“thermostat check” is a feature we’re running throughout the rest of the month to both take the temperature of music in 2016 so far and to broaden the spectrum of the dimestore’s coverage. we rounded up proprietors of other music sites and asked them to sound off on their five favorite bodies of work that dropped during the first half of the year; next up to bat is jeremy sroka, head honcho over at hi54lofi, who has so kindly dropped off words on five of his favorite albums. links to stream are inserted in the caption below their respective cover art. dig in.
big thief – masterpiece
if you are like me, then you probably also fell madly in love with both sides of the perfect adrianne lenker and buck meek collaboration from 2014. and, if like me, you wander around through life with your headphones on, blissfully ignorant of what the back story is to most albums you’re listening to, it may have also taken you longer than it should have to realize that big thief is another adrianne lenker and buck meek collaboration. i don’t think i clued in until “lorraine,” where the obvious detective in me was awoken with the thought of “woah, this sounds lovingly familiar; best head to google straight away for further investigation.” so i guess we can both call off our two-year wishing campaign for adrianne and buck to make some more music together, because they have, and the result is once again excellent. much like big star, masterpiece an aptly-titled debut album.
pony bradshaw – bad teeth
it’s not that i hated the new sturgill simpson or hayes carll albums, it’s just that i didn’t like them as much as i would have liked the albums i hoped they were making ever since i heard they were making new albums. that previous sentence is one of the reasons i’ve been digging pony bradshaw’s highly anticipated (by me) debut so much. not only did it meet the very high expectations that developed in my head last year after the first single, “josephine,” blew my socks off and knocked the beer out my hand, but their debut also filled that very-hard-to-fill void of a solid, rough-around-the-edges country album. y’know, like the kind sturgill and hayes were putting out the previous years.
nap eyes – thought rock fish scale
i don’t know, but i think thought rock fish scale is my favourite album this year. (at least so far; we are only half way through this year so don’t go holding me to this statement when end-of-year list season starts knocking in august.) the opening track just really rubs my spirit animal in all the right places, and once that is done, you’ve kinda won me and my spirit animal over. especially when track number two is carrying treats in its pocket. before i know it, “roll it” is reaching out of the stereo to roll down the window, and my spirit animal and i have our heads stuck out in the breeze, banging a drum beat out on the roof. pretty sure my spirit animal is a dog.
lucy dacus – no burden
listening to this album really reminded me of the first time i listened to courtney barnett’s a sea of split peas. one track after another, the same thought: “wow, that was a really great track.” eventually (about two-thirds of the way through the album) it becomes blindingly obvious that you’re not just listening to a bunch of great tracks, or even just a great album; you’re listening to a really special artist. can’t wait for more (and i hope lucy’s star rises just as appropriately fast as courtney’s has.)
sonny smith – sees all knows all
the trouble with making lists the size of half the number of fingers you have (assuming you have all ten) is the inevitable hernia-causing worry about who doesn’t make the cut. i know we are only halfway through the year, but there’s been a lot of outstanding releases so far. so this final spot goes to sonny smith’s weird-but-somehow-totally-worked-for-me album sees all knows all, not because it is necessarily better than the ten other albums that could have also ended up as my number five, but because it inspired my most-inspired album description yet. for a guy who has trouble writing about why he likes what he likes or what an album sounds like (as shown in the the previous four attempts) this really gave sonny the edge. here is that description: imagine a sun kil moon record pressing pause on inherent vice to grab another sixer out of the fridge and roll a joint on the back cover of a bukowski novel.
five excellent full-length albums yield several hours of auditory bliss. there will be plenty of time to catch up on all of the above, along with the content from yesterday’s inaugural post, because this segment won’t return until friday. use your time wisely. oh, and go follow hi54lofi on facebook and twitter.