You know those publications/people who put out their “best of the year” lists in freaking October? Yeah, I don’t like them much. I’m now sure that nothing else in 2016 will blow my mind, as it is currently 2017. Anyway, I saw around 200 live sets, down a little from last year, took tons of pics, but published less for some reason (lazy? busy? lame?), and listened to lots and lots of music. My music player has 65 albums tagged as 2016, and that doesn’t count Bandcamp and various other streaming platforms or XM, which I listen to for hours each day. So, without further ado, my 2016 totally self indulgent, totally too long list of lists mixed with some photos I took…
Hank Wood and The Hammerheads at Atlanta Mess Around
Albums of the year, no particular order except #1 and #2:
1.) Car Seat Headrest, Teens of Denial. Far and away my #1, I listened to this album constantly during the last half of 2016, often several times a day. If I wrote a review of this album it would come off as a ridiculously embarrassing, head-over-heels love letter singing praises about the lyrics, the song construction, the little musical flourishes…ughh…
2.) Whores., Gold. Ironically, I discovered this band on a year end list several years ago. If you asked me last January what my favorite of 2016 was going to be, I would have guessed Atlanta trio Whores.’ full length, based on my love of the first two e.p.’s. Bulldozing, gnarly, picksliding, amp testing, riffing, punishing, fuzzed out, bruising, cathartic noise rock. This track may have the song title of the year, too.
Against Me!, Shape Shift with Me. Maybe one day Laura Jane Grace will write an album that I don’t like, but maybe not.
Thee Oh Sees, A Weird Exits. Not every John Dwyer release grabs me, but this one did.
Sturgill Simpson, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. I’m not much of a modern country guy, and that Nirvana cover shouldn’t work, but damn.
Parquet Courts, Human Performance. Straight up indie rock, solid the whole way through.
The Powder Room, Lucky. Great Athens, GA noise/grunge/alt release.
Goblin Cock, Necronomidonkeykongimicon. Doom, math, speed metal, punk, sludge, stoner rock…man, this one is all over the place. Here’s the thing, though…it makes me smile.
The Coathangers, Nosebleed Weekend. I’ve seen some bitching that the sound’s different on this one, more SoCal, less garage. Whatever, it’s catchy as hell, and I dig it.
A Giant Dog, Pile. I don’t know a thing about this Austin punk band other than every song on this album sounds like a party, a really fun party.
Wilco, Schmilco. They handicapped themselves with that album name, and it’s really mellow, but it definitely grew on me.
Christian Fitness, This Taco Is Not Correct. Falco from McLusky doing his thing one man band style. If that sentence makes sense to you, you’ll like this. Snarky, fuzzed out, muscular post punk, maybe?
Big Ups, Before A Million Universes.Kinda forgot about this one until reviewing 2016 stuff, great album, and they killed at Stopover (again).
LVL UP, Return to Love. I was really late to the party on this one (like last week late!), but hell yeah, guitar rock done well. Almost exactly halfway between Neutral Milk Hotel and Jeff the Brotherhood.
Shows of the year, no order except #1:
1.) Hank Wood and The Hammerheads, unannounced 2 a.m. set at 529, Atlanta Mess Around. The room felt charged before the band even came on, and exploded when they played. Holy shit. Hard to describe.
Drive Like Jehu at Wrecking Ball Atlanta. A bucket list band that I finally caught and wasn’t let down, which is saying something.
The Melvins at The Music Farm Charleston. Totally worth the drive. I hit the floor, rare with my, uhhh, low center of gravity.
O’brother at The Dollhouse. The right band, right mood, right time.
Shellac at The Mammal Gallery, Atlanta. Not my favorite Shellac set I’ve ever seen, but a Shellac show will always be a highlight of the year.
Big Ups at Savannah Stopover. Stopover doesn’t do a lot of heavy duty punk, Big Ups destroyed.
Songs of the year, no order:
Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales, Car Seat Headrest. We’ve talked about this, no? The song that drew me into the album.
Real Love Baby, Father John Misty. I don’t know, I just think this song is beautiful.
Let It Rust, Metz/Swami John Reis. Uhh, the mighty Metz and John Reis of Pitchfork/Drive Like Jehu/Hot Snakes/Rocket From The Crypt? I’m in.
Door, Nice as Fuck. Man, when a Jenny Lewis song grabs me, it really grabs me. Here’s the goofy ass video:
Nobody Speak, DJ Shadow/Run The Jewels. El-P and Killer Mike are confident as hell currently, but the hook by DJ Shadow won’t let go.
Orange Color Queen, Ty Segall. Sounds like a T.Rex song covered by Elliott Smith. So, yeah.
Bummers of the year, no order but #1:
1.) Way too many friends dealing with depression. I’m not going to pretend to understand (unless that will help) or tell you to cheer up. Please seek help, people do care.
Kylesa is on hiatus and NoMeansNo, Chumped, Those Darlins, The Go Go’s, Dope Body, Agalloch, and Fight Amp called it quits. That sucks. On the bright side, The Eagles are kaput.
Let’s not even go into the artists we lost this year, okay?
What.cd shut down. If you know, you know.
In March I lost somewhere around 80,000 photos. No, I didn’t have them backed up, but thanks for asking. Here’s some I didn’t lose.
Empty Vessels at The Dollhouse
Let’s finish out with some random thoughts:
1.) Wonder what the under 21 concert attendance will do to the Savannah scene? A couple new venues, too?
2.) You guys know the Graveface Record Club is totally awesome, right?? Exclusive colored vinyl, random stuff, candy, rad tunes, it’s hard to explain, really. At one point this year, I got a Garbage Pail Kid Card made just for me. I’ve been in a handful of subscription record clubs, Graveface is far and away the most fun.
3.) Coolest thing said to me this year: “You’re at every show I go to, and if you’re not there, I assume there’s something cooler going on somewhere else.”
4.) Funniest thing I remember hearing from a stage this year by a profusely sweating dude in a leather cowboy hat: “I kinda thought, you know, that this hat would look badass, but it’s fucking killing me.”
5.) Attendance was kinda lame at some great shows in 2016. Let’s fix that, okay?
6.) I’m thinking of starting to add a metal umlaut to my name…töm? Yes? No?
7.) Definitely more listicles from me in 2017. Sorry in advance.
8.) Looking forward to 2017 releases: Hotplate, Pile, Spoon, Pissed Jeans, The Wrens (yeah, right), The Breeders, Pissed Jeans, Grandaddy, Ty Segall…….
And, as always..
Shut off the TV. Go to shows, listen to music, do stuff. Unlike this post, life is short. Seriously.