Despite the shit tsunami feeling of 2016 I hope everyone can admit that the music was really fucking good. What were the best tunes? I have no bloody idea – so I asked some of our favorite WA-based musicians so I don’t have to think for myself! Hoorah!
Peyton and Kelli from Skating Polly
Tacoma-based Skating Polly have had an amazing year – blasting our ears with beautiful sounds. But what do they rate as their favorite tunes of 2016?
- All Night- Beyoncé.
“I didn’t much care for it the first time I heard it, but when I listened to Lemonade as a whole it all clicked, and this track stood out. For the three months I had Tidal I would play this song over and over in our car rides knowing I had to get all my Beyoncé listens in before our membership expired. Epic pop song. Beautiful vocals. I feel emerged in the production.”
- Left-Handed Kisses- Andrew Bird & Fiona Apple.
“A mutual Fiona Apple fanatic turned me onto this song (thank you, Erin). The structure is completely unique and at first maybe a lil off-putting. This song always leaves me wanting more, I can never top it when I’m DJing our car rides. It’s a powerful, ass-kicking, vocal-twirling, passionate duet. ”
- Learning To Apologize Effectively- Deerhoof.
“I got a sneak peek of this song before it was even released (I will not reveal my sources so don’t ask)! You can’t go wrong with Deerhoof’s record The Magic. Every song turns passion and excitement up to level 11. It’s a crime not listen to the whole record if you’re going to play a track at all, but if I HAD to then I would choose this track. It hooks everyone the second it hits.”
- “1937 Skate Park” – Car Seat Headrest
““1937 Skate Park” is one of those songs I really wish I’d written. That’s how I feel about most of “Teens of Denial” but especially this song. It’s so catchy and sincere and pretty I can hardly stand it.”
- “Life is Suffering” – Deerhoof
“I dropped so many not so subtle hints for Deerhoof to play “Life is Suffering” when we toured with them – I was just short of begging. They never ended up playing it, but that didn’t keep me from being totally obsessed with the song. I am a sucker for a catchy hook, and “Life Is Suffering” is the catchy hook master.”
- “Division Day” – Lou Barlow
““Division Day” is one of my favorite Elliott Smith songs, and Lou Barlow is one of my favorite musical geniuses. I flipped when I saw he covered it for the Elliott Smith tribute. It’s like the world knew what I didn’t know I wanted and gave it to me. It’s perfect.”
What 2017 Will Hold for Skating Polly?
“We are releasing a 3 song 12” we wrote and recorded with Nina and Louise of Veruca Salt. We started working on it at the beginning of this year, so we are so freakin’ stoked for everyone to finally hear it! We are also going to tour a lot and start working on album number 5! And we have some of the biggest Skating Polly news coming up that is going to change a whole lot!”
Jon from Virgin of the Birds
When he’s not galavanting around Scotland or playing gorgeous music, Jon from Seattle’s Virgin of the Birds, (a former Philly local and fellow WaWa aficionado), has amazing taste. His top 3 tracks of 2016 are:
- ““Ten White Horses” – Modern Studies – a song this subtle, pastoral and thoughtful couldn’t be more out of touch with the overflowing diaper fire that is 2016 and that’s perfectly fine with me. Modern Studies is a UK underground folk super group of sorts (check out this video for more info) who radiate a calm, empathetic mastery over their art to which we should all aspire.”
- ““America’s Most Wanted: Mark Kozelek and John Dillinger” – Jesu & Sun Kil Moon – At over seven minutes long and featuring an extended break during which a fan letter is read, “America’s Most Wanted” is an unwieldy beast of a single that I find as catchy and irresistible as any bubble gum pop hit. The pulse of the bass and drums are hypnotic and Kozelek whips himself into self-reflective frenzy with stream of consciousness lyrics that treat the sublime (the realities of aging, how art impacts people) and the inane (eating tomatoes in a tour van, how many sit-ups he does every day) with equal reverence and humility.”
