Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Top 50 Albums Of 2011, Reinterpreted As Short Stories (Part 4)

Click here for Part 3

Top Albums Of 2011 - 20. Defeater - Empty Days & Sleepless Nights

Defeater - Empty Days & Sleepless Nights

08 March
Melodic Hardcore

After experiencing the unique driving force behind group mentality; the determined irritation of figurative marching drums; and witnessing his best friends’ faces getting blown off ... our protagonist is finally discharged from the relentless shouts of the war, and wearily makes the journey toward the only neighbourhood he knows he can still go to. The world was a different place now—the majority of it in ruins—but he was relieved to walk through the gate of his old family house, still intact, with his aging parents welcoming him with open arms. Lovingly, they sit him down to his first home cooked meal in a long time, and he tells them his shaken stories of previous years. Stories of his free-spirited youth. Stories of Erika and her hardships at the hands of evil. Stories of his life of crime, and his polar opposite life of super-heroism. And then the final stories of Erika’s disappearance, the abandonment of the granddaughter they never knew existed, and how his journey had ended up in the English War against The Devil himself. The war he had just come from, somehow managing to survive despite no recollection of how this had come to be.

While they listened intently, his parents could not hide their eyes from gaping as wide as their mouths, consumed by the tales that they had been completely oblivious to. Their shock was partially due to the violent and unbelievable content their child had been exposed to, but more than that, it was due to the way he spoke of his adventures. His words had become slow, his eyes were paranoid, and his mannerisms were that of a completely different person. It was right then that they knew their little boy had been changed forever. Yet they still had no idea how much worse it was going to get.

That night (and every night afterward) the mellow atmosphere of this family home awakened to the screams of their son. He'd been dreaming once again of the emotional turmoil which had doused his mind with sickness, stripping it of all compassion, and psychologically damaging him permanently in the process. He wets the bed. He feels no love. He cannot control the aggressive flashbacks of Erika and Gillian and warfare which haunt his every thought. And these sleepless nights tear them all apart.

Day after day, it creeps closer to breaking point, until the morning it finally reaches just that. Unable to handle his own memories anymore, our protagonist wakes up early, makes the journey to the closest station, and jumps in front of a train, cutting his tortured and complicated life to a premature end. The family mourn in deep depression, the aftermath now a cold calm. The house’s regular screams of nightmares once again replaced by chilling acoustics, leaving behind nothing but the mild insanity of empty days.

Call him what you will: Jimmy. James. Buck Jacobs. After everything he had been through, our protagonist was finally dead by no hands other than his own, and in some ways our story ends here. But the spaces in this tale are many, and you, the reader, deserve to know exactly how this man came to destroy himself and for what reasons. But before we give you that, let's look at another important bit of this history, where The Prophecy had begun to take effect a long long time ago...

Top Albums Of 2011 - 19. Kanye West & Jay-Z - Watch The Throne

Kanye West & Jay-Z - Watch The Throne

08 Aug
Hip Hop

After much anticipation, the day of celebration had finally arrived. Earlier in the morning, fair maidens had sprinkled feathers on the paved entrance, as King West rode into King Jay’s castle within a carriage decorated by gold and diamonds which flickered in the sun. West was never one to be shy from flashing his wealth to anyone who would notice, and Jay (being the smart guy he was) knew this. To ensure he was not outdone by West's blatant flaunting, he welcomed the arrival with the most ambitious party his land had ever seen. Here they ate the largest of the kingdom’s turkeys and drank the finest quality of wine, while Frank (their prized talent and entertainer) sang beautiful and socially conscious melodies much to the audience's delight. Occasionally Jay’s wife, the Queen, interrupted the performance with a song of her own—to which everyone quietly rolled their eyes but applauded politely in order to keep their heads intact.

After a few too many drinks and much fun and dancing, King West and King Jay retired outside to marvel at the stars; at their successes; and some quality smoking material. A few laughs were exchanged until West turned to Jay and said what he had been wanting to say since he entered the kingdom.

“I know I’m relatively new to the game, Jigger,” he began. “But you have to admit, I am coming up fast. I own five lands already, and have many more wives than you. My assets are growing steadily and are getting even bigger than yours...”
Jay laughed heartily, and condescendingly patted West on his head.
“Just wait Yeezy. It gets tougher as it goes on, my boy,” Jay calmly replied as he bellowed smoke from his lungs. He paused to appreciate the taste, and then added “I own twelve lands now. And I invented the Blueprint that all rulership is based on today.”
“I mean no disrespect, Jehovah, and I’m going to let you finish,” Kanye replied quickly and bitterly. “But I helped you build that Blueprint you speak of.”

And as we already know, this was the case.

The two stared out into the night as the party behind them got louder in their honour. There was a silent animosity coupled with a mutual respect between these kings, to which both found as fascinating as it was difficult to understand.
“I’m just saying,” West eventually added. “Watch the throne, Jay. Watch the throne.”
“No, you watch the throne, Kanye,” Jay responded slowly. “And I’ll still be on it.”

