It’s time for the second of the three-part series that makes up our Best of Springfield Local Music 2015! Yesterday we brought you your top picked albums/releases by Springfield bands in 2015, and today we are going to move onto the songs. Much like yesterday’s post, we are going to go over your top ten voted picks, each one featuring a different writeup by a member of our music community. This time around we are going to start with our #1 pick and then work our way down.
1. “Party Girl” by GUSH
Party!!!! I like to party. Very good song, I like the original style. Very brutal. I think it’s about some type of leprechauns. Angry leprechauns, I hear the metal. I can see them dancing in the field in the distance and before I get near they’re gone! The sky blackens, it’s full of clouds, just no rain but tons of lightning. And everyone’s dancing and then I wake up and I come to Black Sheep and saw the set and it was pretty sweet. The singer sings and the guitarist guitars, and the baser, they play the bass. And the drummer, that’s Drew. Long story short, I like the band. I think it’s a pretty unique combination of riffs and partying. It’s just the right amount of professionalism and partyism I think.
2. “Cotton Tongue” by Looming
After Looming was unsurprisingly invited to sign with No Sleep Records last year, we were all blessed with the release of their first full-length album, “Nailbiter”. As the first full song on the album, “Cotton Tongue” captures any listener immediately before you’d even know it. The thick and heavy chords, distant vocal effects, and Jess’s unbelievably unique, entrancing voice – I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel completely in love with this song. Lyrically haunting, the story this song tells cleverly captures a specific situation, but also allows listeners to relate in their own personal ways. We can’t get over it! The fully layered guitar parts, the complex yet understandable drum rhythms, the wholeness of the bass – it’s no wonder this song has captured everyone’s attention.
-Dani Sakach (Wilt Candy, Moondead)
3. “The Frost Giant’s Lament” by Sgt Karate
Sgt Karate’s “The Frost Giant’s Lament” comes in an old NES style box featuring some Castlevania inspired art, except Simon Belmont is wearing corpse paint and wielding a guitar. The game itself is a modern love letter to the classic side scrolling adventures of your childhood. You traverse beautifully rendered 16-bit era levels fighting demons and ghouls along the way. Light puzzle mechanics vary up the tried and true gameplay loop of ‘kill things, tremolo pick, repeat.’ There are plenty of secret items and power ups hidden away that need unlocking so the game will keep you busy for quite a while. After it was all said and done i was left very satisfied. A must buy.
-Nick Demarco (Our Lady, Livin Thing)
4. “Dinosaur Baby” by SAP
Although Springfield didn’t have nearly as many releases this year as last, the recordings that did get to see the light of day in 2015 were extremely strong. SAP’s ‘Maiden, Mother, Crone’ was certainly no exception. SAP got started back in late 2013 and finally released their first cassette in early 2015 on local label Ooey Gooey Tapes. The entire album is exceptionally good, but one song that certainly stands out and was voted by you as one of the best for 2015 was the second tune, titled “Dinosaur Baby”. I’ve gotta say, this tune caught my attention right away. It took me back to the early 1990’s, sitting in my room as a youth, going through obscure cassettes and CDs, discovering what would eventually become some of my most favorite bands. SAP’s sound reminds me a lot of a Sub Pop or a Dischord band from this era. Interesting arrangements, witty vocals, and dissonant chords that capture your attention and take you on a wonderfully strange ride down a road littered by a variety of topics. If you haven’t had the chance to catch one of SAP’s shows or listen to any of their recordings, do yourself a favor and check ’em out now! Clare, Kyle, and Alistair are writing some wonderful tunes that will certainly stand the test of time in my book and should not go unnoticed. “Dinosaur Baby” is one helluva “earworm”. It’s tough to get this one out of your head even after one listen. I can pretty well promise that you’ll be going about your day singing that chorus to yourself over and over again. I’m excited to see what 2016 brings from these kids!
– Anthony Bollero (Somethings Can’t Be Ignored, The Seething Coast)
5. “My Name Kyle” by South Town Studio
Among the foggy uncertainty of the Springfield radio pop scene, Brandon Carnes channeled his inner boy band soul to save the day once again. Bringing many of us out of a dark and delinquent deep sea dwelling, “My Name Kyle”, straight from Ditty internet stardom, changed the way we think about the very notion of music itself. A staple of party playlists and elevators alike, “My Name Kyle” refuses to leave your head from the second you hit play. Brandon’s luscious vocals tug at your funny bones while juicy leads pry your fingers apart into air guitar mode. It’s a mystery how this infectious track hasn’t topped the Billboard charts yet. At it’s core though, the song leaves a positive message for anyone, listener or not: “it’s a good day to have a good day.”
