Best Indie Rock Albums of 2018

I’m not sure why every Best of 2018 list I see finds it necessary to represent every genre equally. The lone exception I have seen is Brooklyn Vegan, which started publishing genre-specific best-of lists along with their overall Top 50. In general, though, everyone seems to feel the need to be all things to everyone, and that just results in the same 5-10 records from each genre appearing in some shuffled order, which gives us a remarkably uninteresting degree of homogeneity. When I read year-end articles, I want to find things I would not have found on my own.

If you have read anything I have ever written about music, you know what you’re getting here: independent guitar rock, with at least a 90% chance of it having female vocals. This is both a personal preference, as women’s voices just appeal to me more than men’s, and the state of the genre…let’s face it – women are crushing guitar rock right now. And it’s all from indie labels. I don’t write music off because it is not independent, but I have heard so little of interest out of the major label world in many years that I spend most of my time looking elsewhere and digging deeper. So with that, let’s see what commanded my attention in 2018. I stopped ranking these a couple of years ago because there was little point…people get way too hung up on rankings.

Best of 2018 Playlist
I’ll make this easy and lead with my 2018 playlist.

Shattered World Radio
And if you like these songs, many of them are featured on my internet radio station, Shattered World Radio:

You can check it out on its own page here: Shattered World Radio

Remember Sports – Slow Buzz
Remember Sports - Slow Buzz
This record slays. I’m having a hard time not just ending my review with that, but life is difficult, so I persist. I will give you my negatives up front: two tracks were released on last year’s split 7″ with Plush, meaning I can’t use them on my 2018 playlist, and one other is a reworking of one of their older tracks, so only 9 of 12 tracks were new to me. That’s it. Those are the only bad things I can say. This album is great. From the very start, before they changed their name from SPORTS, the band has shown a tremendous talent for nailing catchy-as-hell guitar riffs, with emotive vocals and clever lyrics. Slow Buzz shows continued improvement on all of those fronts. This is a phenomenal album, out on the always-reliable Father/Daughter records (from San Francisco, my newly adopted city!). The opening track, Otherwise, has a slow intro. Focus inward and harness what is left of your attention span for a minute and wait for it to kick in. That drum beat has been finding its way to my fingertips several times a day since about June. The first pressing was 500 copies on baby blue vinyl and 500 on Grimace purple and bone color-in-color, and both are somehow still available, which is criminal. Get on that. Highlights: Otherwise, Up from Below, Calling Out, Pull Through.

Katie Ellen – Still Life EP
Katie Ellen - Still Life
I got fully hooked on Katie Ellen’s debut full-length late last year. That record led me backward to Chumped…still not sure how I missed them when they were a band. Actually, it turns out that I was one small decision away from seeing them open for Cayetana a couple of years ago. I ended up bailing because a) I had seen Cayetana two weeks prior, b) it was on a Wednesday in Baltimore, and I was not, and c) I had a date the next night, and decided I should not be completely exhausted for that. On the one hand, I missed out on seeing Chumped. On the other hand, I met my wife on the date, so…I’ll take the hit on that one. Anyway, all of this is to say I have fully reached the point at which I am all in on any music Anika Pyle creates. She has a brilliant mastery of conveying emotion through powerful music and brutally honest vocals (always a winning combination in my book). Katie Ellen put out an EP this year on Lauren Records, and it is excellent. Adaptation of Para Todos is my favorite song of the year. There were 200 copies on orange vinyl and 300 on lavender – both have etched b-sides and both are still available. Highlights: Adaptation of Para Todos, Still Life.

