April 20, 2016

Best Albums of 2016... So Far (A Spotify Playlist)

Finding fresh new jams to listen to can sometimes be a time-consuming and overwhelming endeavor, which is in part why this little slice of the internet called QuickCrit was created. Unfortunately, we here at QCM don't have as much time as we once did to ponder and pontificate about new albums, singles, and videos, but I do have time to add new albums to a rolling, ever-expanding playlist.

So, for those of you looking for new tunes in a casual, risk-free environment, I encourage you to follow this playlist on Spotify:

I typically tack on a few new albums a week, so there should be plenty of new tracks for you to peruse even if you are a power listener like me. Of course, if you have any suggestions throughout the year, please feel free to drop a comment.

March 31, 2016

NightraiN's Best of Q1 2016 Kinda Short List

In my opinion, the year in indie and under-the-radar music is off to a great start! Of course, you won't get much in the way of so-called Top 40 recommendations from me, so I'm not really commenting on that side of the industry. In no particular order, I figured I'd share a quick and dirty list, with recent video/audio accompaniment, of what I've been digging during Q1. If you have any song or album recommendations from 2016 so far, please feel free to comment below.

Battleme - Habitual Love Songs - Loved the first album, didn't really connect with the second... this one brings it back around to pretty damn awesome.

Lake Jons - Explore EP - Just a taste from these dudes out of Finland, but I'm enjoying what I'm hearing so far and look forward to giving them the live test if they make it out to this way.

The Duke of Norfolk - Three Days from the Wolf Month - Straight outta Scotland, The Duke of Norfolk compose some refreshingly folksy, strummy guitar tunes in the realm of Frightened Rabbit. You can download this free EP here, but I highly recommend tipping. #SupportTalent

Shearwater - Jet Plane and Oxbow - You may already know these guys due to coverage by Pitchfork and others, but if not, this shit is catchy and eclectic. Interesting video as well for "Quiet Americans."

Rolla Olak - Heavy Feather - Need some mellow acoustic jams for those rainy days and your Earl Grays? Rolla Olak's got you covered. Made in Canada.

Old Man Canyon - Delirium - The first time I heard Old Man Canyon I thought it was new or lost-collection Portugal. The Man. It is not -- it is something different altogether and it is worth a listen if you enjoy some psychedelic rock in your life. Also made in Canada.

Photo Ops - Vacation - Well-crafted feel good, surf pop. Riding the same wave as the Soft Swells and others likeminded surf rock influenced we've discussed on QCM. A solid summer jammy-jam album if you ask me.

Turin Brakes - Lost Property - Totally lost track of this band, but they are back in my regular rotation with this album... particularly this cut below.

Mount Moriah - How to Dance - The band has been around for a minute, but this is my favorite of their albums to date. Fire up this southern rock meets indie rock album for your backyard BBQs.

Night Beats - Who Sold My Generation - Psychedelic trio out of Seattle that will provide that blues-rock fix you've been looking for. Angry cops not included.

Augustines - "Are We Alive" - Oh, and the Augustines came out with a new song. Always fantastic. I can't wait for the "RISE: The Story of the Augustines" documentary to drop.

Bishop - "River" - And, last but not least, if this hasn't reached your ear canals yet, you may find it intriguing... I do.

January 19, 2016

QCM's "Best of 2015" Playlists

The past few years we have asked QuickCrit's annual survey takers to list their favorite songs from their favorite albums which has resulted in a "Best of the Best" playlist for the corresponding year. To spice things up, we have also been asking survey takers to submit a song or two that falls under some colorfully entitled category.

At long last, for your listening pleasure, below are the resultant Spotify playlists built from survey results and some editorial selections. The playlists should only cover music from albums released in 2015 and all are at least an hour long.

If you have any suggested additions to the playlists, please leave your recs in the comments section below. Happy listening!

