Honestly, I’m pretty over lists at this point. They’re arbitrary and don’t really reflect anything but someone’s tastes, except here where they reflect the tastes of three individuals…because that’s how we roll. So, take this list with a grain of salt. These are the records we thought were the best, which mostly just means these are the ones we listened to on repeat throughout the year! Feel free to leave a comment on what you think we missed, or why we’re dumb; we love good comment trolls.
Also, because this list is really about crediting the art that made us happy, we wanted it to make you happy too, so we included purchasing links where we could. Read more
When I heard that Dag were putting together a double LP, I was a little shocked, wondering how they’d get all those song together. But, as more leaks come out from the release, it seems you really get all these different vibes from the band, which has me rather excited. I love the sort of baroque pop attitude of this new single, sort of plodding along like a marching band down the streets, albeit one with a bit of an Aussie twist. Subtle backing vocals add a further texture that’s equally enchanting…I mean, who doesn’t like the “ba ba ba da da” moment in the song’s late end? Pedestrian Life sounds like its going to rip; it drops on June 25th via Bedroom Suck Records.
There have already been a couple records dropping this year that have absolutely charmed me, making them (in my mind) better than anything else. While this is on the second single from Pedestrian Life, I can feel that this forthcoming Dag LP is going to weasel its way into that 2021 pantheon of greats. I was sold at the open, with careful guitar notes staggering in off-kilter, matched by great strings and; they’re soon joined by harmonica and a catchy little rhythmic bounce. You get all that in the first minute, quickly followed up by overlapping vocals, one more of a spoken-sing-song with the other operating in a more melodic registry; this is the little nugget I put in my pocket to carry away. Is it weird that I want this song soundtracking the next year of my life? Pedestrian Life is out June 25th via Bedroom Suck Records.
If you were fortunate enough to spend a good amount of time with Dag‘s Benefits of Solitude, then, like me, you’re expecting remarkable heights from the forthcoming double LP, Pedestrian Life. Dusty Anastassiou’s voice somehow crafts melody while also seeming like a welcome lecture from your favorite speaker. The first half of the song works with the vocals and a marching style stomp, allowing the guitars to serve as this uplifting layer for textural purpose; echoing and twisting in the background like sly snakes. When you hit 2:14, you can hear the song shift, the guitars seem more melodic, cascading in step with Dusty’s soothing delivery, all of it culminating in this quick burst of emphatic jam that abruptly draws the song to a close. Already I’m loving it and looking for more! Pedestrian Life is out via Bedroom Suck Records on June 18th.
I had no idea there was a Permits until the other day, which just goes to show you how important it is to keep an eye on your favorite acts; the band is a super-group of sorts, gathering up members of Chook Race, Dag, Pop Singles and the Shifters to help one another wrap up odds and ends of songs they had left from their various projects. They ultimately recorded the record in a short time with Jesse Williams of Girlatones (who also put out a brilliant LP this year!), then they’ve been working through the pandemic on overdubs and final tweaks. Just one listen, and you get what you’re looking for; you get that nostalgic NYC underground pop sound, spun through the lens of the best musicians in Australia. Pretty much the perfect way to introduce yourself to the world I reckon; Time Permits will be out on November 26th via Tenth Court.
For the 8 or so people who read this blog on the regular, you’ll likely be aware of my affection for all things Oceanic, primarily New Zealand and Australia. So, with year end lists in mind, I thought I’d offer up my personal takes on the best tunes to come out of the area in 2017. There’s no particular order, just my sixteen favorites of the year.
There’s even a fun little playlist at the bottom for you to enjoy!
Thigh Master has been high on my list of Aussie imports this year, and they just announced a forthcoming split with Dag (another of my favorites) for December. Those familiar with any of the previously managed bands will surely enjoy this track, as it walks that line between angular guitar and haphazard melody. To me, the band just embrace their own musical inclinations, even with slight tonal imperfections; this is what Pavement would have sounded like had they just gone out to have a grand old time. This split 7″ will drop on Bruit Direct Disques come the end of December.
Since late last year, Dag has been pretty high on my musical radar. The band crafts this dreamily discordant rock n’ roll. It’d be easy to toss this act in the bin with the rest of their Oceanic peers, but there are some things that stick out to my ears that elevate the sound on Benefits of Solitude. You’ll hear some little bits of noise, be it squawking horns or string instruments stretched to the maximum of their tones. “Exercise” and “Guards Down” have to wear the badge of lead singles, but while those offer more swinging energy, don’t skip on some of the more subdued numbers like “Company” or “JB,” — the latter sounds a great deal like Tim Kasher. You might even just jump right in with my favorite, “Staying Up at Night.” Clearly, one run through, and you’ll find textured indie rock begging for repeated plays, so be sure to guarantee your listening by buying it from Bedroom Suck Recordsthis Friday
I don’t know how the Aussie folks do it, but Dag is just another group in the long line of hitmakers coming across the sea. This particular tune seems to hit some discordant notes, only forcing you to focus more closely on the song’s construction…well-played. The casual attitude is perfect for the verses, wearing a heavy male vocal; it’s joined by a female counterpart during the choruses, which kicks up the endearing factor ten fold. This tune appears on the band’s new LP, Benefits of Solitude, and it should only be a matter of time before the rest of the States start clamoring for these guys; look for the LP on February 24th via Bedroom Suck Records.
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In keeping with a bit of our Australian focus today, we’ve got another tune from Dag to toss out into the world. A short and sweet number, calmly flowing with deep vocal tones from the start. As the song moves along there’s a little bit of back and forth between male and female vocalists, keeping the harmony centralized as you tap your feet along to the track’s end. The usage of string arrangements in the background adds a really nice touch to boot, so give it a listen while you await Benefits of Solitude, which hits on February 24th via Bedroom Suck Records.
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