by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
Post-Trash began less than a year ago as a way to share our undying love for new music both underground and popular. While we're most certainly thrilled to share the artists and albums that have flown under the radar with new audiences, at the end of the day our goal is simply to spread the word about the music we're passionate about without outside factors or influence. We share music, because we like it... and in 2016, there's been a lot of great records so far in the year's first half. We've been blown away by everything from impressive self released debuts and the exceptional strength of DIY punk to legendary returns and of course, a few well deserved "buzz band" awakenings. It's been a tragic year so far throughout our country and the world, but a wild year in music as the lines of indie rock continue to blur.
We present to you "The Post-Trash 50," a collection of some of our favorite records released thus far in 2016 (plus one for good luck). We couldn't include every album we love, but we hope you'll find some new music to discover within our selections. This list (in alphabetical order) reflects the selections of myself, the site's editor and not the entire staff, but we're all happy you've tuned into Post-Trash and we hope you'll continue to check out the thoughts and opinions of all our writers and contributors. It's important to remember that music press is simply opinion and as such we've chosen to avoid calling it a "best of" in favor of "our favorites" because at the end of the day in the ever wise words of the Big Lebowski... well, that's just like, your opinion, man.
I hope you find something new to enjoy and while it's tempting to scroll to find out if your favorites made the cut (apologies, a lot of them didn't), instead I highly recommend checking out anything you're not already familiar with (that is the point of these lists after all... I think). Check out "The Post-Trash 50" followed by our 20 favorite EPs and a handful of hip-hop releases we'd be remiss not to mention. Enjoy and please let us know if you discover something new. - DG
"I feel a lot of things about this record, but let's start with the elephant in the website, it's safe to say that Animal Faces' latest has two very strong influences in Fat History Month and Pile. While I haven't spoken with the band directly about it, I can't imagine they would argue. It would be unfair to call it a ripoff, but the similarities are striking. The good news is, here at Post-Trash, we're pretty damn fond of that particular set of duel inspiration (an understatement if there ever was one). So... Animal Faces' new record might not be the world's most original record. Who cares. The band wear their seemingly new found influences on their sleeves, but they wear them with pride and they do them justice. Animal Faces are taping into that sweet spot, and good grief, it's real fucking sweet. The trio's understanding of tangled chord progressions, alternate tunings, and dynamic brilliance is balanced and genuine." - Dan Goldin
30th Century / Columbia Records
"Pussy’s Dead feels like a richer and more faithful articulation of what Autolux attempted with 2010’s Transit Transit, an album that does an excellent job flirting with the texture that Broadcast mastered a few years before, but falls flat under its own complexity ... Though Pussy’s Dead lacks the big, sweeping shoegaze melodies that make 2004’s Future Perfect so captivating—it feels authentically Autolux: balancing a blackjack dealer’s level of focus with the dissociative sensuality of a headrush. It’s gentle, wry, and intelligent. And yeah, it sounds pretty good backwards too." - Emma Behnke
"Swarm changes everything. It's still seething with harsh noise and dark discontent, but there's a balance, and for the first time, nothing is buried in the mix. Reid Bateh's vocals have never been the focal point of any Bambara song in the past, hell, they generally felt more like an afterthought, but on Swarm, his voice is clear. Deranged and slurred... but clear, and with that Bambara have become one of the best band's the city has to offer. Swarm owes a great deal to a depraved Nick Cave influence, though the writhing squalor of their record is a thing of creative beauty. There's a dirty Western charm to Bateh's howls, but it's the claustrophobic post-punk noise dirges that really pull you in. It's the type of record you wish Iceage would make, but who needs them when you have Bambara." - DG
Ramp Local Records
"That much sought after balance between total control and chaotic release was beautifully exhibited onstage in front of me that night - completely knocking me on my ass. I am happy to report that with the help of Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader at Gravesend Recordings, along with the mixing of Sam Owens at Figure 8, much of that energy has been finely captured here... Take singles such as ‘Fuselage’ and ‘Armor’, which best exhibit the band’s talent at delivering flurries of crashing cymbals and guitars in between smoothly reentering twisted grooves that hit hard. Zane Kanevsky’s startlingly sublime voice rewards your listening with sugar-sweet melodies and cryptic lyrics throughout the tape... What keeps bringing me back, however, is Matt Dermond’s smart and crunchy guitar work, through which ornate riffs and interspersed chords fill the space in between Kanevsky and Heliotis’ precise rhythmic work." - Ivan Krasnov
"Before A Million Universes"
Exploding In Sound Records
