Makeup For The Silence

The digital home of music writer Jesse Richman

Makeup For The Silence

Tag: tancred

My Top 10 Albums of 2016

(feat. track – Dinosaur Pile-Up – “Bad Penny” [spotify] from Eleven Eleven)

[Posted 1/3/18] So… I was going through the blog to make some updates and found my 2016 “Best Of The Rest” lost in a draft. Of course, I never did get around to doing write-ups of my top albums for 2016 – or even posting them on the main blog! – much less posting what didn’t quite make it. (The list is, and will remain, over at the Top Tens page.)

Still, this blog feels incomplete without the list living here, even sans commentary, so I’m popping in to retroactively post it, along with the Best Of The Rest list I had written up at the time.

So without further ado…


10. Myrone – Drift Stage Vol. 1 [spotify]

9. Let’s Eat Grandma – I, Gemini [spotify]

8. 18th and Addison – Makeshift Monster [spotify]

7. Boys Night Out – Black Dogs EP [spotify]

6. Cash Cash – Blood, Sweat & Three Years [spotify]

5. Garbage – Strange Little Birds [spotify]

4. The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It [spotify]

3. Kitten – Heaven Or Somewhere In Between EP [spotify]

2. David Bowie – Blackstar [spotify]

1. Kanye West – The Life of Pablo [spotify]



American Football – American Football [spotify]

Bon Iver – 22, A Million [spotify]

Brand New – 3 Demos, Reworked [spotify]

Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book [spotify]

Dinosaur Pile-Up – Eleven Eleven [spotify]

The Downtown Fiction – Alligator Tears [spotify]

Frank Ocean – Blond(e) [spotify]

From Indian Lakes – Everything Feels Better Now [spotify]

The Hotelier – Goodness [spotify]

Jeff Rosenstock – Worry [spotify]

John K. Samson – Winter Wheat [spotify]

k.flay – Crush Me [spotify]

King Neptune – A Place To Rest My Head [spotify]

Lights – Midnight Machines [spotify]

Look Park – Look Park [spotify]

The Monkees – Good Times! [spotify]

Moose Blood – Blush [spotify]

Pity Sex – White Hot Moon [spotify]

Suede – Night Thoughts [spotify]

Tancred – Out Of The Garden [spotify]

Makeup For The Silence – Best Of 2016 Mix

Makeup For the Silence - Best of 2016!

So I’m a liar. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. Between some job-related scrambling and a three-day-long headache that ended with a CAT scan and a few many fistfuls of Advil/Tylenol/HeavierStuff, I didn’t manage to get this thing online before the new year swung around.

The good news is, three days in, this year is basically the same as the last, so you can still listen to this. It’s cool. I promise.

I know 2016 was supposedly an annus horribilis – and we did lose many more musical icons (not to be confused with Mandy Moore, Musical Icon) in a single revolution than we ever should* – but honestly, if 2016 had ended on November 7th, I think we’d all be talking about the year just past in much different terms. And while I’m pretty dubious that 2017 will be anything but a disaster for our most vulnerable and an introduction to vulnerability for a whole bunch more of us (who hadn’t considered we’d be there, perhaps ever, in our lifetimes), the truth is 2016 itself was actually a pretty good year – personally, and I think collectively. So while next year’s mixtape might just be a track-list etched by a thousand bent fingernails on the walls of the work camp, this year’s mix pretty fairly reflects what was, by and large, a positive experience when lived from day to day.

I’m gonna miss it like candy.

The seventh** edition of my year-end mixtape arrives in much the same way last year’s did: with maybe six songs that were locks to make this list from the jump, and then a lot of rooting through the 300-odd tracks on my Top Tracks of 2016 playlist***. I’ve, as always, avoided any big pop hits – otherwise this years list might just be O.T. Genasis feat. Young Dolph on loop – but I’ve backed away from the tradition of keeping tracks from my Top Ten albums off of the list. Truth is, even when I wasn’t listening to those albums, it was certain tracks from those albums I kept coming back to, and this year’s mix would feel incomplete without them. They’re the anchor pieces.

If last year’s mix trended darker, this year’s feels a little brighter, a little more hopeful. It’s not all wide-eyed; if anything, this year’s selections are a little more introspective than the last. But even its denser moments generally offer something to dream on.

It’s also the first mix I’ve made where every track is available on Spotify****. That’s probably largely reflective of my listening habits – Spotify’s ease of use, and of playlist compilation, led me to spending less time on SoundCloud and the like, because even once you find something good, it’s frankly a pain to grab music from elsewhere and then sync it to Spotify, especially when I often go weeks without touching my MacBook. I do 90% of my personal computing on my mobile now. The medium is the message, or something. (The message, however, is rarely on Medium.)

Enough of the rambles; on with the show.

