top ten


Wait, top… ten? Gotcha! Don’t worry, this isn’t the impending Top 50 Math Rock Releases of 2023. That should be out tomorrow. Think of this as a prequel – today, we present our Top 10 Records of the Year, physically. Er, metaphorically. But also not.

You see, we might not listen to them very often, but having physical copies of the records we love are vital to music as a resource. Simply put, we’re tired of streaming – even if it’s formerly antiquated mediums like vinyl and tape cassettes or the simple, potentially timeless CD, the ability to listen to music without someone else’s help (ie the internet) is an ability we could lose altogether if we’re not careful.

Do you want to have to ask someone’s permission to listen to TTNG‘s “Baboon” for the thousandth time this week? No – you keep it to yourself, and so do we. Anyway to prevent that, we wanted to take a quick moment to celebrate ten records that we physically received this year and what made them unique. Admittedly, not all of the records are technically current, but the music, the art, and overall qualities present physically help remind us that we don’t always have to be jamming the newest stuff if you already enjoy the record on your turntable.

That being said, this is the moment we are deciding to buy more records in 2024.



Lynx’s legacy of weirdo appeal never really died – bring them up in the right circles, and you’re in for a rabbit hole of tales regarding their live gigs and frenetic passages. When we received a copy of their remastered debut (and the EP with previously unreleased material on it) we were blown away as always by the typical packaging prowess from Computer Students, but the poster inside is really beautiful, with a shot of a performance that wholly captures the tension, hilarity, and ambition of being a math rock band in the early 2000’s. Pick up a copy here.


It’s criminal that we haven’t gotten to this one yet, but around the time we received the Lynx record, we also received this Hey!Tonal record as a bonus. Julien Fernandes (formerly of chevreuil, currently of Five Roses press), who is our main contact with the folks at Computer Students, was also a collaborator on the album, so imagine how stupid we found that out so much later. For nearly a year it sat there, and then we finally checked it out – it’s insanely sick stuff for fans of Battles and Strobes, and you need to revisit it here.

Cheval de Frise

You know, after revisiting the Cheval de Frise material so much since Computer Students started remastering there records, we have to say that the second record, Frescues Sur Les Parois Secerèts du Crane, is intensely underrated, at least over here in the States. The highly intentional tableaus are even tighter this time around, and are a bit more varied – but the reason it’s on this list? The photograph attached in the liner notes. It’s a common photo of the band, but to have a really copy of it, not just a print, makes you feel like you’re really holding an important piece of math rock history. Check it out here.


Disheveled Cuss

Okay, we’re done with the Computer Students stuff. For now. Up next, we have the relative odd ball of Disheveled Cuss – the record came out last year, yet in any case, we picked up a physical copy this year, but not just any physical copy. We picked up the deluxe USB with all the stems, liner notes, and additional goodies – it’s balls out collections like this that make us excited for what’s next when it comes to incentivizing physical copies. Remember, there are some killer players on this record that aren’t Nick Reinhart, including Jimmy Chamberlain of Smashing Pumpkins, so the price of admission to get samples from those to alone is worth the price. Oh, and it came with socks that say ‘fucking loser.’ Check ’em out here.


One for the homeland – Egotones’ Geodesic Dome is a deep take in many regards, but the band has never been a simple surf act. Their spaghetti-fied psychedelia has a darker edge to it, but for us, getting a physical copy of it in the mail gave us the simple gift of nostalgia. As scary as it is, it’s a killer record, but in the flesh, it’s a constant reminder of the good times we shared on and off stage supporting each others’ bands. Check out more from the guys here.


The Armed

Oh, god, what can we say? Ultrapop: Live at The Masonic is genuinely one of the best… fictional live action music videos of all time. Right up there with Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii and Talking Heads Stop Making Sense. Nothing will change any of that now, but having a signed poster and limited edition art book from one of the decades most interesting bands continues to spark the infinite love professed by Ultrapop and all of the record’s associated Daniels. Refract here.

Oort Smog

Recently we got the chance to talk with Oort Smog over Zoom, which you can check out here – somehow, we managed to cover a hell of a lot of ground in about thirty minutes, and it was a blast to connect with them as Patrick Shiroishi slammed muscle drinks in Los Angeles traffic. We later received a copy of the record we were discussing, Every Motherfucker is Your Brother, in the mail, and we gotta say, that artwork is so much more captivating in person than on a screen, perhaps even touching on the subject matter of the title with all its interconnected tentacles. It’s also a fantastic record to have for those chiller mornings. Pick up a copy here.

Arthur King

While unpacking the above vinyl from Oort Smog, we were surprised to see that AKP Recordings had actually included an entire bonus record! Arthur King is an experimental ensemble, not a singular person, and it explores ambient, groove, prog, and world music in a very peculiar ratio. Having this vinyl makes us look infinitely more sophisticated than we actually are, and that is a resource we don’t take lightly. Project confidence with some Arthur King bangers here.


All Structures Align

One of this years’s more mellow tragedies occurred when Diptherid Records sent us both of the All Structures Align records the day that we packed up our record player. We were supposed to have been moved and unpacked within a couple of weeks, but long story short, it was nearly four months until we saw our beloved record player agin. Once we did, we unpacked the ASA duo and fell into their deep, but beautiful math rock depression. We highly recommend you do the same here. Just don’t wait as long. Oh, and the red vs blue aesthetic between the two records is perfect, reminding us of the simple chemistry of color itself, and how it fascinated us as kids.

La Jungle

Okay this one was perhaps the funniest joke played on us yet by Julien Hernandez, because at this point he just sends me secretly amazing stuff we have to ignore while we take care of everything else and just lets us discover it naturally. This one was just a CD that showed up in the packaging of… we don’t even remember. But when we finally put it on, we were pummeled by Blurry Landscape‘s Lightning Bolt meets Kraftwerk rowdiness. We don’t know what physical copies are like, but we know you can still listen to the band here.


BONUS People Food

As a point to the argument that the physical medium is just as important to long lasting music as high quality tunes, we can’t forget about the homies in People Food / Pickle Monster Hot Sauce. They might not be the only band making their own hot sauces, but they might be the ones making the most – they’ve got multiple flavors for all your situations, including a new green sauce we’re curious about. Check em out here – if you can’t afford vinyl, you just might try something similar for your band’s next release!