– 1.8 is out
– Looks grim to get a release out on 8th. We need more testing, one day is not enough. And we never release on fridays… I’ll keep you posted
– Chests are now open when you open them.
– Ivy can grow down from floating islands…and it looks pretty awesome
– Pigs have snouts
– You can bind any action to a mouse button now, or to a keyboard key
– Villages only spawn on flat areas
– Fog-toggle-key has been removed?
– http://twitter.com/#!/notch/status/109665779259158528- Fog-toggle-key has been removed?
– Swamp biomes are in! But look kinda boring.
– NPCs will NOT be in 1.8, but will be including in 1.9
– Arrow damage is based on speed.
– Shooting from above does more damage because of gravity
– Amount of health you lose if all your food is gone
– If the the food bar is empty in MC 1.8, it will slowly drop your health to 5 hearts on easy, to 0.5 hearts on normal, and kill you on hard
– Notch writes about how he likes developing games.
– Mobs now randomly flee if you attack them
– Animal breeding is pushed back to 1.9
– Endermen drop Ender Pearls
– Oceans are friggin huge….really huge
– The food meter goes down wayyy too fast
Top 10 Albums of 2011:
10. Curren$y – Covert Coup: This guy’s one of the hardest workers in hip-hop; he’s released 3 mixtapes this year in addition to his two albums last year and all of them were really solid. In my opinion, Covert Coup is the best of the three mixtapes he’s released in 2011.
9. The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar: If only this was more consistent. At its best The Big Roar is spectacular shoegaze-influenced pop but as its worst it’s merely passable alt rock. This is still a young band with a ton of time to grow so I’m a big fan of them despite thinking this album is just “pretty good”.
7. Big KRIT – Return of 4eva: Great southern hip-hop that sounds like a new-age version of UGK but with more conscious lyrics. Lots of people roll their eyes when they hear “conscious lyrics” but KRIT isn’t preachy; he’s just a smart dude who lets it show in his songs. He’s far from cheesy.
6. Arctic Monkeys – Suck it and See: It seems like they’re never going back to the faster, younger-sounding style of their first two albums but that’s not completely a bad thing. Arctic Monkeys aren’t worse than they were before, they’re just more mature and different.
5. Kendrick Lamar – Section.80: I didn’t really like Kendrick Lamar before this album but Section.80 really opened my eyes and allowed me to see what all the hype is about. To put it simply, this sounds like Bone Thugs-n-Harmony meets West Coast rap meets intelligent lyricism. Really good stuff.
4. The Kills – Blood Pressures: Less chaotic than Midnight Boom and more detailed than their earlier albums like No Wow, this is definitely The Kills’ smoothest-sounding album to date. It’s not without its flaws; the ballads on here such as “The Last Goodbye” don’t really work for me because it’s just too slow and stripped-down. The more “upbeat” songs (as upbeat as these two are gonna get anyway) are where the album really shines – Future Starts Slow, Heart is a Beating Drum, Baby Says, and a few others are fantastic.
3. Foster the People – Torches: When their first EP came out my initial reaction was “well, this is probably their peak”. Helena Beat, Pumped Up Kicks, and Houdini were the only tracks on that EP and they were all ridiculously catchy. I figured that when a full LP would be released it would fail to live up to the catchiness of those three songs. I was wrong; this whole album is really fun to listen to. There’s not much variety throughout it though, so if you hate one or two of their songs chances are you’re going to hate all of them. Fortunately for me, I love them.
2. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes: This has been growing on me more and more since I first listened to it and somehow it is continuing to grow on me. Lykke Li turned pop music on its head with Wounded Rhymes; this is one of the darkest pop albums you’re going to hear this year. Some tracks are catchy, some tracks are atmospheric, some tracks are emotional – they’re almost all amazing. As far as I’m concerned the top two albums on this list are just on a completely different level.
