So far, we’ve gone through so many terrific albums, so many beautiful musical journeys, but we’ve still got plenty more stories to tell and personal experiences to share with you all. 50 albums have already gone by on our Albums of the Decade parts I & II and we’re still oh-so excited to continue sharing with you what we’ve worked on so hard over the last few months.
Feel free to join us on the third phase of our hiking trail, between the notes and musical tales of the past ten years. Here, you’ll find the records that stuck; the ones that were able to put on an everlasting mark, to implant a sensation that drew us back – again and again. Well, enough words for now, as we’re about to dive into 25 of the absolute most memorable musical voyages of recent years.
Jakob – Sines
October 21, 2014 // The Mylene Sheath
Sines is an exceptional work. I mean, that’s why it’s on this list. When Jakob‘s fourth (and tragically most recent) album dropped in 2014, it instantly gained adoration. The reason? What it succeeds in, almost effortlessly so, is demonstrating just how masterfully the various nuances of the post-rock and post-metal genres could be combined. It takes the listener on an emotional journey where words are not required to convey its messages. Released at a time when myriad bands were attempting the same recipe, Jakob crafted the dish sublimely.
From its crushing opening, the reverb and echoes usher in walls of distortion that clutch your attention throughout; refusing to let go until the album’s close. Strings guitar and orchestral collide and collapse over tracks like “Harmonia” and “Magna Carta”. All powerfully underpinned by bass and drums that enhance the experience incredibly. Nothing is overdone for show – Jakob merely focused on crafting a record that ensnares you. There are hundreds of albums resembling Sines, and at the same time nothing quite like it. Its use of harmony, pacing and suspense built a record that will justifiably continue to set the standard by which all post-rock albums are judged.
Snarky Puppy – We Like It here
February 25, 2014 // GroundUp Music
We Like It Here is an absolute masterpiece by the brilliant mind of Michael League and Snarky Puppy. Released in February 2014, I still listen to this once a week. Musically all of the members peaked at the same time. We Like It Here was recorded in the similar style from previous Snarky Puppy records where it’s technically a studio album, but they invited a small crowd to sit in with them while they recorded it. So it’s a hybrid between a studio album that was recorded live in front of an audience. In addition to the rather large regular band, they recorded with a string quartet and extra percussionists, making the live recording very efficient.
This record is the first without drummer Robert ‘Sput’ Searight, but newcomer Larnell Lewis makes his presence felt with not one but two drums solos in “What About Me?”. That song is also a favorite of just about every guitarist I’ve ever met. One of their most requested songs to play live closes the album. That’s right, ten minutes of madness known as “Lingus” with a mind-bending keyboard solo from Cory Henry. We Like It Here will be admired for many decades after this.
Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
June 19, 2012 // Epic Records
You could easily write a book about this album. What can I add to all the things which are floating around in the internet about Fiona Apple‘s art? Are there any ways to find new, yet undiscovered layers to talk about? I’m pretty sure it’s not necessary, since the beauty of music and art in general are the different worlds it builds in us; with every new look, it gets a new layer of experience. Fiona Apple was always a very distinctive artist from an early age on, which is showcased through her entire discography, but it was never more authentic and raw than on The Idler Wheel. It’s full of unpretentious edges, intimate and extravagant, accessible and compelling. Wanna hear about the production? Easily one of the best produced albums I’ve ever heard. It’s artistic activism, bursting from personal experience and reflection.
There is hope and grief on this album, closeness and distance. Records that give you the feel that you are sitting in the rehearsal room and the artist just plays and sings those tunes for you are a very rare experience, but you get that very experience from Fiona Apple throughout this brilliant album. Every nook and cranny is filled with attention to detail, building cohesive sonic soundscapes with surprises and experimental joy, dancing around moods and genres like it’s nothing.
-Toni ‘Inter’ Meese
Big K.R.I.T. – 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time
October 27, 2017 // BMG
After years of developing his craft and nearly perfecting it on Cadillactica, Big K.R.I.T. dropped his most ambitious and sprawling production, 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time in 2017. This double album consists of 22 total tracks with a host of features and styles that manages to still be a smooth and cohesive set of songs that never gets in its own way. From the energetic gospel-infused “Keep The Devil Off” to the ever-catchy “Big Bank”, every track and skit have their own personality that shows off a side and personality of the artist, and each are executed flawlessly.
