top ten place.

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10)    Helms Alee –  Weatherhead

I love the feel and the space of this record. It’s not as focused as their first album but it is still really great. I am a huge fan of old 60’s psych records and this is like the modern day equivalent.

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Honorable Mentions

Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for my Halo (this was left out of the top ten only because I bought it so late)

The Felice Brothers – Celebration, Florida

Destroyer – Kaputt

Whirl – Distressor

The Twilight Singer – Dynamite Steps

Danny Brown – XXX

Trap Them – Darker Handcraft

Das Racist – Relax

Windmills By The Ocean – II Lp

Cave In – White Silence

Touché Amore – PTSBBAM

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Best 7″ of 2011 for me was…

Against Me! – Russian Spies/Occult Enimies

Also comeback record of the year.

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