Favorite Albums of 2016

As per usual, I am late again this year posting my favorite records of the year.  2016 was a very strong year in music, and I feel very passionate about these albums.  My hope is that this list is enjoyable from a reader’s point of view, and that you find something new to listen to in the coming weeks or months.  As always, thank you for reading and may 2017 be a more forgiving year.

30.  Drake – Views

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29.  Swans – The Glowing Man

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28.  Kevin Morby – Singing Saw

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27.  Preoccupations – S/T

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26.  White Lung – Paradise

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25.  Kevin Gates – Islah

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24.  James Blake – The Color in Anything

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23.  Death Grips – Bottomless Pit

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22.  DVSN – SEPT. 5th

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21.  Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial

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20.  M J Guider – Precious Systems

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19.  Anderson. Paak – Malibu

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18.  DIIV – Is The Is Are

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17.  Kanye West – The Life of Pablo

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16.  Parquet Courts – Human Performance

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15.  The Range – Potential

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14.  Angel Olsen – My Woman

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13.  Young Thug – Jeffery

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12.  Beyoncé – Lemonade

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11.  Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

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10.  Chairlift – Moth

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09.  Porches – Pool

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08.  Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book

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07.  The 1975 – I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

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06.  Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow

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05.  Anohni – Hopelessness

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04.  Pinegrove – Cardinal

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03.  Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition

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02.  Blood Orange – Freetown Sound

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01.  Frank Ocean – Blonde

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Favorite Records of 2015

These are my top 40 records of 2015.  In typical fashion im late as usual, only by about three months.  For those that have had the patience,  thank you for waiting and more importantly thank you for being interested.  2015 was a strong year for music, and I believe there are some great records here to discover that may have slipped from your radar during the past year.  Enjoy!

40.  Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer

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39.  Majical Cloudz – Are You Alone?

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38.  Miguel – Wildheart

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37.  Kurt Vile – B’lieve I’m Going Down

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36.  Prurient – Frozen Niagara Falls

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35.  FKA Twigs – M3LL155X EP

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34.  Future – DS2

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33.  Ducktails – St. Catherine

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32.  HEALTH – Death Magic

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31.  Death Grips – The Powers That B

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30.  Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet, and Other Distress

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29.  Lower Dens – Escape From Evil

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28.  Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper

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27.  CHVRCHES – Every Eye Open

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26.  Foals – What Went Down

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25.  Purity Ring – Another Eternity

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24.  The Soft Moon – Deeper

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23.  Foxing – Dealer

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22.  Arca – Mutant

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21.  Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss

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20.  Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy

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19.  Beach House – Thank Your Lucky Stars

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18.  Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

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17.  Oneohtrix Point Never – Garden of Delete

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16.  Neon Indian – VEGA INTL. Night School

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15.  Beach House – Depression Cherry

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14.  Jamie XX – In Colour

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13.  Bjork – Vulnicura

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12.  Viet Cong – S/T

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11.  Deafheaven – New Bermuda

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10.  The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die – Harmlessness

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09. Jeremih – Late Nights

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08.  Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

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07.  Young Thug – Barter 6

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06.  Father John Misty – I Love You Honeybear

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05.  Deerhunter – Fading Frontier

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04.  Grimes – Art Angels

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03.  Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell

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02.  Tame Impala – Currents

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01.  Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

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My favorite film scores of 2015

Carol – Carter Burwell

The Hateful Eight – Ennio Morricone

It Follows – Disasterpiece

Ex Machina – Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow

The Assassin – Lim Giong

 

-Thanks for reading – Nolan

Top 50 Records of 2014

First off, I would like to say that I’m sorry for being so late on this list this year.  While it is true that 2015 is a strong 3 months in, I still would like to present my top 50 albums of 2014.  This was a bit of a down year for me, especially when comparing it to the last few years.  With that being said, there were still some great records that came out, and I strongly back each album on this list.  Enjoy!

