PostInTheName’s best of 2014 - A year in review… sort of.
Aah, sweet. I get to write my first list. Lists are so hot right now. And it’s a “Best of the Year” list, no less.
Internet: “But Ian, you’ve only been running this blog since March.”
Me: “Well, yeah… but it’s December. It’s all, like, Christmasy and shit. And, like, New Years and stuff…”
Internet: “But March to December isn’t a full year.”
Me: “You’re a pedant.”
Internet: “You’re a blogger.”
Me: “…well that’s just plain rude.”
Agreeing to disagree, I’ve compiled a list of my top five favorite records that I’ve reviewed for this blog to come out in 2014. But before we get to that…
There were a lot of albums that I absolutely loved, but chose not to review simply because they were from some of the bigger bands in this genre. I started this blog, first and foremost, to find new music that I liked and to share it with anyone who cared to read what I had to share, while paying particular attention to music from the Twin Cities. Anyone with a vested enough interest in this type of music knows it was a hell of a year for releases in post-rock. Mogwai, Mono, TWDY… just off the top of my head, I know I’ve forgotten some others. But anyone with a vested enough interest in this genre to be aware of this blog will already know about such bands putting out new material, so that would defeat the point of me scouring numerous other blogs, random Bandcamp links, and word of mouth rabbit holes to put in the time to listen and bring back what I think is really great. So I’m going to omit them from the list, (regardless of how much I may have liked them).
There were also, unfortunately, some releases that I just simply ended up not having the time to review by the end of the year. Here are the five bands I’m most bummed that I didn’t get around to posting reviews for, but would still like to at least give a shout out to. So please, If you don’t recognize any of the following names, it is worth your time to check them out.
Honorable Mentions #
5 The Other Sight - Grown Below
Even though this album technically came out in 2013 (December 30th) I’m going to include it. This one I feel particularly bad about, because I’ve known about Grown Below (on Russia’s excellent Slow Burn Records) for what feels like forever now. Sadly, I never got around to writing a review for this Belgian band’s amazing album. If you’re a fan of post-metal and you haven’t checked these guys out, you owe it to yourself. Slow Burn’s entire discography is absolutely worth giving a thorough checking over if post-metal is your main bag.
Grown Below’s Bandcamp
4 Sun Drunk Moon - If Anything Happens To The Cat
Weird name. Bukowski quotes. Absolutely amazing music. I love everything about this band. I’m still really bummed I couldn’t get to this one before the end of the year, and might still throw up a review for it in the coming months because I haven’t seen this band get much press elsewhere… and they are the second band from Belgium to end up on the Honorable Mentions list. I swear that was not intentional.
If Anything Happens To The Cat’s Bandcamp
3 Sending Fires to the Sky - flyingdeadman
A ridiculously great band from France. A powerful record. Honestly, just a really, really, really solid and creative album. I’m still kicking myself that I chose to forego reviewing this because of other deadlines I had set for myself. Even worse: I feel they never received enough attention for this album. Go listen to it, and decide for yourself. Please.
2 This Patch of Sky - This Patch of Sky
Fun/Tedious fact: I play cello, as well as being a filthy, plebeian guitarist at heart. I also love that the former is as much of a centerpiece to this Oregon band’s music as the latter. I will probably end up writing a review of this album anyway, simply because I loved it so much as soon as I heard it. And, you know, the cello thing.
This Patch of Sky’s Bandcamp
1 Dust - Show Me A Dinosaur
There are so many excellent bands coming out of Russia that don’t get enough love or exposure here in the States. Saint Petersburg’s Show Me A Dinosaur is a prime example of that excellence. Sometimes riffy and sludgy, sometimes spacey and pretty, but always good. Just a really powerful record. I dropped the ball by not reviewing this album right out of the gate. Go check this one out, as I won’t be surprised if Dust ends up on a few other year end lists.
Show Me A Dinosaur’s Bandcamp
The Top 5 #
And now that I’ve cleared my conscience a bit about that… Here are my top five records I’ve reviewed for 2014:
5 We Come From Exploding Stars by Moonlit Sailor #
Poppy, catchy, cinematic… A lot of adjectives come to mind trying to describe the Swedish quartet’s fourth studio album. I believe I actually used the word “bubbly” at one point in the review. This was the first album I chose to review when starting the blog, but I can still safely say that after everything I’ve listened to, both good and bad, this record deserves a spot on this list.
Moonlit Sailor’s Bandcamp
4 The Return South by The Return South #
This proggy Texas band absolutely won me over with their extremely solid ear for smart, tight compositions. And I won’t lie: The horn sections. God, I’m such a total sucker for horns.
The Return South’s Bandcamp
3 Elegy by Rocket Miner #
Chicago’s Rocket Miner have carved out their own loud sonic niche with their fuzzy, shoegazy post-rock. From the crushing walls of sound on “War Room” to the Mogwai-esque soundscapes on tracks like “Jejune” and “Ember”, I seriously can’t recommend this album enough.
Rocket Miner’s Bandcamp
2 Tower by Falcon Arrow #
The only local Twin Cities band to make the list, and it was only after much internal debate that they didn’t get the number one spot. From poppy to groovy to fun to epic. I listened to this album riding Metro Transit pretty much every day, and it made the experience tolerable. And I rode the 74. I could go on, but honestly can’t think of a more ringing endorsement. Seriously, don’t overlook this album.
(And that cover is still just dope as hell.)
Falcon Arrow’s Bandcamp
1 Mitau by Audrey Fall #
All the way from Latvia, Mitau was one of the first albums I reviewed for this blog, but it is still the one that blows me away the most. Audrey Fall’s distinct brand of post-hardcore influenced post-rock/metal is everything I love hearing in an album. I was excited listening to it the first time, and I still feel the same after all these months. From the intro on “1944”, to the build of “Wolmar”. From the blast beats on “Bermondt”, to the spacious distance on “Valdeka”. The heaviness of “Courland Aa”. The absolute punch of “Priboi”…
I said this in my original review, and I’ll stand by it: There are just so many things this album does absolutely right. The number of parts on this album that still make the hair on the back of my neck stand up is ridiculous. I’d be lying if I chose any other record for the number one spot on my favorite albums of 2014.
Audrey Fall’s Bandcamp
So there it is! PostInTheName’s favorites of 2014. Congrats to all the bands that put out killer records this year, regardless if they made this list or not. And an especially big thank you goes out to all the bands, both local and from all over the world, that submitted their albums to the blog for review. I love hearing from all of you and it’s still exciting getting to hear new post-rock from around the globe as it’s coming out. And to any bands reading this, if you have a record coming out in 2015 that you’d like to submit for review, my inbox is still always open at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy holidays and whatnot from PostInTheName, and here’s looking forward to what 2015 has to offer.