January 11, 2014 Dropbox Notes

Welcome to another year of Dropbox Notes ! This month’s offerings are the best of last year, i.e. my favorite records from 2013.

In the past, I have posted my best albums of [insert year] list with little regard to the order on that list. That is, I just posted my favorite records of the previous year in an approximation of what I liked the best. This year, I struggled to try to get through at least the first 30 albums in order of how good I thought they were; how much I enjoyed listening to them, and how likely I would go back and play them after not listening to them for a year.

That qualifier – whether you would go back and listen to a record after a year of not playing the album – appears (at least to me) to be the real test of a list like this. In the past, most of the other lists I have reviewed (you can find some at rocklist.net) from some of my favorite magazines have not contemplated the long term impact of the records they claim are the best and greatest of the year. Some magazines do a better job of this (and I am confident it is completely unintentional) than others.

For example, looking back just 5 years to 2008, compare these two top 20 lists from Q Magazine and Spin:

Q Magazine 2008 Top 20

1. Kings of Leon – Only By The Night
2. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
3. Coldplay – Viva la Vida
4. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
5. Glasvegas – Glasvegas
6. Duffy – Rockferry
7. TV On the Radio – Dear, Science
8. Elbow – Seldom Seen Kid
9. Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely
10. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!
11. Sigur Rós – Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
12. Keane – Perfect Symmetry
13. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
14. Kaiser Chiefs – Off With Their Heads
15. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
16. Hot Chip – Made In the Dark
17. Adele – 19
18. British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
19. Goldfrapp – Seventh Tree
20. Gaslight Anthem – ‘59 Sound

Spin 2008 Top 20

  1. TV On the Radio – Dear Science
  2. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
  3. Portishead – Third
  4. Fucked Up – Chemistry of Common Life
  5. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
  6. Santogold – Santogold
  7. Deerhunter – Microcastle
  8. Hot Chip – Made In the Dark
  9. Coldplay – Viva la Vida
  10. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
  11. Elbow – Seldom Seen Kid
  12. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Pt 1: 4th World War
  13. No Age – Nouns
  14. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
  15. Beck – Modern Guilt
  16. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
  17. Roots – Rising Down
  18. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!
  19. Okkervil River – Stand Ins
  20. Gnarls Barkley – Odd Couple

There is a little overlap on these two lists but on average from the Q Magazine list, I would listen to 5/20 (25%) and from the Spin list I would listen to 4/20 (20%). Can you guess which records I’d probably revisit?

With this personal observation i.e. that there are very few records that I would continue to play after a gap of a year, this list is prepared with that objective also in mind – looking forward 1 year from now.

And perhaps that is the goal of this “Best of 2013” list – to check back in a year and see how many of the 100 listed here you would go back and listen to in 2015.

With that said, here is my list of the BEST OF 2013 (all capitals because I am shouting):

