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Archive for the ‘author James Uhler’ Category

 

This year Sam and I debated about having our yearly Allan Fish Online Film Festival. While it seemed an obvious choice in the positive—kept isolated and largely at home, what better time to hold an online only film festival in honor of our dear friend and esteemed cinephile, the late Allan Fish? A thought furthered when I kept seeing an array of arthouse theaters and actual famous film festivals copping the idea of showing their films to online communities, all in an effort to recoup costs as they hope to survive such a turbulent, uneasy time. But in reality, the second half of that statement was the reason for our trepidation: we wanted to respect the anxiety that so many face on a daily basis. But after some contemplation, we figured recommending films to friends and strangers alike, with the potential for discussion, could at the very least possibly offer a slight break, a diversion, to some. It was, as always, why the venture was started in the first place, to respect the memory of site co-founder Allan Fish, and remember him in a way he’d want, via the cinema.

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Alas, here is my final post—my favorite 25 LPs I heard this year. It was blast presenting this here again (it’s at my blog, in one post also. I also return to the comment field for my lists there and leave the names of records I hear but missed for this deadline for that specific year, so it’s always good to check back every few months if you’re so inclined). I hope it highlights music you’ve loved, or are about to love due to its inclusion here. Happy listening, onward to 2020!

The initial post, 150-51, is here, with 50-26 here.

 

1. Lightning Bolt – Sonic Citadel
Here, on their first album in years, we find the boys in great spirits. Much has been said about the approachability of the tunes here, almost appearing as something of a Lightning Bolt Pop record. That’s contextual of course, as when you drop the needle the tunes anyone expecting Taylor Swift or Britney Spears is gonna be thoroughly disappointed, this is still the band who do some of the best noise chaos the world has ever bore witness to. Meaning, this is accessibility only on their terms, and the terms they’ve set are thunderous. Perhaps best of all is ‘Air Conditioning’, on the short list for one of my songs of the year; a staccato digital vocal glitch braces the listener for a humongous distorted bass riff, before the song gallops through several movements. Its title implies cooling out, but who can keep the windows shut in the face of this heat? (more…)

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Continuing my favorite 150 records of 2019 today with #50-26 (for #150 to 51, see here). Tomorrow will be the remaining, my top 25.

Happy Listening!

26. Orchestra of Constant Distress – Cognitive Dissonance
UK’s Riot Season has become one of the greatest labels on the planet, and with Cognitive Dissonance, Orchestra of Constant Distress has released one of their standout efforts. It’s grinding menace, pitched as something like modern classical within a Rock template. It makes sense, I can’t think of a better idea for the modern age than the endless drone that provides much of the backbone to this LP, where the track names (‘Shame’, ‘Guilt’, ‘Hopelessness’) provide a context. Best might be ‘Discomfort’ that approaches that for the listener, snapping you from the monotony and doldrums with a tantalizing lead riff. Even if for only 6 minutes, you thank ‘em. (more…)

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It was, by nearly all accounts, a tremendous year for Pop. Of course, given the nearly limitless ways new music can be offered out and streamed, this is true for any given year. There are never bad years for music, just as there are never bad years for movies, the only difficulty is perhaps the opposite; the extreme over-abundance of riches and the difficulty to stream all, or even a reasonable percentage of it. Meaning, I’m presenting a huge list this year because I listened to a lot, being blessed to work at a job where hours are spent working with headphones affixed in my ears for long passages. Thus, I got to well over 250 new releases this year, and sampled dozens more enough that I could make judgement. But still I know there are masterpieces that I haven’t even heard of, and probably never will. Such is life, but I do hope I offer enough of an argument to prompt listens to new music that a reader here wasn’t previously aware. I remain, as ever, a devoted follower in the Church of the Sonic Guitar.

Today, I’ll present a straight up list, 101-150 with no additional write-ups and 51-100 with small capsule like reviews. From there on Monday, will be 50-26, with the Top 25 appearing on Tuesday, with the write-ups growing the closer we get to the pole position. Happy listening.

 

51. Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race
There is a riff about 1:28 seconds into ‘The Giza Power Plant’ that rolls for the next half minute or so that goes a long way in describing Blood Incantation’s newest sonic assault. They’re a death metal band, but at their base is a throwback thrash riff band from the 1980s, grounding all the mysticism and atmospheric brooding in a real human element. It’s power that drives Metal you see, and after about 3 minutes of ‘Inner Paths (To Outer Space)’ it’s just this gale force that cuts through the ambient meander.

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