2017 Top Tens

2017 Top Tens

As is tradition, each year we ask Programming Committee members, staff, and bands what their favorite albums, shows, receptions or moments were in the past year. It’s been a trying year, and it definitely reflects in the music and art made this year. Playlist featuring selections from the lists below is at the bottom of the post your listening pleasure.


Bell Crawford (Boys, Snack)

  • Visions – Grimes
  • Art Angels – Grimes
  • Scream – Siouxsie and the Banshees
  • L.P.1 – The Cone Heads
  • What You Want- Sheer Mag
  • Katarsis – She Past Away
  • We can’t keep going this way & we both know …its just cruel.WAV – Casino Hearts
  • Black Nails in my Coffin- Subtonix
  • Half Man Half Cop – Hobocop
  • Lebanon Hanover


Brigdon Markward (Music Director)

Favorite Albums:

  • Moses Sumney – Aromantacism: Moses combines biting commentary on living as a queer artist, and an absolutely cynical outlook on the world, intertwined into intricate and beautiful jazz, classical and r&b arrangements. It’s a painfully perfect soundtrack to the end of a bad year.
  • Oxbow – Thin Black Duke: Emotionally dense, and incredibly orchestrated  album. Every song on Thin Black Duke takes you somewhere, and it’s just as beautiful as it is violent and completely horrifying.
  • Jay Som – Everybody Works: Every single song on this album bumps. It’s sunny and warm, combining indie-pop, funk, 80’s balladry into something really special. I laughed, I cried, and I air-guitar the solo to One More Time, Please every single time.
  • Uniform – Wake in Fright: The video of Uniform playing Tabloid in the back of a moving truck was one of the craziest things I saw this year. This album is furious, political, and combines industrial and thrash in a way that completely took me by surprise.
  • Gucci Mane – Droptopwop: Even though this is *technically* a collaborative album, It highlights the best attributes of Gucci Mane, and what makes him such a force of nature. I can’t tell you how many of these tracks got stuck in my head for weeks on end.
  • Spirit of the Beehive – Pleasure Suck: This album is something else. It’s incredibly dense and a little hard to follow at first, but worth the work. Each song combines field audio recordings, fuzzy lo-fi sounds into dreary verses, bright triumphant choruses into a wild mix of songs you can get lost in.
  • Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me: I can close my eyes while listening to this and vividly picture each scene Phil describes. A Crow Looked at Me is a heartbreaking, moving, and electrifyingly beautiful album.
  • Sheer Mag – Need to Feel Your Love: Most of the time I spent listening to this album was the middle of the summer, driving around with my windows down. Tina’s vocals are furious, defiant and unapologetic. Great debut full-length from a great band.
  • (Sandy) Alex G – Rocket: This one took a second to grow on me. Upon close inspection there’s a lot of pieces that don’t seem to make sense, but zoom out a little bit and it starts to come together. Alex takes country, industrial, and electronic into his wheelhouse of indie storytelling to make something melancholy, confusing and really cool.
  • Fred Thomas – Changer: Fred proves himself again as one of indie music’s most creative, and most humorous songwriters. Every song is hilarious, heartbreaking and leaves you wondering “what is making that sound?”.

Favorite shows:

  • Solange w/ Blood Orange, Kelela, KING, Moses Sumney at Hollywood Bowl
  • Spirit of the Beehive w/ Super Unison, Pardoner, Never Young, Club Night at Oakland Secret
  • Downtown Boys w/ Zebra Katz at The Broad
  • Little Wings w/ Mega Bog, Pry, Future Criminals of America at Holland Project
  • Holland 10 Year w/ Shannon and the Clams, Culture Abuse, Spitting Image, and more at Holland Project


Cameron Sax (Rob Ford Explorer, Vatican City Fight Club)

  • Lil B – Black Ken (album) | Superb release from one of hip hop’s most influential. Pays homage to hyphy bay area rap among other styles and reminds us of B’s versatility as an artist. Completely produced by TheBasedGod. Favorite release of the year.
  • Redfield Clipper – Beachmaster (album) | An incredible album front to back from some incredible local players. The band has changed their sense a bit since the writing and recording of it, but this record is a beautiful document of the band at a point in time. Their live performances during the time surrounding the recording of Beachmaster were also absurdly tight and ridiculous, and you are definitely lucky if you ever caught one. Dunno if the same configuration of musicians will come together again but I am glad the record is here to ease the pain of that possibility.
  • Ghostwerk – Shadow Culture (album) | Shadow Culture is a high quality release from Vegas based artist Ghostwerk. Intricate and imaginative. Positively worth checking out if you are into any sort of electronic music period. Can’t wait for the many more mixtapes to come.
  • Two Knights – Effing (album) | The first release from the duo since 2014. Different vibe from older material but still highly interesting musically and aware lyrically. And of course maintains their way of naming tunes with silly names and word play. Goes by too quickly.
  • Palm – Live @ Elsewhere | Didn’t catch this gang when they came through Reno but was fortunate to see them play their last show of tour in Brooklyn. Incredible performance. High energy and extremely disorienting but ridiculously tight and coherent. Crazy especially when comparing this performance to their EP which was released this year (Shadow Expert), which did an incredible job of capturing their live energy. Quite an awesome experience.
  • Jeff Rosenstock – Live @ Holland | Classic.
  • People With Bodies – Live @ Bibo | Woo! People With Bodies record release show with Dave Dondero. Super good show. Bibo is an underutilized venue and I felt the musicians/setting served each other well. PWB were awesome and people were climbing all over. Wonderful pairing with Dave too, who was an artist new to me but quickly identifiable as ‘legend’. Important show!
  • Monobody – Live @ Honey Hive | Crazy awesome stacked bill I caught in SF this summer. Monobody was basically a mass of insanity for about 30 odd minutes. Very ridiculous performance. Floral was also on it as well as Strawberry Girls and The Unending Thread, who all were wonderful to watch, although SG got stuck with a 15 minute set due to time restraints. So many good bands in one small venue. Sold out too quickly and ended too soon, but it was a highly memorable show.
  • Emperor X – Live @ Park Place | This was one of my favorite shows of the year. It sadly occurred the same night as Black Lips, which I purchased a ticket for, but this was a rare gig I am thankful I caught (someone else got to go to the sold out BL show instead). Emperor X was an incredible performer though and his getup with the synth/programmer was zany and wild and fit well to him as a person. Novel performance with solid local support.
  • Skinwalkers – Live @ Boy’s Hole | This was *supposedly* the last Skinwalkers (sorry) house show ever. I don’t care to believe that but baby all things gotta end sometime. Five bands played that night and Skinwalkers didn’t start until like 00:30 but it made me happy to see them finally play and hear some of my favorite songs. I didn’t know who was even playing besides Skinwalkers before I arrived, but honestly the whole night had solid music throughout it, which made my anticipation for Skinwalkers less painful.


