From first listen Teens of Denial had me. It's brilliant. Each song contains layered mini songs. The longer opuses grow, evolve and mutate into completely different ideas only to come back to their beginnings. Toledo's lyrics are intelligent, relevant and are statements without being preachy. Supposedly this is lo-fi indie and if that is the case it's the best lo-fi release I have ever heard.
Posted by KB on 12/31/2016
Favorite Songs- Fill in the Blank, Vincent, Destroyed By Hippie Powers, Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales.... actually whole damn album
This is totally out of my normal music spectrum and its a complete departure from Bachman's Archers of Loaf repertoire, which I am a fan. With that said this solo effort is personal, touching, insightful and just makes you think. It's hard not to replay it over and over allowing it to help us grasp further understanding or meaning in our own personal, and current societal woes. Best listened to alone, with eyes closed...
Posted by KB on 12/30/2016
Favorite Songs- ALL OF THEM
Part of the reason this was a weaker year (IMHO) is that there were a lot of "okay" releases. Not great, not horrible, just okay. This coupled with my earlier list of artists I like who I felt released crap added to the misery. So here is my adequate list that were close but got us no cigars.
Posted by KB on 12/29/2016
It's refreshing to have a "country" artist actually be a country artist (of course one that straddles many genres) and one with a brain (albeit perpetually toasted). Intelligent, insightful, rollicking with twangy-funk. It's no wonder the dolts of pop-country won't give him any airtime. But hey, he's up for a Grammy this year.
Posted by KB on 12/29/2016
Favorite Songs- Keep It Between the Lines, Sea Stories, Brace For Impact (Live A Little), Call to Arms
An extension to "Transgender Dyshphoria Blues", "Shape Shift..." delves deeper into Laura Jane's transformation both emotionally and physically. It's all in the open and nothing is forbidden. Sure it is more poppy and accessible, but the bile, bite and raw energy and power is still alive. The songs are big and loud. They are anthems.
Posted by KB on 12/28/2016
Favorite Songs- Crash, Delicate Petite & Other Things I'll Never Be, Dead Rats, Rebecca
American Band is a perfect marriage of political and social opinion and good ol' Americana rock. The boys had something to say and they thought it through and didn't rush it out the door. The songs, like most of DBT's offerings, are well constructed, biting and are not one size fits all. The guitars are searing and bookend their ballads providing them a punch. Glad that Hood and Cooley are pissed. It benefits us fans and it benefits thinking in the US.
Posted by KB on 12/27/2016
Favorite Songs- Ramon Casiano, Surrender Under Protest, Kinky Hypocrite, What It Means
Nada Surf has a distinct sound, song structure and Caw's lyrics are predictably cryptic but understandable. That said it is easy to dismiss this release as just another go around with NS. I did at first, but upon further listening I found myself drawn in -again- and humming the songs long after I played them. It became a go to 2016 release for me. So let it be a NS same-o-same-o, I'm all in.
Posted by KB on 12/26/2016
Favorite Songs- Cold To See Clear, Believe You're Mine, New Bird, Out of the Dark
Dino Jr keep putting out loud, fill all the nook and crannies loud, great music. Since "Beyond" the godfathers of indie have been showing what it means to rock, with introspective (maybe) lyrics. Just listening to them tear into their instruments makes one feel cooler than Kim Deal. So get this. Put in on. Turn it up.
Posted by KB on 12/25/2016
Favorite Songs- I Walk For Miles, Lost All Day
Ethereal, old world bordering on new age on one end and crescendo, ear piercing guitar on the other. Blended it makes a sound that is never uninteresting or predictable. The longer songs are the most daring and require their length to flesh themselves out. Best to listen at dusk or dawn.
Posted by KB on 12/24/2016
Favorite Songs- Oriar, Faro, Your Hollows
Those who know me are know that I felt 2016 to be a weak year over all musically. Lot of "hot, new, big" bands this year would never have gotten a sniff in previous years. Below are bands/artist that I am a fan of who release sub-par albums this year in my opinion. By no means am I giving up on them, but I will be crossing my fingers for better efforts next time. Some these pain me to list in this category:
Posted by KB on 12/23/2016
I'm sure you all are wondering "huh?", and yes the album title is borderline stupid, but it's one my most reached for albums of the year. Catchy Danish pop metal-billy with bark-sing vocals that's hard not to bop your head to. No pushing the envelope, no huge surprises but damn it's just such a rock ear worm, in a good way.