1. CunninLynguists – Oneirology: Most hip-hop artists out there are content if they make an album with a dozen or so random singles and release it just like that. Cunninlynguists aren’t like that; their last three albums have all centered around a specific theme and one song flows right into the next one. They concentrate on putting together one cohesive album that really should be listened front to back every time. This would all mean nothing if it wasn’t interesting to listen to, but Oneirology is incredible; this is smart, ambient hip-hop that every fan of music should at least check out.
And now, 5 upcoming 2011 albums that I have a feeling could be in my top 10 when the year is over:
- Chico and the Man – Chico and the Man (Release Date: Dec 13, 2011)
Expectations: Very high; Chico and the Man is a collaboration between Kno from CunninLynguists and Tonedeff. Tonedeff always shines when he has guest spots on CL albums so I’m going in with very high hopes. The way I see it there’s probably a 3-album race for my personal Album of the Year: Oneirology, Chico and the Man, and the still growing on me Wounded Rhymes.
- Los Campesinos! – Hello Sadness (Release Date: Nov 14, 2011)
Expectations: Somewhat high; I’m a little skeptical now that Aleks Campesinos! has left the band but their new single is still pretty good. By the way, I’ll be shocked if I never hear that song in a commercial.
- Blink-182 – Neighborhoods (Release Date: Sept 27, 2011)
Expectations: Medium; An early review from NME called this the band’s best album yet and a huge step forward for them. I’m only so-so on Blink as a whole but it sounds like it’ll at least be worth checking out.
- J. Cole – Cole World: The Sideline Story (Release Date: Sept 27, 2011)
Expectations: Medium; My hype for J Cole has died down a little bit since Friday Night Lights didn’t blow me away but this should still end up being a solid album.
- Dr. Dre – Detox
Like it’ll ever come out.
Top 10 Songs of 2011:
For the top 10 songs I’m only doing one song per artist. For a song to be eligible in this list it had to have been released on an album in 2011 – some of these may have been released as singles previously but if they weren’t on an LP until this year I’m still counting them.
Artist – The Black Dahlia Murder
Album – Ritual
Genre – Melodic Death Metal
Date Released – June 17, 2011
“The album sold 12,960 copies in the United States in its first week of release and debuted at position #31 on the Billboard 200.”
From the very first song I could already tell this was going to be a better album than Deflorate. Mainly because the producer did a much better job with the mix, I personally hated the mix on Deflorate. But on this album the drums aren’t getting pounded into your ears like they used to be, this actually seems to be MUCH more guitar driven. They also used a lot of orchestral intros to a couple songs and personally I love that aspect of the genre, you can just go from classical sounds to really fast and aggressive music. If I had to choose one song to tell you to hear just to get an idea about how this album sounds you probably would have to listen to the single they released back in January called “Moonlight Equilibrium”. Honestly, Ryan Knight is a beast I don’t know how he comes up with all of these guitar solos that still wow me. Usually an album might have one AWESOME solo but this one has a great solo in each song and that really gives it a boost. Now to the obvious, a lot of people know about this band by their signature vocals and drums (or at least that is how I differentiate them from other Death Metal bands) and both the vocals and the drums are expertly crafted and expertly played, my favorite part is it isn’t overplayed if you know what I mean. For example Shannon Lucas doesn’t only do blast beats, he still does them but not nearly as much as he has in the past and I think that is an improvement.
Now I know I changed the format and style that I review things, but it will still come to the same result…. A score of 9.8/10 I just loved this album since I’ve gotten it.
(Left to right in the banner pic: Mark Foster from Foster the People, Lil B, Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters, Alison Mosshart from The Kills & The Dead Weather, Kendrick Lamar)
This is the
most least important award show you’ll ever be a part of. Here’s what I think the best and worst music of 2011 was through the first 8 months.
The Based God Award for Best Song by Lil B this year:
Winner: “I Hate Myself” by Lil B — This is a surprisingly deep and serious song by Lil B that’s actually pretty decent musically. Songs like this one prove that he’s just having fun when he makes the ridiculous stuff like “I’m Miley Cyrus”.