"Instrumentally, as well as vocally, every track on Before a Million Universes demonstrates a precise and wide dynamic range. Everything is kept tight, in control, and let loose just at the right moments, for just the right amount of time before being rounded back up into a compact, groovy package. The record is ever so slightly more subdued than their debut LP Eighteen Hours of Static but because of the leaps in dynamics maintains a higher level of tension. When the band decides to lay low, the listener is filled with nervous anticipation, waiting for the moment when everything opens up yet again in an explosive fury." - Dan Manning
CAR SEAT HEADREST
"Teens of Denial"
"Car Seat Headrest songs are about the big, scary questions that we’re all asking ourselves. Although Toledo doesn’t claim to have the answers, you still end up feeling empowered as a listener. The record captures the all too familiar sense of emptiness and uncertainty that comes with the start of adulthood, and it will fiercely resonate with young people who are trying to figure out how to live in a world that feels like it's falling apart more everyday. Teens of Denial is a powerful source of catharsis, if only by saying what we’re all feeling; and showing us that it’s okay to feel that way." - Cole Kinsler
CE SCHNEIDER TOPICAL
"The duo of Christina Schneider and OSR-Tapes head honcho Zach Phillips are better known by their experimental folk and psych pop nom-de-plum, CE Schneider Topical. I'm terribly late to the party... but better late than never and it seems Antifree is as great a place to start as anywhere. Their majestically weird sound is delicate and uncompromising, offering enough clattered noise to make the most gentle of moments feel experimental, and engaging in the process. There's so much to discover within the album's seventeen tracks, I'm transfixed in their natural beauty. It's tender and warm while always slight askew and endearingly wonky. The focus lies in Schneider's voice, but it's the colorful palette of jagged instrumentation that frame the songs, short bursts of pop splendor and lo-fi brilliance that offers endless hours of good strange fun." - DG
"As If Apart"
Captured Tracks Records
"I was first introduced to Chris Cohen's music upon seeing him live earlier this Spring... which is to say, I'm behind the curve yet again. After listening to As If Apart however, I was immediately immersed in his sound of lo-fi pop bliss, bleak melodic charm, and wondrous experimentation. It's breathes with a cool calm and wistful brilliance. It's sad and heavy in subject at times but warm and inviting, welcoming you into Cohen's dim lit songwriter voyage as it unfolds. There's a lot to take in throughout the record and every replay offers a new glimpse into his swirling pop and majestic psych explorations. For the late night hours." - DG
THE CLAYPOOL LENNON DELIRIUM
"Monolith of Phobos"
"I've been a fan of Les Claypool's music, particularly Primus, for about as long as I can remember and yet if I'm being completely honest, I wasn't expecting much from The Claypool Lennon Delirium, his full length collaboration with Sean Lennon. Perhaps having low expectations for the record worked to my advantage, but Monolith of Phobos is fantastic (in every sense of that word). It has all the hallmarks of a Claypool project but with an emphasis on psych rock that suits him impeccably. Lennon and Claypool bring out the best in one another, adapting their styles to work together in unison. It's a head trip best devoured in full. Consider me sincerely impressed." - DG
CLOUD BECOMES YOUR HAND
"Rest In Fleas"
Northern Spy Records
"Rocks or Cake, their full length debut was an incredible mind-altering exploration that treaded in elements of retro-psych and prog without ever really sounding remotely like anything from the past. Rest In Fleas is picking up right where they left off, immersed in a tripped out undersea voyage of tightly orchestrated free-form grooves and moving patterns. It's hypnotic yet busy, pulling you into their madness one pulsating section at a time. "Bridge of Ignorance Returns" bounces from one headspace to another, a visionary experience with every member of the band leading you into their own unique direction, offering new experiences with each twist and turn. Cloud Becomes Your Hand are what some might call a national treasure... because sometimes you just want to escape reality and let your mind wander." - DG
Suicide Squeeze Records
"Atlanta's The Coathangers have paid their dues and earned their respect. While the story goes that the band formed to play a party without songs or much experience playing their instruments, they've come a long way over the past ten years. One of garage pop's finest bands, Nosebleed Weekend continues their hot streak of dynamic records, overflowing with hooks at every turn. From agitated punk yelps to syrupy sweet harmonies, The Coathangers have never sounded better. Mixing retro pop joy and snarling post-punk, the album roars through influences, moods, and approaches, hell... there's even a song led by a squeaky toy melody... and it works. It all works." - DG
"Still They Pray"
