1st Quarter Of 2015 in Music - Wrap Up

2015 is the first year I’m actually actively following new releases in music (in past years I’ve just checked things when I so happened to find them, not keeping track of when they get released, really). This is a list of albums I’ve listened to that’ve been released in the first three months of 2015, my current Top 10 of 2015, and albums I’m looking forward to in the second quarter.

Releases I’ve Listened To In The 1st Quarter

  • An Autumn For Crippled Children - The Long Goodbye: 7/10
  • Against The Current - Gravity: coming soon
  • A Place To Bury Strangers - Transfixiation: 7/10
  • Björk - Vulnicura: 7/10
  • Darlia - Petals: 8.5/10
  • The Decemberists - What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World: 6/10
  • EarlyRise - Colors: 5/10
  • Enter Shikari - The Mindsweep: 5/10
  • Fall Out Boy - American Beauty/American Psycho: 8.5/10
  • Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear: 7.5/10
  • Imagine Dragons - Smoke & Mirrors: 7/10
  • Joey Bada$$ - B4.DA.$$: 9/10
  • Julien-K - California Noir, Chapter I: Analog Beaches & Digital Cities: 3/10
  • Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly: 7/10
  • Lightning Bolt - Fantasy Empire: 8/10
  • Liturgy - The Ark Work: 7.5/10
  • Papa Roach - F.E.A.R.: 6/10
  • Periphery - Juggernaut: Alpha: 8/10
  • Periphery - Juggernaut: Omega: 6/10
  • Purity Ring - Another Eternity: 8/10
  • Rae Morris - Unguarded: 7/10
  • Three Days Grace - Human: 3/10
  • Years & Years - Y & Y EP: 9/10
  • Zs - Xe: 9/10

Top 10 Albums of 2015:

  1. Fall Out Boy - American Beauty/American Psycho
  2. Zs - Xe
  3. Joey Bada$$ - B4.DA.$$
  4. Imagine Dragons - Smoke & Mirrors
  5. Periphery - Juggernaut: Alpha
  6. Lightning Bolt - Fantasy Empire
  7. Purity Ring - Another Eternity
  8. nothing else really
  9. deserves a place
  10. on my list yet :(

Upcoming Releases I’m Looking Forward To in the 2nd Quarter (in order of hype):

  • Muse - Drones
  • 10 Years - From Birth To Burial
  • Incubus - Trust Fall (Side A)
  • Halestorm - Into The Wild Life
  • Portico - Living Fields
  • Years & Years - Communion
  • Breaking Benjamin - Dawn Before Dawn
  • Stone Sour - Meanwhile In Burbank
  • Zac Brown Band - Jekyll + Hyde

Zs - Xe

There are so many different combinations of sounds and tones, we can scientifically never run out of music. That doesn't stop people from doing crazy shit, though. Zs testifies anything you might call music and create distorted soundscapes full of sporadic jazz saxophones, static and distorted guitars, and some drilling drum beats. The new incarnation of Zs features a powerful trio of masterminds who can literally create music out of the sound very foundations of life and homeostasis.

Xe is all about making music unexpected and untraditional. While some of the longer tracks ('Corps' and 'Xe') don't sustain the climactic energy over an extended period of time (not saying that they don't have their moments), each track has a certain element of "weird" and originality that shines through as each track seamlessly segues into the next. 'Wolf Government' is literally composed of the sounds of cells splitting (meiosis, bitches!) and electrons orbiting nuclei. Science stuff out of the way - they make small things sound huge. 'Corps' exhibits the mastery of Sam Hillmer's jazz stylings on the tenor saxophone, bringing infrequent and panic-y saxophone lines throughout the track. 'Xe', while uneventful as a whole, builds up as over 18-minutes with occasional explosions of energy until one huge climax at the end to conclude a fascinating album. The drum lines are often very captivating and thought-provoking, being very complex in their execution. All in all, the instrumentals of this album shows a clear mastery of the instruments being performed.

Xe is a testament to the weird. Music can exist in all forms, whether or not it makes sense or not. Perhaps that's what makes this album so intriguing - it makes little sense, akin to the experimental and jazzy tones of Talk Talk's Laughing Stock or Bark Psychosis' Hex. Weird is a hard element to master, but Zs has had no problem doing so.

Favorite Tracks: The Future Of Royalty, Corps, Weakling

Least Favorite Tracks: Beginning of 'Xe'

Overall Rating: 9/10