- ““Born to Hurt” – Sam Russell & the Harborrats – Seattle’s own true rock and roll believer Sam Russell has delivered a kind of mission statement with “Born to Hurt,” a rare song conceived as a three and a half minute anthem that actually gets there. It creates and inhabits its own world, taking on romantic ambition, frustration and release with earnest, soaring swagger as if the last 35 years of irony and detachment never took hold.”
What will 2017 hold for Virgin of the Birds?
“Hopefully, the Western world avoids a death slide into fascism and the US has to deal with a Trump presidency that’s more farce than Armageddon. For Virgin of the Birds, we’re going to keep playing out and promoting our music, being the Verlaines-esque band Seattle doesn’t realize it needs (and, yet, it does). We’ll record some band stuff in the new year (like a proper version of “In 1970, Across Philadelphia, Frank Rizzo Broke the Black Panther Party”) and, at some point, a bunch of songs I recently recorded in Edinburgh with the amazing Faith Eliott and Neil from Meursault will come out on Song, By Toad Records.”
Matt from Jugs of Blood
Kent’s very own metal sons Jugs of Blood have had an exciting year – they played my birthday party for one thing. Matt catches us up on what he’s been obsessing about this year:
- Thrice “The Long Defeat”
“One of my favorite bands, period. I typically don’t focus too much on lyrics but Thrice really is the total package and this is a standout track from their amazing return to form album this year.”
2. Holy Sons “Denmark”
“Easily the best production I heard this year. Emil Amos is a fucking genius and demonstrates absolutely mastery when it comes to tasteful performance and arrangement.”
3. Gatecreeper “Patriarchal Grip”
“This song is so fucknuts heavy that I want to throw a chair through a window, then jump through that window and beat the complete shit out of the first car/animal/tree/person that I see with a baseball bat.”
Good to know.
Stephen and Taryn from Wiscon:
Seattle punk outfit Wiscon blew my and everyone else’s socks off in 2016, but who was responsible for their sock disappearances in 2016?
“Skates! are the most charming band in Seattle – to see them live is to touch the face of god. They put out one single this year and it’s great. “c’mon c’mon now hit that switch””
“HWOIG do spooky, evil, doomy metal. This one’s a belter – lurching between sparse and atmospheric. I also love their bass tone. They’re not fucking around with their bass tone.”
“Earache put out some grindcore this year! This really needs to be experienced as an album rather than a bunch of short songs. I picked the one with the best name. Stupidly fast. Then epic. Then over. 1 minute.”
“Tracks are hard so if it’s okay, here are my 3 favorite records this year.” 1. Solange Knowles- A seat at the Table Lianne
2. La Havas-Blood Fly
3. Moon Royalty-Delicious Trouble They all put out excellent records this year and I can’t stop listening!
What will 2017 hold for Wiscon?
“For 2017, Wiscon plans to put out our second song and video, Closet Light by end of January, early February. Then and our third and final song and video for the Trilogy will be ‘Contagion.” That will finish the Trilogy set. We are also currently looking to record a song called “Our First Day” which is a song we wrote about our first 100 days if we were President. We plan on giving all proceeds to a charity of our choice. We hope to play more great punk shows, get on some festivals and get in the studio to record new songs we’ve been working on!”
L80 swooped into becoming one of my favorite bands of 2016 with their synth pop 80’s vibe and the lyric “I’m so fucking high, PeeWee Herman just peed in my eye”. What have Tony and Chad been devouring musically in 2016?
- Black star by David Bowie
“(The album) basically summed up our 2016 with dealing with so much negativity and darkness and getting through it by accepting our own inner darkness and creating with it.”
2. The promise by when in Rome
“…is basically what started L80 as a pop art concept band and we will probably cover it someday.”
3. Birth in reverse by St Vincent
“…also is a major keynote of inspiration in our music because of the controlled and dynamic hysteria in her instrumentals and vocals really inspired us to not go for “pretty” sweet pop. She’s in the same line of witchy bitchy retro pop as us.”
What are L80 going to be doing in 2017?
“L80 will be releasing a deluxe two part two record in 2017 and going on multiple tours along with collaborating with someone you may know very soon.”