Doug Keller’s Best of 2016

Despite the lack of a new release from Will Smith, 2016 has been a pretty great year for Philly music. What are my “best of” choices for 2016? Find out below.

Favorite Album

Tender Trap EP by Heart Harbor

heartharbor

Kerry Hallett (aka Heart Harbor) is such a skilled songwriter; she expertly transforms her personal stories into universally relateable ballads. In so many reviews, I lament the importance of the “less is more” concept, and it’s something that Heart Harbor nails on every track.

Favorite Song

Pork by Sangre LunaGoin Postal by Stay at Home Dad

lunaanddads
Sangre Luna (left) Stay at Home Dad (right)

It’s impossible for me to pick between these two songs. Both tracks are great introductions to their respective bands. If you’re interested in learning more about Sangre Luna, check out my review of their “Stomp & Shake EP.”

Favorite Artist

The Late Saints – Stay at Home Dad – The Cultour

The Late Saints (left) Stay at Home Dad (center) The Cultour (right)

If there’s a similar thread between The Cultour and Stay at Home Dad, it’s that each of them is made up of musicians that could be/are the front of their own projects, but when they come together they form something truly special. It’s kind of like when the Power Rangers would combine their zords, but the members of The Cultour and SAHD are all the Green Ranger. You can read my review of Stay at Home Dad’s first album here.

I couldn’t make a “best of list” without mentioning The Late Saints. I’ve seen them perform numerous times since Kyle Hudson first brought them on our radio show in September of 2015 to promote the release of their album “Presto! In America.” Their brand of gypsy-rock is a refreshing addition to any bill, and they never fail to entertain.

Best Festival/Favorite Venue

The Stoop

Seoul Delhi (left) and Ghost Pressure (right) performing at The Stoop

I’ve written a few articles about the magic of this venue, but I’m sad to report that it’s no more. Before it’s demise, The Stoop was an oasis for artists in Blue Bell, PA, and although I was late to the party, I’m glad I got to be part of it. I discovered so many incredible artists at The Stoop, and hopefully it will live on in some form in the future.

Favorite Live Performance

VoirVoir

voirvoir4

I went to Siren Records for the first time this summer, and I was pleasantly surprised by VoirVoir’s performance. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t know anything about them going into the concert, but they are the band that exemplifies why you should go see live music. I enjoy their studio recordings, but seeing them live was like being engulfed in waves of expertly crafted post-rock goodness.

Honorable Mentions: Bandit, Starwood, Magehand, Woven In, Seoul Delhi, Brandon Can’t Dance, The Jumping Juvies, The Los Lil Yung N Rich Ethical Capitalist$, Little Strike, Friends From Earth

@DougEKeller

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