Showing posts with label Mastodon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mastodon. Show all posts

Dec 16, 2021

Farce the Music's Top 20 Albums of 2021

 Staff vote included me (Trailer), Kevin Broughton, Megan Bledsoe, Robert Dean, Scott Colvin, Travis Erwin, Jeremy Harris, and Matthew Martin.


20. Cole Chaney - Mercy

19. Langhorne Slim - Strawberry Mansion

18. TK & the Holy Know-Nothings - The Incredible Heat Machine

17. John R. Miller - Depreciated

I had never heard of JRM, but this album changed that and for good reason. The lyrics are reminiscent of John Prine. The voice is reminiscent of Jay Farrar. What more could you ask for? ~Matthew Martin

16. Mastodon - Hushed and Grim

Mastodon has been one of my favorite bands for over a decade…even before I learned drummer/singer Brann Dailor went to my high school…or that he grew up less than a mile from my house. How I didn’t know him back then still baffles me. Anyway, I thought this was an OK Mastodon release when it came out, but after hearing these songs live…WOW…it’s one of their best. ~Scott Colvin

15. Mac Leaphart - Music City

Music City Joke is an album that is sneaky good with simple intelligence and honest observation at the heart of the writing and a traditional sound to the music. ~Travis Erwin

14. Olivia Rodrigo - Sour

This album is so good it hurts. The first time I heard it all I could think was it reminded me of Billie Eilish’s groundbreaking “When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go?” That special…unique. Trust me, in 10 years people are going to treat this release like Taylor Swift’s “Red” album…now. This record has legit bangers like “Brutal” “Jealousy, Jealousy” and “Good 4 U” to thoughtful heartbreakers like “Déjà vu,” “Driver’s License” and “Traitor.” ~Scott

13. Jason Boland & The Stragglers - The Light Saw Me

12. The Steel Woods - All of Your Stones

11. Margo Cilker - Pohorylle

Margo Cilker’s debut album is a classic case of the sum being better than its parts. There are no lyrical masterpieces and nothing to reinvent the wheel from a musical standpoint. Nevertheless, the simple yet lush arrangements, the production which carefully and thoughtfully enhances each song, Cilker’s excellent capacity for writing melodies and hooks, and the sense of place and general mood surrounding this whole record all come together to make one of the year’s standout albums. ~Megan

10. Emily Scott Robinson - American Siren

Simple honest writing that speaks with a genuineness. ~Travis

For me, the most intoxicating voice in roots music, and she backs it up with knife-edge honesty and conversational poetry that reaches into your soul. ~Trailer

9. Sturgill Simpson - The Ballad of Dood & Juanita

When Sturgill goes country, Sturgill is at his very best. When Sturgill creates an album using Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger as a template, you know you’re in for something seriously good. And, Sturgill doesn’t disappoint. The album explores all different aspects of mountain music while telling a compelling story throughout the album. If this is, in fact, Sturgill’s final album, it’s a hell of note to go out on. ~Matthew

8. Jesse Daniel - Beyond These Walls

If FTM had a “follow-up album of the year” category, this one would win it unanimously. Stretching his legs from the Bakersfield love fest that was Rollin’ On, Daniel – by focusing on the simple things in life – has broadened his focus, showing a grateful audience just how great country music can be. He’s made a great leap forward with his vocals and songwriting, and those were already high bars. There’s not a weak cut on this album. ~Kevin

7. Billy Strings - Renewal

With a voice that makes old men listen, a look that makes old women run, and lyrics that make anyone think, Billy Strings hits it out of the park with Renewal. From start to finish a bluegrass legend is being built. This is the sound and the man that will define and carry the genre for years to come. ~Jeremy

6. Brandi Carlile - In These Silent Days

With vocals that are unmatched and songs written with real heart, In These Silent Days is the album and song we all need after coming out of quarantine. Brandi continues to define herself and her songwriting which are featured on “Right on Time,” “Broken Horses,” and the title track. A masterpiece from start to finish as well as the perfect way to continue to add impressive accomplishments to Grammy-winning producer Shooter Jennings’ resume that began with once making Trailer’s worst vocalist in country music list. ~Jeremy Harris

Not a single miss for me here and Carlile had the best performance on SNL in a long while.  this album is just one that rises above its competitors in ways I haven’t found an album since Isbell’s Southeastern stood out from other albums that year. ~Travis

5. Mike & The Moonpies - One to Grow On

...merely flawless. ~Kevin

An album that sounds like the world’s best bar band captured their true sound and appeal. I haven’t heard them live yet, so I don’t know if that’s accurate, but it sure feels that way. A record that’s consistently inspired and inspiring. ~Trailer

