Stephen Sowley (Fake Limbs)
20 records that I didn’t have to download or stream to enjoy. If Chance is so independent, why can’t I walk into a store and buy his record?
Moor Mother—Fetish Bones
Jenny Hval—Blood Bitch
G.L.O.S.S.—Trans Day of Revenge 7”
Solange—A Seat At The Table
David Bowie—Black Star
Jessy Lanza—Oh No
Blood Orange—Freetown Sound
In School—Cement Fucker 7”
Schoolboy Q—Blank Face LP
Omar S—The Best!
Pure Disgust—Pure Disgust
The Dead C—Trouble
Jeff Parker—The New Breed
Huerco S.—For Those That Have (And For Those That Haven’t)
Behavior—375 Images of Angels
Andy Stott—Too Many Voices
Angel Olsen “My Woman” (Jagjaguwar)
Radiohead “A Moon Shaped Pool” (XL Recordings)
Anna Meredith “Varmints” (Moshi Moshi Records)
Sarah Davachi “Vergers” (Important)
Benoit Pioulard “The Benoit Pioulard Listening Matter” (Kranky)
Bon Iver “22, A Million” (Jagjaguwar)
Solange “A Seat at the Table” (Columbia)
Ty Garrett Segall “Emotional Mugger” (Drag City)
James Blake “The Colour in Anything” (Polydor)
Tenniscoats “Music exists 3” (Majikicks)
Lucky Dragons “Ooga Booga Bongo Music” (Teenage Teardrops)
Weyes Blood “Front Row Seat to Earth” (Mexican Summer)
Jenny Hval “Blood Bitch” (Sacred Bones)
Meredith Monk “On behalf of Nature” (ECM)
Klein “Only” (Howling Owl)
Xinlisupreme “Tomorrow Never Comes” (FatCat Records)
Dungen “Häxan” (MexicanSummer)
Cate Le Bon “Crab Day” (Drag City)
Joey Purp “iiiDrops” (Save Money)
Wilco “Schmilco” (dBPM)
Eluvium “False Readings On” (Temporary Residence Limited)
Carla dal Forno “You Know What It’s Like” (Blackest Ever Black)
Huerco S. “For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)” (Proibito)
Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam “I had a dream that you were mine” (Glass Note)
Parquet Courts “Human Performance” (Rough Trade)
Mitsky “Puberty 2” (Dead Oceans)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith “EARS” (Western Vinyl)
Damien Jurado “Visions of Us On the Land” (Secretly Canadian)
Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions “Until the Hunter” (Tendril Tales)
Andy Shauf “The Party” (Anti)
Car Seat Headrest “Teens of Denial” (Matador)
The Caretaker “Everywhere at the End of Time” (History always Favours the Winners)
Maja S K Ratkje “Crepuscular Hour” (Rune Grammofon)
Reissues / Archives
Blonde Redhead “Masculin Féminin” (Numero Group)
Big Star “Complete Third” (Omnivore Recordings)
Various Artists “Shanghai’d Soul: Episode 4” (Numero Group)
Washington Phillips “Washington Phillips and his Manzarene Dreams” (Dust-to-Digital)
Various Artists “Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music” (Numero Group)
Syrinx “Tumblers from the Vault (1970–1972)” (Rvng Intl)
Joanna Brouk “Hearing Music” (Numero Group)
Various “Sky Girl” (Efficient Spaces)
Carl Stone “Electronic Music from the Seventies and Eighties” (Unseen Worlds)
Various Artists “VENEZUELA 70: Cosmic Visions Of A Latin American Earth – Venezuelan Experimental Rock In The 1970s (Soul Jazz)
Julius Eastman “Feminine” (Frozen Reeds)
Dave Martin (Captured Tracks)
1. Major Stars – “Motion Set” (Drag City)
2. 75 Dollar Bill – “Wood Metal Plastic Pattern Rhythm Rock” (Thin Wrist)
3. Savoy Motel – S/T (What’s Your Rupture)
4. David Nance – “More Than Enough” (Ba-Da-Bing)
5. Omegas – “Power To Exist” (Beach Impediment)
6. Brian Case – “Tense Nature” (Hands In The Dark / Negative Days)
7. Cate Le Bon – “Crab Day” (Drag City)
8. Meet Your Death – S/T (12XU)
9. Tyvek – “Origin of What” (In The Red)
10. Dark Blue – “Start of the World” (12XU)
11. Counter Intuits – “Monosyllabilly” (Pyramid Scheme Records)
12. The Silence – “Nine Suns, One Morning” (Drag City)
13. S.L.I.P. – “Slippy When Wet” (Sorry State Records)
