The Top 20 of 2013 Revisited

Posted in Features on June 12th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Six months ago, nearly to the day, I posted my Top 20 of 2013. Maybe I remember it so well because it took so damn long to put together. Well, now it’s time to basically look back and tear my own picks a new one. To see who’s stood up six months after the fact and which albums have been forgotten.

You know the drill. This is always an enjoyable, if somewhat humbling experience, but if a fierce numerical inventory is what needs to be made, then I’m on board. Here’s how it shakes out:

Abraham Essays - Best Beauty Essays Service from uncanny pro-scribes. Online Custom Writing Service prices go from .95/page. 20. All Them Witches, Lightning at the Door

If I was putting this list together today, this would be a top 10 album. It was pretty recently released when I first did the top 20, but the more I’ve gotten to know it, the more I’ve dug it.

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17. Magic Circle, Magic Circle

This was some of 2013’s best doom. I haven’t gone back to the album a million times, but I do keep trying to track down a Great http://www.sampans.fr/?history-homework-help-uks that ensure high grades! We differ from other custom writing companies because right now we can offer you: A live chat with your writer; When you order a college essay, you have a right to make sure that it is under a professional's control. Magic Circle gig to see them live again. Hoping for new stuff from them soon.

16. Iron Man, South of the Earth

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15. Sasquatch, IV

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14. Black Pyramid, Adversarial

This was going to be in my top 20 one way or another. With the breakup of the band owing to members leaving the Boston area, it’s become kind of a sad swansong in my mind, though the songs still make their victory plain to hear.

13. Across Tundras, Electric Relics

Every now and again, I check We provide Master Thesis Voorbeeld for almost all individuals. We cater to professionals, politicians, and individuals who want to deliver effective Tanner Olson‘s Bandcamp page to see if he’s put out anything new. He’s due at this point, but this illustrative essay Best Custom Essay Company best phd thesis dna profiling research papers Across Tundras record has enough staying power to hold me over either way. “Gravel Roads,” man.

12. Borracho, Oculus

I feel like I listened to this record so much I know it front to back, so I don’t even need to put it on. I just press play in my brain and the songs start. Riffs riffs riffs. Borracho proved they could thrive as a three-piece and Oculus blew their first one out of the water.

11. Ice Dragon, Born a Heavy Morning

Fucking hell, I wish Ice Dragon played shows. They’ve got four new CD reissues out since Born a Heavy Morning that haunt my dreams. If I had any money, I’d be telling them to shut up and take it from me.

10. Devil to Pay, Fate is Your Muse

It was a long album, but a good one. I was happy I could fit this into the top 10, and I still am. Charm goes a long way, and Devil to Pay have plenty.

9. Beast in the Field, The Sacred Above, the Sacred Below

I played this in the car the other day and The Patient Mrs. goes, “Can we listen to something less… abrasive?” It seemed to me she immediately understood the appeal of Beast in the Field. This record continues to crush everything in its path.

8. Beelzefuzz, Beelzefuzz

Kind of a similar deal to Borracho. Truth be told, at this point, I’m just glad to even talk about Beelzefuzz‘s self-titled. Seriously. I saw it on the other list and was like, “Yay!” One of the most inventive and individual albums I heard last year. Can’t wait to find out how they follow it.

7. Samsara Blues Experiment, Waiting for the Flood

I had kind of put this one down for a while, but I recently picked it back up and have been listening again. Excellent heavy psych. Put Samsara Blues Experiment in another class of bands as far as I’m concerned.

6. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Mind Control

Probably haven’t listened to it all the way through since I made the Top 20 in December. Some of its hooks continue to resonate though, and I hope Uncle Acid continue to get weirder and more spaced out.

5. Lumbar, The First and Last Days of Unwelcome

I remember making the list and then pushing everything back by one to fit this in the top five. One of those one-time-only records that you’re going to hear people talk about a decade from now, myself included.

4. Vista Chino, Peace

No regrets for having this on the list, but there are records behind it in number that I’ve listened to more since. I hope at some point they do a second one, and I hope Mike Dean plays bass on it.