50.  Wovenhand – Refractory Obdurate

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49.  White Lung – Deep Fantasy

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48.  Perfect Pussy – Say Yes To Love

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47.  Trust – Joyland

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46.  Thou – Heathen

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45.  Warpaint – S/T

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44.  The Pains of Being Pure of Heart – Days of Abandon

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43.  Woods – With Light and With Love

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42.  Silver Mt. Zion – Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything

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41.  Jessie Ware – Tough Love

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40.  You Blew It! – Keep Doing What You’re Doing

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39.  Ben Frost – AURORA

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38.  Grouper – Ruins

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37.  Pure X – Angel

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36.  Taylor Swift – 1989

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35.  Perfume Genius – Too Bright

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34.  CEO – Wonderland

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33.  Andy Stott – Faith in Strangers

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32.  Arca – Xen

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31.  Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

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30.  Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness

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29.  Eagulls – S/T

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28.  Caribou – Our Love

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27.  Spoon – They Want My Soul

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26.  Flying Lotus – You’re Dead

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25.  Whirr – Sway

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24.  St Vincent – S/T

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23.  Wild Beasts – Present Tense

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22.  Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty

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21.  The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace Is There

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20.  Freddie Gibbs And Madlib – Pinata

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19.  Pallbearer – Foundations of Burden

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18.  Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lose

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17.  Real Estate – Atlas

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16.  Dean Blunt – Black Metal

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15.  How To Dress Well – What Is This Heart

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14.  Aphex Twin

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13.  Sharon Van Etten –

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12.  Nothing – Guilty of Everything

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11.  Liars – Mess

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10.  Cloud Nothings – Hear and Nowhere Else

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09.  FKA Twigs – LP1

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08.  The War On Drugs – Lost in the Dream

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07.  Iceage – Plowing Into the Field of Love

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06.  Mac DeMarco – Salad Days

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05.  Ariel Pink – Pom Pom

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04.  Run The Jewels – RTJ2

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03.  Future Islands – Singles

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02.  Swans – To Be Kind

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01.  Sun Kil Moon – Benji

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Honorable Mentions – 10 records that just missed the cut.

– Alcest – Shelter

– Charlie XCX – Sucker

– Crosses – (+++)

– Dum Dum Girls – Too True

– Fucked Up – Glass Boys

– Mogwai – Rave Tapes

– Pharmakon – Bestial Burden

– Porter Robinson – Worlds

– Ryan Adams – S/T

– Tycho – Awake

Thanks for reading,

Nolan.

    

The Best Albums of 2014….Thus Far (Jan-June).

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2014 has been a very interesting year in music throughout the first half of the year.  There have been some great albums and some albums I was excited for that did not live up to my expectations.  Here I have compiled a list of the 30 albums that I consider to be the best that 2014 has offered up so far.  My list Begins in January and goes through the first week of June.  Like last year I am not ranking these albums, but going in alphabetical order.  It is my believe that having a ranking system for the first half of the year is not worth my time because I have not given these albums the right time to breathe or grow on me.  That is why I prefer to do a traditional ranking at the end of the year.  I hope you enjoy this list, and that you find something worth your while that maybe you had missed over the last 6 months.

Alcest – Shelter

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Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness

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CEO – Wonderland

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Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else

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Crosses (+++)

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Eagulls – Eagulls

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Fucked Up – Glass Boys

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Future Islands – Singles

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The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace Is There

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Liars – Mess

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Mac Demarco – Salad Days

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Mogwai – Rave Tapes

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Nothing – Guilty of Everything

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The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

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Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

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Perfect Pussy – Say Yes To Love

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Phantogram – Voices

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Pure X – Angel

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Real Estate – Atlas

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Sharon Van Etten – Are We There

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Silver Mt. Zion – Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything

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St. Vincent – St. Vincent

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Sun Kil Moon – Benji

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Swans – To Be Kind

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Trust – Joyland

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The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

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Warpaint – Warpaint

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Wild Beasts – Present Tense

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Woods – With Light And With Love

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You Blew It! – Keep Doing What You’re Doing

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Honorable Mentions – 15 Albums that you shouldn’t sleep on!

Actress – Ghettoville

The Body – I Shall Die Here

Ben Frost – AURORA

Cheatahs – Cheatahs

Coldplay – Ghost Stories

Dum Dum Girls – Too True

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Pinata

The Horrors – Luminous

I Break Horses – Chiaroscuro

Lost in the Trees – Past Life

The Men – Tomorrow’s Hits

Speedy Ortiz – Real Hair Ep

Sunn O))) & Ulver – Terrestrials

Todd Terje – It’s Album Time

Tycho – Awake

                                 Thanks for Reading,

                                Chuck Madden Jr (Nolan).

Top 50 Albums of 2013

Here are my top 50 albums of 2013.  This was another great year in music, and these 50 are the albums that I connected with the most.  I hope you enjoy and also find something new that you can also connect with.  So let’s start the countdown!

