The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — May 2, 2016

So many new entries on the Hit List this week. The best part about the warm months is everyone releases stuff at the same time, so tons of new material to feature! Keep particular watch out for the influx of debut albums and EP’s; it looks like it’s gonna be a busy summer. 😎  If you enjoy these people, give them some love for sure. As always, albums are in no particular order.

If you love independent music, check out what we’re doing at Glipple, and you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter! Or just follow me on Twitter for lots of music posts, plugs, and all kinds of other fun stuff.  \m/ \m/

1. ColoursChelsea Shag – 2016

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2. Sexsmith – Sexsmith – 2015

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3. Music to Fight the FutureKick the Robot – 2015

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4. Black – Suan – 2016

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5. Nosebleed WeekendThe Coathangers – 2016

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6. Warpaint – Wicked Faith – 2015

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7. No Mirror / Baby Steps – Birdeatsbaby – 2016

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8. PhantasmagoriaWhite Claudia – 2016

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9. Medicine EP – Lucille’s Voodoo – 2015

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10. Open Door – Single – We Are The Catalyst – 2016

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11. Bring the A Game – Beneath the Reef – 2015

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12. RiverlustThe High Divers – 2015

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13. From The Cave – From The Cave – 2016

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14. Cruise DealMirror Travel – 2016

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15. BelieverWeird Neighbours – 2016

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16. The Mud Lords EPThe Mud Lords – 2016

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17. So Long Suburbia EPSo Long Suburbia – 2016

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18. Mix TapeThe Hang Lows – 2016

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19. CSRKDA – 2016

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20. LORENew Found Land – 2016

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Playlists Will Not Save Your Music Business

My media business will not be saved by video, bots, newsletters, or Slack integration. That’s what Joshua Topolsky told me yesterday. And he’s right.

A still from High Fidelity (2000); Captures the sentiments pretty will I think

A still from High Fidelity (2000); Captures the sentiments pretty well I think

The New Thing that so often arrives just in time as the savior of the whole machine is many times bullshit. It’s a desired escape from an already challenging (dire?) situation that is causing headaches upon ulcers upon headaches. That’s why it seems so magical in the first place; it seems to appear out of nowhere like some miracle from a higher power. You prayed to the media gods for deliverance, and so they delivered unto you newsletters, bots, and Slack.

But Topolsky is right about the misleading nature of these new things: they have the potential to help, but none has the power to deliver us, to part the seas of stubbornness and ego.

While it appears to me that he sought to write about media in general, Topolsky could easily have been talking about any of the media industries in particular. Music, for example, fits right into his sardonic diatribe in a way that must chafe for the megalithic powers who used to control the industry. In music, it goes: yay for playlists, analytics, offline access, curation, and exclusives—build those in, and then we’ll be saved. No, these won’t save your (music) media business. And that’s painful for a lot of people.

More and more, the posts on changing media dynamics which garner shit-tons of feedback are the ones that are the truest. They are radically brilliant—radically poetic in a way—because of their sheer shunning of “conventional wisdom.” Such is more or less an oxymoron nowadays anyway.

I saw an earlier example of this back in November with Chris Dixon’s post on independent gaming, and was similarly moved to write my response on independent music, something he was also referring to (knowingly or not). Now with Topolsky doubling down on a similar idea, it’s becoming an even starker point.

“Because that [former media] system was built on the concept of scarcity and locality—the limits of what was physically possible—it was very easy to keep the gates and fill the coffers.”

And here we come to the prickly point that so many music businesses have trouble with now: scarcity is obsolete; democratization wins. I underscored this in my Dixon-response piece, but now it seems all the more palpable. What used to serve as a power play by music companies—the scarcity squeeze by the major label—has lost most of its bite, if not its bark as well. Maybe it’ll work if we call it “windowing” and stagger the release on multiple services! Nope, we all know that you simply changed the name of what you were doing instead of trying to actually change the action. And it’ll end up free somewhere anyway. Live with reality.

Wait, I’ve got it! We’ll tell people that we have the best playlist-making feature around! Great, so does everyone else. And, by the way, the people who really matter for your music business don’t care. The general consumer/listener might care (and I stress might), but the artists who actually produce the content you rely on for your lifeblood won’t give a shit. Why? Because it ultimately does little for them.

Ah, then we will give them the deepest, best set of analytics they can have! Awesome, so will everyone else. You can join the swaths of sites telling them they have a couple thousand streams, have made essentially no money, and then tell them they owe you $4.99/month for that wonderful data. The reality that you don’t want to hear is that the vastly growing demographic of artists—independents—are smart enough to know this already, and all you’re really doing is giving them numbers with no context. You’re giving them the numbers, the locations, the graphs— but with no real way to actually affect change in those numbers.

