Bradley's Almanac

[Nac Faves] My Favorite Music of 2016 (and, um, 2015 too)

Posted on January 31, 2017 at 12:27 pm | No Comments

Let’s list! While most music-centric sites try to get their faves posted by end-of-year, my goal is always to get this thing up sometime in January (made it). I listen to a ton of new music in December, and revisit early-year faves, so things never settle until the calendar turns. Should go without saying at this point (as with almost any list about anything ever) but these are not “the best”, these are “my favorites”. Albums I had time to hear and that demanded more once I did. The sounds that got me through. Because jeez, the year tried to set a high bar for brutal. And the new one is already clearing it.

Some years back, while posting yet another overdue annual musical faves wrap-up in a fast-fading February, I prefaced it with something like “… sharing this in March sure would have been embarrassing!” If that was true, imagine how I feel about punting for a whole year. Not that anyone noticed in the list flood we drown in, but yeah, I procrastinated 2015 entirely. First one I’ve missed in ages, but I’m going to remedy that now by posting a belated rundown below, alongside my 2016 faves.

So here they are, my favorite records from 2016 followed by those from 2015 – mostly long-players along with some short-players and comps. Read, explore, absorb, and click the label links to buy direct. Support those who make the music you love with your dollars, and no, streaming doesn’t count.

Stream a 32-track Soundcloud playlist of songs from most of the releases listed below.

Check out previous year-end faves lists: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, and 2001.


Favorite LPs of 2016


Eric Bachmann
“Eric Bachmann”
[ on Merge Records ]

The former Archers of Loaf frontman steps away from his Crooked Fingers moniker and offers up his strongest set of songs in years. I’ve had the pure pleasure of seeing him tour this record both solo (in my own damn livingroom) and with a full band, and each was equally magical. Cannot wait to hear what he does next.

[ Stream another track on Soundcloud / Buy direct from Merge ]


David Bazan
“Blanco”
[ on Barsuk Records ]

This LP started as a series of 7-inches in 2015, after which Bazan fleshed out his favorite tracks into this cohesive whole. Another captivating step in the sonic journey he’s been on since leaving the Pedro the Lion name behind.

[ Stream three songs on Soundcloud / Buy direct from Barsuk ]


Bent Shapes “Wolves of Want”
[ on Slumberland ]

Happiness is when one of your longtime favorite Boston-area bands hooks up with one of your all-time favorite record labels, and the recorded result is just as great as the team-up promised. Damn do I ever love this band.

[ Stream the whole LP on Bandcamp / Buy direct from Slumberland ]


Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place
“You’re Doomed Be Nice”
[ on Temporary Residence ]

After the worrying news that Pinback‘s Rob Crow was quitting music in 2015, seeing him return just a year later with such a strong record was a very welcome surprise.

[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy direct from Temp. Residence ]


DIIV“Is The Is Are”
[ from Captured Tracks ]

Zachary Cole and his cohorts followed up their 2012 debut with an extended record that doesn’t so much evolve their sound as refine it. That’s not a complaint – even if many DIIV songs sound the same, their original blueprint is a cut above: Sons of shoegaze with a knack for ear-grabbing guitar melodies and an energy that similarly-styled bands strive for. I could do without some of the peripheral hype and the occasional obnoxious, indie-star gossip-followers at their live shows (“Where’s Skkyyyyyyy?!” – ugh), but the record itself: Gold.

[ Stream two tracks on Soundcloud / Buy direct from Captured Tracks ]


Tanya Donelly“Swan Song Series” 3xLP/CD
[ on Laundromat Records ]

Stand-out record label American Laundromat did us all a favor by gathering, expanding, and beautifully packaging former Throwing Muses, Breeders, and (current!) Belly member Tanya Donelly’s self-released series of collaborative EPs into a triple LP collection. And what a list of collaborators: Belly bandmates Tom Gorman and Gail Greenwood, Muses bandmate David Narcizo, author Rick Moody, Robyn Hitchcock, John Wesley Harding, Fuzzy members Chris Toppin and Hilken Mancini, Bill Janovitz from Buffalo Tom, Claudia Gonson and Sam Davol of the Magnetic Fields, and many more. An all-star list if ever there was one.

[ Stream two tracks on Soundcloud / Buy direct from ALR ]


Dowsing“Okay”
[ on Asian Man Records ]

I’m relatively late to the Dowsing party – the Chicago trio has been putting out records since 2011, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I caught the track “Get Dead!” (from their first full-length) on SomaFM’s indispensable “Indie Pop Rocks” channel and fell hard. After inhaling their back catalog, I was psyched to see this excellent new record arrive last year. I’ll be around for whatever else comes.