Chelsie Rose Kern (Holland Board Member)

  • Danica Roem: On November 7th, Virginians elected the first openly transgender candidate to serve in a state legislature. To make Danica’s victory even sweeter, she defeated a hateful, anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice, bigoted good ole’ boy backed by Trump. Pretty siq.
  • Cardi B’s Bodak Yellow: Can we all take a moment of silence to pay respect to what an insane accomplishment it is for Cardi B to be the first solo female rapper to reach the #1 spot on Billboard’s Top 100 since Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wopp (That Thing)” in 1998? But also, why are Lauryn and Cardi the only female rappers to have achieved this… ever?
  • Fort Bragg Farmers’ Market: We went on a camp trip to the northern California coast in hopes of finding some reprieve after unexpectedly losing our dog, Lola. On one of the days during our trip, we accidentally stumbled across the most spectacular farmers’ market in Fort Bragg. I picked out vibrant fruit, bitter pickled eggs, lovely milk white dahlias, a fresh crusty loaf and some goat cheese from a local creamery. Later, we made dinner over a fire at our camp in the middle of a temperate rainforest canopy.
  • The Women Behind Jay Z’s 4:44: The video for the namesake track on Jay Z’s latest album “4:44” was produced by TNEG, a studio dedicated to creating black cinema — specifically (all women), Elisa Blount-Moorhead, Gina Harrell and Melinda Nugent. Their visual storytelling supplements Jay’s powerful vulnerability, and the result is moving.
  • Colin Kaepernick — Citizen of the Year: GQ named Kaep Citizen of the Year just two weeks after a University of Nevada, Reno police officer proudly sported a stupid, racist costume intended to be Kaepernick whilst wearing a sign that said, “Will Stand for Food.”  Kaepernick being demeaned and mocked for his activism against police brutality by a cop from his own alma mater juxtapozed with being honored with this prestigious award is so characteristic of 2017.
  • (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano: On Sampha’s latest album, Process, “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” offers honest sentimentality to the power of music; to childhood; to loss; to memory. I’ve probably listened to this track over 100x this year. It’d make an excellent addition to the “Sad Girls’ Book of Hymns” (a zine that doesn’t exist but one I’ve wanted to make for at least 5 years).
  • MOURN by Corbin: I naturally gravitate towards melancholic, most likely emotionally unavailable men — especially in the realm of music, and I love this album. Corbin, previously Spooky Black, reminds me of King Krule circa 2014 (Out Getting Ribs, hello!). Get this record. Listen to ICE BOY on repeat.
  • Donald Trump + The Eclipse: The President of the United States of America looked directly at the sun without any glasses. Fucking moron.
  • Don’t Call Us Dead: Danez Smith’s poetry discusses police brutality, sex, the murder of black men, his HIV diagnosis “& then he left/but he stayed”, heaven and more.

dear air where you used to be, dear empty Chucks

by front door. dear whatever you are now, dear


they buried you all business, no ceremony.

cameras, t-shirts, essays, protests

then you were just dead. some nights

i want to dig you up. bury you right.

  • Quitting: I quit my job of 5 years in September. I was very unhappy for some time but also felt very conflicted about leaving. Almost like I owed it to them to stay, despite my lack of satisfaction? Or fearful that I wouldn’t be successful elsewhere? Since then, I’ve learned that if something sucks, it’s okay to listen to that voice. I’ve also learned a lot about my own perceived self-worth and historic lack thereof.


Clint Neuerberg (Humaniterrorist Record Collective, Elephant Rifle)

Favorite Rock Albums:

  • Cloakroom – Time Well
  • Dead Cross – S/T
  • Dreamdecay – YÚ
  • Expander – Endless Computer
  • Gaytheist – Let’s Jam Again Soon
  • Meat Wave – The Incessant
  • Oxbow – Thin Black Duke
  • Pile – A Hairshirt of Purpose
  • Propagandhi – Victory Lap
  • Thee Oh Sees – Orc


Haus of Cloaca

Favorite Albums:

  • Rina Sawayama- RINA
  • Mount Eerie- A Crow Looked at Me
  • Pefume Genius- No Shape
  • Brockhampton- Saturation l, ll, and lll
  • Yeaji- EP2 and Self-Titled EP
  • Princess Nokia- 1992 (technically first released in 2016, but the revamp is still just as good!!!)