Lifetime achievement award for sucking an incredible amount throughout their career:
Winner: The Black Eyed Peas — I’m not sure if they even released any music this year but just in case they did I’m giving them this award.
Award for the album that got good reviews but I hate:
Winner: Death Grips – Exmilitary — I don’t get it. Is this getting praise just because it’s different? A guy randomly yell-rapping over some really lo-fi production doesn’t make for interesting music.
Runner-up: James Blake – James Blake
Best album opener:
*This isn’t necessarily the individual song that I liked the most. This is a combination of how much I like the specific song and how well it works to set up the rest of the album.
Winner: Foo Fighters – Bridge Burning — That opening riff, man. Add that to Dave Grohl screaming “THESE ARE MY FAMOUS LAST WORDS” and you get one of the more memorable album openers in recent memory.
Runner-up: CunninLynguists – Predormitum (Prologue)
Best music video:
Winner: Radiohead – Lotus Flower
Thom Yorke’s dancing is still funny to me.
Worst album art:
Winner: Yuck – Yuck
I know that judging a book (or an album) by its cover is a remarkably dumb thing to do but I did it for this album. I HATE that cover and refused to give it a shot just because of it. Eventually I did listen to this album and it’s alright indie rock. Still hate this cover.
Best album art:
Winner: EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints
I don’t really know why I like this cover as much as I do. I think the colors EMA used on it just create a really cool effect when combined with the shadowing and the lens flare on her fingers.
Trend that I really wish would go away:
Look at these three.
I didn’t even have to go digging for when they looked the most ridiculous because all three of these pictures were taken at the same award show. The message I’m getting from the likes of Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Nicki Minaj is “my music isn’t good enough to stand out on its own so I have to fake being as weird as possible to get people to pay attention to me”. It was a funny image when the VMAs held their Amy Winehouse tribute and the camera panned to Katy “I’m gonna wear a giant block on my head” Perry. I don’t really care about Amy Winehouse but when you see something like that it makes the “tribute” seem like a clown show.
I have nothing against eccentricity in music. To use another solo female singer as an example, Lykke Li has a bit of an eccentric personality but she doesn’t try to prove it to other people by dressing up like a weirdo at every award show there is. She lets the music speak for itself. Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, and others like them are just trying way too hard.
Award for the album I didn’t care for at all at first but now I love:
Winner: Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes — Thank god I gave this a second chance after thinking it was pretentious boring crap at first. I don’t know what was wrong with me the first time I heard it.
Runner-up: The Kills – Blood Pressures
Award for the album I really liked at first but got almost no replay value:
Winner: Elzhi – Elmatic — I still think this is very well-made for what it is. Elzhi put years of work into this remake of Nas’ Illmatic that includes live instrumentation for the beats. Unfortunately it’s pretty much still Illmatic; Illmatic’s a great album but I’ve already heard it a hundred times. I think the same could be said for virtually anybody who would have been interested in this. After a little bit it sounds stale.
Runner-up: Pac Div – Mania!
Award for the most underwhelming album:
Winner: Lupe Fiasco – Lasers — This has all the signs of a label influencing an artist’s creative process. Lupe has enjoyed the most radio play/mainstream recognition of his career thanks to Lasers but that’s because this album was “dumbed down” (which was something he railed against in his previous album).
Runner-up: Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You
Award for the album I keep telling myself I’ll listen to but never get around to it:
Winner: The Throne – Watch the Throne – I would probably really like this.
Runner-up: TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light
Award for the album I feel like I should like but don’t:
Winner: Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver – I think the effect Justin Vernon uses on his vocals are what ruins it for me.
Runner-up: PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Best song that sounds happy but is actually about a really depressing topic:
Winner: Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks — I think it’s safe to say that this is the catchiest song ever written that centers around a school shooting.
Runner-up: Cults – Abducted
Top 5 albums from 2010 now that I’ve had 8 more months to think it over:
5. The Naked and Famous – Passive Me, Aggressive You
4. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
3. The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards
2. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
1. Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
Kno’s Death is Silent, which was originally my #1 of 2010, is now #6. I still like it but it doesn’t have the replay value the rest of these did for me. I haven’t even thought about listening to it for months.
