its just about june, and i think i have been doing this halfway point top 5 for more than a few years now. im a little early on a couple of these records aka centro-matic and the strand of oaks, but trust me they are worth the wait. there are a bunch of records coming out, or are already out, that may blow all of this all up. but here on may 29 here are my top 5 records of 2014, thus far. EDIT: i realize that i am a bit early on the whole “midway” point thing. eh who gives a shit?
hallelujah the hills….. so here we are again. your 2012 record, no one knows what happens next, ended up at number 3 on my favorite records of that year. looking back, knowing what i know now about that record, it maybe should’ve been number one. you know why? i still listen to it all the fucking time. here’s their deal, you may listen to one of their records, once. thats fine, you do whatever you want, but if you’re paying attention at all, you’ll realize something is there, and you’ll keep coming back. they make music that is equivalent to crack. i have never tried crack, but ive seen some documentaries, so im pretty much an expert. that first listen, it will burrow into your brain, or soul, or wherever you keep the precious. you probably wont even realize that it has happened, and thats the beauty of hallelujah the hills. that first time, you may not be impressed, but theres that hook, or lyric that will bring you back. then from there, its not one lyric, its 10, its not one hook, but 20…. this has been my experience with this band. their newest, and definitely greatest, have you ever done something evil, admittedly took about 3/4 listens to understand and its no way as immediately as “accessible” as “no one…” but its in the fucking sauce! they are not a band you’re just going to throw on for a good time, even though its a hell of a ride, they just aint that kind of band. ryan walsh is a master lyricist, his lyrics may seem to mean nothing, sometimes at least, but they can absolutely crush you. you can look at it, and so “oh thats nice” or look a little longer, and be like “holy shit!” i think i said last year that they were hitting their stride, but with this record, i will say they are pulling away from just about every band out there. if it doesnt continue to be and end up my favorite record of the year, i would be so very very very surprised.
i usually do a mid-year point list, but this year time has gotten away from me. anyway, i’ve actually had more than a few folks ask/email me what were my favorite records of the year, thus, far, and well here they are. no particular order…
after taking some time to listen to about 20-30 records over the past 2/3 days, i decided that there was still a bunch of great stuff that i didnt mention in my top 14.5 of the year. so, i came up with another 11 records that i think are more than deserving of more attention. i could have actually come up with another ten but felt that a solid 25.5 records was good enough. although, i may get bored an post the other ten records, but i doubt it. one thing that continues to sadden me is that lack of wilco on my lists seemingly the past 5 years… oh well. maybe next year or the year after?
i attempted to come up with a top ten songs of the year list, but the problem with that is that a lot of shit is not postable. now, if you know anything about this site or me, i have rarely cared about the legalities or ramifications of posting questionable material. luckily, knock on wood, other than that one dick taper with the shitty westerberg bootleg i posted a few years back, i have not been asked to take anything down. still, to post ten songs that are off new records, and by bands/artists i know and respect, i just didnt want to go there. so, i am going to post just one song, which is my favorite of the year. i know a lot of you are going to be like “what the fuck is this?”
now, normally i wouldnt make a change to my top records of the year, but while i was compiling it, i made a grave oversight. the sad thing is, is that i listened to the record in question the morning i made my top 14 of the year list. that record is, as if you havent guessed, the deep dark woods’the place i left behind, which in my opinion is a minor sad bastard masterpiece. i use the term “sad bastard” very loosely, keep in mind. so, without interrupting the continuity too much of my list, i am putting it in at the 3.5 place. unusual i know, but i am no mood to rearrange everything, i think it fills the gap nicely tween the roadside graves’ we can take care of ourselves and richomond fontaine’s the high country. as i stated in my premature top 10 of 2011, pretty much anything in my top 5 or 6 could be my favorite of the year, and this record is no exception.
well, here it is the unofficial captains dead top 14 of the year list. i say unofficial because as there are a few more contributors lurking about, they may have their own top whatever list, and i hope they share said list with the class. not much has changed since i did my premature list back a few months ago. at least in the top 5/6 department. i went through the site and re-listened to everything i had tagged as “best of 2011” and after listening to these records, some changes definitely needed to be made. most notably the inclusion of wooden wand’s briarwood, southeast engine’s canary and chris bathgate’s salt year, all of which are phenomenal pieces of work. so with nothing left to say, here it is…
2009 was my first foray into the musical world of the roadside graves. i had a brief affair with their if shacking up is all you want to do, but maybe i just wasnt ready for em? i maybe listened to it a half a dozen times, then just stopped. 2009 brought me their minor classic and my favorite record from that year, my sons home. a sprawling 18 track opus comprised of familiar themes, but set in situations/stories that probably arent for everyone, but they touch a nerve/heartstring nonetheless. that is if you let em, but you have to an open mind and put yourself in the shoes of the characters they created. 18 songs is a lot of songs and its quite an undertaking especially if you want keep the attention of the listener. suffice it to say, my sons home is as the saying goes “all killer, no filler.” wilco barely pulled it off, roadside graves did with flying colours.
this year they put out we can take care of ourselves, which is a concept record based on s.e. hinton’s 1965 novel “the outsiders.” yes, they also made it into a movie starring every 80’s actor you could imagine, or at least it seems that way. a record based off a novel originally published 40+ years ago which revolves around two sets of socioeconomically opposed white “gangs” and their dealings with each other and themselves? not an easy sell, but the beauty of we can take care of ourselves is that you dont have to know anything about the story to appreciate the tale – this is of course a concept record after all. shit, you dont even have to listen to it as a whole, although thats the way it should be listened to. the songs are so freakin strong that they can stand on their own and in a perfect world there would be 6 or 7 singles that should be blazing up some perfect world chart. much like my sons home, everything seems in its right place and the ebb and flow of the record is damn near perfect. i cant name another band out there, or at least that i have heard, that have mastered this art as well as roadside graves. if there are only two records you listen to based on my recommendations this year, let this be one and the mount moriah record. this is not to take away from any other records i have in my top 10 or other shit i have dug, but me thinks these two need the most help and need to be heard.
buy we can take care of ourselves via amazon or via autumntone on vinyl with a digital download.