Favorite Events:

  • Trixie and Katya’s High School Reunion @ Castro Theatre
  • 80s Dance Party
  • Violence Creeps
  • Raja Gemini @TheBluebird

Honorable Mentions:

  • It’s Okay to Cry and PonyBoy by SOPHIE
  • Commes Des Garcon 2018 Spring Summer Collection


Conor Knowles (Dancing Plague of 1518, Psychic Guilt)

Favorite Albums:

  • Drab Majesty – The Demonstration
  • Alex Cameron – Forced Witness
  • Human Leather – Lazy Karaoke
  • Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me
  • John Maus – Screen Memories
  • Paisley Devil – Blissed
  • ALA – Flowers and Wild Animals
  • Planning For Burial – Below the House
  • Future Islands – The Far Field
  • Wolf Parade – Cry Cry Cry

Favorite Shows:

  • Choir Boy @ The Observatory in Spokane, WA
  • Choir Boy @ Volume Fest in Spokane, WA
  • Human Leather @ Baby Bar in Spokane, WA
  • Future Islands @ The Wilma in Missoula, MT
  • Paisley Devil @ The Observatory in Spokane, WA
  • The Body @ Holland Project
  • Cell Block @ Naked Lounge in Chico, CA
  • Dreamdecay @ Circus Circus
  • Karate Chad @ The Bubble in Spokane, WA
  • Outercourse @ Baby Bar in Spokane, WA


Courtney Mayer (Stirr Lightly)

Favorite Albums:

  • Dirty Projectors – Dirty Projectors
  • Ctrl – SZA
  • Infinite Worlds – Vagabon
  • Slowdive – Slowdive
  • Everybody Works – Jay Som
  • Drunk – Thundercat
  • The OOZ – King Krule
  • Fresh Air – Homeshake
  • Process – Sampha
  • MASSEDUCATION – St. Vincent

Honorable mentions:

  • DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar
  • Rocket – (Sandy) Alex G


Denali Lowder (Artist)

  • Tree of Heaven – This was my first solo art show at the Holland Project, and it was an incredibly special thing for me. I’ve had solo shows before, but I was always saving the right artwork for a proposal for the HP gallery, and I finally felt like I was ready this summer. In my mind, the gallery is the most legit in Reno, and I’ve been involved with the gallery for so long now, finally having my own art show there was a big deal. I am super appreciative and grateful for all that Holland has done for me, so it felt good to finally be a part of its history.
  • Being Aliens at Teen Art Night – Wow, this was like one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done. Also fun!!! Me, and my friends Emma and Sophia, dressed up in bright green morph suits and alien masks and just ran around Teen Art Night basically entertaining teenagers with wacky antics, all while taking selfies with a selfie stick. I have like 400 pictures still on my phone from this night. We decked out the freight elevator to be like a funny little abduction room, and I think (I hope) people got a kick out of it. It was crazy fun.
  • Listening to KWNK for the first time / KWNK in general–  Me and Tyler were at work, and I brought my radio with me so we could listen to KWNK on the very first day it aired. We spent like an hour trying to tune my radio to pick it up, and I just couldn’t seem to tune in. Then I tried my little walkman radio, and we were finally able to pick it up! We knew it was KWNK because “Walking with a Ghost” by Tegan and Sara was playing on Christine’s show! It was a really cool and memorable moment for sure. KWNK rules!!!
  • Bound: the zine show at Holland – Wow, this show was incredible! I love zines, I love collecting zines, and I love making zines. I can’t really explain it, but I just love the feel of them, they are so fun. The whole gallery committee has been talking about having a zine show at Holland for a super long time, so Alisha worked super hard on it and finally made it happen! It looks so cool in there, and I love celebrating all of the different diverse artists that make zines in this community. Really special and sweet! I want everyone to make more artwork now!
  • The Holland Ten-Year – It’s so crazy that HP is ten years old now, it is seriously so special to me! I feel so grateful to have encountered this place in the right time in my life, Holland has given me so many opportunities, I feel that I wouldn’t even be the same person I am today without it. Thank you!!!
  • All In – This show is seriously one of my favorite art shows every year! It gives people like me, who don’t necessarily have much money, a chance to own artwork by really talented artists from the community. It’s $100 for every piece, and this year I bough Alberto Garcia’s piece. I love it so much!!!
  • Laika Press – I’m not actually a very good printmaker (at all), but I really appreciate places like this opening up! Laika Press is a printmaking co-op, operating off a monthly/daily membership fee, where you can go and print your artwork with a printing press. As an artist, I feel that being able to make your artwork independently from a school setting is really important, and Laika Press and The Wedge are such cool and valuable resources for artists in the community.
  • Navigating The Space between Borders @ NMA – First of all, I’d like to say that I’m really appreciative of people like Alberto and Britt for doing so much to make stuff like this happen! It was such an interesting discussion about our southern border, and the culture and artwork tied to it. Ana Teresa Fernandez, an artist from Tampico, Mexico, was really blowing my mind! Her artwork is amazing, and she was very good at discussing her work. Her paintings were cool, but her installation pieces were seriously ~the bomb~. I’d highly recommend checking out her installation series “erasing the border”, where she paints a section of the border wall sky blue, so from far away it looks like a piece of it is gone. It’s really beautiful.
  • Scalleycat 2017 / Glass Die opening – So the title for this is misleading, because I barely even did scalleycat this year. Me and a few friends were gonna do some scalleycatting, but it was also the opening day for the Glass Die. We started playing some board games, and it was so fun, we didn’t even end up doing any scalleycat things! Playing games with my friends was super fun! I feel like every time I go there, it’s always full of a bunch of sweethearts. I recommend the game Sushi Party, that one really roped us in. But I’m also super down to play the lord of the rings risk too.
  • High & Dry – I love the holland summer events! Riding around town and seeing all the stops was super fun. My favorite part was seeing the bomb shelter in the basement of the downtown library, it was super freaky. Their bomb shelter was just like these huge concrete tubes underneath the building…I’m not really sure how much your life would be saved if there WAS a bomb in Reno, but it’s still a cool spot. I love how the summer events are always tied to a bike ride, because we all ride really slow together, so it’s hard for anyone to get separated.


Fine Motor

Favorite Books:

  • Her Body and Other Parties—Carmen Maria Machado
  • What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky – Leslie Nnkea Arimah
  • Exit West –Mohsin Hamid
  • Lou Reed—Anthony DeCurtis
  • Manhattan Beach—Jennifer Egan
  • Selection Day—Aravind Adiga
  • Lincoln in the Bardo—George Saunders
  • Future Home of the Living God – Louise Erdrich
  • Homesick for Another World – Ottessa Moshfegh
  • Fresh Complaint – Jeffrey Eugenedies
Garret Caufield (Boys, Murderdream)
Favorite Albums:
  • Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper
  • Devil Master – Inhabit The Corpse
  • Spectral Voice – Eroded Corridors of Unbeing
  • King Woman – Created in the Image of Suffering
  • Memoriam – For The Fallen
  • Gatecreeper – Sweltering Madness
  • Boy Harsher – Country Girl EP
  • Acid Witch – Evil Sound Screamers
  • Pumpkin Witch – Hovel of the Pumpkin Witch
  • Hell – Hell

Holly Scala (Basha)

One of my favorite moments was The Frights show in May. I was actually in France for the show, but my boyfriend FaceTimed for the whole concert and it was INSANE even on a phone.  Those dudes know how to show up, and Reno knows how to rock to them.


Ian O’Keef

  • St. Molly -Fox Academy
  • Code Orange, The Body, Black Zin @ The Holland 10/22
  • Surf Curse @ The Holland  (There were a couple surf curse shows this year and I honestly can’t choose, always an emotional time. Loved their new album and hearing it live was beautiful)
  • hOp Off -Nnamdi Ogbonnaya
  • Rocket -Alex G
  • Shadow Expert -Palm
  • Field Medic -if i shout that the revolutions in my blind heart have left me on the mend, would i still have to surrender to the tides to exorcise this possession?
  • Relax Upon Reentry -Hot Brothers
  • Grindoween @ The Gutter
  • Saturation III -Brockhampton


Jake Painter (Venue Manager)

Favorite Music:

  • Paramore – Hard Times
  • Hate Recorder/Negative Sex – Split EP
  • People with Bodies – Con Cuerpo

Favorite Skate Videos:

  • The Creature Video
  • Louie Lopez – West End
  • King of the Road – Season 2

Favorite Shows:

  • Paramore at the Greek Theatre
  • Slothrust at Bottom of the Hill w/ Gabriela Denne
  • Palehound at Holland Project

Favorite Restaurant:

  • Taste of Chicago

Bonus Skate Trick:

  • Jackson Pilz – Blunt to Benihana

Jasmine Brazelton

  • King Krule – The OOZ
  • The xx in Sacramento, CA
  • The xx – I See You
  • Khalid – “Location”
  • Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
  • Pantiero Festival in Cannes, France
  • Surf Curse in Los Angeles, CA
  • Florist – If Blue Could Be Happiness
  • Girlpool – “123”
  • The Holland Ten Year shows!!


Mathew Parera (Common Mishap)

  • “Flying Microtonal Banana” by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – An album that is most likely overplayed while playing Rocket League, or during car rides.
  • Radkey @ Holland – This show isn’t on our list simply because we played it, but because it is easily one of the most impressive and electric live performances any of us has seen. While it was an honor to open for them, our favorite part of the night was watching those guys do what they do, full of passion and raw talent.
  • “Damn” by Kendrick Lamar – Hell. Yes.
  • “You’re Not as ___ as You Think” by Sorority Noise – Perfect to listen to while daydreaming and laying on your bed, what else does one look for in music?
  • “Forever” by Code Orange – How could we not put a band with a Grammy nomination on here?
  • “From the Fires” by Greta Van Fleet – New Zeppelin? Simply FUN to listen to.
  • “Turn Out the Lights” by Julien Baker – Yes, we love Julien and we love her on the keys as well, one of our favorite new listens of the year.
  • No Wings Airline” by WDL – This one comes from our techno loving drummer, Mr. Laderk. “Sick wubs”
  • Knocked Loose at Warped Tour – Basically the only reason why we hopped on down to warped this year (besides Gwar). Thankfully there were no broken noses.
  • Skew Ring @ The Saint – two of the members of our band have grown up watching these guys play in different bands since the time they were 13. It’s easy to say that without their musical influence, we would not be together as a band today. This was their first show as their new project, Skew Ring, and we were more than blown away. This is a band that everyone should be excited about.