Makeup For The Silence – Best Of 2016

  1. Empty – Garbage
  2. Purge – Frameworks
  3. Fall On Me – Kitten
  4. Bury It – CHVRCHES (feat. Hayley Williams)
  5. Tiger Hologram – Swet Shop Boys
  6. Zadok – Myrone
  7. Bottle It Up – Sherwood
  8. Me & Magdalena (Version 2) – The Monkees
  9. Sell My Head – Tancred
  10. Humblest Pleasures – Turnover
  11. Blood In The Cut – K. Flay
  12. Goodness, Pt. 2 – The Hotelier
  13. Broken Drum – Cash Cash (feat. Fitz of Fitz & the Tantrums)
  14. I Am Chemistry – Yeasayer
  15. No Time Valentine – Roy English
  16. All Night – King Neptune
  17. Rebecca – Against Me!
  18. U-turn – Tegan & Sara
  19. The Sound – The 1975
  20. May I Have This Dance – Francis & the Lights
  21. Deep Six Textbook – Let’s Eat Grandma
  22. 17th Street Treatment Centre – John K. Samson

click image to download

I’ll be back tomorrow with some more thoughts on the Year In Music and my personal listening habits, and then we’ll get into the business of counting down. I’m not sure I’ll go in quite as deep as I typically do this time around (that aforementioned work stuff, again), but I’m not ruling it out either.

*one of whom will be showing up on my Top Ten in the coming weeks

**You can always find the complete collection of mixes which have appeared on Makeup For The Silence, as well as all the playlists I’ve contributed to elsewhere, right over here.

***I’ve archived my 2016 list and rolled my 2017 one right on top, so if you were subscribed, you should be following 2017 now. If not, follow along right here.

****…for now. Of course, tracks on Spotify come and go on the wind and the whim, so I still strongly recommending downloading. That said, you can stream it here.

#7 Album of 2012 – Now, Now – Threads

#7 – NOW, NOW – THREADS [spotify]

(feat. track – Thread [spotify])

I’ve probably written more about Tancred, the side project of Now, Now guitarist Jess Abbott, that I have about any other act in the last few years, and yet I believe this is the first time I’ve addressed her main concern. Perhaps that’s because, prior to Threads, I was never quite sold on Now, Now as a band; the miniscule Minnesotans traded primarily in a sound as diminutive and unassuming as their appearance, always pleasant but rarely (to my ear, at least) gripping. With Threads, they’ve got my full attention.

By my memory, I’ve seen Now, Now five times since the release of Threads this past March (the true number might actually be higher), and it really took seeing the material played live a couple of times for it to blossom for me. Partly, that’s due to the amped-up energy of the live performance. Drummer Bradley Hale, in particular, has been a revelation; his use of syncopation and his creative, off-kilter patterns play perfectly off his precision timing, and he’s a sight to behold when he’s locked in.

But beyond the band’s musicianship, hearing the music in the live context brought out for me hooks that hadn’t really sunk in while casually listening to the record. Though I’ve enjoyed it from the first play, I don’t think I’d have described Threads as “catchy” six months ago. Now, I regularly find snippets of “Oh. Hi.” and “Dead Oaks” and “Thread” and “Wolf” emerging from my subcortex at odd moments. That’s part of what makes it such a great album: it works on two levels effectively. Threads feels, at first, like it’s designed for background listening – 42 minutes of enveloping mood music that operates impressionistically, much like shoegaze or post-rock – but it rewards close listening as well with a series of what are, at their core, marvelously catchy pop songs.

That it operates on dual levels is no coincidence. Threads isn’t exactly a concept album, but it’s full of motifs, both musical and lyrical. Certain phrases and snippets of melody pop up repeatedly, taking on new meaning as the context around them changes; foreshadowing becomes action becomes denouement. The name Threads itself is a reference to these ties; they weave their way through tracks with titles like “The Pull” and “Thread” and “Magnet” until the album is bound tightly together, just as they weave their way through the lives of the characters within, drawn toward each other by forces they can hardly fathom: lust, suspicion, jealousy, even enmity. The end result of all of this is something like a photomosaic, an image in macro, rendered from even-more-compelling snapshots in micro.

But if Threads is like a photomosaic, it’s also a like a Rubin vase; an album about love that arrives at its topic by addressing everything but. Now, Now color in all the emotions that surround love until its image emerges in the negative space which remains. That technique is even reflected in the cover art: up close, a detailed topography in near-black and white, dominated by bright sky so that the landscape only seems to exist as absence-of-light; from a step further back, a picture of daytime that appears, from distance, as a moon.

With its ever-present duality, the multi-layered Threads teases (and pleases) brain, ears, heart and gut in equal measure, and often all at once. That’s quite an accomplishment, but then, Threads is as accomplished an album as any released this past year. It’s a listen as rewardingly revelatory as it is enjoyable. Call it a big step forward for three small people.

#12 Album Of 2011 – TANCRED – CAPES / STRING & TWINE EP

(feat. track – “Two Years” [spotifyfrom Capes)

Jess Abbott only put out half an hour of music in 2011, but I’ve spent as much time listening to these two short releases as I have anything else this past year.  These days, it’s pretty rare that anything in the world of “indie” really connects with me, but there’s an undeniable beauty to their austerity that gets me every time.  Abbott imbues both her songs and her recordings with an incredible sense of intimacy, as though she were sitting just on the inside of your speaker, whispering out into the room. And yet, even when brought so close to them, her characters remain opaque, unknowable, like a mask removed to reveal a perfectly blank face. It’s a combination that just begs for repeated listens, like a puzzle you swear you’ve almost got figured out, a word on the tip of your tongue, a snippet of a lyric from a song you can’t recall.

