Hello! This is Kyle Bishop, singer, songwriter, and piano player of the shitty band, Numbers. For some reason, HBIH thinks my opinion matters, and asked what I’ve been listening to this crazy year of 2012. So, without wasting anymore of your time, here are a few!
Glass Cloud – The Royal Thousand
This is one of the few albums I’ve purchased (instead of just streaming via spotify/bandcamp. I ain’t a pirate no more, sucka) this year. Since Sky Eats Airplane fell apart back in ’09 or whenever it was, their lineup changes and everything sort of falling apart, my hopes for the band were a bit crushed. I missed Jerry’s voice and wanted more material from one of my favorite bands (I still do, very much so actually), so when I heard Jerry had joined forces with Josh Travis, I got stoked for what I was about to hear.
While it absolutely isn’t Sky Eats Airplane 2.0, Jerry is a good fit for Glass Cloud, and their debut crushes with extremely low tuned grooves, and some pretty different singing melodies that have prepared me for what’s to come. I think this debut is perfect to get everyone’s attention, and their next album is going to make buildings crumble. If you haven’t listened to Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, do so while you prepare for Glass Cloud’s next album.
Ben Folds Five – The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind
So Ben Folds and the dynamic trio got back together and wrote another album. I know that Ben Folds probably doesn’t belong on Heavy Blog, but this is what I’ve been listening to, so kill yourself.
I’ve always found so much inspiration from Ben Folds growing up. Packed full of groovy bass work, nice vocal melodies, amazing piano work (which is the main reason I keep listening), and overall great songwriting. Give it a listen if you want to take a break from the chuggies and the djents, and definitely give their previous albums a listen as I think this trio shredded way harder in their earlier years.
Memphis May Fire – Challenger
I know, I know, Memphis May Fire and just about any band labeled as “Metalcore,” is automatically a joke to more passionate listeners of fine metal, and I agree with just about 90% of everyone’s gripes about it: auto tune, fake sounding drums, breakdown verses + power chord choruses, etc., but Memphis May Fire’s Challenger has a bit more to offer.
Yep, the drum snare is comedic, and some of the auto tuned vocals can really be overkill at moments (not that it’s obvious, it’s just a bit over-stacked), but damn, the songwriting kills me. The amount of beastly riffage, passionately written and executed vocals, and catchy choruses fill every single song on this album. It’s a bummer that one track is an intro, another is a ballad that sounds nothing like the rest of the album, and another is an outro track, but the rest of the tracks absolutely kick ass.
I’ve been listening to MMF since their debut EP in 2008, and was actually recording my old band’s album i the same studio and met a few of them when they were recording Sleepwalking, and I expected Sleepwalking 2.0 when The Hollow came out, but was sorely disappointed with it. I was one of those haters that “wanted the old sound back” and felt betrayed, and all that other bullshit people complain about everyday. Challenger brought me back as a fan 100%. They brought back the sass and attitude I missed from their old material. While I could complain that they sort of abandoned their “southern” sound they had, the songwriting on Challenger is so good that my complaint holds no weight anymore.
Expect generic, made new with guitar nick-nacks, groovy riffage, and honest lyrics (make sure you listen to the lyrics). I expect flame for suggesting this, but I really do recommend this album, as I find myself constantly coming back to it. I’m hoping for more of this from Memphis, and hope people who don’t traditionally listen to this branch of metal give it an honest listen with open ears, it just may surprise you.
The Algorithm – Polymorphic Code
Since The Algorithm got signed to Basick, I was pretty excited to hear what I would hear with their debut. All I can say is that it was more than I expected. I love this album, and while some argue that it is “dub step metal,” I really just think it’s something different that I can’t really put my finger on. I hear the wub wubs and the “drops” or whatever the hell you kids call it, but still don’t think it can be pigeon holed.
The Algorithm is a huge influence of mine personally when I write music for Numbers. It serves as a brilliant reminder that metal never has to fit within walls, that it never has to follow a certain path, and that there is so much more to explore within the realm of metal.
Plus, I freaking love techno.
This Or The Apocalypse – Dead Years
Last, but not least, This Or The Apocalypse‘s Dead Years has constantly been in my loop this year, and will continue to be next year most likely. It doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking musically, besides awesome riffs, and really heavy hitting chugs. It’s like junk food metal for me, I’ve come to predict everything in each song, but still love every second of it anyway.
I should mention that I first heard these guys live when they opened for August Burns Red, Sky Eats Airplane, and A Skylit Drive. They were much more tech, and had much more odd time signatures then, and I loved it, and while some people don’t like that they’ve simplified themselves a bit since their early years, I think they’ve defined their sound. Like Star Trek, or The Hobbit, everyone knows what to expect, and those who already love the series know they’ll love what they see. In this case, This Or The Apocalypse have defined their sound, and are sticking to it, and I’ll continue to listen because of it.
I’d call it a good year.