Mitch Dufor (Holland Board Member)

  • Hot Lunch!/Hot Fog/Pushy – Bottom of the Hill, SF.  These dudes rip.  It’s all about shredding and skating.  Duh
  • Propagandhi/RVIVR – Slims, SF.  Finally got to see the legendary Propagandhi.  They lived up to the hype!
  • Guantanamo Baywatch/Terry Malts/Toy Guitar – Bottom of the Hill, SF.  Super surfy, fun show.
  • MEATBODIES/Stirr Lightly/Dead Seagulls – Holland Project, Reno. They survived the snow and played a great show!
  • Holland 10yr Party!!! – This place means so much to so many people.  Britt and the gang are incredible!
  • Black Lips/Timmy’s Organism – Holland, Reno.  Great show that brought a lot of people out.
  • Decendents/Radkey/WesternAddiction – Catalyst, Santa Cruz.  Instagram said I was in the band!  Then I got fired.
  • Alden Spence/Max Valentine/Dead Seagals – Coffee Bar, Truckee.  Great Photography, Art and music!
  • PEARS/Misfritz/Thunderhead – Shea’s, Reno. Surprise metal show ahead of PEARS.  Stoked!

Missed shows I wanted to see – Mommy Long Legs, Tacocat, Terror, CFM, Code Orange, Cherry Glazerr


Morgan Travis (Moregain Amplification)

Top Produced Recordings (least to most favorite)

  • Protomartyr – The Chuckler (Relatives In Descent): I truly appreciate that this band opts for the natural reverb that comes from playing guitar in a large room instead of piling endless amounts of spring reverb all over their recordings. The drums are just the right amount of dead and there is a barely noticeable amount of room sound on the vocals that keep them from feeling claustrophobic. They end the song with some MBV style distorted chord changes that feel like the exact right move.
  • Sean Nicholas Savage – Burn Spiritual (Yummycoma): For some reason this song really reminds me of the in store music at the Meijers grocery chain my mom use to shop at back in 1992. The brassy pad and square wave bass pretty undeniably sexy, though not quite as titillating as the amount of reverb on the wood block percussion.
  • Queens Of The Stone Age – Head Like A Haunted House (Villains): This song is a pretty awesome little venture into fast paced spastic mid-fi rock n roll in the middle of an overall more mid tempo album. QOTSA albums never leave me wanting for absolutely perfect guitar tone, and this song is their crown jewel. My buddy Shane showed me this song and said it sounded like something Jawsh Hagemen would have recorded in a basement five years ago, I agree.
  • Com Truise – Isostasy (Iteration): I’d venture to guess this guy probably writes these songs as a means to show off his amazing synth patches. There is a perfect amount of compression on the mix bus side-chained to the kick drum, very pleasantly noticeable on the hi hats. My favorite song to drive to of 2017
  • Sheer Mag – Just Can’t Get Enough (Need To Feel Your Love): If someone were to tell me this song was actually a demo of Micheal Jackson as a child auditioning to sing in Thin Lizzy… they just might fool me. This recording is of an ever so slightly higher fidelity than Sheer Mags previous few EPs, but still retains everything that made those recordings amazing: Clean to overdriven guitar properly shredded, ultra dry drums with very crunchy snare, and the most earnestly belted out vocals to ever recorded through a distortion pedal.
  • Kendrik Lamar – PRIDE. (DAMN.): Probably the best album of the year… but not my favorite. The beat sounds like it could have been written by a Mac DeMarco off shoot band. I LOVE the automation on the vocal track the first verse, sounds like it could be some kind of low frequency modulation of the “format” control on some eventidesque pitch shifting rack effect.
  • Porches – Country (Single): Their 2016 LP “Pools” was defiantly one the most listened to albums of last year for me. This song’s instrumentation consists almost exclusively of synthesizer (which I’m guessing was a Roland Juno 106). The vocal track is left almost completely dry with some very impressive back up harmonies. Its pretty interesting that he made the choice to keep this song completely percussion-less, but it really works.
  • Jlin – Nyakinyua Rise (Black Origami): Queen Jlin reigns supreme over the Chicago “Footwork” scene with her relentless second LP. This song is a pretty accurate representation of what high school drum line might sound like long after the human race is eradicated by a hostile mechanical intelligence. Defiantly some of the most interestingly programed automated drumming I’ve ever heard.
  • Thundercat Feat Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins – Show You The Way (Drunk): This guy has without a doubt been my favorite bass virtuoso ever since I saw him play in Suicidal Tendencies and Erika Badu within the same six month period. This track is insane. A lot of the arrangement seems to have been put together by his long time collaborator Flying Lotus. I’m hoping it’s not too controversial to say that this is by far the coolest thing Michael McDonald or Kenny Loggins have done in the past 30 years… and they are truly the stars of the show. It gives me endless joy that this track ends with the sound used to indicate that you’ve ended a level of sonic the hedgehog with over 100 rings.
  • Cende – What I Want (#1 Hit Single): Wow… I can truly appreciate the amount of work and ingenuity that must have gone into this masterpiece of 1/4” eight track recording. The basic instrumentation at the beginning of this song is bare bones, panned dead center, and air tight. As the first chorus vocal shifts into falsetto I worry I may have accidentally entered a parallel dimension where Brian Wilson is singing for The Marked Men. A blazing two part harmonized guitar lead gives way to a tambourine break, orchestral overdubs, and a second verse guest vocalist Frankie Cosmos who’s performance genuinely gives me goosebumps well into the 100th listen. The middle of the song unravels into a well organized cacophonous mess of cymbals, toms, and bent guitar stings. Then subsides into a triumphant return to the chorus with both singers for a final time. What really gets me about this recording is the attention to detail, the claps to help transition the first verse to the chorus, the tape hiss that swells and fades away before the next punch in to that track, the muting of close drum mics in the noise part, the subtle organ chords in the beginning… It’s unapologetic authenticity makes my heart hurt, and it’s honestly not even my favorite song on the album.


