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#1 Edited by Redbullet685 (6453 posts) -

So we are passed the halfway point of 2014 (yes, already), and so, I thought it would be appropriate that we share our favorite albums that have been released in the past 6 months.

Now, personally, this has been a pretty disappointing first half of a year for me musically. By this time last year I was already loving the new records from Kanye West, Vampire Weekend, Portugal. The Man, Phoenix, Daft Punk and countless others. This year, however, I have been in a pretty big rut when it comes to new music. Even still, I can muster up three worthwhile albums.

1. St. Vincent - St. Vincent

I actually had never heard of St. Vincent until this album released this past Spring. Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) is now my new love. The sound of this record is unlike anything I've ever heard. Annie Clark's voice is so beautiful. The same can be said with her guitar shredding. The overall production is astounding, as well. Just a top notch album from top to bottom.

2. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Piñata

Same as with St. Vincent, I hadn't heard of Freddie Gibbs, nor Madlib (though I had heard of Madvillainy before), until this year. Actually, I found this album just a few days ago. This album, man. It's fucking good. Even though Freddie Gibbs is the Emcee, Madlib is the star of the album. The beats and samples the veteran DJ pulls together make this the greatest sounding hip-hop album in a long while. You could have told me this album was released in 1993 against 36 Chambers and I'd believe it (speaking of 36 Chambers and Wu-Tang, Pinata features Raekwon The Chef on one of it's best tracks). Pinata sounds like some classic 90's gangsta rap. Freddie Gibbs' rapping over Madlib's beats are about being a gangsta and the life that comes with it. The lyrics hit hard and are heartfelt. Pinata is a vintage sounding gangsta rap album that was very much needed in a time desolate of real hip-hop.

3. The Colourist - The Colourist

This one I don't have that much to say about. It's just a little indie pop-rock album. Like I said, it's been a pretty barren year for me when it comes to music. That's not to say this is a bad album. It's enjoyable, definitely. It's just that in a year I will most likely have forgotten about it. Still, it is a fun and quick listen with a lot of great pop hooks, harmonies, and one song features something that I just love; background clapping.

So there's my top three of the year so far Pretty alright top three I think. What are your favorite albums of the first half of 2014?

Edit: Oh and I shouldn't forget the long awaited NEON iCON from RiFF RAFF. A truly fantastically odd listening experience. RiFF RAFF is endlessly hilarious and entertaining, even if some of his songs are downright garbage. The first track on the album, "Introducing the Icon", is actually a well put together song, and the best song Mr. Jody Highroller has ever produced.

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#2 Edited by dotdashdotdash (23 posts) -

I agree that it's been an off-year thus far, though I have to admit that I've been more detached from the music scene lately. The only one that stands out is Cloud Nothings' Here and Nowhere Else. Doesn't have the stand-out singles that Attack on Memory had, but I think the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Just a total buzzsaw almost right from the get-go, culminating in the fantastic (and probably best song they've written) "I'm Not Part of Me."

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I'm really digging the new Sunny Day in Glasgow album, Sea When Absent, but haven't spun it enough to make a definitive judgment yet. My initial feeling is that it's going to be towards the top when all said and done, even though it loses some steam in the second half. "In Love With Useless" is probably the highlight:

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Honestly, nothing else really jumps out at me. Real Estate's Atlas was a big disappointment for me. Outside of the excellent "Talking Backwards", I think it's largely a bore. Simply lacks the drive of previous efforts. They've always been light and poppy, but purposeful. This just feels drifting and aimless and forgettable. And it lacks hooks.

Also let down by the new Parquet Courts, Sunbathing Animal. I really enjoyed Light Up Gold, but two of its greatest qualities were its upbeat pace and its youthful energy. This seems to lose both of those characteristics, especially the pace. Which is not a good thing.

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#3 Edited by Corevi (6795 posts) -

Transistor Soundtrack which if you haven't listened to the vocal tracks is far better than a soundtrack to a game has any right to be.

