This entry has been laying dormant for a few years with a handful of finished reviews alongside scattered drafts. So let’s instead default to a flat list to get on with it. Male-dominated as per usual. Privileged white men muddying the waters of music criticism?

Sloan - The Double Cross

Sloan

The Double Cross

Murderrecords

Floating Me - Floating Me

Floating Me

Floating Me

Cross Section

Junius - Reports From the Threshold of Death

Junius

Reports From the Threshold of Death

Prosthetic Records

Cave In - White Silence

Cave In

White Silence

Hydra Head Records

Thursday - No Devolución

Thursday

No Devolución

Epitaph Records

Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Mogwai - Earth Division

Mogwai

Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Earth Division EP

Rock Action

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The Null Corporation

Steven Wilson - Grace for Drowning

Steven Wilson

Grace for Drowning

Kscope

Thrice - Major/Minor

Thrice

Major/Minor

Vagrant

3 - The Ghost You Gave to Me

3

The Ghost You Gave to Me

Metal Blade Records

Low - C'mon

Low

C’mon

Sub Pop

Grails - Deep Politics

Grails

Deep Politics

Temporary Residence

My personal standout is an all-instrumental collection of eight songs from a Portland-based five-piece obsessed with obscure film soundtracks. Although grounded as a rock band, their use of non-traditional instruments, string arrangements and post-production bring an exotic psychedelia to a familiar base. Each extended song is jam-packed with ideas, painstakingly composed to flow with no clear suites or abrupt changes in mood.

During their musical chairs live performances, you must also catch Emil Amos’ drum-fill freakouts (even more pronounced in his other band Om) that bring out more visceral qualities of this album. In any case, whilst travelling in Western Australia back in 2012 I discovered its an ideal accompaniment for cruising across a sun-lit desert.

Best songs:

Sloan – “Unkind”
Cave In – “Sing My Loves”
Ulver – “September IV”
Wide Mouth Mason – “What’d I Do”
Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders – “Cold Feet”
Thursday – “Stay True”
Frank Turner – “Redemption”
Dredg – “Thought of Losing You”
Jim Ward – “Broken Songs (Electric Version feat. Tegan Quin)”
Mutemath – “Allies”
White Denim – “Anvil Everything”
Mogwai – “How to Be a Werewolf”
The Darcys – “I Will Be Light”
*shels – “Plains of the Purple Buffalo (Part 1)” and “Plains of the Purple Buffalo (Part 2)”
Mastodon – “Creature Lives”
The Antlers – “Putting the Dog to Sleep”
And So I Watch You From Afar – “7 Billion People All Alive at Once”
Morne – “Asylum”
Thrice – “Anthology”
3 – “Numbers”
Low – “Nothing But Heart”