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Marcel Feldmar: December 22, 2023

A fairly unfocused snapshot of the past year as it fell across my ears. Bands, songs, albums … I found some new, rediscovered some old, and found comfort in the familiar. And here I share a few of these sounds with you so you can play them loud (in no particular order) into the New Year! Happy Holidays!

1. Maya HawkeMoss (2022) “Sweet Tooth”
A new wave of indie folk shines bright and brilliant. Heart touched soul searching, and mixing brightness and shadow to reveal truths and sorrows, with an always honest sprinkling of joy.

2. Fetchin BonesBad Pumpkin (1986) “1/2 Past”
This is my high school crush. I always find the time to listen to this band, their eclectic take on punk jangle pop with a southern flair for west coast hipster rock. This sounds as cool and as vibrant now as it did when I was playing it thirty-seven years ago. Playing it more this year, thanks to Fetchin Bones in the news with their induction into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.

3. 54-40West Coast Band (2023) “Living Room Allen”
This band makes my Canadian heart soar. Even though the tunes are new, the sound pulls me back into some fantastic memories. Heartfelt, iconic, sarcastic, ironic, poetic, in your face, pop rock and rolling.

4. Matt BerryKill The Wolf (10th Anniversary Edition) (2023) “Devil Inside Me”
Always a delight, always a joy. While Matt Berry’s humor lives inside these songs, his musicianship and love for that 70’s soft mood jazz odyssey prog rock lives here as well. Solid arrangements and gentle melodics mixing with sly knowing winks.

5. The Ladies OfComing Out of Our Tenderness (2023) “Bet It Could Be Cool”
The first time I heard James Hall was during a very hard time in my life. 1989 and I randomly found a cassette copy of Museum. That album pulled me up and out of some dark places. Hard hitting soul filled shadow kissing in your face rhythm and groove rock and roll. And his voice … haunting and hard. The first time I saw James Hall was when Black Nite Crash opened for The Pleasure Club. It was one of my favorite shows ever. And now, These Ladies Of are bringing back all of those super sonic memories.

6. Black Nite CrashWashed in the Sound with… (2022) “Sugarwave”
Disclaimer – I was, a lifetime ago, the drummer for this band. Since my departure they have grown in leaps and bounds while still managing to keep their vision solid and strong. Very proud of what this band has accomplished, and very happy this band is still making shoegazed waves across the sonic stratosphere.

7. Harsh SymmetryImitation (2023) “Faint Disguise”
Found this while skimming through instagram. Social Media actually works sometimes. (Finding this also led me to discovering Soft Vein, listed below). Darkwaved and holding strong ties to past influences and inspirations. This sound is so familiar, it is hard to bring anything new to it, but there is something so real about the love of the sound here. I have no problem placing this next to The Cure or Depeche Mode, and letting it stand on its own.

8. InhalerCuts & Bruises (2023) “Dublin in Ecstasy”
This band hit me with their single “My Honest Face” back in 2019, and having no idea of the band’s pedigree, I thought that even though there were some obvious U2 influences, it was pretty darn solid and catchy. Now, I still hear those tones, but this band is coming in to their own.

9. Soft VeinPressed In Glass (2023) “GIVEUPTHEGHOST”
While my tastes have changed, I still have a soft spot for these sonic shadows. Sometimes it can be overdone, but sometimes it hits just right. Darkwave. Yeah, you get it – I love it – if done right. And I had no idea this was Justin Chamberlain’s (of Harsh Symmetry) project when I first let these synched out industrial electronics slither into my veins. So Justin is someone who definitely does it right.

10. Sex Gang ChildrenSong and Legend (1983) “Sebastian”
I first heard this album as a teenager, and it helped shape the direction my ears went. It was probably around 1986 or so, and while I had started turning that corner towards death rock and post-punk, this was unlike anything I’d heard. The dark edges, the merging of punk and goth, the electric vocals and barbed-wire guitar. It hooked me hard. Now, thanks to bands like Harsh Symmetry (see above) I’m revisiting these shadows of my youth.