[ Stream the “Okay” LP on Bandcamp / Buy direct from Asian Man ]


E“E”
[ on Thrill Jockey ]

Thalia Zedek has been making powerful music for a remarkable three decades, early on with the bands Live Skull and Uzi, then with 90s quartet Come, until settling into a steady run with the Thalia Zedek Band. It would have been easy for her to keep making great records with her eponymous combo (see below for another one), but instead she’s found herself in two additional productive projects, both very different from her own, and both f’in great. New trio E is one of ’em, and their pedigree is impressive: Thalia with Gavin McCarthy (ex-Karate) on the drum kit and Neptune’s Jason Sanford on his homemade, stringed contraption. I saw them live before I heard their stuff and was pretty well blown away. Their debut LP delivers.

[ Watch the Great Light” video on YouTube / Buy from Thrill Jockey ]


Field Music“Commontime”
[ on Memphis Industries ]

Another ace full-length from the brothers Brewis. Somehow they find the soul inside razor-sharp, precision playing. Seeing these guys perform is like watching a master-class in musicianship (and proper English manners), but there’s humanity in that technicality. Amazes me that they’re still playing places as small as Great Scott.

[ Stream a song on Soundcloud / Buy direct from Memphis Industries ]


Ghost Box Orchestra“High Plaine”
[ via Bandcamp & Evil Hoodoo ]

Doing our city proud, another solid release from this Boston-based psych-noise quintet. Powerful live shows with songs you can get lost in – epics that can both entrance and pummel you all at once. Keep it comin’, GBO.

[ Stream and buy the “High Plaine” LP at Bandcamp ]


Hallelujah the Hills
“A Band Is Something To Figure Out”
[ on Discrete Pageantry ]

Two years ago I called HtH’s previous record “their best album to date”, and that was two years after thinking that 2012’s “No One Knows What Happens Next” was their best album to date. So, yeah, take a guess what I though of their latest? Not sure how they keep upping their game, but I can probably just call whatever they release in 2018 their best ever. I’d say this is getting old, but no. No it’s not.

[ Stream and buy the album on Bandcamp ]


The James Rocket“Thrust”
[ via Bandcamp ]

Speaking of dependable, another stellar set of sharp GBV-styled rock-pop from the long-distance duo known as The James Rocket. Still frustrated that I’ve never had a chance to see their NYC-based full-band configuration on stage, but I’m holding out hope the timing works out this year.

[ Stream and buy “Thrust” on Bandcamp ]


Kristin Hersh“Wyatt at the Coyote Palace” CD/Book
[ on Omnibus Press ]

My long-standing love for all things Kristin Hersh is further deepened by her most ambitious and satisfying release in ages. That she’s able to up her game decades into her career is remarkable, and not just musically, but within the written words that have been accompanying her output. She makes her own rules, forges her own path, and I’ll be following whatever direction it takes.

[ Buy WatCP at her website / Stream songs on Soundcloud / Become a Strange Angel supporter ]


Kestrels“Kestrels”
[ on Sonic Unyon ]

Kestrels third full-length is a self-titled one, and the eponymous naming is appropriate – this record acts as a mission statement. They’ve perfected their rhythmic, powerful take on shoegaze, legitimate sons of Swervedriver and MBV but propulsive and exciting enough to rarely sound like a rehash.

[ Stream on Bandcamp / Buy from Sonic Unyon ]


Matt Pond PA“Winter Lives”
[ on 131 Records ]

This proper MPPA full-length has been a long time coming, and its release feels like a victory after some temporary renaming in the wake of drawn-out label drama. But it seems Matt, Chris, and their rotating crew of on-stage collaborators are finally free. Their recent Boston show featured perhaps the best backing band they’ve ever pulled together, and along with this record, it properly recharged my fandom. Get yourself on board by pitching in through Patreon.

[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy direct from the band ]


Nada Surf“You Know Who You Are”
[ on Barsuk Records ]

Nada Surf just keeps on keepin’ on, dependable in their regular deliveries of melodic, ear-grabbing collections of rock-pop. No dramatic shifts in direction, but when you’ve got the formula down so well, why mess with it? They know who they are. And they’re still capable of delivering aural gems like “Rushing“. The 2012 addition of guitar-genius Doug Gillard to live shows (and the last couple LPs) certainly upped the ante, so here’s hoping he sticks around despite being pulled back into Robert Pollard’s orbit.

[ Stream a song on Soundcloud / Buy the LP from the band ]


The Needy Sons“Vis-A-Vis”
[ via Bandcamp ]

Mike Gent of the Figgs and Bill Janovitz of Buffalo Tom teamed up with the ace rhythm section of Ed Valauskas (The Gravel Pit/Jenny Dee & The Deelinquents) & Eric Anderson (Jenny Dee & The Deelinquents/Schnockered) for a Boston-based soopah-groop that’s been kicking around for a few years putting on killer rock-n-roll shows at area bars. A few studio recordings snuck out in 2015 through Bandcamp (see below) before they decided to put out a proper debut in the form of “Vis-A-Vis”. And proper it is. The opening track was an instant fave the first time I caught it live, so getting to hear it on demand is a regular joy.