The Sonder Bombs EP (2017)
The Sonder Bombs - MODERN FEMALE ROCKSTAR The Sonder Bombs EP
This band caught me off guard. I now have no idea where I first heard them. It actually might have been a Spotify playlist. I’m including both their 2017 EP and 2018 album here because I just can’t overlook the song End of My Daze, from the EP, which is just about perfect. This band knocks out catchy indie-punk songs with powerful female vocals and a ukulele. It works, and it’s awesome. Lead singer/ukulele shredder Willow Hawks has a big voice, and uses a slight overprojecting style that reminds me of early No Doubt, Save Ferris, or even Tilt. None of those bands ever really did it for me, but the Sonder Bombs do. The lyrics are powerful and not subtle – there is no mistaking Hawks’ feelings about…well, anything. U(ke) Ain’t Enough is my favorite track on the full length. Ms. Hawks clearly has a chip on her shoulder about everyone who has told her she couldn’t have a punk band with a ukulele, and this song is a giant finger in their direction. And it’s fantastic. The music has perfect punk rock urgency, and how can you not love something with the line, “So you can kick my ukulele punk-rockin’ ass”? Listen to the final track on the album straight through – it contains one of the more brutal gut-punch moments I’ve heard in a while. Anyway, I highly recommend everything they have put out so far. No vinyl as of yet – CDs and cassettes. Highlights: End of My Daze (from the EP), U(ke) Ain’t Enough, Pot & Kettle, Twinkle Lights.

Skating Polly – The Make It All Show
Skating Polly - The Make It All Show
I gave this record its own full write-up a couple of months ago. As I said in that one, I think people get hung up on how young the members of Skating Polly are, and it unfairly limits how good the band can be in their minds. It’s time to stop saying, “Wow, that’s great for their age,” instead of just, “Wow, that’s great.” The Make It All Show is a killer rock record. There are some intense, shredding songs on here with evil, menacing bass lines and brutal vocals. Go listen to They’re Cheap (I’m Free) and Camelot right now. Then go see Skating Polly live. I had been dying to see some of the songs from this album in person since it came out, and finally did this past month. They’re Cheap (I’m Free) matched the intensity of the recorded version. Camelot somehow blew the recorded version away – it was a half-step faster and just leveled the room. Hollywood Factory is another good one – that one is more of a great pop song. Little Girl Blue and the Battle Envy is a fabulous rock epic. The whole record is worth your time. The first pressing was on pink vinyl with red splatter. Highlights: They’re Cheap (I’m Free), Camelot, Hollywood Factory, Little Girl Blue and the Battle Envy.

The Beths – Future Me Hates Me
The Beths - Future Me Hates Me
This is the one record on this list you are likely to find on many others. I read a lot of reviews of Future Me Hates Me that were some form of “nothing groundbreaking here, but it’s still great.” Initially, I agreed. I enjoyed my first pass through the record, but my main reaction was, “Solid indie pop songs.” Then, a few hours later, my brain said, “Hey…you know that album you just listened to? Do that again.” As an obedient slave to my impulses, I complied. Then I did it again. Suddenly, I found myself listening to The Beths more than anything else over the last couple of months of 2018. So what is it about New Zealand’s indie pop masters that gets me? Great hooks? Check. Great vocals? Yup. Fun, rolling drum beats? Sure. Building intensity throughout songs? Definitely. All of these things are elements that typically catch my attention. I think the thing that really stands out for The Beths above other indie bands is lead singer Elizabeth Stokes’ ability to convey her inner monologue through her lyrics. These songs are riddled with clever ways to describe the things that are going through her head. A simple, “You make me feel three glasses in,” from Little Death, demonstrates more romantic unease than most whole songs. The title track, Future Me Hates Me, which has been in heavy rotation on SiriusXM’s XMU station, has been stuck in my head for at least the last two months. That one is a brilliant journey through Stokes’ decision to let her guard down. In rapid succession, it goes from her putting her foot down with, “It won’t happen again,” right into, “It probably won’t happen again,” and then makes its way into the supremely catchy chorus, in which she admits that the subject of the song makes her want to risk going through all of the hell that can accompany relationships. The album is out on Carpark Records. The first and second pressings of the record were on “tangy yellow” vinyl, and, as far as I can tell, are indistinguishable. The third pressing was on a clear aqua vinyl, and we’re now onto the fourth, which is a clear emerald color. They can’t keep it on the shelves. Highlights: Little Death, Future Me Hates Me, River Run: Lvl 1