Lyrically, K.R.I.T. is very comfortable with getting introspective and earnest with songs like “Mixed Messages” and “The Light”, but still knows how to have a good time with songs, “1999” and “Layup” The infusion of classic and modern r’n’b throughout the album add dynamics that make for one of the most rewarding listens of the last decade. This is modern hip-hop at its best and for an artist that took his time finding his groove, the payoff was worth it.
Ne Obliviscaris – Portal Of I
May 7, 2012 // Code666
Before Portal of I saw the light of day, no one could imagine how an unknown Australian band would turn the world of progressive death metal on its head. Portal of I is the band’s debut album, and it is a sight to behold.
It isn’t only about how it’s basically death metal done right. I mean, solid riffs, memorable passages, brutal vocal delivery, the works – in short. Enter the violin. It was really that simple apparently. A slew of tasteful violin lines was the missing spice. Oh, but wait, let’s not forget some clean vocals as well! It turns out that it isn’t all the elements themselves but the tasteful lyricism with which they were melted together in the package which Portal of I is. Sure it’s not like it’s a first but no one phrased it anywhere near how Ne Obliviscaris did. Without a question this is one of the most remarkable albums of this decade. Combined with a great group of performers who share a willingness to tour far and wide one could say that the rest is history.
The Contortionist – Exoplanet
August 31, 2010 // Good Fight Music
Remember when djent wasn’t quite djent yet? It was more of a stomping ground of fresh ideas based around low-end heaviness, emotive interludes, and whatever 8-string technicalities aspiring artists could throw against the wall. Nothing else had been set in stone, and so The Contortionist took the ball and ran with it. Under a sci-fi gloss, they refined their best previous EP ideas and created a definitive game changer. Exoplanet was, and still is, an outright classic. It successfully embodied everything that was good about modern metal at that point in time. It was technical, raw, orchestral and extremely full-bodied. Tracks such as “Flourish” encapsulated their inventiveness and fresh exuberance.
Lots of bands have been technical with their metal, but a lot less have made technical music capable of connecting with the listeners and rendering the head banging. The epic experience found in Exoplanet kept the ears close by and very well fed. It’s difficult to gauge what kind of an impact Exoplanet had on the genre. At a historical point where Animals as Leaders were blowing minds and Periphery were just building momentum, The Contortionist were paving their own way, and there is no doubting their contribution to the djent explosion that followed.
Frank Ocean – Channel ORANGE
July 10, 2012 // Def Jam
While you, and many others, may have proclivities or a preference toward Blonde, channel ORANGE is the album that began the Frank Ocean mythos. His brand of sun-drenched r’n’b from California – channeling Ladera more than Orange County, perhaps ironically – is wildly smooth. His cadence is always easy on the ears, he has good range, the production he uses fits him well whether more classically inclined and washed-out or rhythmically focused.
Ocean really became the talk of the town with this album. “Pyramids”, one of the best songs of the decade period, shows off his deft storytelling ability and capability to make tragically sexy music not unlike Prince or other lords of the genre. When he got emotive and introspective on “Forrest Gump” and “Bad Religion”, we listened attentively. There’s a supreme longing imbued all throughout this album, not unlike the kind fans have for more work. It was just the beginning for Frank Ocean’s meteoric rise, telegraphed by the classic PlayStation startup music in the intro track. He’s the kind of artist that we likely have yet to see the apex of. As he remains enigmatic and quiet, we look back at unmatched work like this and wonder could possibly be next. No matter what, we wait with bated breath.
Dhafer Youssef – Abu Nawas Rhapsody
February 23, 2010 // Emarcy Records
Not everyone can verbally describe an emotion. Heck, it’s even hard to put any sort of thought into a text that would do it justice. Sometimes, you just can’t seem to find the right words to properly illuminate that image. But as we learn throughout our lives, the spoken or written words are just one sort of language, a certain way of communication. Some of us find ease in conversing in languages that don’t include words at all, but if spoken correctly, can deliver a message in a deeper, far more precise and elaborated way. Such is the story of Dhafer Youssef.
He found that his oud, his vocals, his composition skills – are all his very best tools to be telling a story, and Abu Nawas Rhapsody is one of his best gatherings of tales. With the incredible Tigran Hamasayan on piano, Chris Jennings on acoustic guitar and Mark Guiliana on drums, the four turned every track to its own scene, a twisting plot carried out by the tides, arousing emotions that lie deep within. If you truly surrender, you can find yourself observing all kinds of different musical sceneries. Abu Nawas Rhapsody is one impressive musical journey from the technical aspect, incorporating multiple genre influences varying between jazz, folk, classical and world music. The cooperation of these talented musicians resulted in a masterpiece, which drew me in right from the start. Spoiler: you’ll be sucked in as well, if you give it a try. Make sure that you do.
Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused To Sing
February 25, 2013 // Kscope
The year 2013 held many eye-catching occurrences around the globe. From the birth of Prince George over the incredible recovery and call-to-action by Malala Yousafzai to Edward Snowden’s near single-handed takedown of the entire U.S. government sanity, it was 365 days of push and pull. On one of those days, though (and maybe not as life-changing from an overall perspective but certainly still very important), we were given an album: Steven Wilson’s The Raven That Refused to Sing.
To anyone familiar with Steven Wilson’s precious works, both as a solo artist and when Porcupine Tree became a whole band, it would come as no surprise that this album took the progressive world by storm. In Wilson’s previous works, we were given glimpses of the wild, fantastical, whimsically dark corners of his psyche. But it was not until this release that we really started to see the whole picture. There is always a unique, much more intricate depth to everything Wilson does, and that reflects the same with The Raven That Refused to Sing. Within the progressive music scene, this work is revered for its brutal honesty to the emotions often portrayed via melody, akin to other pieces fitting the genre. Songs like “Luminol” and “The Holy Drinker” create a picture of an exhausted and eager mind, hungry to see the world. But the closing track, which is also the title track, takes the atmosphere into a more harmonious, lullaby-like tone, and is followed by an instrumental reprise of the aforementioned “The Holy Drinker”. This adds so many more layers to the album as a whole, and thus instills its importance, and its overall integrity into the scene.
The Gabriel Construct – Interior City
April 5, 2013 // Independent
Oh boy, I’m so ready to praise this album beyond the sky. Let’s start with the premise that this album is probably the best thing happened in progressive rock/metal in the last 20 years, and that it’s with no doubt one of the best records of this decade. Criminally overlooked by a prog crowd more interested in celebrating repetition and safety, Interior City is not only a masterpiece as fantastically arranged piece, but also a brilliant conceptual work. Gabriel Riccio, the man behind this project, created an incredibly immersive album, extremely challenging in parts, but always stunningly fascinating.
Vocally, it deserves an essay of his own. Those harmonies are breathtaking, they way Riccio delivers emotions through his singing is one of a kind. And like I’ve mentioned above, the way it transports the emotional cornerstones of the story sucks you right in. It lures you into comfort, and at the point at which you think you’ve got the hang of it, Interior City unleashes utter turmoil. While I’m sad about the ignorance this release received from the prog community, I understand that it’s a though piece to swallow, because it demands your full attention at every second. But please trust me on this: take the lyrics, read them while you’re listening to the album. Put some candles on, get yourself a comforting beverage, and experience this album. It will change you. It changed me.
-Toni ‘Inter’ Meese
Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman
October 9, 2012 and February 5, 2013 // Hundred Handed/Everything Evil
This was a comeback album of sorts, showing fans that were a little disappointed by the more conventional Coheed that they still had prog chops. Split into two parts, Ascension and Descension, both are concurrently hand-in-hand and distinctive from each other despite coming out only a few months apart.
A prequel to The Amory Wars saga, it’s a standalone story within that universe focusing on the tragedy of devotion to one’s work and those it affects. It’s genuinely sad, shocking, and very character-driven. “Domino the Destitute” is just as epic as any other Coheed setlist staple, “Gravity’s Union” is absolutely heartwrenching, and “Number City” has no business being that catchy or fun for a song about two people dying in a hospital. This album is for prog rock fans that like to be rewarded by research and interpretative analysis rather than simply learning lyrics and melodies to hum, though The Afterman has oodles of all of the above. While this double album was a return to form for many, for diehard fans it was another stellar, poignant, and impressive endeavor from the modern cult legends. The best Coheed album this decade by far.
St. Vincent – MASSEDUCATION
October 13, 2017 // Loma Vista Recordings
Annie Clark, better known under the moniker St. Vincent is the perfect encapsulation of this decade. Her progressive approach to music positions her as an LGBTQ icon and 2017’s Masseduction is her exploration and commentary on the zeitgeist of this decade almost past. Tracks like “Los Ageless” take clear swipes at the business of fame and its chew you up and spit you out mentality. This isn’t of course a new thing; however, the sparse yet clearly defined compositions of this and many of the tracks on the record are able to deliver their commentary so clearly, so unabashedly that it’s impossible not to take note.
