Friday, December 19, 2014

Artemis Sere's Twenty "Respun" Albums of 2014




It's no secret that I listen to music almost constantly. It is the white noise of my world, keeping me conscious and contemplative and spinning continuously.  Over the years, I've compiled my favorite new albums of the year, but there's far more to the story than just what's new in my rotation. I miss great music every year. I rediscover music that have forgotten.  Or I gain a new appreciation for music that I once discounted, didn't like, dismissed, cast aside.

Here is a list of twenty (aged) artists/albums that kept me company this year. Some of these creations exist on my previous "best of" lists, some of them were lost in the waves of time, some of them, never given the due they deserve.

Walk down memory lane with me. Bring earplugs.

20_Alter Bridge - "Fortress" (2013)
I listened to a lot of Alter Bridge this year. I'd be lying if I didn't include this on my list of addictions for 2014. It was on my best of list for 2013, and is truly a great work.

http://youtu.be/rkFI4wil1QA



19_Bush - "The Sea of Memories" (2011)
I was big fan of Gavin Rossdale and Bush back in the day, when everything was a lot more Zen in my life. There was a raw rock simplicity to Bush that I appreciated.  As my interests varied, I became less interested in mainstream rock. Unfortunately, Bush was part of a blase garden of rock star egos, guitar riffs and overplayed tracks that I diverged from once I stopped listening to Corporate radio. To plant Bush in that fruitless place is unfair. After giving "Sea" a few more listens, beyond my favorite song from that album "The Sound of Winter", I discovered it had a lot of heart.

http://youtu.be/vi06TWlKeHc




18_Incubus - "Light Grenades" (2005)
"Quicksand", "Kiss To Send Us Off", "Dig".  I returned to this album quite a bit over the last year, mainly for those three songs, but the whole album is better than I originally thought. Give it another listen for yourself.

http://youtu.be/vNOJIUCZpTU




17_Destroid - "The Invasion" (2013)
"Put It Down" was infectious. "Annihilate" and "Wasteland" destroyed.

http://youtu.be/44BCuwv2CTE



16_In This Moment - "The Dream" (2008)
Maria Brink may be one of the queens of ugly rock now, but songs like "The Dream", "Lost at Sea" and "Into the Light" showcase her beautiful depth. "Forever" is one of the best songs In This Moment has written, even with a catalog of recent greatness that includes albums "A Star-Crossed Wasteland" and "Blood". I didn't fully appreciate the awesomeness of this early work until this year, though I was a big fan of this album when it came out. Through the lens of "Whore" and "Black Widow", Brink's charming early work shines even brighter now.

http://youtu.be/mBxyPpTq7Nw



15_Pixel Fist - "Our Sound" (2010)
"Tiger Claw" made me want to tussle with kung fu dragons. Overall, a hypnotic ride.

http://youtu.be/A8_gaem5xhU



14_Cryptex - "The Walking Dead", "Viva La Vida", "Lights"
Cryptex is a twenty-something glitch musician/producer/remixer named Tyler Chase. I have a collection of his remixes, as well as his stellar "Isolated Incidents EP". Most of his work was created over the last few years, as he's only been creating since 17. I discovered the three reglitches in 2014 and was addicted to all of them, as well as many of his other glitch hop efforts. If you dig the genre, be sure to check him out.

http://youtu.be/9z1PztsGvE8



13_Thirty Seconds to Mars - "This is War" (2009)
"Tell me would you kill to save a life? Tell me would kill to prove you're right?" Lyrics that resound loudly in our world of recycled lies, holy wars and terrorist tribes. Between "Kings and Queens", "This is War", "Hurricane" and "Closer to the Edge", I found myself returning to this album often in 2014. With Leto grabbing the Joker role in DC's "Suicide Squad", I'm sure his star is going to be irritatingly blinding over the next few years. While I have been a huge Jared Leto fan over the years (even though he's a bit of an egotistical a-hole in person), I have a feeling media overexposure will drive me away soon. With that in mind, I will appreciate the great work Angel Face accomplished before the Joker beat him up.