3. Gozu, The Fury of a Patient Man

Absolutely, yes. I haven’t seen any single band play as much as Gozu since I moved to Massachusetts about a year ago, and I am 100 percent okay with that. These dudes kill it, and these songs have only become tighter and more lethal on stage. Whatever they do next, it’s going to be very, very heavy.

2. Monster Magnet, Last Patrol

Hasn’t quite had the staying power I thought it would, to be honest. I have the vinyl but never got it on CD and I’m sure I would listen to it more often if I had that version. The LP is killer, but there are like two songs per side and that’s an awful lot of flipping for an album that just demands you chill the fuck out and let it take over your mind.

1. Clutch, Earth Rocker

Pretty satisfying to know that if I had to make a Top 20 of 2013 today, this would still be my number one pick. It felt glaringly obvious to me — it was the top of the Readers Poll as well — but some things you just can’t ignore. Clutch added a few classics to their catalog with Earth Rocker, and it felt like even the record’s B-grade material was top notch.

The Top 20 last year actually went to 30 — I think this year I’ll probably cut out the middle-man and just do a Top 30 — but here were the other 10 picks:

21. Blaak Heat Shujaa, The Edge of an Era
22. The Freeks, Full On
23. Luder, Adelphophagia
24. The Flying Eyes, Lowlands
25. Black Skies, Circadian Meditations
26. At Devil Dirt, Plan B: Sin Revolucion No Hay Evolucion
27. Kadavar, Abra Kadavar
28. Naam, Vow
29. Mühr, Messiah
30. Uzala, Tales of Blood and Fire

Most of those look about right. If I was making the list now, I’d put Mühr and Naam in the Top 20, in place of Queens of the Stone Age and I don’t know what else, and just seeing the name of the album there now makes me want to put on that Luder. I still feel like I don’t know the Uzala as well as I’d like to, and I bought that on CD and tape when I saw them last fall.

There you have it. Seems like the original list actually held up better than I expected, so right on. Overall it was a fairly stellar year for new music, though I doubt I’ll be saying anything different in another six months when the end of 2014 rolls around.

Anything you forgot about or anything that dropped off from your favorites last year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Thanks for reading.

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 EPs, Demos and Singles of 2013

Posted in Features on January 2nd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

I’ve been trying to get this one on the page for a couple weeks now — really since last year if you want to go back that far — and I finally just decided to do it. Granted, it’s already 2014, but I’m pretty used to being behind the times, so I hope you’ll indulge me on this one.

The thing is, of course we already did the Top 20 Albums of 2013, but that leaves an awful lot out in terms of quality shorter releases. Demos, singles, EPs, splits — whatever it might be — there’s a lot more to the story of a year in music than who’s putting out what full-length. That might be true now more than ever, with digital releases and artists having the ability to more or less give a song-by-song feed of new material should they so choose. Since this is the first time I’ve done this list, I’ve kept the presentation pretty basic, but there’s a lot to dig into here anyway in terms of the quality of the music and what people were able to accomplish in, in some cases, just one or two tracks.

My basis for judgment here is basically the same as with the full-albums list, and by that I mean how much I listened to something played a huge role, and it’s not just how important I think an EP or a split or a demo was that got it included on this list — though of course that stuff matters as well. Like spelling, repeat listens count. And it goes without saying these are my picks and have nothing to do with the Readers Poll, the results of which are here.

Okay, let’s do this:

The Top 20 Short Releases of 2013

1. The Machine/Sungrazer, Split
2. Dozer, Vultures
3. Mars Red Sky, Be My Guide
4. Black Thai, Seasons of Might
5. Wo Fat/Egypt, Cyclopean Riffs Split 12″
6. Young Hunter, Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain
7. Shroud Eater, Dead Ends
8. Steak, Corned Beef Colossus
9. Geezer, Gage
10. The Golden Grass, One More Time b/w Tornado 7″
11. Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight, Underground
12. King Buffalo, Demo
13. Groan, Ride the Snake
14. Crypt Sermon, Demo MMXIII
15. Stubb, Under a Spell b/w Bullets Rain 7″
16. Salem’s Pot, Watch Me Kill You Tape
17. Undersmile/Coma Wall, Wood and Wire Split
18. Second Grave, Antithesis
19. Sinister Haze, Demo
20. Olde Growth, Owl

Honorable mention has to go to the Fatso Jetson/Yawning Man split, C.O.C.‘s Megalodon EP, which was right on but which I didn’t really hear enough to include. The Gates of Slumber‘s Stormcrow as well.