The Joy Formidable – AAARTH
The Joy Formidable - AAARTH
Every Joy Formidable album that comes out takes me some time to process. I wonder if this is true for most people, and perhaps contributes to their recent commercial success not quite measuring up to that of their breakthrough album, The Big Roar. This band doesn’t fully fit anywhere right now. They still have the 90s-style big guitar sound that made them catch on with the masses for a time. They are no longer supported by a major label, which hurts their exposure a bit. They haven’t released a radio-ready song in several albums now, either. However, everything they’ve put out remains really good. It does take some time to absorb, though, and in a limited-attention-span world, that is probably the thing working against them most. AAARTH, their latest effort, should mostly be enjoyed as a whole. Again, it took me several listens before individual tracks started to grab me…but then, they did. What For is my favorite by a substantial margin – that song excels in delivering rock n’ roll urgency. AAARTH was released in several vinyl forms: the most elaborate was a box set, containing a red vinyl version of the album (limited to 300 copies), along with an exclusive 7″ picture disc, a handful of other items, and a subscription, with which the band sends you 10 additional exclusive tracks (one per month). It also came out on yellow vinyl (limited to 300, Rough Trade exclusive), Clear With Yellow and Magenta Splatter vinyl (indie retail exclusive), and black vinyl. The band still draws a great crowd and still shreds – I recommend seeing them, if you have not already. Highlights: What For, Go Loving, The Better Me.

Bad Moves – Tell No One
Bad Moves - Tell No One
I first caught Bad Moves live opening for Tacocat in DC in 2016, and anxiously awaited the release of their album for much of the two years that followed. Since that Tacocat show, it has become clear that they have assumed the mantle of the next great DC indie band – they seem to open for most bands I care about whenever those bands tour through DC. Great energy. Tell No One is a really solid debut album, full of infectious indie pop songs. Spirit FM is the biggest standout for me on the record (and the video is pretty great). The album came out on Don Giovanni Records, on black vinyl. Highlights: Spirit FM, Cool Generator, Missing You.

Long Neck – Will This Do?
Long Neck - Will This Do?
I came across this one late in the year – great album from Lily Mastrodimos of Jawbreaker Reunion. Now, let’s see…how to classify it. You know what? I can’t. It has some tracks with classic indie rock song structure, but then it has others that fall under the singer/songwriter heading. But wait, there’s more…others break out elements of folk and even Irish folk. The only thread that stays consistent through all songs is the vocals (and the lyrical references to northern New Jersey). It all works together well, and should be enjoyed as a complete album. Love Letters and Lichen are the songs that grab me most – they have a bit of extra intensity at certain moments. “I keep telling God I don’t care what he does, but I wish he’d send me to Jersey.” Released as a cassette on Tiny Engines. Highlights: Love Letters, Lichen, Milky Way.

Empath – Liberating Guilt and Fear
Empath - Liberating Guilt and Fear
Empath is an interesting one – indie rock with a whole lot of noise. They put out Liberating Guilt and Fear, a cassette EP, along with two 7″s in 2018 (both called Environments, which makes my OCD hurt). Every Empath release has had at least one truly great track on it. Each one also has several moments in which it devolves into harsh noise. They tend to lose me in those moments, but the other parts make those worthwhile. The song The Eye is freakin’ excellent, and is my favorite song of theirs hands down. Check it out. All of their stuff is on Get Better Records.

Poorly Timed Album Review: Skating Polly – The Make It All Show

Skating Polly - The Make It All Show LP
It turns out working full time while going to grad school, planning/executing a cross country move, and filming a documentary (more on that later) doesn’t leave a ton of time for other things. Who knew? Well, I have finished some of those activities, and can now turn some of my attention back to my website updates, and that means it is time to catch up on 2018 record reviews. First up: Skating Polly’s latest full-length, The Make It All Show. This one was released back in May. I do not think it has gotten nearly the attention it deserves. This is an excellent record, and the best they have released to date.

