Buried Treasure: Five overlooked records of 2016
The Chimes staff highlights some under-listened music from the past trip around the sun. | Max Heilman/THE CHIMES
Tim’s Pick: “Never Enough” - Public Access T.V. — The Manhattan indie-rockers released this 12-track debut full of feel-good, chorus-heavy songs to great critical acclaim, receiving write-ups by the likes of The New York Times and Billboard. Standout tracks like “In Love and Alone,” “End of Era” and “Patti Peru” show their talent through distortion-driven, playful lead guitar lines and simple, imagery-heavy lyrics that evoke an array of emotions in listeners. Public Access TV does not emulate their massive New York City predecessors such as The Strokes and Incubus, instead releasing a fresh LP of bare-bones, well-produced indie rock jams that cater to any crowd.
Max’s Pick: “Perdurance” - Jute Gyte — The continuous relationship between classical music and extreme heavy metal reaches an overwhelming height with Adam Kalmbach’s one-man project. Drawing from 20th century composers and free-form improvisors, Jute Gyte’s suffocating cavalcade implements microtones, counter meter and improvisation in their supremely confrontational take on avant garde black and sludge metal. Even the most versed veterans of experimental music cannot prepare for the disorienting cacophony that pervades throughout this record’s runtime. Regardless of one’s first reaction, “Perdurance” deserves recognition as a brilliant singularity of the fringes of extreme metal, jazz, industrial, noise and modern classical colliding and a milestone in metal’s transition into high art.
Kyle’s Pick: “Hella Personal Film Festival” - Open Mike Eagle — “Hella Personal Film Festival” legitimizes Open Mike Eagle as an uncanny wordsmith of underground rap. Eagle collaborates with British producer Paul White, vibrantly lending their abilities to an eclectic project filled with flaring bars which thematically vary on issues. Whether he speaks on the all-encompassing racism within a passive-aggressively prejudiced society or simply about maintaining integrity through rising fame, “Hella Personal Film Festival” oscillates through audiences by intentionally tearing down the fourth wall and divulging their many inside jokes. Eagle’s open invitation to these conversations further evokes an eagerness to explore this album’s expansive concepts and otherworldly commentary with every listen. Facetious and sincere, this project cemented Eagle as one of the most complex MCs in the game.
Grace’s pick: “Next Thing” - Frankie Cosmos — Greta Kline, known by her stage name Frankie Cosmos, represents the best friend listeners never had. Formerly the bass player of American synthpop group Porches, her mellow bass lines drive her music forward, carrying abrupt guitar riffs and solid snare cracks along for the ride. Each song is a quaint, yet brief encounter with an old acquaintance, mainly because Cosmos is a wordsmith. The 22-year-old studied poetry at New York University, an investment that contributes to her cordial, inviting attitude to all who lend her an ear. Cosmos is the girl next door: approachable, down-to-earth and warm. While “If I Had a Dog” remains a relatable favorite, the album’s pinnacle becomes “Fool,” with the chorus beckoning all to join together in a melancholy moment. Where Cosmos’ music is concerned, it is easy for anyone to become a fool.
Brooks’ Pick: “Homeworlding” by Fraternal Twin — “If you saw me like this, would you never tell?” ponders Tom Christie on Fraternal Twin’s sophomore album, “Homeworlding.” A 10-track collection of melancholy that falls somewhere between indie rock and slowcore, the songs offer a delicate intimacy between the listener and the band, which moreso echo the sentiments of a house show than that of a studio recording. Shades of desperation and anxiety color Christie’s lyrics without veering into the cliche, brought to fruition with simple yet dizzying arpeggios, subtly serene synths and a steadily dynamic rhythmic backbone. “Homeworlding” sits as one of 2016’s overlooked gems, an earnest showcase of songwriting that knows how to break one’s heart in all the right ways.