Tales From The Dropbox Best Albums of 2013

  1. Savages – Silence Yourself
  2. FIDLAR – FIDLAR
  3. Pacific Air – Stop Talking
  4. Guards – In Guards We Trust
  5. The Men – New Moon
  6. Arctic Monkeys – A.M.
  7. Kurt Vile – Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze
  8. Paper Lions – My Friends
  9. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
  10. Palma Violets – 180
  11. Fuzz – Fuzz
  12. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
  13. Paper Aeroplanes – Little Letters
  14. Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe
  15. Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana
  16. Pure Love – Anthems
  17. California X – California X
  18. Foals – Holy Fire
  19. Future Of The Left – How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident
  20. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
  21. Mikal Cronin – MCII
  22. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of The City
  23. Starflyer 59 – IAMACEO
  24. Miles Kane – Don’t Forget Who You Are
  25. Lydia – Devil
  26. London Grammar – If You Wait
  27. Royal Bangs – Brass
  28. Upset – She’s Gone
  29. Waaves – Afraid of Heights
  30. Deerhunter – Monomania
  31. The Julie Ruin – Run Fast
  32. Jagwar Ma – Howlin’
  33. Haim – Days are Gone
  34. Bad Sports – Bras
  35. Bastille – Bad Blood
  36. My Bloody Valentine – m b v
  37. Deap Valley – Sistrionics
  38. So So Glos – Blowout
  39. Wooden Shjips – Back To Land
  40. Drenge – Drenge
  41. Hookworms – Pearl Mystic
  42. These New Puritans – Field Of Reeds
  43. The Knife – Shaking The Habitual
  44. Julia Holter – Loud City Song
  45. Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt
  46. Iceage – You’re Nothing
  47. Yo La Tengo – Fade
  48. Superchunk – I Hate Music
  49. Volcano Choir – Repave
  50. Phoenix – Bankrupt!
  51. Purling Hiss – Water on Mars
  52. Roshambo – Lonesome Men From The Woods
  53. Pissed Jeans – Honeys
  54. Queens of The Stoneage – Like Clockwork
  55. Phosphorescent – Muchacho
  56. Local Natives – Hummingbird
  57. Factory Floor – Factory Floor
  58. Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
  59. Riots  – Time For Truth
  60. Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation
  61. Fall Out Boy – Save Rock And Roll
  62. Forest Swords – Engravings
  63. James Blake – Overgrown
  64. Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin
  65. Mutual Benefit – Loves Crushing Diamond
  66. Strypes – Snapshot
  67. Acres of Lions – Home(s)
  68. Daughter – If You Leave
  69. Grouper – The Man Who Died in His Boat
  70. Ballet – I Blame Society
  71. Tegan and Sara – Hearthrob
  72. Peace – In Love [Deluxe Edition
  73. Taymir – Phosphene
  74. Chastity Belt – Ne Regerts
  75. Auto Defiance – Running on The Edge
  76. Jimmy Eat World – Damage
  77. Courtney Barnett – The Double EP – A Sea Of Split Peas
  78. Dirtbombs – Consistency Is The Enemy
  79. Fitz & The Tantrums – More Than Just A Dream
  80. Hungary Kids of Hungary – You’re A Shadow
  81. Imperial State Electric – Reptile Brain Music
  82. Iron Chic – The Constant One
  83. Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time
  84. Matt Pond – The Lives Inside The Lines In Your Hand
  85. Jake Bugg – Shangri La
  86. Murder By Death – As You Wish Kickstarter Covers
  87. Cage the Elephant – Melophobia
  88. Teen Agers – I Hate It
  89. Beware of Darkness – Orthodox
  90. Super Happy Fun Club – All Funned Up
  91. Middle Class Rut – Pick Up Your Head
  92. Banquets – Banquets
  93. Cults – Static
  94. RVIVR – The Beauty Between
  95. Exxonvaldes – Lights
  96. Mama Kin – The Magician’s Daughter
  97. Swearin’ – Surfing Strange
  98. Dead Sons – The Hollers And The Hymns
  99. Growlers – Not. Psych!
  100. Guster – Live With The Redacted Symphony

I’ll add the covers if I get a chance, but otherwise enjoy the list. Part 1 of the list ( 1-50) dropped today. I’ll drop part 2 (51-100) around February 1, so a slightly shorter turnaround this month/

Let me know if you think I’ve missed something, or your thoughts on the list. If you have a list you’d like to share – post a comment or send me the list and I’ll post it.

Until later alligator! I wish you all a terrific and happy 2014. Peace out.

December 15, 2013 Dropbox Notes

December 15, 2013 Dropbox Notes

Now that you’ve had a little time to digest this month’s offerings, I figured I’d try a little different method of introducing this month’s dropbox offerings. As you know, if an album is on the list, then I like it. It is pointless to “criticize” a record. Over the years I have read reviews in a large variety of publications, including fanzines, almost religiously, with a singular purpose:  to determine whether I would like an album enough to purchase it. However, when I actually thought about the information I was processing, in the end it was all about the quality of certain information in a review. Most reviews are rather worthless fluff. It seems as if writing more about how the band feels about the record was somehow important, or where it was recorded, or how it compares to the last record ( always harder, faster, more fully realized, etc.), or the difficulties one or more band members experienced during the writing process (Alternative Press – I’m talking about you here) was somehow important in making me decide to make a purchase. I am a slow learner. It is only recently I realized that I was only just scanning theses so-called reviews to see if I could gleam valuable nuggets of information that would help me decide on whether I would actually like the record. Some reviewers are better than others at giving me the information I needed to make that decision and I find that I am sometimes guilty of excessive descriptors.

