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SAVAK tell us about their Top 10 of 2016, opening for Monsterland

SAVAK Brooklyn, NY December 2015 photo © John von Pamer
photo: John von Pamer

SAVAK, which features members of Obits, Nation of Ulysses, The Cops, Holy Fuck! and more released their debut album, Best of Luck in Future Endeavors, earlier this year which is, as they put it, a “mix tape, with nods to music that continues to inspire us—from early rock’n’roll and surf to pub rock, punk rock, post-punk, stripped-down dub, field recordings and found sounds, free jazz and experimental noise.” If you haven’t heard it, it’s terrific and you can stream it in full below. You can also see them live where they’ll play with reunited ’90s indie rock trio Monsterland for their first show in 23 years, happening at Mercury Lounge on February 24 with Fruits & Flowers. Tickets for that show go on sale today at noon.

Meanwhile, we’ve been asking artists for their end-of-year lists, and SAVAK have given us their Top 10 of 2016, as submitted by singer-guitarists Sohrab Habibion and Michael Jaworski, and drummer Matt Schulz. It’s mostly albums, with the odd single and rock doc in there, with some picks you may not have heard, complete with commentary and streams. Check that out below.

SAVAK’S TOP 10 OF 2016

Jerry Busher – Bowl In A China Shop
Our brother from another mugger. Maybe you know him from The Spinanes? allscars? Fugazi? French Toast (with our very own Clams Cantata)?! These six songs have been a long time coming and we’re thrilled to finally have them to stuff in our ears to help soothe our anxieties. He pulls from such a variety of places: bits of tape loops, insistently picked ukuleles, trumpets pillowed in clouds of reverb, melodies from distant circuses and, in just the right spots, Jerry’s beautifully vulnerable voice. This is music free from genre boundaries
and all the better for it. Nobody needs that many hyphens to uselessly pigeonhole something. ’Tis just Jerry. (Sohrab)

The Flexibles – Pink Everything (Night School)
It’s obvious in the first 3 seconds that these guys don’t give a rat’s ass about the archaic rules governing popular music. Not hard to imagine as it’s Richard Youngs and his son Sorly with Andrew Paine. At times they sound a bit like Metal Urbain and Void had a baby; neolithic in approach, but not numbskull. Punk in the finest sense in that it shuns quantization and embraces tuneful abrasion as principle elements of sound. So excellent. (Matt)

Gimme Danger – directed by Jim Jarmusch (Magnolia Pictures)
Highly entertaining Jarmusch film covering one of the greatest and most important American rock n’ roll bands, The Stooges. Jarmusch does a great job of bringing you close to the band, their history, and their mutual love and brotherhood through a sincere retrospective leading up to current times. Follows insightful and revealing commentary from Iggy, the Ashetons, James Williamson, and current day member Mike Watt, among others. Sure, you could find holes, wish for more footage, and be a dick, but just watch it. It’s fucking great. (Michael)

Nice as Fuck – s/t (Love’s Way)
Great, minimal, FUN. Jenny’s voice adds more dimension to the stripped-down (mostly) bass and drums arrangements, evoking everything from ESG to the ‘Mac. Less is more. I wish more bands took this approach. (Matt)

OBN III’s – “Rich Old White Men” b/w “On The Verge Of Collapse” 7″ (12XU)
Lotsa folks have trafficked in riff-based, sweat-drenched punk rock’n’roll the last several years, name-checking pioneers in Cleveland or London or Brisbane and pushing up the prices of what used to be cheap gear. That’s fine, but most of it, like other fads and novelties, is pretty forgettable. Then along come OBN III’s and hang all those goofballs by the necks of their Mosrites! Both songs on this 7″ are absolutely ferocious. Pulling equally from MC5 and The Damned, with a slight nod to Scream’s classic ‘This Side Up’ LP, this band manages to own their sound and they know how to use dynamics to really make the songs breathe. Righteous stuff. (Sohrab)

Omni – Deluxe (Trouble In Mind)
Full length debut from the Atlanta band that, from top to bottom, is full of cool tunes that hit all the right touchstones of ’70s and ’80s post-punk and pop, ala XTC, Orange Juice, Wire, etc. Nothing close to a boring re-hash, but a solid effort with some really cool, mid-fi
production. (Michael)

Parquet Courts – Human Performance (Rough Trade)
Another great release by one of the more exciting rock n’ roll bands in the current landscape of actual bands. These guys aren’t afraid to take chances within the realms of punk rock, whether it’s clever lyrics, ranging from personal to the more cerebral, whacked out arrangements, and interesting production. Behind it all, the songs are great and it really feels like a “New York record” to me, whatever that is. I like it. (Michael)

Puff Pieces – Bland in D.C. (Lovitt)
This Washington, DC trio plays zero extra notes. Each idea is specific and succinct, delivered without any superfluous adornment. In a landscape of overproduced fluff, their simplicity is incredibly appealing and effective. Not to mention the eerie power of quite possibly very prescient lyrics like, “Listening to the beat of their approaching feet / Row after row they go, filling the city street / Cheering them as they come, under the yellow sun / Women and men with guns.” Less fluff, more Puff. (Sohrab)

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic)
http://atribecalledquest.com/home/portfolio/wgifh/
How in the hell did they pull this off?!? their last LP, “The Love Movement” is tepid in comparison to their other records. For them to return 18 years later with a record that combines everything great about their classic LPs while embracing current movements is astounding. They have literally looped present day hip hop back to the templates they helped pioneer, mashing noise and skittering hi hats up with boom bap and samples they used back in the day, yet re-worked. It evokes so many emotions and just kills on every track. My fave of the year hands down. (Matt)

V/A – Space Echo – The Mystery Behind the Cosmic Sound of Cabo Verde
Finally Revealed!
(Analog Africa)
The Cloud across America is lousy with Zettabytes of freshly rediscovered, remastered, repackaged, rereleased musical hiccups and burps from every dusty corner of the world that managed to capture anything resembling even the vaguest audio snapshot. Thankfully folks like the German-based Analog Africa have a keen ear for the good stuff and this wickedly groovy comp from Cape Verde has 15 ripping tracks of Moog- and farfisa-fueled Afro-Cuban jams. The back story behind this collection is fascinating, too, if’n you like a good shipwreck tale. (Sohrab)

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