It's been quite a year so far. While the world often feels like its been flipped upside down, we all prattle on. Post-Trash began as a way to share our undying love for new music, and as music coverage contracts all around us, we feel it's most important than ever to give a voice to the independent artists. We share music because we like it... simple as that. There's no outside influence, no agenda, no bottom line we need to hit to keep our sponsors happy (because we have none). Finding new music in 2017 is kind of like watching TV without the guide. You have to flip through the channels, wait out commercials, and just hope to catch the right program for you. Odds are you're going to miss some great records along the way, but keep digging.
We present to you "The Post-Trash 52," a collection of some of our favorite records released thus far in 2017. 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, with help from our pal and contributor David Anthony, 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. 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 as the Big Lebowski once said... "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), 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 52" followed by some further listening. Enjoy and please let us know if you discover something new. - Dan Goldin
ANNA ALTMAN | "Freightliner"
Upon the release of Anna Altman's first single, "The Interview," Impose Magazine said their music was "for the attentive art audience". The band's debut album is as elegant as it is hypnotic, constructed with beauty and complexity in repetition. The Long Island duo of Lucia Arias and Christian Billard (both of Turnip King) create gorgeous melodies amid tangled minimalist arrangements; songs that are simple at a glance but bursting with atmospheric detail and Arias’ clever lyrical twists. The band are able to repeat structures while bending them ever so slightly into new shapes and patterns, reinforcing the record's unique slow dripped magnetism in the process. - Dan Goldin
BAKED | "Farnham"
Once again proving to be unpredictable, Baked have out done themselves with sophomore album Farnham, embracing dusty country, fuzzy slacker punk, distorted classic rock, and colossal shoegaze, swirling it all together into their own nuanced guitar shredding bliss. The record is a masterwork of hazy ballads, blistering riffs, thick atmospheric haze, and slow burning rock 'n' roll that never stays in one place for long yet remains undeniably cohesive in its entirety. Take for example two of the album's deep cut stand-outs "Amy Rots" and "Two-Thousandths," the former a quick and detached dive into sludge and the latter a jangly country ballad to ease the soul. It's rock and roll at its most dynamic as Baked prove anything is possible. - DG
BIG WALNUTS YONDER | "Big Walnuts Yonder"
Big Walnuts Yonder are here to give a big fuck you to the idea of the "supergroup". The term itself sets the stage for disappointment. No one likes a "supergroup". Expectations to re-create the work of the members' individual projects weighs heavy amid the forbidden tag, inviting a certain degree of closed-mindedness. On Big Walnuts Yonder's long gestating debut album, the band shatter all preconceived notions, creating a magical collision of their individual contributions by functioning in experimental synchronicity. The renowned and impeccably diverse talents of Mike Watt (Minutemen), Nick Reinhardt (Tera Melos), Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), and Nels Cline (Wilco) work together to create something that is primarily unlike the work they're known for, blurring boundaries and pushing one another's creative impulses to create something loose, ill defined, and utterly astonishing. Years of wondering what this album might sound like has given way to one definitive answer... whatever they want it to. - DG
BLESSED | "II"
Kingfisher Bluez + Cointoss Records
Sounding a bit like Vancouver's bold answer to The Fall, Blessed pushed the scope of art rock and post-punk into their own carefully calculated contortions on their latest EP, II. The band’s razor sharp songwriting is brutally angular and incredibly focused, blending influences that include prog and krautrock into the mix to create a jarring listen that remains "pop" at its center. It's unflinchingly expansive, sprawling out in endless directions from the discordant prog of Red-era King Crimson to the sinisterly mechanical discipline of Neu, Blessed take their influences and run wild with them, bringing an art-punk perspective to rigid compositions and letting them explode with brute force and brilliant shifts, pulling out sections only to bring them back with greater force and impact. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Blessed are undeniably one of the best up-and-coming bands Canada has to offer. - DG
BONNY DOON | "Bonny Doon"
Detroit's Bonny Doon have been tagged as a band of punk musicians (members of Tyvek, Growwing Pains, etc) who have strayed pretty damn far from anything remotely punk on their full length debut, a soft album overflowing with clever lyrics and impeccable melodies. Like a long lost Silver Jews record, Bonny Doon keep it casual even as their wry humor nudges into existential territory. It's twangy indie rock in nature, but it's heart and soul pumps pure Americana folk at every breezy turn. - DG
