Near the end of each year, members of a forum I belong to begin to assemble candidates for a ‘top 20 releases of…’ list, which is then submitted to a volunteer, who uses a weighted formula to determine the overall list of the top 20 releases of that year.
I have only participated since 2012, but in two years, I have found that I’ve left it too late to do the job properly, always being overwhelmed by the sheer number of releases I acquired during the year. Wanting things to be different this year, I resolved to get on top and stay on top of this year’s arrivals from day one. How am I doing? Well… It’s almost March and I haven’t quite finished evaluating everything from January, and February is only half done.
On the plus side, I’ve found three releases from each month to put on the year end short list. January gave me (in the order I acquired them): Conheartist – Surrounded by Drones, the self-titled EP from Fragments of God, and The Telewire – Like Everything. February has added: Vehicle Blues – Letter Writer, a self-titled EP from Manon Meurt, and PARASOL – I Close My Eyes to See You Again (a song from each is featured on this compilation).
On the negative side, all six of my selections are EPs, as, for the most part, the albums released in these first two months have been disappointing. This compilation features a song from one exception, Soft Science‘s Detour.
01 “Judas Tree” by Blackstone Rngrs from Descendant
This North Texas trio is one of several bands I like signed to Saint Marie Records, and this tidy six-song EP was released this morning.
Bandcamp | Facebook | SMR
02 “so.wrong” by dead leaf echo from true.deep.sleeper
The latest EP from this Brooklyn, New York band specializing in “Nouveau Wave” was also released this morning.
Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud | website
03 “Dig” by Nothing from Guilty of Everything
The debut full length by this Philadelphia quartet is due to be released next week, and going by the two songs available for preview on Bandcamp, it’s one not to be missed. NPR has the entire album available to stream as well as some interesting background info on singer and guitarist Domenic Palermo (listen and read here).
Bandcamp | Facebook | website
04 “Until You Can” by Manon Meurt from Manon Meurt
Several months ago, a friend of mine living in the Czech Republic asked me if I’d be interested in making a donation to help some local Shoegazers get their music recorded. I was and did, and this is the band and their music. Pretty good investment, I’d say. I can hardly wait to see what my T-Shirt looks like.
05 “Remember” by PARASOL from I Close My Eyes to See You Again
A couple of youngsters in Oita, Japan, Emi (bass and vocals) and Tsuchiya Tatsuro (guitar and vocals), have released the kind of tasty sampler of six dreamy Shoegaze confections that your dentist warned you against, but which you will partake of anyway. I wanted to buy it, but it is only available as a free download. I’m thinking, “bargain of the year.”
Bandcamp | Soundcloud | website
06 “Just Go” by Vehicle Blues from Letter Writer
Chicago, Illinois is home to the Shoegaze/Lo-Fi/Noise Pop solo artist Gabe Holcombe, who has crafted this four-song, twelve-minute masterpiece. As a matter of principal, I never pay more than $1 a song, but I will make an exception here.
Bandcamp | Facebook
07 “Feel” by Soft Science from Detour
The four members of this Sacramento, California band: Katie Haley, Matt Levine, Ross Levine, and Mason DeMusey, have released their second album via Test Pattern Records. Detour is one of the top two or three full-length releases I’ve purchased so far this year.
09 “Walk Alone” by Adult Toys from Faceless
This artist/band seems to have a strong desire to remain anonymous. Not even a location is disclosed.
10 “Never” by XO from Heart
Brothers Jeff and Jake Turner moved to Long Beach, California from Atlanta, Georgia, found two like-minded musicians in Joe Assef and Parker Case, formed a band, and released their debut album on the Equal Vision / Rory Records label.
Bandcamp | Facebook | website