But as we already know, this was not the case.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 18. Bjork - Biophilia

Björk - Biophilia

10 Oct
Art Pop

Amongst the closest of constellations, a race of childlike beings observe our earth. They are fascinated by us, especially the contrast between the organic nature of our planet and yet our literacy of the most advanced technology—most of which these beings had developed specifically themselves. Their extensive studies had proven that the vast differences between us humans were far more contrasting than any other species they had ever recorded before. While some of us chose to relax and keep our lives simple, going with the flow like chimes in the wind; others preferred the fast lane, making massive decisions which threw us into hardcore situations, the loudness of our choices dominating our already intense existence. It all looked like fun to the observers, sure, but we seemed oblivious to the bigger picture—and for any advanced outside creature, witnessing this type of behaviour was a jarring and uncomfortable lifestyle to analyse. But these specific beings were won over by the charm of our planet and inhabitants, finding it near impossible to tear their eyes away from our activity even for a second. To a degree, one might even argue that they had fallen in love with such a unique and complex race.

This was all scientifically put, of course, as when the Tension Coil they had planted in the Earth’s core began to vibrate, the adoration was ordered to stop. It was the Mother Being with the message they had been waiting for. They had collected enough data about the humans using a series of products they had built in conjunction with Apple, which they controlled remotely with their own custom tablet systems. The moment had come. Despite their fondness of the race, the next phase of the invasion had to commence, for The Prophecy had once again started to turn its clocks, and the child had been born. It was time to send in The Beasties.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 17. Braids - Native Speaker

Braids - Native Speaker

18 Jan

On this warm Autumn day, Jimmy lay on the soft grass gazing up at the spacious clear sky in euphoria. Leaves gently fell from nowhere and brushed his face in a manner that almost felt sexual, as if nature itself was trying to seduce him. And it was succeeding. He wasn’t sure if he was on drugs or not, but the words that the magical elephant had told him were enough to literally knock him right off his feet, where he remained for an unknown amount of time. This sort of uncertainty was as trippy and bewitching as it was sweet and arousing, and he smiled at his own thoughts in total comfort, falling in and out of day dreams and meditation, the entire universe breathing and expanding all around him.

It was in these moments that he realised he was the center of life, and his center was powered by love alone. He was brilliant. He was special. He was a small piece of a puzzle which touched everything. He was free and invincible. He was definitely on drugs after all.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 16. Fink - Perfect Darkness

Fink - Perfect Darkness

19 July
Contemporary Folk

An old man looks across a bridge at the birds flying in the wrong direction towards the sunrise, the darkness now moving into a state of unseasonal light and warmth. Below his feet, jellyfish push upwards using hope alone, their centuries of specialized evolution bringing them safely to the surface. Street lamps flicker as a young couple touch hands for the first time. A lady walks into her bedroom and sees a dark impression of Jesus on the wall, as she falls onto her knees in incomprehension and praise. Power-lines hum in their original brilliance and an abstract painter begins a piece using only blues and greys, looking through a talented eye only few can see. Rocks begin to fall into water and their ripples reach the ends of the ocean. A man believes he can see his ex-wife coming out the corner of his eye again, an image of a ghostly bride that haunts him as much as it fills him with the emotional love they once had. He cries in adoration for the third time that day. All of this happens at the exact same moment, the moment The Portal is opened and infection spills onto the earth, changing the skies to red and altering the world some claim they once knew.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 15. Gang Gang Dance - Eye Contact

Gang Gang Dance - Eye Contact

09 May

After spending a lengthy amount of time on the run, code names Li and Br snickered in New York City over an organic cup of coffee. What felt like just a short time ago, their life had been very different, and they discussed these memories with mixed feelings. The original plan of invasion had all started to go wrong when their spaceship got caught in the Earth’s atmosphere, spinning them in orbit for days to the point of nausea. This inevitably resulted in their discovery by the planet’s inhabitants (in this case, the Japanese government) who wasted no time in plucking them out of the night sky and holding them captive in a secret location. Here they experienced complicated incidents they could have never imagined the humans to be capable of, the worst of all including an implantation of synthesised electrons all over their alien bodies. These electrons were as cruel as they were kind, randomly transmitting either mass amounts of endorphins to their brains or immense shocks of jarring pain to their every limb, forcing the pair into a constant state of tension and goosebumps, perpetually anticipating the next wave of suffering or pleasure. The men at the lab felt no pity. Quite the opposite in fact, often finding Li and Br’s discomfort amusing as the two headed alien was unable to predict when the next surprise would come—naturally building up huge resentment toward their captivators.

But to cut a lengthy part of the story short, the Japanese grew weary near the end of their experiments, and as a result, their work grew tired too. And the very moment they stopped looking over their shoulders was the exact same moment the aliens stopped playing possum and pounced. Needless to say, they escaped, but the Japanese weren’t so lucky.

The two managed to get far away from Japan using various modes of transport, and then spent some time hiding out in the more traditional parts of India. Here the people treated them well and in secret, mainly due to Li and Bri’s resemblance the Hindu deity Brahma, their unique appearance worshipped as a god rather than investigated as an extraterrestrial. And here they stayed for many moons, studying the culture and living the high life; feeding on fine food and wine from glass jars, romantically decorated saucers, and other such holy and luxurious items. This part of their story was a highlight which remained fond in their hearts, and restored much of their damaged faith in humanity from the hands of the Japanese government. But even this grew tiresome, and they knew it was only a matter of time before they had to complete the mission they had been sent to do. So after the careful planting of their suggestive seeds into the right minds, they managed to cross Africa to find the pale-skin girl, and then slid into New York with ease. And that’s where they sat now, their appearance completely disguised and unnoticeable to the public eye.