The Joy Formidable are a band that have been around for a few years but recently they’ve started to get more and more attention thanks largely due to word of mouth. Over the past year or so they’ve been hitting up festival after festival from Glastonbury to Coachella to Reading/Leeds to Lollapalooza. Even though they’ve always been slotted near the beginning of the day at these festivals, they make sure to put on a memorable performance each time so that attendees can ask their friends/go on message boards and say “Did anyone else see The Joy Formidable? Holy crap”. It certainly doesn’t hurt that some of the people talking about them are names as big as Dave Grohl and Hayley Williams.
When The Big Roar is at its best, all of that hype is completely justified. Their music is unlike just about any other band going today — there’s a wall of sound that is reminiscent of shoegaze groups such as My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive except the vocals in The Big Roar are much clearer and catchier. This is almost pop-shoegaze. Some of the tracks on this album are just flat-out incredible, such as “Whirring”, “A Heavy Abacus”, “Cradle”, and “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade”.
Unfortunately for every song that’s amazing on this album there’s one where I’m completely indifferent to it. There are some tracks where they go the more traditional alternative rock route and while it’s certainly passable there’s nothing really remarkable about it. As far as I’m concerned with The Joy Formidable, the louder the guitar the better. This album just really isn’t that consistent throughout.
My rating for this album is a bit lower than the rating I’d give this band in general. They’re an immensely talented young trio and their live performances are much better than the (already very good) music they make in the studio. There’s no doubt in my mind that The Joy Formidable will eventually release an album that I’ll give a 9.0 or above — they just aren’t there yet.
Lava Bucket 10 (9/1/11)
– 1.8 in a week?
– “Jeb says notch wants to release the update next week.”
– Jahkob says in 2 or 3 weeks
– Jeb says September 8
– The plan right now is to release the “PAX version” of Minecraft ASAP, but there is some crucial work remaining. Sep 8th is a good guess
– This is why Notch is awesome
– @notch I downloaded your game in tpb,deal with that (elhinnn)
– @elhinnn I hope you like it. I’d prefer it if you bought it, but I haven’t lost a single dollar from you downloading it. (notch)
– Rivers are in the game!
– They either hit the ocean, or loop back. I know looped rivers don’t make much sense, but it works. ;D (Notch on Twitter)
– Map of 1.8 world with rivers.
– Notch is adding HUGE oceans and HUGE islands
– Trying to balance gameplay against scale is interesting. I can do HUGE oceans with HUGE islands very easily and fast now, but it plays bad.
– Bigger islands = bigger biomes. Deserts like to be big.
– But the bigger the islands are, the bigger the biomes can be. And deserts want to be big.
– DEEP oceans, check.
– Volcanoes are a possibility?!
– @jeb_ will there be volcanoes in the new map generator?
– Fence gates are confirmed!
– Gameplay of 1.8 at PAX
(list of stuff shown off in the video in case you don’t feel like watching it all)
– New title screen. No more dirt, now Minecraft screenshot of some sort
– Zombies now drop rotting flesh
– @KrisEike it gives you food, but also poisons you
– Notch says that rain is 1000 times better than before
– Notch is considering adding rain forests, swamps, and probably volcanoes. Notch really wants to add swamps
– Dungeons also include ‘abandoned mineshafts’, complete with broken minecart tracks and wooden tunnel archways to prevent caveins.
– Guy asked if the Nether was getting work, Notch said something that sounded like it was along the lines of “not in 1.8, but soon after, yes”.
– Water damages Endermen
– New particle effect for the bedrock layer, if you break through to the void you now take damage and eventually die
– Notch is thinking of releasing 1.8 in “segments” due to the update having multiple features that need refining.
– Iron bars are in villages, at the smiths
– Ivy can be placed on walls
– Smooth stone and brick stairs
– Smooth stone and brick slabs
– BLUE spiders poison you.