BOOJI BOYS | "Booji Boys"
Drunken Sailor Records
With their Devo-referencing name, one would expect Booji Boys to have a more dehumanized approach. But what’s found on Booji Boys is a set of songs that race with the kind of lo-fi, fuzzed-out hardcore that’s been popping up in disparate locals across the world. Here, the Nova Scotia band wastes little time dashing out 12 compact tracks that sound like the most visceral indie-rock LP played at 78rpm. If a pure rush of adrenaline is what you need, Booji Boys will serve you well. - David Anthony
CADDYWHOMPUS | "Odd Hours"
The New Orleans duo Caddywhompus is a band that doesn’t feel like it fits in anywhere, and that’s what makes each new release so special. Odd Hours is the product of two musicians pushing themselves to the brink, using a math-rock framework as a means to dip their toes into all manner of styles. These songs never crystalize around one idea, instead opting to reach for every note that could be included in their work and suck it into their whirlwind. It’s sweepingly ambitious and still tons of fun, the second part being something more math-rock bands should take note of. - DA
LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify
CATE LE BON | "Rock Pool"
I was extremely late to the Cate Le Bon party, but as I've said in the past and I'm sure I'll say again in the future, better late than never. After seeing Crab Day on several intriguing year end lists, I decided it was time to see what I was missing and the infatuation hit me hard. That album is amazing and her previous albums are pretty damn great too. Le Bon's scrappy folk charms work perfectly with an expanding sound of locked in instruments and jagged pop. It's a free sound that captures her spirit in every song, every chord, every dark bit of exuberance. Less than a year later, Le Bon released Rock Pool, a new EP that picks up where Crab Day left off, with a bigger and more boisterous sound than her early efforts, retaining her magical sense of melody and innocence. Le Bon's music has the ability to drift from one reality into another, a place where twitchy punk and gentle folk collide in the most natural of ways. - DG
C.H.E.W. | "Penetrode Split (Strange New Universe)"
Neck Chop Records
Few bands sound as vicious as C.H.E.W., their debut from last year being one of the most exciting hardcore demos in recent memory. Paired here with Penetrode, the two bands offer up a series of songs that don’t waste a single second, never pausing to let you catch your breath. C.H.E.W. vocalist Doris Carroll turns in a performance so primal you are never sure if it’s her voice that’s on the edge of shredding or your speakers themselves. From top to bottom this split is proof positive that, in the right hands, hardcore will always be vital. - DA
CHRISTIAN FITNESS | "Slap Bass Hunks"
Following a rapid succession of increasingly great singles, Christian Fitness, the one-man band that is Andrew Falkous aka Falco (Future of the Left/Mclusky), released Slap Bass Hunks, which isn't just a great title, it's an undeniably great album, and a contender for Falco's best work in recent memory. The title track has a sing-a-long melody that buzzes with raw agitation, offering a pop sheen and bouncing-ball-subtitled lyrics that deadpan into the hook of "they made all our money, so fuck you". The eternally pessimistic and scathing wit Falco spurns with each clever barb is in rare form throughout with tracks like "Other Men's Wives" and "Pea (Super)" changing the pace with less of a rhythmic onslaught and an attention to the melodic unease that brings a groove to Falco's sting. - DG
THE COATHANGERS | "Parasite"
Suicide Squeeze Records
When The Coathangers started a decade ago I'm not sure even they would have believed themselves to be one of this generation's best garage rock bands, but album after album and tour after non-stop tour they have pushed ever closer to that reality. Parasite, the LA via Atlanta band's latest EP may be brief, but it's another assuredly confident record that combines their penchant for garage scorn, fuzzy pop, and aggressively sweet melodies. The EP's five tracks highlight all that makes the band great from loose fuzzy soul to sneering punk with a charming and impeccable sense of humor while still addressing important social concerns. Oh, and "Captain's Dead" could have the most immediate hook you'll hear this year. - DG
COOL GHOULS | "Gord's Horse"
Empty Cellar Records
San Francisco's Cool Ghouls have set themselves apart from the pack over the years, a band that can seemingly do it all from organic rock 'n' roll to fuzzy psych, garage punk, Americana, folk, and distorted lo-fi pop. The difference between them and their peers lies in the songwriting. There are a lot of folks that can shred through blistering psych pop, but there are far less who can write Nuggets style hits as consistently as Cool Ghouls. The band has consistently evolved since their first release, pushing new grounds with each album. Gord's Horse, a new tour only cassette (now available online), is true dusty Americana brilliance. Led with twangy acoustic guitars, tambourine shakes, and plenty of country fried reverb, it's Cool Ghouls at their finest, a record of easy riding outlaw ballads layered to harmonious bliss. - DG