“YEAH, AND THEN WE LOST THE GIRL AT THAT PARTY,” the more cartoonesque head cackled as coffee dribbled down his chin.
“She is in the right hands now,” the more calm head responded, his lips barely moving. “Besides, we cannot meddle with The Prophecy anymore until we make contact with The Mothership. What good is a mission without instruction?”
The cartoonesque head’s permanent smile waned a bit, and then curiously he turned to his counterpart. “SO WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE BR?”

Br shook his head and looked to the sky. He didn’t know. They could just embrace the wonderful human culture like they had always wanted to do whilst marveling over the creatures from space—this fascinating planet with so many differences had so much to love and was beyond inviting.

“Or, we could just eat them all,” Br laughed, and Li joined in, spitting coffee all over the table in fits of hiccups and coughs. Soon they were both laughing so hard that their chair shook and sugar stung their noses, causing them to cry out in pain as well as hysteria. And yet still no one noticed anything peculiar about this two headed alien, drinking organic coffee in New York city.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 14. tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l

tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l

19 April
Art Pop

The wife’s frantic screams could be heard throughout the small African village. Her already difficult pregnancy had resulted in an even more difficult (albeit short) birth, and her voice flooded out from the openings of the Witch Doctor’s tent; layers and layers of weird noises and prayers—which isn’t always the most welcoming sound. A girl had been born, but unlike any child who'd ever been seen by this tribe before; her skin was that of a pale colour and her eyes were glazed as blue as the sky their kind worshipped.

That was many years ago to the date of this story, and her presence was much different now from what it was back then. The pale-skin girl lived healthy and happily among the kids of her age, completely oblivious to any differences she might have had from those around her. Much like her birth, she was full of personality and bubbles—a very powerful presence, forever singing and making jokes, running around and causing mischief. But much unlike her birth, she was relaxed, fearless and iree by nature—not terribly phased by the wild living conditions this tribe's village was a victim to. And in particular, on a day like today, her uniqueness towered above everyone else, as this was the day they celebrated her coming of age.

As it was tradition to honour such occasions, everyone wore their most varied attire and the joyous vibes were plentiful, but none were as joyous or original as the unmatched quirkiness of this teenage girl. Covered almost entirely in bright feathers and coloured mud, she reveled in the extra attention, singing and thumping rhythms on primitive instruments she had taught herself how to play, purely out of blissful instinct. Their pale-skin daughter, outshining them all.

And as the ceremony played on, the Witch Doctor leaned to the Chief and whispered “It looks like The Prophecy has come true after all.”

Top Albums Of 2011 - 13. Matana Roberts - COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres

Matana Roberts - COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres

10 May
Avant-Garde Jazz

“And next up, we have the lovely Gillian!” a screechy voice consumed the room, and Gillian felt a wooden stick prod her back until she stepped bashfully out from behind the curtain.
“Gillian is a 6 year old girl; healthy, strong, obedient and rewarding, with some very special talents!” the voice boomed again. The girl blinked in the spotlight, finding herself facing a dark room full of adults sitting towards her with expressionless stares. “Born from a mix of an African mother and an American superhero father, she has been blessed with a sense of smell unlike anything any one of you have ever seen before!”
“Prove it!” a male's voice echoed from the back of the audience and Gillian shifted on her feet nervously, visibly scared, not quite sure what she was doing here. In particular, the mention of the parents who had traumatically abandoned her in ways she still didn’t fully understand filled her with despair.
“We will certainly prove this!” the voice responded from the ceiling. There was no sign of who spoke these words, but anyone could hear that they were definitely tainted with madness. “Gillian, tell this man what is in his pockets by using your powerful nose alone!”

Gillian froze, until the wooden stick poked from behind the curtain again and stuck her right in the small of her back. She yelped for a moment, but quickly swallowed her instinct to scream out in pain. Instead she did what she was told to do, and concentrated on where the man in the audience was seated. For a second, fear consumed her as if she had forgot how to use her powers at all, but then her automatic skill proceeded to separate the smells in the room and she relaxed a little. That lady on the left side was wearing a cinnamon type of perfume. That young man a few rows from the front had touched a dog recently. Her nose sifted through the waves of scent until it pin-pointed the origin of the man in question, smelling his trousers from a hundred yards away.

She cleared her throat and her voice quivered like a freestyle saxophone as she picked apart the contents of his pockets. “Keys... 3 keys. A leather wallet with, uhm... two notes inside? Two notes and... uhm... fivesixseven... twelve... thirteen copper coins? No, twelve copper coins, sorry. Uhm... a photograph that’s a few years old and a piece of paper with ink on it... the ink is new from today. Uhm... a tissue with bacteria on it? Bad bacteria. You’re not very well, Mister...”
The crowd roared with laughter and the man who Gillian couldn’t even see in the blackness of the room was quick to confirm this all to be true, to which the audience murmured and whispered in impressed excitement. It had gone from quiet to noisy in an instant due to the magic they felt they had just witnessed here, and the whole thing to Gillian was reminiscent of some spiritual gospel service with demonic motives.

“You see, Ladies and Gentleman, a fine specimen of human being!” the loud speaker voice rose again. “A perfect addition to your establishment! So shall we start the bidding at $500? Can I hear $500?”
A man in a tattered suit raised a yellow card. “$500 to the gentleman over there, can I get 550? 550?” A lady in a red dress near the front raised her yellow card. “$550 to the lady in red, can I hear 600?”