[ Stream and buy the LP through Bandcamp ]


New Dog“Teeth Marks”
[ on Heart Of A Dog ]

Anar Badalov (ex-Metal Hearts/Travels), aka New Dog, follows up 2015’s excellent “Classic Ballroom Dances” with an even better full-length in the form of “Teeth Marks”. Both beautiful and haunting, soothing and unsettling, there’s quiet power in both the production and performance. Keep an eye on his Bandcamp page for randomly-released singles and covers (such as last August’s Running At Night).

[ Stream and buy “Teeth Marks” at Bandcamp ]


Nocturnal Habits“New Skin For Old Children”
[ on Glacial Pace ]

What a gift. As an unabashed Unwound fanboy who believes their final LP (2001’s “Leaves Turn Inside You”) was an unqualified masterpiece, I’ll listen to anything and everything the former bandmates put out. The 2011 formation of Survival Knife supplied a satisfying fix of Justin Trosper’s songwriting, and I assumed we’d get an eventual follow-up to that band’s great 2014 debut LP, “Loose Power”. Then, outta nowhere, Nocturnal Habits is born. Not only is Justin at the helm, but his collaborators include incredible Unwound drummer Sara Lund and Melvins’ Dale Crover. As much as I love Survival Knife, “New Skin For Old Children” feels like the spiritual and sonic successor to “Leaves…”, and like I said… a gift.

[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy direct from Glacial Pace ]


Peyton Pinkerton“Rapid Cycler”
[ on Darla Records ]

Former New Radiant Storm King co-captain Peyton Pinkerton follows up his 2013 solo debut with a second stellar set of his distinctive songs, showing off some wide-ranging influences, masterful guitar skills, and deft home production skills. Without regular live gigs or a promotional machine behind him, Peyton’s output runs the risk of being criminally under-heard, so do your part to help fight crime and dig in.

Read a new interview about the LP at MassLive, and check out my 2013 chat with him here.

[ Hear song samples & buy direct from Darla Records ]


Pinkshinyultrablast“Grandfeathered”
[ on Club AC30 ]

My favorite Russian shoegaze band. Well, also the only Russian shoegaze band I know, but I can’t imagine there being a better one. Propulsive noise-pop-chaos behind ethereal, entrancing female vocals. Love this band, and hoping they make it to the States before we shut down immigration entirely. Sigh.

[ Stream some songs on Soundcloud / Buy direct from Club AC360 ]


Radio Dept.“Running Out Of Love”
[ on Labrador Records ]

For me, the long wait between Radio Dept. albums has never resulted in a let down. So far we’ve seen gaps of 3 years, then 4 years, and for this one 6 years. They’ve got such a knack for mood and melody that even shifting the balance from guitars to electronics on some songs retains their singular, identifiable sound. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that their decaying release trend doesn’t continue, and we see another record before this decade is done.

[ Stream some songs at Soundcloud / Buy direct from Labrador ]


Savak“Best of Luck In Future Endeavors”
[ on Comedy Minus One ]

I randomly heard the Savak track “Reaction” last Spring without any context whatsoever – didn’t know who was in the band, no clue where they were from, or what label they had hooked up with – and I dug it immediately. Once I got the facts, that instant love came as no surprise: Members of Obits, Ted Leo’s Pharmacists, Edsel, The Make-Up & Holy Fuck with an album on the way from ace label Comedy Minus One. To say I was positively predisposed is an understatement. The entire LP lives up to the pedigree. Stream it below for proof.

[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy direct from Comedy Minus One ]


Split Single“Metal Frames”
[ on Inside Outside Records ]

I completely missed out on Jason Narducy’s time in the band Verbow, and ashamedly his 2014 debut LP as Split Single escaped my radar as well. To me he was mostly “Bob Mould’s awesome bass player” and then the guy who had the unenviable task of filling Laura Ballance’s shoes in the live version of Superchunk (and fill them he damn well did). It was last Spring’s Pledgemusic campaign to finish up “Metal Frames” that woke me to his songwriting skills, and after inhaling his debut I jumped on board funding full-length #2. Every taste he gave of the record as it progressed blew me away – and the final result is as strong and cohesive a collection of songs as I heard all last year, start to finish. He’s no longer “that guy on bass”, but instead a guy who makes bands better in between releasing his own awesome albums. Just let me know when I can pitch in for #3.

