Best Albums of 2017… So Far (Updated)

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Since I last made this list, there have been a few more albums that came out that deserve to be on this list. 2017 has really shaped up to be another great year for new albums. Check out the Best Albums of 2017 so far below.

Also note, that there are still a few more months left in this year so, this list will be growing very shortly!

This list is in No Particular Order!!!

Mastodon- Emperor Of Sand:


Darkest Hour- Godless Prophets and The Migrant Flora:


With Our Arms To The Sun- Orenda:


Black Map- In Droves:


Eighteen Visions- XVIII:


Mutoid Man- War Moans:


Depeche Mode- Spirit:


Pallbearer- Heartless:


Royal Thunder- Wick:


Wear Your Wounds- Wear Your Wounds:


Spotlights-Seismic:

Brand New- Science Fiction:

Dead Cross- Dead Cross:


Less Art- Strangled Light:


Nine Inch Nails- Add Violence:


Cons- The Burden Of Knowing Why:

 

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Band Of The Week: Death Bells

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As a music fan I’ve watched certain genres and influences come and go over the years. Most times when a genre gets popular again, there are so many sound a like bands that you can’t tell the difference between them. Post Punk is one of those genres that has such a distinct sound that it’s hard to make yourself stand out. Luckily there is a band from Australia that is able to do just that and they are called Death Bells. Formed in 2014 in Sydney, Death Bells has managed to channel Joy Division, Depeche Mode and The National into their own blend of post-punk mixed with somber melodies. Their upcoming debut full length album Standing At The Edge Of The World, will be released September 29th and it can’t come soon enough. The ten songs that appear on the album are chock full of melody, glistening guitars, blunt rhythms, and crisp clear vocals that would make most bands in the genre jealous of how good Death Bells are. The latest single “Only You” is a dreamy almost pop song that is drenched in melancholia and a dash of hope. Death Bells are the band the genre has been waiting for, for a long time.

Death Bells- Only You:

 

Death Bells- Something Above:

 

Death Bells- Roman Candles:

 

Death Bells- Death Bells EP:

 

Album Review: Brand New- Science Fiction

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When bands take their time to come out with a new album, that album is then dealt an extreme amount of anticipation along with high expectations. Most of the time though, the end result is pretty bland and disappointing. That is not the case though with the new album entitled Science Fiction by Brand New. Instead, this album lives up to every expectation you’d expect from the band and then some. Brand New has never been a band to repeat themselves, which makes their catalog one that stands out among their peers. Science Fiction is the long awaited follow up to 2009’s Daisy. It’s also been announced that this will be Brand New’s final album. Since it’s release, Science Fiction debuted at number one on the billboard charts. A first for the band and a welcome surprise to all.

The album itself is a deep reflection of life and all the emotions we go through. Back in 2006 when The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me was released, Brand New set a blueprint as to what “emo” albums should be. On Science Fiction, the depth that they reached on The Devil and God is summoned once again, with a delicate and soothing yet dynamic approach. From the moment the first song “Lift Me Up” kicks in, there is a real sense of calm that descends upon the listener. As the album continues songs like ” Can’t Get It Out,”  and “Could Never Be Heaven,”  really hit at the heart strings. “Same Logic/Teeth (which is my favorite track on the album as of this writing),”  adds to their repertoire of classic songs. “Out Of Mana (one/if not the “heaviest” song on the album),” and “In The Water” almost transcend the genre. “No Control” is a mid tempo song that is very sincere. “451” is a cool bluesy song. It reminds me of a song that The Black Keys wish they could write. Closing out the album is “Batter Up” one of the best songs Brand New has ever written. Not only is it a solemn song but, it’s also a great farewell to a very influential and inspirational career.

Bands like Brand New don’t come around that often. Their ability to take their time and put out an album when the time is right and they feel the songs/album is done is almost unheard of these days. Their artistic integrity and songwriting prowess really shows on their sleeves with Science Fiction. Something else that gets overlooked with Brand New is the musicianship of all the members. Each person in this band has a place and plays their instruments with the exact feel needed to make the songs the best they can be. If this is really their “swan song,” then they really hit the mark and are giving you every ounce of themselves on this album. Science Fiction is definitely making the top ten albums of the year.

Overall Rating= A

 

Brand New- Science Fiction:

 

 

On The Rise: Spotlights

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Since starting Audioeclectica, I’ve had the great pleasure of being sent many bands to check out. As a connoisseur of music and a fan, being able to listen to so many bands and their work is quite fun. Sure, I get some duds from time to time but, when I hear a band that I dig, quite often the hairs on my arms stand up and I turn the volume up super loud so my neighbors can hear what I’m listening to. Recently, a band came across my inbox called Spotlights. I have heard the name before but never heard them. So needless to say my curiosity was peaked. And the end result of what I heard was absolutely astounding.

Spotlights are a Brooklyn-based band featuring married couple Mario and Sarah Quintero. One of the great things about Spotlights is their ability to channel different genres and make them sound like you’re hearing them for the first time. Taking bits and pieces from space rock (a la Failure), alternative rock (Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins), shoe gaze (My Bloody Valentine), and a bit of an industrial/electronic vibe (more recent Nine Inch Nails comes to mind), Spotlights have created a sound that reverberates and resonates as a work of art.

