DOTYS 2011

DISAPPOINTMENTS OF THE YEAR (regarding albums, mind you) 😀

So. I think 2011 has been a pretty great year for music. It certainly has exceeded 2010. It has pushed boundaries and has led to evolution in several genres, (hip-hop most notably and a rather amazing new post-hardcore “wave” has really grown into itself as well) and there have been many amazing and completely unique albums from this year. I’ve even discovered a band that just may possibly be the best thing I’ve heard since Circa Survive, and I’ve also discovered my favorite two hip-hop artists. I’ll get to all of that in a few upcoming posts, but first, I want to get the negative out of the way. Like every year, there were some disappoints with some albums I was looking forward to. Now, disappointment doesn’t necessarily mean bad. These albums are all from artists I like, and some of these albums are perfectly nice and okay. They just failed my expectations in a really big way, none of these, except number one, are outright bad. However, as a whole, they lack what impressed me with their previous work or works. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them a listen or two if you like the band or artist, though if you were to ask me about them, I would make you listen to other releases of theirs. Okay. Enough Rambling.

DOTY RUNNER UPS:
(I don’t feel like doing a 1-5 here. Just four runner ups and my DOTY)

Weerd ScienceSick Kids

Weerd Science is Josh Eppard, who is the former-former of drummer for Coheed and Cambria. Weerd Science is his rap project. I was particularly excited for this release, not because I was originally a fan of his first album Friends and Nervous Breakdowns (2005), but because he is the first rapper MC Lars (who has become one of my favorite rappers this past year.) signed to his label. He did some work with Lars, which I liked a lot, and when I heard his first album, I didn’t think it was perfect but I really enjoyed it. Weerd is a good rapper when it comes to technicality, and mostly raps about drug addiction and other messed up stuff in our society. This album of his was hyped by Lars very much, and I even so Lars and Weerd do a combined set at warped tour, which left me impressed! Needless to say, I really wanted to listen to this album. When I finally did, I found myself impressed at first but after a few songs that feeling quickly faded away. Weerd’s technical ability on this album is pretty good, but the production is fairly standard, and almost every song is about the exact same subject; DRUGS. People have done albums about drugs and drug addiction before, and they’ve certainly done better. Sick Kids fails to address the scope of drug addiction in a hard hitting manner, and instead repeats the same few thoughts, in different words, ad-nauseum. I get it Weerd, you were a heroin addict and it ran your life, tell me more about your story or how it affected you, don’t just tell me that it did. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few good tracks and moments here, and it’s worth a listen, but ultimately I feel like I’m listening to the same track over and over. (and it doesn’t hit me very hard)

BEST SONGS: The Voices on Prince Street and Clap is you ❤ Someone

Animals as LeadersWeightless

Animals as Leaders is, essentially, Tosin Abasi fucking around on a guitar. Their first album, and the single Wave of Babies, are fantastic and orgasmic and everything I’ve ever wanted out of instrumental prog-metal / DJENT. Infact, Their S/T album is the only DJENT anyone needs. Anyway, as a whole, I have a lot less to say about this album than sick kids. Weightless is Animals as Leader’s second album. Compared to their first album, which had not only technically amazing guitar work, amazing drums, and a subtle entrancing effect, this album is a nap on a park bench. We get atmospheric backing on almost every track, airy yet raw riffs, and some bleep-bloopery on top of that… AND THAT IS ESSENTIALLY THE ENTIRE ALBUM. It’s just the same boring guitar for, like, 12 tracks. The songs are well made, just generally yawn worthy.

Don’t even have any favorite tracks. If you listen to one or two you will enjoy them, but if you listen to the whole album, it will bore you.

School Food PunishmentProg Roid

School Food Punishment is my favorite Japanese band, and they’ve been so for a while. Longer than I realized even, as one day, I came to the conclusion that they, and several other bands, are better than Boom Boom Satellites. Anywho, They are a blend of rock and electronic, with some beautiful piano and female vocals just to sweeten the deal. Prog-Roid is their second full length LP, but they released a mini-album and two EPs before the first (which is pretty great), and those are absolutely beautiful and I listen to them regularly. Now, this being said, Prog-Roid is my favorite of the albums on this list, as it’s still a beautiful, and generally pretty good, listen. It retains School Food Punishment’s signature sound, which is nice, but it feels like a more tame and streamlined version of their sound. While Prog-Roid is certainly a lovely listen, it doesn’t hit me emotionally or get me fired up like their first three releases did, nor do I even enjoy it as much as their first full length. It’s good, but, with the exception of a few tracks, it is more reserved and their sound does not benefit by being so. It’s just so beneath what they *can* do.