4. Sierra Ferrell - Long Time Coming

Without fail there seems to be one album every year that sneaks up on me, transfixes and ultimately knocks me on my ass. I had never heard of this artist before Trailer hyped her upon the album’s release. I can’t even wrap my head around this record. This is probably a horrible comparison, but take the best parts of Camper Van Beethoven, Kat Edmonson and Lindi Ortega and multiply it by 100. ~Scott

3. James McMurtry - The Horses and the Hounds

James McMurtry’s songwriting is like that of no other. His prose is vividly rich in detail but composed in such a plainspoken manner that it remains accessible and relatable to us all. There is something uniquely charming about his frankness, something inherently poetic and refreshing in reflecting on all of the world’s hardships and then expressing a problem so mundane as constantly losing one’s glasses. These ruminations constitute some of the best songs of the year, and McMurtry remains one of the most interesting songwriters of his generation. ~Megan

He’s just the Godfather. 

I picture a room full of accomplished singer-songwriters trading shop talk when McMurtry walks in, and all of a sudden you can hear a pin drop. It’s been six years since his last album, and just like last time, there’s an effortless feel to this magnificent work of art. McMurtry combines imagery, geography and unrequited love better than Guy Clark, Lyle Lovett or Townes. I literally listened to “Canola Fields”  seven times before moving on to the second cut. It’s on par with “Tangled Up In Blue.” ~Kevin 

2. Charles Wesley Godwin - How the Mighty Fall

Charles Wesley Godwin, through the poetry of his songs and the haunting qualities of his voice, has managed to set Appalachia to music. If Seneca was a perfect encapsulation of the place, then How the Mighty Fall can be called a perfect encapsulation of the region’s people. More than that, it is a commentary on desperation itself, both the circumstances which lead to it and the various lengths to which one will go when faced with it. Artists are often plagued by the idea of the sophomore slump, but Godwin second album is just as exceptional as his first. ~Megan

Speaking of great follow-ups, Geez. Seneca, Godwin’s stellar breakout record from 2019, was just a warmup, it seems, for his 2021 offering. There’s an intensity to his writing this time around that solidifies a rightful claim to be mentioned in the same breath as his Appalachian brethren: Simpson and Childers. ~Kevin

1. Morgan Wade - Reckless

There’s not much to say about this album that hasn’t been screamed from the rooftops already. Morgan Wade is an exceptional talent writing catchy songs. The production on this album is top notch and the band matches the energy on each song. The future is bright for Morgan Wade and if you aren’t on the bandwagon, hurry up and hop on. Top Song: Wilder Days ~Matthew

There are notes of Lucinda and Elizabeth Cook – and Garbage and Matchbox 20 oddly enough –  in Morgan Wade’s presentation, and I can’t get enough of it. There’s a knowing tone of confidence mixed with a questioning undercurrent of sadness all through the album. She’s enough of the way through the journey of finding herself to have an air of comfort taming the tension. The balance of those two feelings makes Reckless a real winner. ~Trailer


(Others receiving multiple votes: Flatland Cavalry, Drayton Farley, Red Shahan, Vincent Neil Emerson, Yola, Carly Pearce, Ashley Monroe, Tennessee Jet)

Jun 11, 2018

Live Review / Mastodon / MECU Pavilion

by Scott Colvin

There’s something to be said for ritual. Oftentimes ritual becomes an “obligation,” like holidays with family or school reunions. There are some rituals that are not only sacred, but necessary. For me and two of my friends, our ritual is an annual Mastodon concert. While we see each other often during the year based on our respective jobs, we know there is one day of the year* (see post script) where we hang out, drink, beer and sometimes good tequila, and throw up the horns for the best metal band going today.

Mastodon returned to Baltimore, MD (this time at the recently-named MECU Pavilion (formerly Pier 6 Pavilion) on Saturday June 2nd for a crushing metal performance that no act could truly follow. The poor souls that had to follow Mastodon on this occasion were Primus. To be perfectly honest I’ve never liked Primus and this performance 20-some years after I first saw them didn’t change my mind. Good for Primus though, they’ve probably made more money off South Park royalties than I’ll ever see. Thankfully, 30 minutes into Primus’ set, our one friend who actually wanted to see them was either really bored by the slow-moving, meandering jams that sounded the same, or was agitated that the venue stopped alcohol sales. Probably a bit from Column A and a bit from Column B. Regardless, I was happy to bail early as I had to wake up at 6:30 for work the next day.

Onto the awesomeness that is Mastodon.