The room had sped up and became frantic as if these people were calling to their ancestors from the underground, while Gillian stood there confused and miserable, tears swelling up behind her eyes. The last few days had been a blur, and all she wanted was her daddy back. Instead she had been whisked away from her home by creepy men and kept captive in a small room, treated like an animal, her groans met with physical punishment. This went on until this morning where she was washed and given a blue dress with a matching ribbon for her hair - which was pretty, but she knew it was not hers for keeps. And now suddenly here she stood, the reality of the situation beginning to weigh heavily upon her. At first it didn’t make sense, but she now understood that these grown ups were playing some sort of a game where she was the centerpiece, her soul feeling raped and ripped away for money. And she didn’t like it one bit.

BANG! A noise rang through the room as the voice excitedly announced “SOLD! $13,500 to the man in the black hat!” The loud speaker was addressing a male near to the front, who looked at Gillian very curiously with a sinister smile as the voice continued its poetic blarings. “Chain her down Roy, put the next one on!”

Top Albums Of 2011 - 12. The Weeknd - House Of Balloons

The Weeknd - House Of Balloons

20 March
Contemporary R&B

Jimmy woke up on a thin dirty mattress, bass-lines blaring all around him like a thunderstorm, creating tension within his already killer headache. How long had he been here? He didn’t know, but the dark mood coupled with the bodies of strung-out figures fidgeting around him was enough to get him up onto his feet. A few days ago this party seemed full of joy and love, but had now turned into something sinister; the minimal decor with cracked floors and frosty brick walls haunting Jimmy’s existence. He stumbled around, moving from room to room trying to find a way out, until he heard someone call his name.

He turned to see a naturally sexy yet obviously worn out girl he didn’t recognise, her eyes hidden underneath a damp fringe. She called out to him once again with a voice so stunning yet cold that he felt he had no choice but to oblige. He walked over, sat down on the sticky floor beside her, and she offered him a line of some yellowish powder. He didn’t know what it was, but felt compelled and snorted the foul smell into his brain which choked him immediately, causing his thumping headache to dull a little bit as he coughed up bile. The girl put her arm around him reassuringly and then kissed his ear, undeterred by his fits of sickness.

And by the time he finally got his breath back, the girl was already undoing his jeans and sitting on top of him.
“Wait,” he spluttered. “Do you have a condom?”
She laughed and replied coyly. “Does it even matter?”
He guessed it didn’t. He couldn’t remember why, but he was sure going to die soon anyway.

*Please note: I could hardly decide between this album, Thursday or Echoes of Silence. The Weeknd is just that good.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 11. Jamie Woon - Mirrorwriting

Jamie Woon - Mirrorwriting

4 April
Blue-Eyed Soul

Intoxicated and lost, James’ foot slid off the wet pavement and he tumbled face first onto the concrete. The world spun above his head and he could hear the dull laughter from some distant passers-by. None of this upset James—he felt indifferent to it—the misfortunate misstep seeming somewhat symbolic, now finding himself in the gutter where his life had been for so long now. The unseasonal rain poured onto the back of his neck and he opted not to move, lying nose-down on the drenched cold surface, shivering yet unable to feel sorry for himself—or even feel anything at all. Quite some time had passed since he'd given Gillian away to those smart men who promised to find only the best home for her, but something about their reassurances was unconvincing, and that was the final straw which ripped all of his self worth from his grasp. Why he had done that to his own daughter, he still didn’t know, but ever since Erika disappeared and he had lost all of his superpowers (getting rid of his moniker once and for all, and changing his original birth name to avoid eager pursuers), raising Gillian by himself was as unhealthy for her as it was irritating and too great of a task for him.

He felt his stomach churn from the mix of junk food and alcohol, and he lifted his head up, ready for his next puke of the day. Instead he caught his reflection in the puddle of water he lay in, his stubble and his dead eyes rippling from the raindrops, and it captivated him. Images and oily colours swirled in front of his face, and almost as if looking at clouds, solid pictures began to take shape within his imagination—some of which were almost frighteningly realistic.

And that’s when the clearest picture of all began to form, becoming more and more apparent. It was the likeness of a couple, the figures in some quiet ballroom scene, slow-dancing circles in an aura of love. It was beautifully mesmerising and beyond vivid, captivating James as he watched them like a movie on the sidewalk.

On and on it went, until the girl (who had an impeccable cleanliness about her, decorated in a frilly white dress and what looked like an expensive yet tasteful pendant around her neck) turned her head and looked straight at James, as if looking right into the camera like they did on TV. And it was there he realised it was Erika. Not a random image in a puddle anymore, but the lady he had loved for so long staring directly at him curiously, almost as if recognising him, and it took his breath away at a gut-wrenching speed and urgency. Her skin was as smooth and pale as he had always remembered it; her stunning allurement as strong as the day they had first met, and this didn’t make James feel very well at all.

After a moment, she turned away and looked back at the partner she was dancing with, speaking inaudibly through the smile James could never forget, and in his head he could picture her sultry voice which always resembled that of a gorgeous falsetto melody. She looked so fresh and in great health, completely content, and no part of her face exposed any thoughts of James, instead spellbound by this new playmate as they embraced and adored one another. Upon viewing this, James could almost feel her next to him, his wet clothing sticking to his skin as if it was her soft body hugging his. And this thought felt far too good, resulting in the realisation of something he never wanted to realise.