Best Songs: In Bloom and Flashback Trip Syndrome

The Dear HunterThe Color Spectrum

AHH. Okay. The Dear Hunter has always been that band that was pretty good, a few great tracks here and there, but, as a whole, pretty good.They do have potential though, and They put on a nice live show. They are essentially a rock band with some elements of prog, and this year, they thought it would be a good idea to release 9 EPs. AT ONCE. They released a full length just last year at that. I guess Casey really wanted to write and record a bunch of music. Now, on one hand this is an ambitious project. Each EP represents a different color, and they have different themes and sound different. That sounds like it could be interesting if the EPs were spread out with each one being it’s own thing. INSTEAD, The Dear Hunter SHITS OUT 36 songs all at once midway through the year. Don’t get me wrong, some of the tracks are okay, but absolutely none of them stand out. The song writing is pretty standard, and while the performances are well done, I feel absolutely no energy from any of these songs. Each EP is kind of different from the next, but none of them are particularly great, or even good. Though, it’s interesting that my favorite EP of the 9 (indigo) is the most removed from their traditional sound, ditching it for a mostly electronic set of songs. The rest of this release are just mediocre songs that seemed to be rushed to completion, with some having a “folky” feel. As a whole, The Color Spectrum is mediocre, and for something so ambitious, it’s really disappointing to listen to. Which is why it makes this list. There are a handful of decent tracks, and most of it isn’t bad (though I’d argue the Red EP is quite bad) which is why this isn’t my number one DOTY. You could say it’s my number two, though.

Just listen to the Indigo EP and skip the rest. You aren’t missing a thing.

AND NOW WHAT YOU HAVEN’T BEEN WAITING FOR! MY NUMBER ONE DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR!!!!
(also, shittiest album cover award)

Just let this sink for a second.

Okay.

DOTY: Das Racist Relax

So. Das Racist. “weed” rappers from brooklyn who released not just one, but two, great mixtapes last year. Seriously, they had the best hip-hop song of 2010, AND they sampled Samurai Champloo. It doesn’t get better than that. Anyway, if you haven’t listened to them, give them a shot. Their work is rather varied, and quite atypical for hip-hop. The main factor of their work that is consistent, is that they are unlike anything else you’ve ever heard. Their rap is normally intelligent, funny, and, except for THAT ONE SONG (which doesn’t reflect who they are at all), refreshing. Amazing wordplay, interesting stories, and references that are actually clever, I had high hopes for Das Racist. Even saw them earlier this year at Bamboozle. Anywho, they noticed they were getting pretty popular, and decided to release a full length (for reals) album. Okay. Cool. I was hoping for something GREAT, instead, they release this. Relax is a collection of their most boring (and some of the year’s most boring), uninspired, and hazily put together tracks. It almost seems that it is a collection of songs they had lying around that just didn’t make the cut for Sit Down Man or Shut Up, Dude. Though they aren’t, because the recording quality is just a bit better. There’s really nothing I could say about these that other reviewers *cough*fantano*couch hasn’t. Not only was I underwhelmed and disappointed by the offering of Relax, I was actually offended. I guess, because Das Racist realized they needed one good song on here, they decided to put their best track, and one of my favorite hip-hop tracks of all time, Rainbow In The Dark, on this thing. Rainbow In The Dark is fantastic, and in my opinion, the track that really sums up Das racist perfectly. Thing is, They had already released it on their first mix tape, and there was no reason for that to be on here. It doesn’t fit in with the rest of the tracks nor does it’s includement make the album any better. Instead, the rest of the album degrades the track by trying to sell it where it should not be sold. The only good track on this album, from this album, is Power, and that’s really only because Danny Brown is awesome. The title track is meh and the rest is only downhill from there, with Punjabi Song and Booty In The Air being real low points. For a year with SUCH great hip-hop releases, and really, in my opinion, cemented the direction that 21st century hip hop will begin to go, this album is a huge stain from a group that should have been part of this year’s legacy.

Okay. This article ended up being a lot longer than I originally thought it was gonna be. Writing about disappointing albums for this long has sort of put me in a bad mood. I hope you either enjoy this read or get pissed off at my opinions, really.

TAKYON time

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~ by Cimi on December 24, 2011.

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