14. Gotobeds – “Blood//Sugar//Secs//Traffic” (Sub Pop)
15. Stefan Christensen – “American Pastoral Again” / “Empty Continents” / “Cryptic Slang” (Ever/Never – C/Site – The Loki Label)
16. Dinosaur Jr. – “Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not” (Jagjaguwar)
17. Old Head – S/T (Omentum)
18. Chook Race – “Around The House” (Trouble In Mind)
19. Heron Oblivion – S/T (Sub Pop)
20. Ultimate Painting – “Dusk” (Trouble In Mind)
21. Ryley Walker – “Golden Songs That Have Been Sung” (Dead Oceans)
22. Car Seat Headrest – “Teens of Denial” (Matador)
23. Renderers – “In The Sodium Light” (Ba-Da-Bing)
24. Terry – “Terry HQ” (Upset The Rhythm)
25. Estrogen Highs / Frustrations – Split (Safety Meeting Records)
7”s / 12”s / EPs
1. S/cks – “Sickening” b/w “New Crusades” (S/cks)
2. Neil Michael Hagerty & The Howling Hex – “Full Moon in Gemini” (Drag City)
3. Them Speaking Canaries – “Summer Band” b/w “He Did Send In The Army” (Chunklet / Third Uncle)
4. Lonely Wholesome – “Savage, Lovely, Lonely” (Bad Actors)
5. S.L.I.P. – “Mental Abuse” b/w “Stick It” (Mind Cure / BHF Records)
6. Rixe – “Les Nerfs A Vif” (La Vida Es Un Mus Discos)
7. Watery Love – “Ned’s Dreamcatcher” b/w “Meg’s Dreamcatcher” (Richie Records)
8. Mordecai – “Want To Be” b/w “Pictures of Her W/Them” (Richie Records)
9. Good Throb – S/T 7” (La Vida Es Un Mus Discos)
10. Triage – “Power Beat” (Larry Tony Produzioni)
11. C.C.T.V. – S/T (Lumpy Records)
12. Warthog – S/T EP (Beach Impediment)
13. Kaleidoscope – “Vol. 2, No. 1” (Katorga Works)
14. In School – “Cement Fucker” (Thrilling Living Records)
15. Cut Worms – “Don’t Want To Say Good-bye” b/w “Like Going Down Sideways” (Randy Records)
1. Träd Gräs Och Stenar – Box (Anthology)
2. Mike Rep & The Quotas – “Hellbender” (Hozac)
3. Angry Angles – S/T (Goner)
4. Lord High Fixers – “the beginning of the end…the end of the beginning” (Omentum Records)
5. Simply Saucer – “Saucerland” (Logan Hardware)
6. Halo of Flies – “Music For Insect Minds” (Amphetamine Reptile Records)
7. The Clean – “Getaway” (Merge)
8. Terminals – “Uncoffined” (Hozac)
9. Dow Jones & the Industrials – “Can’t Stand The Midwest 1979-1981” & Mr. Science – “1978-1979” (Family Vineyard)
10. Renderers – “A Dream of the Sea” (Tinsel Ears)
11. Stickmen With Rayguns – “Property of Jesus Christ” & “1,000 Lives To Die” (12XU)
12. Builders – “Beatin Hearts” (Grapefruit Records)
13. Dancing Cigarettes – “Dance Dogs Dance” (Magnetic South)
14. Cannanes – “A Love Affair With Nature” (Chapter)
15. Pylon – “Live” (Chunklet)
16. Jack Rose (Three Lobed / VHF)
17. Ivy Green – S/T (Pseudonym)
18. Night Birds – “Who Killed Mike Hunchback” (Fat Wreck Chords)
19. Keiji Haino – “Milky Way” (Black Truffle)
20. La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela – The Theatre of Eternal Music – “Dream House – 78’17”” (Aguirre Records)
21. Mars – “Mars Archive Volume 2: 11000 Volts to Tunnel” (Negative Glam / Feeding Tube)
22. Green River – “1984 Demos” (Jackpot)
23. Mike & The Melvins – “Three Men and a Baby” (Sub Pop)
24. Various Artists – “I Don’t Care – Dutch Punk 1977-1983 – Volume 2” (Pseudonym)
25. Sonic Youth – “Spinhead Sessions 1986” (Goo)
Adam Luksetich (Numero Group)
Probably just me being out of touch, but 2016 SUCKED for new music. Anywhere, here’s some I (Adam Luksetich) enjoyed:
Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy Of Molten Bones
Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder
Jackie Lynn – S/T
Caretaker – Everywhere At The End Of Time
Bachelor In Paradise – Season 3 on ABC
Marissa Nadler – Strangers
Inquisition – Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Altar Beyond The Celestial Zenith
Shirley Collins – Lodestar
Blonde Redhead – Masculin Feminin (is this cheating?)