– Blue spiders will be found in abandoned mineshafts
– Blue spider spawner (spiderwebs)
– NPCs give quests
– Worlds may be able to have buildings build in their seeds
– What he’s talking about: http://i.imgur.com/UtP7i.jpg
– List of all new items coming in 1.8
– BENDERMAN!!! ZOMG!
Bonus, listen to any song while looking at this: http://i52.tinypic.com/295eiv9.gif
My first real exposure to The Naked and Famous was when I went to their (fantastic) Lollapalooza set. Before that I pretty much only heard their singles “Punching in a Dream” and “Young Blood”. Those two songs have a LOT in common with each other so I expected their other songs to sound pretty similar to those. I ended up really surprised with the other stuff Passive Me, Aggressive You had to offer.
The two songs I mentioned above are poppy songs with heavy emphasis on synthesizers; they sound like they could have been ripped straight out of a teen movie from the 1980s. As singles I think both of those tracks are nearly perfect. The catchiness of those songs hooked me onto this band but the rest of the album is what makes me keep coming back.
Soundwise the rest of the album is all over the place. It’s all indie rock with lots of keys and synths but after that the songs sound so different from one another. “All of This” has a bit of a dream pop/shoegaze feel to it where both singers (one male, one female) harmonize throughout. “The Sun” starts really slow and reminds me of Phoenix’s “Love Like a Sunset” with how much it just builds louder and louder as the song goes on. “Wolf in Geek’s Clothing” sounds like a noise pop track a la Sleigh Bells. For the most part these different styles all work to great success. Some of the songs like “Jilted Lovers” and “No Way” took longer to grow on me but now I really like them.
One of the things that makes The Naked and Famous stand out to me is their use of two vocalists that often sound so different from each other yet complement each other perfectly. Thom Powers probably has the better voice of the two for the most part. His voice is used for a gentler effect, a foil to Alisa Xayalith’s energetic (and usually louder) vocals. There’s no way I’d like this band as much as I do if either of these members were missing and the other one did 100% of the vocals instead. Even though their two “big” singles have Xayalith leading the way, there are a few songs here where she fades into the background and just provides backing vocals (her soft backing vocals are what really make the song “Girls Like You” awesome). There are also tracks where the two harmonize the whole way through.
I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone out there but I’m a big fan now and I really want to see what they’re going to do in the future. This band’s only going to get better as they get more experienced and figure out how to put a fully cohesive album together (Passive Me, Aggressive You sounds like a bunch of singles just thrown together at parts). If you like 80s pop or indie rock in general, at least give this a shot.
Lava Bucket 9 (8/17/11)
– Notch challenges Bethesda to Quake 3!
-Minecraft for Android is here! — Only for Xperia Play devices – $7
– Camera in Minecraft Portable Edition?
– Jeb teases villages
– Yep, just a screenshot
– Scalable biome code!
– New drops for zombies!
– Currently they drop a new item, not sure if it’s final though
– Jeb makes changes to some food items
– Nine new crafting recipes added in 1.8 (151 in 1.7.3 — 160 in 1.8)
Lava Bucket 8 (8/11/11)
– Bethesda is suing Mojang!
– Scrolls infringes on The Elder Scrolls
– Basically, Bethesda’s lawyers says that Scrolls infringes on The Elder Scrolls trademark.
– Also, EA tried to purchase Mojang.
– Minecraft has sold over 3 million copies
– Players can claim land
– @OskarBurman Because players can claim land and might not want those walls. 😉 But don’t tell anyone yet! (notch)
– @notch [why] can’t you just put a low stone wall around all towns? (OskarBurman)
– Villages have wells.
– Villages/towns will be considered its’ own biome.
– Biome code is being reworked. Rivers!
– Notch and Jeb talk about town borders
– Town borders will be able to be seen from a distance.
– Jeb is working on blacksmiths
– Haha my smithy keeps setting the whole village on fire. I need to contain that lava better…