Coming off the heels of two Grammy noms (one win) for 2017’s epic Emperor of Sand (my personal 2017 album of the year), the Georgia-based band focused on the new, while satiating old fans with a splattering of sick songs from their vast catalog. FTM side-note, Robert Dean wrote one of my favorite articles of 2017 about not “getting” Mastodon and having old fans try to explain the cosmic appeal to him upon every release. While I disagreed with him, it was the most brilliant article I read all year and he deserved an online Pulitzer for Music Writing, if such a silly thing exists (if it did, I’m sure it’d be as meaningful as a CMT Award). And speaking of old fans and only slightly more off topic than my last rambling tangent, I’ve been one of those old fans Robert talked about in his article (seriously, read it). What I failed to realize before my first Mastodon show five years ago was drummer/vocalist Bran Dailor went to my high school (a year younger than me). Like, I had no idea until a mutual friend mentioned it to me. 

Anyway, off Emperor, the band opened with the relentlessly punishing “Sultan’s Curse” and closed with the mythic and at times psychedelic “Steambreather.” In between they played “Ancient Kingdom,” “Roots Remain,” the pulsating “Precious Stones,” and the head bangin’, head bobber, “Show Yourself.” 

Definitely a nostalgic moment for Baltimore Mastodon fans was the bands’ performance of “Ember City” which they dedicated to the dozens of fans who would see them regularly play at the legendary Ottobar back in the day (those shows must’ve been crazy bonkers to see in such a small venue).

As for their older stuff, they played a solid mix from their decade-plus career, including “Divinations,” “Crystal Skull,” Bladecatcher,” “Black Tongue,”  “Megalodon,” “Andromeda,” “Toe to Toes,” “Sleeping Giant,” “Ghost of Karelia,” and “Mother Puncher,” all of which were equally powerful and divine and solidified Mastodon’s place in metal’s pantheon of greatness. 

*P.S. Three days after this show, Mastodon announced an upcoming show in Silver Spring, MD with 80s, 90s, 00s indie rock Gods -- Dinosaur Jr. Looks like there is a new Mastodon ritual for my crew in 2018.

Here's like... 30 minutes of the show... if you wanna watch it:

Apr 10, 2017

Album "Review" Mastodon - Emperor of Sand

How I Really Feel About Mastodon’s The Emperor of Sand

by Robert Dean

You know when you’ve got mutual friends with someone, and your friends try to sell you on that other friend like, “Oh man, you gotta meet Phil. Phil fucking rules. We went to high school together. Great dude. Kills on guitar. Hilarious. Knows every word to every episode of Family Guy.” And then you meet Phil, and Phil sucks.

You have no idea why your friends love Phil. Maybe it was because you were late to the game and missed out when this dude peaked and owned shit with that wicked sense of humor. (While we’re on it, despite it being funny, people who over-quote Family Guy are annoying.)

You keep giving Phil chances when you see him out. You’re desperate to like Phil. You study up on Phil history. You actively learn about Phil if he’s going to be a satellite member of your crew. You revisit his old material. You ask to be told the stories so that you can search for the deeper meanings in the payoff. Still, you’re just like, meh – Phil. Because Phil is relevant to your community of friends, you deal with Phil and learn to tolerate Phil, not love him as they do.

You’re having a few beers, and next thing you now, he’s there telling boring work stories, but doing a bunch of weirdo cartoon voices. He’s also obsessed with Rick and Morty to an uncomfortable level that makes his constant show references hard to keep up with. It’s kind of draining. But, you endure the night.

Phil LOVES Iron Maiden. Like, a lot and thinks they’re the best band ever when most people like a handful of tunes. Phil gets all obsessional about the content of the lyrics and by word seven of this whack conversation, you’re already fucking bored with Phil. It’s just too much.

You start to wonder if you even wanna kick it with your friends anymore because maybe you’re just as annoying as Phil is. Considering this, it blows your mind. It makes you wonder about all kinds of mind-altering, existential dread shit. Just because Phil is a dork, who thinks bacon flavored everything is cool. He’s spoken at length to you about “nature’s candy” and essentially just ruined breakfast meats for you.

Finally, you just learn to ignore everyone when they drop some Phil knowledge or try to sell you hard on him and his corny jokes straight from the pages of Reddit. Sure, he has some moments where he does shine, and you’re like, fuck – “why can’t you do that all the time?!” And then Phil goes right back to bumming you out. He’s not a bad dude, either. He’s just not your people. It took a little while to get it, but it just is what it is.

Once you’ve gotten over that crucial hump of learning to accept indifference and gain the ability to filter out annoying shit in your life, you can hang with Phil. Never alone, though. That’d be too weird. Phil will never be that cool, and you will never like him like that. He’s a group hangout instance only. You’ve been dodging that Facebook friend request forever and you ain’t about to hit the yes button anytime soon, despite the fact that he’s been following you on Instagram for like a year.

What I’m trying to say is, Mastodon is Phil.