So, after plenty of thought, I have divined the minimum amount of knowledge required to make a decision:

1. Band Name + Album Cover – You can often determine what genre a record falls into pretty quickly by looking at the album cover and in knowing the genre, you’re probability of determining whether you’ll actually like the album will increase, sometimes, significantly (in the true meaning of the word significance). Art is very much a part of the record buying experience. Death metal and thrash albums look different than indie records which look different from pop artists and country. There are exceptions, but generally, the formula, band name + album cover art = genre can help you narrow things down. As noted below, this is why a video of the band performing live is really helpful. Than you YouTube!

2. What other sound/influences are present? This is a different question than one that is often asked of the musician’s themselves. If the information comes from a band member, the “influences” question (which in my opinion is a fairly lazy and poor question) can produce a wide variety of answers none of which will actually help with the decision to listen to an album based upon a review. For example, here are Sky Ferreira’s claimed musical influences: Madonna,[19][20] Prince,[19] Gwen Stefani,[19] Britney Spears,[20] Alice Cooper,[19] Nancy Sinatra,[19] and The Runaways.[20]

So, when you listen to the record, which is in this month’s dropbox, do you hear any of these influences? No. Not a single one is present on this record. Not much help.The real question for PIP (purchasing information purposes), are those elements of artists that have a similar sound to the artist being reviewed, so you can kind of figure out if it is a sound/artist you would like to listen to and then take the leap from there.  For example, it is not much of a stretch to say that the early Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers records sound like Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. How do I know? I asked Jonathan in Vancouver and he said “I ripped them off, I tried to sound like them.”

There should be little debate that throughout the history of recorded music, artists have incorporated elements from other artists into their compositions. Whether by design, accident, coincidence, the limitations of human imagination, or genetics, popular music is derivative. The past is a predictor of the future, right? Comparison should not be avoided when it can lead to finding something worth treasuring.For me, these comparisons are helpful. If I know and like the other artist to which the comparison has been made, then the probability of me liking the unknown artist, increases proportionately to the reputation of the comparison artist. For example, if you tell me an artist sounds like the dBs or Replacements – I’m in. I will purchase the record. I love those sounds.

3. Where is the artist located? Regionalism in music is important. For example, the English punk rock scene, Seattle’s grunge scene, Athens GA, North Carolina alternative rock, Minneapolis punk rock, Vancouver punk rock, even Toronto, Boston, Los Angeles, and New York developed some interesting variants in the same genre, i.e. a sound associated with a city.  Once a particular type of music becomes moderately successful in an area i.e (playing shows that people are attending) then other bands in the area start developing a similar sound. This may be a result of bands playing together on a concert bill, or attending each others shows (British punk is an excellent example of this), or in areas where college radio still has an influence, hearing like minded musicians playing and incorporating those sounds into a bands oeuvre.

All this is not meant to infer that bands are mere copyists, but this “regionalism” is one of the qualities that I have found helpful in determining whether I am going to like a band. The place of origin alone is not very helpful, but as an additional piece of information, sometimes you can connect the dots to discover a connection to a particular sound.

3. Who produced the record? In certain genres this is an important piece of information. Depending on your familiarity with a particular type of music certain producers names have considerable influenced my decision to purchase an album. For example, Mitch Easter has produced a huge number of records by bands whose records I’ve liked. ( R.E.M., Ben Folds Five, Pylon, Helium, Pavement, Suzanne Vega, Game Theory, Marshall Crenshaw, The Connells, Velvet Crush, Ken Stringfellow (of The Posies), and Birds of Avalon). Same goes for Don Dixon ( Marti Jones, Chris Stamey, Tommy Keene, Smithereens, Richard Barone) , Steve Albini (Pixies, Nirvana, PJ Harvey), Steve Lillywhite (U2, The La’s), John Leckie ( Stone Roses, Radiohead), etc. Hopefully you get the idea. Sometimes a producer’s influence can make the purchase decision easier, although I note that few reviews mention a producer, unless it is Dangermouse.

