December 14, 2018

QC10 - NightraiN's Top 18 Albums from 2008 - 2017

Editor's Note: After 10 years of submitting year-end Top 10 lists, frequent contributors are going back and picking out their favorite albums from those lists.

Augustines - Augustines (2014)

A longtime fan of these guys back to the Pela days. They have a few albums to select from, but this one stands out as such an amazing album. Tons of emotion and energy that makes every track (and live installment) fantastically good. Sad to see that they have hung up their instruments as a band, but lots of good memories associated with the tracks on this album.
Frightened Rabbit - Painting Of A Panic Attack (2016)

Love me some Frightened Rabbit. The National's Aaron Dessner's fingerprints are all over this album, and the partnership is a hauntingly beautiful one. Somehow, this album is both deeply sad and uplifting at the same time -- goosebumps, reflective thoughts, whiskey, hope. Seeing this album performed live flawlessly was also an amazing experience.

The National - High Violet (2010)

Like the above, something about The National is so deeply comforting and passionate that it makes me reflectively sad and inexplicably happy at the same time -- the perfect mix of musically induced emotion. Clearly, this combination resonates with me... keep it coming.

Lucero - 1372 Overton Park (2009)

I love Lucero and pretty much all things Ben Nichols. It is hard to call out just one Lucero album during this time period, but this one stands out for me. An album with that rare combination of... well... everything. Oh, the horns! This one will stand the test of time!

Delta Spirit - Into The Wide (2014)

In a year of good albums, this one really stands out with the rockers really rocking and balanced well with the solid slower jams. 

Portugal. The Man - American Ghetto (2010)

They are funky and fun. They rock the house every time. Love me some P.TM.

Frightened Rabbit - Midnight Organ Fight (2008)

There is a lot to like: The accents, the strummy guitar, the impassioned lyrics, the imperfect, yet honest & heartfelt vocals. This is an album for all moods, and certainly, one that rises above the other offering of 2008 for its vigor and passion. Bravo!

Ha Ha Tonka - Lessons (2013)

Put on the album, turned off the lights, got in the shower... and rocked out to the who entire thing. Best album listening experience of the entire year.

The White Buffalo - Shadows, Greys, and Evil Ways (2013)

One of my favorite Americana artists of all time. The story of Jolene + Joe seems to get better with every listen... touching and epic.

Kings of Leon - Only By Night (2008)

Always solid, the Kings of Leon deliver perhaps their best album to date. They cannot be denied!

Kishi Bashi - Lightght (2014)

After seeing Kishi Bashi live in a number of settings, the love for this album has only increased. Immense talent shines through on these finely crafted tunes.

Matthew Logan Vasquez - Does What He Wants (2017)

MLV does whatever he wants... and it almost always turns out really good! Delta Spirit's frontman is a funny, talented dude and this album spans the full spectrum from playful electric to touching acoustic. Do yourself a favor and absorb it all now!

The Black Keys - Brothers (2010)

These dudes are legends already... this album and especially a few choice tracks just heightens their profile that much more. Sick.

The album art is awesome as well.

William Elliott Whitmore - Field Songs (2011)

Connected with this album more than any other this year. Great, emotional songwriting and vocals -- soulful, passionate, salt of the earth.

Owl John - Owl John (2014)

This is what it sounds like to look into someone's soul. Scott Hutchison was as troubled as he was talented, but I'm thankful for all that he was willing to share with the world. If you are a fan of Freighted Rabbit like me, you'll dig this solo effort.

Photo Ops - Vacation (2016)

I think most people needed a good feel-good album during this rather dark 2016, and Vacation was that album for me. Echoing the harmonies and patience of Pet Sounds, this album washes over you like a warm summer day and lifts the spirits like an ice cold High Life.

Alberta Cross - Broken Side of Time (2009)

I anticipated the release of this one with great fervor, and when it was finally released, I was not let down.

Japandroids - Near to the Wild Heart of Life (2017)

I was already a fan, but this album accentuated my fondness. Fuzzy rock-punk perfect for (mostly) uptempo runs and impassioned sing-a-longs. A recipe for awesomeness!