[ Stream “Metal Frames” on Soundcloud / Buy the album direct ]


Suburban Living“Almost Paradise”
[ on 6131 Records ]

That thing where you think you’ve discovered a brand new band only to realize they’ve been around for years. Well, when I say “they”, I mean Wesley Bunch, the driving force behind Philly’s Suburban Living. He released his first songs in 2011 while based in Virginia, and the internet says I missed him and his band when they played nearby at Allston’s Great Scott in 2013. I’ve made up for that by seeing them a couple times since the 2015 release of their self-titled debut (a fave from that year – see below). That record grabbed me from the get go, and last year’s follow-up solidified my fandom. Crackling, catchy songs that mix just the right amount of 80s-pop with 90s-indie influences. Ear worms that dig in and crawl around your head long after you’ve heard ’em.

[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy it direct from 6131 Records ]


Tancred“Out of the Garden”
[ on Polyvinyl ]

As a longtime Now Now fan, I first became aware of Jess Abbott when she joined the band as a guitarist back in 2009 – making an already-great band even better. Given what an impact her playing and backing vocals had, it shouldn’t have surprised me that her own material would be so strong. This third full-length builds on the strengths of her first two: Utterly infectious indie-rock with fantastic vocals and pop hooks galore. This one feels a bit more cohesive, more fleshed-out production wise, and lyrically she’s stepped it up a notch. Reminds me of the best 90s-era alt-pop-rock combos (Tuscadero, Letters to Cleo, Veruca Salt, etc), without being any kind retread.

[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy direct from Polyvinyl ]


Teenage Fanclub“Here”
[ on Merge Records ]

One of those rare bands whose album releases (and live shows) are infrequent enough that they feel like true ‘events’. It seems insane that I’ve been listening to them for 25 years now, but here we are. “Here” didn’t grab me as quickly as some of their previous LPs, but it eventually set down roots that dug even deeper after seeing them live last October. The songs washed over me – I wanted that show to last forever. Come back soon, guys.

[ Watch the video for “I’m In Love / Buy direct from Merge ]


Terry Malts“Lost At The Party”
[ on Slumberland Records ]

This record hit me like a brick to the brow. It takes a lot to get a ‘wow’ out of me these days (reminder: increasingly old & jaded), but this one did it. Full of energy, powerfully angular at times but criminally catchy when it wants to be. A recording that captures the sound of goddamn band in action. I never numerically order these lists, but if I was pressured to pick an LP that defined 2016 for me, most days this would be the one.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Slumberland ]


Washer“Here Comes Washer”
[ on Exploding In Sound ]

Another worthy addition to the Exploding In Sound roster, Brooklyn duo Washer’s debut full-length delivers on the promise of their killer 2014 EP and a couple of ace split 7-inches. 14 songs in less than 30 minutes, ranging from deceptively simple to slightly more complex arrangements, they’re one of those rare duos that sound fuller than most trios, and not just on record.

[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy direct from Exploding In Sound ]


Wedding Present“Going, Going…”
[ on Scopitones ]

Unlike most other Weddoes records, this one took awhile to get into. I blame the first four tracks: A quartet of varied instrumentals. That’s an unusual choice for a band that relies on David Gedge’s distinctive vocals and rocky-relationship lyricism, but once the ‘proper’ songs kick in, it’s a corker. Some of Gedge’s strongest songs in years, so try skipping those first four after your first listen, or just put the digital version on random play. That’ll do it.

[ Stream some tracks on Soundcloud / Buy direct from the band ]


Wussy“Forever Sounds”
[ on Damnably ]

It’s no easy feat to follow up what many called your breakthrough record (2014’s “Attica!”), but Wussy proves they’ve hit a creative stride and aren’t letting up. “Forever Sounds” is just as vital an LP, equal parts urgency and beauty, and quintessentially American. Their years of experience (in the ‘business’ and on the road) yields serious dividends we’re all lucky to share in. Bostonians were spoiled last year with two amazing live shows in the span of four months. Can’t wait for the comeback.

[ Stream the LP on Bandcamp / Buy direct from Damnably ]


Wye Oak“Tween”
[ on Merge Records ]

Wye Oak further justify my ever-lasting faith by collecting a batch of songs that couldn’t find a home on a proper release, only to end up with an album that sounds more ‘proper’ than most. Cuts that could have been cast-offs are far from it, and side-by-side they show off the range they’re able to cover, from organic to the electronic, and all keepers.

[ Watch “Watching The Waiting” video on YouTube / Buy from Merge ]


Thalia Zedek Band“Eve”
[ on Thrill Jockey ]

Thalia Zedek finds herself on this list twice, and after the year she’s had, she damn well deserves it. Though TZ been spending more time in both E (see above) and Dyr Faser lately, the long-running band that carries her name feels like the unfiltered representation of her art. She’s got some of the Boston-area’s best musicians behind her to bring it to life, and they’ve been together long enough to make it seem effortless. There was a moment, last year, after seeing them play for the umpteenth time, that I just stood there in awe, realizing it was the best I’ve ever seen them on stage. And that’s saying something.