4. A video. YouTube is among the greatest innovations in music. Why? Because now you can actually see an artist play live, and this for me is a huge influence in the purchasing process. Some artists make good videos but they are incapable of putting on a show that I would want to see. Perhaps its my growing up in Vancouver in the late 1970’s where the can-punk scene was huge. I attended hundreds of shows between 1977 and 1986 and this spoiled me forever. It is difficult to imagine the cognitive dissonance created in having experienced Dead Kennedys, D.O.A., Subhumans, as well as a steady stream of British acts including XTC, Echo & The Bunnymen, Gang of Four, Stranglers, Clash, Buzzcocks, Jam, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Police, and American acts including the Cramps, Minutemen, Toxic Reasons, Replacements, Plasmatics, and Husker Du and then try to experience a Tom Petty show, which I did, regrettably.  I loved Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers ( Released November 9, 1976 containing the songs “Breakdown” and “American Girl”, but the record did not translate well live because Tom Petty puts on the absolutely most mind-numbing and boring live performances ever. YouTube cures this problem. However, as noted in these notes, live performance is just a fact to the equation, because some great songs are recorded by bands that should never perform live. See Tom Petty above.

4. What record label is the artist on? This information used to be terrifically helpful, but now, not so much. As self-released and self-funded (or crowd funded) releases now start to predominate the market label associations are becoming relatively meaningless. I mention the importance of the record label as another excellent fact for PIP, because I would be remiss to dismiss the influence of some great record labels that were remarkably consistent, some for a very lengthy period of time. Often,  I would purchase an album just because of the label. Just as Blue Note is the touchstone for Jazz, Stiff Records, Sympathy For The Record Industry, Sub Pop, Car, Rough Trade, XL Recordings, Touch and Go, SST etc., represent (ed) classic punk, indie, and alternative records, and you could buy a record just because it was on the label. I note however, that many of even these labels are now either extinct, have expanded the range of their releases and therefore are not as consistent in quality, or owned by the few remaining major labels, and ascribe to a different perspective as a consequence ( make more money).  I haven’t dropped label as a requisite item of information,  but as time goes on, I fear this information will be less relevant for PIP.

So there you have it – not a lot of information is truly necessary to discern good from bad or potential interesting from not so much. I would add that sometimes you like a particular reviewer, and will go along for the ride, but even in my case, some winners could be losers in your mind. So, tread lightly my friends, and if I don’t update before the end of the year… happy holidays.

Here is this month’s list: (Also, I know about the numbering issue – I’ve tried to fix it, but WordPress #$^ stuff up. It took me an hour to get things to line up. As for the numbers, I’ll have to wait for another time.

1. Go VioletsHeart Slice EP (Brisbane popsters channeling Breeders/Belly.)Go Violets - Heart Slice EP

Try: “Teenager,” “Josie,” and “Beside Me.”

 

 

 

  1. Iron ChicThe Constant One (Long Island punk rock super-group claiming Gaslight Anthem territory – you’ll love it’)Iron Chic - The Constant One Try: “Sounds like A Pretty Brutal Murder,” “What Ever Happened to The Man of Tomorrow,” and “Bogus Journey.”

 

 

  1. ChumpedChumped EP (Slacker Superchunk channeling female fronted Brooklynites sing catchy as F… songs about…..feelings.) Chumped - Chumped EP

Try: “Someday,” “Eleanor,” and “Something About Lemons.”

 

 

  1. Sky FerreiraNight Time, My Time (Model Sky actually can sing and gets it right – well-crafted electro-pop in an Annie Lennox light way.)Sky Ferreira - Night Time, My Time

Try: “24 Hours,” “Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay),” and “I Will.”

 

 

  1. Super Best FriendsHandshake (Canberra 3 piece party synth garage punk rock with headbangin’ appeal! Shouting choruses!)Super Best Friends - Handshake

Try: “Karma Karma,” “No Logo Is A Joke,” and “The Bleachers.”

