You’ve all been waiting, anxiously. Waiting for our arbitrary list of the opinion of four folks who run this site, and what we think were the best albums of 2016. It’s really really important. We’re going to make our site great again with this list. We’re going to win, bigly. But really, it’s just a list of the stuff we loved the most that we covered throughout this year on our site. The comment section is open, so feel free to tell us where we’ve gone wrong or what we’ve got right or anything else fitting. Read more
You just spent your whole week hanging with your family, so now you wanna go hang out with your friends, right? Well, the best way is to catch an incredible show, and boy is there a great one at Barracuda tonight. First, Ultimate Painting are headlining, and the band’s gotten tons of praise all across the pond, especially for their great new LP, Dusk. Plus, EZTV will be there too; the band’s been described as one of the best in NYC, and you’ll likely see their latest High in Place LP on my year end list. Local powerhouse Flesh Lights, as well as Ruby Fray, will kick the night off, so be there or be real square. Tickets are super cheap for a rad show ($7) and can be found HERE.
When EZTV dropped their debut, I was in awe; it was a bit of a rehash of the old school 70s rock, though done refreshingly. Now, they’ve turned things softer, still looking back, although these songs are so pop-tastic that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to turn away. There’s something in the chorus, and the way the song’s spirit is picked up at the 1.5 minute mark, that just grabs me by the ears. Might be a touch of nostalgia, but it boils down to great songwriting in my mind. High in Place should be another enjoyable outing from the group; it’s released on September 30th via Captured Tracks.
I loved the first EZTV release; it reeked of nostalgia, but clearly it was just step one in the band’s progression. Now the band is back with the announcement of their sophomore release, High In Place, and our first listen is definitely a joyous one. This tune definitely looks back on the sunnier side of classic rock, filled in with vocal accompaniment by everyone’s favorite Jenny Lewis. Seeing as their last effort was all over the place in a good way, it’ll be interesting to see where all the songs land on the new one. Look for the album on September 30th via Captured Tracks.
Year-end lists are everywhere…and I can see why they’re important to people. But, seeing as we generally walk off the beaten path more often than not, our list of the Top 50 Albums of 2015 is in no particular order, save alphabetically. It seems pointless to rank one piece of art higher than another, especially when the four of us at ATH all have varying tastes. We just put this list together of the albums we loved the most this year. Are we saying they’re better than records by Grimes or Kendrick Lamar? No, we’re just saying that these are the records we loved more than others. So, you can read on for what we thought was hot.
Also…put links to individual stores where you can buy the albums from the bands…as that’s how we all survive in this music world.
While I’m not entirely sure of the meaning behind Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, I am sure that the music the band’s crafting is something worth noticing. It’s the second time this year I’ve heard a band (the other being EZTV) harken back to an era in the late 70s/early 80s where rock n’ roll attitude was being spun in different directions, whilst always having this experimental twist. I mean, this song sounds old; it doesn’t sound like they’re channeling something from long ago, it sounds like they’re straight out of that period. Look for their Talk Tight mini-LP coming your way early next year.
I’m not typically one to discuss cover tunes, but seeing as this song involves two of my favorites, Chris Knox and EZTV, I feel like it’s justified. EZTV is one of the various acts that really caught me this year, and they definitely do justice to one of Knox’s most popularized tracks. It’s all in honor to celebrate that Captured Tracks (the label of EZTV) will be reissuing Knox’s catalog, including some of his work with Tall Dwarfs. I guess the best thing about a cover is that it encourages you go back and dig through your records, or it opens doors for new listeners. Either way, you can’t go wrong listening to this track, or to either of the band’s (people) involved.
Calling Out is a collection of twelve songs that each span about the length of three minutes and provide a piece of the puzzle that the band’s crafted of indie rock, glam rock, and hints of punk rock all packaged neatly for you in the form of nifty pop tracks. There’s a lot of good things going on here in this debut album and a lot of it has to do with the easy-listening style that EZTV spin onto the tracks. “Bury Your Heart,” the first track up for your ears is a testament to this. Tenenbaum greets you with the perhaps stoic proclamation of “You’ve got to bury/ bury your heart now,” in his warm, sun worn vocals. Meanwhile, the instruments on this song take what you’ve heard in regards to breezy pop and thread it with the subtle darkness of glam rock. The electric guitars are twangy and distorted, foiling the sweet sounding vocals. Percussion wise, the drums fill the rest of the sound space with airy lightness and the faint tinkle of tambourine so the track doesn’t float too high, but dips and soars evenly. At first listen the darkness may not be hyper audible, but upon further listening, you can hear the way it creeps in via the guitars.
Another style of track that you’ll find on this album is that which employs pop hooks in the best fashion. “The Light,” does this exceedingly well, and the vocals almost sound jazzy in fashion. Something about this track reminds me of early tracks from Ra Ra Riot, and the band leads you into the catchy chorus with the ease that’s omnipresent through the duration of the record. Later tracks evoke some sort of urgency in pace and tone, but still neither rushed nor harried. Take, “Dust In The Sky” or “Long Way to Go,” as examples of this: the former of these two has a bassline that pulses at the bottom of the mix, but then the guitars still meander in and out of the track. The latter of the two lets the guitars propel the track with speed but then there are percussive clops and those mild lyrics to bring it back to the subtle rock you’ve come to love on the earlier tracks. Subtlety and pure sound are the meat of the album, and with these at the core of the record makes listening to it feel as though you’ve rediscovered a long lost classic favorite.
If you were looking for a record filled with novelty– that is to say, one that gives you something that’s never been done before, then perhaps Calling Out isn’t really for you. Rather, these gentlemen have crafted an album that plays on the genre of indie rock that’s been done a thousand times and make it fresh with the melding of storytelling and bright pop instrumentation. There’s a reason straightforward indie records have been done so much, and here is an example of just why that’s the case; there are still things left to be said, and well said at that.
So you’ve been invited to three different barbecues and four different Fourth of July parties, and you simply can’t choose which one to go to. Solution: hit up Red 7 with me and some of your friends and rock out for ‘Mericuh Day. Here is your chance to catch not just one or two great acts, but four. Jacco Gardner is riding high off his trippy psychedelic folk release, Hypnophobia, while EZTV are sure to melt your face with their crisp and angular guitar playing. Dinner, another Captured Tracks artist, will mix things up with his trippy new age electronica, while Lonely Life will start the evening off with a little hardcore punk. Since doors are late, swing by those parties and then head on over to catch this great lineup. What is more american than celebrating your love of the jams for a low low price? Nothing, that’s what. Except maybe apple pie. Maybe.
Those of you who’ve been following these pages the last few months have surely caught wind of my adoration for EZTV. Admittedly, they’re touching on all sorts of musical touchstones, but this slow stomping single is perhaps my favorite off their new LP, Calling Out. I can hear early moves between glam rock and punk, a melding that took a lot of care to pull of with such seamlessness. As if there weren’t enough singles to love this record, this is just another reason why EZTV are poised to win over everyone on July 10th via Captured Tracks.