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I wonder...

...if I need this.

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The best albums of 2015 by some guy on the Internet (*finally*)

[Horribly delayed, I realize…]

I avoided this exercise last year in favor of...well, nothing in particular. I don’t know: I was focused on my new job, intent on maximizing my free time in a new city, and keen on ingesting the last bit of counterculture cool my then-neighborhood, the rapidly gentrifying Capitol Hill, had to offer, all of which left me unenthused with the prospect of enumerating the musical highlights of the preceding 12 months. Oh, sure, I started a list, which I’m fairly certain topped off at Swans’ To Be Kind, the lethal power cords, dislocating polyrhythms, and foreboding prophet-of-doom lyrics of which distilled the apocalyptic trajectory of 2014’s global political realities better than the news media itself.

But that was 2014. This is was 2015. Now I’m settled in a north Seattle, “we’re not suburbia, we just look like suburbia,” neighborhood, saddled with and luxuriating in all the trappings of the landed bourgeoisie (mortgage, runs to the hardware store and IKEA, a…

Tycho: ambient music for those who are succeeding in our contemporary economy?

There's a moment roughly 30 seconds into "Montana," the second track on Tycho's breakout 2014 album Awake, when you realize that the people who created this music can't possibly have experienced any adversity in their lives. For nearly 6 minutes, its mannerist, echo-ey guitar noodling melds with hazy synths and just noticeable bass over competent live drumming. It sounds great, the type of warm, organic electronic music that makes you feel as though the world is a place of unsullied wonder filled with promise and opportunity and absolutely lacking in the structural hurtles that have come to define our political moment. The euphoria it inspires is the pleasant, genteel kind bi-coastal types get from legal marijuana, a euphoria from which you can quickly sober up before heading back to your six-figure tech job, not the Rimbaudian sensorium-fucking kind which, though you might survive it, you will not come out of it whole.

It's the perfect sonic backdrop for an o…

@Nullprof's Best Music of 2013

Prologue
2013 was a *great* year for music. There were exceptional releases each month from established acts, left-for-dead acts, and several very exciting rookies. Anybody who keeps up in earnest with popular music should have found themselves juggling a profundity of riches, even outright overwhelmed by them. Usually, by early December, I have a reasonable idea of what my rankings will look like, and while this year my top choices have been static for several months, I really had to scramble to fill out the rest of my list. As late as the second week of December, I was still discovering 2013 releases that warranted inclusion. This is in part due to my decision to expand my reading habits, which led me to publications such as The Quietus, perhaps the closest approximation of an English analogue to Pitchfork. It reviews albums and bands that are not even on Pitchfork and progeny's radar, such as Grumbling Fur's terrific, avant-indie LP Glynnaestra.
After discovering that broaden…