THE CRADLE | "Little Missionaries"
The Cradle's albums work in captured moments, creating the framework for an idea to be explored to it's fullest potential, then it's on to the next record and with it, the next sound. There's the manipulated electronic chaos of Endless Room For Error, the sun soaked dream pop bliss of The Layers of Honey, and the atmospheric experimentation of Temperate Lands, and those only scratch the surface of his output. Little Missionaries is a diverse affair, pairing together collaged sound, gentle folk, atonal noise, Eastern modalities, and peaceful dreamscapes, blurring them together and contorting their intentions. "Pure Manipulator," the album's first single is The Cradle at its most brilliant. The song's warm melody sounds something like an Irish folk song that originated in the Far East, both gentle and warm while relatively abrasive. Strings warble against busy acoustic guitars and a dense programmed rhythm to the effect of world's colliding. It's busy and relatively noisy, but the song (and album as a whole) has a comforting glow, a true radiance. - DG
DAMAGED BUG | "Bunker Funk"
Castle Face Records
The expression “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” probably rings true to John Dwyer. In March he released Bunker Funk, the third Damaged Bug record In the past three years… which isn’t anything too crazy but he’s also the mastermind behind the indefatigable Thee Oh Sees (who have released five albums in those same three years). Productivity aside, Damaged Bug, his synth punk odyssey of a solo project just keeps getting better. Dwyer’s commitment to oozing psych weirdness and sci-fi post-punk structures is unwavering on Bunker Funk, an album that blends both natural sounds and digital manipulation together in disorienting landscapes of both horror and zany fun. It’s all a bit unnerving but as the title suggests, there’s an element of “funk” to be found as well, a balance that feels something like an infestation of skin crawlers… skin crawlers just looking to get weird and have a great time. - DG
DOVE LADY | "One"
DZ Tapes + Inflated Records
One is a difficult record to talk about without talking about all of it, a testament to it's many brilliant twists and turns. The cavalcade of sonic brilliance never ends and it never sits still, as radiant in syrupy fuzz detachment ("Uplifting Song") and warped prog-tinged funk ("Ferbalicious"), as it is with dreary noise pop freak-outs ("What's Wrong Roberta?"). By the time "Boar Switch" digs into it's hypnotic clamor, anything and everything is possible, and Dove Lady continue to dive further into the unknown, bouncing between spastic riffs and disjointed rhythms, embracing all that came before and all that is still to come. Want to feel excited about music? Listen to Dove Lady. - DG
ELDER | "Reflections of a Floating World"
Stickman Records + Armageddon Shop
Massachusetts stoner-metal band Elder has been evolving in subtle ways with each new release. Calling the band stoner metal is still appropriate, but Reflections of a Floating World is the least tethered to the band’s past. It’s still heavy, lumbering music, but it’s taken on a prog bent that, while not entirely new for the band, feels entirely fresh here. Each song is a lengthy movement, never working in a traditional verse-chorus structure and instead putting a premium on richly detailed world-building. For a record that’s shortest song comes in at a hair under nine minutes, Reflections of a Floating World is infinitely replayable, showing that metal is just as adventurous as it’s ever been. - DA
FERAL OHMS | "Feral Ohms"
Silver Current Records
Bay Area trio Feral Ohms create "caveman psych" (their words, not mine) an apt description if there ever was one. The sound of the band's upcoming self-titled debut is the perfect combination of primitive and corrosive. Led by Ethan Miller (Comets on Fire), the trio pound at maximum velocity, fuzz soaked blues, psych, and "acid rock" unfurls with reckless intensity like an avalanche hurtling down a mountain. The record is all brutal grit and cosmic soul, shredding with every last howling breath. It's rampant and untamed, a slab of dangerous rock 'n' roll from the mind of a modern psych legend. The thick grooves are balanced by blistering noise and a constant stampede on your senses. It just rips so damn hard, you really can't afford to miss this one. - DG
GIRLPOOL | "Powerplant"
Girlpool's new record had me stunned. While I considered myself a casual fan of their debut EP, the addition of drums and a deeper dive into somber songwriting on their sophomore album Powerplant is near perfect. There's still a minimal sensibility, yet everything sounds full, capturing the band's signature harmonies without making them work so hard to be the constant focus. Songs like "Soup" and "Corner Store" are among the best I've heard this year and the album's title track is another of the record's many stand-outs. I knew they were both exceptional songwriters, but nothing could have prepared me for this record. - DG
GNARWHAL | "Crucial"