"Do you like doom metal? Do you love bands such as Sleep and Electric Wizard? Do you currently own a bong and have a sweet spot for earthquaking low end? If you answered yes to any of the above... Cough's latest album Still They Pray is pretty much required listening. It's only June but I feel pretty confident to crown it the year's best doom record (even with rumblings of new EW on the way). Drowning in anguish and sludge as thick as bricks, the Richmond band's time away has been worth the wait, this could just be their masterpiece. Dense, depraved, and violently psychedelic, the colossal weight of Still They Pray is dragged through unsettling depths and monolithic despair, but it's the record's desire to veer from the genre's expectations that define it. Drifting through passages of washed out psych dirges, blistering duel guitar solos and crushing slow-drip thrash brutality, the album, recorded by Electric Wizard's Jus Oborn and Windhand’s Garrett Morris, raises the bar for modern doom, and the genre may just have a new classic." - DG
"Culture Abuse get sunnier and poppier on Peach, though one of the few obvious holdouts from their past are David Kelling's serrated, morose vocals, though the delivery is toned down. This works well pitted against the bright and lively instrumentation. Despite its more melodic sound, Peach still owes much to the noisy hardcore and SoCal skate punk found on previous releases. They've toned down the noise, but the band is still as loud as ever and knows how to party, as anyone who’s witnessed their rambunctious live sets can attest to. Only this time the party is all-inclusive and seeks to keep old friends while rubbing shoulders with new crowds. They’ve successfully created something truly wild and fun that transcends the bullshit monotony of everyday life." - Torrey Proto
"What can I really say about David Bowie and his new album that hasn't been said already... nothing, but it bears repeating, because Bowie left us with one final gift before passing away, one last brilliant record that continued to push the envelope of his art. It's a beautiful swan song and the musical culmination of his entire career, pulling from his past with a futuristic push, an astounding listen that captures the heart of Bowie and his decades of groundbreaking and trend setting experimental pop. The proximity of his death to the release of Blackstar will forever have the two tied together, but whether present in the physical or simply in spirit, Bowie left us with one last masterpiece and his finest work since the 80s." - DG
"For a band that’s constantly changing its sound and experimenting with structure, Deerhoof’s songs sure sound solely like the work of Deerhoof. The way Satomi Matsuzaki’s gleeful, childlike vocals and often near-gibberish language splash against fuming beds of wiry guitars and some of the most technically impressive percussion of our time always screams Deerhoof. The key to the band’s work never tiring is that subsequent albums present vastly different stylistic approaches... Here, it sounds like Deerhoof look back on La Isla Bonita rather fondly, primarily riding its raucous guitars into waves of unabashed sonic assault. It’s clear from opener “The Devil and His Anarchic Surrealist Retinue” that listeners are in for sprightly rock songs that don’t do much to challenge Deerhoof’s past trends, but nevertheless sound more vital than this band has in ages." - Max Freedman
"Deftones have continuously demolished boundaries and expectations, creating records of undeniable depth and texture for over two decades. Gore sounds like a Deftones record, which means at it's worst it's still very good. Picking up where Koi No Yokan left off, Chino Moreno and the boys continue to mine the more ethereal sonic landscape. Spacey and atmospheric at it's core, we are still talking about Deftones and even the most beautiful of passages are met with riffs both punishing and inventive. Careful to balance the band's signature melodic beauty and brutality, the record is at it's best when floating between the two as on stand-out tracks "(L)Mirl" and the album's viciously seething title track, "Gore"... It's been over twenty years and Deftones still sound hungry as they push the envelope ever further. Don't call it a comeback." - DG
"The Montreal quartet's latest record picks up where Stripped left off, mining the pop side of post-punk with angular stabs at jangly guitars and rhythms that often move against one another. There's an unflinching calm to the band's spastic charm as Dories manipulate complex shifts and progressions into something casual and inviting, the beauty of which lies in the sense that dissonance is always lurking just around the corner... This is the tangled and pulsating post-punk clamor dreams are made of. The frantic rhythms slide in and out under the vicious lead, pulling the song in perpetual motion as the band mount tension in the most glorious of ways." - DG
"The Birds Outside Sang"
Double Double Whammy Records
"Florist's music is gorgeous, honestly delicate, and highly personal: three qualities that make the band perfect for heartwrenching audio intamicy. Emily Sprague's stirring songs are sparse and contemplative and there's something special about watching them performed but they take on gorgeous atmosphere throughout the band's debut. Her lyrics are confessional and raw, baring her emotions for the world with humble simplicity and beauty, working through personal tragedy with reflection and the support friendship brings. Let go, and let Florist work their magic." - DG
"The magic of Greta Kline’s music lies in the charm and poetry of it. Instead of convoluted monologues or ambiguous storytelling, she employs a more humble tone. After all, the stage name (and alter-ego) “Frankie Cosmos” makes reference to one of her favorite poets, Frank O’Hara. Kline echoes the same type of deeply personal and funny wit that make O’Hara’s poems so special. Next Thing should be listened to with close attention. While the catchy hooks and upbeat rhythms may soundtrack a summer drive to the beach, I find the record best suits a solitary listening experience. Just like rewarding poetry, the songs on Next Thing play like a candid conversation between writer and reader." - Cole Kinsler