The album also isn’t without its fun, however: for a forward-thinking songwriter, the lubricious and sexually charged title track is designed to illicit a response from the listener. ‘I can’t turn off what turns me on‘ is a reactionary response to the idea that sex, when safe, is something to not be talked about, to be hidden from view. This isn’t the freedom of expression that St. Vincent is striving for, and the fetish-inspired visuals that go hand in hand with this record are ultimately designed to spark and inspire further discourse on the matters in hand.
Uneven Structure – Februus
October 31, 2011 // Basick Records
One of the absolute stand-out albums from the early years of the djent scene, Februus still has no real equal in terms of sound. It is a timeless album that combines a deep and thought-provoking concept with progressive metal that is not confined to standard genre tropes. The use of atmospheric ambience that went far beyond what was being used by TesseracT or similar bands, really set the album apart from its peers, and helped break up the record too.
Another defining feature of the album are lead singer Matthieu Romarin’s incredible vocal range. This album stood his voice on a pedestal, featuring brilliant raspy cleans that have emotion imbued into every syllable, and of course his demonic roars, which wipe out any sense of hope and security you’d extracted from the aforementioned cleans. The tones on the album are furious when the band are going hard, but introspective and deep when the ambience is ratcheted up. The opening triage of songs are one of the best song movements in prog-metal the last decade, and the closing two tracks are the way bands should finish albums. With a new album due later this year, it’ll be interesting to see how much Februus Uneven Structure will channel into it.
Rodrigo Amarante – Cavalo
September 22, 2013 // Rough Trade Records
I was standing at a little chapel in Mijas, a small town in Andalusia, Spain. The chapel was on the hill, so you could overlook the beautiful coast. It was a magnificent scenery, very warm, but with a refreshing sea breeze. I had my headphones with me, and thought it would be a good idea to put on Cavalo by Rodrigo Amarante. I was slightly familiar with the album, since the drummer of my old band highly praised it, so I put it on my phone to listen to it at the right spot during my vacation. And let me tell you, I was about to experience one of the most intense musical journeys in my life.
Cavalo is a folk record, generally speaking. Rodrigo Amarante manages to get jazz, pop, rock, and several South American musical styles into the mixture as well, all while singing in three different languages. This apparent lack of focus is a reflection of Amarante’s situation at the time. His band Los Hermanos were on hiatus, and he recently moved to the strange and foreign city of Los Angeles. He felt alien and probably torn apart between all the new influences and his home of Brazil. This tension, and the nearly therapeutic nature of the album makes it such a wonderful experience. Most of us felt alone at a new place at some point, and those songs are the anthems for that feeling. Home is where the music touches you.
-Toni ‘Inter’ Meese
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
March 15, 2015 // Top Dawg Entertainment
Well, this is the one for me. This is, without a doubt, the greatest album released in the last decade. To Pimp a Butterfly is arguably the most definitive hip hop record of all time. After having spent almost a decade convinced beyond reason that Nas’ Illmatic was the undisputed champion of hip hop music, I finally decided to give ol’ Kenny here a spin. At first, I wasn’t impressed. However, eventually the penny dropped. I really heard the voice of Tupac Shakur, and in an instant, everything that had just came before it, fell into place.
Giving the spotlight to lesser known artists such as Rapsody, James Fauntleroy, and for many people even Kamasi Washington, Kendrick Lamar also relies on the voices of afro-music legends such as Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, and yes, Ron Isley, a feat which is noteworthy all on its own. Lamar’s musicianship, and that of his dream-team of studio musicians and featured artists, provide the perfect backdrop for what are certainly some of the most conscious, and important lyrics the genre has ever heard. Starting with g-funk, working his their way through bebop jazz, Dilla beats, sound collage, r’n’b, and spoken word, KDot and co. lay down the fucking law, cover to cover.
American Football – American Football
March 22, 2019 // Polyvinyl
A late addition to the list, and one of the few records from 2019 that have been included at all, in fact. American Football’s third full length, and third self-titled album gives proper context to LP2, and also a nostalgic shine to LP1, that perhaps hadn’t been apparent before.
