As 2013 draws to a close, we’ve been giving the site over to artists to let us know what they’ve been listening to. You can check out part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, and part 4 here, and part 5 here. However, we also want to let you know what got us going this year. You can read what Chris Colgan and Zach Shaw dug, now here’s contributor Matt Brown’s list.
You gotta love albums that are just straight up rockers. Enter Clutch, who I honestly haven’t been listening to for long solely because I never really took the time to get into them. That is, until Earth Rocker came out. Right off the bat, you get the one-two punch of the title track, which features the stellar Neil Fallon’s BUAHAHAHAHA!’s, and “Crucial Velocity”, which is the driving song of the year for me personally. This one deserves to be cranked way up.
Sometimes making an album a concept album doesn’t really help it or hinder it. Usually you just read what the concept is in the CD booklet (remember those?), shrug, and continue listening. But when I read that Pelagial is based on exploring the depth of the sea, all I could think was “That’s really fucking cool”. And it is. The album gets heavier and darker the deeper the further the depths you go. Even better, you can pick out any individual track and it stands up well on its own, particularly anything from “Bathyalpelagic I-III”. It’s very easy to get absorbed. Actually, I get so absorbed that when the album ends I want more. The solution? Put it on again. Or listen to the instrumental version.
This is probably the most surprising album on my list. There are plenty of albums that I read up on before they come out and I think “Yup, that’s gonna be an end-year favorite”. But that’s not what I thought at first when I received The Blackest Beautiful. It’s not that I don’t like post-hardcore, it’s that there are only a handful of bands in the genre that I really like. But The Blackest Beautiful feels like more than a post-hardcore record. The tracks all feel distinct from the catchiness of “Empty Elvis” to the seven and a half minute “27 Club”, which is all over the place. With this album, letlive. definitely have a new fan in me.