FUTURE OF THE LEFT
"The Peace and Truce of Future of the Left"
"Five albums in and Future of the Left are still finding new ways to combine scathing cynicism, sardonic wit, and their own brand of hilariously misanthropic cultural outrage with crushing rhythms and infectiously abrasive melodies. Andrew Falkous aka Falco and company stopped caring what anyone thought of them a while ago, and lucky for us, these days it seems no one is safe. The dismay toward, well... just about everything is as rabid as ever, as Falco takes aim at celebrities, the military, the overprivileged, gluttony, and our ever impending societal doom. While this type of outrage could be considered a downer in the hands of most bands, Future of the Left have mastered the art of transforming the horrendous to the hilarious. While Falco may be the ring leader, Future of the Left's force lies in its ever incredible rhythm section, Jack Egglestone (drums) and Julia Ruzicka (bass), pounding out an unrelenting cavalcade of jagged minimalism and raw "dance punk" grooves. Falco's guitar tones and general agitated vocal howls scrape like rust over the dense low end. Scathing and deranged, Falco's lyricism never quite takes anything too seriously, and yet I can never help but feel that he couldn't be more serious about it." - DG
"The music is a departure for the group insofar as it is a more controlled expression of their typical mania. At the same time, the dynamic continuity creates a prolonged experience that the listener can escape to anywhere, at any time. This achievement makes Eraser Stargazer the definitive Guerilla Toss album up to this point. It does not require a familiarity with the band’s live performances and is therefore the most accessible recording for a new listener... Eraser Stargazer is a funk-circus in much the same way that a rock-opera is an opera. But it is a circus performed by members of the Freak Show who rose up to oust the carpet-bagging owners and re-envisioned the whole thing as a celebration of their own distorted image." - Glenn Curran
HEAD WOUND CITY
"A New Wave of Violence"
"Good Grief. Head Wound City's self titled debut EP was a harsh and chaotic seven songs in just under ten minutes running time. On A New Wave of Violence, the triumphant follow up, the band have expanded their reckless destruction with some seasoned patience. There's still chaos! There's still an unbridled insanity! There's still harsh hardcore carnage for the whole family to enjoy! This time around the hardcore "supergroup" (which features members of The Locust, Retox, The Blood Brothers, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs) stretch out a lean ten songs over the course of nearly twenty five minutes, shifting the average song length from under a minute and a half to damn near a leisurely two and a half minutes... expansion, progress, depth... the new Head Wound City. Truth be told, it's not all that different than the old Head Wound City. There's most certainly more nuance and more dynamic heft to their menace, but we're still in the same gloriously gritty "City" we've been waiting to return too." - DG
HORSE JUMPER OF LOVE
"Horse Jumper of Love"
Disposable America Records
"The Boston trio has crafted a gem, wrapped up in the utterly visceral crawl of life. Self titled, Horse Jumper of Love is a record bent on reminding one of the indomitable and unrelenting pace of existence – the album that is distinctly temporal in its architecture. As such, numerous entities have referred to HJoL as “slowcore” and the description fits, but it is a reductive moniker, reducing what is some of the most enjoyable pacing and song structure of any album in recent memory... As far as records go, Horse Jumper doesn’t tell you what to think, but instead provides fertile land for thinking to take place. The effect of this should not be underestimated, and when it is done so well, by three great musicians, it makes for a hell of a time." - Niccolo Dante Porcello
Northern Spy Records
"Baltimore's Horse Lords are making experimental music fun again. Sure, their mix of avant-garde krautrock, psych punk, free jazz, and math rock is challenging, but it's challenging in a mind expanding way, accessible to anyone willing to let it in. New single "Bending To The Lash" has the band locked in together like an impenetrable vault, so tightly wound around their own snaking bass line and tangled rhythms it's genuinely amazing. Guitars and saxophones spiral out of control into a vortex as the song's hypnotic nature begins to offer the sense of being abducted by aliens or getting sucked into another dimension. There's an otherworldly quality to it all and things may never be the same again afterward. Horse Lords' latest is wildly experimental and infinitely engaging while dance floor ready grooves... the perfect out of body soundtrack, whenever you might need it. Their sophomore album Interventions is a the type of trip that will have seeing colors and hearing sounds you never knew existed. See you on the other side." - DG
Sports Day / Merdurhaus Records