[ Stream the “Eve” LP on Bandcamp / Buy direct from Thrill Jockey ]



Favorite Short-Players of 2016


Allo Darlin’“Hymn on the 45” (7-inch series)
[ via WIAIWYA ]

Big sigh. The very last we’ll ever hear from Allo Darlin’. Two songs that put the perfect bow on the gift that was their entire existence. I loved this band, I’ll keep loving this band on record, and I’ll never forget the shows. It was a true honor to open for them a couple times, something I’ll forever count as a highlight of my modest little musical career. Farewell, darlins.

[ Listen & buy digitally on Bandcamp ]


50 Foot Wave“Bath White” EP
[ on Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records ]

The second musician who finds herself on this list in two different projects, Kristin Hersh keeps funneling her more aggressive side through the power-trio that is 50 Foot Wave. I feel like they get overshadowed by her solo work and Throwing Muses output, but they’re an important aspect of her songwriting personality, offering up an entirely different kind of aural intensity.

[ Stream and buy the “Bath White” EP on Bandcamp ]


Film School“June” EP
[ self-released digitally via iTunes/Spotify/etc ]

This one came outta nowhere. I thought the San Francisco quintet had called it quits back in 2011, so news last year of a new EP was a very welcome surprise indeed. As satisfying as it was, hopes are high that it’s just a teaser for a full-length to follow.

[ Stream the entire “June” EP on Soundcloud ]


Lush“Blind Spot” EP
[ self-released ]

While seminal shoegazers Ride and Slowdive reunited and stuck around with the promise of new music, Lush reformed and immediately gave us an EP of new material that featured on their now-finished comeback tour. And unlike their sister-bands, they’ve already headed back into the sunset, calling it quits once again in the wake of bassist Phil King’s exit from the band. The reunion was short, but very, very sweet, and this EP was a welcome part of it.

[ Watch the Out of Control” video / Buy the EP from the band ]


Mint Mile“The Bliss Point” EP
[ on Comedy Minus One (vinyl) & digitally via Bandcamp ]

In the wake of Bottomless Pit‘s self-imposed hiatus in 2014, co-frontmen (and ex-Silkworm guys) Andy Cohen and Tim Midyett have thankfully kept on with the music-making separately – Cohen with fellow BP member Brian Orchard in Light Coma (new LP soon on CMO), and Midyett under the moniker Mint Mile. Having combined my 2015 & 2016 faves into this single post, you’ll see both Mint Mile 12-inches listed: 2015’s debut EP (“In Season and Ripe”) below, and the sophomore set, last year’s “The Bliss Point” EP. So far, I’m digging this whole “one EP per year” plan, especially when they’re as solid as these first two, and when each includes contributions from TM’s pool of talented musician-friends. Wouldn’t turn down a full-length, though.

[ Stream the EP on Bandcamp / Buy both EPs from Comedy Minus One ]



Favorite Compilations/Tributes of 2016


“Constant and True – a Tribute to the Songs of Rose Melberg”
[ via February Records ]

My art-crush on Rose Melberg is unending, and her voice, whether solo or in a band, has been a steady presence in my life for 20-something years. So I’m smack dab in the middle of the target market for a tribute album, even if it didn’t have some of my favorite people playing on it. Which this one does. My pals in the Smittens and the wonderful Emma Kupa (Mammoth Penguins/ex-Standard Fare) are among a stellar lineup of artists paying homage to all things Rose. Interpretations of her solo songs, Softies songs, Go Sailor songs, Tiger Trap songs… just about every base is covered here with care, respect, and with one of her favorite subjects, love.

[ Stream and buy the tribute on Bandcamp ]


“Say Yes! A Tribute To Elliott Smith”
[ via American Laundromat ]

We’re over 13 years removed from the sudden loss of Elliott Smith and it still hurts like it happened yesterday. It was tough to listen to his songs for awhile afterwards, and I still can’t do so without deep sadness. This beautiful tribute does his memory and unmatched talent justice – respectful interpretations of some of his best work by an impressive lineup, some straightforward, some less so, all presented in an immaculately-designed package. I bristled a bit when I heard an Elliott tribute was on the way, but then I heard it was from American Laundromat, and knew it would be done just right.

[ Stream the LP on Soundcloud / Buy direct from ALR ]


“Continental Drift”
[ via Slumberland / Fortuna POP! ]

Two top-notch labels team-up for a 4-band, 8-song mini-LP that is remarkable in its quality and cohesiveness. This is no mere “label sampler” – the exclusive tracks could easily have lived on any of these artists’ own full-lengths. If you’re unfamiliar with any or all of those involved, take a listen and find yerself some new faves.

