YEAR END! – Top Records Of 2016

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2016 was on some bullshit, man. I didn’t dedicate a lot of time to the blog because shit just kept happening. I kept running into car related money problems. My personal life kept finding new and exciting ways to be terrible. And everything really kind of stopped after my dad died back in May.

I’m still trying to figure out how much longer I’m going to keep doing things here. I’m leaning more toward keeping up than I was back in October. I guess we’ll see where it all goes in the coming months. Anyway, here are my top 25 favorite records of 2016 in alphabetical order:

  • Angel Olsen – “My Woman”
  • Colleen Green – “Colleen Green”
  • Computer Magic – “Obscure But Visible”
  • Dowsing – “Okay”
  • Flock Of Dimes – “If You See Me, Say Yes”
  • Fucko – “Dealing With The Weird”
  • Frankie Cosmos – “Next Thing”
  • Haybaby – “Blood Harvest”
  • The Hotelier – “Goodness”
  • Japanese Breakfast – “Psychopomp”
  • Kindling – “Everywhere Else”
  • Kowabunga! Kid – “Wasting My Time”
  • Magik*Magik – “MAGIK*MAGIK”
  • Middle Part – “Middle Part”
  • Miserable – “Uncontrollable”
  • Mitski – “Puberty 2”
  • Museum Mouth – “Popcorn Fish Guinea Pig”
  • Nancy Pants – “Vol. 27 EP”
  • Orations – “Incantation”
  • Psychic Twin – “Strange Diary”
  • Sad Blood – “Legion Of Gloom”
  • Save Ends – “Hug Your Friends”
  • Signals Midwest – “At This Age”
  • Slingshot Dakota – “Break”
  • Slow Bloom – “Slow Bloom”

That’s the list. Yes, I know there are some high profile releases that I didn’t include. Most glaringly, I passed on the American Football record and the Jimmy Eat World record. I know I’m supposed to love those records, but I really didn’t.

In the immortal words of the Wu-Tang Clan: if you want beef, then bring the ruckus.

FEATURE: My 2014 In Live Music

I went a little over two years without seeing any live music. It certainly wasn’t something I was trying to do, but it happened. This was pretty unforgivable for someone who blogs about music. This is even more unforgivable given my immediate proximity to Chicago. There were literally bands here always.

But, somehow, I went from July 2011 until November 2013 without seeing any live music. It was a pretty big drought. As is forever the story of my life, it was almost always due to money problems, health problems, or scheduling problems. I work 3rd shift on Wednesday through Saturday nights. This means I end up missing damn near every show. That two year span was a lot of disappointment. I’d see a band was coming, only to see the show was on a Friday or Saturday night. Meaning I had to work.

Luckily that streak was broken. I got back into the swing of things this last year. I got to see a pretty fair amount of bands. Here is my 2014 in live music:

March:
NONA / Pet Symmetry / Meah! / The Valenteens
(@ TOWNSHIP)

April:
Dowsing / Donovan Wolfington / Bluebirds / Per Aspera
(@ TOWNSHIP)

May:
Dowsing / Little Big League / Winter Classic / L. Mounts
(@ TOWNSHIP)

June:
Lemuria / Cayetana / PUP / The Menzingers
(@ BOTTOM LOUNGE)

July:
Braid / Jason Douglass Swearingen
(@ TOWNSHIP)

September:
Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) / Joie De Vivre / Free Throw
(@ TOWNSHIP)

December:
Lemuria / Lifted Bells / Prince
(@ BEAT KITCHEN)

American Football / Braid
(@ BOTTOM LOUNGE)

Ten of those bands ended up on my year end lists.

Hopefully 2015 is as eventful. Though, with the apparent loss of Township, I feel like Sunday night shows are going to fall by the wayside. That is definitely a bummer.

So, bands I like, you are on notice. Please play Sunday shows when you come to Chicago. You will be my best friends, and you may end up on a year end list on a blog that not very many people read. Deal?