Gnarwhal, comprised of Chappy Hull (guitar/vocals) and Tyler Coburn (drums), rip like there's no tomorrow and that means an explosive avalanche of non-stop shifting riffs and Coburn's pummeling drum fills (in all sincerity, he could just be the best drummer these days have to offer). No one does it quite like Gnarwhal and the proof is in the puddin'. Watching Gnarwhal play live is a bit of a life changing experience and the band have captured that dynamic energy throughout Crucial, blending math-punk and post-hardcore into an explosive sonic experience that demands to be played on repeat to even begin to process their swarming assault. - DG
GREAT DECEIVERS | "Some"
Chicago’s Great Deceivers has existed for nearly a decade, and in that time it’s gone through a handful of different stylistic changes. It’s not that the band lacks an identity, it’s just that its ethos appears to constantly be in flux. On Some, the band’s latest EP, Great Deceivers turns in its most cohesive and focused work, showing that all that wandering is to their benefit. The songs are in a constant state of flux, often seeing members playing off one another to create songs that are always hinting at something unexpected just around the corner. A track like “Silver Lining” showcases the band’s math-rock inclinations, but it’s propelled by a rhythm section that can translate all those fluttering riffs into a toe-tapping rock song. At its core, Some is a cerebral work, but it’s not hung-up on pretenses either. - DA
GUERILLA TOSS | "GT Ultra"
Guerilla Toss returned with GT ULTRA, a brand new record that seems to come from the joys of lysergic acid, or so the album's artwork would have you believe. Trickling their way closer to their own manipulated disco sound, first single "The String Game" continued down the path started on Eraser Stargazer by staring directly into the pop void and remaining just strange enough to avoid any real contact. Guerilla Toss are a long way from their spastic experimental noise punk roots, but they haven't lost their knack for creating interesting music amid dynamic rhythms and thick unfiltered grooves. The band sound free in spirit and free of restrictions, moving in whatever freaky direction they please, proving their unpredictable sound offers just as much pop nuance as it does heady (and muscular) absurdist convulsions. - DG
HAND HABITS | "Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void)"
Meg Duffy, better know as Hand Habits' new record Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void) was one of our most anticipated albums of the winter, a warm blanket of gorgeous songwriting and gentle delivery. Dreamy and poetic, Duffy's slow yet breezy folk offers the perfect atmosphere to get lost inside. Like watching time pass or the snow fall, there's a undeniable beauty in her voice, a balance between love and caution, a longing for eternal love while knowing all things are fleeting. If you like swooning pop that you can melt into, look no further. - DG
LAETITIA SADIER SOURCE ENSEMBLE | "Find Me Finding You"
Drag City Records
Ever since the final days of the legendary Stereolab, Laetitia Sadier has continued to release music under her own name and now together with her band, the Source Ensemble. Their debut effort Find Me Finding You is quintessential Sadier, it's gorgeous, retro-futuristic, and built with a positivity that is much needed in these dark times. Things are grim but she's still having a good time, The album slowly seeps it way into all the softest moments of your day; the day dreams, the calm before you drift to sleep, the slow moving morning spent in the sunshine. It's warm and radiant, capturing the elements of Stereolab that made the band so sonically pleasing while offering a subdued portrait of undying love. - DG
LIQUIDS | "More Thana Friend"
Drunken Sailor Records
Although Northwest Indiana’s Liquids comes from a scene that prides itself on churning out new music on a seemingly weekly basis, Liquids may be the most productive of the bunch. Their Bandcamp has four new releases in 2017, and its 2016 debut album Hot Liqs just received a domestic vinyl pressing thanks to Not Normal Tapes. With that much material, it’s easy to lose track of the More Thana Friend EP, a three song suite originally pressed by Drunken Sailor Records and limited to 111 copies before also getting an expanded release. And thank god it was repressed, as these three songs are some of their best. The title track is the most overtly poppy thing in the band’s extensive catalog, and “X.X.X.X.X.” is basically a lost Guided By Voices song. And while More Thana Friend is still lo-fi, it’s about as cleanly produced as Liquids has gotten, allowing Mat Williams’ vocals to cut through in a way where, not only can you make out what he’s singing, you can hear just how good of a singer he actually is. While the band will surely have new material before long, if you’re looking for a starting point with Liquids, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more welcoming release than More Thana Friend. - DA
MEAT WAVE | "The Incessant"
Meat Wave occupies a unique position, as it feels like the connective tissue between the past and present of Chicago’s noise-rock scenes. Produced by Steve Albini, The Incessant has a rawness to it that makes the songs feel unhinged and combustive in ways that Meat Wave has long flirted with and finally gone headlong into. It’s a record that’s meant to unsettle you, from its splotchy red cover art to the feedback laden passages that typify songs like “Killing The Incessant.” It’s the ugliest thing Meat Wave has produced, and it shows the band is more than adept at changing its sound without losing its heart. - DA
