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The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

Recommended: The Gems You Missed

5 albums that will [hopefully] open your musical horizons

Trying something new can be difficult, may that be a new food or new style. But when it comes to music, it seems that many are happily stuck in the Spotify Top 100, lacking the initiative to explore any more. This could be attributed to the way in which modern music feels more formulaic, because if you like one artist of course you’re going to like the nearly identical 10 others that sound the same. This therefore continues the cycle of repeat consumption and enhances not only the loss of music culture due to technology and social media, but a loss of individuality and overall “weirdness”. But as someone that too has been in the clutches of familiarity, I have pioneered and returned with five albums that will, hopefully, expand your music taste beyond your comfort zone.


Red House Painters [Rollercoaster] – Red House Painters

Genres and style: slowcore, folk rock, melancholic, introspective

Red House Painters, but more specifically the mastermind behind their sound, Mark Kozelek, have given voice to an array of complex, yet tender and recognizable, situations for decades now. With a template of the slowest possible guitar plucks which are then garnished with blisteringly sorrowful lyrics, raw yet crystal clear vocals, and sporadic noisy builds, their self titled release solidifies itself as a necessary building block to the entire genre that is slowcore. Rollercoaster is typically considered the best from the group, and it’s easy to see why; every track is a drawn out fugue-like trek through human emotion. At its core, this release is an exploration of love and loss, extending Kozelek’s pre-existing anxiety-filled lineup to almost new heights, while extending the listener’s appreciation to similar levels.


Floating Into The Night – Julee Cruise

Genres and style: ambient pop, ethereal wave, soothing, lush

As a frequent collaborator of David Lynch, Julee Cruise is no stranger to the experimental. “Floating Into The Night” is no different, as although it doesn’t make a break into the unlistenable (or in Lynch’s case, unwatchable to a certain degree), it utilizes nonstandard repetition and lyricism. Armed with imaginative arrangements and a mournful, alluring voice, Cruise breaks new ground here, creating an unquestionable standard for future dream pop artists. Big names like Lana Del Rey and Beach House have even explicitly cited her as an influence. The album is not only a lovely breach into the mysterious, but feels like an unknown, yet familiar face. An album for a deep winter slumber. Songs “Falling” and “Into the Night” are great examples of this, both additionally making appearances on the “Twin Peaks” soundtrack, and being expertly utilized to keep Lynch’s characters suspended in time.


Dots and Loops – Stereolab

Genres and style: indietronica, art pop, futuristic, cryptic

“Dots and Loops” could best be described as the album equivalent to every pleasant sound you’ve ever heard, and in contrast to the prior mention, “Floating Into The Night,” an album for a nap in a blooming meadow on a brisk spring day. A combination of minimalist and maximalist styles, the album finds common ground with the stylings of Mort Garson’s space age “Plantasia”, achieving a pensive sound that evolves throughout the album without ever being stale. The tracks “Miss Modular” and “The Flower Called Nowhere” represent this well, making “Dots and Loops” a fantastic cluster of songs that are both enjoyable and easy to digest, while still being intricate and innovative. 


New Plastic Ideas – Unwound

Genres and style: noise rock, post-hardcore, raw, heavy 

“New Plastic Ideas” displays all the important defining characteristics of what makes an Unwound release so stunning. Being their second official album, it extends the band’s sonic cohesiveness, and showcases an intense fervor that could surely knock you out. But where Unwound’s prior releases are filled with pure, unbridled angst, “New Plastic Ideas” takes this idea to a more melancholic degree. Each track stands out as a heavy hitter in the whole scheme of their catalog, with the album’s closing song “Fiction Friction” being one of note. Even the more forceful sections on it feel exhausted and tormented, an ultimate catharsis to conclude an album filled to the brim with such moments. Simply put, “New Plastic Ideas” is a great introduction to the stylings of the post hardcore specialists of the 1990s, while still managing to surpass this title and further their own groundbreaking blend of sounds.


Sung Tongs – Animal Collective

Genres and style: freak folk, neo-psychedelia, playful, hypnotic

Animal Collective is a band of extremes. In the 2010s, “Sung Tongs” was every self proclaimed “real music nerd’s” favorite album, but what exactly sets it apart you may ask? Besides being the most experimental, yet still most deservingly popular, album on this list, it draws from tribal-like influences and strays from conventional song formats. As an effect, even shorter songs like “Leaf House” (a personal favorite of mine) can feel just as long as 12 minute tracks like “Visiting Friends” (ANOTHER personal favorite of mine). Offering up an air of unguarded spontaneity, “Sung Tongs” stuns and is perfectly unusual and dynamic. The band has always proven to be experts in prompting feelings and echoes of childhood, and this album may have done it best. “As much as we all want to, we’ll never be able to go back to being a child, living in blissful ignorance. We’ll never be able to go back to the days when everywhere you looked you could find something new and unique, and the world was still confusing,” said one Rate Your Music user touchingly, “At least we have this perfect album.”

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About the Contributor
Dakota Bender, Staff Writer

Dakota, mind of a generation, and industry leader for women in STEM, has a lot of ideas. Although many of these ideas fall on the wrong side of the law, Dakota is committed to expanding her legal repertoire through consuming pretentious media, ruminating, and when time allows, writing.

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