Offline access and exclusives then! Right! Except not, because exclusivity doesn’t help these artists long-term, it only helps you in the short term. It’s why artists immediately understand the opportunities before them now while other people struggle to see the big picture. Because they have long-term vision, and patience. Because exclusives are not where the long-term strategy is, either for the artists, or the music business.

It’s in the community cultivation and the relationship bridging. Social and messaging then! No, stop, that won’t be an easy save either. The reality that so few people want to hear is that community cultivation is a long-term process. It’s about knowing things about your content producers—in this case the artists you work with—that your competition doesn’t bother taking time to find out. Don’t ask me how many registered users I had yesterday. Ask me how many conversations I had yesterday with ten artists in seven different countries with fanbases numbering in the tens of thousands. Ask me what comes out of that. And then remember that was only ten artists.

Over the last few years, we were asked who we thought would win the streaming wars, because streaming is obviously the future of music. Except that’s too simple a magic potion because it’s going to take a lot more than that to reach the new horizon. It’s not about fixing the faulty component in the engine. They’re all faulty, and have been for near 40 years.

You have to rebuild the engine completely. Bottom up. You need to construct a music company that does everything that will change the reality for a new artist; after all, there are so many more of them than anything else. And they never stop creating and producing. You need to take your time to do all the sexy things—the playlist functionality, the radio, the streaming, downloading, profiles, social, live—and all the un-sexy things you never thought about—the legal stuff, the business stuff (more than just analytics!), the financial, and the marketing. Fixing the broken paradigm is a losing proposition; building a whole new one is (ironically) cheaper, better, and much, much more powerful long-term. That’s the strategy I’m committed to.

Topolsky was dead-on:

We’ll have to learn a thousand hard lessons, most of them centered around the idea that if you want to make something really great, you can’t think about making is great for everyone. You have to make it great for someone. A lot of people, but not every person.

And that’s what’s missing from the music-business discussion right now. The “everyone” that most streaming services are targeting is already saturated with competition, high prices, and a lot of bad press (from artists and artist agencies like ASCAP and BMI). The “someone” that Topolsky refers to, though, is the independent demographic, clear as day. They’re underserved, undervalued, dismissed, marginalized, pissed off, and not tied to any major label contracts—just right to woo and capture with something as easy as a conversation and explanation of a better future.

I’m as shamelessly self-promotional as Topolsky admits he is because these are the people I love. I know they see what I see, and they’ll wait around as long as it takes to make it work. Because they’re not jaded or angry—they’re just waiting.

Waiting for something better to come along for them.

***

Find me on Twitter @adammarx13 and let’s talk music, tech, and business!

The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — April 25, 2016

I had an awesome time compiling this week’s list. A good number of these albums are from last week, and I’ve found myself simply unable to turn them off (which is a good thing!). Adding to the excitement though were a couple of awesome events that took place simultaneously this weekend. On Friday, L.A. band People Like Us. released the remastered version of their EP Imminent for Your Interests exclusively on Glipple.com for the next few days, and it’s been dominating! Then on Saturday night, Michigan rockers Hour 24 took over the Glipple snapchat channel and did a killer takeover, filming some time on the road and their show for that night. But enough rambling, listen to the new list this week, and start your Monday off right!  \m/ \m/

1. Emergence – Hour 24 – 2016

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2. Imminent for Your Interests (Remastered) – People Like Us. – 2016

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3. Wanderer – Red Handed Denial – 2016

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4. Born to Dance – Pürple – 2016

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5. Of the Night – Bouquet of Dead Crows – 2015

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6. Dark Narrows – Lights That Change – 2016

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7. We Are – Future Kings – 2016

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8. Harmony and Disconnect – Rising Down – 2016

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9. Unbreakable – Kaleido – 2014

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10. Phantasmagoria – White Claudia – 2016

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11. Mean Something – Kinder Than Wolves – 2016

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12. No Mirror / Baby StepsBirdeatsbaby – 2016

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13. Open Door – Single – We Are The Catalyst – 2016

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14. The DepartedSummer Drive Home – 2016

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15. Sore and Sick – Single – Far From Fiction – 2015

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16. Preface – Distances – 2016

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17. The Lost [EP] – The Beautiful Monument – 2015

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18. Sick Like This – Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters – 2015

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19. Warpaint – Wicked Faith – 2015

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20. 100 Roses – Burglary Years – 2015

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The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — April 18, 2016

I love the beginning of April because it’s around this time that a lot of great music starts dropping for the summer. A number of the artists on The Hit List this week have either released new stuff recently, or have stuff scheduled to come out and I’m just gearing up for it! Genre-wise, the list is a little all over the place this time around, but sometimes that’s how a week feels at the start. Take some time to hit these people up, they’ll make your Monday better. As always, albums are in no particular order, enjoy!