50.  The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – Whenever, If Ever

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49.  Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time

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48.  The Strokes – Comedown Machine

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47.  Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana

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46.  Pity Sex – Feast of Love

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45.  Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse

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44.  Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt

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43.  CFCF – Outside

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42.  Mutual Benefit – Love’s Crushing Diamond

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41.  Los Campesinos! – No Blues

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40.  A$AP Rocky – Long. Live. A$AP

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39.  Tegan & Sara – Heartthrob

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38.  Rhye – Woman

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37.  Baths – Obsidian

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36.  The Flaming Lips – The Terror

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35.  Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away

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34.  Savages – Silence Yourself

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33.  Phoenix – Bankrupt!

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32.  Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork

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31.  Oneohtrix Point Never – R Plus Seven

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30.  My Bloody Valentine – MBV

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29.  HAIM – Days Are Gone

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28.  Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks

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27.  Mikal Cronin – MCII

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26.  Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze

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25.  Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe

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24.  Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus

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23.  Washed Out – Paracosm

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22.  Foals – Holy Fire

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21.  Balance and Composure – The Things We Think We’re Missing

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20.  Volcano Choir – Reprave

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19.  Death Grips – Government Plates

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18.  Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap

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17.  The Appleseed Cast – Illumination Ritual

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16.  Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold

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15.  Phosphorescent – Muchacho

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14.  Local Natives – Hummingbird

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13.  Daft Punk – Random Access Memory

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12.  Earl Sweatshirt – Doris

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11.  Dirty Beaches – Drifters/Love Is The Devil

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10.  Arcade Fire – Reflektor

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09.  Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City

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08.  Deerhunter – Monomania

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07.  Drake – Nothing Was The Same

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06.  CHVRCHES – The Bones Of What You Believe

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05.  Deafheaven – Sunbather

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04.  The National – Trouble Will Find Me

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03.  The Knife – Shaking the Habitual

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02.  Kanye West – Yeezus

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01.  Danny Brown – Old

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Thanks for reading,

Chuck Madden Jr. (Nolan)

Top 50 tracks of 2013

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2013 has come and gone, and it’s now time for my first edition of best tracks of the year.  These are the 50 songs that stuck out to me the most, whether emotionally, lyrically or musically.  In the past I have only made a best albums of the year list, so this is my first shot at making a songs list.  Hopefully you can find a few songs in here that will grab you the same way as they have myself.  Enjoy!

50.  Jimmy Eat World – I Will Steal You Back

49.  The Strokes – Slow Animals

48.  Waxaahatchee – Dixie Cups and Jars

47.  Pity Sex – Drown Me Out

46.  Blue Hawaii – Sweet Tooth

45.  Savages – She Will

44.  Oneohtrix Point Never – Americans

43.  Baths – No Eyes

42.  Mutual Benefit – Advanced Falconry

41.  Okkervil River – Down Down the Deep River

40.  Active Child – Feeling is Gone

39.  HAIM – Don’t Save Me

38.  Washed Out – Weightless

37.  Youth Lagoon – Dropla

36.  Torres – Honey

35.  A$AP Rocky – Fashion Killa

34.  Daughter – Youth

33.  CFCF – Jump Out of the Train

32.  The Flaming Lips – You Lust (feat. Phantogram)

31.  Tegan & Sara – I Couldn’t Be Your Friend

30.  Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Water’s Edge

29.  Nine Inch Nails – Came Back Haunted

28.  Balance and Composure – Tiny Raindrop

27.  The Appleseed Cast – Cathedral Rings

26.  Los Campesinos! – Avocado, Baby

25.  Foals – Out of the Woods

24.  Mikal Cronin – Weight

23.  Fuck Buttons – Hidden XS

22.  Blood Orange – Chamakay

21.  Dirty Beaches – Casino Lisboa

20.  Rhye – The Fall

19.  Local Natives – Ceilings

18.  Phoenix – Trying to be Cool

17.  Daft Punk – Instant Crush

16.  Death Grips – You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it’s your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat

15.  Danny Brown (feat. Purity Ring) – 25 Bucks

14.  Chance The Rapper – Pusha Man

13.  Arcade Fire – Reflector

12.  Earl Sweatshirt – Chum

11.  Parquet Courts – Stoned and Starving

10.  Drake – Furthest Thing

09.  CHVRCHES – We Sink

08.  Volcano Choir – Comrade

07.  Vampire Weekend – Step

06.  The National – Sea of Love

05.  Deerhunter – T.H.M.

04.  The Knife – Full of Fire

03.  Deafheaven – Dream House

02.  Kanye West – Blood on the Leaves

01.  Phosphorescent – Song For Zula

Thanks for Reading,

         Chuck Madden Jr. (Nolan)

