Just under a year ago I made a top five list of albums that had been, at that point, completely overlooked by all of us at the LA Music Blog. Sometimes there is just too much good stuff to cover at once, so the (not really) midpoint of the year is a good time to do a quick recap of LPs you might have missed and that all of us at the LAmb have skipped over the last five months or so.
There should be a little something for everyone in here somewhere, and although three of these acts appeared on a playlist earlier in the year, it’s definitely time to have a proper look:
Protomartyr – Under Color Of Official Right
The Detroit post-punk band’s second album is a 35-minute treat of short, sharp songs that tap into a boredom and frustration with modern life in their hometown and beyond. Over the course of 14 songs, none of which outstay their welcome, the band layers reverb guitars, tight-as-hell drumming, and the passionate (but not overly so) vocals of Joe Casey into a package that twitches with energy and burns with an undercurrent of fury. I’m also cheating a bit with this one, because I happen to know the band has at least one other fan at the blog, and that he has plenty to say about them as well…
Behemoth – The Satanist
The veteran Polish death metal band has been playing for over 20 years, but their future looked in serious doubt when lead vocalist Nergal was diagnosed with leukemia four years ago. Fortunately he survived the illness and returned to music with his dark outlook on the world still intact. Once you get past the sheer nihilism and satanic nature of the lyrics, this is just a fantastic heavy album and a terrific advert for a genre that is often all surface and no substance. The below video, however, is terrifying and definitely NSFW. You were warned.
Ought – More Than Any Other Day
One of the year’s best debuts so far comes from an unlikely source. Although Ought draws from a variety of sources for their particular take on art-rock (elements of post-punk and traditional indie rock are in there amongst several other things), their expansive and excellent debut arrived on Constellation Records, the Montreal label more famous for the likes of Godspeed You Black Emperor! and their contemporaries. The fact that the label released another impressive debut is less of a surprise.
Eagulls – Eagulls
I was initially skeptical about this Leeds five-piece, who seemed to talk the talk without necessarily having the tools to back it up. Repeat listens to their debut album have won me over. Though still raw, there is undoubtedly something a little special about the noisy band, which derives a little bit from Joy Division and the Cure to create an attention-grabbing debut that’s difficult to ignore. Excellently cheeky choice of band name as well.
Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso
Right now your best chance to see this duo is on tour opening for Tune-Yards (they will play at the sold-out Fonda Theatre on June 5th), but if you can’t catch them live you can make do with their very promising debut. Amelia Meath’s vocals and Nick Sanborn’s sparse but punchy production seem made for one another, and the result is one of those almost-there albums that makes you excited to see what the duo comes up with next in their burgeoning career.