It’s that time once again, as the countdown to the end of 2017 rapidly approaches we take a personal look back on familiar names, features and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. In what has been a crazy year of highs and lows it’s the releases that have pulled a lot of people through the year. Now in it’s 7th year, Circuit Sweet will be hosting takeovers from the featured artists/musicians/labels and promoters of the site with their personal top 5 releases of the year.
Continuing our annual end of year tradition we let our favourites take over the site to tell us the records that have made their end of year lists, their favourite events/gigs and what we can look forward to from them next year.
Our next take over comes from a band with their own legendary status. We hand over the site to Space Blood and their drummer/synth player William Covert to talk about the Chicago based duo’s year in music. To see this band thrive in 2017 has been incredible following the success of their album release back in May. We hear more from William about his year in music…
William Covert’s Top 5 Releases of the Year
Watter – History of the Future
I’ve been waiting for Watter to release their second, History of the Future, since the release of their fantastic debut album, This World, came out in 2014. The band consists of musical heavyweights Zak Riles of Grails on guitar/synth and Britt Walford of Slint on drums. Slint and Grails are two of my favorite bands and musical influences and with that weight of expectation and enthusiasm Watter doesn’t disappoint in their delivery. The songs on History of the Future are an eclectic mix of brooding and dense layers of guitars and John Carpenter style synths over the always steady, never flinching beats Walford delivers with the precision of a drummer who is at the top of his game and has not lost any edge since the release of Slint’s early 90’s masterpiece Spiderland. Todd Cook of The Shipping News, Jaye Jayle, The For Carnation, etc. and Rachel Grimes of Rachels are also featured in guest roles that make this album very much a Louisville musical affair. The album oozes in dynamics and darkness the way you would expect a Louisville post-rock album should and Watter joins the rank of important Louisville bands such as Slint, June of 44, Rodan, and Rachels just to name a few. History of the Future balances the space between musical expectation and exploration in a constant dance that rightly accents the tension and release of the music.
Ex Eye – Ex Eye
Just like with Watter, Ex Eye is another all-star musical lineup with Colin Stetson on saxophone and Greg Fox of Liturgy fame hammering away on the drums. This album crushes out of the gate with “Xenolith; the Anvil” that mixes post-metal with a blend of prog influenced jazz fusion. Ex Eye sounds like an updated Mahavishnu Orchestra for the 21st Century. Each track on the album blends and morphs different genres and is a musical virtuoso tour de force. Both Stetson and Fox shine and bring out the best of each other and take Stetson’s dense and textured compositions to an entirely other level. This was my favorite heavy album of the year, and hopefully the band will exist for more than just one album.
Marateck – Time is Over
The debut album from New York math rockers Marateck is my favorite math rock album of 2017, and was my constant soundtrack throughout much of the summer. Time is Over is a superb album from start to finish, and brings all the fury and complexity of 90’s era Don Caballero mixed with frantic angular riffs ala Shellac and Lynx while allowing tinges of metal, classical, and jazz to glisten through. Space Blood had the pleasure of touring with Marateck in the Midwest this summer on their U.S. tour and watching them play these intensely complicated songs every night with ease and enjoyment just blew me away. Great album, great band, don’t let this album sleep on you and totally recommended for fans Yowie, Town Portal, Don Cab, and any fan of angular, riffy, and highly technical music.
Ian Chang – Spiritual Leader
Spiritual Leader was one of the most original releases I’ve heard in a long time. Ian Chang’s approach to the drums is very unique and one of my biggest inspirations of 2017. As far as one man band’s go, Ian Chang has really set the bar high with his use of Sensory Percussion to turn hims drums into a musical palette of melody, harmony, and rhythm that is something to behold as his melodic synthesized drumming leads you into the mystic.
Buildings – You Are Not One Of US
There were a lot of great noise rock albums to come out in 2017, but my fave in the noise rock category goes to my Midwest brethren in Buildings. In my 2016 Rad Releases I had my band to watch out for in 2017 be Buildings, and they’ve had an incredible year between touring like mad opening for bands like Unsane and Murder City Devils and putting out their new LP on Gilead Media. You Are Not One Of Us is in the vein of The Jesus Lizard, Fight Amp, and Mule while still standing out on its own without sounding derivative or mundane. The album closer “Pound” is probably one of my most listened to songs of the year.
Best Show I Played This Year
The Space Blood record release show for our debut LP Tactical Chunder would have to top my list of favorite shows played in 2017. It was a crazy night and we got to share it with a lot of friends and was one of the best sets we’ve ever played as a band. Our friends War Brides released their new record that night as well and it was cool being able to have a double release show.
Best Gig I Attended This Year
I would have to say getting to see The Jesus Lizard was definitely the coolest show experience I had in 2017. They were one of the best bands I’ve ever seen and even at approaching 60, David Yow was high energy throughout their set and spent a lot of their show crowd surfing and living up to the legend the band become revered for in the 90’s. Total bucket list item getting to see the Lizard in its natural habitat. Yes, in case you’re wondering from the picture, David Yow did show dong!
Highlights of 2017
My main highlight of the year was putting out two full-length albums by two different bands that I’m both really proud of.
Some other highlights of the year for me was getting to play shows with bands I really respect like Mutoid Man, The Life and Times, and Cinemechanica. Space Blood’s Midwest tour with Marateck was a blast. Making a music video was a lot of fun. I just appreciated everyone and anyone who listened to my bands’ music this year.
Artist/Band to Watch in 2018
I just found out about Monotrope at the end of this year, and their debut album hit me like a wrecking ball. They sound like the heaviest parts of Don Caballeo mixed with Slint, Sleeping People, and Yowie. Monotrope is a new band, but their lineup have quite the music pedigree between including members of math rock stalwarts Bellini and weird post-rock meets emo pioneers Hurl. With their debut LP just coming out in November, I have my eye on these guys for big things in 2018.
Plans for the New Year
I have a lot going on to start the year. Droughts is writing new material and eyeing to record early in the year. My newest band, Rust Ring, just released our first single last month and we’re going into the recording studio in February to record our debut full-length. I’m taking some of the inspiration I got from drummers like Ian Chang and am hoping to record my first solo release in the first quarter of 2018, which consist of me playing a mix of acoustic drums live with electronic drums and synths. For later in the year, I always have my eyes set on the road. I’m hoping to get back to the UK in 2018, because it sucked not playing any shows there this year after having toured there the three previous years.
Once again thank you for your involvement with Circuit Sweet. We can’t wait for you to return to the UK!!