"The Austin duo capture an experimental warmth and lo-fi beauty throughout the album, built around a slow pacing, fuzzy melodies, delicate harmonies, and a nuanced attention to detail and tonality. This is late night music. It's early morning music. It adapts itself to your listening needs, and shines resiliently for all occasions. Much like Horse Jumper of Love's spectacular debut earlier this year, Hovvdy tread a similar territory using muscular compositions and fuzzy layered distortion that often feels gentle and clean. At its most straightforward, the album is a stunning lesson in subdued beauty, and at it's most adventurous, it's a rattled celebration of well placed noise and patchwork layered guitar tones. With slow dripping tempos, hazy blankets of reverb, resigned lyrics, and tape manipulated sound, Taster has all the makings and charm of a bedroom pop classic." - DG
"Big Deal Party"
Exploding In Sound Records
"There's a very loose Party Down theme that revolves around the record, but Jackal Onasis' appeal lies in tones and structure. There's an obvious attention to detail in Molini and Blakely's songwriting as they drag conventional structures through their fuzzy noise pop splendor. Lead single "The New Ron" is the perfect introduction to the band’s spaced out attack, opening with Blakely’s heavenly soft vocals before teetering into the unknown as the band twist and turn through dense rhythms and searing guitar riffs. it’s as heavy as it is pretty as the song develops with an inescapable melody and futuristic groove... The band ride out their own vicious clatter with casual charm as they tear through tangled chords, stampeding rhythms and harsh distortion. Joyously blistering eardrums, the record ends all too soon, it's heavy in the spine tingling sense but the melodies are cut with razor sharp precision." - DG
"Life Is Alright, Everybody Dies"
Midnight Werewolf / Exploding In Sound Records
"Life is Alright, Everybody Dies is a complex beast, and one that requires numerous listens to fully engage. Kal Marks are making a brand of catharsis rock that seems content being deeply isolated from a wider audience -- it’d be a stretch to say that Shane wants everyone to understand what he’s created. This benefits Kal Marks though, as they’re one of the bands (many others of whom are also on the EIS roster) that make their name finding a middle ground between relatability and extraordinary talent. LIAED is a meaningful, deeply crafted work that sonically and emotionally pushes up against the urge to just burn it all down, and that alone is worth many listens in its own right." - Niccolo Dante Porcello
Atlas Chair Records
"Riot Grrrl" can be a reductive genre description but in the case of Minneapolis' Kitten Forever it's a bit hard to escape... something tells me they aren't all too concerned with what anyone thinks anyway. They do the genre proud while expanding upon their influences as 7 Hearts shoves their venomous punk to new levels of perfection. Their energy blisters from start to finish, unrelenting and full of bad behavior fun. The band's sound is loose and aggressive, tangled in harmonized shouts and pummeling riffs. The trio are locked into their carnage from the first stop/start dirge to the ferocious finale. Shouting along is inevitable." - DG
Exploding In Sound Records
"On this (leap) year’s Suspended Animation, Leapling sounds more focused, confident, and well... more rock n’ roll than ever. The shift to a more pop-oriented sound was a conscious one. Arnes was admittedly listening to a lot of 70’s power-pop like Big Star and The Kinks when writing these songs. The difference is palpable; arrangements are tight, drums hit hard, and strings swell into the right songs at just the right moments... Leapling’s power-pop inclinations have led to an album that’s diverse in its influences, but singular in tone and delivery. Dan Arnes sounds genuine and unassuming as he croons throughout the record. Suspended Animation’s eleven tracks are arguably all “hits” in their own right, but the album still manages to take surprising turns. Although Leapling has returned as a trio, the added instrumental flourishes on Suspended Animation make it an album that’s rewarding to come back to frequently." - Cole Kinsler
Water Wing Records
Portland's Lithics embrace the golden age of post-punk on their full length debut Borrowed Floors drawing in the harsh boogie of Wire, Devo and Pylon while expanding with their own tightly wound disjointed punk. The record is sharp and hypnotic, as the guitars and bass tangle constantly while vocals offer simple melodies in washed out glory. It's all delivered with a stark sense of minimalism, using their interlocked guitars to fill space with sparse angular blasts so tight the tension feels as though it could burst at any moment (and yet it rarely does). There's a sense of deep control and visceral understanding in the monstrous rhythms and ringing guitars. This band should be "buzzing". Pay close attention." - DG
"Soaked in a sinister reverb, Lodro's debut has been a long time coming and it reaches above and beyond our expectations in every way. Built upon the ashes of similar psych-gaze trio Royal Baths, Lodro mine the same druggy territory with washed out howls and guitars that blanket the tracks with noisy layers of distortion and biting melodies. The atmosphere is dark and foreboding as Lesley Hann and Jeremy Cox sing haunting dirges that float over the destructive wailing guitars and the stampeding rhythms. The band's eerie desert voyage psych blends perfectly with the sonic freakouts and steady rolling drums. It's a spacious effort and one that deserves a lot more attention." - DG
