Sam’s Top 23 Songs of 2016

(Sequenced for flow – not ranking – purposes.)

Tyvek “Choose Once” (In the Red)
My single of the year, from my album of the year. So raw, so good.

Mass Gothic “Every Night You’ve Got to Save Me” (Sub Pop)
Family Sing-Along Song of the Year honors go to this raucous doo-wop jam.

DIIV “Under the Sun” (Captured Tracks)
Shining down from a shimmering crack in the clouds that hung over 2016.

A Tribe Called Quest “We the People…” (Epic)
I could have chosen any of a half dozen tracks off this album but this here’s the anthem, get your damn hands up.

Francis and the Lights w/ Bon Iver “Friends” (KTTF)
Alan Parsons meets auto-tuned R&B meets, well, Bon Iver.

KAYTRANADA “LITE SPOTS” (XL)
Half this song is impossible to dance to; the other half is impossible not to dance to.

De La Soul “Royalty Capes” (AOI)
I wish this album had been more fulfilling than my anticipation of it, but there are some real gems amidst the scattershot experiments. This one’s about why a guy can’t find vintage De La on any of the streaming services.

Homeboy Sandman “Heart Sings” (Stones Throw)
Homeboy Sandman w/ I Am Many “Real New York”
(Stones Throw)
Sometimes he rhymes slow, sometimes he rhymes quick.

Beach Slang “Spin the Dial” (Polyvinyl)
“I was born at the bottom
But I never belonged
I’m hardly ever right
But I’ve never been wrong”
Could’ve been ripped straight from Paul Westerberg’s notebook.

The Men “Dreamer” (We Are the Men)
What you’d imagine to be playing anytime a parent pounds on their teen’s bedroom door and yells, “Turn it down!”

The Radio Dept. “Committed to the Cause” (Labrador)
A slinky statement of a song with hints of Prefab Sprout and St. Etienne.

Parquet Courts “Steady on My Mind” (Rough Trade)
Mmmn, Velvet-y.

Grandaddy “A Lost Machine” (Sony)
Man, this album can’t come soon enough…

James Blake “Love Me in Whatever Way” (Polydor)
That laugh track makes this even more heartbreaking than your average James Blake song.

ot to, not to w/ Noah Smith “Regretta I” (Other People)
Listen very closely.

The xx “On Hold” (Young Turks)
I know their 15 minutes of fame should be long gone, but that Hall & Oates sample…

Sonny & the Sunsets “Needs” (Polyvinyl)
The album where Sonny fell in love with a drum machine and made some goofy babies like this one.

Sunflower Bean “I Was Home” (Fat Possum)
Critics fawned over their debut but I found most of the album kinda boring. That said, this single is some transcendent psych rock amazingness.

Terry Malts “Used to Be” (Slumberland)
Terry Malts has been to me in the early 20-teens what The Wedding Present was to me in the early 1990s – completely durable and indispensible.

The Intended “Don’t Wait Too Long” (In the Red)
Rollicking goodness from Detroit’s garage (or basement, as the case may be) scene.

Leonard Cohen “It Seemed the Better Way” (Sony)
I’m a man of faith but after a year like this one, I get it. I really do.

David Bowie “Lazarus” (ISO/Columbia)
As my grandmother was bedridden and dying of cancer she’d ask my mom to open the curtains so she could watch the birds in the tree outside her window. When I first heard the bluebird line, I crumbled into a sobbing mess. Bowie gave until the very end…ain’t that just like him?

The Rebel Set

The Rebel Set | 4 Song EP | 3hive.com

The Rebel Set | 4 Song EP | 3hive.com

Phoenix, AZ punk rockers The Rebel Set are back with a new EP featuring 4 tracks of organ-fried, fuzzy punk rock goodness. You can stream all 4 songs below, I highly recommend that you do.

This bad boy is available now on vinyl (and digitally) through Hidden Volume Records. You should snag this on vinyl, that’s the best way to experience any Hidden Volume release. Enjoy!

Pow Wows

Pow Wows | Hey Doctor | 3hive.com

Toronto’s Pow Wows have been making their brand of grimey garage rock since 2010. Their latest 7 incher, Hey Doctor (via Hidden Volume Records), is another testament to their goodness.

Stream it now (below) and head over to Hidden Volume’s site and snag yourself a copy on vinyl or digital – I highly recommend this on vinyl. Enjoy.