I think people have long gotten hung up on how young the members of Skating Polly are. Focusing on that automatically caps how good you think the music can be. It becomes, “Wow, that’s great for their age,” instead of just, “Wow, that’s great.” It’s time to drop the qualifiers, folks. The Make It All Show is a killer rock record. Starting some time in 2017, if I recall correctly, Skating Polly went from a two-piece, to a three-piece, adding their brother, Kurt, to the lineup on drums (mostly). I love what this move did for the band – the musical depth that an extra member added was immediately obvious.

The first (and only, so far) pressing of The Make It All Show was on a really cool pink and red splatter vinyl, released on El Camino Media:

Skating Polly - The Make It All Show - Pink/Red Splatter Vinyl

This record took an unexpected turn for me. I thought I had established a good idea of what to expect from Skating Polly musically. I’ve loved their energy since I first happened upon them at Riot Fest in 2015. Their harsher material best captures that energy and draws you in, but I have found that the tracks of theirs that keep me coming back have been the less-brutal, more-pop-influenced tracks. This has been true for their last three releases: “Dead Friends” and “A Little Late” on 2014’s Fuzz Steilacoom, “Pretective Boy” on 2016’s The Big Fit, “Black Sky” and “Louder in Outer Space” on last year’s New Trick EP

Those types of tracks are great on The Make It All Show as well. Their louder songs, however, have made the leap. The grand standout on the album is “They’re Cheap (I’m Free)”. This song’s vicious auditory assault tore a path of destruction through my living room. Once I sifted through the wreckage, I played it again. The track begins with a perfectly evil, menacing bassline and clear calm-before-the-storm vocals. The intensity builds and explodes into a chorus of savage badassery. It’s freakin’ great. Check it out:

Next up: “Camelot”. This one has a similarly vicious intensity level. It’s a full-speed, shredding rock beast, with another killer bassline. The last couple of lines could easily be the chorus of another song. Here’s the official video:

I’ll wrap up with my favorite of the less-noisy tracks: Hollywood Factory. I don’t have a ton of insights on this one…it’s just a great pop song and ends up stuck in my head with great regularity. Here, again, is the official video (they make a lot of those):

Great record, start to finish. Highly recommended.

Best of 2017

Best Albums of 2017

Have you noticed that all the “best of” lists from “independent” publications all kind of look the same this year? In past years, I’ve been able to find at least one or two that have contained decent overlap with my favorites. This year, they all seem to reflect what in the past would have been a Billboard end of year chart. Sorry, folks, I’m just not looking for you to tell me that Lorde or Kendrick Lamar had the best record of the year…I want something based on more than sales figures. I’ve also noticed that the big lists are very careful to cover ever genre. You won’t find any of that here.

Instead, first and foremost, you get a list of all of the albums that had me going back for repeated listens this year. There were a good number in 2017. I have included one release that came out late in 2016, because 1) I didn’t hear it until 2017 and 2) if one thing has been clear this year, it’s that there are no rules anymore. I’ve also kind of stopped ranking albums. Does it matter if something is #1 or #3 on my list? Not really. It’s kind of arbitrary and adds little value. We can say I listened the top tier ones a lot more often than the “other notable” records. That’s as much as I am going to break it down. Enjoy. There’s a lot of great stuff happening in the indie music world. I’m eager to hear your comments (and feel free to suggest other bands I’ve missed!).

Once you are done here, please check out the Pette Discographies Best of 2017 Mix Tape Playlist on Spotify. In order to embrace my inner nerd in full, I actually constructed to fit a 90-minute mix tape (allowing 46 1/2 minutes per side…).