[ Stream three tracks on Soundcloud / Buy direct from Slumberland ]



Favorite “Works In Progress” of 2016


Gregory and the Hawk“On the Orange Mountain”
[ via Patreon ]

Meredith Godreau is Gregory and the Hawk, and her latest work is being created and shared in a truly unique way: Outdoors in the Pacific Northwest, one song at a time, recorded live on video and released monthly. She’s up to eight songs so far, with two more to go, and each offering is more moving than the last. A truly special way of releasing an ‘album’, and following along has been pure pleasure. Join in at the link below.

[ Follow and support GatH’s journey on Patreon ]

And for the record, my favorite music from the year 2015. These are without commentary, otherwise I’d end up finishing this sometime in 2018…


Favorite LPs of 2015


Courtney Barnett
“Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit”
[ on Mom and Pop Music ]

[ Stream her songs on Soundcloud / Buy the LP from Mom and Pop ]


Beach Slang
“The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us”
[ on Polyvinyl Records ]

[ Stream at Bandcamp / Buy from Polyvinyl ]


Built To Spill“Untethered Moon”
[ on Warner Bros. Music ]

[ Stream on YouTube / Buy from Amazon ]


Caspian“Dust and Disquiet”
[ on Triple Crown Records ]

[ Stream and buy on Bandcamp / Buy through Hello Merch ]


The Fireworks“Switch Me On”
[ on Shelflife Records ]

[ Stream & buy at Bandcamp / Buy at Buy from Shelflife ]


Funeral Advantage“Body Is Dead”
[ on Native Sound / Disposable America ]

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy from Native Sound ]


Hop Along“Painted Shut”
[ on Saddle Creek ]

[ Stream songs at Bandcamp / Buy from Saddle Creek ]


Knife Pleats“Hat Bark Beach”
[ on Lost Sound Tapes ]

[ Stream at on Bandcamp / Buy at Lost Sound ]


Krill“A Distant Fist Unclenching”
[ on Exploding In Sound ]

[ Stream at Bandcamp / Buy at Exploding In Sound ]


Low“Ones and Sixes”
[ on Sub Pop ]

[ Stream on YouTube / Buy from Sub Pop ]


Mac McCaughan“Non-Believers”
[ on Merge Records ]

[ Stream songs on Soundcloud / Buy from Merge ]


Moonsocket“Eurydice”
[ on Noyes Records ]

[ Stream at Impose Magazine / Buy from Noyes Records ]


Palehound“Dry Food”
[ on Exploding In Sound ]

[ Stream at Bandcamp / Buy from Exploding In Sound ]


Philosophical Zombie
“Loneliness Is Blue And Not Blue”
[ on Killer Wail Records ]

[ Stream & buy on Bandcamp ]


Speedy Ortiz“Foil Deer”
[ on Carpark Records ]

[ Stream at Bandcamp / Buy from Carpark ]


The Spook School“Try To Be Hopeful”

[ Stream & buy at Bandcamp ]


Stove“Is Stupider”
[ on Exploding In Sound ]

[ Stream & buy at Bandcamp ]


Suburban Living“Suburban Living”
[ on Papercup Music ]

[ Stream a couple songs & buy from Papercup Music ]


Swervedriver“I Wasn’t Born to Lose You”

[ Stream a song at Soundcloud / Buy at the band’s website ]



Favorite Short-Players of 2015


David Bazan“Bazan Monthly: Volume 2” (7-inch series)
[ via Undertow ]

Long-since sold out, but many were included in reworked
form on his latest record, “Blanco”
, one of my faves of 2016.


Mint Mile“In Season & Ripe” 12″ EP
[ on Comedy Minus One ]

[ Stream at Bandcamp / Buy via Bandcamp or Comedy Minus One ]


Needy Sonsdigital singles
[ self-released through Bandcamp ]

These songs were released digitally throughout the year, and
were later reworked to become part of their full-length debut
(see above – one of my faves from 2016).

I’m giddy about what 2017 promises: Planned & potential new recordings/shows from Ride, Slowdive, Buffalo Tom, Versus, Jeremy Enigk, Will Johnson, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The New Pornographers, The Wrens (at last!), The New Year, Overseas, the resurrections of both Land of Talk (!!) and Flower (?!), and incredibly, rumblings of activity from the much-missed American Analog Set (!!!!). Oh, my heart.