"Damn Good Song" Playlist

"Summer Jammy Jam" Playlist

"Dancefloor Smash" Playlist

December 28, 2015

QuickCrit's Top 30 Albums of 2015

1.             Lord Huron - Strange Trails

“These guys create a magical world in their songs. I think I want to live there but I'm also a bit afraid of it.”Ancient Indian Wizard

“Is this country? Is this indie rock? Who cares; who knows… it is really good. Full of catchy, smooth tales of who-knows-the-fuck-what that are sure to fulfill your need for addicting toe-tapping tracks.”NightraiN

“My children listened to Strange Trails every night for probably three months and I still didn't get tired of it.” - Vivacranewife

2.             Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love

“Such a bad-ass album that it hurts.” - ve1cro

“After ten years off, their anger and politics resonate and inspire me more than ever.“Awmercy

“It's awesome to see a return of Sleater-Kinney, and it's amazing to see them return in such strong form. No Cities to Love is familiar yet refreshing.”Patch

“All Hands On The Bad One will forever be MY Sleater Kinney record, but who knew they still had something so amazing still in them? This is badass!” - CloningMishap

3.             Father John Misty - I Love You Honeybear

“This album is like good satire: you can not really listen and just enjoy it, and then you can really listen and be like "HOLY SHIT" and the see the entire world differently."Vivacranewife

“A gorgeous overview of the small and big problems of the world set to a soothing and wistful soundtrack.” - AncientIndian Wizard

“Having seen Father John Misty perform live several times this year, I don't know if his showmanship has colored my view of the album and catapulted it to the top. The whole album is refreshingly sarcastic and very well-crafted.” - Patch

4.             The Decemberists - What a Beautiful World, What a Terrible World

“I shouldn't be surprised given previous year's picks...but I am."Nesto 

“Colin Meloy has handled aging and adulthood beautifully. He's stayed weird and awesome and moving.” Vivacranewife

“Oh weird?! The Decemberists put out a new album this year and it's in my top 10 list?! Another lovely romp in and out of reality by these talented fools.” - Ancient Indian Wizard

5.             Divers - Hello Hello

“Divers mix heartland punk and slow burning indie rock. Rough and passionate, I’m blown away every time I see them.”Awmercy 

“Both epic and earthy.” - Paul

“Fantastic rock music. The album is great but this band truly shines in concert. I think this album makes my list mostly because of much they rocked my socks off every time I saw them this year.” - CloningMishap

6.             Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly

“Lamar confronts injustice and violence, and he does it with a hopeful attitude and a constantly changing style that gives the album an epic feeling.” - CloningMishap

7.             Jamie xx - In Colour

“This album makes me pine for the days when Underworld and The Orb were duking it out for the trippy chill-music crown. It's sample-driven and mostly instrumental with the vocals and lyrics sliding into the background.”CloningMishap

“Pretty much rules.” - dillwithit

8.             Bop English - Constant Bop

“A complete album worth multiple listens.”Nesto

“The 60s and 70s influences run deep on this somewhat-solo project album from White Denim’s front man. The songs taper off in quality toward the end, but the start is so strong that this warrants a top slot.” - NightraiN

9.             Summer Cannibals - Show Us Your Mind

“Fully ascended as one of Portland's best rock bands delivering jagged hooks with serious chops, intensity, and attitude. A tight and ferocious live set not to be missed.” - Awmercy

“Do I love this album because it's tight, fast, and loud, or do I love this album because I have a serious crush on the lead singer? Tough call.” - CloningMishap

10.          Kurt Vile - B'lieve I'm Goin' Down...

“Somber...uplifting?” - Nesto

“Darker, quieter, and folkier than his recent releases, Vile's introspective voice shines through on this classic-rock influenced album that is very listenable and impressive.” - NightraiN

11.          Chrvches - Every Eye Open

“I love Lauren Mayberry and the things she makes me feel.” - ve1cro 

“The second best Chvrches album ever made! Yes, it's not really revolutionary but it IS a near-perfection of what they did with the first album.” - CloningMishap

12.          Twin Shadow – Eclipse

“I started running this summer. It's kind of huge; when I texted my husband that I went on my first run he responded "WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?" But it's also amazing and I love this new part of my life. For the first couple of months, I only ran to this album.”Vivacranewife

“Perhaps a polarizing album in the Twin Shadow fan club. I was apprehensive but after deciding to dive on in I never looked back.” - Ancient Indian Wizard

13.          Bully - Feels Like

“I wish I could make this album tie for first. This entire album is solid and there are some definite stand out hits. The vocals are so full of life and passion, and the lyrics are full of coming-of-age angst. A truly fantastic album.” - Patch