December 1, 2018

QC10 - Jesse's Top 15 Albums from 2008-2017

Editor's Note: After 10 years of submitting top 10 lists, frequent contributors are going back and picking out the albums that they still love.

Kelli Schaefer – No Identity (2017)
As if Led Zeppelin was led by art school feminists studying how to absolutely shred. Or something. Silliness aside, touchstones are more like Nick Cave and PJ Harvey. They are transcendent live.

Japandroids – Celebration Rock (2012)
I can practically smell the sour beer, cigarettes & pepperoni as I crank it up again and again.

Divers - Hello Hello (2015)
It’s embarrassing, but this was just the first of three Party Damage Records on my list that year. No label ever dominated my record player like this since I first discovered STAX.  Rough and passionate, Divers mix heartland punk and slow burning indie rock.

Battleme - Future Runs Magnetic (2013/2014)
It wasn’t even a contest this year. After being blown away live, these songs kept those moments fresh on my stereo, again and again.

Radiation City – Synesthetica (2016)
Fully realizing their breathtaking potential as they imploded personally. So many layers of art pop awesomeness.

Frightened Rabbit – The Winter Of Mixed Drinks (2010)
Their mastery of celebratory self-loathing is peerless.  Scott Hutchison’s death this year cut deep for so many reasons.
Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends (2013)
Long-time favorite keeps the streak alive. With each stylistic shift I love them even more. One of four albums that made my annual top 10.

Deathlist – Deathlist EP (2016)
A personal & potent EP from Portland’s busy renaissance bassist. Listened to this EP a ton. She is consistently creating and collaborating on many of my favorite songs each year.       

Waves of Fury – Thirst (2012)
Does it get better than blaring horns over blasted vocals? No. Some of wildest, best, careening off-the-brink garage soul-punk you can imagine.

Lucero - 1372 Overton Park (2009)
It's the perfect mix of Memphis horns, country grit, and rock n' roll.

Benjamin Booker - Benjamin Booker (2014)
Although not written about this year’s civil rights struggles, they could be. I hear the same anger, frustration, and confusion resonate in his soulful garage rock.

Hockey - Mind Chaos (2008/2009)
They perfectly combine my love of gritty soulful vocals, funky baselines, and indie rock. In small way, we may have even contributed to breaking this band.

Sheer Mag – I, II, III EPs (2015/2016)
The blownout lo-fi might deter some, but to me it sounds like that hidden gem on a friend’s overdubbed radio mixtape. Cranking up this album makes any day feel like Friday night and every beer taste like a High Life. Thanks Larson!

The Autonomics - Debt Sounds (2017)
Ignore the Saturday morning Snapchat cover, this is road-honed, pogoinducing, virile rock n roll.

Jay Reatard – Watch Me Fall (2009)

Paranoid, dark, and gleeful. This may be more melodic, but it's far from mellow. Loved all his albums. Always shifting, I wonder what he would have come up with next. Another painful loss.

November 28, 2018

QC10 – Rain's Top 10 Albums from 2008 to 2017

Editor's Note: After 10 years of submitting top 10 lists, frequent contributors are going back and picking out the albums that they still love.

1. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away (2013)

2. Chelsea Wolfe - Abyss (2017)
More magick to bless/curse us invoked by the Witch of the Sacramento River.

3. Jozef Van Wissem & SQÜRL - Only Lovers Left Alive OST (2014)
The soundtrack to a film but also the soundtrack to many nights of me falling asleep in the dead center of a hardwood floor, beneath red Christmas lights, and with a bully full of whatever.

4. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Eating Us (2012)
This is another album that reminds me of simpler times (and I'm not talking about the delicious bargain Trader Joes beer). I saw a animated version of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Winchester Drive- In theater (gone since the mid eightees to make way for now failed dot com startup box buildings). There were these mice and they sang and listening to this, I am right back there, in the way way back of the stationwagon, drinking hot chocolate and having no idea about the dangers of pit bulls, avian bird flu or any sense of responsibility.

5. Mohammad - Som Sakrifis (2013)

6. Fartbarf - Dirty Power (2014)
Get away from that Moog, you damn dirty apes! No, seriously, you really need to see these guys live (or, at the very least, look up live footage on Youtube). You'll be so glad you did and your world will be changed and better for it...