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    Sunday, April 28th
    Potty Mouth
    Courage My Love
    Shallow Pools
    @ ONCE Ballroom


    Monday, April 29th
    Tyler Ramsey (ex-Band of Horses)
    @ Great Scott


    Monday, April 29th
    Snow Patrol
    We Are Scientists
    Ryan McMullen
    @ the Orpheum


    Thursday, May 2nd
    Son Volt
    Ian Noe
    @ the Paradise Rock Club


    Friday, May 3rd
    Stephen Malkmus
    (Pavement/The Jicks)
    solo electronic set
    with Eleanor Friedberger
    @ the Armory, Somerville


    Saturday, May 4th
    The McGunks, Silver Screams,
    Revilers, Damnation,
    and Live Nude Girls
    Day Show @ the Midway


    Saturday, May 4th
    The Drums
    Tanukichan
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, May 5th
    UV Rays
    Hellrazor
    Pet Fox
    Curse Word
    @ O’Brien’s


    Tuesday, May 7th
    The Dandy Warhols
    Cosmonauts
    The Vacant Lots
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, May 9th
    Nitzer Ebb
    Liebknecht
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, May 9th
    Movements
    Boston Manor
    Trash Boat
    Drug Church
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, May 11th
    Tugboat Annie (reunion)
    @ the Lilypad


    Saturday, May 11th
    Pedro the Lion
    John Vanderslice
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, May 11th
    Graham Parker
    @ City Winery Boston


    Monday, May 13th
    The Mark Lanegan Band
    (of the Screaming Trees)
    with Simon Bonney
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, May 14th
    Damien Jurado
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday, May 15th
    Cursive
    mewithoutYou
    The Appleseed Cast
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, May 15th
    Tacocat
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, May 15th
    Jessica Pratt
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, May 16th
    Basement
    Nothing
    Teenage Wrist
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, May 16th
    Meat Puppets
    Sumo Princess
    Stephen Maglio
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, May 16th
    Royale Trux
    @ the Middle East Downstairs


    Friday, May 17th
    Guided By Voices!
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, May 17th
    Kay Hanley (Letters to Cleo)
    @ Cafe 939, Berklee


    Saturday, May 18th
    Dream Syndicate
    @ the ONCE Ballroom


    Saturday, May 18th
    The Felice Brothers
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, May 18th
    Pup
    Ratboys
    Casper Skulls
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, May 19th
    Thalia Zedek
    Anna Connolly
    Weather Weapon
    Cotton Candy
    Day Show @ the Midway


    Sunday, May 19th
    Mono
    Emma Ruth Rundle
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, May 22nd
    halfsour (record release!)
    Mini Dresses
    Anna Altman
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday, May 22nd
    Laura Stevenson
    Kississippi
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, May 22nd
    American Football
    Pure Bathing Culture
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, May 23rd
    Passion Pit
    The Beaches
    @ the House of Blues


    Thursday, May 23rd
    Filthy Friends
    Dressy Bessy
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, May 24th
    The Undertones
    Dot Dash
    @ ONCE Ballroom


    Saturday, May 25th
    Slayer
    Lamb of God
    Amon Amarth
    Cannibal Corpse
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Wednesday, May 29th
    Glen Hansard
    @ the Orpheum


    Thursday & Friday
    May 30th & 31st
    Local Natives
    Middle Kids
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, May 31st
    Lady Lamb (full band)
    Katie Von Schleicher
    Benjamin Lazar Davis
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, June 6th
    Fog Lake
    @ the ONCE Ballroom


    Thursday, June 6th
    Coheed and Cambria
    Mastodon
    Every Time I Die
    @ the Pavilion


    Friday, June 7th
    The Rural Alberta Advantage
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, June 8th
    The Figgs
    two shows!
    4pm & 7pm
    @ the Burren


    Saturday, June 8th
    Howard Jones
    Men Without Hats
    All Hail the Silence
    @ the Paradise


    Monday & Tuesday
    June 10th & 11th
    Perry Farrell’s
    Kind Heaven Orchestra
    @ City Winery Boston


    Tuesday, June 11th
    Craig Finn and
    The Uptown Controllers
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, June 12th
    Wu-Tang Clan
    @ the House of Blues


    Thursday, June 13th
    Yeasayer
    @ the Paradise


    Friday & Saturday
    June 14th & 15th
    Jawbox
    with Second Letter (14th)
    and LaPeche (15th)
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, June 15th
    The Lemonheads
    Tommy Stinson (Replacements)
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, June 15th
    Droneflower
    (Steve Brodsky & Marissa Nadler)
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, June 15th
    The Specials
    @ the House of Blues


    Monday, June 17th
    Dido
    @ the House of Blues


    Tuesday, June 18th
    Earth
    Helms Alee
    @ the Once Ballroom


    Thursday, June 20th
    Kristin Hersh (trio show)
    Fred Abong
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Thursday, June 20th
    Kishi Bashi
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, June 21st
    Spencer Krug
    (Wolf Parade/Sunset Rubdown)
    @ Cafe 939


    Saturday, June 22nd
    seBADoh
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, June 23rd
    Slothrust
    Weakened Friends
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, June 24th
    The Lonely Island
    Demitri Martin
    @ the Bank Pavilion


    Thursday, June 27th
    Foxwarren
    Hannah Cohen
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, June 28th
    Wand
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, June 29th
    Lithics
    @ O’Brien’s