Just a couple notes: In the case of Olde Growth, putting them last was actually more about not being sure when the official release date of Owl was than anything else. I actually listened to that quite a bit, and “Tears of Blood” remains my favorite work of the duo’s to date. In terms of demos, it was a good year for doom debuts, with Crypt Sermon and Sinister Haze both showing some malevolent classicism, and King Buffalo‘s demo grew on me almost immediately upon hearing it and right away made me look forward to whatever might come next from them.

I was a little hesitant to put a split in the number one spot, but The Machine‘s riff for “Awe” alone made it necessary. I’ve kept this disc on my person for almost the entire year and continue to have no regrets in doing so. For Dozer, yeah, it was a collection of older material, but I still enjoyed the crap out of it. Both Mars Red Sky and Black Thai signaled considerable creative growth in four-song EPs, and the Wo Fat and Egypt split more than lived up to its mission. The riff lives in bands like that, and as we get further into stylistic nuance and subgenre development, it’s those groups who are holding on to the Heavy.

Young Hunter are one of the most promising bands I’ve heard in the last three years. Flat out. Killer release. Ditto that in a much different context for Shroud Eater, whose take on heavy only got more sinister and more effective with Dead Ends. Steak emerge as tops among the five British bands — a quarter of the list! — here. Their Corned Beef Colossus also had the best title I heard all year, and though Trippy Wicked, Groan, Stubb, and Undersmile/Coma Wall (the latter earning bonus points for putting out a split with themselves) all thrilled, Steak‘s potential got them that spot. Time for a full-length, guys.

Not to leave out New York — though the geographical alignment is a coincidence — Geezer‘s Gage tapped into a jammier feel that I thought suited the band remarkably well, and The Golden Grass‘ debut single offered one of the most charming irony-free good times I’ve heard in a long while. The Salem’s Pot cassette was one of my most-listened-to tapes this year, last mentioned but not at all least, Second Grave‘s Antithesis probably would’ve clocked in higher if I’d had more time with it, but was definitely one I wanted to put in here anyway.

As I said, a lot of really astounding shorter outings, and worthy of attention in their own right. If I missed anything, I hope you’ll let me know in the comments.

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Top 20 of 2013 Readers Poll — RESULTS!

Posted in Features on January 1st, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Before we get started with any of this, I want to give a HUGE thanks to everyone who participated in the 2013 Readers Poll. I cannot properly convey how much it means to me personally to have people voluntarily get involved and share their opinions like that. Lists were coming in right down to the wire on New Year’s Eve, and in the end, we had a grand total of 335 participants, up from 2012 and full of thoughtful, excellent picks.

This year, you can see so for yourself, since thanks as always to the technological wizardry (or at least I call it wizardry because I don’t understand how it works) of Slevin, we’ve been able to cull all 335 individual lists and present them in full. You’ll find them after the jump below. And yes, in case you were wondering, that’s an awful lot of lists.

The method by which the picks are measured has also changed some. We used a point system, wherein a 1-4 ranking was worth five points, 5-8 worth four, 9-12 worth three, 13-16 worth two and 17-20 worth one. To keep things clear, I’m also including the raw vote tally, so you can see what actually got picked the most as well as where individual albums landed on people’s lists.

