Sunday, December 28, 2014

Top 5's of 2014: Shawn Williston

Next up on the Top 5's of 2014 we have my pal Shawn Williston. A fellow blogger and music nut, I always look forward to Shawn's list and still miss the old days when he would bring a mixed tape of his favorites to the New Years party. 

Here is Shawn in his own word:

I won't go crazy with big write ups this year, as the blog moved into more of a reviews site this year and I feel like I already said most of what there is to say. And instead of ranking them like I usually do, this year I boiled it down to five nominees with the winner being announced later. So these are in alphabetical order:

AGAINST ME!: Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Though it may be an album explicitly about gender transformation, Against Me's sixth album ends up being implicitly more about accepting one's true nature without fear or judgment. That it also happens to be packed with some of the band's sharpest, most personal tunes makes it an unflinching, unforgettable record that begs to be played and played again.
Check out: Osama bin Laden as the Crucified Christ, FUCKMYLIFE666, Black Me Out

Best known for pioneering vanguard groups At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala are beginning to build a reputation for burning it all down and starting over whenever they see fit. There weren't many places to go from the gonzo stylings of The Mars Volta, so Antemasque finds them reaching back even further than At The Drive-In, dabbling in '80s post punk and new wave with typically thrilling results from a duo whose forte is thrilling results.
Check out: 4AM, In the Lurch, 50,000 Kilowatts

HE IS LEGEND: Heavy Fruit
One of the most under-the-radar hard rock bands of the '00s wake from a half-decade slumber with another major progression in sound. Their bag of tricks threatens to overflow by times, but this monstrous record proves they're not just trying on hats; they're making them all look good.
Check out: This Will Never Work, No Visitors, Time to Stain

Seeking to reestablish guitars as the driving force behind their divine racket, Cope finds Manchester Orchestra squeezing every last drop of blood and sweat from all six strings. Their trademark vulnerable beauty still resides underneath, but this time out it's drowning under a thick blanket of churning, guttural noise.
Check out: Top Notch, The Ocean, Cope

SWANS: To Be Kind
If 2012's The Seer was an out-of-nowhere late career highlight 30 years in the making, To Be Kind is a simultaneous refinement and unraveling of that record. Challenging in the best possible way, this is a record that straps you down demands attention for the entirety of its two hour runtime. It's provocative but stunning, exhaustive but majestic. A complete and total triumph.
Check out: A Little God in My Hands, Bring the Sun/Toussaint L'Ouverture, Oxygen

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