Diet Cig – Swear I’m Good at This

It was a toss-up whether I anticipated this album or the new Afghan Whigs more when the year got started. I would have thought it impossible for this record to live up to the level of hype the machine in my head was cranking out…and yet, it did. It’s a fantastic album – catchy, energetic, brutally honest songs from guitarist/singer Alex Luciano’s adventures/missteps in early adulthood. Great hooks, fantastic energy. I can say with certainty that I listened to this record more times than any other in the first half of the year (and most likely more than any other all year). “Maid of the Mist” is a damn-near-perfect indie rock song, and it contains a delightfully vicious opening line: “I want to hold a seance for every heart I’ve broken, put them all in a room and say, ‘Get over it.'”. Other highlights: Bite Back, Blob Zombie. I’m really looking forward to seeing their songs performed with a full band in the spring (they have been a two-piece band to this point).

Katie Ellen – Cowgirl Blues

OK, let’s get this out of the way: first, Katie Ellen is a band name, not a person. Second, Cowgirl Blues is not a country album. I freakin’ love this record. Diet Cig dominated the first half of my year, but Katie Ellen took over the second. This record is full of excellent, infectious, heartfelt, and yes, brutally honest indie rock songs (sensing a pattern?). I know I said I wasn’t ranking things, but “Sad Girls Club” is my song of the year. I have listened to the full album many times over, and still cannot listen straight through without repeating that track a couple of times. It’s just a perfect, infectious song, and not just because it has the lyrical cadence of Nirvana’s “Drain You.” The chorus — “You have known for quite a while that I am not so well, sad girls don’t make good wives” — is even more biting when you see the lyric sheet, which contains quotes…i.e. ‘You have “known for quite a while that I am not so well’, sad girls don’t make good wives,” meaning this was probably something that was actually said to singer/guitarist Anika Pyle during a breakup. Rough. Anyway, fantastic record start to finish. Highly recommended. Highlights: “Sad Girls Club”, “Drawing Room”, “Houses into Homes”

Allison Crutchfield – Tourist in This Town

The curse of a January album release…by December, everyone forgets it came out this year. I gave Allison Crutchfield’s record a ton of my time in 2017 as well. It is packed with stellar indie pop songs with extensive earworm qualities. I had only listened to it once when she was touring through here, and I opted not to go, and I now regret it terribly. She spent most of the rest of the year touring with her sister as Waxahatchee (also a solid 2017 album), and now, it seems as though her focus may be shifting back toward the reunion of her previous band, Swearin’. That’s all good, but I was really hoping to hear some of this material live. I was also shocked to discover that an album I have had in my library for many years, the Ackleys, included 15-year old Allison and Katie Crutchfield. Blew my mind. Anyway…my favorite tracks: Expatriate, Dean’s Room, Mile Away

The Afghan Whigs – In Spades

It would take a lot for Greg Dulli to put out a record without it making my best of list. This is the second Whigs album since they reformed, and I can’t help but compare it to the last one. I would say that In Spades has a consistent quality to it, while Do to the Beast had more ups and downs. However, while I thought two tracks from Do to the Beast measured up to any of the best of Dulli’s extensive catalogue (These Sticks and Lost in the Woods), I did not feel that any on In Spades quite reached those heights (though I Got Lost gets close). There’s a quality in my favorite Afghan Whigs or Twilight Singers songs that gives me chills and stabs me squarely in the emotion vault. Only I Got Lost and Birdland do anything like that for me on the new record. I realize this is starting to read like a negative review…it’s not. In Spades is a great album, and I — at the very least — like every song on it. After almost 30 years (!) of transcendent music, though, my Dulli bar is set REALLY high. Highlights: I Got Lost, Birdland, Light as a Feather

Cherry Glazerr – Apocalipstick

Apocalipstick caught me off guard. I had formulated an opinion on Cherry Glazerr after their last record and singles, and felt fully comfortable in my “solid at times, but nothing that needed to be in the rotation” stance. Oops. I kept reading so many good things about their new record that I gave it a try a few weeks ago. The first two songs meshed well with my idea of the band’s sound. Same assessment: fine. Then, the third track, Moon Dust, hit, and knocked me on my ass. This is a badass, powerful rock song that thoroughly blew me away. It totally derailed my day, as I had to stop what I was doing and really give it a good listen. As I listened, more and more of it won me over. A later track on the album, Sip O’ Poison, bowled me over even more than Moon Dust had. This is one hell of an album, full of captivating songs with delightfully harsh and/or menacing guitar lines. Even the tracks that had me on the fence upon first listen have since grabbed me. Fully worth your time. Highlights: Moon Dust, Sip O’ Poison, Nurse Ratched