 

 

  1. Davey LaneThe Good Borne of Bad Tymes (Aussie You Am I guitarist debut EP a throwback to mod influenced shoegaze with power pop elements.)Davey Lane - The Good Borne Of Bad Tymes

Try: “You’re The Cops, I’m The Crime” (Awesome single!) “Sinking May,” and “You Got Me On Side.”

 

 

  1. The ProctorsEverlasting Light (exceptional sunny jangle pop from Gavin Priest led trio – has perfected the Game Theory/Windbreakers sound.)The Proctors - Everlasting Light

Try: “Trouble With Forever,” “Perfect World,” “Ember Days.”

 

 

 

  1. CaseworkerVoices Out There (4th album from San Francisco based garage dream pop trio with boy girl vocals who explore inner ambient/minimalist textures.)Caseworker - Voices Out There

Try: “Voices Out There,” “Ultramarine,” and “Dependence Day.”

 

 

  1. Upset – She’s Gone (former Best Coast/Vivian Girls drummer Ali Koehler led all girl trio produce energetic fuzz ladeUpset - She's Gonen 90’s influenced pop punk echoing Koehler’s past and the gooeyness of the Ramones.)

Try: “She’s Gone,” “You & I,”Oxfords & Wingtips.”

 

 

  1. White HillsSo You Are… So You’ll Be (8 years and 7 albums in band perfects haunted Hawkwind space rock – garage psych with light fuzz. Prepare to be blown away.)White Hills - So You Are... So You'll Be

Try: “In Your Room,” “So You Are… So You’ll Be,” “Forever in Space (Enlightened).”

 

 

  1. ChillsSomewhere Beautiful (NZ Indie pop legends and sound originators with a live return (as a five piece) playing the hits at private party on New Year’s Eve 2011 in Central Otago, N.Z. )Chills - Somewhere Beautiful

Try: “Heavenly Pop Hit,” “Soft Bomb, Part One,” and the hauntingly lovely “Submarine Bells.”

 

 

  1. Less Than JakeSee The Light (Veteran ska punkers make a return with first LP in 5 years – and its good)Less Than Jake - See The Light

Try: “My Money is on the Long Shot,” “Do the Math,” and “Sunstroke.”

 

 

  1. Dead GazeBrain Holiday (Missisippi’s Cole Furlow’s project is lo-fi garage based fuzz pop in the same vein as Ty Segall with groovy hooks to make you smile.)Dead Gaze - Brain Holiday

Try: “Yuppies Are Flowers,” “Stay, Don’t Say,” and “Possible Embrace.”

 

 

  1. Wild ChildThe Runaround (Austin-based group led by the husky voiced Kelsey Wilson and Alexander Beggins’ sophomore effort finds success in folk influenced indie pop, unfortunately a little overproduced, but some catchy hooks right the ship.)Wild Child - The Runaround

Try:  “Victim to Charm,” “Living Tree,” and “The Runaround.”

 

 

 

  1. Roman CandleDebris (Chapel Hill N.C. fourth LP changes pace with a darker guitar pop record featuring a rarity – some strong lyrics. Beautiful sounding album.)Roman Candle - Debris

Try: “End of the Street,” “Nowhere to Start,” and “Not Strangers Anymore.”

 

 

  1. SadiesInternal Sounds (Canadian desert rockers still evoking their Byrds and Band with all the jangle that means on their 16th album.)Sadies - Internal Sounds

Try: “The First 5 Minutes,” “Starting All Over Again,” and “Leave This World Behind.”

 

 

  1. StraightawayLast Exit To Nowhere (straight forward no fills skate punk from France.)Straightaway - Last Exit To Nowhere

Try: “My Own Demise,” “Last Exit To Nowhere,” and “Right Choice, Wrong Feeling.”

 

 

  1. Blue RodeoIn Our Nature (Canadian alt-country legends edge closer to their Band roots with a beautiful but very dark folk rock record – 13 is a lucky number.)Blue Rodeo - Nature Noir

Try: “New Morning Sun,” “In Our Nature,” and “When the Truth Comes Out.”