YEAR END! – Top Twenty EPs / Singles / Splits Of 2014

epsplitEXTENDED PLAYS & SINGLES

  • Among Giants – “Back And Forth”
  • Donovan Wolfington – “Scary Stories You Tell In The Dark”
  • Flesh Born – “Han”
  • Foie Gras – “Held”
  • King Woman – “Dove b/w Fond Affections”
  • Lemuria – “Turnstile Comix #3”
  • Miserable – “Dog Days” (but also “Halloween Dream”)
  • Sloths – “Twenty Years”
  • The World Is A Beautiful Place – “Between Bodies”
  • Vow – “Make Me Yours”

SPLITS

  • Annabel / Dowsing
  • Anodes / Enta
  • Dikembe / The Jazz June
  • Joie De Vivre / Prawn
  • Little Big League / Ovlov
  • Locktender / Amber
  • Mikey Erg / Warren Frankling And The Founding Fathers
  • NONA / Crow Bait
  • Øjne​ /​ Улыбайся Ветру
  • Pariso / Svalbard

YEAR END! – Top Twenty Records Of 2013

albumgrid

  • Laura Stevenson – “Wheel”
  • Football, etc – “Audible”
  • The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – “Whenever, If Ever”
  • Waxahatchee – “Cerulean Salt”
  • Nona – “Through The Head”
  • Lord Snow – “Solitude”
  • Save Ends – “Warm Hearts, Cold Hands”
  • Pity Sex – “Feast Of Love”
  • American Thunder Band – “Neither Here Nor Thayer”
  • Tiny Moving Parts – “This Couch Is Long & Full Of Friendship”
  • Lemuria – “The Distance Is So Big”
  • Dowsing – “I Don’t Even Care Anymore”
  • Belgrade – “Belgrade”
  • RVIVR – “The Beauty Between”
  • State Faults – “Resonate/Desperate”
  • Little Big League – “These Are Good People”
  • Mutual Benefit – “Love’s Crushing Diamond”
  • Rika – “How To Draw A River, Step By Step”
  • Radiator Hospital – “Something Wild”
  • Our Sunday Affairs – “Cave”

REVIEW: Dowsing – “I Don’t Even Care Anymore”

Dowsing are back with a new full length. As expected, it pretty damn good. Given how consistently good this band has been, the big question is how does I Don’t Even Care Anymore stack up to their past work? It’s got a lot to live up to, especially after how great It’s Still Pretty Terrible was. The good news is that is stacks up pretty well. If I’m honest though, nothing on this record instantly jumped out at me the way the last record did. It’s not that the record is bad. Quite the contrary. I Don’t Even Care Anymore is really quite good. There was just something missing for me at first listen. I guess, for me, this record is a grower.

The main reason for my lukewarm feelings toward the record is that it’s very similar to their previous full length. That makes sense. Why change things if you have a sound that works? It made the experience harder for me though. I was constantly drawing parallels to the old instead of focusing on the new. That’s a shitty excuse, I know.

Objectively, everything you would expect on a Dowsing record is here. They aren’t breaking any new ground here. They continue doing the poppy indie/emo they are so adept at playing. Of course it’s good. It’s just kind of a no-brainer. Similar to the newest Dads’ EP, I think the hype on this got a little out of control. That doesn’t take away from the fact that this record is good. Is it as essential as It’s Still Pretty Terrible? Maybe. Only time will tell.

Dowsing
BandCamp
Count Your Lucky Stars
Buy It

YEAR END! – Top Ten Records Of The Year

Here are the best records of the year. Not much label diversity here, but that is just how it goes sometimes.

1) Joie De Vivre – We’re All Better Than This (Count Your Lucky Stars)

2) Dowsing – It’s Still Pretty Terrible (Count Your Lucky Stars)

 

 

 

 

 

3) Dikembe – Broad Shoulders (Tiny Engines)

 

 

 

 

 

4) Dads – American Radass (this is important) (Flannel Gurl)

 

 

 

 

 

5) State Faults – Desolate Peaks (Tiny Engines)

 

 

 

 

 

6) Best Practices – The EP LP (Tiny Engines)

 

 

 

 

 

7) Suis La Lune – Riala (Topshelf)

 

 

 

 

 

8) You Blew It! – Grow Up, Dude (Topshelf)

 

 

 

 

 

9) Beach House – Bloom (Sub Pop)

 

 

 

 

 

10) The Dandelion War – We Were Always Loyal To Lost Causes (Deep Elm)

 

YEAR END! – Best Seven Inches Of The Year

These are the Top ten 7″ releases of the year.

1) Lemuria – Varoom Allure (Bridge Nine

)

2) State Lines – Self Titled (Tiny Engine

s)

3) Snowing – Pump Fake / Scherbatsky (Square Of Opposition)

4) Restorations – A/B (Tiny Engines)

 

5) Dowsing / Parker – Split (Count Your Lucky Stars)