http://youtu.be/hTMrlHHVx8A



12_Bassnectar - "Mesmerizing the Ultra" (2005)
I am a Bassnectar addict. I can't lie. "Mesmerizing the Ultra" is a rare case where a musician's older music is as good, if not better, than his/her recent releases. Going back ten years, it is obvious where the rise and brilliance of Lorin Ashton (Bassnectar) began.

http://youtu.be/LmSk_Gui8uo



11_Behemoth - "The Apostasy" (2007)
My love affair with this album began with "Inner Sanctum", the song below, as one of my favorite metal vocalists (Warrel Dane, Sanctuary and Nevermore) is a guest vocalist on the track. From there, the darkness of "The Apostasy" grew until its shadow filled my ears. Behemoth is about as brutal and Biblically evil as they get. Not for the feint of heart.

http://youtu.be/gK15MicRKz4



10_Within Temptation - "The Unforgiving" (2011)
I love this album, front to back. Over time, I grew closer to each of the songs for different reasons. Truly, this album became "comfort food" for my musical appetite-- it's certainly entertaining, has an engaging story, is hauntingly romantic and chillingly beautiful.  I have loved Within Temptation's albums for different reasons, but after listening to their new release "Hydra", I came to appreciate this album more--which seems like a criticism of "Hydra", but is truly a statement on how diverse this band is.


9_Wayne Static - "Pighammer" (2011)
Even before his untimely death, I was rediscovering the Static-X frontman's solo work. "She" and "Behind the Sky" were regular rotations in my music orbit in 2014, and the latter of the two songs serving as an appropriate goodbye to the man that put Wisconsin on the metal map (even if it involved a death trip).

http://youtu.be/2HlZcr8PhSM



8_Gemini Syndrome - "Lux" (2013)
Such a great album. Should be a staple for anyone that calls themselves a rock/metal fan. Great counterbalance to the trite, overpromoted sounds of A7X and 5FDP.

http://youtu.be/5bTpjEw0KoI



7_Morcheeba - "Blood Like Lemonade" (2010)
"Crimson", "Self-Made Man", and "Blood Like Lemonade" continue to creep into my consciousness, years after this album's release and even after Morcheeba released "Head Up High" in 2013. There's a sublime, haunting darkness to the album that continues to resonate with me.

http://youtu.be/ChaGIgiPEX8



6_Accept - "Russian Roulette" (1986)
An oldie but goodie from my childhood, also influenced by said girlfriend, who is big Accept fan. Seriously. Go ahead, be jealous.

http://youtu.be/AFaJs0MKAlA



5_Alter Bridge - "One Day Remains" (2004)
Creed who? Off their first album, "Shed My Skin" was one of my most-played songs this year, influenced by my girlfriend.

http://youtu.be/kw7gaEE582g




4_Bassnectar - "Cozza Frenzy" (2009)
The more I am exposed to the catalog of Bassnectar, the more I am left in awe. His new effort ("Noise vs. Beauty") is on my best of 2014 list. His last album was on my best of 2012 list. Like Liquid Stranger, one of my electronic staples.

http://youtu.be/kw7gaEE582g



3_Chimaira - "The Age of Hell/The Age of Remix Hell" (2011)
Chimaira is one of my favorite metal bands, has been since "Pass Out of Existence". I own all of their albums and am a huge fan of their work. This album was so panned by long-time Chimaira fans that I never gave it a dedicated listen until I accidentally came across a remix of "Clockwork" on YouTube. Their remix album is brilliant and holds some interesting revisions of songs of the original album, which is really not as bad as some arrogant metalheads claim.

http://youtu.be/3-lk4v1wRYA



2_Flotsam & Jetsam - "The Cold" (2010)
Certainly one of my favorite Flotsam & Jetsam albums, in a long history of great albums.

http://youtu.be/3-lk4v1wRYA



1_IAMX - "The Unified Field" (2013)
My favorite album of 2013 reigned supreme in my orbit in 2014. Chris Corner is an inspiration and one of the most talented, adventurous musicians creating art today.

http://youtu.be/nt0MkotVIEc



Thanks for reading! Please share your respins for 2014 in the comments below.