Top Films of 2012

2012 was an impressive year for cinema.  Looking back at the films I saw over the past year, there were at least 60 that I considered to be called good or great.  I have taken that list and condensed it to 30.  This task was not easy for me to do.  Every film that I have listed impacted me one way or another, whether emotionally or intellectually.  Lists are something that I have always enjoyed doing.  As with most things in life, there are negatives with lists as well.  Since I am not paid to watch or review films, I can only see so many movies in a given year.  Sadly, that is the case for my 2012 list.  I have waited as long as possible to try and catch up with as many films as I could.  While I am satisfied with my list, there are a few films I would like to acknowledge not seeing before we get started.  These include, This Is Not a Film, Elena, The Kid With a Bike, The Turin Horse, 5 Broken Cameras, The Imposter, The Loneliest Planet, The Invisible War, Frankenweenie, Rust and Bone, The Impossible, ParaNorman, Wreck-It-Ralph, Safety Not Guranteed, Your Sister’s Sister and The Pirates! Band of Misfits. With that being said, I have decided to start this by listing my 30-11.  After that, I will begin my top 10 and say a few words about each film in that top 10.

P.S.  I had a tragic laptop accident this year, and have not had my computer for a great deal of 2013.  I hope that those of you who read this can still find something worth while out of this post.  It was been a rough year, but I hope 2014 is a better year!  I feel very ecstatic that I have finished this post, even if for my own personal enjoyment, and a feel of resiliency.  Thank you for reading!

30.  Cosmopolis – Directed By: David Cronenberg

29.  The Deep Blue Sea – Directed By: Terence Davies

28.  The Sessions – Directed: Ben Lewin

27.  Bernie – Directed By: Richard Linklater

26.  The Avengers – Directed By: Joss Whedon

25.  Killing Them Softly – Directed By: Andrew Dominik

24.  Magic Mike – Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

23.  Dredd – Directed By: Pete Travis

22.  Prometheus – Directed By: Ridley Scott

21.  How to Survive a Plague – Directed By: David France

20.  Anna Karenina – Directed By: Joe Wright

19.  The Cabin in the Woods – Directed By: Drew Goddard

18.  The Raid: Redemption – Directed By: Gareth Evans

17.  Silver Linings Playbook – Directed By: David O. Russell

16.  Beasts of the Southern Wild – Directed By: Benh Zeitlin

15.  Searching For Sugar Man – Directed By: Malik Bendjelloul

14.  Lincoln – Directed By: Steven Spielberg

13.  Argo – Directed By: Ben Affleck

12.  Looper – Directed By: Rian Johnson

11.  Moonrise Kingdom – Directed By: Wes Anderson

10.  Perks of Being a Wallflower – Directed By: Stephen Chbosky

This adaptation of the book, which also was written by the director, is a emotional roller coaster.  This film hit me more emotionally than any other movie did in 2012.  I was a big fan of the book and read it in my early 20’s.  Chbosky did a wonderful job of making his novel come to life.  His cast was also well thought out, including stand out performances from Emma Watson as Sam and Ezra Miller as Patrick.

9.  Cloud Atlas – Directed By: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski

In 2012, I don’t think there was a more polarizing film than Cloud Atlas.  In most cases, people either seemed to love it or hate it.  I fell on the love it end.  The film, which was adapted from David Mitchell’s novel, consists of six intertwined stories about linking souls throughout the world’s history.  While I will admit that the film is a bit messy, I will also admit I am a fan of ambitious films.  This film was a revelation to me, and it’s a film that might be considered a masterpiece someday, in my opinion.

8.  Amour – Directed By: Michael Haneke

This was probably the most gut-wrenching film I watched in 2012.  The film is centered around an older couple that seem to have been married for a good portion of their lives.  The woman, played wonderfully by Emmanuelle Riva, has a stroke early in the film, and the husband, played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, takes care of his wife to the best of his ability.  As time goes on, the wife gets progressively worse, and their relationship becomes strained.  I’m not sure if Haneke was being compassionate or putting us through hell in this film, but either way the film is a work of brilliance.

