Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Looking back at 2015

2015 seems like a distant memory but there are several releases I feel as though were...short shafted a bit and not given proper attention.

Number 1 being....

       In all things, having the physical representation in front of you is pudding proof of failure or success. In 2015 I had the excellent pleasure of watching these guys move through this album essentially in its entirety. Then wont this be skewed? biased? Nah just have your band come play Ithaca NY sometime :)

      Its true I've been following Shipley since 2012 with varying degree's of brightness. With 2015's "Normal Soup" you'd be a fool to ignore the effortless power these cats command. We find them easily at the top of their craft. Its math as filtered through the sieve of indie, emo, post hardcore lite breakdowns and pop song craft. If that sounds at all run of the mill then.. you might need some prescribed medication.  
      Vocal's are just as important as any instrument here, done emotionally, with varied delivery and something honest to say. A lot of people have pointed to Delta Sleep's last release vocally...which I don't disagree...but musically? please...there ain't no candle holding betwixt...Shipley breaks bread first. For proof check out the break at the end of "Slouch". Its confounding and delightfully dense as a skating boarding terrier kick flipping a gap.
      It's easy to point to cool time changes and awesome break downs...believe me there is enough to fill your Easter basket here. Really what impresses me are the rhythmic choices that are made. A lot are latin based in nature and occasionally plays to that melodically. It adds flavor and spice to a genre that is crowded with young imitators. If you take each song as a whole you will find that their pop songcraft has been so razor sharpened that you will be humming each song at different points of your day. I cant honestly remember a progressive rock album doing that in a good long time.  
     Keyboard should just be an instrumental choice all bands discuss. A few other albums I enjoyed from this year present them in meaningful ways and Soup is no exception. It fleshes out and colors the songs here providing space for the guitars. It never dominates the proceedings but knows how to interject a valuable counter to the other instruments.

    Why pick as my top this year? several reasons.... Truly I have spun this album more than any other. It also has memorable hooks that keep you coming back with an emotional intensity that reveals new layers upon each listen. Song lengths are fair and never out stay their welcome. Drums and bass? I could write an entire article on how Patrick and Seamus Hamilton have crafted what amounts to a perfectly balanced rhythm section.

When asked specifically what picks the folks in Shipley appreciated in 15 they were more than happy suggest the following

The Quaaludes - This Is Your Future We're Talking About

Seasons - Help Me Help You

Tawny Peaks - Tawny Peaks

Dance Gavin Dance - Instant Gratification

and of course: Professional Rapper by Lil Dicky


Others I enjoyed:

Delicious Death - Still Death

(Bob Baxter) arose from the depths to re-launch his sonic assault. Having 5 years between releases gives you time to really hone your attack and leave us needing more..more MORE!!

Del Paxton / Gulfer - Split

These two can seemingly do no wrong. I would have included Gulfer's June release as well but this feels just right. I dont normally enjoy splits...the whole.. an album as a story thing but it works and showcases two bands that apart may not have a lot in common but each flirt with the others strengths  It honestly feels like the start of a beautiful relationship. Having seen them play together its really a no brainer. Paxton's power trio has only become more laser focused in their approach since their last release.  A slight up tick in aggression and a bit more jagged edges while never eschewing their fantastical melodic side.

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