Their upcoming album Seismic, will be one of the best albums you will hear all year. Each song brings about a genuine sense of passion and belief that is missing in a lot of bands these days. The production on the album, courtesy of Aaron Harris (Palms, Isis, etc) really captures the sound of the band and then some. On a side note, Aaron plays drums on the album, as well. The entire album is inspiring and deep. I can’t even pin point one song that sums the album up, you have to hear the whole thing, when it comes out October 6 via Ipecac Records.

Spotlights are a band that you NEED to pay attention to. Bands like this don’t come around too often, and they deserve all the accolades and love being thrown their way.

 

Spotlights- Learn To Breathe (From Seismic):

 

Spotlights- Tidals (Full Album):

 

Spotlights- Seismic (Pre-Order):

Ultimate Set List & Tour: Killswitch Engage w/ Jesse & Howard and Darkest Hour

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The first Dream Tour and Ultimate Set List I made was pretty amazing. The line up of Mastodon, Neurosis and O’Brother would be a tour for the ages. After that, I made a list of others that I thought would be pretty amazing. What I present to you is a dream tour that would be absolutely awesome. Imagine if this ever did come to fruition… Killswitch Engage tours with Jesse Leach AND Howard Jones. Each singer gets their own set of songs from the albums they were on, and then at the end they join each other for a few songs. Well, here is the set list that I came up with, the one I’d want to see, along with Darkest Hour as their opener and their set list. Enjoy!!

With all that in mind, here are the guidelines for this now expanded category.

1: Where would you want to see the show

2: What is the order/set lengths of the bands

3: What line up of the band would it be (If necessary)

4: Set List (In order of how the set should go)

 

Venue: 

The Worcester Palladium in Massachusetts

Order: 

1) Darkest Hour (45 mins), 2) Killswitch Engage (45 mins for Jesse, 45 mins for Howard, plus 15 mins for the Encore)

Line Up:

Darkest Hour: John Henry, Mike Schleibaum, Ryan Parrish, Kris Norris, Paul Burnette

Killswitch Engage: Jesse Leach, Howard Jones, Adam Dutkiewicz, Joel Stroetzel, Mike D’Antonio, Justin Foley

Set Lists:

Darkest Hour:

01) Doomsayer
02) No God
03) Convalescence
04) Timeless Numbers
05) So Sedated, So Secure
06) Knife In The Safe Room
07) Eclipse
08) Pay Phones and Pills
09) The Sadist Nation
10) For The Soul of the Savior

Killswtich Engage:

Jesse Set:

01) Numbered Days
02) Beyond The Flames
03) We Carry On
04) Life To Lifeless
05) You Don’t Bleed For Me
06) Cut Me Loose
07) Self Revolution
08) Fixation On The Darkness
09) In Due Time
10) Strength Of The Mind
11) Always
12) My Last Serenade
13) Vide Infra

Howard Set:

14) Daylight Dies
15) A Bid Farewell
16) A Light In A Darkened World
17) When Darkness Falls
18) World Ablaze
19) The Arms Of Sorrow
20) Breathe Life
21) Reject Yourself
22) My Curse
23) Rose Of Sharyn
24) The End Of Heartache

Jesse and Howard Together (Encore):

25) Irreversal
26) Soilborn
27) Take This Oath

Band Of The Week: China Girl

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I’m always intrigued when I hear that members from other bands that I dig get together to create a new band or project. Recently, it was announced that a new band called China Girl was going to release their debut album. This band is made up of John Jarvis (Pig Destroyer/Scour) on vocals, Derek Engemann (Cattle Decapitation/Scour) on bass, and, Dennis Sanders (Spirit In The Room) on guitar/vocals/programming. What makes this band interesting and stand out is that it’s a mix of different genres and each member brings their own influence and inspiration to the songs. Some songs are straight up metal or punk with tinges of black metal, while others show an element of sludge in some as well. There is also a bit of ambience (or space) to some songs which really helps to differentiate the songs a bit. All of these genres really help to deliver an experience when listening. Songs that really stood out to me are “China Boy,” “Cold Forever,” “No More Fun,” “Horrid,” “2 Wrongs,” and “The Hound.”

Granted though, this might not be for everyone but, that’s what makes being a music fan great. Having the opportunity these days to make the music you want and put it out there is great. It’s even better when the end result is something with substance and is inspired like China Girl. I really hope that they announce some live shows with this project/band. I’d love to see the ferociousness and power of this live.

 

China Girl- China Girl:

Cover Song: Converge (The Cure)-Disintegration

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It’s been a minute since I presented you all with an intriguing cover song. There are certain things I look for in covers, for example, how the band approaches the song, do they make it their own, does it stand out in a good way or a bad way, and is the cover relevant to the band in terms of influence and inspiration.

The Cure are one of my all time favorite bands. So when any band I like covers The Cure, I am compelled to listen. A few years back the mighty Converge did a cover of Disintegration by The Cure. I recently rediscovered this gem of a cover while going on a Converge listening spree. They really take this song to another level. I won’t say anymore about it because, I want you to listen and take it all in.

 

Converge- Disintegration:

 

The Cure- Disintegration: