Sunday, February 07, 2016

Listening Habits 01.2016

January's new releases schedule was pretty strong (as you can see here), but for our first Listening Habits post of 2016 we are going to focus on albums and tracks from 2015 that we have come by between December and January: the late discoveries of 2015, some of which made it in our Albums of the Year list at the very last minute, while some were left out only because they came in our possession slightly late. But, of course, it's never too late to discover and enjoy good music, regardless of release date or inclusion in any year-end list.

The album we've enjoyed the most over the last couple of months was "Half Free", the 4AD debut by U.S. Girls, the recording project of Illinois-born, Toronto-based artist Meghan Remy. She has been releasing experimental, lo-fi electronic music for several years, for various smaller indie labels, but it is 2015's "Half Free" the record that finally gives her the wider acclaim she deserves. 60's soul and girl-group influences mix with dub-pop and hip-hop inspired beats, while Remy sings about the everyday struggles of characters whose stories were inspired by the work of director John Cassavetes and Bruce Springsteen. It's a captivating listen from start to finish, shifting musical shapes and styles and creating some of the most fascinating pop we've listened to in 2015, with highlights including "Damn That Valley", "Window Shades" and "Woman's Work".

Here's what else we've been listening to lately from the tail end of 2015:

Top 12 Albums

1.  Half Free - U.S. GIRLS
2.  Fading Frontier - DEERHUNTER
3.  Silver Bullets - THE CHILLS
4.  Return To The Moon - EL VY
5.  Divers - JOANNA NEWSOM
6.  Holding Hands With Jamie - GIRL BAND
7.  Why Choose - SHOPPING
9.  Cranekiss - TAMARYN
10. Feels Like - BULLY
11. Rough Trade Shops Counter Culture 15 - VARIOUS ARTISTS
12. Why Pay More? - THE SOFT PINK TRUTH (download here)

Top 12 Tracks

1.  Snakeskin - DEERHUNTER
2.  Damn That Valley - U.S. GIRLS
3.  America Says Hello - THE CHILLS
4.  Return to the Moon (Political Song for Didi Bloome to Sing, with Crescendo) - EL VY
5.  Pears For Lunch - GIRL BAND
6.  Straight Lines - SHOPPING
7.  Leaving the City - JOANNA NEWSOM
8.  Carrion Flowers - CHELSEA WOLFE
9.  Cranekiss - TAMARYN
10. Trying - BULLY
11. Patchwork - DEMDIKE STARE
12. What's A Computer? - THE SOFT PINK TRUTH

U.S. Girls - Damn That Valley

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