To describe the sound of The Icarus Line, one surely can refer to greats like Swans, Stooges or Grinderman, it has to be stated though, that none of these groups really feel like the outlaw-band around mastermind Joe Cardamone, who selected his favourite records of the year on day 7 of the Heavy Pop Advent Calendar: it’s the unparalleled ecstatic, uncomfortable and dangerous aura surrounding each previous record by the Californians, which is elevated to new heights on the hypnotic and intense masterpiece All Things Under Heaven via a fevered, spontaneous unpredictability.
Kendrick Lamar – [amazon_link id=“B00UDDM7K0″ target=“_blank“ ]To Pimp A Butterfly[/amazon_link]
Obviously everyone in the world has heard this LP. The production on this sounded completely fresh to my ears, especially for a mainstream album. The most exciting part of the record is the arrangements. A good deal of the tunes arrangements do not follow a ordinary pop format but appeal to ordinary pop sensibilities. I feel like modern rock n roll bands could use some of these moves as inspiration.
Dr. Dre – [amazon_link id=“B013GX8MDO“ target=“_blank“ ]Compton[/amazon_link]
This album is almost a companion piece to the aforementioned Kendrick LP. Both records are speaking on the same area of Los Angeles and both records pull from classic funk moves. I had zero expectations out of Dre after the last few years. Nothing he has done for some time had any musical worth in my eyes. This record shot out of the blue and really follows it’s own path. Anderson Paak’s vocals are out of sight.
Wolf Eyes – [amazon_link id=“B0157TI01E“ target=“_blank“ ]I am a problem: Mind in Pieces[/amazon_link]
Another late entry in 2015. I have followed Wolf Eyes for years now and have always thought that they best represent current detroit punk. This album goes beyond anything they have done before. There’s heavy aspects of classic Detroit proto punk without sounding anything like the groups you would associate with that tag. The first tune even leans into Sun Ra territory some. This could be considered a pop record compared to some of Wolf Eyes catalog because of the presence of groove and vocal. By no means is it a pop record just by comparison. This is an exciting exercise right here.
A$AP Rocky – [amazon_link id=“B00V66GZKG“ target=“_blank“ ]At.Long.Last.A$AP[/amazon_link]
I first didn’t hear much going on in this record and I have to admit that in half of it I still dont. There are track on this album that are undeniable though. I would say about half this record points toward this guy leading the charge towards making some interesting music for the mainstream in the near future. Again the way convention / structure is abandoned for what feels good is what excites me about this record. Half the time it sounds like the kid has nothing to say but upon further inspection Im guessing he has a lot.
Destruction Unit – [amazon_link id=“B00ZB7QC04″ target=“_blank“ ]Negative Feedback Resister[/amazon_link]
In full disclosure I produced on this record but that doesn’t mean its not one of my favorites this year. This band takes punk in the vein of Chrome, Born Against and the Germs and runs it across the desert floor. The record is beacon pointing towards what punk music can become over the next few years. I think this record is just the entry point for these fellas.
Many Thanks to Joe Cardamone and Tom Vitorino!