It would be quite reasonable to expect that I would air a Life Elsewhere Music Best Of edition. But, all the music I curate for the show could be considered best. So instead, I’m going to present what I consider, to be the stand-out tracks I’ve played in 2016. Tracks I should add that have met a simple but stringent criteria:
- Would I want to hear this track again?
- Do I want to hear more from this artist?
- Did the track catch my attention on first hearing?
The Life Elsewhere Music 2016 Year End Edition begins with Berlin-based vocalist and instrumentalist, Mary Komasa and her track Lost Me. In a provocative video for this track, directed by Maria’s brother Jan, the singer and model Anja Rubik, mirror each other’s body language in a liberating dare. Next, Evangeline Ling and Kevin Emre make up London-based The Linedots with Small Talk, a track that meets all of my criteria. Teen Body are out of Brooklyn, Why Do We from their excellent album Get Home Safe showcases competent writing and production skills. Mitski Miyawaki or simply Mitski, has been turning up on a number of year-end best-of lists. Happy from her album Puberty 2, was an early discovery this year at Life Elsewhere Music. Nanna Schannong, Kasper Staub, Thomas Lund, Soffie Viemose and Steffen Lundtoft are five young musicians from Aarhus, Denmark who go under the moniker, Lowly. Their track Deer Eyes was an easy inclusion in the 2016 Year End Edition. If I had a category for the most valiant effort it would have to go to James Smith & Nancy Kells, who together curated a compilation with a stellar line-up of indie artists for their album Friends For Equality. Nancy of Spartan Jet-Plex and (other assorted bands) was so incensed by the outcome of the Presidential election she enlisted the help of James Smith from Fox Food Records. In a matter of days, they had managed to get over 40 bands and artists to each provides a track for Friends For Equality. The proceeds will go to Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood, and ACLU and honestly it is probably the best buy you’ll get this or any year. At $5, this album is worth every penny. I selected The Prids with Summer Cult to showcase this important album. I don’t bet. never have, but if I did my money would have been safe with a wager on Ivy Sole, an exceptional talent from Philadelphia. Her album Eden is flawless, with Enough (Float) being a perfect example. Back over in Scandinavia, there is another group you need to take notice of, Off Bloom. Their debut EP, Love To Hate It out on Sport Records is one of this year’s true gems. You’ll understand why when you hear, Orchid. The next track has a minimalist, almost retro feel, but Berlin-based Carla Dal Forno manages to make Fast Moving Cars very much a now sound. Every so often I’ll play a couple of cuts from a band because I think their work is good enough for the exposure. The aptly-named Girl Ray, a London-based four-piece caught my attention twice this year. One of those tracks is, Where Am I Now. The second-to-last track on this, the 2016 Year End Edition is quite brilliant, it’s Los Angeles-based Twin Oaks with Eighteen Minutes. A delicious and infectious number you’ll want to hear and again and again. Finally, for the last entry, a cut from what I’m calling the essential EP of 2016. I could go on at length as to why I believe Requiem is so special, but instead, I urge you to go to the Life Elsewhere archives to hear my interview with Rebecca and Frankie of Samana. There really isn’t anything this year as original or satisfying as Samana’s Requiem EP. We close with I’ll Keep You With Me and look forward to hearing more exceptional music from Samana in 2017. Thank you for listening, peace and love.
Norman B. December 28, 2016
Life Elsewhere Music airs:
Wednesdays at 3.00pm Pacific Time on NWCZ Radio
Fridays at 10.00am Eastern Time on Internet Radio Network.
You can hear all the volumes of Life Elsewhere Music over at Mixcloud