MEGA BOG | "Happy Together"
Mega Bog's radiant album Happy Together is gorgeous, disorienting, and often built around ominous saxophone leads that could come from any David Lynch movie. The record is a tight ball of undulating experimental pop that bounces around in its own space, unaware of where it heads but clear that all paths lead to certain enjoyment. The delicate boogie contrasts the saxophone's bleeding melodies but as Erin Birgy's incredible vocal performance fades, the two begin to tie together, uniting in a spaced out wonderland where anything is possible and nothing is certain. - DG
MILKED | "Death On Mars"
What started as an outlet for Kelly Johnson’s writings after the demise of Geronimo!, Milked has since become a beast of its very own. Songs like “White Punks” show Johnson’s knack for being sardonic while crafting earworms, setting the tone for Death On Mars, an album that trades exclusively in fuzzy riffs and subtly undercutting lyrics. It’s a record that shows Johnson’s skill as a songwriter, able to take a classic punk framework and make it feel fresh without having to deviate from the genre’s hallmarks. - DA
NNAMDI OGBONNAYA | "Drool"
Sooper Records + Father/Daughter Records
I’ve been watching Nnamdi Ogbonnaya play music for the better part of a decade, and to see him craft something as streamlined as DROOL feels like a triumph for numerous reasons. Not only does it distill his varied pursuits into one release, it shows his knack for evolving his sound without ever removing his unique outlook from his creations. There’s really nothing Nnamdi can’t do well. If DROOL is any indication, the world at large is finally starting to pick up on that. - DA
NOPES | "Fun Limbo"
Magnetic Eye Records
Last year Oakland punks Nopes released Never Heard Of It, a blown out album that combined hardcore, noise rock, and garage punk into their own chaotic lo-fi sound. Full of shredding guitars and Alex Petralia's demented howl, Nopes stood out from the pack by embracing diversity with a sound they're calling "weird core". The band are back with Fun Limbo, a new 7" EP built on a menacing mix of sludge, deranged pop, and violent punk. If the record's first two singles "Shedding" and "Steady" highlighted the capable madness and explorative nature of their last album, the EP as a whole is all clawing ferocity. It's not all carnage and chaos, songs like "Midnight Parking Lot" and "Contemporary Listening" slow it down, building tension with morbid melodies and slithering guitar lines. Barked out vocals are driven through foggy distortion as the band slurs their hypnotic grooves into something slower but equally filthy. - DG
ONCE & FUTURE BAND | "Once & Future Band"
Castle Face Records
Once & Future Band's self-titled debut makes me feel like a kid who just discovered the majesty of classic 70's prog rock and psych for the first time... all over again. Having listened to this record countless times since it was first sent my way (with an enormous grin or my jaw slightly dropped), I can say it only gets better with repeat listens. Once & Future Band have made one of the finest (if not the finest) progressive rock album since the 70's. There's a mastery in their musicianship, an intelligence in their songwriting, and a spark in the unflinching commitment to a genre that is about as un-hip as they come. I still remember the first time I heard albums like King Crimson's In The Court of the Crimson King and Pink Floyd's Meddle, captivated by their enormity and rigged focus, a feeling I can't escape when listening to Once & Future Band. This record is essential listening from start to finish from the sweeping bliss of "Hide & Seek" to the otherworldly brilliance of "Tell Me Those Are Tears Of Joy". - DG
OPERATOR MUSIC BAND | "Puzzlephonics I & II"
New Professor Music
Operator Music Band make futuristic noise pop with a nod to the past. Built on surging synths, analog effects, swirling guitars and tightly locked in rhythms, Puzzlephonics I & II embraces elements of post-punk, krautrock, and psych pop without bending too far in any direction. It’s rock music for the space age, full of eerie electronics and mounting tension in way that would make Stereolab proud. Songs like “Koma” and the funk of "Creative Tube Bending" embraces the chaos of uncertainty, the perfect soundtrack to for a ride in an escape pod hurtling toward an unknown fate. Synths permeate your attention and cloud your thoughts, Dara Hirsch and Jared Hiller’ trade off dreamy vocals, complimenting each other at all times. - DG
OXBOW | "Thin Black Duke"
Hydra Head Records
The beauty of Oxbow lies in the band's resolve, their desire to create an unease through texture and sweeping arrangements rather than brute force or harsh noise. The San Francisco based quartet have been perfecting their craft for near three decades and Thin Black Duke, their first studio album in ten years is about as close to a masterpiece as they come. The record lurches through gorgeously orchestrated catharsis and Eugene Robinson's creaky yet commanding howls, built on a grand scale with strings, brass, and delicate sludge. There's plenty of the band's unpredictable progressive shifts and flourishes of experimental jazz, but where those used to come in panicked outbursts that threatened to derail the song's fabric, Oxbow are creating free-form nuance with a natural ebb and flow, supporting the record's grand (and diabolical) gestures. Thin Black Duke is a enormous record of crushing beauty and brilliant carnage, a fully realized expression that unfolds at its own pace, an exploration of applied tension from start to finish. - DG