The Minni-Thins

The Minni-Thins | That Old Kentucky Blackgrass | 3hive.com

The Minni-Thins describe themselves as “…a loud hodge-podge of nineties indie rock, punk, folk, and even country…. think: the Butthole Surfers doing LSD with Connor Oberst and having a bad trip while trying to write an album in the style of The Pixies.” I can’t top that. Give their burner “Apparent” (below) a spin, it’s a sure thing to clean out your sinuses.

Their album, That Old Kentucky Blackgrass, has finally been unleashed upon the masses after being shelved for 10 years. You can get a hold of it now on their Bandcamp page. Enjoy.

The Minni-Thins – Apparent from That Old Kentucky Blackgrass (2006/2016)

Dogbreth

Dogbreth | 3hive.com

Here is some killer power-pop from Arizona’s Dogbreth for your Friday. Give “Hoarder House” from their newest LP, Second Home, a spin below.

Second Home is out now through Asian Man Records.

Dogbreth – Hoarder House from Second Home (2016)

Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise | Hidden Volume | 3hive.com

Birds of Paradise | Hidden Volume | 3hive.com

Hidden Volume Records is at it again with their latest rock ‘n’ roll 7″ – this time from Montreal duo Birds of Paradise.

The A-side (streaming below) is the duo’s thick and grungy version of Randy Newman’s “Beehive State” and on the B-side is their dusty, garage-pop rendition of Pearl Jones’ “Please Stay“.

As usual this is another solid Hidden Volume release that belongs in your collection. What are you waiting for? Go get yourself a copy from their Bandcamp page now, before they are all gone.

Thanks Scott for sending the vinyl my way!

birdbird

birdbird | Corporation Setup | 3hive.com

birdbird | Corporation Setup | 3hive.com

New York trio, birdbird, blasts some heavy, noisy, ear drum melting, lo-fi, punk rock on “Corporation Setup” (below) from their debut EP, Corporation Setup. They describe their sound “…sounds exactly like a fire at your niece’s birthday party.” Pretty spot on. You need to give this a spin.

Corporation Setup is available now from birdbird’s Bandcamp page. Enjoy.

birdbird – Corporation Setup from Corporation Setup (2016)

birdbird FB

Sharkmuffin

Sharkmuffin | Chartreuse | 3hive.com

Sharkmuffin | Chartreuse | 3hive.com

Brooklyn garage rock trio, Sharkmuffin, punch you straight in the mouth from the needle drop and don’t let up on their excellent debut LP Chartreuse. Sharkmuffin is made up of Tarra Thiessen (vocals/guitar), Natalie Kirch (vocals/bass) and Janet LaBelle (vocals/drums), however Patty Schemel (of Hole fame) played drums on the album while LaBelle was recovering from an injury.

Give the pummeling title-track, “Chartreuse”, a spin (below), it’s a great sample of what do expect from the rest of the LP. Chartreuse is out now on cassette and vinyl from Little Dickman Records and State Capitol Records. Enjoy.

Sharkmuffin – Chartreuse from Chartreuse (2015)

Sharkmuffin FB

Omni

OMNI | Deluxe | 3hive.com

OMNI | Deluxe | 3hive.com

Atlanta powerhouse trio, Omni, throw it down on their hook-filled, power-pop release Deluxe. The chugging bass, angular guitar and frantic backbeat of opener “Afterlife” (below) not only make it one of the best songs on the album, but one of my favorite songs so far this year.

Deluxe is out now through Trouble In Mind Records. It’s one of my favorite records so far this year and a great one to crank up and pogo around the house to. Enjoy

Omni – Afterlife from Deluxe (2016)

Lisa Prank

Lisa Prank | Adult Teen | 3hive.com

Lisa Prank | Adult Teen | 3hive.com

Lisa Prank is the Seattle-based solo project of Robin Edwards. Armed with an electric guitar, a Roland MC-505 drum machine, guest appearances by members of Tacocat, Chastity Belt and The Trashies – Lisa Prank’s newest album, Adult Teen. is an addictive pop-punk gem packed with 11 catchy earworms that will burrow themselves deep into your brain.

Check out album opener “Starting Again” for a taste. Adult Teen. is out now and available in most formats from Father/Daughter Records. Enjoy.

Lisa Prank – Starting Again from Adult Teen. (2016)