With sports mostly in my rear view mirror, I fell back into music this year. Hard.
However, for the most part it was disillusioning. I figured with the mechanism of music distribution largely decentralized, the likes of Taylor Swift and those pop princesses who produce bland mediocre music would be nearing extinction. But no. Everywhere you turned, there she was. With her stupid retarded cat. With her appropriation of the retro-80s fitness video. Gag me.
So I mostly retreated to what was safe and familiar for me: industrial music. It’s like high school all over again!
Aesthetic Perfection – ‘Til Death
I really liked this album for perhaps all of the wrong reasons. I always wondered what a male version of Lady Gaga would sound like. This is the closest I’ve ever heard. Of course Daniel Graves doesn’t have all of the contrivances of a Lady Gaga, the production and art team to surround him, etc. But it was sexy, energetic, slightly ominous and just plain fun to listen to.
Liars – Mess
Even when listening to this album on a CD or mp3s, there is a distinct Side A and Side B. This is perhaps their most concentrated effort since 2006’s Drum’s Not Dead. Side A is a burst of energy makes you want to break things. Side B is more muted, a somber study that echos the tribal aspects of Drum’s Not Dead.
Trust – Joyland
Moody. Surreal. Dancey. Scary.
D’Angelo – Black Messiah
Holy shit. This picks up where Voodoo left off in 2000. And despite being 15 years in the making, it doesn’t sound forced. It’s a protest album that stays true to the sexiness that D’Angelo’s music oozes.
Aphex Twin – Syro
Another artist who has been out of commission for a bit. Although this return was intended as a compilation of Richard D. James has been up to the past few years, it sounds fresher than most things out there.
Swans – To Be Kind
I never cared much for Swans during my music cultivation period (i.e. adolescence) of the 90s. But holy shit Michael Gira and company have been on fire since 2010’s My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky.
Here are other things I was listening to that were not released this year.
Skinny Puppy – Weapon
Front Line Assembly – Echogenetic
Coil – Black Antlers
Hole – My Body the Hand Grenade