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Feature: Favorite Indiana Albums of 2014
Posted December 04, 2014 by Greg Lindberg

 

 

People were complaining about how they have to look at year end lists for 2014 at the end of 2013 because there's a guy with a gun to your head saying you have to accept opinions as your lord and savior. But people love to complain. And, then again, people get older and chill out a little bit. I like complaining about people complaining, but if you can believe it I used to be even more of an asshole. It's hard to believe, I know, but I used to be more critical of the local scene in Indiana. If your pants weren't tight enough, then you had to go! Luckily, the music scene and I have grown up and evolved together like two odd aged lovers.

The scene has always had hits and misses, and maybe I was jealous at times because I wasn't making the music I really wanted to make. It's fine to not like things. Hell, that's great. But, I've learned to be supportive. If your city's music scene has no support then it's just some titties floppin' around, and that's just scientifically not healthy.

 

 

So comes a time in a man's life when he writes about his favorite Indiana albums of 2014. Most of the albums were on cassette, and the other day this old guy told me cassettes sound like shit. But he hadn't heard these cassettes. Creativity has just been pouring from local groups of musicians this year, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon.

Some of these albums came out early in the year (ex. Year of the Snvke) and some are more recent (ex. Mammoth Cave). But all of these in the list just affected me on the most personal level. There's a longer ass list of local music that came out this year that's just incredible. Grab a snack, sit back... wait, grab a snack first, and then sit back.

Also, sincere apologies for the language. If you're old enough to find this on the Internet then this is not the worst thing you could be reading. You're alright, kid. Of course, by "kid," I'm referring to my dad, a.k.a., "little man."

"Create your own experiences with music, and become inspired to make music of your own." - Shia LaBeouf

(in no particular order)

 

John Stamps - Naked Lunch

 

 

Naked Lunch is a mixtapes that features 10 solid tracks sans unnecessary in-between skits and enough visual components provided in the collaborative lyrical content that associates more with Cronenberg than Burroughs. First listen I was blown away. Then my wife got into it and has it on repeat all summer. Shit sticks in your head.

The catchiness is what's key here, but the undeniable free spirit of it all is thanks to guest verses from the Ghost Town Collective and energetic production. References like, "I'm the one who knocks," makes you smile, but it's the sick wordplay that makes you want to slow it all down in your head. The hooks hook you in more than watching the movie "Hook" after getting medication for hookworms from Hook's Drug Store. The hook is deep in your cheek -- whether repping the repetition of the 46201 area code, sauntering into R&B territory with "Middle of the Road," or a proper rendition of the Gary Jule's version of "Mad World."

 

 

And, you should feel like you're shitballs crazy when singing rampantly along to "Beepers & Beamers" because 1) You are crazy, and 2) Stamps is a serious rapper not taking himself too seriously. Because we;ve got it for years that the formula is to be a storyteller, but many have forgot to give us something unique and interesting. Stamps delivers. For me there's always been a lack of relatable hip hop in Indiana, but with creative minds like John Stamps and pals I can do nothing but support and be glad to hear some jams that remind me of the simplicity of rap albums I loved as a kid.

Read the MFT review of Naked Lunch here.

 

 

Sedcairn Archives - Mammoth Cave

 

First of all, in high school people used to call me "Mammoth Cave" because of my extremely hairy butt. So, I'd be lying if I said I don't have an extreme connection to David "Moose" Adamson's project Sedcairn Archives and the release of Mammoth Cave. Cave exploration has sonic appeal to it, but I've never really followed a musical narrative of loops and drum beats in such a unique way as this album.

The record release show helped make sense of the woolly with attractive visuals, including color-changing stalagmites. And what might be found in a mammoth cave, you ask? A stalag-"might?!" I wish there were a side-scrolling 8-bit video game to go along with this album. Maybe there is.

Seriously though, Mammoth Cave, is something special and you know as soon as get into "Scout the Location" that there's no turning back. Mammoth growls are echo along with the ever-present and unavoidable sense of claustrophobia. Partly, the darkness is what adds to the wide-ranging maturity, but there's a sense of hope. Light breaks through the cracks in a return to safety. But, safety is an illusion.