Whoever this man was, Erika had very obvious feelings towards him on a deeper level, and their sparkly expressions were so full of sweetness and mutual admiration that James’ heart broke for the millionth time. He tried his best to hide the sharp pang of pain that ran through his organs (somewhat out of fear that perhaps she could indeed see him right now), but the gravity which dropped his guts to the pits of his stomach overwhelmed him with so much emotion that his expression became tight in anguish. Because what hurt the most was this: whoever this man was, he seemed so much better for Erika than James had ever been. His own incident of infidelity had removed Erika from this world and wherever she was now, he could see she was much happier without him - in a state that he could have never fixed himself. And there was a bitter-sweetness in this. His cold misery yet her warm happiness, an internal conflict that things may have turned out for the best after all. And these thoughts formed tears which stung his already bloodshot eyes.

Suddenly, the puke he had anticipated earlier blasted out of his throat and ruined the ballroom-dance setting, replacing the puddle’s motions with assorted colours and half-digested contents. Now just a mess in front of his face remained, reflecting nothing but the sorry state his person was in. Never in his life had he felt so dead inside, and the instant he grasped this realisation, he knew what he had to do. He had to kill himself once and for all.

A hand tapped him on the shoulder and he looked up to see a business man with a concerned look on his face. “Are you alright, buddy?” the man asked cautiously.
“Feeling much better now, thanks” Jimmy responded quickly to remove the already awkward tension swelling up between them, and hastily got onto his feet, wiping his mouth of sick and swallowing deeply. It was true. He did feel much better now. He was going to go home and blast his thoughts out with a shotgun, and that would solve everything in the fastest time possible, relieving himself of the life he no longer valued.

And if one looked closely, you could argue a corner of a smile cracked the side of his face, albeit a small sliver within an abyss of sadness.

Click Here For Part 5

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Friday, 30 December 2011

The Top 50 Albums Of 2011, Reinterpreted As Short Stories (Part 3)

Click here for Part 2

Top Albums Of 2011 - 30. EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints

EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints

16 April
Alternative Singer/Songwriter

Cutting his feet on jagged floors, Jimmy stumbled around the abandoned concrete building. A few hours earlier, this place had hosted an over-populated drug-fueled party, now the only evidence of which were the piles of broken glass, rancid puke, and a few other tired individuals sitting around with no where else to go. Jimmy had been trying to find the origins of some dramatic sound, which was like a wounded moan distracting him from finishing whatever it was he was trying to finish. Turning corner after corner, his hazy vision eventually lead him into a room not so far away, where a pretty yet dirty pale-girl sat on the floor uncomfortably. She was beyond gorgeous, but obviously very destroyed; a mess who no longer gave a fuck about anything. And Jimmy found this as shocking as it was adorable.

“Are you ok?” he asked, at loss for a better question to get her attention. She didn’t bother to look up at him, but her shaky voice growled nonsense in response, distorted with genuine attitude, and this action provoked all sorts of lo-fi thoughts in Jimmy’s basic mind. He couldn’t help but feel something deep and loving towards this raw character, and even though he had no idea why, he knew that he had to help the girl. He had to take her home. He had to take care of her.

Jimmy rubbed his forehead, not sure why he was thinking these illogical thoughts. Surely this would be impossible. Surely a girl like this would never let a guy like him close to her. But he felt he had to try, and approached her cautiously, as she slowly looked up at him with her big blue eyes.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 29. REKS - Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme

REKS - Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme

8 March
East Coast Hip Hop

And not long after that, Jimmy found himself looking at his wristwatch and then quickly slipping it back under his sleeve. It was getting late, and the East Coast ghetto was no place to bling. He was a little bit lost in these parts, he may have made a wrong turn somewhere, as foreign crack eyes from the world’s lost gangsters now trailed his every move. But Jimmy was smart in the most streetwise of ways, and his ambition alone carried him where he needed to go. He kept eye contact with each one of the dark expressions staring at him, producing his own darkest expression right back, bouncing his head with a straight face ... otherwise he knew he wouldn’t survive this path. Occasionally someone called out to him, and he spoke back fast without walking too fast, confident with a fluid sharpness, aware that this was no joke and he couldn’t afford any hiccups. This place was old school. It kept itself so underground that wikipedia couldn't even find it, and he knew the mission ahead would be long and the struggle would be hard. But he had to remember why he was doing this. He was doing this for Erika. They needed the money.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 28. Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi

Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi

17 Jan
Gothic Rock/Art Pop

Santa isn’t coming to town this year, sorry to be the first to tell you. A reliable source informed me that he was captured during the first full moon after The Portal had opened, and he was being held captive deep within a dark church, surrounded by slick religious architecture and Gothic hallways.

Word has it that he is being treated well enough, kept secure on smooth marble surfaces and warm within sinister layers of comfort. But his cold aching center was all he needed to remind himself that the love he was receiving was just another disguise for evil motives, despite all the swirling erotic vibes he was presented with. I’ve heard of this happening before. Rumours that lullabies echo through the walls are a common tale, consisting of superb operatic compositions and soft whispers, designed to trick you into falling asleep. But when you do, your slumber would be laced in reverb and eternally tortured in epic nightmare territory. Poor Santa. And even more disturbing is the organized chaos of the demons said to be living right there with him. Creatures of sin rolling towards him on stone floors, or soaring above his head with menacing mannerisms—yet never striking. They taunt him. They just leave him hanging in fear.

