Gutcheck: Albums of the Year


Albums of the Year…

Tame Impala – Currents

A  perfect album from a band that could become Led Zeppelin,  Pink Floyd, or the Beatles – but decides to become something else entirely – a superior combination of all three.

This record is different from Tame’s previous offerings – less guitar, more other stuff – but it’s still as addictive as goat porn. It’s an album about dumping someone, because apparently dumping someone is better for everyone.  It’s my favorite or second favorite album of the year. “Eventually” is the best song about moving on, since the theme song to the show “Movin On,” with Claude Akin and Frank Converse. They played dudes who drove big rigs, and Merle Haggard wrote the fantastic theme song. That’s all for now, in Movin’ On trivia, America.

Faith No More – Sol Invictus

I wrote a review of this great record when it came out, somewhere on this website. Oh yeah, here it is.

Here, let me quote myself: “Sol Invictus works like your basic FNM record: the sequencing is an artful job, hustling you politely through all the gentle, harsh, weird surprises that follow – and then when it’s over, you get back on the ride and start over, just like Space Mountain.”  It’s true. It’s almost like the band never experienced the nearly two decade gap between releases. All they got was better, smarter, and darker. Just like the moles on my back. I hope they keep making more records, like I make moles on my back.

Neon Indian – VEGA INTL. Night School

I’ve been waiting over a decade for an album by the Avalanches since their first amazing one (“Since I Left You”) – less a record than a joyous celebration of late night/early morning drugging, dancing, and drugging. It’s the closest thing to ecstacy you can find without having to purchase it from a jittery DJ in an Ibiza club bathroom. Finally – thank God – Neon Indian captures the same high – the exuberant kind that promises no hangover, until ultimately the sun comes up, and you realize you’re late for work, and you’re too old to think this kind of behavior is excusable. My third fave album of the year.

John Grant – Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

Yet another great achievement in masterful, perfect, profound melodies by the world’s greatest songwriter. He slices off great records at such a consistent clip, discovering his permanent place in the universe as a poet, badass golden-voiced God. Seriously, you should buy everything he puts out, including his stuff with the Czars. He’s Elton John, if Elton John were a poetic, bitter lumberjack who can speak 20 languages. He now lives in Iceland. Which is a big deal for Iceland. Before, all they had was Bjork.

Pond – Man It Feels Like Space Again

Here is a perfect psychedelic, meticulously orchestrated orgy of melodies and music.  Based on the idea that a great record should over deliver – Pond gives the listener so much awesomeoness in one package that you can’t possibly complain; only obey. It’s a trippy delightful voyage that serves to make any drug you’re on that much stronger. At least that’s what my priest told me.

Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last

A shaggy band hammering out a brutal litany of psychedelic hard rock nuggets – the band creates songs the way I create dirty laundry. In massive pungent mounds, every four days or so.  Every thing is loud, fast, and blows your face off.  I have yet to see them live, because I fear some sort of internal injury. I admire their persistence, fidelity to principle, and their dedication to a code. This code is simple: every song must deliver – and they do. No filler. All awesome.

Dungen – Allas Sak

I’ve been chasing this band around for at least a decade. I don’t know what they’re singing about, because I don’t know the language (it’s either something Danish, or something else Germanic, or Esperanto). All I know is, that the sound behind the verbiage is such delicious psychedelic noise, that the indecipherable lyrics actually add to the effect. It’s like a doctor trying to talk to you in soothing tones as you’re going under.

Lakker – Tundra

An electronic spherical splat of noise. I think they’re from Scotland. Good for them (The band and the country!). I play this on the plane, and it’s better than operating heavy machinery while not quite fully awake. I would file this under Electronic Xanax.

Grimes – Art Angels

If possibly not for Tame Impala’s Currents, this is the best record of the year – a brilliant, raucous departure from Claire Boucher’s last record, but every bit as overwhelming and stunning.  Every song bristles with the confidence of a fearless pop star, coming from a visionary who can easily match the best of Madonna, Swift, and Gaga – but they just can’t do her.  You know it’s a classic record, when your favorite song from it keeps changing.  First it was “Easily,” which is stunning. Then it was “Kill V. Maim,” which is awesome. Now today, it’s the title track, which is gorgeous. It’s the kind of music you envision hearing at a school for the gifted on the Jetsons, if there was a school for the gifted on the Jetsons. Amazing.


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