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Hi, I do the surf show Storm Surge of Reverb every Monday from 4-6pm. But when I'm not listening to surf, I'm listening to things that are not surf. Here are some of my favorites from this year. I'll be posting my surf favorites on StormSurgeOfReverb.com over the next month or so.

Graiils - Chalice HymnalGrails - Chalice Hymnal

I remember back when post-rock was fresh. Explosions in the Sky weren’t scoring TV shows, they were just a garage outfit, and there were a whole bunch of other groups that were competing to see who could have the most EPIC CRESCENDO. I ate it up, but it did get old. Grails were a part of that era, but it’s amazing how much they’ve matured. Chalice Hymnal is just dripping with atmosphere to the point where I want to nominate it as my favorite movie of the year. The title track in particular is absolutely incredible, a twisting and evolving mixing board of emotion.

Slowdive - Slowdive

Slowdive - Slowdive

There can’t be another Souvlaki, but I’d rank this in second place among Slowdive records. As the first few notes drip in on Slomo it became clear that they hadn’t lost their unique way to transmit tingles into a spine. Even the advance release singles “Star Roving” and “Sugar For The Pill”, which had me lowering my expectations, made a lot more sense in the context of the album. Though “Don’t Know Why” is a close one, “Everyone Knows” is the track that finds its way into one of my slowdive favorites. Side note: I bought a flight to Atlanta just to see Slowdive. It was magical.

Japanese Breakfast - Soft Sounds From Another Planet

Japanese Breakfast - Soft Sounds from Another Planet

While we’re dream-poppin’, I felt like Japanese Breakfast’s Psychopomp was close but not quite there. While there were a few that I would skip on this, a few of them hit really hard. Particularly “Boyish” which grabs all the charms of a Ronettes track and sends that exuberance to the upside-down. It’s a relentless earworm that that makes you feel hopelessly miserable. I still feel like she’s an album away from her peak, but even with its flaws this record drew me in bigtime.

Here Lies Man - Here Lies Man

Their elevator pitch is “Black Sabbath meets afrobeat” which is pretty succinctly on-target, and though Brownout’s two albums of Black Sabbath covers should have primed me for something like that, this still was one of the freshest things I’ve heard in years. It’s primal, savage, and demands that you dance that way. The sound is defined a bit narrowly, and I think that sameness can obscure some fun and playful ideas employed throughout. I can’t wait to hear what comes next from them.

Lost Bayou Ramblers - Kalenda

I had tuned out Lost Bayou Ramblers a long time ago when they seemed to be merely a really good modern cajun band. Sorry y’all, I got lotsa 45s, just didn’t need to dig into the new stuff. This year I found myself at one of their shows and didn’t realize how loud they were. And I don’t mean by pure decibels, but that punk rock amplitude finding its way into a cajun band. Apparently somewhere along the way Lost Bayou Ramblers decided they were going to mess with cajun music, and I love it. You’ve got your drum machine on the first track subtly adding a Quintron-esque quirk to an otherwise great cajun composition. But then you’ve got “Freetown Crawl / Fightin’ville Brawl” which meanders into psychedelia before crashing into an all-around memorable cajun hollerer in “La Valse de Balfa”. And I love capping it off with a good ol’ hawaiian styled steel guitar track. Lost Bayou Ramblers have such a great command of what makes cajun music great, and that informs them on where to poke at it.

Room Thirteen - Roccopulco

An evolution of the local artist that went by Danny, Roccopulco is the album I just couldn’t shut up about. In a world where everything’s going to shit, we were delivered this little slice of heaven, impervious to worry. It’s simple in its emotion, but masterfully arranged with little musical morsels that reveal themselves with each listen. A sound that’s familiar but all of its own, with bits of exotica, tropicalia and surf. Every track is wonderful, though it was “Crazy About the Heat” that got stuck in my head for a week. I really hope this manages to find some love outside of New Orleans.

Blato Zlato - Swamp Gold

While we’re on a roll with the local records, I’ll throw in the one that I’m maritally obligated to include. While groups like Gogol Bordello or (locally) Debauche have a raucous take on balkan music, Blato Zlato grab the standout parts of traditional balkan music and add a thick layer of dusky mist and atmosphere beyond just mysterious voices. Each musician’s role is a distinct part of the puzzle and allow the songs to be enjoyed on a technical, artistic, mystical and danceable level.

Sundays and Cybele - Chaos & Systems

This Japanese psych group’s album “Gypsy House” had a feeling that grabbed me in the lot of the ways that Dark Side of the Moon did. We were all fifteen once. Chaos and Systems is a much more balls-out psych record, particularly the exploding and wailing “Butterfly’s Dream”. They keep sight of melody even when seemingly going off the rails and keep everything interesting from track to track.


A few other standouts that felt just below list-worthy or too new to me to feel sure about

Ecstatic Vision - Raw Rock Fury

Cosmic Analog Ensemble - Les Sourdes Oreilles

Dream Syndicate - How Did I Find Myself Here?

John McBain  - Accidental Soundtracks Vol 1: The Alpha Particle

Cigarettes After Sex - Cigarettes After Sex

The Comet is Coming - Death to Our Planet

Kamasi Washington - Harmony of Difference

Flowers Must Die - Kompost

Here's a spotify playlist of most of these

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