I’ve already blown a couple hundred words on what a good year for music it has been. I had composed a little rant about how, despite the high quality to be found across wide-ranging genres, there really wasn’t a clear high-water mark, and then Stephen Hyden went and wrote a longer, better piece about that very phenomenon in the AV Club. So that sort of boned this introductory paragraph about how difficult it was to crown a number one without a cultural swing (whether generic or broader) to join or rally against. Enjoy this really great top 10 even if it is devoid of material which made Zeus quake or stirred fears of revolution in the late Kim Jong-Il. (more…)

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We’re already over halfway through 2011. I wanted to highlight a few fine records I’ve gotten into so far. I wrote up a list of my favorite Iowa City releases for Little Village Magazine already, so I won’t be rehashing that, I’ll just single out some stellar releases and¬†unnecessarily¬†pigeon-hole and qualify them cause, why not?

Liturgy
Aesthetica
Thrill Jockey

From about ages 13 through 16, give or take a year or two, metal and hard rock ruled my radio. Discovering Radiohead around 16, marked the beginning of a pretty precipitous decline in head-banging and a more regular move toward “the standing still.” After a violent shunning of all things stupid, loud, and crude–my dismissive stance on metal and hard rock–for the early part of college, I allowed myself to enjoy the louder things in life. I have, since my junior year of college, found a few records that really up the decibel level and also appeal to my “more refined” tastes. (more…)