Charly Bliss – Guppy

I will be honest…the first time I listened to this record, early in the year, it didn’t resonate with me and I couldn’t get over the sound of the vocals. However, I read at least three different reviews as the year went on that said the same thing: something along the lines of, “the vocals turned me off at first, but then I couldn’t get the supremely catchy songs out of my head and now I love them.” I decided to give it another try, and I am really glad I did. Count me among those now on the Charly Bliss train. Now, I can’t figure out how I gave them a pass earlier in the year, especially since the album takes no time to get going; the guitar line in the opening track, Percolator, just crushes. I have listened to everything they have released kind of incessantly throughout the fall. Guppy is packed with addictive indie rock songs full of savage self-reflection and occasional shredding guitar lines. I love it. I got to see them a few weeks back and they did not disappoint. Interestingly, some of my favorites of theirs are the one-off mp3s and singles they have put out separately. In addition to the Guppy album, Don’t sleep on those: Turd, Clean, Special, Love Me are all fantastic. Highlights from Guppy: Percolator, DQ, Ruby.

THICK – It’s Always Something… EP
I heard THICK on the fabulous playlist assembled by the NY Times as part of their Rock’s Not Dead, It’s Ruled By Women article that came out in September ( – well worth one of your ten free articles this month). Both the article and the playlist are phenomenal. The playlist fully validated what I have been listening to in recent years, as 90% of the new bands that have hooked me in the past five years were featured. THICK doesn’t have much material out yet, but I like what I’ve heard. There’s a ton of potential in their handful of songs, which swing between indie and full-on riot grrrl. It’s Always Something… is a four-song cassette EP and all songs are good. You can already see the growth in songwriting from the other tracks that they have on Bandcamp, and I can’t wait to hear what’s next. Highlights: Puke’s Diner, Anymore

Skating Polly – New Trick EP

I’ve mentioned Skating Polly before on my best of lists. I continue to be intrigued with their rapid development as musicians. They drew me in with Babes in Toyland-esque noise, and kept me coming back with their less-thrashy, more harmonic material. this year, they went into the studio with Louise Post and Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt and cranked out a three-song 12″ EP, and it’s excellent. All good. They also added their brother to their touring lineup to make it a three-piece, and it had a great effect. Highlights: Louder in Outer Space, Black Sky

Other Notable Records of 2017

Cayetana – New Kind of Normal 

I’m still trying to figure out what to do with Cayetana’s second full-length album. It’s really good. And I rarely listen to it. Why? Well…it’s a tough album. It’s actually the perfect musical embodiment of depression. I don’t mean that in an, “I’m sad today and I’m going to turn out the lights, light a candle, and listen to _ to stew in it” kind of way (I left in blank because everyone has their personal preferences for this). No, this is not that type of album. This is a no-holds-barred, bleak portrayal of what it is like to wrestle with crippling depression. It’s not that it isn’t heartfelt…it’s just got that energy that someone has when they are just going through the motions of daily life as they battle all-encompassing depression. It’s brilliantly constructed, but, honestly, tough to put on with any regularity. There are a couple of standout tracks, like Phonics Failed Me, that break free from the bleak overall feel to strike at some more emotion; those do keep me coming back. However, there aren’t any songs on this record like a handful of the ones on the last album, like Dirty Laundry, that I may or may not have listened to 15 times in a row. Highlights: Phonics Failed Me, Am I Dead Yet

Date Night with Brian – S/T EP
I’m just happy that there are new songs from Ean Hernandez of Sicko. A solid EP of exactly what one would expect from him: poppy indie-punk songs. Highlights: Summertime, Anywhere

