Puck’s Inaugural Biennial Top 75 Albums Puck’s Inaugural Biennial Top 75 Albums
Welcome to my very first biennial edition countdown of the best albums released over the past two years. Puck’s Inaugural Biennial Top 75 Albums

Welcome to my very first biennial edition countdown of the best albums released over the past two years. I began sharing these lists annually back in 2000, starting with a simple Top 10 that slowly grew over the years into a Top 40 for 2012, the last time I did one. But what happened to 2013? Well, I ended up taking a break from new music for most of 2013 in favour of revisiting and organizing my existing collection. By the time I got around to checking out 2013’s new releases there were only a few months left to the year and I didn’t have enough time to do the usual list without pushing it out well into 2014.

That’s when I came up with the idea of making this a biennial event. No one really does that sort of thing with any type of entertainment media as far as I can tell, so it gives my list a unique quality while also freeing myself from having to do it every year. However, it also makes things more difficult as now I have to figure out the placement of two years worth of albums. A Top 40 wasn’t going to cut it and my original goal of a Top 50 would have left out a lot of great albums, therefore I ended up with a Top 75 for 2013-14. Even at 75 it leaves out a few great ones, but I didn’t want to go to 100 as that would have let some merely good albums creep in.

Before getting down to business, here are a few rules that I follow:

  1. Each album must have been officially released during the calendar year(s) in question. Duh.
  2. Each album is graded based on the overall product. For example, an album with two or three amazing songs won’t score well if the rest suck.
  3. Only the standard album release counts for grading purposes. This means that special edition, iTunes, and retailer specific bonus tracks don’t count towards the overall score.
  4. All compilation, remix, reissue, demo, and live albums are excluded. Rare exceptions could be made if the album contains mostly new and/or unreleased material.
  5. EPs and other short format releases are excluded. Again, rare exceptions could be made if the album is comparable in length to traditional LP releases.

For the most part I’ll be keeping my commentary on each album/artist to a minimum as I’ve provided links to recommended songs and the music should speak for itself in my opinion. Just give it a try, you’ll either like it or you won’t. Hopefully there is a little bit of something for everyone on here. With that out of the way, it’s time to kick things off with 75 through 71…

#75

Oddfellows
TOMAHAWK

Oddfellows

RELEASE DATE
January 29, 2013

ABSURDLY SPECIFIC GENRE
Patton-fronted alternative hard rock/metal

Every release from a group featuring Mike Patton tends to at least be great and this is another one. Oddfellows is tighter and more well-rounded than their previous two efforts while also sounding more like their debut self-titled album from 2001. However, it does falter a bit during the back half, preventing it from reaching the heights of Patton’s best work.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

“Stone Letter”

“White Hats / Black Hats”

“Typhoon”

#74

WhentheCellarChildrenSeetheLightofDay
MIREL WAGNER

When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day

RELEASE DATE
August 12, 2014

ABSURDLY SPECIFIC GENRE
Dark acoustic bluesy folk

Wagner is a Finnish artist of Ethiopian origin that creates darkly beautiful, minimalist folk music that’s influenced by her love for old Blues records. This is her second album and it’s a big step forward musically from her self-titled debut, featuring fewer “boring” songs and the same great vocals/lyrics.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

“The Dirt”

“Oak Tree”

“Taller Than Tall Trees”

#73

TheHandsThatThieve
STREETLIGHT MANIFESTO

The Hands That Thieve

RELEASE DATE
April 30, 2013

ABSURDLY SPECIFIC GENRE
Stereotypical Kalnoky-fronted ska punk

I absolutely love the first two Streetlight Manifesto albums, and of course one of the greatest ska albums ever, Keasbey Nights by Catch 22 which also featured mastermind Tomas Kalnoky, so this album is actually a bit of a disappointment compared to those. Still, great ska punk album with tons of excellent hooks and sing-along lyrics.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

“The Hands That Thieve”

“With Any Sort of Certainty”

“Your Day Will Come”

#72

ParagonoftheCrucible
FREYA

Paragon of the Crucible

RELEASE DATE
November 5, 2013

ABSURDLY SPECIFIC GENRE
Hardcore tinged melodic death/thrash metal

A return to form for Freya, who hadn’t put out a good album since their debut back in 2003. I think this one is actually better than As the Last Light Drains thanks to them finally managing to cohesively gel all their different musical styles. A lean and mean metal album with a very strong second half.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

#71

THRER
!!!

THR!!!ER

RELEASE DATE
April 29, 2013

ABSURDLY SPECIFIC GENRE
Indie dance post-punk rock

!!! rebound from the dreadful Strange Weather, Isn’t It? with a great album full of get-up-and-dance post-punk. All except for “Fine Fine Fine” anyway, terrible song. They continue to move towards a more commercial-friendly song structure with this album, but at least it doesn’t repeat the previous album’s mistake of being all about the beats.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

“Even When the Water’s Cold”

“Get That Rhythm Right”

“Californiyeah”

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Puck is a renowned Grammar Nazi who suffers from OCD and occasional bouts of indiscriminate rage. His love/hate relationship with film, television, music, video games, comics, and sports often leads to uncompromisingly honest opinions and analysis. Puck's goal is to ensure the site provides high quality, diverse material that encourages discourse among current readers while also enticing new visitors.