7. Hildur Guðnadóttir - Saman (2014)
Please let me die beneath Hildur's icy fists.

8. The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This World (2016)
"You've always been the caretaker. I should know, sir." Know this: The Caretaker creates imagined soundtracks for the ballroom in The Shining. It's spooky and lovely.

9. Perfume Genius - No Shape (2017)
This record makes me see another reality in which I'm not a content man, married for 20+ years to my "soulmate". In that other reality, I'd have a heart/soul rending crush that clearly would never pan out and I'd pine and cry while listening to this album.

9a. The Budos Band - Burnt Offering (2014)
This just makes me want to get all of my bros together and have a sweaty, tequila driven, tighty whitey dance party until the sun comes up. Then, in the light of a new day, we go to the sea and kill a turtle and roast its flesh black over a pallet fire. What happens next must never be spoken of...

10. Bohren & der Club of Gore - Piano Nights (2014)

Lynchian Doom Jazz.

March 24, 2018

Rain's 1st Quarter of 2018's Shining Gems

Jonny Greenwood's OST for Phantom Thread

"Onion" by Oakland's Shannon and the Clams is my pre-summer feel good album.

"The Hands" by Fire! sets a good dark jazz atmosphere. Don't know what it is about me lately but the "dark jazz" really gets me...

"Hades" by Constantine is some moody sit in the dark music.

As is "Alter" by Otto Lindholm (which is my favourite album of the year so far). Deep drone-y double bass haunted house shit...

The Various Artists compilation "In Death's Dream Kingdom" is just what you'd expect and I dig it...

...and GODDAMN, the new Yo La Tengo album "There's A Riot Going On" brings back the mellow Yo La Tengo that I fell in love with many years ago. Some banal lyric writing but that's forgivable...


On the cusp: Mount Eerie's "Now Only" but it's too much like Mount Eerie and not enough new and I find myself listening to it in the same way that I'll mindlessly eat an entire bag of Annie's cheddar bunnies without taking any pleasure from the act...


Big Disappointment: "All Nerve" by the Breeders. A few seconds of that old familiar hooky sound in an hour of chasing the ghost. Walk away, Kim. Walk away...

February 18, 2018

Early 2018 Favorites

Seems kind of crazy to post a list not even two months into the new year, but fuck it, the world may explode tomorrow, so I better get down my thoughts now.

Albums I turn to when I get pissed off reading the news (so pretty much every day):

Jeff Rosenstock - POST-
Oh man, "USA" is a sprawling, kitchen sink punk epic that just slays in its messy brilliance.

Superchunk - What A Time To Be Alive
Delivering on the promise of last year's political daggers, this album captures where my head's at these days. Practically on daily rotation. 

And And And - Idiot
Their last album, The Failure, struck a chord with me in my life at the time. Only a couple days into this album but finding plenty of saltiness to love.  

When I need my politics wrapped up in catchy indie pop choruses:

The Spook School - Could It Be Different?
Just try and not sing along to "Fuck You, I'm Still Alive." Then go out and support your local trans org.

Chemtrails - Calf Of The Sacred Cow
Just discovered Chemtrails off an end of year label sampler and fell in love with their previous two psych pop EPs. My Johnny-come-lately status pays off with an album released just weeks later. 

When the world is getting me down, but I just need to chill:

The Orielles - Silver Dollar Moment
Infusing their indie pop tons of clever surprises. Sounds both familiar and unique. 

Beatchild & The Slakadeliqs - Heavy Rockin' Steady
Subtle and buttery hooks from all over place. Throw it on for your own High Fidelity/Beta Band type moment.

Alice Ivy - I'm Dreaming
Avalanches comparisons are fair, but damn if the album doesn't reveal new details to love with each listen. 

January 11, 2018

"Best of 2017" Playlists

Consistent with past years, to spice things up we asked survey takers to submit a song or two that falls under some colorfully entitled category. Those playlists are posted below.

If you have any suggested additions to the playlists, please leave recs in the comments section of this post.

Summer Jammy Jams

Power to the People

Rainy Days and Earle Grey

Dancing the Pain Away