Top 15 Drone Records Of 2017

I feel like I missed a lot of drone records this year, especially after seeing other people’s lists. Like, there’s 4 records on A Closer Listen’s Top Ten Drone list that I haven’t heard yet. Oh well. Can’t listen to everything.

I’m especially happy with this list because not only does it have a lot of artists I’ve never heard of/written about before (15, 10, 4, 3) but also it has a lot of artists who I already love that are at the top of their game right now (14, 13, 7, 1). As usual, I tried to stay away from the high profile droners (yes, Lawrence English’s Cruel Optimism and Bibio’s Phantom Brickworks are phenomenal) and I do my best to let you know about my less-obvious favorites.

In case you missed em, you should check out my other lists: Metal and Not Drone Or Metal. There’s plenty of droney shit on the Not Drone Or Metal list, too, so you’ll definitely want to go there. The #1 on that list is an All Time Top 10er that I doubt will ever get unseated.

Here’s the Spotify playlist for those of you who like that sort of thing. It’s missing numbers 10, 8, 6, and 4, so stream those below.

As always: Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for making incredible music.

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Album Review

PREMIERE STREAM: Jenks Miller & Rose Cross NC – Music For Snowdrifts (Ba Da Bing, 2015)

Jenks Miller - Music For Snowdrifts album cover

I’m not really the kind of site that does premieres or news or anything “breaking,” which should be pretty obvious to regular readers. But when Jenks Miller contacted me asking if I wanted to premiere the stream of his new project’s debut record, I fucking jumped at the chance. So, thanks x10000 for this, Jenks.

Jenks is the main dude behind Horseback, the drone turned black psych band that’s now on Relapse, and he’s done plenty of other shit too, like Mount Moriah and various solo things and collaborations. This new one, Jenks Miller & Rose Cross NC, is “kind of a semi-solo project,” having performed live in his hometown North Carolina area with an assortment of helping hands. But on this debut, it’s just Jenks and his partner Elysse Thebner making a holy transcendent sound. Music For Snowdrifts is some megachill drone psych folk that’s hazy as fuck, sounding like the musical embodiment of a daydream, mostly just a wobbly guitar accompanied by some tender percussion, subtle synths, and soft vocals. Jenks is always upping his game, even when he’s shifting gears, and Snowdrifts is no different, it’s just absolutely fucking killer, zoning out into the shimmering golden sky, a sweet serene bliss obscured by gauze & fuzz, more or less a straightforward sound that’s executed perfectly, I can’t recommend this one enough, regardless of your familiarity with Jenks’ previous material or your fondness towards psych, this is fucking magnificent on every level.

So stream the whole thing here and then stop by Ba Da Bing because this is available as of today. Get on it.

Album Review

Aquarelle – August Undone (Students Of Decay, 2013)

aquarelle - august undone album cover
AquarelleWithin / Without (Students Of Decay)

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This is Aquarelle’s (aka Ryan Potts) first full length in two years, although he kept us tided over with that Alex Cobb split and a new track on my free 5 year anniversary comp You’re All The Fucking Best, so while there hasn’t been a total lack of His Majesty’s drones, there certainly hasn’t been anything like this. August Undone is pure brilliance. Take all your other lush records and melt ’em away because this is the only one you’ll ever need, this is the most blissful fucking thing I’ve ever heard, a massively dense wall of heavenly sound that’s somehow still soft & weightless, an ever-shifting crystal fog that overwhelms you but gives you moments of transcendent clarity, a thousand layers of everything, guitars, banjos, reeds, pianos, all in their unadorned perfection and processed to the stars and back, bombastic muffled percussion, endless loops of dream pop rhythms, taking your breath away every second of its all-too-short life, with unexpected explosions that will send you reeling into a euphoric coma sounding like in Sunshine when he’s inside the sun as he reignites it with his Manhattan-sized bomb, absolute fucking beauty, a cacophonic symphony of your unconscious ideals realized, that feeling of blood rushing to your head in sheer exuberance, this is the sound of Potts making a perfect goddamn record. Vinyl comes out mid-July but digital is out right now in all the usual places, so go forth and make your life brighter.