This is all in theory, of course, as none of this has been widely reported. But there is something stunning about this image, do you not agree? A part of me almost hopes it to be true. The part I enjoy the most. The part I am deeply ashamed of.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 27. Frank Ocean - Nostalgia, Ultra.

Frank Ocean - Nostalgia, Ultra.

16 Feb
Contemporary R&B

The door creaked open and Erika awoke to the sound. A shadow formed at the doorway and entered, keys rustled and then the door shut behind him. He walked to the foot of the bed, turned around and then fell backwards into it, sighing as the rusty springs squeaked their age.

“Hey you,” she whispered in perfect English (a skill she had only recently acquired), and she rubbed her sleepy eyes.
“Hey you, yourself,” Jimmy smiled, and leaned across to kiss her forehead.
“Where were you?” she asked as he clicked his cassette player on, The Eagles quietly filling the atmosphere.
He sighed again. “I was with the gang. You know that, baby. I was with The Family.”
She rolled over and lifted her head. “I don’t like your family.”
He paused. “Me neither, Erika. Me neither.”

They lay there for a few moments not speaking, allowing the mixtape to fill the silence. Then she put her arm around his chest and kissed his ear.
“Tell me the story again.”
He laughed. “Again? Baby, I’m tired...”
“Please?!” she begged. “Tell it to me again, I wanna hear it”
He turned onto his side and looked into her eyes. “Well... if this next deal goes through as planned, we will have some good money for our savings. And if we do this carefully, we could get outta this town in the next month or so. We could go live with my parents by their forest...”
“And then?” she urged the story on faster, causing him to laugh again.
“And then ... you could start selling your pottery, and get into dancing. And I could try get back into the music business. We would kick the junk for good over there, no more gangs. Just you and me, getting clean and forgetting all of this shit.”

As he spoke, his fingers tickled her leg and she smiled, allowing them to crawl further and further up her nightgown until reaching her panties, and promptly moving them aside. She groaned as he continued to whisper in her ear.
“And then we will be millionaires, baby. You and me. Anything you want, you can have it. Everybody in the world will treat me like a king, and you, my queen.”
She groaned louder, and then stopped. Worriedly, she turned and looked at him, changing the subject.
“Jimmy, did you get the stuff?”
“Yeah I got it,” he replied, and she relaxed with this information, allowing his fingers to dig deeper into her until she came. She could only cum when it was time for her next fix.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 26. Washed Out - Within and Without

Washed Out - Within and Without

12 July

Unbelievably so, the “next deal” went through without a hitch. And after shooting his boss in the head and claiming all the money for himself, Jimmy took Erika and they skipped town, escaping to live with his parents in a relatively unknown yet extremely scenic place in the countryside. He felt he had out-smarted the system, as if all the world’s clichés didn’t apply to him—and to a degree, he was right. His life of crime had been an empty existence, reverberating only what authority figures had told him to do, over-saturating his opinions with second-hand diluted visions of others. Now they lived the healthy lifestyle, no longer hooked on heroin, giving Jimmy a great excuse to stay in doors and play on his laptop all day. And Erika was finally able to live a life closer to her wilderness origins, often begging Jimmy to explore the surrounding forests with her.

And that’s how Jimmy found himself now, standing on top of a high rock cliff, looking down. Erika floated effortlessly in the water below him, quietly encouraging him to jump in after her. Heights freaked him out, and he was visibly nervous. His shakes looked like he was dancing in slow motion in front of the heavens, which made Erika laugh as she did backstroke, never breaking eye-contact. Jimmy took a deep breath and looked up to the dusk sky in all its perfection, and felt his mood shifting one way to the next. How he had come so far: from days as a care-free teen; to a mastermind of criminal activity; to this blissful existence out in nature without a single problem in the world ... was all because of Erika. He loved her so much, and was convinced that if he did whatever she wanted him to do, to the very best of his ability, their relationship would guide them the right way. And in this moment, she wanted him to jump into the water from this nauseating height. She wanted him to follow her. And he wanted to follow her anywhere.

A nostalgic type of bliss ran through him, followed by a calming serenity deep within. And without a further thought, he felt his feet leave the rocks and he sailed into the air, the space and wind rushing through him as time seemed to hold onto this moment forever. Silence was everywhere and he almost felt like he was falling asleep, until the rush of water smothered him, and for a second he assumed he must be drowning. He sank further into this state until arms that weren’t his wrapped around his waist and pulled him to the surface again, water in his ears muffling the sound of Erika’s joy. “You did it!” she exclaimed and they embraced, suspended in the still water around them and the safety of each other.

“No, Erika. We did it,” he responded, and they hugged even tighter in the deep cradle of love and sense of achievement, not letting go for as long as they needed. Which wasn’t long, as something shiny caught Erika’s eye on the river bank not so far away, interrupting the passion.
“Hey, what’s that?” she asked out loud, and began to swim towards it, followed once again by Jimmy, blown away by her profound maturity laced with an adorable childlike personality.

God, he loved her. And at this point of the story, he could never have imagined the dark fate that lay ahead of them.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 25. Astronautalis - This Is Our Science

Astronautalis - This Is Our Science

13 Sep
Abstract Hip-Hop

King Jay grabbed his candle and joined the various other people who sat in a circle on the dusty floor. Their faces spanned all races and ages, and he could tell by their weary expressions that had taken them a few days to climb up this mountain too. Who knew why they made up their minds to come to this cave, but for Jay it was because he had no choice. He had lost his kingdom and had heard of many others who’d carried out this journey in deep distraught, never to come back. To a degree this worried the King, but he hoped this was a sign that those before him had found what they were looking for here. And now more than ever, he needed advice from the man who was said to live in these elevated peaks. The man who knew everything.

