The wah guitar and saxophone that accompany the story of environmental and personal destruction told on “Rage of Plastics.” The industrial rock riff and electronica hook of domestic horror story “Incidental Boogie.” There are so many overwhelming elements at play here, but Meg Remy arranged the jagged pieces of In a Poem Unlimited into an immaculately glossy vessel of rage and resentment.
Earl Sweatshirt – Some Rap Songs
Let’s Eat Grandma – I’m All Ears
Saba – Care For Me
Best New Artist
Haley Heynderickx is one of the most poignant songwriters in the game right now, and a few of the songs on her debut album, I Need To Start A Garden, feel like the work of someone decades wiser. “The Bug Collector” stands out as a stunning example of how much humor, empathy, and grief can be mined from a few elementary-level words.
Track of the Year
“PROM / KING” by Saba
No song this year, in hip-hop or otherwise, moved me as much as “PROM / KING.” Saba presents the emotional core of Care For Me as a seven-and-a-half minute, two-part skeleton key that maps out the life of his relationship with his cousin. An expert at rapping in a way that feels conversational and lyrical at the same time, Saba feels knowable, which makes his joy and grief all the more moving. I may have listened to “PROM / KING” 100 times this year, and it still gives me goosebumps.
“Believe” by Amen Dunes
“Memory Arc” by Rival Consoles
“Noid” by Yves Tumor
Favorite Show of the Year
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at The Anthem
I’m not much of a legacy act show-goer, but Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds don’t perform like a group coasting on acclaim from 1984. Nick Cave and the gang put on one of the most energetic and theatrical shows of the year at The Anthem, complete with Cave wading into the crowd and later inviting ten (Twenty? Thirty?) folks on stage for some face-to-face serenading. Dinosaurs are fun when they roar.
Father John Misty
Let’s Eat Grandma
DC Artist to Watch
Sir E.U makes songs that pulse with a completely unique and immediately recognizable energy. Hazy, labyrinthian and coarse, E.U’s music is thrilling. Check out his excellent collaborative album with Tony Kill, African-American Psycho, for a taste of how gripping and vibrant his brand of hip-hop can be.