With much higher production standards than LP1, and arguably meeting less of an ‘industry standard’ than LP2, the album feels like a more definitive output from the band than its predecessor. Whilst some of the charm that LP1 had is lost, it makes perfect contextual sense. Vocalist and writer Mike Kinsella is under no illusion that he is still a young man. The spirit of these songs is in line with what we expect from American Football, but as paralleled with other bands such as TTNG, we as listeners feel as though this music has grown up with us, or vice versa. Including vocal features from artists such as Paramore’s Hayley Williams as well as Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, who also had a hand in production, the band eloquently talk their way into audiences that perhaps hadn’t considered them as contemporaries. Boasting a finer understanding of pop songwriting, whilst never abandoning sonic experimentation, LP3 is a defining album for the band.
Rivers Of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
March 16, 2018 // Metal Blade Records
In 2018, Rivers of Nihil went all out. They made metal on a colossal scale, utilising a limitless sprawl of musical conventions and refining them in an epic spectacle the likes of which we never heard before. It ain’t hyperbole. It’s the truth. From the synths, to the sax, to those damn deep guitar tones (and that’s even before we get to the third track), Where Owls Know my Name operates on a level different to anything else. It exudes wisdom, energy, and ingenuity with every moment and keeps it that way for its entire hour-long runtime.
It’s also megaton heavy, but it’s a patient and well calculated heaviness, staggeringly technical amidst the ominous gloss of the record. It flows through the dynamic bloodstream of Rivers of Nihil‘s soundscape, borrowing from only the most inventive to enunciate the power of their deep and brooding narrative. Equipped with an epic sense of time and purpose, this is the album that keeps on giving. As every song is wholly different to the other, listeners continue to find buried treasures within. How the band conceived such a mysterious masterpiece is a secret known only to them, but it will remain an unforgettable occurance throughout the many ages to come.
Maybeshewill – I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone
May 30, 2011 // Function Records
Right at the beginning of this decade we saw experimental rock band Maybeshewill release what would later become the third out of four albums, because they have unfortunately disbanded since. Their DIY approach to music and lively presence along with a truly unique representation of rock has led them to worldwide acclaim. I Was Here for a Moment, But Then I Was Gone showcases the highest points in musical diversity and emotional depth of all the releases.
Whether it is the impressively epic opening sequence or the soft and soothing mid sections, it doesn’t matter, every little bit has its own unique charm. Maybeshewill have mixed together electronic influences, post-rock textures, and a lot of diverse rock elements with an end result so detailed it could just as well be a painting with sounds. Said blend comes together as a whole, organic experience that is moving and deeply lyrical in its content. It would be a mistake to label this album into one genre or style. It is more than that – it is a stylistic distillation that transcends monikers. Without a shadow of doubt, it is one of the most outstanding releases of this decade.
Leon Bridges – Good Thing
May 4, 2018 // Columbia
When Leon Bridges arrived on the scene a few years back, he was often hailed as the second coming of the late, great Sam Cooke. It made sense; all of the soul sensibilities were there and throwback vibe felt more authentic than other acts in this space. On his sophomore LP, however, Bridges managed put a little distance between himself and the ‘vintage’ label by incorporating a more contemporary approach to soul and r’n’b. What’s incredibly smart is how Good Thing introduces this gradually. By kicking things off with “Bet Ain’t Worth The Hand” and “Bad Bad News”, which are great tracks mind you, the tone initially feels like familiar territory. As things move on however, the style gradually shifts.
As things roll on we get a variety of sounds from the Van Morrison-esque “Beyond” to a more recognizable modern “If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be)”. While it’s clear that he’s branching out and stretching his wings creatively, there’s no loss of cohesion and nothing feels out of place. If you need to smile, dance, or in general feel good about life or love, this is album is the recommended treatment.
Animals As Leaders – The Joy Of Motion
March 24, 2014 // Sumerian Records
Coming off of their breakout self-titled album and the subsequent follow-up Weightless, there was a lot of hype and expectations for what AAL would pull out of their progressive hat next. I, for one, was very anxious for something that would blow my mind – and AAL delivered on the hype.
The Joy of Motion is a phenomenal display of talent and intent. It can be considered more ‘tame’ than their previous works, especially their debut, yet there is far more maturity than their earlier releases. While still consisting of raw skill from each musician, the more focused pieces such as “Kascade” and “Another Year” show that maturity in abundance. Other tracks such as “Tooth and Claw” and “Mind-Spun” retain the heaviness found in their previous releases. What really makes this album for me, however, is the grooviness that is abundant throughout. “Physical Education” and “Para Mexer” fully show what AAL are capable of and help give depth to The Joy of Motion. Even with a more recent album release, I still keep finding myself coming back to this gem. It is a testament to the sheer genius of the band, and what pure imagination can create.