 

 

  1. Minor AlpsGet There (Blake Babies + Nada Surf = sweet folk harmonies – Juliana Hatfield and Mathew Caws.)Minor Alps - Get There

Try: “Far from the Roses,” “Mixed Feelings,” and “Waiting for You.”

 

 

  1. Alex LloydUrban Wilderness (Very catchy Aussie sing-a-long folk pop that’s punchy with this 6th album as good as his award winning first, 2002’s Black the Sun.)Alex Lloyd - Urban Wilderness

Try: “Waterfall, “Black Cat” and “Turn the Light On.”

 

 

 

  1. Templeton PekSigns (melodic punk rock from Birmingham England in vein of Billy Talent, Rise Against (with whom they toured in 2011) still retaining some metal edges.)Templeton Pek - Signs

Try: “Who We Are,” “Slow Burn,” and “Signs.”

 

 

 

  1. Radical FaceThe Family Tree – The Branches (Ben Cooper recording under Radical Face moniker 2nd LP of trilogy traverses Death Cab For Cutie indie/alt-folk territory – successfully.)Radical Face - The Family Tree - The Branches

Try: “Holy Branches,” “Reminders,” and the pastoral “Summer Skeletons.”

 

  1. The SoundsWeekend (5th album from Swedish dance party rockers contains classic (Blondie) elements of the Sound’s past while showing a little more risk with a couple of indie pop efforts. Gotta love Maja Ivarsson’s vocals which are gruff sweetness.)The Sounds - Weekend

Try: “Hurt the Ones I Love,” “Shake Shake Shake,” and Weekend.”

 

 

  1. Gary NumanSplinter (Songs From A Broken Mind) (20th release, Goth electro-robot’s triumphant return.)Gary Numan - Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind

Try: “I Am Dust,” “Splinter,” “Everything Comes Down to This.”

 

 

  1. CurbsideThe Sound I Know (2012 release, Canadian throwback 90’s pop-punk rock in same vein as Overwhelming Colorfast.)Curbside - The Sound I Know

Try: “54 Queen Street South,” “For Those Left Behind,” and “Saving Face.”

 

 

  1. Alex ChiltonElectricity by Candlelight (Alex illuminates genius through impromptu cover set recorded at Knitting Factory NY 2Alex Chilton - Electricity by Candlelight/13/97 after power outage cancels second show.)

Try: “Surfer Gril (Beach Boys)” “Solar System (Beach Boys),” and “My Baby Just Cares for Me (Nina Simone).”

 

 

  1. LovespoonCarious Soul (Italian (Ravenna, Italy) Green On Red meets Alex Chilton – loads of reverb.)Lovespoon - Carious Soul

Try: “Anyway,” “Carious Soul,” and “Another Pale Moon.”

 

 

 

  1. Twin ForksTwin Forks EP (Boca Raton FL based Dashboard Confessional singer Chris Carrabba’ folk rock project – and its good.)Twin Forks - Twin Forks

Try: “Back To You,” “Cross My Mind,” and “Can’t Be Broken.”

 

 

  1. Craft SpellsRoom 205 Session EP (Stockton California’s regrettably too short Cure influenced lovelorn indie electro-pop – beautifully crafted.Craft Spells - Room 205 Session)

Try:  “From The Morning Heat,” “Party Talk,” and “Love Well Spent (Live at MFNW).”

 

 

  1. Loon LakeGloamer (Melbourne brothers led five piece command indie surf pop and channel Weezer and INXS.)Loon Lake - Gloamer

Try: “City Lights,” “Cherry Lips,” and “Carolina.”

 

 

  1. Swearin’Surfing Strange (Second LP from Brooklyn’s Allison Crutchfield and Kyle Gilbride co-fronting the Pixies (a little bleaker without the howl))Swearin' - Surfing Strange

Try: “Dust in the Gold Sack,” “Watered Down,” and “Loretta’s Flowers.”

