The Brian Jonestown Massacre – “Leave It alone” – Mini Album Thingy Wingy
From the notorious blitz of music coming out of Anton Newcombe’s The Brian Jonestown Massacre, arrives a mini-album to cap off 2015. Mini Album Thingy Wingy came a little bit out of left-field, after the fantastic album, Revelation, just last year, but even if this mini-album is interpreted as an assortment of B-sides (if that term is even relevant today), there are some really killer tracks. “Leave It Alone” is reminiscent of classic BJM and definitely holds a candle to anything off Methodrone.
Froth – “On My Chest” – Bleak
Froth are a local band from Los Angeles and became exponentially better once they added a second guitarist. I fucking hate the term “shoe-gaze”, but the guitars on “On My Chest” track have that 90s audio texture, but it’s not contrived, there is some rather nice pop-sensibilities throughout. Froth are part of the growing Lollipop / Burger Records scene, along with a few other cool bands, for example, Tracy Bryant, also on this list. Here is Froth performing “On My Chest” at KEXP:
Killing Joke – “Dawn of the Hive” – Pylon
It’s astonishing that Killing Joke’s original line-up of Jaz, Youth, Geordie, and “Big” Paul are still putting out material this heavy. Geordie’s main riff on “Dawn of the Hive” makes repetition a thing of beauty. The lyrical content is depressing, but this band has been around long enough to see some major shit hit the fan. Geordie is still recording and playing his signature, gold Gibson ES-295. It’s also worth noting that they cancelled their 2016 U.S. tour, citing health reasons.
Tracy Bryant – “Subterranean”
Had it been 2014, Corners would be on my list of top songs. A year later, sees Corner’s lead singer, Tracy Bryant, record some solo material with some of the guys from Froth (see above) and Mystic Braves. You’ll hear people compare Tracy’s latest single to Ariel Pink, but I’m not familiar enough with the haunted graffiti to make that assessment. For me, I hear tinges of Sonic Youth’s “Incinerate”, with a bit of Dinosaur Jr, but it’s really its own thing. Here is the official video:
New Order – “Restless”
Hooky’s out, but New Order still managed to emulate his bass-lines quite accurately. Bernard Sumner is still doing his signature non-singing voice on “Restless”, but at the end of the day, it all comes together and Music Complete is likely their best album since 2001’s Get Ready. “Restless” was New Order’s first single for 2015 and I think it was a logical choice, given Sumner singing the chorus of “How Much Do You Need?”
A Place to Bury Strangers – “Straight” – Transfixiation
A Place to Bury Strangers are a very underrated band, both live and in recording. I think their emo-sounding band name gives them a real disservice, but once you get past that obstacle, there is some high-energy, exciting material. I closed out my 2015 watching them play a wild New Year’s Eve show at the Viper Room. Pick up a copy of their latest, Transfixiation. “Straight” is just a sample of how the hard hitting drums, crunched guitars, and deep vocals all come together.
Chui Wan – “Vision” – S/T
You really don’t hear much music in America coming from Beijing, China these days. I witnessed Beijing’s Chui Wan play a magnificent set at Levitation 2015, where I was quite fixated with their disciplined instrumentation. They sound a bit like a Chinese contemporary version of the Talking Heads, with their bassist even stylized like Tine Weymouth, but really, they are quite indescribable.
FIDLAR – “Bad Medicine” – Too
Just a no-bullshit rock song from Fidlar. Their bassist, Brandon Schwartzel, steps up to vocal duties on “Bad Medicine”.
You can find the whole playlist of all these songs on Apple Music, with the playlist embedded right here.