Well it is that time of year. List season. Cheap thrills and even cheaper clicks.
Blocland tries to be different in a cool outsider way. That is why each album comes with a “Chill” and a “Kill.” Not every member of the staff likes every album that made the top 20 so we decided to let the haters give their opinion too.
We open with albums 20 – 16. Why only 5? Because some of us are long winded and an article with all twenty albums and two write ups would be massive and a chore to read.3 Also maybe the editor got a little bit tired and wants to do the rest tomorrow. Or is it for more clicks? Who knows?
Props to Lemon for the image it’s great.
Zola Jesus Okovi
I’ve read once that Nika Danilova as Zola Jesus doesn’t consider herself or her music as goth. She is goth of course. Soooo goth. But I understand what she means. Because the darkness that Nika explores is not for darkness’s sake. Some people are just sad and dark and dark and sad. I am sad and dark, always have been. That’s what being raised on Depeche Mode does to you, that and long dark canadian winters. There is incredible sadness on Okovi, including the pain of watching loved ones struggle with their own darkness. That’s not where the album settles though. The synth lines and percussion can be cold and punishing -wonderfully so- but her words are warm and uplifting, dare I even say inspirational? Sadness and Darkness are never all there is, there’s always so much more.
Ps. That voice! That voice alone.
How Taiga didn’t crucify Zola Jesus’ entire career is beyond me. Her move from Sacred Bones, the label that best supported and reflected her aesthetic, to more known indie label Mute resulted in the pressure to put out something that was not her.
So of course she pulls an Interpol and tries to save face by returning to Sacred Bones as an additional way to say, “Hey, it’s the old me! Remember when you still liked my music?” It’s pathetic. It’s like a scorned lover crawling back to your doorstep begging for forgiveness and a return to the way it was.
But seeing as Zola Jesus already decided she was better than her old squeeze Sacred Bones, her return is a desperate attempt to fit in. She might as well have released a drone album, as coupled with her move back to Sacred Bones would’ve still yielded some “return to form” narrative that lazier writers would adopt as any artist on a smaller label can only be afforded smaller amounts of time.
Besides, who has time in 2017 for anybody that still insists to be referred to as Jesus?
Couch Slut Contempt
This album destroys.6 Yeah, you, ya fucking pussy. This album will tear the flesh off your puny ass bones and then piss on said bones. How’d I do? I wanted to sound all metal and stuff.
In all seriousness I am super happy to be able to include this monster of an album on our staff list for 2017. Sometimes a band comes along that simply doesn’t seem to give a shit about what micro-sub-bullshit-genre they operate from. Welcome to that esteemed club, Couch Slut.
Lead singer, and Twitter Fabulous, Megan Osztrosits let’s you know what you’re in for right out of the box on opening track “Funeral Dyke” And the fun never let’s up on the entire album. It’s a wonderful reminder that sometimes music should just feel dirty, wrong, and good as fuck. Congrats to this remarkable band. Now come to the fucking WEST COAST!!!!!!!!!!
A lot of screaming. Do these guys have contempt for my eardrums? Lol. Couch Slut? More like, “It’s Loud – WHAT?!” Only kiddin’. But in all seriousness, this album is not my bag, baby. Thanks for this opportunity. One.
Sza’s croon gratifies like pearls of hot wax dripping between bronzed shoulder blades while hips, as robust oars, row through a fleshy canal. Bite your lip. Taste that neck, sweet and delicious. Close your eyes. Are these warm waters calm or tumultuous? Sza paints the female body as an expressive temple, yet who has the courage to worship it? Ctrl is an album that apologizes for lacking femininity where men have mapped boundaries and set expectations of what constitutes the ideal woman. SZA isn’t making excuses, she is repossessing her sexuality and it’s shameless, empowering and overall heartbreaking.
She’s gonna organically pulse her thighs for vengeance, for pleasure, for dishing out karma all the while casting contradictions because opening those smooth legs, regardless the motivation, hasn’t opened a man’s heart. Sza has an insatiable carnal appetite and she can feed it. However, rejection makes its revolutions over and over again as she holds out for a dish
of spiritual connection spending nights laying intertwined with another spilling out fears and desires. This is where she starves.