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Superchroma by Crashfaster is also pretty great.

Neon Icon is a thing that I listened to.

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#4 Posted by terror_shart (35 posts) -
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Dat new Mastodon album is pretty dope

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#5 Edited by BabyChooChoo (6560 posts) -
  • I Never Learn - Lykke Li
  • Ultraviolence - Lana Del Rey
  • Oxymoron - Schoolboy Q

I've listened to very few albums released this year and I find it exhausting trying to keep up with music on a regular basis. Anywho, I don't have much to add. I just thought those 3 albums were incredibly solid. "No Rest For the Wicked" in particular off of I Never Learn is probably my favorite song this year.

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#6 Edited by Milkman (18913 posts) -

I gotta agree that this year hasn't been the best for music so far but there's still been some good stuff.

  • St. Vincent - St. Vincent (I guess my avatar makes this one pretty obvious.)
  • Sun Kil Moon - Benji
  • Swans - To Be Kind
  • Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else
  • Mac DeMarco - Salad Days

Just off the top of my head.

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#7 Posted by sub_o (967 posts) -

So far, Marty Friedman's new album:

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#8 Posted by DFL017 (311 posts) -

Lone: Reality Testing

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#9 Edited by Ben_H (3930 posts) -

Only Riff Raff's "Neon Icon" and that new Perturbator album. Nothing else this year has interested me in any way. There's no new metal I like. No new crappy rap for me to ironically like (my appreciation for Riff Raff is genuine thank you very much). No electronic stuff (because all the stuff I like has just been replaced with actual 80s music when I go to listen to music)

Right now I am far down a "listen to all this dope music from Miami Vice" hole and I kinda don't want to come out.

To make up for this year having garbage music, here's this dope Tommy Shaw song from S1E9 of Miami Vice "Glades". This video is sweet because it is one super long shot. RAW ENERGY

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#10 Edited by Rasmoss (571 posts) -
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The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream. What a fantastic album this is.

I'm with you on St. Vincent too. Saw her live too and she killed it. Great talent.

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#11 Posted by Kazzenn (194 posts) -

Albums I really enjoyed

  • Freddie Gibbs and Madlib - Pinata
  • Swans - To Be Kind
  • St. Vincent - St. Vincent

The first half this year for hip hop hasn't been great when a decent album like Oxymoron is your second favorite hip hop album and NEON iCON has a couple tracks I really like but as a whole left me feeling meh. Also can't really give a fair critique of the first half of the Death Grips double album since it is just the first half, I did enjoy what I heard though.

At least I got Chance/Gambino, Kendrick, Run the Jewels and K.R.I.T to hopefully fill the need in my hip hop heart later this year.

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#12 Edited by nonused (320 posts) -

Rooms of the House by La Dispute.


Nothing else comes to mind, really. But that album will satiate my musical appetite for YEARS TO COME.

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#13 Posted by SharkEthic (1091 posts) -
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#14 Edited by Cloudunderfire (53 posts) -
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I guess im going to stick out on this one but Being As An Ocean's newest album is pretty great. Post hardcore at its best with a bigger emphasis on spoken word and singing hooks rather than your typical Emmure drop A binary breakdowns about capcom games.

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#15 Edited by tildebees (175 posts) -

Favorite albums!!

Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Have A Nice Life - The Unnatural World

Kool A.D. - Word OK

La Dispute - Rooms of the House

Schoolboy Q - Oxymoron

Sun Kil Moon - Benji

Swans - To Be Kind (god damn this album is perfect and I'm going to see them in september and I'm so hyped)

other cool things I like are St.Vincent and Freddie Gibbs and YG and Isaiah Rashad and of course both those Lil B mixtapes

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#16 Edited by benpicko (2016 posts) -

The one where I've just been playing this song nonstop all week and I've forgotten what else I've listened to

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#17 Edited by Pie (7309 posts) -

Young Fathers - DEAD

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Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness

The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream

Freddie Gibbs and Madlib - Pinata

The Roots - ... And then you shoot your cousin

Clipping - CLPPNG

Badbadnotgood - III

Tobacco - Ultima II Massage

Jack White - Lazaretto

The first half of the new Death Grips(rip death grips)

I liked neon icon but it gets kinda old after a couple of listens. New Shabazz Palaces at the end of the month should be good. Might like this Moodie Black album don't know yet

edit: and I liked The Future's Void by EMA from this year

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#18 Edited by Akeldama (4359 posts) -

My favorite album of 2014 is my own

Also, High Spirits and Bolzer

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#19 Posted by armaan8014 (6114 posts) -

Might get laughed at for this but Coldplay - Ghost stories

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#20 Posted by myketuna (1881 posts) -

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Piñata

Blu - Good to Be Home

The only two albums I've listened to this year that actually came out this year. Really enjoyed both. Other than these two, I've been delving into other stuff that I missed and trying to get into some new music as well.

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#21 Posted by InfiniteSpark (376 posts) -

There's still a ton of LPs that are already released this year that I still want to get to. For now, here my crop of favorite LPs so far this year.

  • Real Estate - Atlas
  • Cloud Nothings - Here and Nothing Else
  • Wild Beasts - Present Tense
  • Swans - To Be Kind
  • Woods - With Light and With Love
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#22 Posted by Wemibelle (2391 posts) -

Two things prevent me from having good answers for this: I've not had to the money to buy albums for quite some time this year and most of the things I've really liked haven't "technically" been albums (EPs and singles, which I don't count).

Saying this, I guess I would have to say the Transistor soundtrack and the Lightning Returns soundtrack. Both of those blew me away as I played the respective games and are first on my list to purchase when I have some spare cash lying around. Also, I'm sure that the new Charsima.com album will be one of my favorites, but I haven't gotten to hear it yet due to that no money thing.

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#23 Edited by SteamRickroller (318 posts) -
  • Todd Terje - It's Album Time
  • The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream
  • Perfect Pussy - Say Yes To Love
  • Woods of Desolation - As the Stars
  • tUnE-yArDs - Nikki Nack
  • Kishi Bashi - Lightght
  • Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Pinata

And now to curl up into a ball and roll around, patiently waiting for the new FKA Twigs and Rustie albums and seeing if Ariana Grande and Sampha drop some new stuff, because if they do then they'll probably be absolutely fantastic

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#24 Posted by bmccann42 (226 posts) -

I think the albums I have listened to the most lately have included the following (be prepared for boring old man music):

Tales of US: Goldfrapp

Extinction - Burning Hearts

Transistor Soundtrack

Morning Phase - Beck

After the Disco - Broken Bells

You may now proceed with the mocking :)

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#25 Edited by SMTDante89 (2885 posts) -

Favorites so far this year (Band - Album)

Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Slough Feg - Digital Resistance

Cynic - Kindly Bent to Free Us

Twilight - III: Beneath Trident's Tomb

Casualties of Cool - Self-Titled

Killer Be Killed - Self-Titled

Albums I think I really like, but still need some time to listen to them more:

Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun

Phish - Fuego

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#26 Edited by frymillstrum (1263 posts) -

This thread reminded me of 2 things

1. I'm seriously out of touch with current music, I couldn't even name a single album from this year, or even a song now that I think about it.

2. The most recently released album I've listened to (for the first time that is) is Random Access Memories shortly after it came out last year. Funny to be reminded of that today of all days.

I've heard plenty of new albums and artists over the past year but nothing current. I've gotten heavily into Van Morrison, Otis Redding, Fleetwood Mac and Dexy's Midnight Runners. Good stuff.