Greensleep – Cheap Headphones

Greensleep was one of my favorite bands of the ’90s. They were pretty unknown, especially outside of New York, but cranked out song after song of heartbreaking indie-punk during that time. I was really excited to hear that they were reuniting. Naturally, they are not the same band that they were then; a solid chunk of life has passed since the ’90s. In reforming, though, they added a fourth member, who now does the majority of the singing, and it has completely changed the dynamic of the band. Cheap Headphones is their first full-length album since reuniting. The main singer/guitarist from the original band only sings four of the eleven tracks on the album. Those four songs would make a fantastic EP; those songs somehow retain the angsty, early-twenties energy that the band had in the ’90s. The ones sung by the later addition to the band don’t have the same energy. Some are good songs, but the feeling is off. Highlights: 2nd Avenue, Restrepo, Armchair Revolutions.

Pette Discographies Best of 2017 Playlist

Pette Discogs’ Best Albums of 2016 (and Late 2015)

‘Tis time. My annual music review has been something I have put together for several years, but I have generally limited it to a personal Facebook post. That seems a little silly, considering these vast tools at my disposal to reach at least 5-10 additional people who might care. So, I’m expanding the reach this year. Here we go: my favorite albums of 2016 (and late 2015, if I did not get to it by 2015, but it counts because I make the rules). The first few entries here are interchangeable in my rankings – they are all albums I have listened to incessantly since I discovered them.

1. Tacocat – Lost Time
I was way late to the game on Tacocat. Then, I was listening to extensively curated female-singer-indie-rock channel on Pandora, and Pandora and I had a discussion, which essentially amounted to Pandora saying, “Um, you like Tacocat, dumbass. No, really. Get on that,” and me saying, “Mmhm.” We had that conversation about three times before I paid attention. Pandora was correct, and I have remedied the problem. I am now caught up. The good news is this happened at the perfect time: about a month before the release of a new Tacocat album, followed by not one, but two rare DC tour appearances. It’s true: I  Tacocat and you should, too. Their newest album, Lost Time, covers all kinds of fun topics, but I will leave that to you to work through.

Highlights: Talk
I Hate the Weekend
Dana Katherine Scully

2. S P O R T S – All of Something (2015)
Heartfelt, energetic, solid indie rock with a distinct hint of a midwestern sound. This album grabbed me immediately…I just didn’t hear it until early 2016. I read a review of All of Something shortly after I heard it that made it sound as though this band had all the makings of one that was not long for this world (some members – but not all – graduated from college and moved from Ohio to Philly). It hasn’t done them in yet.

Highlights: Saturday
Reality TV

3. Bloodboy – Best of Bloodboy EP
No, Bloodboy is not a hardcore or metal band (at least not yet) – just solo singer/songwriter Lexie Papilion. I am still trying to figure out how I found my way to this EP. It contains sounds one would normally expect to find exclusively in ’80s songs (and for those of you saying, “I love ’80s songs!” I did not mean that as a positive). It works, though. It really works. These are phenomenal songs. Intense, biting, and infectious – I have been listening to this EP repeatedly for the past couple of months. If only there were a physical product so that I could give her money for her music… Anyway, this EP is a stellar debut and I look forward to what is to come.

Highlights: Keep Your Disease
Hey Kid
Fuck Yourself (I find it endlessly entertaining that Amazon refers to this one as “Fuck Yourself [Explicit]”…y’think?)
Mom, I’ve Changed

Oh, just listen to the whole thing. It’s all good. The last track doesn’t hold my attention quite as much as the first five, but it’s still good.

4. Blowout – No Beer, No Dad
Blowout sounds like early Lemuria…I mean they REALLY remind me of early Lemuria. This is a fantastic development – I miss early Lemuria. It’s catchy indie-punk songs at their finest. This is their first full length, and it has also been occupying my stereo with great regularity in the latter part of this year.

Highlights: Guts Grown Up
Cents Cents Money Money
Green Couch

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