PALEHOUND | "A Place I'll Always Go"
Palehound is at its best when embracing raw simplicity and honest reflections. "Room," the second single from the band's upcoming album A Place I'll Always Go captures that essence better than most, a song thats stripped down and beautiful, built on an almost twangy guitar line and Ellen Kempner's gorgeous vocals. A celebration of queer love and healthy relationships, "Room" floats in a thick haze with guitar hooks that are as mesmerizing as they come and an absolutely masterful performance from Palehound drummer Jesse Weiss. "Room" is the type of song you can fall in love with, and a reminder of what makes Palehound such a special band in the first place... and it's possible that "If You Met Her" is even better. It's an exceptional record that highlights Kempner's ever growing range - DG
PALM | "Shadow Expert"
For a band that gives the impression that no two members are ever playing the same note in tandem, Shadow Expert feels like Palm’s most direct statement yet. Though guitars still stumble over one another, it’s purposeful, each shift in direction and tone completely intended and welcome. Here, the Philadelphia band bashes through six songs that congeal into something that feels bigger than an EP. It’s heavier than anything else in the band’s catalog, while also having all the gooey vocal melodies found on Trading Basics. It’s a record that demands repeat listens, if only to spend more time with the band’s knotty riffs that breeze by so quickly. - DA
PILE | "A Hairshirt of Purpose"
There are some bands that, when your write about them, always leave you wanting to say more, or bemoaning the things you had to cut. This year, Pile has been one of those bands for me. A Hairshirt of Purpose is a masterwork from a band that’s been creating perfect albums for nearly a decade. Having spent months listening to Hairshirt, I continue to find new things in it, and it still floors me like it did that first time I heard it. Pile is an important band, and I hope to never have to type that sentence in the past tense. - DA
PISSED JEANS | "Why Love Now"
Sub Pop Records
Pissed Jeans feel like a very strange choice to be a voice for feminism, but "the speed of evolution is getting slower" as they say. They understand the follies of man (literally men) as well as anyone, they've been pointing out those lesser qualities for years via a diorama of suburban malaise, workplace monotony, and insipid behavior. On Why Love Now they had their aim set and focused on the poor and despicable male gaze, through a series of observational narratives that set the bar as low as possible, and they absolutely rip while doing so. Album opener "Waiting On My Horrible Warning" pulls from the Melvins playbook, a slow crawling storm of sludge and demented howling vocals, it's a song about decadence and living a shitty life waiting for something terrible to force a change... proactivity at its finest. - DG
PRIESTS | "Nothing Feels Natural"
Sister Polygon Records
All praise the return of DC's Priests. I've been in love since the "Personal Planes" 7" and the band only continue to get better with each release. After the pretty much classic Bodies And Control And Money And Power, the band are back with their full length debut Nothing Feels Natural, one of the year's finest moments in hard-charging punk. Lead single "JJ" found the band as fired up as ever, capturing Priests doing what they do best with surf punk guitar melodies, tightly wound rhythms and Katie Alice Greer's incredible vocals undulating between deep bellows and beautiful howls. The band work in a heaping dose of pop and come out all the better for it, a sentiment I don't generally share. - DG
RATBOYS | "GN"
When your band warrants the inventing of a genre descriptor, you know you’re onto something. That’s the case with Ratboys and the vague term “post-country,” something that fits the Chicago band perfectly without ever feeling reductive or limiting. GN builds on all the work the band’s put in over the past few years, and Julia Steiner turns in an evocatively personal record that never holds back on the gory details. It’s an album that feels as revelatory as Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, where a band that’s been reaching for something finally grabs hold of it. - DA
RICK RUDE | "Make Mine Tuesday"
Sophomore Lounge + Tiny Radars
Falling somewhere between the disheveled majesty of Archers Of Loaf and the guitar wizardry of Built To Spill, Rick Rude draw a direct line back to some of the most iconic ‘90s indie bands without getting mired in that history. While that isn’t a set of influences unique to Rick Rude, the band uses them as a jumping off point instead of the totality of their sound, transforming Make Mine Tuesday into something that is never too indebted to its influences. This set of songs is the band’s most confident work yet, as they congeal into one cohesive statement of intent. - DA
(SANDY) ALEX G | "Rocket"
I was, admittedly, a latecomer to (Sandy) Alex G. When DSU was being raved about by seemingly everyone I was the person… not getting it. But around the time Beach Music hit, I started to see what all the hubbub was about. After seeing Alex Giannascoli lead his band through a few live sets, I became obsessed, understanding that what makes (Sandy) Alex G work is that the songs are infinitely malleable. His records are boundary-pushing experiments, twisting songs until they become abstract art instillations. But live, he sets that aside and goes straight for the gut. On Rocket, the band splits that difference, offering up their most direct songs, like the country-tinged “Bobby,” but also his most processed pieces, like the silky “Sportstar.” Taken in full, it’s a record that shows Giannascoli is only getting better at his craft, and I was lucky to dive in when I did. - DA
SNAKEHOLE | "Interludes of Insanity"
Wharf Cat Records
Miami based noise rock duo Snakehole's latest album Interludes of Insanity is ruthless. It's dirty, nasty, harsh, brutal, unapologetically abrasive, and yet... not without a deranged sense of melody. Built on sludgy stompers of blasting drums, distorted walls of guitar noise, and manic shouts and yelps, Snakehole dive headfirst into a tailspin and continue their assault on your eardrums before settling into an oddly comforting sea of feedback... and back again. Sounding something like the two headed freak child of Mannequin Pussy and the Melvins, Snakehole's new one is gloriously ugly. - DG
THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE | "Pleasure Suck"
Tiny Engines Records
The Spirit of the Beehive understand the warped pop aesthetic better than most. Since the release of their self-titled debut album, the Philadelphia based band has been blending shoegaze, art rock, and lo-fi pop under a blank of detached and dissonant melodies that often feel as though the dial is skipping. Pleasure Suck, the band's second full length is pure disorienting pop brilliance and infectious hooks. With vocal melodies that are infectious as they come; pop songs in disguise. Spirit of the Beehive work with weird open-ended structures and layers of blissful clamor, fusing divergent ideas together in perfect harmony. - DG
TAIWAN HOUSING PROJECT | "Veblen Death Mask"
Kill Rock Stars Records
The joy of discovering new music is what keeps me going. It's the life blood behind a site like Post-Trash. Introducing Philadelphia's Taiwan Housing Project and their album Veblen Death Mask, a record that can instantly transform an otherwise shitty day into one of jittery excitement, an album primed on squalor and so vehemently raw it put a grin on my face. In the band's Ian Svenonious penned bio he says they began "as a experiment in perversity," an idea that may have been refined over the years but certainly doesn't wane. The band's intense love for no-wave, experimental noise punk, and caterwauling post-punk takes a familiar pop shape, but it's about as abrasive as "pop" gets. Taiwan Housing Project thrive at their filthiest, building atonal walls of brutal noise and punishing distortion, but they do it over a steady beat, a locked in groove, and generally common structures. This is experimental noise rock carrying the flag for the deranged upheaval of decency, but the band's focus remains rooted in songwriting, a truly damaged record of chaotic pop glory. - DG
THANKS FOR COMING | "Sspplliitt"
Yellow K Records
Like a true bedroom pop auteur, Thanks For Coming is prolific. Rachel Brown's New York-via-Chicago project has over forty five releases in their Bandcamp catalog, ranging from sparse lo-fi solo EPs to fuzzy pop albums recorded with a rotating trio. With so much material it can be daunting just figuring out where to begin... until you hear Sspplliitt that is, an immediate pop masterpiece split (yup) between Thanks For Coming's New York line-up (featuring drummer Mike Kolb and bassist Charlie Dore-Young) and the band's Chicago line-up (Nate Amos on drums and Lindsey Sherman on bass), two exceptional rhythm sections that lends to Brown's jangly pop beauty.
THELMA | "Thelma"
Tiny Engines Records
Thelma's full length debut is on a new level of gorgeous mysticism. There's a haunting vibe that swirls throughout the album, but the ultra-personal reflections are far more captivating than creepy. "If You Let It" is the perfect example, a song that finds Thelma's Natasha Jacobs creating brilliantly claustrophobic pop that's as dark as it is undeniably radiant. Centered around slowly thudding keys and sweeping rhythms, the song's unflinching heart and wounded soul come from Jacobs' beautiful voice. Skipping between lilted verses and impenetrable hooks, Jacobs' control of her voice is stunning, setting the tone and shifting directions as the song swells and contracts at her whim. Thelma channels the darkness to create beauty and an engaging power of self. - DG
TRICOT | "3"
Tricot is Japan’s best kept secret. It’s math-rock gone pop, with big, buzzy choruses flanked by mile-a-minute riffing. The band’s long been a force to be reckoned with, but with 3, it finally sees that work readily available in America. In perhaps one of Tricot’s most cunning maneuvers, they close the record with “Melon Soda,” a song so effervescent that it demands you flip the record over and start again just so you can get that payoff one more time. - DA