 

 

  1. MoistboyzV (Dean Ween‘s post Ween heavy punk -metal band with heavy debt to Billion Dollar Babies (Alice Cooper’s backing band on the classic albums) and the Beat FarmMoistboyz - Vers – @#$%@#% awesome! NSFW.)

Try: “Paperboy,” “Chickendick,” and “Protect And Serve.”

 

 

  1. Future of The LeftHuman Death EP (See #56. Andrew Falkous led Cardiff Wales alt-punk rockers synth punk EP follow up to amazing 4th LP.)Future of The Left - Human Death EP

Try:  “Not Entirely Present,” “The Knife That Is Not A Knife,” and “Not Entirely Present.”

 

 

  1. Young KnivesSick Octave (Mercury Prize-nominated Leicestershire indie rock trio kickstarter funded 4th LP indie-synth noise pop with Cabaret Voltaire leanings and David Bowie/Byrne vocals.)Young Knives - Sick Octave

Try: “We Could Be Blood,” “Marble Maze,” and “Maureen.”

 

 

  1. Wooden ShjipsBack To Land (Velvet Underground inspired 6th album from San Francisco based psychedelic drone rockerWooden Shjips - Back To Lands emphasize their 60’s influences all to great effect.)

Try: “Back To Land,” “These Shadows,” and “Everybody Knows.”

 

  1. White DenimCorsicana Lemonade (Southern boogie indie rockers 6th LP finds the perfect balance between the 70’s (Allman Brothers) and today)White Denim - Corsicana Lemonade

Try: “New Blue Feeling,” “At Night in Dreams,” and “Pretty Green.”

 

 

  1. Western LowsGlacial (ex-Mezzanine Owls front man Jack Burnside, with help from friends Michael Stipe, Azure Ray’s Orenda Fink, and Andy LeMaster produce an excellent shoegaze Bon Iver record with Echo & The Bunnymen elements)Western Lows - Glacial

Try: “Last Known Rivers,” “Lazy,” and “Grapevine.”

 

 

 

  1. We All Want ToStreets of Your Town (Single) (catchy single from another Brisbane Australian band finding comfort in the sound of Michael Stipe fronting Let’s Active/ Go-Betweens. LP is great too!)We All Want To - Streets of Your Town

Try: “Streets Of Your Town,” and “We’re Not Perfect.”

 

 

  1. TV GhostDisconnect (Lafayette Indiana’s shoegaze Joy Division meets Echo & The Bunnymen in haunting post punk epic.)TV Ghost - Disconnect

Try: “Veils,” “Others Will Be Born,” and “Dread Park.”

 

 

  1. The ToddlersThe Toddlers (Baritone vocalist Nathan Tobin’s Carrboro NC, Mitch Easter recorded, Americana post punk influenced desert rock meets Pavement with the National’s Matt Berringer sound-a-like.)The Toddlers - The Toddlers

Try: “You Can Keep The Wheels,” “Who Is The Kingdom,” and “Little Man.”

 

 

  1. Smallpools – Smallpools EP (Vocalist Sean Scanlon’s Phoenix meets Grouplove/Imagine Dragons indie-pop.)Smallpools - Smallpools EP

Try: “Dreaming,” “Mason Jar,” and “Over & Over.”

 

 

  1. Polar Bear ClubDeath Chorus (less howling and decidedly more poppy version of this terrific upstate Polar Bear Club - Death ChorusNew York punk rock band in transition – still rocks hard.)

Try: “Blood Balloon,” “When We Were College Kids,” and “Upstate Mosquito.”

 

  1. Mystery Twins – Ghost In The Ground (Nashville rockers singer-guitarist Doug Lehmann and drummer Stephanie Brush produce garage rock kissed by X, the Everly Brothers and the 60’s.)Mystery Twins - Ghost In The Ground

Try: “The World Within,” “Your Heart Won’t Let You Down,” and “Mary.”

 

 

  1. Love JunkiesMaybelene (Perth Australia trio funnels Jet through the White Stripes traversing no new ground but rocks like a mother*&&$$.)Love Junkies - Maybelene

Try: “Oxymoron,” “Hurt You,” and “Maybelene.”

