YEAR END! Top Records of 2021

As another year closes, so does a year end list get posted into the void that is online music discourse. This list is not a fair depiction of what I really listened to this year. Being weird and isolated in the frozen wasteland of Minnesota had me listening to a lot of old jazz records. I have no recommendations based on that. This isn’t that kind of a blog. No one wants to hear my opinions on jazz fusion (I mostly don’t like it) or smooth jazz (actually pretty cool if you can get over the Weather Channel of it all).

In an attempt to feel less street team, I am focused on actually posting stuff in 2022. I got stuck in a cycle of posting about the same three things. To that point, I’ll post a thing about that new Overo / Zochor / Punch On! / Coma Regalia split next week. That would have probably made the list had it come out earlier. Beyond that, I hope to at least get something out on a regular basis. Just not sure what “regular” means in that regard.

Blah blah blah. The list. Let’s fucking go. Top whatever of whatever. In alphabetical order:

Beach Bunny – “Blame Game”
Bnny – “Everything”
Bruce Lee Band – “Division In The Heartland”
Catbite – “Nice One”
The Copyrights – “Alone In A Dome”
Dan Vapid and The Cheats – “Escape Velocity”
Danz CM – “The Absurdity of Human Existence”
Drug Church – “Tawny”
Faye Webster – “I Know I’m Funny haha”
Floatie – “Voyage Out”
Girl K – “Girl K Is For The People”
Hospital Bracelet – “South Loop Summer”
Japanese Breakfast – “Jubilee”
King Woman – “Celestial Blues”
La Luz – “La Luz”
Laura Stevenson – “Laura Stevenson”
Marissa Nadler – “The Path Of The Clouds”
Mia Joy – “Spirit Tamer”
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – “When God Was Great”
Moontype – “Bodies Of Water”
Neighborhood Brats – “Confines Of Life”
Parting – “Unmake Me”
Pet Symmetry – “Future Suits”
PONY – “TV Baby”
Real Sickies – “Love Is For Lovers”
Regional Justice Center – “Crime and Punishment”
Scowl – “How Flowers Grow”
Steady Holiday – “Take The Corners Gently”
Tashaki Miyaki – “Castaway”
Tigers Jaw – “I Won’t Care How You Remember Me”
VIAL – “Loudmouth”

This list would probably look different had I listened to everything I was keeping track of. There’s still one shit-million records I need to work through. It’s what it’s, I guess. Anyway. Go pre-order that new Perennial record. That band fucking goes.

Obligatory playlist:

YEAR END! – Top Records Of 2020

Ok. It’s 7am on New Year’s Eve as I’m writing this. I barely slept last night. I guess it’s year end list time. 2020 was a whole goddamn thing. In the broader sense, the pandemic and politics of the year were a fucking disaster. On a personal level, I had to leave Illinois at the end of the summer. I got transferred at work. I’m now up in Minnesota. It’s…ehhh. I can’t wait for live music to be back. I want to see how the Minneapolis music scene compares to Chicago’s. That will be a tough challenge. Chicago is the best.

Anyway. These are my favorite records of the year. In alphabetical order, because that just makes sense. Ok?

Anna Burch – “If You’re Dreaming”
The Chinkees – “K.A. Music”
Dehd – “Flower Of Devotion”
Frances Quinlan – “Likewise”
Gia Margaret – “Mia Gargaret”
Gladie – “Safe Sins”
Joan Of Arc – “Tim Melina Theo Bobby”
Melkbelly – “PITH”
Nana Grizol – “South Somewhere Else”
NNAMDÏ- “Brat”
Ohmme – “Fantasize Your Ghost”
Open Mike Eagle – “Anime, Trauma And Divorce”
Overo / Asthenia – “Split”
Ratboys – “Printer’s Devil”
Slow Pulp – “Moveys”
Sugar High – “Love Addict”
Surf Rock Is Dead – “Existential Playboy”
Tenci – “My Heart Is An Open Field”
Thank You, I’m Sorry – “I’m Glad We’re Friends”
V.V. Lightbody – “Make A Shrine Or Burn It”

It’s worth noting that Gladie and NNAMDÏ both put out a bunch of great music this year. Consider everything they put out as being on this list.

Also, did anyone have a better year than Kris Esfandiari? Absolutely everything she put out this year was great. She released music as Sugar High, Miserable, Dalmatian, NGHTCRWLR, and KRIS this year. Everything sounded different, and everything is worth a listen. Excited to see what the new King Woman stuff will sound like.

Fuck it. That’s it. Spotify playlist included below.