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#27 Posted by Shortbreadtom (1009 posts) -

I don't really keep up with modern music, but holy shit Herbal T's album Lo-Fi Blow Dry is so damn good

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#28 Posted by Littleg (109 posts) -

Dat new Mastodon album is pretty dope

Definitely agree with this - have been listening to Once More 'Round The Sun almost non-stop since it came out. It might be on the way to becoming this decade's Songs For The Deaf for me.

I didn't even know St Vincent's album was out - I started the year with all kinds of good intentions of listening to more new music, listened to lots of BBC 6Music but kind of fell off when I started getting behind on podcasts and video stuff. St Vincent was one of the artists I wrote down on my little list that I intend to find out more about and then I never did. Same with Courtney Barnett.

Other than that, I bought the new Black Keys and Jack White albums and they're both definitely another one of those - haven't felt compelled to go back and re-listen to either yet. I bought the Drenge album, but that came out a while ago. One band I've been following and looking forward to is Royal Blood, whose album is due out soon, I think.

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OK, this thread has inspired me! I'm going to listen to everything that everyone's posted in here and make sure I'm listening to the radio/Pandora/whatever more when I'm working.

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#29 Posted by DreamNDayUnite (24 posts) -

Favorite albums!!

Have A Nice Life - The Unnatural World

Sun Kil Moon - Benji

Swans - To Be Kind (god damn this album is perfect and I'm going to see them in september and I'm so hyped)

You have good taste.

My choices:

Triptykon - Melana Chasmata

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Nouns - Still

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Black Santa - Sorry if this is weird (not on youtube)

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#30 Edited by Winsord (1531 posts) -

In no particular order:

I keep meaning to get around to listening to St. Vincent's new album. I wasn't big on her last one, but I saw her live a couple of weeks ago and liked the new material, so I should pick it up. Surprised to see so many people on here listening to Swans, but that's totally awesome and I couldn't be happier about it.

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#31 Edited by UitDeToekomst (799 posts) -

Mega Drive - 198xad

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#32 Posted by RonGalaxy (4688 posts) -

I've been listening to Lost in the Dream by The War on Drugs nonstop for a few months now. I do have it on vinyl, but I mostly listen to it digitally because I would have worn the record out by now.

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#33 Posted by Rafaelfc (2225 posts) -
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Somehow, I haven't been able to stop listening to their album since it came out.

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#34 Edited by EuanDewar (5160 posts) -

I don't agree that this year has been weak for music, at least not for me. I liked St. Vincent's new album but didn't love it, unfortunately. Got to see her live though and that was a blast. Also saw Neutral Milk Hotel in May and that was astonishing.

Here's a list of some albums that I've loved this year in no particular order, probably forgotten a few:

  • Silver Mt. Zion – Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything
  • Have A Nice Life – The Unnatural World
  • Behemoth – The Satanist
  • Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - ピカピカふぁんたじん
  • Sun Kil Moon – Benji
  • Boris - Noise
  • White Suns – Totem
  • Freddie Gibbs and Madlib – Piñata
  • Big Ups – Eighteen Hours of Static
  • Liars – Mess
  • KOOL A.D. - WORD O.K.
  • Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams
  • Thantifaxath – Sacred White Noise
  • Carla Bozulich – Boy
  • Swans – To Be Kind
  • Fire! Orchestra - Enter!
  • Tobacco – Ultima II Massage
  • clipping. – CLPPNG
  • Open Mike Eagle – Dark Comedy
  • Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues
  • Gridlink - Longhena

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#35 Posted by Ghostiet (5832 posts) -

HTRK's Psychic 9-5 Club and EMA's The Future's Void.

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#36 Posted by StriderNo9 (1307 posts) -

Imagine Dragon's Night Visions has been on constant iPod rotation.

