With wide-reaching arms and hungry ears, each of our writers has compiled his or her top albums of the year, for you to peruse our eclectic, atypical, and only occasionally overlapping tastes. You'd be well-served to check out every single record here.
Vivian Hua - dance, indie, pop, psychedelic, electronic Troy Micheau - metal, electronic, experimental, ambient Jason Simpson - pop, soul, electronic, ambient Ian King - electronic, ambient, instrumental, pop Peter Woodburn - ambient, metal, garage, indie Judy Nelson - dance, electronic, indie, pop, hip-hop Albums of the Year 2014

 

In its third year, Culture Collide Festival will be welcoming 63 artists from 25 countries to Los Angeles in the span of four days. Other than SXSW, there are very few festivals that consciously provide such an international scope of the indie music scene. And considering how common it is for international bands to come across visa issues, Culture Collide takes on an admirable task in the name of global harmony. The nice thing about the festival is that most artists schedule more than one show during those four days. So while you may stick to the big names for one night, you'll have plenty of opportunities to take a chance on a few unknowns that hail from a country across the globe. SEE ALL 14 FESTIVAL PICKS

of Montreal (USA)

Saturday, October 6 - 12:00am @ The Echoplex Sunday, October 7th - 8:00pm @ The Main Stage It's pretty impossible to not have fun at an of Montreal show. This group is kooky with a whirlwind of pop, psychedelia, electro, and glam. And with six members, it's always a party on stage. There will probably be some costumes too, so just embrace it, don't ask questions. of Montreal have recently have recently released Daughter of Cloud, a compilation of 17 of Montreal recordings from the time of their Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? era to the present. The track "Hindlopp Stat" from the album is below, along with the tripped-out music video for "Spiteful Intervention", from Paralytic Stalks.

 

Bonde do RolĂȘ (Brazil)

Sunday, October 7 - 5:30pm @ The Main Stage Even if you don't understand Portuguese, Bonde do RolĂȘ are so worth your time. Heavily hyped by Diplo, the trio is always out to start a sweaty dance party and is known for singing about having a crazy good time. The group features a female and male MC who roll quick lyrics over club beats that you'd hear in the US and a type of Brazilian dance music called funk carioca. Just remember, it gets pretty sweltering on the other side of the equator. SEE ALSO: Bonde Do Role + DIPLO + BRAZILIAN ARTISTS & MUSICIANS

 

Our third-annual album cover art feature uses interviews with artists and musicians to highlight the philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance of great album cover artwork. THE BREAKDOWN    12 Collage + 14 Digital Illustration, Drawing, Design + 19 Illustration, Painting, Drawing + 8 Black And White Photography + 22 Color Photography + 6 Deluxe Packaging + 10 Fashion, Sculpture, Installation _____________________________    91 Album Covers For 2011 Best Of 2011 Album Cover Art

Battles
Battles - Gloss Drop
A suite of amorphous blobs unify Battles' year of singles and full-length releases. Different in material and style yet similar in overall form, these sculptured mounds are colorful, strangely compelling, and without a doubt represent some of the most visually iconic album art off 2011.
Record Label Warp Records The Artists Design & Art Direction - Dave Konopka Photography - Leslie Unruh Mediums & Materials Photography, Sculpture

 

This in-depth feature highlights how well-executed album artwork can go beyond genre lines to expand into territories of philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance. Perhaps now more than ever, album cover artwork plays a vital role in music....

A staff-compiled list of some of our favorite songs from the year 2011, in no particular order or with allegiance to any particular style....

Article compiled by Vivian Hua, Sammy Baek, and Brian Meyers If you are just joining us, START FROM THE BEGINNING. #18 The White Buffalo Prepare For Black & Blue Ruff Shod Records BUY / DOWNLOAD THIS ALBUM For the cover of Prepare For Black & Blue, The White...

At a little over five feet tall and barely over legal drinking age, the woman behind Zola Jesus, Nika Roza Danilova, wields surprising power. The release of her latest EP, Stridulum, has placed her in a strange position; she now finds herself opening for indie rock powerhouses like The xx, Wolf Parade, and Fever Ray, on tour dates throughout the world. The growth has been rapid, and Danilova has accumulated a diverse array of fans along the way. Those who are drawn to her beauty-meets-darkness, pop-meets-brutality style acknowledge readily that she has a presence. Even on a virtual front, she seems like an intimidating, powerful figure; her public-facing self is meticulously honed to a degree that makes her seem difficult to approach, but this image is very much an extension of the complexity of her as a person. Such complexity is what makes the music and aesthetic of Zola Jesus so fascinating.
Ostensibly, for instance, Zola Jesus may seem largely defined by gothic and industrial music and fashion. The music videos for "Night" and "Clay Bodies" feature, respectively, whopping doses of black nail polish and buildings with vaulted Gothic ceilings. But it is not simply a blind adherence to that aesthetic style that shapes the musical project; just as important -- if not more so -- are factors such as Danilova's schooling. She is double-majoring in French and Philosophy, and philosophical ideas lie very much at the core of Zola Jesus.

"Philosophy and any scholarly pursuits have a sort of osmotic influence on my music," she explains. "When I'm songwriting, I'm not pulling from anything specific other than my own person, impacted by all these forces collectively."

Listen to "Night" - DOWNLOAD MP3

chbp picks for friday, july 23rd holy fuck Weirdo, beat-driven noise from Nova Scotia. Unexpected great dance music. -KC MAIN STAGE @ 9:15PM shabazz palaces Intelligent rap featuring Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler of Digable Planets' fame, that breaks the standard rap mold and...

Combining what could be grainy archival footage (it isn't) with disintegrating, ornamental backdrops, this video for "Clay Bodies" is a haunting mixture of HD-quality shots with 16mm. Directed by Jacqueline Castel. ...