Most anticipated releases of 2017:
Matt and Adam’s Sick New Heavy Metal Band – Debut Demo Tape
Lincoln Hall/Schubas Music Dept.
Bayonne – Primitives
Beacon – Escapements
BJ Barham – Rockingham
Blood Orange – Freetown Sound
Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial
Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book
Doug Tuttle – It Calls On Me
Ex-Cult – Negative Growth
Glyders – DIM
GoGo Penguin – Man Made Object
Imarhan – Imarhan
John Prine – For Better, Or Worse
Kikagaku Moyo – House In The Tall Grass
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity
Open Mike Eagle – Hella Personal Film Festival
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – High Visceral, Pt. 1
Pup – The Dream Is Over
Quilt – Plaza
Savages – Adore Life
Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Thee Oh Sees – A Weird Exits
Tim Hecker – Love Streams
Weaves – Weaves
Kevin Stacy (Danny’s)
2016 was a great year for music.
here is a list of labels that i think did exceptional work this year.
ZAM ZAM SOUNDS
GOLF CHANNEL RECORDINGS
FAR OUT RECORDINGS
KNITTING FACTORY RECORDS
thanks for keeping the post-modern dancefloor moving!
a few of these had a 2015 digital release but were not to be found in solid form at a record shop until 2016.
JEFF PARKER / THE NEW BREED
AFRICAINE 808 / BASAR
DAVID BOWIE / BLACKSTAR
VAUDOU GAME / KIDAYU
JIGMASTAS / RESURGENCE
CASSY / DONNA
LADY WRAY / QUEEN ALONE
GAL COSTA / GAL ESTRATOSFERICA
LA YEGROS / MAGNETISMO
RODRIGO CAMPOS / CONVERSAS COM TOSHIRO
THE SESHEN / FLAMES AND FIGURES
MONTEZUMAS RACHE & DOMINIK VON SENGER / EP
OLA FRESCA / ELIXIR
BLACKALICIOUS / IMANI, VOL. 1
COMETA / COMETA
FAR OUT MONSTER DISCO ORCHESTRA / STEP INTO MY LIFE 12”
SABRINA MALHEIROS / OPARA (ASHLEY BEEDLE’S AFRIKANZ ON MARS REMIX)
VARIOUS / REMIXED WITH LOVE BY JOEY NEGRO, VOL. TWO (both records)
TORTOISE / THE CATASTROPHIST
MAKAYA McCRAVEN / IN THE MOMENT
M.I.A. / AIM
Dean Whitmore (Sub Pop Records)
Special “Favorite Records of 2016 That Were Released Really Late 2015” section:
Richard Dawson – Nothing Important
Wolf Eyes – I Am a Problem: Mind in Pieces
Top 5 of 2016 (in no order after Heron Oblivion)
Heron Oblivion – I listened to this record 5 times in a row after my first listen. Beautiful & powerful, scrappy & assured. My favorite record of the year. There are obvious folk rock touchstones (Fairport, Pentangle) as well as echoes of previous bands the members have been in (Comets On Fire, Meg Baird, Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound). Punky jabs & Sonic Youth nods show up as well & manage to fit in seamlessly. Timeless record.
Dwarfs of East Agouza – Double LP from this trio from Cairo that features Alan Bishop & two Egyptian musicians. Repetitive jams w/ post punky bass lines, propulsive hand percussion, keys & guitar, heavy on the picking & light on the strum that can sound Arabic, African, atmospheric & rockin’. Groovy as hell. I do all four sides every time.
