Monday, January 23, 2017

Trevor Shelley de Brauw - Uptown

One of my favorite random categories of music is albums that take their name from and subsequently shape their sound and message around a place.  Panopticon's stellar Kentucky is a sterling example, blending black metal with the local flavor of bluegrass in addition to the strife encountered by the state's coal workers.  Though I've driven through, I haven't spent much time in Kentucky, and so my experiences and feelings around Kentucky are filtered through things I've read, seen, and heard about the state, including Kentucky.  I'm using the experiences of others to create my own idea of a place, to form my own associations with it; for all I know, it's all a lie, and my idea of Kentucky is completely false.  Trevor Shelley de Brauw's debut solo album Uptown is named after a Chicago neighborhood in which I've spent a fair bit of time, has no such issues.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Op-Ed: Ne Obliviscaris Ad Sustinere Musicorum

It isn't a surprising thing to say that the music industry is in a state of flux.  Unless you're Taylor Swift, Adele, or BeyoncĂ©, album sales are way down.  In their place are streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music - which pay artists next to nothing - or more illicit options like torrents or uploaded YouTube audio (which pay artists nothing).  It's a pretty rough time to be a working musician, as your livelihood has to depend on album and merchandise sales and tour revenue; if too few people show up to your show in Calgary, and only a few of those too few buy shirts or physical copies of the album, it can be tough to make ends meet.  And even if the venue sells out, and you sell out of your daily allotment of merch/records, there's still the next show to worry about.  Point is, it's tough to make a living as a band where there are bills to pay and mouths to feed and real life non-rock star shit to take care of.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Saor - Guardians

Saor is an atmospheric folk black metal band that hails from Scotland, a fact that is driven home by the incredible and awesome use of bagpipes.  I liked their "debut" album Aura when it came out in 2014, as it reminded me of an album that appeared on my Best of 2013 list, Roots by Ă€rsaidh... wouldn't you know it, they're the same band!  I felt like a hybrid terrible fan and absolute moron when I learned that, and vowed to pay closer attention.  Which I did by missing Guardians, the new album from Saor that came out in November of last year.  So in keeping with my tradition of playing catch up in January, I'm here to give you my thoughts on the album that has consumed most of my early 2017 listening.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Nine Inch Nails - "Not The Actual Events"

If you read my Best Of 2016 Post, you're probably wondering what the hell this post is doing here, as I clearly stated that post would be my last of the year.  I meant that then, which was before I learned of the existence of a new Nine Inch Nails project.  An EP to be specific, titled Not The Actual Events, which was released Friday, December 23.  Just in time for a Merry Christmas, just too late to make me an honest man.  So I listened to it, and now I'm writing about it.  Is it good?  Is it a Christmas dud?  Does it already, just a week later, invalidate my Top EPs of the Year ranking???  Oh Trent Reznor, why must you hurt me so?!?!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Mick's Top 15 Albums of 2016

Well, another year has come and gone. Given the events that happened this year, it seems like 2016 is a year that most of us are wanting to end sooner rather than later. It's not all doom and gloom, however. We here at Brutalitopia experienced a record year in terms of readership and for that we will be forever grateful to you and all the other fine folk who give our site a gander every now and then. We promise to keep up with what we can in 2017 and beyond.

But now for the good stuff. Read on after the break to see what some of my favorite albums of the year were!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tom's Top 15 Albums of 2016

2016 can be viewed through 2 lenses, that of national concern or those of personal concern, some intertwine but I will say it. 2016 really sucked and hard. Luckily there were plenty of moments that help me to forget this. My brothers in metal joined forces in Maryland for the annual meeting of metal known as Maryland Deathfest. I helped to cater a wonderful breakfast of Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese Sandwiches and NJ bagels. I only do this because of all you have done collectively for me in the past and has thus become inspiration for the above picture. My diner will open again soon just not in 2017... I would like to thank brothers Mick and Durf here at Brutalitopia for being the best, (the latter not so much with lists but I digress), the staffs over at No Clean Singing, Invisible Oranges, Nine Circles Heavy Music Headquarters and Metal Bandcamp. You are all incredible people and you have helped made through a year full of trials and tribulations. You know who you are and I love you all!

Now on to the list!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Durf's Top Albums, EPs, Songs, and Concerts of 2016

2016's been an odd year, to say the least.  It has been tough to watch the news; a worldwide refugee crisis is in full swing, climate change may have passed a reversible threshold, and the corpse of a moldy jack o' lantern was elected US President.  Enough beloved, respected actors, artists, and musicians have died this year that there's a 10% chance another passes away while you read this article.  I miss Gene Wilder more than I ever thought it was possible to miss someone you've never met.  But there have been good moments.  The Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series (and somehow Chicago didn't burn to the ground).  And the music... blessed Dio above, the music was great this year.  Last year, I found six albums that I felt were worth writing about.  This year, I filled a full fifteen, with honorable mentions and a separate list for EPs.  How good was the music this year?  Two of the biggest progressive metal legends ever put out the worst albums of their careers, and no one batted an eye, because there was so much other great stuff out that two cosmically huge misfires were no big deal.  Seriously, 2016 is the new bar to clear in terms of great music (replacing 2013).  Below are my Top Albums, EPs, Songs, and Concerts from the year that was; check 'em out, tell me what I missed, and pour one out for all those we lost this year.  Also remember that "Top" is my own preference, because I am woefully unqualified to tell anyone what is good or bad when it comes to music.