Posted by KB on 12/23/2016
Favorite Songs- Devil's Bleeding Crown, The Bliss, Let It Burn, Goodbye Forever, Seal the Deal
SCOTS shook up their 20 plus year recipe slightly by going with a 60s groovy theme- but not totally abandoning their rockability twang. It was just enough of a tweak to make them sound reinvigorated and fresh, which I feel they needed.
Posted by KB on 12/22/2016
Favorite Songs- Freak Flag, Grey Skies, Midnight Caller, Swamp Fox (Original)
Purling Hiss keeps getting better. In four releases they have gone from a solo act, virtually unlistenable to a unique riff rock, noisy, freak out band that pushes the boundaries of a rock song. Definitely still indie, but you can hear mainstream sensibilities until they tear them apart.
Posted by KB on 12/21/2016
Favorite Songs- 3000 AD, Follow You Around, Ostinato Musik
Avvolgere means to wrap or wrap up. Why they dubbed this recording this, who knows. What I do know is that their sludgy, stoner, slow dirge"ish" rock has a surprising groove. It's hypnotic, addictive and the songs evolve not feeling like drudgery. Turn off the lights and turn it up- and try to figure out why Avvolgere?
Posted by KB on 12/20/2016
Favorite Songs- The Trapper and the Trapped, O.O.T.P.V., Entheogen, Sante
Not as Sabbath as lasts effort, leaning more to Zeppelin, Black Mountain still retains it trippiness and black light flourishes. They like to take their time in building their ideas but this time around they threw in a full shorter to the point riff rockers. Good to see that they are continually expanding.
Posted by KB on 12/19/2016
Favorite Songs- Mothers of the Sun, Florian Saucer Attack, Constellations, Cemetery Breeding
The Kills deserve more love. Their hard driving, machine crunching beats are always inventive with melody and hooks abound. Ash & Ice has their usual take on love (good and bad) with a little more tribal drumming punctuated with abrasive guitar noise. If you haven't been introduced to The Kills, start now.
Posted by KB on 12/19/2016
Favorite Songs- Heart of A Dog, Bitter Fruit, Siberian Nights, Impossible Track
Snider has fallen off in his wit of late
but came roaring back with this release. Messy- and-I-don't- care
straight ahead country rock and roll that is an absolute blast.
Non-preachy social commentary and unabashed love a good ol' party is the
theme and if you don't get the joke, you probably never will. Which
would be sad. And the best new dance to hit airwaves!
Posted by KB on 12/17/2016
Favorite Songs: Hey Pretty Boy, The Funky Tomato, Check It Out, Bocephus, Are You With Me, Ways and Means
After a bazillion years of releasing excellent, true and criminally underplayed country, Dwight proves that he can whip up a mighty good bluegrass album too. Doesn't sound like a novelty one off (though it may be) as his performances sound absolutely authentic. He even covers..... himself on Guitars, Cadillacs.
Posted by KB on 12/16/2016
Favorite Songs:What I Don't Know, Guitars, Cadillacs, Gone (That'll Be Me)
The Cannibals are raw and full of riot girrrrrl punk with hooks capable of landing a whale. Besides being in your face the ladies (sometimes with token guy) have chops and they are tight. You can hear Joan Jett, Sleater Kinney and Kim Deal Pixies. Oh, and they do have a sense a humor.
Posted by KB on 12/15/2016
Favorite Songs: Say My Name, Talk Over Me, Make Up
The D Generation boys got back together after 16 years and put together a solid, straightforward, no holds barred rock album- with a bit of aged punk wisdom, vision and aplomb. Malin sounds great and band grooves along at a proper neck bobbing pace. Like no frills rock- this is your album.
Posted by KB on 12/14/2016
Favorite Songs: Piece of the Action, Not Goin' Back, Tomorrow