So Pitted – neo – Freak/art rock fueled by young adult despair/frustration/anger. Dirgy/sludgy riffs, throat shredding vocals. Arty & unpretentious. Made by kids weaned on Rage Against the Machine, Radiohead & 90’s radio hits? It’s not easy to understand how this comes of that for me… I hear Devo, Unwound, Karp, Nirvana etc.
Neutral – S/T – Cold, collage, art punk from Sweden. Songs center around a repetitive bass / keyboard / guitar line, tape hisses & warbles, spoken Swedish language female vocals deadpan, a taped conversation or found sound appears. Sinister & vulnerable, sometimes at the same time. At times this reminds me vaguely of Finnish “freak folk” bands of the oughts.
Karl Blau – Introducing.. – Covers of classic country tunes (many of which I must admit I didn’t know). Saw him play for 2 hrs at a bar in Anacortes over the summer & would’ve stayed for a third if he’d kept playing. I was only vaguely familiar w/ Karl before this which made me feel sorry that I missed a lot of opportunities to see him, buy his records & hear his great songs & wonderful voice.
Favorite Show of 2016
Senyawa – My girlfriend cried & screamed fuck yeah involuntarily, i stretched my eye sockets to keep from crying as well, forgetting there was anything else but this insane blend of modern, traditional, classical, punk, metal, noise music for awhile.
These Artists Released Records In 2016 That I Enjoyed A lot (In no order)
Hound Dog Taylors Hand, Uranium Club, Cate Le Bon, The Writhing Squares, Renderers, Nothing Band, Ryley Walker, Omni, Violence Creeps, Justin Gallego, Rafi Bookstaber, Male/Female, Spray Paint, Kikagaku Moyo, Spacin’, Private Room, Nathan Bowles, Oren Ambarchi, Primitive Parts, Goat, Trashies, Marisa Anderson, Roy Montgomery, Thee Oh Sees, Bad Breeding, Dead C, Mary Lattimore, Behavior, Vats, Colleen, the Baird Sisters, Lithics, Zig Zags, Rosalie, Stickers, EL-G, PJ Harvey, Ignatz, Lavender Flu, DoNormaal, Beret, Kane Strang, Gnod, VHS, Mothers, Chris Forsyth & the Solar Motel Band, Fat White Family, Dræmhouse, Male Bonding and all the other ones I’ve forgotten..
So many great reissues. Too many to list. A record consumer’s dream / nightmare. Keep it coming I guess.
Taylor Townes (Merge Records)
most things about 2016 were terrible, but here’s ten good records:
Bitchin Bajas & Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties
Warehouse – super low
Psychic Temple – Plays Music for Airports
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Suzanne Ciani – FRKWYS Vol. 13: Sunergy
Kikagaku Moyo – House in the Tall Grass
Heron Oblivion – Heron Oblivion
Mary Lattimore – At the Dam
David Bowie – Blackstar
Matthewdavid’s Mindflight – Trust the Glide and Guide
(Filmmaker (Until The Light Takes Us, 99%) whose most recent film, Memory Box, her last with filmmaking and life partner Aaron Aites before his death in April, can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/183213801)
Top 22 picks masquerading (poorly) as a top ten list.
Upper echelons in no particular order:
Thee Oh Sees – A Weird Exits – This album is dedicated to Iran singer/songwriter and Until The Light Takes us co-director Aaron Aites, my beautiful and talented and now dead life and film partner.
Skepta – Konnichiwa – It’s an obvious pick if you’re into grime and I don’t think I can add anything to what’s already been written about Skepta or this album.
Mizmor – Yodh – For those times when you just need a good bleak pummeling.
Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder – I love these guys as people and musicians and this album takes me back a bit to their black metal… well I can’t say roots, as they started as death metal, but it harkens back to an earlier sound (leaving the crust punk by the side) and fuck it, it might be a nostalgia pick, but It’s fun and I like it. And if you’ve never seen lyricist and drummer Fenriz say “fun” with a heavy emphasis on sarcastic air quotes, you’re missing out.
Swans – The Glowing Man – Hi, it’s the Swans.
Isa – Эхо [Echo] – A guilty pleasure? Maybe. But I like that this Russian band is embracing a kind of spiritual seeking. Better than Stryper.
