It’s been a fantastic year for music. Filled with comebacks, concept albums, and craziness. For Colossus, it’s been our first full year of publishing content and I know I speak for everyone here saying that we are so thankful for the support you guys have shown us. We are really pumped to share some of the great things we have in the works here. For my look back, I wanted to choose five releases that I feel best represented different seasons of this past year. They are diverse and some are lesser known, but I think you will agree that they are all heavy hitters.
The Honorable Mentions:
Good Thing – Leon Bridges
Leon Bridges returns with an album that is more funk than Motown. His previous release, Coming Home, painted Leon Bridges as this generation’s Sam Cooke. Good Thing is Bridges development from 50’s/60’s soul to 70’s/80’s funk and dance. He does this transition in such a way that the listener is not alienated, but enthralled by the introduction of these new elements. The album bumps, sways, and jives, but leaves the listener yearning for more.
Best Track: “If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be)”
Ye – Kayne West
Kayne has gone off the deep end in terms of his sanity and his love of autotune pop. Francis and the Lights and PARTYNEXTDOOR put their signatures sounds behind Kayne West and let him design his lyrics in a beautiful, melancholy, and truly twisted way. The album is a new take on Kayne’s recent style and it is refreshing. The album humanizes a larger than life personality. However, it also turns the listener against West, because of his larger than life flaws.
Best Track: “Wouldn’t Leave”
The Number Five Spot:
Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino – Arctic Monkeys
In the United States, the Arctic Monkeys have transformed from indie rockers from across the pond, into rock superstars without rules, into ethereal stadium showstoppers. After the success of AM, the Arctic Monkeys took a hard turn from the rock edge of AM and went towards a David Bowie-esque lounge singer vibe for Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino, a concept album about a hotel on the moon that is lyrically psychedelic and sonically adventurous. The album symbolizes a departure from the brit-punk essence of the band and marks a rebirth for the Monkeys as this decades version of Pink Floyd backed by funky baselines and dancing piano lines. Alex Turner and company continue to stray away from the sloppy hair and loose t-shirts of their youth and adapt to a more mature short hair and tight suit look. The reason why this release gets on my top five is that the band has adapted their sound to still intrigue themselves and new listeners. They have found a way to still grow their fanbase, while doing what they want. Also they kick ass live! (The picture at the top is from their concert at Forest Hills Stadium this summer). From losing your train of thought to losing the key to your room, a stay at the Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino always promises a stay that is at least four stars out of five.
Best Track: “Four Out of Five”
Best Time to Listen: Getting dressed in your sharpest suit for a lunar blowout or dressing down from a night of partying.
Interesting Listening Experience: I am pretty sure that parts of this album lineup perfectly with sections of Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049. Play this album at the same time as either movie and let me know how this goes.
P.S probably gonna do this in the future, as well.
Weirdest Lyric: “I put a taqueria on the roof, it was well reviewed”
The Number Four Spot:
No Road Leads There – Table Talk
No Road Leads There, is my latest review and the EP is quickly becoming one of my favorite releases of the year. Table Talk is a band beginning to reach their prime as not only musicians but lyricists. Every song is intense, emotional and at times, bitter. The lyrics are not thrown together or over polished. Songs, like “The Twenty in Your Pocket” and “Fearless”, ask questions to the listener to make them think about themselves and about the people in their life. Questions, like does your heart “make you nervous” or “how do you do” the things that you do with no regard for anything else? The album is introspective and emotional, but energetic and original. It takes the heavy themes of Manchester Orchestra and makes those themes more pleasant to listen to due to each song’s soaring chorus. I can’t recommend this band highly enough.
Best Track: “The Twenty in Your Pocket”
Best Time to Listen: On a day when it’s cold, you just got broken up with, your job was particularly stressful and you start questioning everything you are doing in life.
Where To See Them: They play at Amityville Music Hall in Long Island on January 4th. The lineup is stacked and the venue is a fantastic place to see a band, like Table Talk, create an intimate feeling between them and the crowd.
Outfit for Optimal Listening Experience: A flannel, a dad hat, and a pair of Converse
The Number Three Spot:
Skylight – Pinegrove
The journey up to the release of Skylight was interesting. Pinegrove was at the top their game in 2016. Their album, Cardinal, was one of the top indie albums of the year, the band had a massive world tour on the horizon, and they were starting to break into the mainstream by appearing on television shows, magazines, and radio stations across the country. After controversy surrounded the lead singer of the band, everything was sidelined. After a year away from the limelight, the band returned in dynamic fashion by dropping the album suddenly and getting back onto the stage. The release is fantastic, the story is shocking, and the response to it is polarizing, to say the least. Regardless, the album is in my top five merely, because of the quality of the music. Although some of the songs are shorter than desired, they are still fulfilling and comforting. Skylight picks up where the band left off and gives the listener a look into a future that will definitely have great music, but a great amount of conflict, as well.
I fully reviewed this album. Check out my review to get the full breakdown behind one of the year’s most surprising releases.
Best Track: “Darkness”
Best Time to Listen: Drinking coffee on the way to work earlier in the morning. During a beautiful hike in the wilderness.
More about the background of the band and album:
The Number Two Spot:
YES LAWD! This album, oh this album! It’s sensual, political, and comical at the same time, while also delivering songs that make you wanna dance in the shower rapping every word from .Paak and his cavalcade of star features. It hits all the right notes.
I fully reviewed this album. Check out my review to understand why Anderson .Paak rules the game.
Best Track: “Tints (feat. Kendrick Lamar)”
Best Time to Listen: Driving down the highway, with the top down, on the way to the beach before hitting the city later that night.
Drinking Game: Take a shot for every cut sample and chug a beer for every “Yes Lawd!”
The Best Album of 2018:
The story behind Clever Girl is really interesting. Clever Girl formed in September 2009 in Sheffield, England, played a few gigs, recorded and released the EP locally, then split up less than a year later in April 2010. After the band’s untimely break up, the EP eventually found it’s way on to the internet. Years later, the EP went viral on Youtube, Bandcamp, and other music sites. Now, how is a release that is close to a decade old my album of the year? Well, until now, No Drum and Bass In The Jazz Room, has simply been a rarity in some very underground music shops and a hipster’s last treasure that has not been hooked into by larger music listeners. So this year, after years of inactivity, it came as a shock to fans when the band announced that they had signed with Barely Legal Records to press the release and distribute the release on a large scale. The band released the album on a major scale and has begun playing together again sparking the hopes of fans for new material.
No Drum and Bass In The Jazz Room is a release that provides the listener with a journey. Mainly instrumental, with one major vocal ad-lib in the song “Elm”, the album simply acts as a soundtrack to the life of the listener. You could be relaxing on the beach, watching the snow fall from the comfort of your room, seeing leaves fall in the autumn air, feeling the gentle breeze of the spring; whatever you are doing, Clever Girl is going to design a sonic landscape to fit your physical one. Each song transitions seamlessly into the other while maintaining each songs individual identity. The band blends what could be described as Dave Matthews Band brass instrument melodies with subtle math rock inspired leads and dreamy jazz chords. The result is an eclectic mix of influences that come together perfectly to make a particular sound, unlike anything I have ever heard before.
Best Track: “Elm”
Best Time To Listen: This album is my go to study soundtrack. Great background noise that relaxes you even during the most intense of finals.
For Fans Of: American Football, Toe, TTNG, Foxing, and Explosions in the Sky
Fun Fact: The band gets their name from a quote from the movie, “Jurassic Park”. The band has put raptors on all of their merchandise, covers, and media, because of the quote.