Emperor of Sand is available on Amazon and everywhere else, and the head honcho of this site thinks it's excellent.

Jan 5, 2015

Matthew Martin's Top 10 Albums of 2014

10. St. Paul & The Broken Bones - Half The City
This AL band generated quite the buzz before this album ever hit shelves - and with good reason.  This album is full of near-perfect throwback soul/funk gems that Alabama is getting good at reviving.


9. Gary Clark Jr. - Live
The first time I ever actually heard Gary Clark Jr was when I saw him live in Baltimore at a small venue called the 8x10. When I heard his debut album, I wasn't in love because of the slick production and added, unnecessary instruments.  That's why I think this album is so essential.  This is GCJr at his best.  Live, blistering, and unrelenting.


8. Natural Child - Dancin' With Wolves
I don't want to say Natural Child hit their stride on this album, but rather, they hit their comfort zone. Adding pedal steel and keys to the band, they have created, essentially, a modern day Harvest.


7. Mastodon - Once More Round The Sun
This happens to be my favorite Mastodon record to date. While that may not be a popular opinion among some Mastodon faithful,  I believe this is Mastodon doing what they do best.  Each song hits at break-neck speed and by the time you reach the last quarter of the album,  you equally beg for the onslaught to cease and to continue.


6. Lucero - Live From Atlanta
Another live album on this list because of how significant I think this one is.  Lucero is a great band.  They have transitioned from a cowpunk band to this band we have today at little-to-no detriment to their core sound.  This album is document of that complete transformation and more proof that if you have not seen Lucero live, you have to do so immediately.


5. Drive-by Truckers - English Oceans
Cooley. Really, the review could end there, but what fun would that be? With Cooley and Hood splitting the duties here, this album finds the Drive-By Truckers yet again reworking the band and creating something even stronger and tighter.  While I, unabashedly, really have enjoyed most of what DBT have put out, this album will arguably stand out as one of their greatest.


4. The Hold Steady - Teeth Dreams
I don't even know what to say about this album. It's great. There isn't a bad song on here. When I first listened, I'll admit, I was a little taken aback by the production quality (maybe too slick?), but as time has gone on and I've listened to the album numerous times, I have realized that there is not one thing wrong with this album.


3. Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues
On importance alone, this album deserves to be in the #1 spot.  But, this album happened to be released in a year that 2 other great albums were also released.  Musically and lyrically, this is a near perfect album.  Laura Jane Grace sings her heart out about a hell few of us know much about.  Give this album a listen, then listen again, then listen one more time.  It's absolutely stellar.


2. Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
Another important album- albeit for different reasons- Simpson's Metamodern Sounds in Country Music attempts to take everything we know about traditional country music and turn it on its head.  Simpson sings about LSD, reptile aliens, and love- all on the first track of the album.  As the album progresses, it's clear you're listening to something familiar and incredibly unique all at once.  Country music fans have been waiting for something like this, and I hope this album clears the path for other artists more inclined to sing about interesting topics- rather than trucks, beer, and backroads.


1. Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires - Dereconstructed
Speaking of important albums, I'm not sure there has been a more important Southern album.  This one came out and completely shattered my expectations.  Taking shots at the Southern ideology that still permeates some of Southern culture, the album is important because it shows that you can love something so much that you can recognize the attributes that sicken you and try to attack those head-on.  The South is a great place, but there are lots of things, past and present, that are nauseating.  LB3 attacks every angle with pinpoint accuracy.  And, let's not forget the incredible music on this album.  LB3 and band sound perfect on this album with, in my opinion, perfect production styles suited to the band's sound and style.  Oh, and if you haven't read Bitter Southerner's write-up on this band and album, please do so now!

By Matthew Martin

Sep 30, 2014

New Video: Mastodon - The Motherload

Probably not appropriate for work, because butts.

Jun 25, 2014

Favorite Songs of 2014: 1/2 Report

Here are my favorite songs of the year thus far. No rankings yet; they're arranged only in alphabetical order at this point. You may notice a glaring omission, namely Sturgill Simpson. Problem is, even after 30+ listens to Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (which you'll see on the best 
albums list later today), I still can't pick out a favorite. If forced, I'd probably go with 
"Turtles All the Way Down." A Spotify playlist has been added below.

Jun 12, 2014

New Video: Mastodon - High Road

From their forthcoming album, Once More 'Round the Sun, here's Mastodon with the new video for "High Road." RIYL: Clutch, Black Sabbath, Down, Black Label Society, Baroness.

Oct 7, 2011

YouTube Gems: Mastodon

Ready for some rock this morning? From their new album, The Hunter, here's Mastodon with the weird-as-hell video for "Curl of the Burl."


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