14.          Lost Lander – Medallion

“A grandiose pop album, the band striding out onto the dance floor with their fingers still grasping at the stars.”Awmercy

“The song "Sunburns" absolutely rules.” - Ancient Indian Wizard

“One of the prettiest albums I've ever heard come out of Portland.”
- CloningMishap

15.          Sheer Mag – II

“It's a 7". It's 4 songs. It's amazing.” - Ancient Indian Wizard

“The blownout lo-fi might deter some, but to me it sounds like that hidden gem on a friend’s overdubbed radio mixtape.” - Awmercy

16.          Heat - Rooms EP

“Remember what it was like to be 21 and full of piss and swagger? Me neither. Heat are crushing on Lou Reed just as hard as the Strokes did, and sharp enough to pull it off in style. Ideal for vicarious reminiscing.”Awmercy

“Thankfully someone decided to continue in the Strokes gritty pop music mold while still concentrating on craftsman ship. Not only did they accomplish that but they expanded on it. Well done Canada!” - Ancient Indian Wizard

17.          Big Grams - Big Grams

"Fell In The Sun" is an all out club banger for me. First time I heard it I was like "who the hell is this" then I found out that it was Big Boi and Phantogram and what was left of my mind was fully blown. So good.” - Ancient Indian Wizard

“This "Seven Deadly Sins" themed album was a constant guilty pleasure of mine this year.” - Patch

18.          Belle & Sebastian - Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance

“Just like an old friend who you haven't seen in years and who you can pick up with right where you left off.” - ve1cro

19.          Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

“Almost anecdotal in its lyrical style. Conversational. She drifts in and out of actually singing and makes normal life sound so damn cool. Hang out with me, Courtney!”CloningMishap

“A very solid album from Courtney Barnett.”Patch

20.          Langhorne Slim and The Law - The Spirit Moves

“This album is a happy-then-sad rollercoaster of emotions. Sucking you in with the rollicking floor-stompers, but tugging at your heart-strings in the slower tracks. I’m really enjoying the evolution of Langhorne Slim… please continue.”NightraiN

21.          Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress

“The new National Anthem. ...and because America is so broken, it had to be Canada that did anything about it...”Rain

“Despite being a scant 4 songs long album, all the songs are top-notch and merit repeated hearings.” - Patch

22.          The White Buffalo - Love and The Death of Damnation

“Not as potent as El Buffalo Blanco’s last release, but I find just about everything he puts out to be praiseworthy and I still gravitate to his slower tracks to let the deep baritone wash over me.”NightraiN

“The quandary of heartache and melancholy, "do I drink more or drink less?" - Nesto

23.          Jose Gonzalez - Vestiges & Claws

“A contemplative acoustic lightness but with a large presence.”Nesto

24.          Lucero - All A Man Should Do

“Overall the quietest and most tender album from Lucero yet (although the horns remain!), but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it lacks the passion of Lucero’s previous albums.”NightraiN

25.          Promotmartyr - The Agent Intellect

“The Future of the Left travels through the early 80s and ends up in the 2010s.” - Paul 

26.          Ryan Adams - 1989

“I'm not kidding, I cried when I listened to his cover of Out of the Woods.”Vivacranewife

“Hi Ryan. Of course I still love you.” - Ancient Indian Wizard

27.          Murder by Death - Big Dark Love

“Liked it more every new listen. More strings please.”Nesto

“I love this band, but this album dropped off just a little bit. I feel like some of that may be due to the lack of a clear-cut single, but with that said I love "Send Me Home" and happily listen to this album anytime.” - NightraiN

28.          Tame Impala – Currents

“A really psychedelic album from a consistently great band. The song "Cause I'm a Man" has been on of my most played singles this year, that I shamelessly sing along to and recommend to others.” - Patch

29.          The Helio Sequence - The Helio Sequence

“I keep wanting to talk about how simple their sound is but I feel like that sounds wrong because they obviously put a ton of work into it and it sounds amazing so I'm just going to say that it is simple in the absolute best possible way. I love these dudes.“ - AncientIndian Wizard

30.          Nathaniel Rateliff And The Night Sweats - Nathaniel Rateliff And The Night Sweats


“Like Cee Lo’s “Fuck You” for the alt. country set, ‘S.O.B.’ is catchy as hell and with just enough color in the chorus with to give it some edge.“ - Awmercy