For me, the past year was filled with nearly nonstop new releases — with plenty of soccer podcasts mixed in for good measure. But, on occasion, I did manage to listen to some music released prior to 2016.
Here’s a quick rundown of groups, many of whom could feasibly put out music in 2017.
- Bad Bad Hats – Psychic Reader  … This music is like catnip to me. I don’t even know what to say about it other than the fact that I love every song, and even my girlfriend really enjoyed it — and we never agree about music.
- Hippo Campus – South  … Average to above-average. “South” and “Dollar Bill” are solid. Reminds me of another band I’ve discovered in the last couple years; I just can’t remember who it is. Maybe GIVERS or Lord Huron.
- Hippo Campus – Bashful Creatures  … Sounds closer to a Vampire Weekend record, but not as quirky.
- Wax Idols – American Tragic  … Definitely reminiscent of Siouxsie and the Banshees. “Lonely You” is a catchy single that could have easily come from an ‘80s movie soundtrack. “I’m Not Going” is Siouxsie mixed with Warpaint. “At Any Moment” is another catchy tune that’s a good mix of ‘80s and today.
- Beach Slang – The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us  … A nice dose of rock but with just enough of a pop-punk tone to make it seem interesting. Like a poppier version of Japandroids or The Gaslight Anthem without the Jersey/Boss twinge. “Young & Alive” is a standout.
- Ducktails – St. Catherine  … A mixture of psychedelia and airy-fairy pop. “Headbanging in the Mirror” is a standout track.
- SW/MM/NG – Feel Not Bad  … It’s hard to listen to SW/MM/NG and not notice how similar lead singer Brian Kupillas’ vocals are to those of The Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser. Thankfully, this is not just some carbon copy of those Brooklynites. Where The Walkmen seem to be doing their best to channel The Strokes and Bob Dylan, SW/MM/NG are aiming more for the sound of, say, Lower Dens or Beach Fossils. “Some Dreams Come True” is a standout that pulls in the listener, but the rest of the album is what keeps them tuned in. “All I Want” has a bit of a Band of Horses vibe, while “It’s Good To Be” calls to mind Coldplay.
- Tennis – Cape Dory  … Indie-pop at a soothingly slow pace with a nostalgic tone that hearkens back to the mid-’50s.
- Rainbow Kitten Surprise – Seven + Mary  … A nice mix of blues, alt-country and plenty of indie-rock. Standouts include “Devil Like Me”, “Seven” and “First Class”.
- Treetop Flyers – The Mountain Moves  … “Things Will Change” sounds like it was beamed straight from a ‘70s AM rock station.
- Young Summer – Siren  … A neverending stream of auto-tuned goth pop with several catchy songs, most notably “Fever Dream”, “Striking Distance” and “Leave Your Love”.
- Pylon … A solid post-punk band from the early ‘80s that combines U2, Joy Division and Blondie.
- The Academic – Loose Friends EP  … A young, up-and-coming indie band out of Ireland that has a lot of potential.