 

 

Perhaps Mammoth Cave is a successful experiment but the adventure is too realized and rhythmically contextual to insinuate trial-and-error proclivity. The visionary connects auditory experiences to imaginary synapses--a synthetic memory. It's okay--close your eyes, forget to breathe, embrace the allegory of the cave, reject the analogy of the sun--now open your eyes, fire burning, Latin etches into dripping inverted parapets. Amor fati.

 

 

Golden Moses - Face Boot

 

 

With all his projects (especially the long-running and revered Everything, Now!) Jon Rogers is a mastermind of melody, and Golden Moses's Face Boot is no exception. Rarely will you go on such a hypnotic journey through robotic apocalypses of such wormhole multi-verse proportions. People often grotesquely use the phrase "shoved down our throats," and unfortunately electronic music can be pigeonholed as a bombardment of beeps and boops and whatever. Golden Moses lets his dogs breathe. And, by dogs I mean his beats, samples, and, most importantly, his ideas.

It's a little disingenuous to label Face Boot as an electronic album when its explorative nature garners toe-tapping thought rather than something exclusively definitive. Where it jams it gets sexy and then scary and then purposeful and heavy and then light-hearted but not before reversing that order harkening back to a refreshing Dadist cut-up technique. But that;s not to say it's exhausting. In fact, it's so fluid you don't even notice time passing--twice. There. It just happened again.

 

 

Face Boot is exhaustive with all the parts completing the whole. The voyage culminates with "Robot Dance 2: Machines Rust," and you don't have a greater understanding of this fucked up world. You like music. That's why you're here. Rogers is genuinely a talented music nerd (like you), and he gave you this genuine gift. In the end, we couldn't ask for more.

 

 

Doberman - CB004

 

 

Blurred-face helps Ponytail distill molly water in the gym basement. "This is crazy." Burnt-face semi-sips a blank saucer; skin/time peeling. Panning out coffee shop window, Grape Sweater gawks Tender Boy's ass while Koala Pants notices. Decompartmentalizing refuse from teak dugout balconies into oscillating spiders of gentle static.

Doberman. Castle Bravo. Slept too long and might still be--fading into the room could be the last. Just as a seatbelt lessens a blow, illusive safety collapses, damaging the incus. Three years ahead coughing up when convenience store white noise radio summons "Circular Feeding." Whirling gurgle Playskool Sit-N-Spin. God is a dog with glass shards for teeth, piercing genital tissue while Duck Costume pinky fucks your eyeball.

Resonating resin soaked "Brain Waste" as Gilbert Godfrey;s 9/11 humor folds-- five Hummers sip semen from Burnt-face's saucer. "There's nothing there." Pattern deflated beach balls cough leftover incus blood. Tender Boy throws skin at audience, excluding Lipstick Forehead Baby Black Robe. Blurred-face and Ponytail guide coffin on dolly to stage left. Opens.

Nothing.

(Hey, nobody gives a shit if you think you can write. There's enough pretentious reviews telling me nothing about an album I might actually like. And, hey, that kind of shit turns some people away. So just say you really like CB004, and don't worry, you've already impressed everyone with the size of your penis.)

I liked CB004 by Doberman. Their other stuff this year was also really good. Go pick it up at Sam Goody. Koala Pants works there. Just tell her I sent you and you'll get a discount.

 

 

John Flannelly - Chillin' on Earth

 

 

My great-ghost grandpa, Earl Stevens Lindturd, is a space acrobat at NASA, and he let go to space with him last summer. Space, 'Yeah, heard of it? Idiot. Anyways, great time. Saw a lot of distant stars and Earth from afar--kinda cool. It was starting to be bummer summer because I couldn't check Facebook (all they had was Spacebook--bleh), but I used the Super Internet Connection to go to Musical Family Tree dot cum. Just a little taste of home, ya know? Mama mia!

So I was like totally whacking it to a Popular Science article about how women can see 100 times more colors than the average person, and then, all of sudden, John Flannelly's Chillin' on Earth came vibrating through my Dru Beats (my knockoff headphones made by Dru Hill). Shit was pretty groovy, especially when my grand pap was all like, "Lock in. We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto."

