featured lists music 11:54:00 AMPaul Clemente
I was listening to old yearly Top 100 playlists on Construx today at work and was marveling at the one-hit wonders on the lists. Bands like Cosmo Jarvis, Depford Goth, Papa, ROME, These New Puritans, and Gobble Gobble all created music that I enjoyed at one point and I've never heard from them again.
From going back to my first "best of year" playlist in 2008 I saw something else. I saw my gradual love for a band grow exponentially year over year. Some faded away into obscurity (which will be another post) but there have been some acts that within the past 5 years or so went from nothing to my personal shower concert playlist.
When you have time, check out these artists and I hope you enjoy them as much as me.
Last year's list included: The Struts, Majical Cloudz, King Charles, Future Islands, Araabmuzik, The Vaccines, HEALTH, Run the Jewels, Ghost, and James Blake.
I found out about this band very recently while scouring Spotify for my annual 2017 list. Formerly Happy Meal LTD. this British band is equal mixes of Franz Ferdinand, Of Montreal, HEALTH, and the Rocky Horror picture show. Their music style changes consciousness like a sugar-fueled child wandering through an amusement park. Equal parts performance art to musical roulette, HMLTD is incapable of being boring. They don't make you work to understand their music, they grab you by the tie and kiss you on the mouth.
Xiu XiuXiu Xiu has been making music for over a decade now and semi-annually I forget how much I love them. Xiu Xiu is an experimental art-pop group who pour every available resource they have into their music. Vocalist/Founder, Jaime Stewart's voice isn't for everyone but undoubtedly you feel every raw nerve of pain, fear, doubt, and lust into every syllable and profound word he paints. The every rotating line-up tell short violent tales of self-doubt, self-loathing, and a human being struggling to adapt to the world around him. Whether it be a desperate attempt to connect with his surroundings or just playing the music of Twin Peaks, Xiu Xiu is not just a band, it's an emotional ride.
Spooky Mansion is another recent find of mine. This is yet another band who are hard to classify (recognize a trend here). Spooky Mansion is anything but spooky. They layer smooth lyrics, ambient soundscapes, soul-soaked samples, and surf-rock like smoke clouds in a small room. The epitome of road-trip music or a soundtrack to a summer BBQ, Spooky Mansion eases you from the hectic scramble of real life and tucks you into your favorite vice.
When Radkey hit the scene in 2015 with Romance Dawn I was immediately enamored with the group. The three brothers forged this sound like Danzig if he took the proper medication. Radkey pummels out fun danceable garage rock that's driven by the singer Dee's beautiful baritone. The youthful energy and the noticeable bond from playing together so long translates into incredible music.
It might be of interest to some people that clipping is fronted by Daveed Diggs of Broadway's Hamilton fame. I don't care particularly. clipping is - however - a jaw-dropping hip-hop group who is the closest thing to Outkast since Outkast. Davved and company blend razor sharp wit, clever rhymes laced with speedball delivery and poignant social commentary. There is no way this group doesn't make it big one day they are too good. Daveed is so good at one point he raps airline safety instructions and makes it sound like your favorite novel. clipping might be the best group no one has heard of ... yet.
Har Mar Superstar
Har Mar Superstar is a super-nova of creativity and talent. He began his career with making trashy electro-disco playing a character intended to be a sex symbol. He evolved passed that in later albums that transformed him from this megalomaniac into one of the best soul singers I may have ever heard. Taking the music industry by surprise, Har Mar's (Sean's) last two albums have been intense songs about the intricacies of heartbreak and love. He still parades around on stage in his underwear and skullet, but he instantly captivates the audience with his versatile voice.
The Death Grips are more punk than just about anyone right now. They do what they want when they want. They've broken up, reunited, put out experimental EDM albums out, albums with a dick on the cover, got fired from their record company; they don't care. MC Ride is human dynamite backed with maddening drums and electric chaos. The mix hip-hop, punk, EDM, and noise into a ball of napalm. It's hard to imagine how much intensity is packed into each song like a machine pushed to its absolute limit ready to explode, The Death Grips might be their worst enemy but I'm certain nothing can/will stop them.