Courtesy of the artists
Clockwise from top left: Artwork from Witch Mountain's South of Salem, Julia Holter, The Psychic Paramount, Tombs.
As NPR Music begins year-end music list season, we normally save producer and Viking's Choice blogger Lars Gotrich's favorite furious blast beats, meditative drones, spiraling riffs and other such unclassifiable sounds for after Christmas. Not this time around. We wanted the noise and we wanted it now.
While no one sound or trend truly dominated metal or outer sound in 2011, Lars talks to All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen about a set of field recordings from a Swiss gondola, why strong songwriting always matters in metal, and how sometimes hues are more dramatic than blocks of sound in drone.
This episode of All Songs Considered includes highlights from a pair of Top 25 lists. Over on the All Songs blog, you'll find the complete lists of 2011's best metal and best outer sound albums.