This month marks the third yearly go-around of our Turning the Turntables music survey. Once again, we pass the mike to a curated cast of Hudson Valley music-scene stalwarts to discover which recordings they were listening to this past year, which local acts they've been digging, and who they have their ears on in 2016.
Booking agent/promoter at BSP Kingston and Output Agency
I am usually the last person under 30 to hear the massive pop hits of our day, and when I do I usually can't tell the artists apart. Whenever I do hear the big guns (Bieber, Drake, ummm...), they sound pretty mediocre. The records I spun the most this year: Air Waves Parting Glances (Western Vinyl), Jessica Pratt On Your Own Love Again (Drag City Records; my favorite songwriter out there today, and one of my favorite live sets this year), and post-wavers Viet Cong's Viet Cong (Jagjaguar Records). I somehow stumbled onto two Heavenly Records artists I've come to really love: H. Hawkline and Gwenno, both with great records this year. Kurt Vile's new one, B'lieve I'm Goin Down (Matador Records), is a bit of a mixed bag. I thought it was really a banner year for the Hudson Valley. New Paltz based Team Love Records put out a bunch of great stuff this year (Quarterbacks, Shana Falana, Johanna Warren), Diet Cig blew up, Breakfast in Fur finally put out their debut LP, Flyaway Garden (Bar None Records), and it kills, and Bard-associated bands PWR BTTM and Palm are making serious waves.
Melissa Auf der Maur
Creative director at Basilica Hudson, erstwhile Hole and Smashing Pumpkins bassist
The latest Interpol album, El Pintor (Matador Records) shows that a band making music for over a decade (harder and harder to find nowadays! Where are they?) can stay consistent with who they are. It's a lovely record. Also, lots of Black Sabbath and The Sound of Music back-to-back lately—the unified life of a mother and heavy music lover. Locally, I dig Diet Cig because they're fun, young, and going places! I'm looking forward to anything from Fever Ray, all the time, any year—and she's due for another album, right?
Music journalist at Chronogram and Almanac
This was my year of solo piano music: Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas amaze and amaze. Chopin. Schuman's Scenes from Childhood, Alexander Scriabin, Maurice Ravel. My favorite is Brahms. On the rock front, I am thoroughly taken by Laura Stevenson's Cocksure (Don Giovanni Records). And The Kids' full-length debut, Turn to Each Other (Signature Records), really captures what makes that Northampton, Massachusetts, band so inspiring live. After hearing some of their new songs at their Bearsville Theater show, I am really excited to hear what Lucius releases this year. My cup has finally overflowed with Brooklyn art-rock bands, I'm afraid, but I had time for one more: Jared Samuel's ultra-musical art-pop band Invisible Familiars blew me away this year. Locally, I love the Duke McVinnie Band's 9 and 10 (Independent). Derek Daunicht of the awesome slack-pop band the Colorines is about to release some delirious music with Dead Wicks. Shana Falana and Breakfast in Fur released next-level psych-pop records. Chris Maxwell's new album, Arkansas Summer (Max Recordings), is something people should seek out. I like how Connor Kennedy has distanced himself from the "blues phenom" thing and is embracing many streams of American music. Battle Ave made the otherworldly Year of Nod (Seagreen Records). Then there's my band the Sweet Clementines. Our new record is a headful.
Freelance studio producer/engineer, Ultraam and Duke McVinnie Band guitarist
I listen to a lot of instrumental music. Max Richter released Sleep (Deutsche Grammophon) this year, an eight-hour orchestral work designed to play through the night and sound-track your dreams. Steve Hauschlidt released Where All Is Fled (Kranky Records), continuing his ever-evolving use of arpeggiating synths and lush orchestrations. German minimalist Pole released Wald (Pole Records), a dub-tinged exercise in sparse, glitchy, yet groovy techno. I've also really been loving Lubomyr Melnyk's 2013 album Corollaries (Erased Tapes Records)—endless, vaguely ambient piano pieces with occasional voice and cello. The recent flood of Popol Vuh vinyl re-releases has been greatly embraced at my house, alongside more contemporary ambient by Bing and Ruth and Robert Aubery Lowe and Ariel Kalma. Invisible Familiars' debut, Disturbing Wildlife (Other Music Recording Co.), has been a common presence on my turntable all year. And Patrick Higgins's Bacchanalia (Telegraph Harp Records)—the Hudson native outdid himself with this one. Solo guitar interpretations of Bach, with minimal electronic processing. Also local: Alexander Turnquist, PWR BTTM, Geezer, It's Not Night It's Space, Slow Collins, Johnny Society, Blueberry, Shana Falana, the Grape and the Grain, Shadow Witch, Bearquilt, and Nature Films are all up to worthy endeavors. I'm totally biased, but Duke McVinnie should be a household name and a national treasure. Hieroglyphic Being (aka Jamal Moss) just released a great album featuring Marshall Allen and Greg Fox, We Are Not the First (RVNG International Records). He's really quite prolific and his music is moving in ever more diverse directions, so I'll be waiting to see where he goes next. [Oneida/Man Forever drummer] Kid Millions is always up to something, and it's usually an interesting listen.