YEAR END! – Top Records Of 2019

2019best

I made a spreadsheet of new releases in 2019. I tried my best to listen to as much as I could. I managed to listen to about 30% of it. Not super great. Anyway, in alphabetical order, these are records I liked this year. Also, a Spotify playlist of 2019 stuff. Alright.

beabadoobee – “Space Cadet” (but, also “Loveworm”)
Ceremony – “In The Spirit World Now”
The Coathangers – “The Devil You Know”
Dowsing – “Sky Coffin”
Elton John Cena – “All Rats Go To Heaven”
Faye Webster – “Atlanta Millionaires Club”
Foie Gras – “Holy Hell”
Funeral Advantage – “Nectarine”
Girl K – “For Now”
Haybaby – “They Get There”
Jay Som – “Anak Ko”
Jetty Bones – “-”
Kitty Kat Fanclub – “Dreamy Little You”
Lettering – “Harbinger / Less Violent”
Lili Trifilio – “Book Club”
Lilith – “Safer Off”
Long Knives – “The Subject”
Murs – “The Illiad Is Dead and The Odessey Is Over”
Otoboke Beaver – “ITEKOMA HITS”
Overo – “Overo”
Pedro The Lion – “Phoenix”
Perennial – “Food For Hornets”
Petite League – “Rattler”
Pivot Gang – “You Can’t Sit With Us”
Quelle Chris – “Guns”
Ramona – “Deals, Deals, Deals”
Sheena, Anika And Augusta – “Simple Pleasures”
Slow Pulp – “Big Day”
Strangers – “Good Enough”

YEAR END! – Top Records Of 2018

Hey, 2018 sure was thing. After almost a year away, I brought this blog back a few months ago. I plan on actually updating on a more regular schedule in 2019. But, that is a problem for 2019 Joe. Anyway, here are my top records of 2018. In alphabetical order, because it just makes sense.

BEST RECORDS:

  • Dessa – “Chime”
  • Dogbite – “True Lofi Will Find You In The End”
  • Drug Church – “Cheer”
  • Gouge Away – “Burnt Sugar”
  • Headlines – “MMXVII”
  • Heavy Mantle – “Weights & Measures”
  • Hop Along – “Bark Your Head Off, Dog”
  • Krimewatch – “Krimewatch”
  • La Luz – “Floating Feature”
  • Lala Lala – “The Lamb”
  • Late Bloomer – “Waiting”
  • Lilith – “I’ll Come Over B/W In Real Life”
  • Miranda Winters – “Xobeci, What Grows Here?”
  • Miserable – “Loverboy”
  • Mitski – “Be The Cowboy”
  • Mothers – “Render Another Ugly Method”
  • Nectar – “Knocking At The Door”
  • Ogikubo Station – “We Can Pretend Like”
  • Open Mike Eagle – “What Happens When I Try To Relax”
  • Restorations – “LP5000”
  • Tancred – “Nightstand”
  • Tanukichan – “Sundays”
  • There’s Talk – “Bathed Water Moon”
  • V.V. Lightbody – “Bathing Peach”
  • Worlds Greatest Dad – “Get Well Soon”

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • Absinthe Father – “Jane”
  • Ivy Sole – “Overgrown”
  • Petal – “Magic Gone”
  • Roy Kinsey – “Blackie: A Story By Roy Kinsey”
  • Smol Data – “Smol Data: An EP”
  • Snail Mail – “Lush”
  • Steady Holiday – “Nobody’s Watching”
  • Swearin’ – “Fall In The Sun”
  • Tony Molina – “Kill The Light”
  • Young Animals – “Disposition”

All things considered, Be The Cowboy was my favorite record this year. Or, at the very least, the one I listened to the most.

So, yeah. There you go. Here’s a Spotify playlist

YEAR END! – Top Records Of 2016

tfnr

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.

YEAR END! – Top Records Of 2015

trbestof

I’m keeping this list brief this year. Not too many bells and whistles, or whatever. It’s the end of January, so I really need to just post it. 2015 was a weird fucking year, and I didn’t keep up with this stuff the way I should have. 2016 should be better. Anyway, on with the list.

Top Records of 2015. LPs, EPs, and splits. In alphabetical order:

  • Adult Mom – “Momentary Lapse Of Happily”
  • Annabel – “Having It All”
  • Beach House – “Depression Cherry”
  • Big Awesome – “Party On”
  • Blind Mice – “Sunday Songs”
  • Bong Mountain – “You’re Doin’ Great”
  • Drowse – “Soon Asleep”
  • Football, etc. – “Disappear”
  • Haybaby – “Sleepy Kids”
  • Island Of Misfit Toys – “I Made You Something”
  • Jennylee – “Right On!”
  • Kindling – “Galaxies”
  • King Woman – “Doubt”
  • Kind Of Like Spitting / Warren Franklin & The Founding Fathers – “It’s Always Nice To See You”
  • Long Knives – “This Is Your Life”
  • mewithoutYou – “Pale Horses”
  • Pet Symmetry – “Pet Hounds”
  • Sheer – “Uneasy”
  • The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – “Harmlessness”
  • The Unlovables / Dirt Bike Annie – “Reunion Show”
  • Waxahatchee – “Ivy Tripp”

 

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 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)