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#37 Posted by DillonWerner (1609 posts) -

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib- Piñata

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Swans- To Be Kind

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Open Mike Eagle- Dark Comedy

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#38 Edited by Meltac (2008 posts) -
  • Madlib & Freddie Gibbs - Piñata

Absolutely amazing hip hop album, which is mostly because of Madlib. I've always enjoyed Freddie Gibbs to a degree, since he has always been very one-sided and if you've heard one song with him, you already know what he's about. There is no denying that he is an excellent rapper if you enjoy gangster-rap. What is incredible about this album though is what Madlib has done to Freddie Gibbs. This is a very different and yet at the same time a very recognizable Gibbs, since he is still rapping about what he usually raps about. Madlib's beats though has made him sound so much better in every way and big kudos to Gibbs also, because Madlib beats are not always that easy to rap over. It is at times incredibly abstract, but at the same time it is also incredibly gangster, which I really enjoy. Madlib once again proves that he is one of the greatest and out-of-the-box thinking people in the hip hop industry.

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  • Intuition & Equilibrum - Intuition & Equilibrum

Another hip hop album, but this one is very different from Piñata. Intuition makes raps and Equilibrum makes beats and together they make incredible music. This is a very personal and self-reflecting album. Intuition is getting older and wiser and as a result of this we hear him rap about past life decisions and those he has to make in the future. It is about appreciating what you got and stop worrying about what you don't got. What's great though is that he does all this in a way in which it doesn't come off as corny. It's funny, it's honest and it's just too good to pass up on. This is a dude who's down to earth, who knows who and what he is and he embraces that. He's not afraid to laugh at himself, but he also not afraid to be brutally honest. It's not all just fun though, as there are some really personal songs on the album as well. On the production side we're dealing with a very unnoticed producer, which is sad since he is extremely talented. He has a wide range of different styles, which makes for an album that is sonically diverse and just all around very, very well made.

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  • Blueprint - Respect The Architect

Hip hop at its finest. This is a dude who is tired of all the bullshit that's going on in the industry. Blueprint has been on many roads sonically, but he started out by making real old school sounding hip hop. He then ventured on to make genre-bending hip hop, which was almost even better than what he did before, since it was so different, but still grounded in hip hop. With Respect The Architect he's gone back to making hip hop ass sounding hip hop. Every track has something worth noticing and there are no filler at all. The album is only half an hour long, but that half hour is absolutely amazing. Blueprint is tired of those who are ignorant, arrogant and being so closeminded, and he is calling those out. He has a great flow and he's a great writer, can it get any better? If we look at the production side every track is a banger. They're hardhitting and raw. It's great!

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  • L'Orange - The Orchid Days

One of the best instrumental albums I've heard in a very long time. Ever since L'Orange collaborated with Stik Figa back in '13, I've kept my eye on him. With this album he made it on my list of some of the best producers right now. This is as soulful and creative as it will get. Inspired by the sounds of the 40's and 50's, this album is one big sample-fest which creates the frame for one big cohesive work. It's very unique and mesmerizing and by mostly sampling and adding layers he creates moody backdrops, which then adds further to the album as a whole. It's a hard album to describe really, so if you're just slightly interested, I advice you to take a listen. Oh, and this album does not require that you're into hip hop at all!3 or 4 of the songs has a rapper as a feature and this is my favorite one of them.

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3 or 4 of the songs have a rapper as a feature and this is my favorite one of those.

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  • Honorable mentions:Black Knights & John Frusciante - Medieval Chamber, CunninLynguists - Strange Journey Volume Three, Dag Savage - E&J, Open Mike Eagle - Dark Comedy (on its way to become one of my favorites too)
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#39 Posted by cashbasket (84 posts) -

My favorites so far:

