2017: The Year In Review | Top 25 Tracks

AGP tracks 2With the end of our calendar year upon us, many of us blogging types turn to cast a gaze over the past 12 months and deliver a year end recap. It’s been a few years since we  completed this exercise, but with a year as strong as  2017 was, the opportunity to spotlight the releases and artists that one could’ve found clamoring from the AGP offices in  the past year was too good to pass up. We have compiled the 25 songs below that ended up in heavy rotation on our turntables as well as on the various streaming platforms we frequented this year. You’ll probable notice the  bulk of favorite tracks have origins in the American Northeast which speaks volumes about those artists, labels like Disposable America and Exploding in Sound Records, not to mention the thriving scenes in Allston, Northampton,  Brooklyn, and Providence.

25. Protomartyr – A Private Understanding

24. Soft Fangs – Honey Colony

23. Big Heet – On A Wire

22. Lost Film – I Forget

21. Kindling – Wait

20. The Bats – Rooftops

19. Milked – Goodbye Durango

18. Yankee Bluff – Like An Insect

17. Black Beach – Cluttered Head

16. The Spirit of The Beehive – Cops Come Looking

15. Tobin Sprout – Cowboy Curtains

14. Rick Rude – Bald & Fat In Houston, TX

13. Two Inch Astronaut – Can You Please Not Help

12. Twin Foxes – Own Eyes

11. Infinity Girl – Don’t Believe

10.  Tery Malts – Cheap Mimicry 

9. Out – Wound Up

8. Downtown Boys – A Wall

7. The Cherry Wave – Don’t Start

6.The Persian Leaps – Picture My Reaction

5. Slowdive – Star Roving

4. Meat Wave – Leopard Print Jet Ski

3. Pile – Texas

2. Guided By Voices – Low Flying Perfection

1. Bad History Month – The Nonexistent Distance

Soft Fangs – Fractures | Review

It was sometime during the winter of 2014 when I happened upon the debut release from John Lutkevitch and his recording vehicle Soft Fangs. I remember a late afternoon snowfall and being mildly hung over from the previous evening, when the eureka moment hit. The 5 songs on that EP stopped me dead in my tracks, they seemed oddly familiar to me although I had never heard them before. Perhaps it was the sense of intimacy and nostalgia on those tracks or perhaps it was the honeyed hushed vocals and dark pop sensibilities that Lutkevitch’s exhibited on each of those songs. Either way I was all in on first listen. Last year Soft Fangs delivered their full length debut, The Light which found Soft Fangs expanding their sound beautifully, with fleshed out instrumentation while maintaining the lo-fi aesthetic and stark arrangements.

On the new set, Fractures issued last week via the estimable Disposable America imprint Soft Fangs return armed with an enticing and engaging new set. The LP was recorded last winter in Maine where Lutkevitch was holed up for a three day period where he “wore slippers & played until the cops came”. Fractures opens with the gently plucked guitar strums of Elephant Girl before giving way to cymbal crashes and an understated snare drum with John Lutkevitch delivering lyrical devastation in his usual whispered vocal, “Why do you try to impress me? I’m Nobody”. The track is a strong reminder of what Soft Fangs do best, dark folk pop laced with melancholy. Elsewhere the LP addresses the establishment on Cop, the despair of alienation on We Don’t Live Together Anymore, and an anti folk song, aptly titled Folk Guitar.  The track that seems to stick with me and has me returning to this LP for more is Honey Colony, an outstanding and gorgeous piece of songwriting that oozes with subtle pop hooks, an understated chord progression, and the albums strongest lyrical passage. A tale of the life of worker bee and one of unrequited love disguised in pop perfection. As whole Fractures manages to build on Lutkevich’s past work, while carving out some exciting new sonic territory and delivering the exemplary song-craft he hinted at on that snow covered afternoon in 2014.

Listen: Soft Fangs – Honey Colony

Soft Fangs play News Cafe in Pawtucket along with Night Nurses and Half Hearted Hero on September 22nd.