I spent the last month combing year-end lists to find things that fell through the cracks. Let me know if you find any other goodies!
Jim O'Rourke - Simple Songs (Singer/Songwriter, Chamber Pop)
Why I missed this: I just assumed I wouldn't like it because I don't like most things that are described as "Chamber Pop" and I barely even like songs anymore anyways. But I do like certain songwriters and O'Rourke is one of them. This album pulls from a range of influences that I don't like: soft rock, jazz, prog, but somehow makes this really great!
Who eventually convinced me to listen: This was near the bottom on the year-end for Pitchfork, Quietus, and Boomkat, which is in keeping with the underdog nature of the tunes. Specifically when Boomkat, which specializes in abstract electronic releases, mentions a songwriter, I'm interested.
Lnrdcroy - Much Less Normal (Outsider House)
Why I missed this: In 2014 when this first came out on cassette, I thought 1080p was a label that was only used in the context of HD TVs. This is probably the best tape released on that label, and it was released on vinyl in 2015.
Who eventually convinced me to listen: RA - they put it really high on their year-end even though it didn't technically come out in 2015. I'm following suit by putting it really high here. I've since purchased the original cassette.
Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion (Dance Pop, Electro Pop)
Why I missed this: I listened once earlier in the year but it didn't hook me. I guess I just wasn't in the mood! This is the best dance pop album I've heard in a long time, but it did take me a minute to get there.
Who eventually convinced me to listen: Ross - he said it was his album of the year. I get that.
Grimes - Art Angels (Electro Pop, Synth Pop)
Why I missed this: obviously I didn't miss this, I just slept on it because I didn't like Grimes to begin with and this album is obnoxious. It's also really good! It's campy, sugary electro-pop with a punk undercurrent that rides through the whole sprawling mess. You might have to skip around a bit at first, but there's a lot to like.
Who eventually convinced me to listen: I think Boomkat because Boomkat is actually good and it was on their list. It's really high on Pitchfork and the Quietus, but I think both of their lists were garbage this year.
CCTV - CCTV (Post-Punk, Garage Rock)
Why I missed this: It's hard to find! I'd heard of it but I hadn't found it until a few weeks ago. It's so good, just a few minutes of awesome post-punky garage.
Who eventually convinced me to listen: I think like, a shady .zip download site somewhere in the deep internet.
Eyeliner - Buy Now (Vaporwave, Synth Pop)
Why I missed this: I didn't think that Vaporwave was something I liked at all until recently. This is taking the next step beyond one of my favorite releases, Body-San's Corporate Interiors, into loungy, jazzy, corporate pop. I don't know why, but it's really appealing to me.
Who eventually convinced me to listen: this really amazing person on rateyourmusic named xolotl who has crazy but awesome taste. I think she technically turned me onto CCTV too, which shows her breadth.
Amy Blaschke - Opaline (Singer/Songwriter, Folk)
Why I missed this: It wasn't a wide enough release, I guess? No one told me about it. It's some nice folk music, sometimes poppy, but not really for the indie folk scene. I can imagine it being played on an adult alternative radio station.
Who eventually convinced me to listen: it came through on the exystence blog.
Linkwood - Expressions (Deep House, Outsider House)
Why I missed this: I'm just an idiot, I guess! Also, this was mostly pretty underrated and came out before I really got into Outsider House, which this flirts with at times.
Who eventually convinced me to listen: RA and White Noise both had this on their year-ends. I wasn't impressed by either list, but I happened to check this out anyways because I always have to be sure how lame a list is.
John T Gast - Excerpts (Abstract Electronic)
Why I missed this: It was labeled as Techno a bunch of places and I steer clear of Techno that I have no business listening to and I don't love Planet Mu as a label. It's not really Techno at all though! It uses techno tropes sometimes, but then uses a lot of different sounds that aren't found in any sort of dance music. I'm still unpacking the range of influences and compositions after 10 listens.
Who eventually convinced me to listen: Boomkat on a whim.
D Tiffany - The Genero EP (Outsider House)
Why I missed this: I think I just wasn't into this in February when it came out, though it seems like everyone else did too!
Who eventually convinced me to listen: Rateyourmusic Outsider House chart.
Theo Burt - Gloss (Progressive Electronic)
Why I missed this: No one wrote about this in my blogiverse and I understand why. It's insane sound art for people who are not in their right minds. It jumps between channels, between drones and mania, and it's really fun to listen to on headphones.
Who eventually convinced me to listen: Boomkat, who put it at #5 on their album year-end with the disclaimer that it was "never really intended for public consumption" when it was originally recorded five or six years ago.
J.C. Satan - J.C. Satan (Garage Rock, Hard Rock)
Why I missed this: No one told me about this French garage nugget! Dammit. Oh well, I found it eventually. It kind of sounds like young french people got ahold of the 2000s Queens of the Stone age albums and decided to go to town. What fun!
Who eventually convinced me to listen: Rateyourmusic garage rock chart. I check it every so often for things that fall through the cracks.
Kentaro Minoura - First and Last (Minimal Drum 'n Bass)
Why I missed this: It was only released as a 12" on a new label in Japan. It sounds like Samurai Horo style Minimal Drum and Bass, but I think it's better than anything on Samurai Horo this year because it makes good on the risks that it takes and it's concise.
Who eventually convinced me to listen: nodata.tv - it just came through as usual on Dec 14th.
Daniel Avery - Sensation/Clear (Tech House)
Why I missed this: It came out late in the year!
Who eventually convinced me to listen: As soon as I saw that it existed, I checked it out. Really good techno!