"Mal Devisa is an important artist. Mixing introspective folk influenced beauty, art punk and bombastic hip-hop, Kiid is an outpouring of Deja Carr's soul, a stark look into life and death as she sees it. It's vivid, reflective, and full of thought provoking twists and turns. Carr's voice is strong and confident, naturally shifting between heartbreaking soul ballads and undeniably powerful command. Her creativity blossoms in different shapes that reflect human emotion in difficult times but it's the kaleidoscopic nature of the album as whole that's genuinely flooring. Equally aggressive and endearing, there's nothing else quite like it and Carr's voice as a songwriter is one that demands to be heard. When she claims "this is the masterpiece" on "Next Stop," you can't help but agree." - DG
"The Melvins are one of my all time favorite bands and a constant source of inspiration and motivation. Unlike some more popular sites who chose to poo-poo this record, I think it's another great (and weird) dose of the Melvins having a good ol' sludgy fun time. Simply listen to three of the album's stand-out tracks, album opener "The Decay Of Lying," the Trevor Dunn assisted jazz odyssey "Planet Distructo" and the Krist Novoselic accordion heavy barn-burner "Maybe I Am Amused" and it's clear the Melvins haven't grown tired as they plow through bellowing slow burning sludge, spaced out jazz-fusion and a real backyard jamboree boogie. The band and their onslaught of bassists continue to do what they want, and we continue to benefit." - DG
"When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired"
Grand Jury Music
"Mothers’ consistent switch-flipping from muted to jolting isn’t applied in the standard face-smacking way that Kurt Cobain immortalized in the early 90s; instead, the band’s songs often start restrained, growing to establish rollicking grooves with peripheral guitars that growl and cut as they gradually come to dominate the song. Equally as often, all but Lepscher’s guitar slowly decline into near-complete silence, guiding in a more placid, open section. Mothers frequently toy with structure and dynamics, with melodies and instruments constantly fading in and out of focus." - Max Freedman
MOUNTAINS AND RAINBOWS
Castle Face Records
These days there aren't a lot of punk records that run over an hour in length, and that's generally for the better. Detroit's Mountains and Rainbows' full length debut Particles is a welcome exception to that trend though, an album that unspools with a seemingly never-ending barrage of garage punk energy and twitchy psych ideas. Balanced on jittery lo-fi anthems, loose constructions, and an exuberance for the weird, Mountains and Rainbows (who share members with Tyvek) rarely stay in one place but there's cohesion in their effort, tied together with a raspy howl that draws to mind the carefree abandonment of early Meat Puppets and Iggy Pop. The record is spastic and unpredictable but it's vehemently fun and bouncing with creative charm and warbling sing alongs. As noted in their press release, "these backyard freaks jam into the twilight" and their record does too." - DG
"San Diego surf punks Mrs. Magician are up to many of the same tricks of their debut on Bermuda, their much welcomed sophomore album. Writing dark and often paranoid songs with sunny vibes and earworm hooks, the band have created a simultaneous auditory mood-swing. Since the release of Strange Heaven the band have expanded their dynamics, adding a stronger power pop focus and a clearer delivery, void of much of the surf rock reverb. There are still vibes though, and most of them are a bummer... a sun soaked, infinity hooky bummer." - DG
Amateur Freak Records
"Over the years, The Numerators have become a staple of Brooklyn-via-Austin DIY psych punk. Their sound is blown out, surf-fried, and heavy on the reverb. After six long years, the trio are getting ready to release their official full length debut Strange and the wait was worth it. An eclectic record that pulls you deep into the band's hypnotic world from the warped introduction until the final swirl of noise comes to a close ten tracks later, the band is both focused and unfurled, seething with radiant psych depth. The Numerators sound better than ever, pushing their blistering sun soaked punk to new extremes as melodies seep from the noise with fuzzed out clarity." - DG
Rough Trade Records
"Parquet Courts seem to thrive on irreverently selecting and inverting their source material as much as saluting it, creating a modern concoction that's very much their own. On Human Performance this eclecticism reaches new heights: There's the very 60's-sounding mellotron flute on the title track, the smooth nighthawk jazzy atmosphere of the crystalline vibraphones in 'Captive Of The Sound', the tongue-in-cheek exotica of the bongos and raga-like guitars on “One Man, No City”, not to mention the Link Wray-esque surf rock lead on second single “Berlin Got Blurry”. Add to this two very distinctive voices in front. You're never in doubt what song was written by who, partially because whoever wrote it, sings it (well, duh!), but also because of the personas Brown and Savage have created through their songs; personas that, while disparate, seem to inhabit the same universe." - Sebastian Friis Sharif