    Sunday, June 30th
    Cate Le Bon
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Tuesday, July 2nd
    Jackson Browne
    @ the Pavilion


    Saturday, July 6th
    Velvet Crush
    Sleepyhead
    Hilken Mancini & Chris Colbourn
    DJ Ty Jesso
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Monday, July 8th
    Third Eye Blind
    Jimmy Eat World
    Ra Ra Riot
    @ Blue Hills Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 9th
    Psychedelic Furs
    James
    Dear Boy
    @ the House of Blues


    Tuesday, July 9th
    We Were Promised Jetpacks
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, July 10th
    Bill Callahan (smog)
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, July 13th
    Belle & Sebastian
    Ex Hex
    @ the House of Blues


    Sunday, July 14th
    The Messthetics
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, July 16th
    Carly Rae Jepsen
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday, July 17th
    Heart
    Sheryl Crow
    Elle King
    @ Xfinity Center


    Friday, July 19th
    Okkervil River
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, July 21st
    Weird Al Yankovic
    @ the Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 23rd
    Elvis Costello & the Imposters
    Blondie
    @ the Pavilion


    Saturday, July 27th
    The Faint
    Ritual Howls
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, August 1st
    Iron Maiden
    with The Raven Age
    @ Xfinity Center


    Saturday, August 3rd
    Ben Folds
    Violent Femmes
    @ the Bank Pavilion


    Monday, August 5th
    Bryan Ferry
    performing Roxy Music’s
    “Avalon” & more
    @ Boston Opera House


    Wednesday, August 7th
    The Paper Kites
    @ Somerville Theatre


    Tuesday, August 13th
    John Fogerty
    @ the Pavilion


    Tuesday, August 13th
    Neurosis
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, August 15th
    Beck
    Cage The Elephant
    Spoon
    Sunflower Bean
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Wednesday, August 21st
    The Alarm
    Gene Loves Jezebel
    Modern English
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, August 22nd
    Bitch Mountain
    Birthday Ass
    Puppy Problems
    Prior Panic
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Sunday, August 25th
    Alex Lahey
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, September 3rd
    Vampire Weekend
    @ Agganis Arena


    Sunday, September 8th
    Avail
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, September 8th
    Fontaines D.C.
    Pottery
    @ Great Scott


    Monday, September 9th
    The Raconteurs
    @ House of Blues


    Monday, September 9th
    Hot Chip
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, September 11th
    Jethro Tull
    @ the Chevalier, Medford


    Friday, September 13th
    The Who
    @ Fenway Park


    Wednesday, September 18th
    ZZ Top
    Cheap Trick
    @ the Pavilion


    Wednesday, September 18th
    The Julian Lage Trio
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, September 19th
    Bloc Party
    performing “Silent Alarm”
    @ the House of Blues


    Thursday, September 19th
    King Crimson
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Friday, September 20th
    The Feelies
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, September 21st
    Andrew Bird
    Calexico and Iron & Wine
    @ the Bank Pavilion


    Saturday, September 21st
    Massive Attack
    “MezzanineXX1” tour
    @ the Wang


    Sunday, September 22nd
    Mac DeMarco
    @ the Orpheum


    Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday
    September 25th, 26th, & 27th
    Three nights of Built To Spill
    “Keep It Like A Secret” Anniversary Tour
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, September 29th
    Stereolab
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, September 29th
    Graham Nash
    @ the Berklee Performance Center


    Thursday, October 3rd
    Ladytron
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, Friday, & Saturday
    October 3rd, 4th, & 5th
    Three nights of Billy Bragg
    “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back”
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, October 5th
    Maggie Rogers
    Empress Of
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Saturday, October 5th
    Mudhoney
    Pissed Jeans
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, October 6th
    Mt. Joy
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, October 11th
    The Black Keys
    Modest Mouse
    Jessy Wilson
    @ TD Garden


    Sunday, October 13th
    Big Thief
    Palehound
    @ the Wilbur


    Wednesday, October 16th
    Oh Sees
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday & Sunday
    October 19th & 20th
    Cave In
    Miltown
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday & Saturday
    October 18th & 19th
    The Town and the City Festival
    returns to Lowell, MA!


    Friday, October 25th
    Jenny Lewis
    @ the House of Blues


    Friday & Saturday
    October 25th & 26th
    Steely Dan
    @ the Orpheum


    Saturday, October 26th
    Peter Hook & the Light
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday & Wednesday
    October 29th, 30th, & November 1st
    Steely Dan
    @ the Orpheum


    Wednesday, October 30th
    Jónsi & Alex Somers (Sigur Ros)
    “Riceboy Sleeps”
    with the Wordless Music Orchestra
    @ the Wilbur


    Thursday, October 14th
    Robert Forster (Go-Betweens)
    @ City Winery Boston


    Sunday, December 8th
    Cher
    with Nile Rogers & Chic
    @ the Garden