Tag Archives: Mastodon

Justin Won Some Grammy’s

So, Justin won two Grammy’s tonight. No, not that teen idol Justin. But the other Justin. The one who sings better, writes better songs, writes his OWN songs, and is known to many as Bon Iver. Yeah, that Justin.

As a fan, I’m really happy for him. I also feel good for guessing that he’d win the ‘Best Alternative Music Album’ (see post here). It re-assured me that I still have a good taste in music, which means I’m still “hip”. He also won ‘Best New Artist’, which I really think is weird because his first album was released back in 2008. So, he’s really not that new. I wish Skrillex got that award instead.

On a sad note, he didn’t win the ‘Record of the Year’ for “Holocene”. But I wasn’t really expecting him to win that. Adele is just too strong, and I bet they’ll be riots everywhere if “Rolling In The Deep” didn’t win.

Also, Mastodon didn’t win the ‘Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance’ for their song “Curl of the Burl”. Foo Fighters got that award for their “White Limo”, which isn’t a bad song. It’s a bummer. But I guess Mastodon isn’t tame enough to win a Grammy (and I hope they stay that way).

Me and the Grammy’s have agreed on a couple of things this past few years. The Mars Volta won the ‘Best Hard Rock Performance’ in 2009. Then, Arcade Fire won the ‘Album of the Year’ in 2011. Now, Bon Iver, who’s latest album is my favorite indie/alternative album from last year, won two Grammys. But, with Mastodon not winning anything, our relationship is still lukewarm.

Anyways, if you don’t know who Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver) is, here are some of his songs from his self-titled sophomore album. Enjoy.

“Calgary” by Bon Iver

“Holocene” by Bon Iver

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Dry Bone Valley

Mastodon released a video for “Dry Bone Valley”, the 2nd single off their new album. The video is directed by Tom Biskup. “Dry Bone Valley” is actually my favorite track from The Hunter. Unfortunately, even though it got really cool at the end, I really don’t like the video.

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Best Music of 2011

As a blogger, one of the best things I love about the year’s end is that I can write a definitive “Best of [insert year here]” list. So, in the next couple of days, I’ll be writing and posting my 2011 definitive list in different categories. I’ve already done my list for comicsgamesfilms and books. Today, my list is for the best albums of the year.

Making a list for best music is always a hard thing to do for me. Unlike comics, games, films and books, I listen to almost a hundred albums per year. I can’t help it. I love music more than anything else. So, it’s always difficult for me to pick out one album and rank it above others. That’s why, to make it more easier for me, I picked 10 items for this list (instead of 5) and divided it into two categories: Indie/Alternative and Metal/Hard Rock. I’ve also included songs for you guys to stream.

But enough talk. My favorite music of 2011:

Indie/Alternative

#5. Civilian
by Wye Oak

There were two albums in 2011 that made me a bit weepy and feel a little crumpled. One of those albums is Civilian. It’s a great collection of beautifully tormented pop rock songs. Although, honestly, this almost didn’t make it on my top 5. But, after repeatedly listening to it for the whole month of December, it grew on me even more.

“Civilian” by Wye Oak

#4. Yuck
by Yuck

If Yuck came out a year ago, I wouldn’t have even bothered giving their self-titled debut another listen. But, in a time when I’m being bit by 90’s nostalgia, Yuck came out at the right time with the right sound –similar to 90’s bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement. Every song in this album is so catchy, it’s just a pleasure to listen to.

“Shook Down” by Yuck

#3. Days
by Real Estate

Nothing relaxes me more than listening to Real Estate’s sophomore album, Days. Every time I listen to its jingly-jangly guitar pop songs –which conjures laid back images like laying in a hammock tied to coconut trees or just reading a book out on your porch in a quiet afternoon– my stress just melts away. That’s why it’s #3 on my list.

“Municipality” by Real Estate

#2. David Comes to Life
by Fucked Up

I had a hard time categorizing Fucked Up’s music. It’s too ferocious to be in alternative. Yet it’s not too ferocious to be in hardcore. That’s how complex and interesting their music is. And in their sophomore album, David Comes to Life, their music is more alive with a punk opera narrative about love, loss and mourning.

“Queen of Hearts” by Fucked Up

#1. Bon Iver
by Bon Iver

When I heard Bon Iver 3 years ago, he was still a small singer/songwriter. Now, his name is everywhere after he got nominated in the academies. So, this might seem I’m jumping at the Bon Iver bandwagon by ranking this as my #1. But, Grammy’s or not, I love this album. It made me weep like a baby.

“Calgary” by Bon Iver

Metal/Hard Rock

#5. Murder the Mountains
by Red Fang

I never knew of Red Fang before. But I had the chance to see them live when they opened for Mastodon here in Chicago last November. I was impressed by their brand of hard rock. So, the first thing I did when I got home is purchase Murder the Mountains. This album is just plain. No bells and whistles, just good, hard and heavy music.

“Wires” by Red Fang

#4. One
by TessaracT

I like djent bands. Although I’m not really a rabid fan of the genre. But after listening to One, I was drooling like an idiot. Then again, TessaracT is more than just a djent band. Yes, they’re chuggsters, and the guitar work in this album is ridiculously great. But they also have some pop sensibility and added atmosphere to their songs.

“Lament” by TessaracT

#3. The Hunter
by Mastodon

A lot of fans that I know of bemoans Mastodon’s departure from their brand of prog-metal in The Hunter. Me, I welcomed the changes. Yes, the 13 minute epic songs and lengthy instrumental solos are gone. Instead, we got 3 minute songs, concise and free from weird concepts, that are as hard and heavy as any other Mastodon songs.

“Stargasm” by Mastodon

#2. An Ache for the Distance
by The Atlas Moth

I was blown away when I heard An Ache for the Distance. This band draws their sound from a wide range of styles –doom, stoner, psychedelic, you name it. The best part is: they also managed to stir those styles pretty well that you won’t be able to differentiate which is which. You’ll just hear them altogether at the same time.

“Holes in the Desert” by The Atlas Moth

#1. Hisengen Blues
by Graveyard

Hisengen Blues was the first album I reviewed in 2011 that received a score of A (see here). That was last May. But I haven’t heard anything else that has pounded my head as hard as this album since then. It screams of classic rock, with its sludgy riffs, soulful vocals and a lo-fi recording that makes the band seem so close.

“The Siren” by Graveyard

So, with my best music of 2011 already picked and posted, these concludes my best of 2011 lists. I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did when I picked them.

Happy New Year to you all!

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It’s Getting Better (The Grammy’s)

The Grammy Awards and I really don’t get along well. They usually shun my music. But then, last year, something unexpected happened. My favorite album of 2010, The Suburbs, by the band Arcade Fire, also won Album of the Year at The Grammy’s. I almost fell out of my seat when they announced it.

Then this year, Bon Iver (pictured above), probably my most listened to artist this year, is also nominated for four Grammy’s, including Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Alternative Music Album. I’m betting my next pay check that he’ll at least get one of these (possibly Best Alternative Music Album).

Even their Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance category looks better this year. Because they finally included Mastodon on it. Although, it’s still not quite right without Wolves in the Throne room on the list. But, I guess, putting that band on the Grammy’s is asking for too much.

So, does this mean that me and the Grammy’s are finally getting along? Hopefully, no. Because that would mean I’m not a punk anymore, that my taste in music has become refined, mature and boring.

Anyways, here are some songs from my favorite nominees:

Holocene” (nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year) by Bon Iver

Curl of the Burl” (nominated for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance) by Mastodon

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