Ctrl scoops doubt out of a mason jar and spreads it thick over a woman’s self-worth and double standards. What is it? Isn’t she pretty enough, subtle enough, mysterious enough, chaste enough, sexy enough, smart enough? Enough! Sza grapples over whether giving her body will get somebody “…because the alternative is an abyss, is just a hole, a darkness, a nothingness. Who wants that? You know? So that’s what I think about CTRL”
Standing in the shadows of more famous Wu-Tang members RZA and GZA for decades SZA finally takes her rightful place alongside Ghostface, Method, ODB…umm.……7I have not listened to this record. I do find the album title #problematic. Puts out a PWR BTTM vibe. Based on those two criteria, and those ALONE, I am utterly dismissive of this record and artist.
Suf and Friends Planetarium
Years ago, when I was a believer, a man of faith, I found a piece of scrap paper with a quote from a larger text on the back. The quote – which I later found belonged to Carl Sagan – read ‘We are a way for the cosmos to understand itself’. Those words caused a tectonic shift in my world view. It wasn’t immediate, took another few years in fact, but the effects were nothing short of a complete overhaul of my paradigm. I was no longer the grand purpose of creation, but in return I was a greater part of it. Our own identities and our surrounding galaxy are inseparable, and more to the point, it’s no wonder that Sufjan has completely blurred the lines between our solar system and the human experience on Planetarium. Like the our solar system, the album is vast and exploratory, it stands in awe of the sublime. It’s also intensely personal and emotional, an attempt at comprehending the Universe, ourself.
What’s better than the ultra-sharp rock machine The National have honed themselves into over decades of work? Maybe the soft and thoughtful musings of one Sufjan Stevens, perhaps?
I mean in the tight little ball we call “indie” music those are two of the all time fucking biggies, right?
Well thank GAWD these two joined forces and shit-canned everything either is good at and made some bloated and sprawling space themed thang devoid of form or focus. Not since the genius pairing of Metallica and Lou Reed has such a fruit bearing collaboration come to realization. Yeah, this was a stellar idea, guys. Album blows goats.
The Horrors V
If Strange House was their early days playing as an ectomorph novelty goth skiffle group in Hamburg, than the Horrors quickly made their jump to Rubber Soul with Primary Colours, an excellent album and incredible progression in under 2 years. So their most recent effort, V, is like Abbey Road. You can compare anything to the Beatles to make it easier to understand. Consider, for example, piping hot teen-pop sensations, Why Don’t We. Jack is John, obviously. Dan is George. Corbyn is Paul. I guess Zach is Ringo. That’s unfair to Ringo. Jonah is Brian – not really a member of the core group, but having an impact. Jonah should have been Pete Best, if you catch my drift.
Blimey. V finds the lads from Liverpool in excellent form. Where the lads felt a bit unfocused on their last outing, 2014’s Luminous, the tunes on V are straightforward. There are soaring choruses that approach anthems (“World Below,” “It’s a Good Life”). At one point the lads veer seductively close to something different that approaches pop (“Something to Remember Me By”). There is a welcome 90’s vibe throughout the album. The production is clean, lit, tight, and chill. It is a melding of the choice cuts from their prior work (just like Abbey Road, which is why I mentioned it earlier) and it is their most consistent offering since Primary Colours. While, arguably, they may not hit the high of that album, “Sea Within a Sea” (which is like “A Day in the Life,” imo), V is consistently built for success, just the like the Beatles. The Horrors have certainly earned that success. It’s a Good Life, indeed, Sgt. Pepper.
Editor’s note: The assigned author of this review was hospitalized while attempting to recreate the album’s cover–he smashed his testicles in between the photocopier and a Japanese comic book.
- Remember that “failed” Pizza Hut sponsorship? Paid for my summer Jetski and Winter Snowmobile. Also putting my first born through Karate.
- I will be laughing all the way to the bank.
- See our FJM review, our fake Kendrick interview, etc. We really like to waste your time
- The people who will be commenting are the ones who made this list.
- I love footnotes
- Bloc likes to use multiple spaces after periods. I do not feel like fixing this. He should be ashamed
- Bloc also likes to used a lot of periods in his writing. Ugh