I’m here to compile maybe a useless, questionable and subjective best of the year playlist, but the incident that define this bloody year happened last 25th of April, an important commemorative day in my country.
One of us, integral part of the music community, a true music lover ant talents digger is gone forever and has left a big void in all those who’ve been lucky to know him, even in a virtual way.
The only one real record of the year is the tribute below, we miss you Chris!
1. DEAFCULT “Auras” (Hobbledehoy)
What shoegaze should be, melody and noise, fragility and power, hooks and distortion, definitely my number one.
2. THE VACANT LOTS “Endless Night”
A lysergic compelling nocturnal ride made of minimal and primitive Psych e Wave, Electro, Garage and Punk from Burlington’s duo, but it’s just outstanding fuckin’ Rock’n’Roll with or without Alan Vega.
3. FLAT WORMS “S/T” (Castle Face Records)
The usual annual rough pearl from the Oh Sees-related label, as from the greyhound on the cover is a breathless rush of andrenaline and speed, fuzz, feedback, distortions, garage with hints of post-punk, plus a sense of melody and humor, unmissable!
4. LACING “Bummer” (Saw Her Ghost Records)
Another pristine album ranging from ethereal soundscapes to noisey fuzzy guitar riffs, warm and cold, light and dark, MBV meets Sonic Youth, making up an impressive cohesive killer album.
5. PLASTIC FLOWERS “Absent Forever” (The Native Sound)
I follow the London-based Greek DIY moniker of Thessaloniki’s George Samaras since the early days, he never ceases to amaze with his oustanding songwriting, already his third full-length, a true dreampop maestro.
6. CLUSTERSUN “Surfacing To Breathe” (Seahorse Recordings)
My fellow countrymen are going strong in every sense with the ‘difficult’ sophomore album, an explosive and visionary gorgeous mix of noisey shoegaze and lysergic psychedelia, impossible not be pleasantly overwhelmed by it . A band in full confidence and maturity.
7. BLANKENBERGE “Radiogaze” (Self Produced)
From the fervent musical scene of Saint-Petersburg, the debut of the Russian five-piece is absolutely immaculate shoegaze, enough said.
8. GINGERLYS “S/T” (Babe City/Topshelf Records)
Brooklyn’s five-piece debut delivers a sparkling, fresh and unstoppable slice of noisey/dreamy jangle guitar-pop that sweeps you off your feet.
9. FADERDAZE “Morningside” (Flying Nun Records)
Auckland-based Amelia Murray debut is a little ‘coming of age’ jewel of minimal dreamy hazy bedroom-pop that will warm your heart and nourish your soul.
10. PLANNING FOR BURIAL “Below the House” (The Flenser)
Pennsylvania’s solo project of Thom Wasluck pushes his art forward with his third LP, finding the right balance between depressive metal, shoegaze, sadcore and dreampop. A unique slow, poignant, melancholic, disorienting, emotional piece of work from a tormented soul.
11. MARKER “S/T” (Medical Records)
Another underrated album is the debut from the New Orleans artist Mike Wilkinson, on 80’s 4AD-like new wave and dreampop, an utterly delightful listening experience.
12. JULIA LUCILLE “Chthonic” (Keeled Scales)
If a have to highlight a folk singer/songwriter, Texan Julia Lucille strikes that delicate balance between acoustic and electric guitars, mature songwriting and vibrant atmospheres, finally a late amazing talent is unveiled in its entirety, fortunately it’s never too late…
13. NEAUX “Chain Up the Sun” (The Native Sound)
New Jersey duo with their engaging blend of noise-rock, shoegaze and grunge, enhanced by the beautiful voice of Sierra Key, would deserve more credit, highly addictive.
14. BELIEFS “Habitat” (Outside Music/Hand Drawn Dracula Records)
Third album for the Toronto’s duo at their artistic peak, more obscure and noisey than the previous ones, they add some kraut-rock and dark electronic elements to their shoegaze and post punk sound, deeply absorbing you in an increasingly more personal and intriguing sonic journey.
15. LAS COBRAS “Temporal” (Fuzz Club)
I used to listen to several bands from South America, but only my first one from Uruguay and the strong debut from boyfriend/girlfriend duo is immediately a winner, a kraut-coated lysergic dark minimalistic kaleidoscopic psich rock’n’roll trip
16. FOTOFORM “S/T” (Dismal Nitch)
The Seattle four-piece, fronted by the mesmerizing voice of Kim House, channel reverb, layered shoegaze guitars, 80’s post-punk influences and The Smiths hints into a very promising and highly enjoyable debut.
17. THE MORELINGS “Same Century” (Mostly Venus Records)
The ‘art of dreampop’ : charming, warm, enveloping, immersive, irresistible…The Morelings.
18. FROTH “Outside (briefly)” (Witchita)
Third album for the ecleptic L.A. trio; feedback and melodies, noise and beautiful hooks, shoegaze elements mixed with synth-laden psychedelia and krautrock, an honest, flawless and brilliant release.
19. ALTER “Pendulum” (Grimoire Records)
Baltimore’s trio, with their sophomore album, refine their dark, heavy, angsty, striking blend of shoegaze and post-rock with post-metal, deeper immersive and beautifully devastating.
20. BLACK CANDY “Bleeding Magenta” (Fuzz Club)
The Italian band from Venice is back with their more mature, refined and complete third full-length filled with passion and energy, with a psychedelic sound fuzzy and distorted but also atmospheric and hypnotic, a fantastic live band finally able to transfer all its great potential also on record.