Joanna Newsom – Divers
October 23, 2015 // Drag City
Kate Bush put a heavy crown on the table, and there are only a few acts who can stretch for it. Joanna Newsom is one of them. Welcome to the art pop extravaganza which is Divers, an album which feels like a journey through a magical world, with an extra portion of elegance. Being her fourth album, Divers shows a matured artist that preserved every bit of childish wonder, and combined it with a nearly over-the-top instrumentation between chamber pop and modern classical music. This album is a fantasy of a more colorful world, enfolding more and more of its beauty with every layer and note.
Between all the great art pop artists who emerged during the years, channeling the likes of Björk and the aforementioned Kate Bush, Joanna Newsom has this little extra portion of weirdness; a rich and gorgeous weirdness, that is. Expressiveness is always on the table, and Newsom’s harp skills add some extra flavor. To love this album as much as I do, you should want to be enchanted and mesmerized. Give in and get everything in return.
-Toni ‘Inter’ Meese
The Human Abstract – Digital Veil
March 8, 2011 // E 1
Having been a long-time fan of The Human Abstract, I was wary of the line-up changes that came with Digital Veil. That suspension was quickly doused within the first few moments of the album. The incredible skill and repertoire of the band as a whole is nearly unparalleled, and the vocalist change to Travis Richter was better than I could have ever dreamed.
Even from the first single “Faust”, you could tell that this was an album that had a lot to prove and wanted to show what they were capable of. With the return of their original guitarist A.J. Minette, they embarked on a journey to create what could easily be called the most technically profound metalcore album this decade. The duality of the complexity and straightforward parts throughout showcase the maturity that exudes from Digital Veil. The imagery found in songs such as “Horizon to Zenith” are wonderful, and easily paint a picture in my head every time I listen to them. “Patterns” still stands as one of my favorite ending songs that I have ever heard, and is still my favorite off of this record. The band may be on an indefinite (but probably permanent) hiatus, but this album is the pinnacle of the band’s career, one that has more than earned its legacy and place on this list.
Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
March 31, 2015 // Asthmatic Kitty
The story of Carrie & Lowell is a tragic, yet beautiful one. Referring to Sufjan Stevens‘ mother and her second husband, the man who is probably to be named as one of the most influential and important indie artists of the last 20 years tells the story about a tragic relationship, and how mental illness and drugs can damage such a strong bond like that between mother and son. The strong intimacy and the feeling that you are sitting on a kitchen table late in the night with Stevens while he tells you about his life. And you know, it’s one of those conversation which makes you really get to know someone. You can hear how hurt and bitter Stevens is as a son, longing for what could be a healthy and nurturing relationship.
But sometimes, and honestly more than often, the best art comes from sadness. Blues is practically and literally built on sadness, and Sufjan Stevens brought that idea into the modern world, maybe not exclusively, but definitely more vulnerable than most of his peers. Carrie & Lowell is not only a bittersweet reflection of a fallen relationship, but a phenomenal and compelling piece of modern indie folk, not shying away from complex song structures, odd time signatures or unusual harmonies. This makes Carrie & Lowell not only a must-listen for indie fans, but one of the most important albums for contemporary music enthusiasts.
-Toni ‘Inter’ Meese
Bent Knee – Shiny Eyed Babies
November 11, 2014 // Independent
When Bent Knee released Shiny Eyed Babies it wasn’t the biggest surprise. A group of Berkeley graduates that make great music isn’t exactly news. What is news, though, is what vision they decided to bring to life. A vision of pop, folk, jazz, and progressive rock with keyboards and violins that would be a guaranteed hit. So it was and they continue to expand on this vision.
Shiny Eyed Babies is a genre transcendent record that uses basically everything it deems fit for its message to be relayed. From catchy pop-ish vocal lines to visceral screaming and from intricate instrumentation to laid back, soothing textures – nothing is off the table. Strong messages also reach out to the listener via the very outspoken lyricism behind the tunes. Shiny Eyed Babies brings an entirely new musical package to the table. That is truly a wondrous achievement. Not many can come up with a unique vision, and few hold down the means and the prowess to adequately bring such a thing to life. Bent Knee didn’t just put out one of the finest releases of this decade, but they are also one of its finest bands.
Thanks for scrolling. Tune in for the last part of A Decade Of Noise next week!