Here goes:

Top 20 of 2013 — Weighted Results

1. Clutch, Earth Rocker (589 points)
2. Vista Chino, Peace (431 points)
3. Queens of the Stone Age, …Like Clockwork (357 points)
4. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Mind Control (354 points)
5. Monster Magnet, Last Patrol (329 points)
6. Kadavar, Abra Kadavar (312 points)
7. Windhand, Soma (291 points)
8. Earthless From the Ages (285 points)
9. Red Fang, Whales and Leeches (276 points)
10. Black Sabbath, 13 (220 points)
11. Blood Ceremony, The Eldritch Dark (217 points)
12. Church of Misery, Thy Kingdom Scum (166 points)
13. Sasquatch, IV (155 points)
14. Carcass, Surgical Steel (136 points)
15. Kylesa, Ultraviolet (129 points)
16. Orchid, The Mouths of Madness (124 points)
17. Samsara Blues Experiment, Waiting for the Flood (114 points)
18. Deafheaven, Sunbather (112 points)
19. Kvelertak, Meir (109 points)
20. Ghost, Infestissumam (103 points)
20. The Melvins, Tres Cabrones (103 points)

Honorable mention also goes to:
ASG, Blood Drive (96 points)
Naam, Vow (95 points)
Alice in Chains, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (90 points)
Pelican, Forever Becoming (90 points)
Gozu, The Fury of a Patient Man (85 points)
Deville, Hydra (79 points)
Lumbar, The First and Last Days of Unwelcome (79 points)

In Solitude, Gorguts and Black Pyramid also has respectable showings, as you can see in the lists themselves. Clutch dominated from day one and never relinquished the lead, but some of the races for the spots behind them were tight, like Queens of the Stone Age and Uncle Acid keeping it close, as well as others. In any case, such unanimity around Earth Rocker was exciting in itself. It was my album of the year too.

Let’s do the raw votes:

Top 20 of 2013 — Raw Votes

1. Clutch, Earth Rocker (142 votes)
2. Vista Chino, Peace (114 votes)
3. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Mind Control (98 votes)
4. Queens of the Stone Age, …Like Clockwork (95 votes)
5. Monster Magnet, Last Patrol (91 votes)
6. Kadavar, Abra Kadavar (87 votes)
7. Windhand, Soma (84 votes)
8. Earthless, From the Ages (81 votes)
9. Red Fang, Whales and Leeches (77 votes)
10. Black Sabbath, 13 (71 votes)
11. Blood Ceremony, The Eldritch Dark (68 votes)
12. Church of Misery, Thy Kingdom Scum (50 votes)
13. Sasquatch, IV (47 votes)
14. Kylesa, Ultraviolet (43 votes)
15. Orchid, The Mouths of Madness (40 votes)
16. Carcass, Surgical Steel (37 votes)
17. Ghost, Infestissumam (34 votes)
18. ASG, Blood Drive (32 votes)
19. Kvelertak, Meir (32 votes)
19. Samsara Blues Experiment, Waiting for the Flood (32 votes)
20. The Melvins, Tres Cabrones (31 votes)
20. Naam, Vow (31 votes)

Honorable mention to:
Deafheaven, Sunbather (29 votes)
Alice in Chains, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (27 votes)
Black Pyramid, Adversarial (27 votes)
Gozu, The Fury of a Patient Man (26 votes)
Pelican, Forever Becoming (25 votes)
Causa Sui, Euporie Tide (23 votes)
Jex Thoth, Blood Moon Rise (23 votes)
Lumbar, The First and Last Days of Unwelcome (23 votes)
Russian Circles, Memorial (23 votes)
Cathedral, The Last Spire (22 votes)
Egypt, Become the Sun (21 votes)
Horisont, Time Warriors (21 votes)

Beelzefuzz, Devil to Pay, Deville, In Solitude, All Them Witches, Big Business, Inter Arma and Sandrider also had strong showings at around or just under 20 votes each, and everything else was less than that. Pretty similar makeup to the weighted results overall, with Queens of the Stone Age and Uncle Acid swapped out. Once again though, the moral of the story is that Clutch kicked ass in 2013, and I think that’s something we can all agree on.

One more time, cheers, kudos and gratitude to all that participated in the 2013 Readers Poll. As we move into 2014, I couldn’t be more thrilled with how it all came out and couldn’t be happier to have everyone who got involved included in these results. Here’s to next time around.

All of the lists that were sent in are included here after the jump for your perusal. I hope if you find somewhere my math was fuzzy, you’ll point it out. Otherwise, please enjoy.

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