Murmurs faded in and out as everyone waited in patience, candles flickering in unison, interesting sounds echoing from the depths of the cave, until finally a dark shrouded figure appeared from the furthest corner of the shelter. One by one, each person was silenced as the man approached the circle, eventually taking a seat in the middle of them, all eyes on him. Jay couldn’t see his face, but as soon as the speech began, he knew that this individual was what everyone said he would be.

At first Jay wasn’t sure what to make of all of this—the wise gruff voice preaching many things and not allowing for any interruptions or questions. But it didn’t take long before the King realised that there were some very unique and deliberate ideas coming from this elder’s mouth, the wise words delivered quickly with the freshest of parable-like structures to back them up, each one different from the one before. There were topics of love, topics of everyday troubles, and topics Jay had never even heard of but would definitely never forget. He spoke of The Prophecy, the fall of the kingdom at the hand of The Devil, and the cycle of time. He spoke of how there will always be a partnership of love destined to die unfulfilled, and how nothing could interfere with this eternal pattern. And in a short time, the King understood that this wise man was answering his questions without having to be asked, the philosopher’s mind working on a deeper level of intelligence than anyone else he had ever come into contact with.

Slowly, all the seated members were getting hypnotised by these tales, sometimes presented as tender and understanding, sometimes presented as aggressive and blunt, but all of which felt like the nature of life itself: unpredictable and always special. And yet even within all his quirkiness and wisdom, the old man's poetic teachings never escaped a hint of sadness beneath it all, as if he wasn’t pleased with the job he had to fulfil. Jay guessed this is why he was so easy to relate to. This is how he got such a loyal fan base to hang onto his every word like some cult leader. He had taken his superiority and superhuman traits, and adapted them into a more human form. And Jay (like everyone else) appreciated the warmth and honesty of these thoughts, deciding that while he was here, he may as well stay a little while.

And like so many before, the longer he stayed there, the faster he started to forget where he had been only days before. His men had been slaughtered. His kingdom had been reduced to rubble. And Kylie. He had even started to forget Kylie.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 24. When Saints Go Machine - Konkylie

When Saints Go Machine - Konkylie

06 June
Indie Electronic

In the castle garden, Kylie spun around, dancing in the unseasonal snow, taking in all the feelings from the green plants temporarily turning white, stunned with cold. She shuddered as the freeze sunk deep inside of her, reminding her of her mortality. She had never journeyed this distance into the garden before, as her father—The King—didn’t like her to adventure too far away from her home. Which wasn’t hard to enforce, as the castle walls were high and Kylie had never even seen the outside world. Which didn’t bother her much, as she didn’t know any better.

Her feet left tiny footprints behind her as she ventured further into the darker regions of her father's land. Here her gaze fell upon a small apple tree and she felt drawn to it. In her limited perception, she couldn’t understand why this particular tree seemed so special and bright, but for the rest of us it would have been fairly obvious that this was the only plant on all the grounds that no snow seemed to fall upon. She danced towards it, and felt its warmth as she approached the twisted branches. The apples shone ripe red, and as she touched one, her pale skin instantly turned from cold to hot as if hovering above the kitchen fire. This fascinated her, and she picked it off of the tree, surprised to find it retained the heat as she cradled it in her thin fingers. She placed it against her rosy cheeks and her whole face felt love from this fruit. Without any more hesitation, she bit into the apple and chewed vigorously as the hot juices swirled around in her mouth. It was delicious. She savoured the taste and then swallowed it, ready for the next bite, which never came.

As the blood rushed out of her head at the same time as the apple rushed down her throat, she felt her wind-pipe closing up like it had been cut out with scissors, and her tongue swelled up like a sponge. The world went dizzy and she fell back into the snow, slowly freezing in a position that she would stay in forever, unless this curse could be broken.

An eerie cackle rang from the tree as the witch who had been watching Kylie her whole life finally spoke.
“My master, it has been done. Only the true chosen one could break a spell this strong. The kingdom is now weak and ready for you, King West. Attack now and claim the throne which is rightfully yours.”

And with a sneaky pact with Satan, he did just that.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 23. Modeselektor - Monkeytown

Modeselektor - Monkeytown

30 Sep

The tails of the whip flew through the air and cracked on her pale skin. She yelped in pain which caused the monkeys to scream with laughter, the sound of their cheers building up in unison. And even though this was the hundredth time they had done this, the joke never seemed to get old.

It had been four days since the mission of these animals had invaded and taken over the village, creeping in while the tribe had been sleeping then slitting all of their throats one by one. Well, all of them except for this pale-skin girl of course, who for some reason fascinated the monkeys. It wasn’t just her white complexion either, even though admittedly, it did shine a delicious red from their hand-prints when faced with the abuse. No, it was something else. She just seemed ... on a different level of sorts, as if a child born from a different time. This encouraged them to dance around her in an almost admiration, howling in what appeared to be a musical way, but subtly manipulated to reflect their madness. “Again! Again!” they seemed to chant, and the leading monkey raised his whip to strike again.

