Steve Kaplan Poop 2015

New to me in 2015

What is new to me in 2015? To start with POOP! This is my first contribution to this fine collection of POOP Lists from many respected and/or otherwise music nerds!

I’ve known many POOP contributors for more than 20 years and I’m glad somehow I have now managed to make the ranks!
2015 had some gems in it. It also revealed some gems from recent years as well. This list for me is the best of what I found and heard in 2015…not necessarily the best of things that were released in 2015. There is so much stuff released every year I’m sure in 3 years from now I’ll find some gem from 2015 that never even made my radar this year.
Also as many state…these are not in any specific order, more in the order I happen to find them in as I search the physical and digital stacks for newer POOP to talk about.

The 2015 releases that were great and I’d bet almost any list would say so:

Buy Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats New or Used via Amazon Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
1. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (2015)
Throwback R&B and Rock and Roll made fresh again! Now this guy has been around the Denver scene for years! He lives what he sings, so pour a stiff one and listen to this guy as long as he’s around. His lifestyle is no joke and that, as we all know, could result in bad things.

Buy Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color New or Used via Amazon Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
2. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color (2015)
Would be hard to say something bad about his one. A huge win for a sophomore release. It has Grammy written all over it…so that is all I’ll say about it. Others will write books on this band. (Well I’ll add one more thing..i dig the longer hair/beards most of the band has as they settle into their rock lifestyles)

2015 Releases I often go back to listen to.

Buy Ava Luna – Infinite House New or Used via Amazon Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
1. Ava Luna – Infinite House (2015)
Brooklyn Band alert (there are a few here). This blend of soul and alt-pop and punk-ish stylings is truly a great listen. They have some real talent and there is a bit of music history with this outfit. When you consider how young these folks are…it’s quite an accomplishment. It’s mellow, danceable, rocking, happy, sad, etc.…all of that. Totally not related to the record but one of my favorite things to follow this past year was the Ava Luna tour updates on their facebook page. Their van broke down in rural Texas – (not to worry, they lived. This is not a hills have eyes type of thing) And as expected it was to take 2 weeks or so to get the part for their van so they were holed up playing a show or 2 in a local coffee house for locals who of course didn’t really “get it”. It was great to see them handle grace under pressure like the best of them did and now it’s safe to say they have earned their place amongst the DIY touring elite! My main regret was not making it to the LA show which was the first one they made post breakdown.

Buy Jim O’Rourke - Simple Songs New or Used via Amazon Buy New or Used via Amazon
2. Jim O’Rourke – Simple Songs (2015)
I have no long stories for this one. I like Jim O’Rourke. He had somewhat fallen off my radar in years past, but I was excited to hear of the new record and it didn’t disappoint. This is more along the lines of the Halfway to a Threeway song writing than the experimental sounds he’s also known for. One of the things I like a lot about this record are the players on it. Mostly unknown (at least me) Japanese folks (no surprise there consider Japan has been Jims home for years). These guys are good. Solid solid playing that compliments the songs very well.

Buy Godspeed You! Black Emperor -Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress New or Used via Amazon Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
3. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress (2015)
I was late to the whole Godspeed You! Black Emperor party, but I got on board with 2012’s Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! Record and now there are on the list I keep in my pocket that I break out when in a record store and blank on what I should be looking for. Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress is a sonic journey that doesn’t disappoint in terms of taking listeners on that “wall of sound” journey.

Rent Chris Forsyth – Soft Paranoid Solar Rundown via Amazon Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
4. Chris Forsyth – Soft Paranoid Solar Rundown (2015)
More Brooklyn goodness. Chris Forsyth is a guitar heavyweight. He shreds with power and dials it back down to very emotive playing that a listener can really feel. It’s raw and refined all at the same time. Also check out what he does with The Solar Motel Band – they have a release coming out in 2016 that is a contender for next year’s list already. Side note: He will teach you guitar wherever you live via web cam! See his Facebook for that offer!

New to me in 2015: (maybe new to you in 2016!)

These are things I discovered this past year…Well…OK, I’ll be a bit honest..2 of them I discovered at the end of 2014..but I still play them all often and when folks ask what I’m listening to, one of these almost always comes up.
1. Typhoon – White Lighter (2013)
I really dig this band for some reason. They are a Portland Oregon band with like a dozen or so members. The sound is a kin to Arcade Fires anthemic style with a different vocal pattern or Beirut’s horn driven sound with more alcohol added.
It is 100% a hipster band…but I totally dig em. Singer Kyle Morton (who has been though some really crazy medical stuff) is a story teller who writes things I like hearing. Really, check em out. They did release a live record in 2015 (Live at the Crystal Ballroom) which is a great listen, but there is so much going on with this band in terms of instrumentation that I appreciate the studio versions.
2. Landlady – Upright Behavior (2014)
Also a Brooklyn band, Landlady has that odd sounding singer mixed with a soul/rock/art-rock sound that strikes a chord with me. I play this one often. To me, this was a “go out and buy it” the day I first heard it record and I’ve been playing it ever since.
3. Valerie June – Pushin’ Against A Stone (2013)
This was also a “Go out and Buy” record the first time I hear it. Valerie June plays Bluegrass/Appalacha-esque stuff that is a much “old timey” as it is new. She is a real talent that takes the listener to the places shes goes with her music. It’s a record a listener feels, which is a winner with me.
4. Bahamas – Bahamas is Afie (2014)
This is an artist that you might only know from a commercial. Which is I was excited to hear when I saw it because I knew folks would go find this record. Bahamas is Afie. More specifically Afie Jurvanen a solo artist for Toronto. The record reminds me of 70s soft rock radio where when I hear some of those songs today it takes me back to riding in the back of my folks station wagon going to an apple farm in October. That sound mixed with excellent lyrics that resonated with me make this the record that was always in the car until my wife made me take it out!

Also worth a mention as they were new to me in 2015
1. The Cloak Ox – Shoot the Dog (2013) – Listen to the 9 minute Yesterday’s me..a sad song with a ripping guitar solo that should leave chills down your spine.
2. Buke & Gase – General Dome (2013) – More Brooklyn…this time pattern based proggy type of stuff on made up instruments
3. Leon Russell – Carney (1972) – Heard the song “Tightrope on the Radio” and it just stuck a nerve as a really great freaking song. This was what some say the first concept album, but if it is or if it’s not it is still great Leon Russell. You can find this in the 1.00 bin at almost any record store. It’s worth it.