  1. Trap Them - Blissfucker
  2. Triptykon - Melana Chasmata
  3. Misery Index - The Killing Gods
  4. Animals as Leaders - The Joy of Motion
  5. Behemoth - The Satanist
  6. Angel Vivaldi - Away with Words, Part 1
  7. Boris - Noise
  8. Every Time I Die - From Parts Unknown
  9. Lustmord - Krakow
  10. Gridlink - Longhena
  11. Exmortus - Slave to the Sword
  12. Enabler - La Fin Absolue du Monde
  13. Killer Be Killed - S/T
  14. Tombs - Savage Gold
  15. Soreption - Engineering the Void
  16. Nothing - Guilty of Everything
  17. Nux Vomica - S/T
  18. Marty Friedman - Inferno
  19. Kampfar - Djevelmakt
  20. Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else
  21. Coffinworm - IV.I.VIII
  22. Conquering Dystopia - S/T
  23. Destrage - Are You Kidding Me? No.
  24. Incantation - Dirges of Elysium
  25. Alterbeast - Immortal
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#40 Posted by Bremaine (62 posts) -

Alcest - Shelter

Swans - To Be Kind

Agalloch - The Serpent and the Sphere

Starbomb - Starbomb

That's all of the new albums I can remember hearing this year. I may be forgetting some.

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#41 Posted by ThePickle (4357 posts) -

Isaiah Rashad - Cilvia Demo and St. Vincent - s/t

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#42 Edited by Capum15 (5699 posts) -

The only full albums I've been listening to from this year are Linkin Park - The Hunting Party and Lindsey Stirling - Shatter Me. Really like those.

Been listening to a lot more but from previous years, like Volbeats' "Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies" from last year.

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#43 Posted by Ubertron986 (24 posts) -

I haven't really listened to anything from this year other than K. Flay's first album, Life as a Dog. I really like it, though some of the edge of her free stuff is missing. The lyrics are never as memorable and no song is as good as the Cops (how could they be though, really). Still, I enjoy it and put it on often.

The new Hold Steady is a step up from their previous one, but I think that band gotten too male for me. Most of the tracks have a male narrator talking down to a woman, which gets a bit tiring. In that way it's similar to Almost Killed Me, but without the nervousness to undercut it. There are great tracks though and I've adjusted to the very produced sound. Oh, and it's more likely I got too unmale for the Hold Steady.

My favorite and most listen to album has to be Fox Confessor by Neko Case. I love everything about it and listen to it maybe twice a day because I am a maniac.

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#44 Edited by Redbullet685 (6453 posts) -

Seems that I should really give that Swans record a listen, huh?

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#45 Posted by Redbullet685 (6453 posts) -

@bmccann42: Totally forgot about that new Broken Bells record. That was pretty good, but I only listened to it the one time. I pretty much like anything I've heard that Danger Mouse is involved with.

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#46 Edited by dotdashdotdash (23 posts) -

Seems that I should really give that Swans record a listen, huh?

Seems to me like the kind of album you either really get into, or you shrug your shoulders and never listen to it again. I'm definitely in the latter camp. I thought it was long and droning and boring. I can understand why people like it, but it's just not my thing at all.

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#47 Edited by EVO (4029 posts) -

@dfl017 said:

Lone: Reality Testing

Surprised this hasn't been mentioned more. Giant Bomb community must be sleeping on this dude, especially considering he makes somewhat video game sounding music. Jaded is my favourite track at the moment:

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#48 Posted by Brodehouse (10827 posts) -

Charisma.com have a new album you guys, it came out June 4th.

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#49 Posted by Redbullet685 (6453 posts) -

@dotdashdotdash: Yeah I'm not much of an experimental rock kinda guy, but because of all of the praise I'll give it a shot. I listened to one of the songs someone posted in here, and it seemed ok, but I believe if I invest the 2 hours to actually listen to it in full, that it'll be my best chance in liking it.

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#50 Edited by Radio_Resistance (33 posts) -

@armaan8014 said:

Might get laughed at for this but Coldplay - Ghost stories

Okay, logged in for the first time since ever to say me too-- but I guess I'm a weak bitch because I wouldn't have said it if someone else didn't first. I will even say liking this album made me go back and less-hate Mylo Xyloto.

There's probably something I'm forgetting right now, but off the top of my head, Elbow's last album was one of my standouts.

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EDIT: I guess posting the full album Youtube link is faux pas... but the whole thing I like, rather than just this track.