“I wouldn’t do that if I was you,” an electronic voice pierced the monkey’s ears, and they all turned in surprise to see who had joined the party. There stood a robot in all its cubic goodness, unnecessary lights beeping in complete control and assurance of itself. The being was nothing like this jungle had ever seen before, and the monkeys stopped in complete intrigue. Even the pale-skin teenager forgot about her nudity and current painful position, now captivated by this strange character. They held their breath, their eyes almost begging for the synthetic voice to speak again. But it didn’t.

Instead, a mass load of light shone out of its eyes, blinding with so many various colours, filling the entire village in seconds. The sight was so peculiar and different that the monkeys were beyond confusion, unsure whether or not they enjoyed the spectacle. But within just a few short moments, it didn’t matter any more. The light began to die down, contracting back into the robot’s face, until only the disrupted noise of the forest remained. The pale-skin girl opened her eyes, and they refused to comprehend what they was seeing, blinking furiously just to make sure. All the monkeys had disappeared. Where they had gone, she had no idea, but the relief of the situation was too unbelievable to believe, her good fortune refusing to kick in.

“BRAVO! BRAVO!” a crazy voice came from behind her.
“Yes, good show, Robot,” another very different voice responded. "You are definitely one of us."
The pale-skin girl felt the ropes ease off her skin and then drop to the floor, her tired legs so weak that she tumbled onto the ground after them.
“You will come with us to New York, Robot. Together we will make decisions that change history,” the girl heard the second voice speak again, as arms wrapped around her and lifted her to her feet.
“And you too, my darling, will be coming with us.”

Top Albums Of 2011 - 22. Cults - Cults

Cults - Cults

07 June
Indie Pop

On their boat surrounded by late 60’s decor, Erika sat on her cheap couch, clutching her phone watching cute children’s anime on the television. It wasn’t helping. She needed to get hold of Jimmy to tell him the news, but the natural love-endorphins shooting through her heartbeats conflicted with a soft scent of nostalgia, confusing her shallow feelings even more. She longed for his kisses and slow dances more than ever, but she knew he was busy fighting evil in the Ocean War under his superhero disguise once again. The idea of this swamped her with as much adoration as it did with despise, the neglect of being a superhero’s girlfriend weighing heavy on her day to day existence. She couldn’t help but dial his number again.

It rang to voicemail, as it did before, and she decided to leave another message. “Hey. It’s me again. Just ... just wanting to let you know that I love you and ... and, well, I have something to tell you. It’s just, please get back to me as soon as you can, okay? And be careful out there, sweetheart.” The phone beeped its pretty chime as she hung up, and then she cursed her lack of courage. It would have been so much better to treat this like a band-aid, to get it out as quickly as possible, but she couldn’t bring her tiny voice to do so. How her life had got to this point she had no idea, but when the little baby punches vibrated against her ribcage, she filled with a nervous adrenaline and wasn’t sure just how Jimmy would react when he found out she was pregnant with his baby. And, of course, it didn’t take long for Erika to find out that this baby had superpowers of its own...

Top Albums Of 2011 - 21. Black Keys - El Camino

Black Keys - El Camino

06 Dec
Garage Rock

Fast forward a few years later, and things couldn’t be happier for the family. Erika watched from the kitchen window, casually sipping at a mojito, while Jimmy played in the yard with Gillian, their daughter. He was so good with her, Erika thought. A great father—as if the child was scratching an itch he never knew he had. And due to Jimmy’s recent success in the Ocean War, money was never going to be an issue for them ever again, allowing them to live out in the countryside, away from the press and nosey fans. But best of all (as far as Erika was concerned) was Jimmy’s ample focus on the family. He seemed to urgently spend as much time with them as he could, his days of super-heroism waning, this frictionless lifestyle of purity his only priority. Well, that and fixing up old cars, which was something Gillian helped him with greatly. For their daughter, like her father, had been blessed with a special ability, being that of superhuman smell. To some this may seem like a bland power—nothing in comparison to her dad’s reputation at least. But for Jimmy it was exceptionally useful, as she sniffed out any car-parts he needed, or discovered the leaking of fumes before they even happened. And while they worked, they spoke of grand road-trips into the sunset. And when they took breaks, they would play their signature games of hopscotch or frequently jump on the trampoline for hours. Which is what Gillian was doing right now, as her father watched her go higher and higher, the both of them occasionally waving to their mommy who would calmly wave back with a warm smile.

Just then the phone rang, and Erika walked away from this gorgeous sight to answer it, completely unaware that the conversation waiting on the other side would change her life forever.
“Hello, Erika speaking?” she offered her canned line, effortlessly and automatic.
“Erika," a sultry female voice on the other end responded. "You don’t know who I am, but in a few moments, you will never forget the words I am about to say to you.”
“Who is this?” Erika inquired.
“My name is Lucy. And a few years ago, I fucked your lover Jimmy in the bathroom of a frat party.”
Erika felt her grip tighten on the phone, her knuckles fading whiter than her usual pale skin tone, eventually settling on a shade of blue.
“You’re going to have to prove a claim as extraordinary as that, bitch,” Erika hissed, which was met with a calm and sexy laugh.
“Oh, I will prove this to you in the next 30 seconds,” and she proceeded to do just that. All the raw details of her seduction with specific words used in such a natural order that the authenticity of her story was impossible to doubt. And as it began to sink in, Erika dropped the phone and walked into the master bedroom, locking the door behind her.

And neither Jimmy nor Gillian knew that they would never see her alive again.

Click Here For Part 4

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