Because you don’t get that many chances to look back on a whole decade.
Cloudkicker – Beacons
If you’re into heavy music, you already know this album. It broke open the metal world when it came out, sent it careening, hundreds of imitators splintering off and (mostly) crashing to earth. If you don’t know this album, and you like the thought of dense, dynamic instrumental music, give it a try. Ben Sharp’s mastery of texture, melody, and weight are unsurpassed.
How To Destroy Angels – s/t
Before Atticus Ross had formally joined Nine Inch Nails, but while he was working with Trent Reznor on the soundtrack to The Social Network, the two of them invited longtime visual collaborator Rob Sheridan and Reznor’s new wife Mariqueen Maandig to try something new: thus emerged How To Destroy Angels. Less blatantly experimental than their 2013 full-length, their debut EP is music that tempts you; it’s irresistibly ominous, forebodingly danceable. Maandig’s voice darts and weaves through the jagged tracks and luxuriates in the smooth ones.
Igorrr – Nostril
Proof that Moisissure, released earlier that year, wasn’t a fluke, Nostril is Igorrr giving themselves the space to really go nuts. “Tendon” was my favorite Igorrr track for eight years, until Savage Sinusoid came out, and was the track I would introduce people to Igorrr with; the hootenanny breakdown at the end is so sick.
I’ll Eat Your Face – Irritant
This Irish duo released two more albums of instrumental “supergrind” before disbanding in 2013. In their rapid-fire style, track titles, and surf rock/lounge music influences, Irritant encapsulates the moment in the early ’10s where metal stepped off the dead baby jokes for a bit and embraced neon-hued zaniness (iwrestledabearonce was the apex of this trend).
Kvelertak – Kvelertak
I’ve gotten Gen X sports moms into Kvelertak, and that’s because everybody needs to cut loose, headbang in Norwegian, and shake a tambourine every once in a while. Their work since this debut has been kinda so-so, but I really liked the new track they just put out some days ago.
Massive Attack – Heligoland
This album is half of why I wanted to write this list. With the help of nearly a dozen collaborators, Massive Attack shed the cohesion and certainty of Mezzanine and 100th Window in favor of ten songs that feel like worlds of their own, spinning in asynchronous orbit around each other, most gentle, most mysterious, most longing.
Quest for Fire – Lights from Paradise
One of those perennial psychedelic feel-good favorites. I bought this on a whim because the cover art was awesome. I made a great decision. Languid, spacey jams interspersed with stomping desert-rock hits.