TWO INCH ASTRONAUT | "Can You Please Not Help"
Much has been made of Can You Please Not Help? being the cleanest and catchiest Two Inch Astronaut record to date. And while that’s certainly true, it undervalues what the band has been working toward for so long. These songs are perfectly streamlined, recalling bits of Ted Leo, Braid, and Jawbox—fitting, given that J. Robbins was at the helm for the recording. That said, it’s still distinctly a Two Inch Astronaut record. While there may be obvious touchstones, the record ultimately shows the band is capable of smoothing the edges without losing its inherent charms. - DA
TY SEGALL | "Ty Segall"
Drag City Records
There's not a great deal that can be said about Ty Segall at this point that hasn't already been said a million times, but as long as he keeps making stellar records, we're going to keep trying. His latest self-titled album (the second) is a culmination of everything Segall has spent the past five years or so perfecting, swirling his divergent paths together into a complete vision of garage rock nirvana. Blending together scuzzy noise, folk ballads, glam weirdness, and sun fried punk, Ty Segall is big, loud, and full of spirit that feels more complete than anything Segall and his band have conjured up yet. From the jangle of "Break A Guitar" to the sprawling voyage into "Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)" and the hazy folk of "Orange Color Queen," Segall is proving to be at his best when putting everything on display. - DG
ULRIKA SPACEK | "Modern English Decoration"
Tough Love Records
I didn't know much about Ulrika Spacek before Modern English Decoration, the band's sophomore album, was released and to be honest I still don't, but the music really speaks for itself. Built on ultra-colorful guitar work, fuzzy textures, and intricate songwriting that twists and turns with natural depth, the record is lush, layered, and infinitely repeatable. The record's production is every bit as important as the music itself, capturing their ideas with gorgeous clarity even at their busiest most collage prone. Similar to Deerhunter at their best, Ulrika Spacek make guitar music that's explorative and exciting, pulling together distortion from every corner of their sound into blankets of permeating sonic wonder that leaves something to discover with every listen. - DG
VAGABON | "Infinite Worlds"
Those things I said about Pile? Well, they apply to Vagabon too. Those two bands are the ones I’ve written about most this year, and it’s been a delight to continually return to their records and be bowled over by them time and again. Infinite Worlds was a record that, by the time the first chorus hit in “The Embers,” I was rapt in awe of its power, and that feeling didn’t subside until the very final notes of “Alive and a Well.” Infinite Worlds is a record I can’t imagine living without. And to be honest, I can’t believe I ever did. - DA
WALL | "Untitled"
Wharf Cat Records
Post-punk poster band WALL released Untitled, their full length debut in late April, a record that once again proves the New York band to be among the best of the genre. First single "High Ratings" is all snarl and aggression, a quick and cynical look into social networking and the need for instant validation while "River Mansion" is sprawling and full of tightly wound tension. The record has a razor sharp focus and fiery disdain, continuing a flawless run that began last year with the band's self-titled EP, another bruising glimpse of the band's post-punk gold. I miss them already. - DG
YUCKY DUSTER | "Duster's Lament"
Infinity Cat Records
"The Ropes" is the perfect center piece for Yucky Duster's latest EP, a syrupy pop song with inescapable melodies that border on perfection. Luca Balser's vocals are at their best as he sings tightly wound verses of bubblegum pop glory, while the band lean into a particularly brilliant blend of melodic psych pop and surfy post-punk. Channeling a wistful vibe somewhere between The Zombies and Weezer, there's a warm retro pulse in the song's harmonized chorus and jangly beauty, a song guaranteed to infiltrate your daydreams, auditory smooch and all. Yucky Duster played it loose on their debut, but they're not fooling anyone, this band is exceptionally tight and their song writing is at peak form throughout Duster's Lament. - DG
ALEXANDER F "Alexander F" | BE YOU ME "Be You Me" | BIG FRENCH "Stone Fish" | THE CAIRO GANG "Untouchable" | CHAVEZ "Cockfighters" | CRUMB "Locket" | DOUBTING THOMAS CRUISE CONTROL "Bob Ross II" | DOUG TUTTLE "Peace Potato" | GLUED "I" | GLUED "II" | GOLDEN PELICANS "Disciples of Blood" | GUIDED BY VOICES "August By Cake" | HOODED FANG "Dynasty House" | INSTITUTE "Subordination" | JIM AND THE FRENCH VANILLA "Afraid of the House" | KENDRICK LAMAR "DAMN." | LITTLER "Bad Hand" | MARK LANEGAN "Gargoyle" | OLD MAYBE "Piggity Pink" | PALBERTA "Bye Bye Berta" | PAPERHEAD "Chew" | PC WORSHIP "Buried Wish" | THE PEACERS "Introducing The Crimsmen" | PILL "Aggressive Advertising" | RAEKWON "The Wild" | RAYS "Rays" | ROYA "Roya" | SIEVEHEAD "Worthless Soul" | SNEAKS "It's A Myth" | SPECTRES "Conditions" | SPOWDER "Health Palm" | UNIFORM "Wake In Fright" | WEED "Born Wrong Love" | WICCANS "Sailing A Crazy Ship"