Nick Meza (Pry, Blackstallion)

  • Paramore/After Laughter
  • Axis/Shift
  • Nav & Metro Boomin/Perfect Timing
  • Slaughter Beach, Dog/Birdie
  • A$ap Ferg/Still Striving
  • Citizen/As You Please
  • Incendiary/Thousand Mile Stare
  • Frank Ocean/Chanel
  • Full Of Hell/Trumpeting Ecstasy

Honorable Mentions

  • Xibalba/Con Amor.. Adios
  • Sorority Noise/You’re not As ____ As You Think
  • Cloakroom/Time Well
  • Balance & Composure/Slow Heart
  • (sandy) Alex G/Rocket


Scaught Bates (Slow Wow, Black Zin)

Favorite song of 2017 that I forgot to put on my list last year:

  • City Life by Wizard Colors: Kinda felt haunted by not adding it to my list last year. Feels good to redeem that.

Favorite Show of 2017:

  • Hot Snakes, Feels, and Matt Lampkin and the Fast Foods @ The Chapel SF: Matt was in an old band called the Soft Pack. He and his band ruled, there was one mega fan of his that was losing his shit so hard while everybody else was just casually enjoying the tunes. Respect for the lack of giving a shit by that guy. Feels gave life to hundreds of fan crushes at this show. They we’re incredible, and it was evident that there was a major buzz in the air by the end of their set. I saw just as many people with Feels merch than Hot Snakes by the time the show was out. Like a lot of folks, John Reis is my all time favorite guitar player. Down Stroke War Lord. This is my favorite time seeing him play. Nobody sweats as hard as this guy. Hot Snakes are putting out a new full length for the first time in 15 years (holy cow!). They played a ton of new material and completely destroyed the place. My brother is convinced that the bass player, Gar Wood, stole the show. There really aren’t too many other people out there that look as stoked to be playing live as Gar does. Favorite quote of the night, “Gar is the golden retriever of bass playing.”

Favorite show played of 2017:

  • My band Slow Wow played with Top Down and The Shames at Forty Mile. Top Down are a tri-country band that somehow have an impressively productive output given their geographical limitations. One member lives in Portland, another lives in Germany, and another lives in Transylvania. They play pretty dirty romantic rocknroll kinda jams. After finding out that the late Fred Cole recorded and produced their 2017 record, ‘Rough Roads,’ I admittedly kinda nerded out on them, and they obliged by giving the hole scoop as well as sharing personal stories of being friends with the Cole family. Into the wee hours. Of course, the Shames set was really amazing. Hadn’t seen them in a while. All of their newer songs are pretty next level. After a particular song, Chuck from Top Down said, “Well, that’s my new favorite song.” Check out that Top Down record.

Favorite record label of 2017:

  • Once again, it’s probably Iron Lung Records. That Dreamdecay record was a pretty big deal around here. What a solid release. Also, the new His Electro Blue Voice album is my very favorite of the year. New eps from Rakta too!

Favorite radio station of 2017:

  • KWNK, duh. Been hearing so much good stuff.

Favorite release to kick back to of 2017:

  • Slow Dive by Slow Dive: as almost an automated response to put this on after a long day.

Favorite local band of 2017:

  • Shit Metaphor: They’re the shit. They are through being cool. I have a hard time looking at 5 string bass playing, but yet, the 5 string thud stuff doesn’t bother me in this band for some reason.

Favorite music video of 2017:

  • Another Night by Fearing: My greatest gripe with music videos is when the visual action or feel doesn’t match the sound. I think it’s a symptom of growing up obsessively watching skate videos. Anyhow, this video captures the sound perfectly. The color palette of the lighting throughout the video is pleasing as well, almost giving a similar feeling to watching 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Favorite music moment as witnessed through social media of 2017:

  • I feel like a nerd writing this one. It was a video of J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr playing along backstage to Pennywise playing their classic hit, “Bro Hymn” live at some festival. What was so funny about it? J is considered by many to be a guitar virtuoso mastermind. I suppose it was his deadpan face while playing one of the first easy riffs I ever learned that made it a hilarious concoction.

Favorite music list of 2017:

  • Definitely not this one.


Skew Ring


  • Favorite event: Skew Ring/Plastic Caves/Abclt/Fearing at The Saint
  • Favorite release: Thugger – Easy Breezy Beautiful Thugger Girls


  • Favorite event: Leather jacket art show
  • Favorite release : Dreamdecay – Yú


  • Favorite event: Terror at Holland with Fall Silent
  • Favorite release: Playboi Carti – self titled tape


  • Favorite event: First show back at Fort Ryland with Skew Ring/Pressure Drop/Drag Me Under/The Scattering
  • Favorite release: Death Bells – Standing at the Edge of the World


  • Favorite event: The Black Lips at Holland
  • Favorite release: King Krule – The Ooz


Summer Orr (Artist)

Whew, this year was filled to the bring with good. This list is rated from how emotionally affected I was by each 2017 item, 1 being “tremendously” and 10 being “quite a lot”.