Clint Mansell – High-Rise OST – In a year that Mansell gave us this soundtrack, the Mondo re-release of The Fountain OST on vinyl, plus his score for Black Mirror’s “San Junipero” episode, choosing this of the three is a matter of personal taste. It stood out for me as the most pleasurably pagan-tinged and dreamlike aspect of High-Rise, while also fully serving the film.
GAIKA – Spaghetto – Really interesting EP with a mix of grime and dancehall and industrial. It’s layered and unfolds in interesting ways, rewarding repeat listens. The album is accompanied by an intriguing short film (commissioned by Warp) Another Hole in Babylon, which features an ominous knight and calls into question, for me at least, the notion of the “white knight.” When the helmet comes off, this knight is in fact, black. This EP would have made my top ten were it not for the video for “Glad We Found It” which features superficial, dated, fetishized, otherized, and objectified images of women as water-nymphs/sirens and it was just such a turn-off. That’s too bad, because I suspect he’s smart enough to know better, and to do better.
Roly Porter – Third Law – I had the pleasure of talking with Porter, a genuinely nice, down to earth guy, after his set at Unsound Festival’s insane Toronto installation. This took place at The Hearn, an abandoned power plant. It was the perfect setting for his space-vibed music (and also wouldn’t be out of place as a location for a new Alien or Prometheus film): epic, cavernous, dark, and a little otherworldly, like this album.
10. Nick Cave – The Skeleton Tree – Heartbreak in a bottle. I relate.
9. Marissa Nadler – Strangers – She kept playing shows in NY and I kept going and crying. It was awkward. But you can’t let things like crying profusely in public stop you from doing what you want.
8. David Bowie – Blackstar – His life/art was the gift we’ll probably never be good enough to deserve.
7. Wrekmeister Harmonies – Light Falls – It makes me glad that people are finally catching onto them. They played my #2 live show of the year. Also I love the shirt I picked up there, plus, super conveniently, they also sold me coffee, which I was almost out of.
6. The Body – No One Deserves Happiness – I thought this album was just good until I couldn’t stop listening to Prescience over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. It inspired me to write a new opening for my script and you know what? It’s a better scene. Thanks The Body.
5. Caretaker – Everywhere at the End of Time – The first of the 6-album demise of the musical project as it slides into dementia. It’s the beginning of a journey into annihilation of self, memory, meaning. I’m just totally onboard for that.
4. Tim Hecker – Love Streams – He’s a cerebral dude. It takes a few listens. It’s super worth it.
3. Demdike Stare – Wonderland – It’s a soundtrack for end days (so, right now!), but that doesn’t mean we can’t dance while we’re disintegrating. Or at least take a few breaks from staring at each other in horror, to shuffle about a bit. So good.
2. Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä – Do you like metal? If so, you already know and love this album. But is it black metal? It wouldn’t exist without that lineage. But it’s equally inflected with Kraut and prog and stoner. I haven’t been this excited about modern black-ish metal since Aluk Todolo. If for some reason (some stupid reason) metal isn’t your thing, you could do worse than trying out this album just to mix it up a little.
Also #2. (Could not decide! Love them both!): Aluk Todolo – Voix – I love me the krautblack metal.
1. Jenny Hval – Blood Bitch – It’s just a super exciting, kinetic, record, both cerebral and visceral, and the first of hers that has connected with me on all cylinders. It keeps pulling back to it with its mixture of restraint and urgency, and I’m greedy for more.
Special Mention: Best Live Show of the Year: Inga Copeland at Trans Pecos, September 2016, New York City. I loved Hype Williams but I love her solo work more. Her ever-growing collection of EPs and albums are always amazing, and I can’t wait for the next studio release.
One for good luck:
James Holden, Camilo Tirado, and Luke Abbott – Outdoor Museum of Fractals / 555Hz – James Holden released my favorite record of 2013, The Inheritors. This isn’t mining the same gorgeously fractured future cityscape of cracked loss and corroded foundations tumbling into pure forgotten oceans of neglect, but is instead a sweet homage to composer Terry Riley.
OK, two for good luck (Sorry, I need it.)
Julien Marchal – Insight II – I didn’t have any reason to think I would be into this modern classical pianist’s album, as he was until recently completely unknown to me, but wow. I love the thrill of a new find.