Sub Pop & Hardly Art
Best of 2016

Dean Whitmore

Sub Pop Records Direct Sales Guy

Special “Favorite Records of 2016 That Were Released Really Late 2015” section

  • Richard Dawson - Nothing Important

  • Wolf Eyes - I Am a Problem: Mind in Pieces

Top 5 of 2016 (in no order after Heron Oblivion)

  • Heron Oblivion - I listened to this record 5 times in a row after my first listen. Beautiful & powerful, scrappy & assured. My favorite record of the year. There are obvious folk rock touchstones (Fairport, Pentangle) as well as echoes of previous bands the members have been in (Comets On Fire, Meg Baird, Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound). Punky jabs & Sonic Youth nods show up as well & manage to fit in seamlessly. Timeless record.

  • Dwarfs of East Agouza - Double LP from this trio from Cairo that features Alan Bishop & two Egyptian musicians. Repetitive jams w/ post punky bass lines, propulsive hand percussion, keys & guitar, heavy on the picking & light on the strum that can sound Arabic, African, atmospheric & rockin’. Groovy as hell. I do all four sides every time.

  • So Pitted - neo - Freak/art rock fueled by young adult despair/frustration/anger. Dirgy/sludgy riffs, throat shredding vocals. Arty & unpretentious. Made by kids weaned on Rage Against the Machine, Radiohead & 90s radio hits? It’s not easy to understand how this comes of that for me... I hear Devo, Unwound, Karp, Nirvana etc.

  • Neutral - S/T - Cold, collage, art punk from Sweden. Songs center around a repetitive bass / keyboard / guitar line, tape hisses & warbles, spoken Swedish language female vocals deadpan, a taped conversation or found sound appears. Sinister & vulnerable, sometimes at the same time. At times this reminds me vaguely of Finnish “freak folk” bands of the oughts.

  • Karl Blau - Introducing.. - Covers of classic country tunes (many of which I must admit I didn’t know). Saw him play for 2 hrs at a bar in Anacortes over the summer & would’ve stayed for a third if he’d kept playing. I was only vaguely familiar w/ Karl before this which made me feel sorry that I missed a lot of opportunities to see him, buy his records & hear his great songs & wonderful voice.

Favorite Show of 2016

  • Senyawa - My girlfriend cried & screamed fuck yeah involuntarily, I stretched my eye sockets to keep from crying as well, forgetting there was anything else but this insane blend of modern, traditional, classical, punk, metal, noise music for awhile.

These Artists Released Records In 2016 That I Enjoyed A lot (In no order)

  • Hound Dog Taylors Hand, Uranium Club, Cate Le Bon, The Writhing Squares, Renderers, Nothing Band, Ryley Walker, Omni, Violence Creeps, Justin Gallego, Rafi Bookstaber, Male/Female, Spray Paint, Kikagaku Moyo, Spacin’, Private Room, Nathan Bowles, Oren Amberachi, Primitive Parts, Goat, Trashies, Marisa Anderson, Roy Montgomery, Thee Oh Sees, Bad Breeding, Dead C, Mary Lattimore, Behavior, Vats, Colleen, the Baird Sisters, Lithics, Zig Zags, Rosalie, Stickers, EL-G, PJ Harvey, Ignatz, Lavender Flu, DoNormaal, Beret, Kane Strang, Gnod, VHS, Mothers, Chris Forsyth & the Solar Motel Band, Fat White Family, Dræmhouse, Male Bonding and all the other ones I’ve forgotten..

So many great reissues. Too many to list. A record consumers dream / nightmare. Keep it coming I guess.