  • People with Bodies @ Salon Peuyrredon (1)
  • Emperor X @ Park Place (2)
  • Infinite Surface by Nathanial Benjamin @ UNR (3)
  • WHY? – Moh Llean (4)
  • Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me (5)
  • Hand Habits @ The Holland Project (6)
  • Jake Mckelvie @ Park Place (7)
  • Cigarettes After Sex – Self-Titled (8)
  • Strawberry Runners – In the Garden, In the Night (9)
  • Birdie – Slaughter Beach, Dog (10)

Important mentions: High & Dry, Pry, Chastity Belt @ HP


Tara Littlefield

  • The Snack Shack opening up at Holland: slinging pretzels, selling cookies, finally having something to do with my hands at the gig. Truly a blessing.
  • Jay Som – Everybody Works
  • Every Shit Metaphor show (and outfit) but especially in the basement of Clark Lane Mall on Halloween. Hopefully one day they’ll play “Everything is a Letdown” live.
  • Radiator Hospital and Try the Pie in San Jose: House shows are so special and these two bands thrived in such a warm space. San Jose’s DIY scene is really special and welcoming. (Related: Radiator Hospital – Play the Songs You Like)
  •  The Spirit of the Beehive – pleasure suck
  • Park Place open house: three floors of rock: the bodies are back in town. Every band (People with Bodies, Team Francis, BOYS) is my favorite band. This was my first time seeing Team Francis and I was so blown away. People with Bodies have always ruled but ruled even more this year.
  • Seeing Mitski in Vienna: I felt very lucky to see Mitski for the first time in a super intimate venue full of total strangers. Everything she does is intentional and beautiful, I don’t cry a lot but I cried a lot.
  •  Rata Negra – Oído Absoluto
  • SZA – Ctrl
  • Everything that happened in Serva Pool: “In a Broken World”, swimming in the Serva Pool pool, the Negative Sex/Hate Recorder split release, the Halloween show. Serva Pool glowed this year.


Tucker Rash (Dale)

Favorite Albums

  • Tera Melos – Trash Generator (Essential Track: Men’s Shirt): I discovered this album really late in the year, but I found myself listening to it often. Layers of glitchy off-kilter guitars, vocals, and other noises along with bizarre lyrics lands this album on my top picks of the year.
  • Puzzle – Laying in the Sand (Essential Track: What She Might Say to Me): Puzzle released two drastically different, but brilliant albums this year, however, this one stuck out the most to me. Laying in the Sand continues a very inventive and continually evolving discography of Puzzle, showcasing strange, upbeat instrumentals and cryptic, yet depressing lyrics.
  • Morrissey – Low in High School (Essential Track: When You Open Your Legs): I’ve been a Morrissey fan for a large portion of my life, but I wasn’t expecting much from this new album. The singles used to tease Low in High School felt somewhat drab to me. Fortunately, listening to the whole album provided good context and shelter for those tracks. Morrissey provides a new sound on this album, utilizing interesting sounding synths, cryptically lustful lyrics, and ultimately ballad-esque instrumentals.
  • Machine Girl – Because I’m Young, Arrogant, and Hate Everything About You… (Essential Track: Bullet Hell): I’ve known about Machine Girl for some time now, but I never bothered listening until summer of this year. Because I’m Young… provided this chaotic, gabber-influenced, electronic sound that I had been searching for in music, so I was instantly drawn to it.
  • Group Doueh and Cheveu – Dakhla Sahara Sessions (Essential Track: Tout Droit): Cheveu has been a favorite of mine for the last few years. I stumbled upon them accidentally when I decided to buy a random record of theirs in a Salt Lake City shop in early 2015. Since then, I’ve collected their entire vinyl discography, and they are the only band I’ve ever done that with. I just love their experimental, evolutionary, and weird sound. Their latest LP is a collaboration with a Sahrawi band called Group Doueh. The result is a strange, yet magnificent sonic collision of incredibly different modern music.
  • People With Bodies – Con Cuerpo (Essential Track: Dog Brain): Con Cuerpo can easily be described as the soundtrack to the 2017 summer. This album conjures inspiring imagery of road trips, hot nights, and lots and lots of coffee.
  • The I.L.Y’s – Bodyguard (Essential Track: 49er Lighter): Bodyguard is the first release from The I.L.Y’s that felt like an official album release. Unlike their previous albums (which were dropped unexpectedly on twitter), Bodyguard had singles with accompanying music videos, a release date, physical pressings of the album, and songs that felt genuinely produced. At first, I didn’t know what to think of it. I liked the beginning track, but kind of lost focus on the rest of the album during initial listenings. However, after various relistens, I’ve grown to love the album.
  • Protomartyr – Relatives In Descent (Essential Track: Up the Tower): When I learned that a new Protomartyr album was on the way, I was worried. Under Color of Official Right and The Agent Intellect felt so magnificent to me that I didn’t think Protomartyr could push boundaries with a new album. I was fantastically wrong with this assumption. Relatives In Descent provides this beautifully unique, dark, and monumental sound that makes me feel like I’m crawling around in ancient catacombs.
  • The Garden – U Want the Scoop? (Essential Track: Make Yer Mark): This very conceptual 5-song EP has so much replayability to me.  On U Want the Scoop? The Garden continued to push things forward with their evolutionary genre of weird punk known as Vada Vada. The songs on this EP are humorous, genuine, and energizing.
  • Death Grips – Steroids (Crouching Tiger Hidden Gabber Megamix): This monstrous 22-minute long track/mix from Death Grips lands the number one place on this list because I listened to it the most of any other new music this year. I was at work when Steroids came out, and upon hearing the news I actually burst into joyous tears. This mix is experimental, multifaceted, and meticulously crafted. I discover something new in it every time I listen and continue to feel inspired by the creative ideologies of Death Grips.