 

 

  1. John Steel Singers – Everything’s A Thread (Aussie angular and jangly indie rockers with Beach Boy harmony flourishes achieve perfection.)John Steel Singers - Everything's A Thread

Try: “Common Thread,” “The Marksman,” and “Everything’s A Thread.”

 

 

  1. ConnectionsBody Language (3rd excellent 2013 release from scrappier Columbus Ohio GBV indebted lo-fi rockers who actually write better songs)Connections - Body Language

Try: “Aimless,” “She’s Cheering Up,” and “Jeni and Johnny.”

 

 

 

47. Day RaviesTussle (Sydney Australia quartet wear proudly their Kink’s/ Velvet Underground/ Sonic Youth influence on their Jesus & Marychain shoegaze sleeve)Day Ravies - Tussle

Try: “Double Act,” “I Don’t Mind,” and “Staring Is Caring.”

 

 

 

  1. Anna Calvi – One Breath (Sophomore release from the biggest thing since Patti Smith according to Brian Eno with powerful soaring nuanced vocals utilized to spectacular operatic quality effect.)Anna Calvi - One Breath

Try: “Suddenly,” “One Breath,” and “Carry Me Over.”

 

 

  1. Ty SegallGemini (Demos from 2012 Twins LP sessions for vinyl only release.)Ty Segal - Gemini

Try: “Would You Be My Love,” “Gold On The Shore,” and “Ghost.”

 

 

  1. Entrance BandFace The Sun (turbulent history California psych prog rockers return to the program with trippy moody LP )Entrance Band - Face The Sun

Try: “Fire Eyes,” “Spider,” and “Night Cat.”

 

 

  1. Georgia FairTrapped Flame (Jordan Wilson and Ben Riley, Sydney-born, now Melbourne-based duo mine travel to L.A to produce 2nd LP full of Americana flavored inspired alt-country rock (BoDeans).)Georgia Fair - Trapped Flame

Try: “Love Free Me,” “Plain Girls,” and “Someday Soon.”

 

 

  1. Jake Bugg – Shangri-La (2nd LP containing more of the same up-tempo rockabilly tinged folk rock as his debut. Carry on lad – what you are doing works.)Jake Bugg - Shangri-La

Try: “What Doesn’t Kill You,” “Messed Up Kids,” and “Kingpin.”

 

 

  1. Songs: Ohia The Magnolia Electric Co. (Late Lorain Ohio musician Jason Molina masterwork reissued ala Death Cab for Cutie acoustic.)Songs Ohia - The Magnolia Electric Co.

Try: “I’ve Been Riding with the Ghost,” “Almost Was Good Enough,” and “Farewell Transmission.”

 

 

  1. SpiderbaitSpiderbait (9 year hiatus over for band together for a quarter century. Best known in U.S. for Ram Jam “Black Betty” hit cover, these Aussie alt rock legends return with explosive propulsive electro-hard rockin’, banger of an album.)Spiderbait - Spiderbait

Try: “It’s Beautiful,” “Supersonic,” and “What You Get.”

 

 

 

  1. SwellersThe Light Under Closed Doors (Flint, Mi. Diener brothers return solid effort of well-crafted mature pop punk with sad feel.)Swellers - The Light Under Closed Doors

Try: “Should,” “Got Social,” and “Big Hearts.”

 

 

  1. Future of the LeftHow to Stop Your Brain in an Accident (4th album is best punk rock record of the year, diverse, humorous and Johnny Lydon inspired vocals.)Future of the Left - How to Stop Your Brain in an Accident

Try: “Johnny Borrell Afterlife,” “She Gets Passed Around at Parties,” and “Why Aren’t I Going to Hell.”

 

 

  1. FuzzLive In San Francisco EP (It’s Fuzz. It’s Ty Segall. What more is there to say?)Fuzz - Live In San Francisco EP

Try: Them all.

 

 

 

58. HedleyWild Life (Canadian pop rockers with hooks to spare, “Anything” subversively brain coma inducing.)Hedley - Wild Life

Try: “Anything,” “Beautiful Girl,” and “Dreaming’s For Sleeping.”