-Mario Cannamela (Wir Können, Livin Thing)
6. “Hey Hey” by Hospital Job
Take 2 minutes out of my busy day to write a review for “Hey Hey”, the second song on the THIRD Hospital Job album? Sure. To me it doesn’t matter what style of music you play, as long as it is good. And HJ are good at what they do: solid song writing, melody, hooks, vocal harmonies and a bunch of hey’s (natch), fuck’s, oh’s, no’s, yeah’s and shit’s and it even -breaks the 3 minute mark. Top Of The Pops!
– Ollie Clampet (Punk Rock Dissertation, TANG)
7. “Happy Birthday” by The Complaint Line
I’ve seen The Complaint Line’s name on flyers and events for a while, but never got to listen to them until now. “Happy Birthday” starts out with pounding beats, followed by fuzz-filled, buzzsaw guitars that would bring a tear to J Mascis’s eye. Vocally, it’s very reminiscent of Kim Deal and Black Francis, which are all positives for me. The song is very upfront, to-the-point, and packs a punch. I’d jam this to the Scott Pilgrim game. Overall, I’d give the song an “A”, since I’m a sucker for 80’s/90’s Alt-Revival.
-Alex Reed (Lavender)
8. “I Blame Society” by Epsom
This song is the perfect blend of psychedelic riffs that snake through your brain and sludgy 90’s garage rock bass lines that push forward, taking us through the swamp of centuries worth of societal norms built up to a crispy peak. The defiant vocals portray the pointing of fingers towards the conglomerate mind of the masses, with hints of disgust and irritation at the human condition spat into every syllable. The consistent melody is reminiscent of the enticing trance in which we all fall under as the systems under which we live calm us into a functional complacency and homeostasis. This song, an epic portrayal of the effects of groupthink on the small intricacies within the ideals of the masses, is a testament. Behind the slithering of the top 1% and their puppet strings is a mess of people who have varying and often screwed up ideas on how life and thinking should be, thanks to the social institutions that tower over us. The old fashioned notions of life that no longer ring true to us are snuffed out by the driving yet droney force of this song. Listen to this song and be reminded that you need to blame society instead of the kids on top because a good portion of the bottom 99% the ones that are enabling or allowing it all at the end of the day. Cheers.
-Clare Frachey (SAP, Shark Week)
9. “Working Girl” by Garter
Garter’s “Working Girl” is a hard hitting funky dance to the music jam, with sick beats by Nick Murphy who’s hart hittin to the bone, and bass licks by none other than Brian Galecki himself, who’s bass line also carves the song in its beauty. Famous city slicker Nighthawk (Todd) who’s guitar riffs can’t compete in this groovy tune. Save the best for last for this awesome lead singer Cassie who’s lyrics define the song in its entirety and hard hitting meaning to make you grab a bud and dance the night away.
-Kyle Gietl (Panzys, Rows of Teeth)
10. “Machines Don’t Cry” by Spooky Action
There was a lot of spooky action that went down this year at the old Black Sheep music hall. There was a lot of action that went down in general and some of this action was not spooky but, generally speaking, when it came to the action happening around here at the Black Sheep Show Space the action was definitely something that I think you could call ‘spooky’. Spooky Action competed in the “Battle O’ The bands” at Black Sheep Rock Space this year. This action was spooky, I can almost guarantee you. I was not there because I was working my adult job making baked potatoes and shrimp plates for the rich and corrupt. My good friend Alistair was there though and assured me that Spooky Action did “pretty good”, a seal of approval from Alistair, an old curmudgeon of note. I can only imagine that “Machines Don’t Cry” was performed that night because, if the logic follows, that song must be “pretty good” too! Regularly I will leap from my bed and argue that Machines can indeed cry. I say, beaming with a sickly pride “Papa! Papa! I looked in the eyes of the automata who rests next to me and I saw the eyes of god peering back, in that I have seen the eyes of man.” That evening I was struck by a realization that if the machine held something comparable to the soul of man then the machine could be taught the constructs of emotion. Pulling from that thread it then became apparent that the automata could be designed with the mechanics of crying as a response to appropriate emotions. Theoretically, from my own experience I suggest that while “Machines Don’t Cry” may indeed be a “pretty good” song, on a theoretical level it is unfounded and personally offensive. “Action” has been confirmed as “Spooky” and the song “Machines Don’t Cry” has been confirmed as “pretty good” but I’ll be damned if I suggest that machines are not capable of shedding a tear.
-Mike Tirehaus (King Worm, Livin Thing)