The statement “no good music has been made since (insert decade here)” has to be one of the biggest crocks muttered in any non-political arena. I’m all for Sinatra and Zappa, The Beatles and The Who, but calling yourself a music lover while swimming in an ocean of decades-old sounds is like calling yourself a foodie because you watch Guy Fieri. Spending five minutes on any web-based music service, subscribing to the newsletters of independent record labels or hanging out in your local record store will have your ears absorbing the best.
This year is all but a memory, and if you are looking ahead to new music 2016, look ahead to some of these.
Alternative country fans should have this Portland band in their back pocket. Their latest folk, atmospheric psychedelic country and rousing cow-punk record is due in March.
The state of Alabama has been producing some of the best straight-up rock music of the last decade. The spring arrival of “Teenage Hallelujah” is another assaulting showcase of The Dexateens songs of a changing South, and they are attempts to bury its out-dated relics.
Travers Chandler and Avery County
Mandolin player Chandler is a full-time truck driver and bluegrass musician. “Archaic,” due in January, will not be fluff or bluegrass in the hippie vein, but it will be gritty bar-room bluegrass full of tales of jilted lovers and fist-fights.
The Violent Femmes
The godfathers of indie and college rock release their first batch of new music in 16 years.
This band is the audio equivalent of raw energy and drunken debauchery. “Going Down in History,” along with the rest of their catalog, is roots music, an intelligent yet chaotic collection of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash slam-dancing with Joe Strummer and Country Dick Montana.
This is a given. The prolific Segall will probably have his hand on or in a dozen releases in 2016.
Borges is a songwriter, bandleader and a hell of a front-woman. While only an EP, it is surely to continue to walk her line of roots and straight-up rock. Dig her if you dig X, Neko Case or any strong female-led rock.
“Ghost of the Highway 20” is due in February. Williams has been on-and-off with critically acclaimed releases, although her last ambitious double album made “best of” lists everywhere.
Ipecac Records has been the impetus of all things Melvins and Mike Patton. This super-group finds the howling and screaming Patton alongside members of TV on the Radio and Anticon. Expect noise and beautiful weirdness.
There’s so much more. The National’s Grateful Dead release, Denver’s Dressy Bessy, Band of Horses, Ra Ra Riot, The Sadies and plenty of local bands all have forthcoming records, while major and independent labels continue to push things out the door. Outside the rock and punk realm there continues to be a steady stream of worthy new jazz, blues and hip-hop. Not even trying to find new music is a defeatist attitude; find it, listen and enjoy. Support music.