So we coasted through a quasar like hella slow, and I don't even know how we got to the middle of the galaxy in the first place. By the time "Groove Bounce" started playing we were inside Old Faithful herself, SBS 0957+561, and the gyro convulsor went berserk just as the fecund sounds of "Why Not" fried the mainframe. Shit, man. It got weird.

 

 

We met some celestial beings who let us look at people we knew from Earth shower naked on a light projection. I was still listening to Chillin' on Earth as a boring celestial babbled on about some meaning of life shit, so I lit up joint during "Bread" and white flames appeared all around. At the moment I was traveling through my mother's birth canal, and following some wicked radio waves to the exit. During "Interlude," I crawled out of a toilet, and realized I was in my grandpa's apartment. And he had died six years ago. As the album ended, nothing made sense, and I sat baked on the couch, playing Aero the Acro-Bat for Sega.

 

 

Rob Funkhouser - Mellow Mania

 

 

Hospice let us know before we tried to enter my grandma's apartment. Full-blood Cherokee, she was a source of inspiration that raised me with humor and probably wiped my ass until I was six. Never having to deal with death, I went back to my parent's condo, and I washed the sink full of dishes. Afterwards, I sung and screamed some made up songs while bouncing a tennis ball--something I did all the time growing up.

There's no direct correlation between this personal story and Rob Funkhouser's Mellow Mania. But why not though? Just as I found comfort in the repetitive nature of performing a task like washing dishes, I feel a similar comfort in Funkhouser's compositions. Maybe because there appears to be this underlying honesty. Once I reach the middle of the album and hear "melancholy breakdancing," I'm struggling with all the melodic push and pulls. Simplistic and complicated at the same time-- this describes my favorite music. Emotional chords are still being struck when Funkhouser decides to get extremely rhythmic. It's weird to say there's an exciting sadness to this album, but that's my experience with it.

On the afternoon that my grandma died I went to see Peter Jackson's "King Kong" with my younger brother. It felt a necessity to turn the mind off from reality as much as possible. The whole time I knew the stupid CGI ape would die at the end, and I had no particular connection with the character. But even when dumb expected death happens you find yourself crying in a dark theater.

So I might listen to Mellow Mania hoping to turn my mind off, but instead it sticks with me. And it gets to me in the best way possible. Even if you think you know where Funkhouser is going with his sounds, he surprises you. He makes you feel something, which is an honorable feat for any musician. I hope he continues to surprise us as he's one of the most outstanding performers in Indiana.

Read MFT's interview with Funkhouser from right around the release of Mellow Mania right here.

 

Shame Thugs - S/T

 

Sometimes Shame Thugs is stylized with dollar signs replacing each "S," and sometimes Miss Mess or DJ Little Town are heard making other interesting collaborations. Sometimes I run. Sometimes I hide. Put on the Shame Thugs cassette I got last summer and ran on my treadmill. "Galaxy" and "Peak Performance," which have been available on MFT, are featured on the cassette as well as a solid hip hop mix on the flipside.

My friend asked me if something was wrong with the equipment at a Shame Thugs show. I think it sounded great. Maybe he wasn't listening closely enough or maybe something was wrong. Maybe something is wrong with all of us. The thugs deserve some credit, because whether you can get down to it or not they embody more interesting layers than your boss's Bon Jovi cover band.

The MFT description describes the sound for deaf people perfectly. By the way, thanks for reading this even though you're deaf. Maybe you'll get your hearing back someday. Someday Shame Thugs might even make a record on Interscope and be on TRL. Someday you might see them live and steal their entire act and play with Project Pat on Late Night with Davis Letterman. Someday we'll get it together and we'll get it all done. Someday when your head is much lighter. Someday we'll walk in rays of a beautiful sun.

 

 

Vacation Club - Heaven is Too High

 

 

Alright, I'll be real with you. I'm not a huge fan of modern surf punk, Velvet Underground kids, Dick Dale + Link Wray + Rod Stewart orgy, Mac Demarco dick joke nation, mildly/wildly partying, drugs are rad, cutsie tootsie throwback bullshit. Good thing that Vacation Club doesn't give a fuck what I think.

Also, good thing none of those things describe Vacation Club. Just kidding! They sound just like Rod Stewart (and I hear their dicks are just as itsy bitsy). But, hey, if you're reading this then you're probably into itsy bitsy dicks (oh, shit! you weren't supposed to hear me say that the first time I said it). Guys, to be honest I'm writing this while I'm jacking off to a Popular Science magazine article about how women's bra size weirdly correlates to their spending habits and I'm on a rollercoaster. So bear with me.

 

 

Also, notice how a lot of what I write is some vain way for me to tell some dumb joke. Ah, you probably don't care. What do I need to say about Heaven is Too High anyways? It was a totes rad vinyl, and most of us probably pieced together the tracklisting from all those times our drugs kicked in while we were in the bathroom as Gaycation Club started playing in some guy's (or girl--20th century, dudes) dank basement. Totes dank.

 

Also, also, also

Oh yeah, you can play this album for anyone. I played it for my grandma, and she fucking loved it. Just kidding! My grandma is dead. Didn't you read the Fob Runkhouser blurb? You guys are totes idiots and my dick is so way too much bigger than yours.

Read more about the video for "Landon is a Rider" here.

 

New Terrors - Leah

 

 

At first I thought New Terrors' Leah was sad, but upon other listens I found it sexy. Solid boner jams for sure. Burke Sullivan created something that almost sounds too good. Maybe too good for Indiana? But we deserve good. It's just so well-polished and produced you'd think it was recorded somewhere in Hollyweird, California. How can an album be so calm and patient? It goes the pace you want to go.

The light at the end of the tunnel is synthesizers and drum beats with fun up-tempo jams like "Night Winds" mixed with mature ambience found on the opener "Structure." Because it's so refined and has such a familiar feel it's hard not to think of youth Postal Service days or harmonious M83 dance parties. Luckily, Sullivan jolts away from obvious comparisons to make Leah something that stands on its own.

"Bluebird, On" is my favorite track because of its pronounced energy and subtle gravitation towards perfect pop. Leah doesn't aim to please a specific genre, but it's great for teenagers in love or dad's worried their sons or daughters might fall in love someday. But still, something this good should be coming from new talent in Indiana. We deserve good things, we are entitled to our share of happiness. We refuse to beat ourselves up. We are attractive people. We are fun to be with.

 

 

Sirius Blvck - Year Of The Snvke

 

Koala Pants lowers the tonearm hook hand. Lights dim. Public skate. Holdin' hands. "Heroine." Girl frontin' loose tooth stuntin'. Baby teeth love. "Glow N The Dark" skeleton gloves. Twitchin' phalanges, back of the bus. Mom and Dad fuss. Cuss. Cuss. "Out of Touch." Not so much. "Just another parasite in paradise." What city?

Webs spinnin' dark hours. Segue on a DIY Segway; "Private Party." Demons felt. Drunk talk, "Let's go spelunking." "Yeah, alright." Found "Bill Murray." Trapped; mammoth expedition. "Translation lost." Snvke Eyes starring Nic Cage. Trapper Crypt Keeper. Hit me up on Spacebook. Space Jam.

 

 

"Mila" criminal street lights. R. Cali Gump N' Bind. 300 miles and dreamin'. The Spaghetti Fish Accident. Bernie Mac died on my wedding day. Eyes lit. Popped down, propped up. "Universal royalty." Cars. Larry the White Guy. Get it done. Get her done. Drugs. Uh, oh. Penis like a noodle. Fettuccini like vaginas. Cab driver named Alfredo.

Anxious. "Emerald Tablets." Scary ways to feel in the dark. Flowin'. Cohesive and loose. Dunston Checks Out. Emoji maxed out. Kanji spelled out. Spilled shit on the couch. Spatial tones. "Y.O.T.S." Serious, Sirius Blvck. Real shit. Grass grows. Cow eat grass shit. Late night. Head bobbin'. Eatin' burger cow grass shit. Year of the Snack.

Read an interview with Blvck from around the release time of Year of the Snvke right here.

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