Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Remy's International Independent Music of the Year - 2016

Sunset Exotic - More Human Than Human
Sunset Exotic

Info: In the same way that independent Irish music has flourished over the last four years, the same seems to be happening in music circles around the globe. There have been times when I've been tempted to stop reviewing independent music from outside of Ireland, purely based on time constraints, but I gave up that ghost in 2015. I cannot cope with missing out on the wonderful music below from our close neighbours in Wales and England, and slightly further afield in France, Holland, and the Nordic countries. Then you can throw in the massively vibrant scene in Toronto, Canada, and both coasts of the U.S., especially California, plus the peeps in the Southern Hemisphere, and it's just not possible for a music fan like me to ignore. Too much joy!

Rather than spread everything in individual posts I'm putting my favourite International Albums, E.P.'s, and singles in one place below, with our standard Spotify Playlist of the whole lot at the end, enjoy, and here's to 2017!

Remy's Album of the Year - Psychedelic Porn Crumpets - High Visceral (Pt.1)

- Perth, Australia

High Visceral {Part 1} was an album I could really get swept away with, from the storming guitar-driven opening of 'Cornflake' and its escapist psych tones, to the wild insanity of second track 'Cubensis Lenses' (below) and it's hard grunge-rock rapid riffage. Psychedelic Porn Crumpets perfectly dip their toes in the various waters of the psychedelic rock history timeline, from standard borderline garage of 60's bands like The Monks and The Count Five's 'Psychotic Reaction' through to modern sounds of tracks such as '...And The Addled Abstraction of Being' and 'Marmalade March'. 

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

Remy's No.2 Album of 2016 - Thanks Light - Psychonauts

- Texas, U.S.A.

Thanks Light initially caught my attention with their smouldering track and single, 'VIP', a rapid high tempo song that trundles energetically from its opening guitar riff and locomotive percussion, fast becoming one of my favourite tracks of 2016. The album commences with the moody Black Keys' sound of 'Dueling Twins', it's like a strange and highly enjoyable mix of math rock and Creedence-esque guitar slinging, a peach with a dash of Metallica and glam rock to boot.

Thanks Light Psychonauts

Remy's E.P. of the Year - Twin Haus - Nothing Lavish

- Perth, Australia

Easily one of the most formidable releases we heard in 2016, a phenomenal EP from Australia's Twin Haus, here's what Noël said; "This is clearly the release of a band at peak confidence, basking in the comfort of having found their own voice. And it’s thrilling to listen to a band wield their power so effectively. While it’s incredibly clear that Twin Haus must surely be a phenomenal live proposition, this EP is the perfect translation of their chemistry and songwriting ability. On my first listen, in my notes I wrote a sentence that pretty much sums up how I feel about this EP: "These guys are not fucking around." Give Twin Haus 30 minutes of your life and that will be abundantly clear."

Remy's No.2 EP of 2016 - MNNQNS - Capital

- Rouen, France

It's a glorious trip through post-punk indie, painted by the finest 80's French sounds of the genre, an era of high interest around these parts...Second track 'Straight To My Bones' nails that era's sound with aplomb, the French post-punk period is often overlooked, but it was a highly individualistic time, drawing very little from it's UK peers, I think of the excellent Guerre Froide, Charles De Goal and Complot Brunswick as prime examples. I could listen to this type of sound all day long.

Remy's Video of the Year - Wintergatan - 'Marble Machine'

- Gothernburg, Sweden

In the history of grand romantic undertakings, dedicating over a year of your life to the invention, design and construction of an entirely new instrument must fall somewhere between using wax and feathers to get out of a tower and mounting a horseback defence against angry windmills.  But that’s exactly what Martin Molin of sonically inventive Swedish band Wintergatan decided to do, chronicling his process, over the course of the last 14 months, to build an instrument that blurs the lines between acoustic and electronic music.  The vision and dedication required to see the project through has paid off in spades as evidenced by the hypnotic and captivating video above. - by Noël Duplaa

Remy's No.2 Video of the Year - Jacob Faurholt - 'Floating in Space'

- Copenhagen, Denmark

(From the review of the album Super Glue) I was immediately taken in by the album's opening track and the beautifully animated video for 'Floating In Space'. I hear the comparisons to Band of Horses in it's solemn but ethereal tone, but also a small hint of Bon Iver's Volcano Choir. It's a heart-wrenching piece of music with other-worldly harmonies and spacial electronic keys, probably the most moving track I've heard so far this year, that feeling aided massively by the visuals.

Remy's Single of the Year 2016 - Sunset Exotic - 'Chrysanthemum' / 'More Human Than Human'

- San Francisco, U.S.A.

It's an immensely joyous experience to witness someone leap, not drift, from one genre to the other, with all of the creative investment being worlds apart. When I listen to this double A-side I don't care about 'the state' of music anymore, I'm simply residing in a place of quite heightened happiness and joy. From early beginnings there was something special about this musician, now it's gone and shot off on an untraceable tangent, we'll hear about it when it lands, but I hope it never does!

Remy's No.2 Single of 2016 - Queens - 'Her' feat ZéFire

- Paris, France

The track's intro reminded me a bit of something you might find tucked away on their compatriots St.Germain's Tourist album, but the overall mood of the track, with backing vocals and snapped beats and electric guitars veers closer to Primal Scream Screamadelica era. The rhythm and shifts in pace are intoxicating for the listener, 'Queens' is everything you'd want from a chilled out and mellow electronic track, and since it featured on our last Playlist here, is becoming one of my favourite songs of 2016.

And finally! Below is our Playlist of the best independent music from around the globe to feature on the blog in 2016, including the above mentioned acts, here's to more great music in 2017!

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