The following is promoter Marissa D'Elia's list of her favourite albums of the year. Her list doubles as an account of a year spent inside a music scene -Scout
It’s true that I rarely seek new music to listen to. This year it was so pathetic that less than a month ago I went to my Facebook, begging friends to tell me what they thought were the best records released this year. Some ninety comments later I was deep into a music vortex that pulled in me in all directions from hardcore to twinkly shit to pop punk and places I had never been before. Below you’ll find the few records I did find on my own and others that my friends suggested (so s/o if you were helped with that). The list ends with my favorite record of the year. Enjoy!
Soul Glo- “ “
favorite track: "closer to god"
A little while ago I was standing next to Blair Elliott, who owns Siren Records in Doylestown, talking about the current state of hardcore. The conversation turned to the subject controversy. Blair saw the rise of bands coming out of the early 80s, specifically ones that took strong political and social stances, as the heydey of the scene. Those bands had something to say. They were angry. I’ve never personally been big on the music from that era but spent nearly 6 months working on a project that asked how punk/hardcore worked as a revolution. Blair posed the question “Where are all the bands that give a shit about something? Where are the bands that actually say something?” The best answer to that question today is Soul Glo. Their record might make you uncomfortable and it should as it cross-examines race, class, gender and all of the ways violence and oppression flirt with those pillars of society.
Radiator Hospital - Torch Song
favorite track: "Fireworks reprise"
When I sat down to listen to this record it was my first time listening to RH (again, I’m very lazy). But oh I’m so happy I did. As I was listening I jotted down real time reactions like “I’m literally crying” because there were so many times where the lyrics met the music in the most beautiful way. I felt like with every song I was further on a journey that examined a relationship so honestly and whole from being in love to the moment you realize that it’s over to the moment you have finally started to move on. It is bittersweet, melancholy, and optimistic all at once.
Clique - Clique
favorite track: "Sucker" + "Get By"
Bands in Philly are a dime a dozen... Truly. I believe that many of those bands subconsciously write music that they think will mean something to someone else that has no personal meaning to the musicians. There are a lot of Snowing and American Football covers for that reason. And that’s okay, it’s just boring. Then there’s Clique. Their self-titled EP is lyrically debilitating with no better way to describe than to say it makes me feel “some type of way.” I feel like I’m in a deep reflectively trance from start to finish. They really hit it out of the park on their first try and that’s more of an accomplishment than some band’s entire discography.
The Hotelier - Home Like Noplace Is There
favorite track: "Dendron + The Scope of All This Rebuilding"
I don’t even remember when I first heard this record. That may be because I have nearly played it to death and back hundreds of thousands of times. A phenomenal record for me is determined by its listenability. This means sitting down and listening to a record start to finish without getting bored or confused when it takes an irreverent turn. Home Like Noplace is There listens like a diary left open. Every time it’s picked up it tells a story, whether it be about personal identity, abandonment, or mental illness. It is impossible to put down once you’ve begun as you are bound to find a song that hits you in a place that nothing else has. I got to see the record performed in its entirety at FEST 13 and I can say it nearly changed me. They are not empty feelings or realities and you can see that in the way people respond and how the songs themselves are presented. I have never felt so connected to a record - at least I haven’t for a really long time...
Hightide Hotel - Naturally
favorite track: A Soft, Subtle Sound
It’s not a secret that as all patiently waited for the final HH record to be released after being completely finished last fall/winter there were several of us that got our hands on it a little earlier. I would say nearly all of Philadelphia, in fact. We had housed the best kept secret and I think when people heard it for the first time this September they would agree that it was worth the wait. I had always heard about this band from my Lehigh Valley friends who would probably tell you that listening to this band’s discography is like going to church. It took me a minute but I finally found myself agreeing. Naturally this is best listened to while coming out of a rut as the music itself feels terribly optimistic juxtaposed with lyrics describing the motions of acceptance and moving on which compliments their Nothing Was Missing, Except Me record. That was more acceptance, reflection, and depression more than anything else. I felt like Naturally was the most perfect end to that story but also an incredible record to leave us with as we personally mourn the end of Hightide Hotel.
Drake - Singles
"How Bout Now" is my favorite Drake song we are so blessed
Mitski - Bury Me at Makeout Creek
favorite song: "first love/ late spring, i don’t smoke, i will"
I worship this record. Worship. It feels like waking up from a winter hibernation. It feels like floating while being hypnotized by a choir or meditating to drawn out fuzzy guitar. It is mesmerizing. It can be haunting. It feels like being up at 2 am with a buzz staring at your ceiling and wallowing. Lyrically, this record is worthy of a pulitzer. Musically, this record is intoxicating and goes on a new journey with each track. I don’t think there are enough ways for me to describe how important this record is to me and how it is probably more than the top of my end of the year list but also one of my favorites of all time.