Rule number one – turn off your shuffle. In today’s society we are overstimulated and the idea of an album, top to bottom, is fleeting. As we break into day two, the soundscapes of song become more vibrant when articulated within the peaks and valleys of an album. These highs and lows shape the story – Let the tellings of New York’s finest and booming bands be heard.
Put on your headphones (seriously, isolation is key). Listen, close your eyes and don’t open them until there is complete silence, when the final chords have fleeted. Let your mind reel.
HINT: Be on the lookout for ‘Discovery’ sections featuring other NYS staff votes for Best Of. There are so many great bands we simply can’t pick them all!
Best Album By A New York Artist
Aqueous – Color Wheel
Not only was Aqueous’ Color Wheel voted Best Album By A New York Artist, but was inches away from claiming the title of Best Album Overall. They have been banned from yesterday’s series of Best Under Rated as they owned that title two years running. The Buffalo based craze captured NYS fans and staff, without question.
There’s a certain continuity to this entire album, and it unfolds in a way that makes the track order important for the experience – there’s an underlying narrative happening throughout the lyrics and themes, and the overarching theme of the story is a strong sense of optimism through the struggle of the realities of life – Guitarist Mike Gantzer
More vibrant than a rainbow, each track is crowded with intensity and expressionism. Life In The City paints the aura of a mundane, overstimulated world and bespatters the canvas with electro-funk graffiti. It’s infectious, luring ghost-walkers in from the darkest alleys. Once the nine-piece powerhouse entraps your mind, life as you know it, will cease to exist.
The title track, “Life In The City,” is familiar like walking. Weighted four-on-the-floor kick drum echoes the mass of worn shoes. Every step brings a new impetus. The overtones and decay of the drums juxtapose reality as they ring out through a suspended chorus. “Life In The City portrays a dark and dystopian future, or current city environment, full of over stimulus,” said guitar/vocalist Dave Brandwein. “It gets harder and harder to appreciate life. Blind in the spotlight and caught up in the hustle and bustle of the city. We want it to feel that way in our songs.”
Collectively the album is a constant echo of life. From a willingness to try and “just letting it come out”, themes arose, like the reoccurring ‘city noises’ throughout the record.
Discovery: Albums On Repeat
Catch up with the BEST BANDS OF 2018 because you’re already behind. It’s only day two and an earful of music is stuck on replay! Witty Tarbox, voted one of the most under rated bands along with, Escaper, Intent To Sell and Groovestick, all had votes for best album by a New York Artist.
Best Album Overall
The glimmer of Gold has caught our eyes. The overanxious wait for another Dirty Bird release had us on edge. In the past three years we have been deprived of the nitty-gritty funk powerhouse and soulful horn section that is Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds. While Gold is everything we want, with that iconic bird edge, this record is a spotlight on the undeniable front-woman Arleigh Kincheloe, a.k.a Sister Sparrow.
“As an artist, we have to evolve. If we stay the same, then we’re going backwards,” said Kincheloe in an interview with NYS. This razors edge has captivated fans – a blend between modern-pop shimmer, electronic accents and that Dirty Bird flare. “I always wanted to try too marry modern sounds, hip hops elements, soul and funk stuff that I love. I have a whole Spotify playlist that was my soundscape for this: The Staples, Aretha Franklin, The Pointer Sisters, Bill Withers, Paul Simon, Joe Cocker – a very ’70s vibe. But I tried to add the modern techniques and drum sounds,” Said Kincheloe. Stop reading. Go Listen.
Discovery: Why Not Listen To Them All?
Lizzie & The Makers – ‘Meanwhile’
Leon Bridges – ‘Good Thing’
Mikaela Davis – ‘Delivery’