Fat Shuggy is a bonafied freak. If you haven’t met/ seen Shuggy out in the clubs, basements, and other performance spaces smattered across the area, then you’re probably not going out very much. Gore obsessed, noise munching, sonic chaos creating, blood splattering, scene uniting, much beloved madman!!!!!!
Fat Shuggy’s favorite recordings of 2016:
This year there were so many great artists releasing so many great recordings. Here’s a list of just a few of my favorites (in no order), plus I probably missed some! Every artist on this list I have also seen mind blowingly excellent live performances from!
Mother of Fuck I Love
Lane Shi Otayonii from Dent and Elizabeth Colour Wheel steps forwards to take us on breathtakingly wonderful journey of complex compositions through electronics, piano, and her of course her super powerful voice. Lane has just left the USA at the moment because of America’s bullshit hatred towards immigrants, and she has a special place in everyone’s hearts here in the Boston music world. Best vocalist I’ve ever seen.
Particulars were a really great band led by drummer and composer Nick Neuburg of EKP, Tredici Bacci, and several other bands. The music is very composed through beefheartean methods with tight heavy grooves without obvious key signatures. Amazing lyrics from saxophonist and vocalist Billy McShane as well. I’ve listened to this album like 20 times now and can find something new that I dig each time I listen to it.
Listening Woman is an amazing band that I’ve seen like 100 times now led by composer and vocalist Katie McShane (also in EKP, Kateboard, Lichen, Custom Drummer, and lots of other bands). The music has elements of free jazz, funk, new wave, opera, rock, rap, and lots of other things. Goes to very Sun Ra-ish places but always gets tied together in a pop structure with very pretty memorizable melodies that you’ll be singing along to instantly! Plus the fattest most badass bass shit from Jesse Heasly, astonishing opera vocals from Adrienne “Hot Milk” Arditti, all on top of the coolest old school drum machines! Love the lyrics too!
I’ve seen Birthing Hips more than I’ve seen any other band perform, and each time they deliver a fantastic show that’s worth going to! This album has really great songs with delightful melodies traveling to punk, metal, free jazz, rap, and bunch of other things! Each member of the band is extremely virtuosic at their instrument and will all individually make you say “fuck yeah” at some point in the album. Scat screaming, the most ungodly fast shredding guitar, heavy slap fretless bass, fast drumming at the force of the hulk; what more can you need!? Check out the chorus of “Sex Bias” and tell me you’ve heard a more badass chorus.
Peter J. Woods
Simply beautiful spoken word and noise album by noise artist Peter J. Woods telling a story through poetry with lovely ambience coming together to create something both relaxing and scary slowly teaching you more about the protagonist. Lovely noise too of corse. I don’t want to say too much, you just need to hear this album!
Electronic musician, singer, dancer, and actor, Joss is one of the most virtuosic and inspirational artists I’ve ever seen. She released so many different songs and videos this year while also performing at so many different shows.
The Vimeo link is my personal favorite from her this year, and other people probably have different opinions on what they’ve enjoyed most from her this year. It’s an abstract video of her with a very free to interpretation plot and and an absolutely fantastic electronic soundtrack. There’s another video of similar nature that’s also on her Vimeo too that will blow your mind as well! And she also made a lot of videos that are a lot more simple and mostly done in one shot on her YouTube ( https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9vSgkxyqPV4
) that also take you on an unforgettable scary but funny adventure that can make you rethink the foundations of things established in your head long ago if you dig deep enough into your own interpretation.
The SoundCloud song I linked is a classical piece by Prokofiev that she arranged into the electronic world with all sort of amazing synths and a whole different adventure to the song.
She also just released 3 new solo piano albums like last week that I haven’t heard all the way through yet; and that’s the third link I put. Holy shit she’s done so many wonderful things this year! (As well as collaborating heavily to my performances.)
Chelsea “Banana” Ursin is a great singer, bassist, and song writer who I’ve seen perform many different times this year with many different drummers accompanying her and sometimes playing solo. She writes really great songs with lovely melodies and plays the most hard rocking distorted bass shit behind it. No guitar in the band but that doesn’t stop her from rocking shit as hard as possible. You’ll never feel bored in any part of her music. Everything is always alive! Once you hear “Doomed” you’ll never get it out of your head; beautiful song!
Jordonna Bernstein (also in PC Worship) is a great rapper, singer, producer, and prepared guitarist with a very mellow but haunting record that they released this year. Amazingly powerful lyrics over what feels like ghosts coming out of the overtones of their guitar. So many great melodies on choruses with incredible hooks grabbing you with lines like “what do you when you got no food?”. Seen them perform a few times too; always leaves you with your jaw dropped at how amazingly powerful their vocal delivery is. Kassie from Guerilla Toss does some really great backup singing on the album too!
One For is Rex Bennett and he released two albums this year! Both contain excellent compositions all made on a gameboy! He goes to NEC and plays trombone but his real instrument is a gameboy! Very spooky music that will give you chills running through you with the sounds of Super Mario fighting depression. Microtonal harmonies, white noise drum grooves, scary melodies, the music got everything!
James Discovers is the alias of Mario Epstein writing very fun catchy songs coming from his inspiration from his own fictional lands. Great singer songwriter music with catchy melodies and unforgettable choruses, badass lead guitar, and parts with pure Sonic Youth noise rock fury! Seen him perform a whole bunch of times, each time with a similar list of songs, but he’ll add something new to play the songs in a different way for each show!
Wonderful relaxing music with so much emotion behind the melodies and lyrics and incredible synth parts. Very powerful harmonies that take into outer space when outer space is a dead body. “I am dead” is simply one of the most haunting songs of magic I’ve ever heard. He also released another album this year with guitar that isn’t online and you should ask him for it; it’s also an absolutely fantastic album.
Dana Cataldo (from Trim)
Trim has done so many amazing shows this year proving themselves to be Boston and New York’s favorite new noise band. Here’s an abstract video of wonderful shapes and colors made by Trim’s drummer Dana that she made over music by Trim’s synthesist Victoria Shen. You can interpret the film however you want which is something that’s also really fun about seeing Trim perform.
Sun Young is a trio led by Damien Scalise (also from Ian Sweet) with fun catchy rock songs that you’ll be singly along to as soon as you hear them. Great guitar leads, great synth leads, great back up singing, and great drumming! Damien really gets into a different universe when singing and really makes himself visible when performing and recording and puts in really fun story telling within his lyrics that have so much meaning behind them.
Tiffany’s House is Ari Ratner (Peach Ring) and Will Hendrickson (Harmoos) and they go together to form a fun pop duo feeling very fun but also very scary. It’s like an unedited brother’ grim story turned into a band! I love the lyrics so much; very funny, mysterious, dark, and twists into intricate story telling all at the same time. Will’s synth harmonies behind Ari’s singing create a very chill but spooky vibe as well that fit in perfectly behind the lyrics.
I feel arrogant for writing about myself but I worked very hard on my albums that I released this year and this list would feel incomplete to me if I didn’t include them. I put out two albums this year; one for Halloween, and one for Christmas.
These are only a few recordings that I really dug this year, and there’s definitely a lot I missed! So much good shit!
Above photo by Kyle Cuneo