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.
I’m not quite sure what to say about this record. I’ve written and rewritten this review a few times already. I just can’t find the right tone. But, whatever.
Museum Mouth have made a great record. My first instinct would be to get all hyped up and yell about how great it is. I’m not sure that would really be appropriate. All told, Alex I Am Nothing is a deceivingly mature record. It’s also pretty fucking heavy. I can’t say for sure, but it is a record that feels more rooted in fact than fiction. Even if it’s not, and it’s just a made up story, there is still a level of honesty that shines through from start to finish.
I said “deceivingly mature” up there because of it’s overall sound. It would be very easy to mistake this as just another punk rock record. Karl Kuehn’s voice is nasally and snotty in some places, forceful in others. The overall tone of the music is lo-fi indie/punk. The songs are catchy as hell, and don’t sound as serious as they really are. It’s easy to miss it. But, in any event, Museum Mouth continue to flex their muscle when it comes to catchy, lo-fi indie/punk. Alex I Am Nothing tracks in a very logical progression from 2012’s Sexy But Not Happy. There are touches of garage rock, indie, punk, and 90s alternative throughout.
But, as far as talking points go, let’s hit the main one. This is a concept record. As such, I want to talk about this record as a whole. Hopefully I can do it without being overly reductive. Alex I Am Nothing is a record about unrequited love and obsession. Specifically through the lens of a gay man who has feelings for a not gay man. It starts with love (well, lust) at first sight. It ends with acceptance, albeit a sometimes bitter version of it. Everything tracks in a realistic, logical way. You can’t help but see yourself in the story. You can’t help but feel bad about what an absolutely shitty situation it is. Museum Mouth has accomplished a tremendous thing. They made a record that tackles an emotionally fucked up topic, and they made it accessible.
Now that I got the review out of the way, I can get all hyped up about this record and yell about how great it is. To wit, every other record coming out this year is on notice. This record is unfuckwithable, and the bar has been set pretty fucking high.
Self Aware Records