Top Tunes ’16: Marie Swartz< < Back to
This is another installment of a December-long series that examines what Athens-centric tune heads have been jamming to all year long. Keep tabs on the series throughout the month here.
TOBACCO – Sweatbox Dynasty
Black Moth Super Rainbow – SeeFu Lilac EP
Thomas Fec is both TOBACCO and Black Moth Super Rainbow, and boy, has he had a busy year. From a lengthy fall tour (where I lost my eardrums in Columbus somewhere between gong bangs), a super hot dog-days-of-summer mix release called Heatstroker, a little known KEXP sesh, to continuing to build a cohesive alternate reality of cut-up hallucinogenic aesthetics. Amidst all of this chaos, Fec also released a sweet (SeeFu Lilac) and sour (Sweatbox Dynasty) album pairing. Though they aren’t meant to be complementary, it’s hard to imagine one without the other in a feverishly electronic, distorted matrimonial bliss. If you need any more of a reason to give either a listen, a mere few days after its release, Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) gave Sweatbox Dynasty ‘Record of the Year’.
salvia palth – melonchole (remaster)
Three years after its initial release, melonchole by salvia palth (now Adore, 1996) was remastered this year . It was, and still remains, the epitome of DIY lo-fi sadboy bedroom-recorded music. The lyrics, painted by broad strokes of lonesomeness, incite enough meandering heartache that even sweltering summer days become frostbitten (I took advantage of this fact on many a walks home during August).
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
Just when everyone thought Radiohead was slipping away to become an artifact, only good for producing nostalgia burns, they capture the hearts of everyone with a music video featuring Thom Yorke opening doors.
Yonatan Gat – Director
One big ole smooch to Nelsonville Music Festival, and another to The Union, for bringing Yonatan Gat around to these parts. Their performances, and this album, are pure raw energy condensed and tightly pressed like coal into a diamond.
PWR BTTM – Ugly Cherries
Since their release of Ugly Cherries, a year and a half ago, the PWR BTTM duo have firmly established themselves as queer punk icons. The album is glam, but not in an excessive way like that of Perfume Genius or estranged from reality like CocoRosie. It is an accessible, playful, deeply personal and honest pop-punk manifestation that is unaware of its power.
High Tides – High Tides
The High Tides sound is akin to accidentally frying yourself to death during a digital beach outing while loaded on muscle relaxers. …in a good way — if that sounds bad. Check out “Coastal Cruise ’86” to see just what I mean.
The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It
Sometimes those groups cast off as mere boy bands can get it right. And I like it when you sleep… is so right. The songs on the album come together to form both self-aware reflections of our digital times and a love-hate letter to what seems to be an old flame that can never be extinguished. It’s sexy, clever, and one hell of an earwig.
Twain – Sir Kitchen Boy EP
Twain is my favorite Youtube k-hole find of this year. The Sir Kitchen Boy EP is a rugged mosaic of varying texture, from song to song you never know if it will sound like a ripped soundboard performance from a dive bar (three of the songs are live recordings) or a polished studio gem. I don’t pay no mind though, as MT Davidson’s voice is fit for both and so captivating, howling, and all of those other -ing’s I’m so fond of in music caught somewhere between indie and folk while transcending both genres.
Adam Torres – Pearls to Swine
This isn’t the first, nor the last, time you’ll hear this recommendation. Everything you’ve heard is true, listen to Pearls to Swine.
Marie Swartz is an Athens-based writer. Her latest work, “Ouerve,” was crafted in limited numbers for the public this summer.