You can’t win a Grammy by dropping an album in November or something like that. You also can’t win a Grammy with the band name Diarrhea Planet, but we hope that someday we’re wrong about that. Who needs a Grammy by the way? Our Best Music list for November is a collection that’s thriving in niche sectors of the industry and also littered with artists we expect to see rise into that arena of niche. The following 10 albums are simply too good to call it quits early and we believe that if you’re going to do something, it should be done right.
The Best Album of November 2014:
Mitski’s third album and first release with Double Double Whammy, aligns with the quality of many of the label’s releases—strong melodies and honest, biting lyrics—but it also feels like somewhat of a departure from any familiar ground. Falling somewhere amid folk, pop, and breezy electric guitar rock, Bury Me at Makeout Creekdoesn’t make concessions to any one genre. In fact, it doesn’t really make concessions to anyone or anything, and its utter repulsion of convention is what makes it so appealing. What we expect from a folk singer-songwriter, or an artist on DDW, or a music composition major, is none of what we get from Mitski; what we get instead is a sublime mesh of these elements and more that’s harrowing in its strength.
For more on Mistki read our Longtail feature.
The Best Music of November 2014 (in no particular order):
The band has always courted a certain subversiveness: scuzzy pop-punk songs with titles like “Ghost With A Boner” and “Hot Spit”. The band has also never lacked for a sense of self—if Titus Andronicus sought to wear (or maybe just display) punk’s blue collar, Diarrhea Planet wanted to remind you that blue collar workers cleaned toilets. And yet, Diarrhea Planet has grown more and more approachable with each successive release, denying some of the supposed and oft-sarcastic sleaze that colored their first releases.
From the get-go there’s something gleefully sinister about Clark‘s eponymous seventh album, which is easy to get lost in with its undulating synths and shine-through-the-dark key tones. Intrinsically impish and a tad mischievous, Clark tricks you into initially thinking of it as a tangled mess of programming, though you’re soon forced to realize the level of technical skill involved in a production this layered and multifaceted.
Breakfast is a member of NJ/NY indie label Smoker’s Cough, so for more (hopefully) weird, funny, and above all else different rap projects, they’ll definitely be a group to watch. Long Island has not been a particularly hot hip hop area in recent years, but if this group can change that, I’m all ears. Big Breakfast may know that he’s made some poor decision—the cover art’s brass monkey perhaps one of them—but he’s content to revel in that debauchery, and let everyone enjoy the luxurious moment.
Entitled Opus 3—Man Atop The Tower, Signor Benedick enlisted the mixing and mastering assistance of Jonathan Snipes (clipping.) and Thomas Dimuzio to give his latest effort the finest of tuning, but he remains the mastermind of the record. The preview of “Dawn” from the record is merely a snippet version that falls to pieces just as a soaring guitar solo begins to take flight, like SB the Moor has managed to write the rap-version of “November Rain”.
The song, “Demigod,” is the centerpiece of Littler’s new five-track EP, Get a Life. “College Legs” is similarly marked by interweaving mid-tempo riffs and Meyer’s perfect deadpan, a back-to-school shrug at the prospect of ‘goodbye’. “Will it be sad when you leave town?” she wonders out loud. “With your college legs, I’ll see you around.”
Chumped’s upfront genuineness feels refreshing and familiar, on record and in person. In an era of increasing overstimulation and perfectly posed nonchalance, it feels kind of nostalgic, too. Everything is going to be okay, even if the past or future seem overwhelming — that’s the sentiment running throughout their entire album. Most of the songs grapple with the uncomfortable realization that your behavior hasn’t changed as your age slips nearer to chronologically “adult” life.
After three years of touring as the deadliest tag team since Marty Jannetty and the Heartbreak Kid, Hail Mary Mallon returns on record with Bestiary, a new album dedicated to setting the dials to beast mode. On “Jonathan”, Hail Mary Mallon enter the arena to the scratch work of DJ Big Wiz encouraging them to “do that shit.” Aesop Rock sets the tone with “every couple summers / me and a couple hunters / like to row in from the island of astonishing mother fuckers”—lending assurance that Hail Mary Mallon would not return unless it was to trump their past shit-talking.
They’ve balanced the combo of brooding and optimism with fuzzy guitars, a poppy melodic hook, and doubled vocals with light harmonies. The lyrics, muffled at times, are blunt. “I’ve got a bad idea I’m trying to ignore,” Rosenberg intimates, and then later on, “It might not be so bad.” Guitar riffs and vocals alike make bold leaps, and past comparisons to 90s and early 2000s indie rock are well-earned—the vocals bring to mind Built to Spill, the instrumentation early Weezer. But it’s dynamic.
For more Two Inch Astronaut read the band’s Selector feature.
Somehow, despite their youth and relative inexperience, Happy Diving are confronting the world full-throttle, jumping in head-first. The band’s debut full-length for Father/Daughter Records, Big World, fearlessly takes the plunge, running the full gamut and back again; exploring the moments of feeling immeasurably small, the moments of empowerment, and every baffling moment in between. Big World narrates these times in full earnestness through raw, melodic power and a natural, rhythmic ease.