7.  Skyfall – Directed By: Sam Mendes

Mendes entry in the Bond franchise was a huge success.  While most will tell you that Casino Royale is the best of the Craig era Bond films, in my opinion Skyfall exceeds it.  In fact, I will make a bold statement and say that Skyfall is the best Bond film in the series.  Not only do you we get a memorable villain played wonderfully by Javier Bardem, but immaculate set pieces and art design to go along with well choreographed action scenes.  Also, it doesn’t hurt that Roger Deakins did the cinematography either.  If you have yet to see Skyfall, please run to your nearest red box or home video store and rent the damn thing!

6.  Life of Pi – Directed By: Ang Lee

Life of Pi was a film that I really had no interest in seeing.  I had never read the book, and the trailer looked like something that would bore me and try to manipulate my emotions.  Thankfully I can say I was wrong.  This film is a inspiring story and felt like an injection of emotion rather than a manipulation.  This was a visual masterpiece by Ang Lee, and I was more than happy when he was given the Oscar for best director this year by The Academy.

5.  Once Upon a Time in Anatolia – Directed By: Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Anatolia is the first film I have seen from Turkish filmmaker Ceylan.  Ceylan is a known talent, and after watching the film, not only did I want to check out his whole filmography, but I went to amazon and ordered the blu ray as well.  This film is a slow burn.  It clocks in just over 2 and a 1/2 hours long and yes at times you can feel its length.  But if you stick with it the film is rewarding on multiple levels.  Essentially, the film is about the search for a body that has been hidden away in the Turkish hills of Anatolia.  The night before, a man killed another man while drunk, and hid his body.  He then turns himself into the authorities and they go on a hunt to find the victim’s body.  This film is haunting, absolutely gorgeous and meditative.  This is a film that I urge everyone to seek out.

4.  Django Unchained – Directed By:  Quentin Tarantino

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With Django, Tarantino again churned out another masterpiece.  He is a filmmaker that continues to exceed my expectations and pushes boundaries that many directors shy away from.  Is it ultra-violent? Yes.  Can it be seen as exploitive? Probably so.  And could it be seen as an excuse to excessively use the N-word? Again I could see that.  But in the end all these so-called problems and excuses are thrown out the window for me because it’s one hell of a ride, and I didn’t want to jump off at any point.  The film worked for my on every level, including highlight performance from Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and Sam Jackson.  I can’t wait to see what Tarantino has in-store next!

3.  Holy Motors – Directed By:  Leos Carax 

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Words can’t describe what it’s like seeing this film for the first time.  I was lucky enough to catch this on the big screen on my local art house theatre.  This film blew my mind, and in doing so reminded me what the power of cinema can do, and the places it can take you.  I would rather not talk much about the film and just tell everyone to go see this.  I believe it is now on instant netflix, and it is worth every second.  Carax has created something that I can honestly say I had never seen before.  Not to mention the star of the film, Denis Lavant is a revelation.

2.  The Master – Directed By:  Paul Thomas Anderson 

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I don’t believe there was a film I discussed more in 2012 than P.T. Anderson’s The Master.  It seemed that every person I talked to had a different reading of the film, and to be honest I love that about this film.  This is a layered film that requires multiple viewings.  It’s a film that had me thinking about it the second I left the theatre and a week later I was still thinking about what exactly I had experienced.  I could, and probably will someday write an essay about this film, and I’m sure many film students will do the same in the coming years.  In my opinion, P.T. Anderson is one of the greatest filmmakers making movies today, and when he makes one it’s an event.  Beautifully shot and brilliantly acted, this will go down as an American classic, just like his last film There Will Be Blood.  By the way, welcome back Joaquin Phoenix you were terribly missed!

1.  Zero Dark Thirty – Directed By:  Kathryn Bigelow

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When I go back and think of 2012, this film will be the one that sticks with me more than any other on this list.  In my opinion, this is a masterpiece.  I had so many emotional highs and lows while watching this film.  Starting with the controversial torture scenes from early on in the film, all the way to the final scene in which we see our heroine break down  from what she has gone through over the course of the film.  Was it worth it?  That is the message I believe the film is striving to ask, and through Bigelow’s camera the question tries to get answered.  Capturing Bin Laden was a major accomplishment for our country, but what was the cost in doing so?  In my opinion, Bigelow has made a film that doesn’t shy away from these questions, and I give her a great deal of credit for that.  Jessica Chastain puts in her best performance of her young career as Maya, and in my opinion should have won the oscar for best female lead.  This is cinema at it’s finest.

Thanks for reading,

– Chuck Madden Jr (Nolan)