"When life gets you down there's always Petite League, a guaranteed pick-me-up for anyone that loves the feel good vibes of power-pop, brash fuzz soaked riffs, and jangly garage pop. The Syracuse duo's sophomore album is a relentless blast of sun-soaked vibes and surfy feedback happy punk brilliance. It's clamorous and catchy, surging with energy and clever lyrics, vibrant and mesmerizing in the simplicity of its glowing presence. Quick pop songs that permeate with neon colored hooks are built around deceptively sad lyrics and a fleeting sense of youthfulness coming toward a close. The juxtaposition of the upbeat jangle and the darker lyrical content works like magic throughout the record, each song offering a new inescapable earworm melody. This is pop bliss. This album is the light we all need from time to time. Petite League's songs are about as immediate as they come and yet there's a lot to take away from repeat listens." - DG
Don Giovanni Records
"PINKWASH RIP. Enough said... but I suppose I'll elaborate. The Philadelphia duo always seem to be stuck in full throttle with a devout focus on crushing riffs and pounding drums... and we wouldn't have it any other way. Collective Sigh, is well, another enormous ripper. While the band deal with heavy subject matters often revolving around cancer, the loss of family, and the medical industry, they're thrashing it out as a cathartic release over blistering riffs and jagged rhythms that simply crush and crush until there's nothing left to destroy. Personal loss is never easy to deal with but the big pummeling avalanche of Pinkwash's sonic fury offers a momentary release. Pinkwash are always there for you (well, their music is) whenever you may need them." - DG
"Pudge's Bad Land covers a lot of terrain in just 27 minutes. Across 20 songs, Pudge navigates hardcore punk, alt country, melodic post-hardcore, sitar-ditties, and spoken-word Minutemen-inspired ballads. Short clips, taken at random and compared side-by-side, might sound like completely different bands. But taken as a whole, this odd assemblage of songs is surprisingly cohesive, well paced, and absolutely never boring." - Ggregg Stull
"A Moon Shaped Pool"
"Just in case this is the first time you've been on the internet in the past few months, Radiohead have a new album out called A Moon Shaped Pool, and we're happy to report that it's pretty damn sweet... a marked improvement from The King of Limbs (as far as we're concerned) and a welcome addition to band's catalog. Led by two singles that offered but a glimpse of the record's many different moods, the soaring anthem of "Burn The Witch" and the somber sprawl of "Daydreaming," the album's opening one-two punch sets the tone. It's a brilliant record that takes the Kid A / Amnesiac formula and flips it on its head with pulsating grooves ("Ful Stop" is near perfection) and warped reflection ("True Love Waits" is about as heart-wrenching as can be hoped for). In breaking news, Radiohead: still a great band." - DG
ROB CROW'S GLOOMY PLACE
"You're Doomed. Be Nice."
Temporary Residence Records
"Rob Crow is back with a new band Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place and a new album You’re Doomed. Be Nice. It’s an album that sounds like it had to be released. One that wouldn’t stay pent up inside... The album is full of that patented Crow “prog pop” sound. Baritone guitar and bass heavy melodies, heavy lyrics sung in a sing-song way, and riffs and grooves a plenty. If you know Pinback then you know the sound. But there is one major difference, honesty. Much of Pinback’s catalogue is cloaked in code that can make it hard to decipher. Sometimes there is absurdity. Songs to bounce along and shout with even if you’re not really sure what it is you’re shouting about. But on …Be Nice Crow lets us in. Songs are filled with honest fears about living." - Jonathan Bannister
"Of Course You Are"
"Robert Pollard released a new solo record and a new Guided By Voices record within about a month from one another this Spring and while that news isn't terribly unusual, this time it was a bit different. The GBV record was a solo recording, with Pollard handling the entire effort... so what sets it apart from his actual solo album... nothing really but a name, and we stand with Of Course You Are as the better of the efforts. Built around the signature Pollard songwriting you know and love, his solo record is a more straight forward album than the experimental new GBV songs. Of Course You Are is a full on pop assault, bursting with big anthemic rock songs and ambitious arrangements. It's impeccably cohesive for Pollard and his often scatterbrained records, and one of the best releases he's been involved with in recent memory." - DG
Disposable America / Exploding In Sound Records
"Pushing the sound of bedroom pop from existential indie to sad boy soul, Soft Fangs’ full length debut is heavy in scope yet unflinchingly gorgeous, emotional yet relatable. The Light is a document of growing up, experiencing the world around you, and dealing with the struggle of mortality. The full-length debut from John Lutkevich was recorded in the attic of his childhood home in the suburbs of Massachusetts capturing both a sense of innocence and weary world view of life as youth and comfort slip away." - DG
"What One Becomes"
Thrill Jockey Records
"Here are the brutal guitar jams of our uncertain future. Humanity drifts in a state of a paranoia and imbalance. Greed and narcissism clash with hope and progress on a political and cultural level. Sumac is a reflection of our darkened state, much like vocalist/guitarist Aaron Turner’s original project, Isis. Sludgy, calculated metal that entombs and suffocates, What One Becomes maintains this mold to an uncompromising degree. Forget whatever you think you know about song structure. Cling to the repetition. After that there’s only dissonance." - Jon Hadusek