Honorable Mentions: Dreamdecay – Yú, Uniform – Wake in Fright, Half Forward Line – Back of Mass, Puzzle – Tighten the Reins, Skepta – Hypocrisy

Favorite Shows

  • Midway Madness at the Circus Circus Midway: Midway Madness was just about the most surreal show I’ve ever been to. Seeing bands like Clarko and Dreamdecay perform in such a colorful venue felt like a fever dream in all the best ways possible.
  • Uniform, Solterona, Young Deathwish at The Holland Project: This show had one of the smallest audiences I’ve ever seen at Holland. Uniform’s stage presence was intimidating and their sound was brutal. They played what felt like a short, but incredibly impactful set that left me thinking “Huh? What happened?”. I loved it.
  • Mac Demarco w/ The Garden at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley: I went to this show mainly to see The Garden, who filled the huge venue with so much energy. Unfortunately, The Garden’s sound didn’t really seem to resonate with Mac Demarco fans. Plus their set was cut short by a surprise HOMESHAKE set, which I didn’t vibe with too much. However, Mac Demarco’s set was very nostalgic, entertaining, and interesting — I enjoyed it a lot.
  • Machine Girl with Pregnant and Butter Man at La Hacienda in Davis: Julien, Ben, and I decided on a whim to drive to Davis for a day to see Machine Girl at a house venue. This show turned out to be the first show ever to take place at the La Hacienda house. It was really interesting to travel for a somewhat little show like that. We enjoyed being surrounded by strangers in a different music scene in a different city. Machine Girl brought a lot of intense energy to a little, tightly packed living room. One of the guys putting on the show developed these insane visuals to project behind the bands. The projections were programmed to be controlled by a playstation controller. During the sets, that guy was in the back of the room frantically pressing buttons to control the visuals. It felt surreal.
  • The Body with Code Orange at The Holland Project: The Body utterly blew me away. They filled Holland with monstrously loud and overwhelming noise. Something about that show really inspired me.
  • People With Bodies album release show with David Dondero at Bibo Record St.: David Dondero’s thoughtful and intricate songs really resonated with me. Plus standing in my favorite coffee shop, surrounded by friends, watching People With Bodies elegantly perform Con Cuerpo in order was easily one of the best things I’ve witnessed. The show was like stepping into a warm house in the middle of Winter.
  • The Garden at the Garden Amphitheater in Garden Grove: My family and I happened to be in southern California when this show was going on, so we figured we’d go check it out. The Garden played 45 minutes of pure hectic punk, spawning frenzied pits and lots of awkward stage divers, and they even debuted a new blast beat ridden song. Mac Demarco and Tyler, the Creator were both hanging out at this show, which was very funny.
  • Death Grips at the Warfield in San Francisco: This was my first time seeing Death Grips and I was utterly amazed. The venue was pitch black — no stage lights, no house lights. Death Grips strode on stage and put on these laser gloves that they were using for the tour. Waves of sounds washed over the crowd, which prompted everyone to instantly spawn a frenzied pit. I stayed up close to the stage for most of the show. The energy that Death Grips portrays on stage, even in pitch black darkness, is incredible. Plus I love how unflashy of a band Death Grips is. At first glance, the laser gloves seem kind of gimmicky and attention-grabbing, but the lasers deter people from taking photographs and make you want to look away, making the music the most important part of the show.
  • Holland Tenth Anniversary Weekend: Holland has been a safe haven and a source of inspiration and growth for me for so long, so being able to celebrate with a weekend of music that embodies the spirit of Holland was so meaningful.
  • Buzzcocks at Burger Boogaloo in Oakland: This was by far the most amazing set I have ever seen. I spent the majority of the show in the most hectic, but friendliest pit I’ve ever allowed myself to get thrown around in. During the encore, I was really tired and allowed the crowd to push me around. I miraculously ended up right at the edge of the stage in front of Pete Shelley. I sang along to the backing vocals of “Harmony in my Head” and Pete looked down and locked eyes with me. For the rest of the encore, we stayed like this, singing the songs together. Once the encore was over, the band put their instruments down and walked towards the edge of the stage to greet people. Pete Shelley bent down and reached his hand into the audience to shake hands with everybody. Naturally, everyone around me frantically raised their hands, but Pete Shelley gestured towards me, so I raised my hand to shake his. In the palm of his hand, I felt a small piece of plastic — he was secretly giving me his guitar pick via a handshake. I was awestruck.


Zak Burnside (Octophonix) 

Favorite Tracks (No albums, all singles!)

  • soulwax 2017 mix TOOMANYDJS
  • Emmanuelle – italove
  • Phillipi & Rodrigo – Gueto De Gent
  • Die Verboten – Dafalganger – DEEWEE003
  • Physical Therapy- Drone On
  • Moon Boots- I Want Ur Attention
  • Chela – Romanticise (Cesare Remix)
  • Ferdinand Weber – I Don’t Need Nothing (feat. Ruby Francis) | Kitsuné Hot Stream
  • K.K. Oasis (Aircheck) – Animal Crossing: New Leaf Music
  • United Mutation – infinite regression