But perhaps even above those virtues, Tancred’s albums (much like The Narrative’s self-titled album last year) inspired in me what I consider to be the best writing I’ve done this year. Their singular nature, their uniqueness pushed me to the edges of my descriptive abilities; there’s something intangible, or at least really hard to pin down, about Abbott’s compositions, a ghostliness that echoes the nature of the characters in her songs, and I feel like it’s all I can do to even begin to capture their essence. It’s art than not only entertains and provokes, but also actively challenges me to do better, to be better.  What more could I could ask for?

review of Capes (published 5/17/11)

review of String & Twine EP (published 12/09/11)

Fall's Idylls playlist cover art

PropertyOfZack Playlist: Fall’s Idylls

Fall's Idylls playlist cover art

As promised, here’s a downloadable version of my PropertyOfZack Playlist

When warm green summer flings turn cold and brown, and all things, even love, wind down, I strangely find myself at ease in the chilly air and the falling leaves.  Somehow, wrapped in cold and gray, it feels ok to not feel ok.

Fall’s Idylls

  1. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – New Holy Ground
  2. Lindsey Buckingham – Shut Us Down
  3. Sparks The Rescue – Vanities
  4. The Dangerous Summer – Surfaced (Acoustic)
  5. Never Shout Never – Until I Die Alone
  6. The Narrative – I’ve Been Thinking
  7. Nick Drake – Road
  8. Tancred – Lion Hands
  9. This Providence – Keeping On Without You
  10. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – She’s Leaving

(click album cover to download)

PropertyOfZack Playlist : : Thrice, American Dream Records, Staff


We debuted our PropertyOfZack Playlist feature with Thrice just last week, so we’re thrilled to have them back in their weekly spot. Joining the band is American Dream Records (The Graduate, Ace Enders, Hawthorne Heights), and our reviewer, Jesse Richman. Check out the Playlists and listen to the songs while reading everyone’s thoughts!

(Click on image to listen in Spotify)
When warm green summer flings turn cold and brown, and all things, even love, wind down, I strangely find myself at ease in the chilly air and the falling leaves.  Somehow, wrapped in cold and gray, it feels ok to not feel ok. – Jesse Richman

(Click on image to listen in Spotify)
Fall has settled into the North Georgia mountains. There are lingering moments of summer sun during the days, but the nights are filled with the crisp, cold air that lets you know change is coming. For me, that’s what Fall has always been representative of.  It is a transitional time, both environmentally and socially, when leaves and lives fade away, the energy and buzz of summer runs out, and all you can do is begin to prepare yourself for the seemingly endless winter.  
Personally, I’ve always felt that Fall connects with music more so than any other season. Maybe it’s because so much of the music I love has elements of what the season itself represents. Maybe it’s a nostalgia for being in a certain place with a certain person at a certain time. Or maybe there’s just something that changes when at the end of the day it’s just you, the music you love, and that cold, quiet air outside.
This is a collection of songs that I connect with all of those feelings. – Joe Cubera

(Click on image to listen in Spotify)
Tom Waits – Goin’ Out West
Tom Waits – Alice
Tom Waits – Cold Cold Ground
If you’ve never heard Tom Waits, he’s one of my favorite humans. These three songs should give you a brief glimpse at the span of his work. Get into it. – Dustin Kensrue
The Beatles – Get Back *Song is currently not on Spotify
Quite possibly my kids’ favorite song. They both know all the words. I put my Beatles collection on shuffle the other day and this song came on. It made me smile. – Teppei Teranishi
Tom Waits – Johnsburg, Illinois
Tom Waits is one of my favorite artists. I love his insane and quirky stuff but I REALLY love him for his mellow stuff – so insanely beautiful. – Ed Breckenridge
Miles Davis – Blue in Green
Kind of Blue is one of my favorite records of all time. I’ve always really enjoyed Miles way of playing but,  what I did not realize until fairly recently is that Bill Evans piano playing is really what makes these songs sink deeper into my soul. I remember watching my dad listen to this song with his eyes closed in bliss. This song makes my eyes water every time I hear it. I love this song and love my Dad for introducing me to Jazz music. – Ed Breckenridge

Read More

So PropertyOfZack rolled out a new Playlist feature last week, where bands, labels and the like post playlists along with links to Spotify.  They’ve also decided to include playlists from staff as well, and I’m honored to be featured alongside (among others) one of my all-time favorite bands, Thrice.

The playlist is actually a fall playlist I was working on for here initially; you can get to it on Spotify by clicking the cassette tape logo above.  If you’re not on Spotify yet or prefer having files you can actually move around and stuff (weird thought – pretty soon MP3 files:cloud music::CDs:MP3 files), I’ll put a link to download the mix up later tonight (along with some spiffy cover art).

Fall is my favorite season of the year; this mix has been helping me sink into it the last few weeks.

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