"Isn't A Person"
Sad Cactus Records
"The entire album flows fluidly and lucidly, transitioning smoothly from heavier moments of driving washed out post-punk to bright and jangly indie folk. The guitar and bass tones are situated expertly throughout the album to have just the right amount of ambiguity and just the right amount of lucid expression. Vocalists Meryl Schultz and Samuel Robinson trade-off perfectly simple and yet profound lyrics beautifully in a back and forth interplay that conceptually follows the album and its journey of a three hundred and sixty degree revolution from everything to nothing and back again... All in all, this beautifully moving and profound journey, going both forward and reverse in the same time, leaves you right where you started as if you had never moved a single centimeter, making you question the reality of any of it." - Jackson Abatemarco
TWO INCH ASTRONAUT
Exploding In Sound Records
"Personal Life feels like an apt title, both for the band and the listener. "At Risk Student" with its frustrations about the education system and its focus on testing, "Topper Shutt" being named after a local weatherman, and even "Andy’s Progress Report" which is sung by bassist Andy Chervenak all lend authenticity. Real names are used, details sound true to life. Songs like "A Happy Song," "Good Behavior," and "Woodstock ’99" touch on universal themes like the responsibility that comes with growing older, fractured relationships, and scenes dying out... Personal Life is an album that finds Two Inch Astronaut in peak condition. Each part from the notes, to the songs, to the sound make for a full and engaging listen. It’s an album you’ll find has been on repeat and you never noticed nor cared that you just listened. It’s their strongest work to date and leaves you already wondering with awe at what they’ll come up with next." - Jonathan Bannister
Drag City Records
"The relatively straightforward presentation of Twins and Manipulator are all but absent, as are the caffeine-induced rave-ups of Slaughterhouse. Instead, Segall sends these compositions through the wringer of studio manipulation. Blown-out guitar lines fly around strange synth garbles; a guitar in the first verse becomes a piano in the next. The deliberateness lends itself to a fantastic headphones album that doesn’t reveal all of the tricks at the outset... With Emotional Mugger, Ty Segall gives the ultimate David Bowie adulation by crafting an expansive world replete with unique characters and genre defying compositions. Maybe it doesn’t approach the sophistication of David Bowie’s classic arrangements, but with his latest release, Segall shows he has a headful of ideas spilling out of the garage and onto the driveway. It’s a critical step in his career and one of his best albums to date." - Kelly Johnson
"Here Comes Washer"
Exploding In Sound Records
"One of the more notable things about this record is that you almost immediately forget the band is only comprised of two people. Any sonic gaps are filled in by Quigley’s full, sometimes-fuzzy guitar tone and McShane’s fast-paced, complex drum beats. Washer finds a happy medium between the pop sensibilities you may find in the late ‘90s—early 2000’s punk scene and the fuzzy, slightly-math-rock influenced work of their EIS peers. Most songs on the record are singalong friendly, while some contain a part or two that induces finger-counting, or an ending seemingly unrelated to the rest of the track (see “Beansy” and “Safe Place”). Quigley really impresses vocally when he reaches the proverbial top-of-his-lungs range... Their music is catchy, yet challenging and engaging, and their lyrics are easily relatable, while maintaining an aspect of observational commentary." - Dan Murphy
Kanine / Buzz Records
"Weaves is a key figure on small but beloved Toronto-based label Buzz Records, and their unpredictably spasmodic yet undeniably pop-friendly songs have gathered them an intense worldwide fanbase, one that’s especially staggering for a band with only a couple of EPs and a string of sporadically released singles to their name. They’ve picked up the kind of following that only ceaseless touring behind a thoroughly insane live show can impart, which makes sense; Weaves sounds so bloodthirsty and explosive that it’s a shocker to learn it wasn’t recorded live. But it comes close: its eleven songs often form incredibly quickly without undergoing intense editing, a testament to Weaves’ instantaneous, spastic, free-moving nature. It’s this same sonic spark that accounts for this debut album’s replayability and immediacy." - Max Freedman
The Post-Trash 20: Our Favorite EPs of 2016
In addition to full length records, 2016 has seen a great deal of impressive and "must hear" EPs from bands real new, new, and not quite so new. Here are our picks for our 20 favorite EPs of the year (so far) in old trustworthy alphabetical order.
- BIG HEET | "Demo"
- BLESSED | "Blessed"
- CHERUBS | "Fist In The Air"
- CHEW | "Chew"
- ESKIMEAUX | "Year of the Rabbit"
- FLASHER | "Flasher"
- FREIND | "Lemon"
- FUTURE BIFF | "I Crashed Your Car"
- GUN OUTFIT | "Two Way Player"
- HAYBABY | "Blood Harvest"
- HELLIER ULYSSES | "Prime Example"
- LADY BONES | "Terse"
- LEFT & RIGHT | "Pivot Foot"
- OPERATOR MUSIC BAND | "Matérielmusik"
- PATIO | "Luxury"
- PUDGE | "Backstabber"
- SOLIDS | "Else"
- SPOOK THE HERD | "The Small Wins EP"
- US WEEKLY | "Ideas" + "Imploading"
- WALL | "WALL"