September was heavy on the releases, with several acclaimed heavy hitters throwing their names in the figurative hat that is the best albums of 2016. Unfortunate for me, I didn’t listen to many of the records I’ve been meaning to spin. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few YMHM additions to this month’s repertoire. Besides, the year ain’t over yet! Enjoy!
Chris Farren – Can’t Die
In tune with their typical roster of folk and punk rockers, SideOneDummy recently added singer/songwriter Chris Farren to their team. In tune with his clever songwriting and humorous observations courtesy of acoustic guitar, Farren now boasts a full band to inflate his charm with some substance. Can’t Die is mellow by the record labels standards, but is nonetheless a fun and energetic listen.
Erica Freas – Patient Ones
Don Giovanni Records
Just in time for Autumn and the falling leaves, Erica Freas (RVIVR) lays out a new set of solo acoustic jams on her latest album, Patient Ones. The record is no stranger to light song-structures with heavy material in Freas’ piercing words. It’s perfect for a nice morning in on a dreary, rainy weekend, cup of coffee in hand and warm blanket wrapped around cozy persons.
Hante. – No Hard Feelings
After releasing This Fog That Never Ends back in January, French darkwave artist Hante has blessed eager ears once again, striking the same haunting melodies in her soft yet distant voice. The niche is present, as once again, cold synths and drum machines dominate each track, honing in an eerily romantic voice simultaneously wrought with despair. The Depeche Mode worship on the album covers is a nice cherry on top too. Wow, look at the flowers and moody color scheme!
Kishi Bashi – Sonderlust
Joyful Noise Recordings
A little less violin and a little more synthesizer would be an apt way to describe Kishi Bashi’s third record, Sonderlust. Although fans know and love Mr. Ishibashi for his masterful talent for violin, mandolin, and all stringed things, he trades the sugary loops for a little more intellect in his songwriting. This works as an advantage, or a disadvantage, depending on how you look at it. On one hand, his words delve into a much more melancholy territory, fresh off of a divorce, yet his trademark falsetto still remains. Pop music is his artful craft, yet here we find a deeper meaning behind the message, versus the playful onslaught that reigned supreme on Lighght.
LVL UP – Return To Love
Sub Pop Records
The fuzzy acoustic guitar strumming a loud, muffled E chord on opening track “Hidden Driver” suggests a Neutral Milk Hotel worship on account of LVL UP utilizing immediate, indie rock tracks throughout their history. Beyond that, Mike Caridi’s voice doesn’t quite extend to bombastic highs like Jeff Mangum ever would, but nonetheless, Return To Love is immediately catchy, and another solid edition into the ever-growing list of Sub Pop indie records that deserve way more attention than what tends to top their album sales.
Merchandise – A Corpse Wired For Sound
Merchandise is a consistently great band, and my fear is that they don’t get quite the recognition they deserve, especially after their last record (and 4AD debut), After The End. A bit of a departure from their usual post-punk compositions, the dreaminess in sound and lead singer Carson Cox’s best Morrissey impression are sure-fire additions. A Corpse Wired For Sound is reminiscent of their jangle tendencies as a band, but more importantly, it showcases their knack for extended compositions formulated with characteristics straight out of pop’s playbook.
Negative Thought Process – Methylene Butterfly
Negative Thought Process
Methylene Butterfly‘s appearance is deceptive. The two-piece grind band starts off the record with a robotic voice detailing what actually drives the record thematically, that of dark thoughts of self-harm and even suicide. Yet the chemistry lesson combined with a peaceful creature such as a butterfly leads you to believe otherwise. That is, at least until you’re treated with a 20 minute onslaught of fuzz, sludge, and Daniel Page’s sweet, sweet vocal power.
Oathbreaker – Rheia
Rheia has the pleasure of reaping in all the praise it deserves as a glorious blast of blackgaze without the hipster following. “Second Son of R.” raises goosebumps right from the start, and the record isn’t quick to let up, with careful, spooky passages of slowed down arrpegiating guitar leading a new passage head on into more powerful screams, courtesy of the extremely talented Caro Tanghe.
Touche Amore – Stage Four
Hardcore records don’t always bring a whole lot to the table for me personally. I only one one hardcore record myself, Defeater’s Travels. However, seeing Touche Amore sign with Epitaph and actually get some mainstream press sparked my attention. Additionally, Stage Four is just as you would think it’s about. Cancer. Yep, combine something along the lines of Hospice, and throw in the screaming cries of Jeremy Bolm, and you have a pretty damn depressing record.
Trentemoller – Fixion
In My Room
Taking a few pointers from that of Disintigration-era Cure, Trentemoller craft a unique blend of ethereal, wavy guitars over a thudding bassline carrying tracks throughout the record. To call The Cure a big influence on their music is an understatement, but Fixion is that and then some. Electronic synths make up many of the melodies on record, and it goes without mentioning that some portions of it are incredibly dance-able as well.
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