1. Softspoken Woman – Single – Utena – 2016

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2. Forget About ItIt’s Butter – 2016

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3. Black – Suan – 2016

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4. Half Measures – Cross – 2015

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5. WandererRed Handed Denial – 2016

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6. Where It Ends – The Joy Arson – 2015

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7. Burst – Venus In Aries – 2015

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8. Born to DancePürple – 2016

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9. Battled – West Winds – 2015

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10. Welcome to Vanillaville – Redbloom – 2015

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11. Dirty Lyxx – Dirty Lyxx – 2016

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12. Of the NightBouquet of Dead Crows – 2015

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13. Cavalero EPCavalero – 2016

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14. Errata Naturae – Phonocaptors – 2016

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15. E.P. – Neverhood – 2015

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16. We AreFuture Kings – 2016

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17. Soft GrudgeMulligrub – 2016

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18. EPBlack Maps & Motel Rooms – 2016

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19. PrefaceDistances – 2016

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20. Hell Is Not Other People, It’s YouThe Republic of Trees – 2016

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The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — April 11, 2016

This week is super exciting, as a lot of the albums here have wormed their way into my personal favorites collection of the past few months. Some of these albums just keep popping up again and again, and there’s a reason for that; they’re pretty awesome. But there’s some more exciting news: the first entry below—Forget About It from It’s Butter—is out a week early, exclusively on Glipple.com! I’ve listened to this new EP numerous times by now, and I am pretty obsessed with it. Check these artists out now, this is how you start you week on a good note. As always, albums are in no particular order. Happy Monday listening!

1. Forget About ItIt’s Butter – 2016

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2. Good DaysSkyline – 2016

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3. Us Kids – SingleChelsea Shag – 2016

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4. The Parts We Save – Heel – 2016

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5. Hoopdriver – Hoopdriver – 2016

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6. Muster PointJeeps – 2016

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7. Fall In Love And Fall ApartThe Drive Home – 2015

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8. Pow WowRed Apple – 2016

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9. The Flood (EP)The Great Lucian – 2016

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10. Psychosoul EPShadow Culture – 2016

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11. Alterhood – Alterhood – 2016

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12. Hit the AirBasic Land – 2016

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13. Born To DancePürple – 2016

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14. RE:saudade – .gif – 2015

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15. Destroyed EPANA ANA – 2014

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16. Wild StallionsBlue Lizard – 2016

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17. Traces EPTraces – 2016

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18. Castle of LionsCastle of Lions – 2014

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19. Dark NarrowsLights That Change – 2016

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20. SweetMeat – The BlackLava – 2016

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The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — April 4, 2016

This week, the Hit List expands into an interesting range of subgenres, from electronic and folk to psychedelic-blues and jazz-inspired rock. Some of these artists have consistently made appearances here, and I’m always pleased when they release new material to accompany the albums and EP’s that initially captured and enthralled me. There’s little else to say about the list this week except that it really holds up a focused mirror to the staggering amount of talent that exists out in the world. Creativity doesn’t exist within a box, and I love that these artists (among others!) push the boundaries of what their music is and can be. As always, albums are in no particular order. Enjoy! \m/

1. I Talk to StrangersI Talk to Strangers – 2016

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2. Eugenia EPDarla and the Blonde – 2016

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3. Hoopdriver – Hoopdriver – 2016

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4. Copper CrownCopper Crown – 2016

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5. DEVILTRAINDEVILTRAIN – 2016

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6. ConsequencesDream State – 2015

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7. Currents EPCovet – 2015

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8. Cut ‘Em LooseThe Kickstand Band – 2016

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9. The Flood (EP)The Great Lucian – 2016

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10. Top of the World – Puppetz – 2015

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11. Stage OneRingo Scarr – 2016

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12. MABON SONGSCrypt Trip – 2016

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13. The Eternal SeaThe Eternal Sea – 2016

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14. Daylight – SingleThe Swear – 2016

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15. Pow WowRed Apple – 2016

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16. End Of TimeRed Forest – 2016

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17. The Battle – Aperco – 2016

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18. The Waves EPThe Waves – 2016

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19. Multiverse – EP – Mayur Jumani – 2016

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20. Primal SongsHELIUMS – 2016

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The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — March 28, 2016

Some of the artists on the list this week are Hit List veterans with some sick new music, just released in the last week or so. I’m equally excited about the new people here because they represent a broad range of subgenre styles, from ska to math-rock and others. Some weeks are slow with new music, but this certainly wasn’t one of them. As always, albums are in no particular order. Happy Monday! ;D

1. Imminent for Your InterestsPeople Like Us. – 2015

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2. <selftitled> the unending thread </selftitled>The Unending Thread – 2015

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3. The Monday SpecialsThe Monday Specials – 2016

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4. Screech BatsScreech Bats – 2016

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5. Depths – Fogscape – 2015

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6. Daylight – SingleThe Swear – 2016

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7. Everyday Music – Kaslo – 2016

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8. Break Down The WallsBreak Down The Walls – 2016

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9. Currents EPCovet – 2015

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10. Luxury EPPatio – 2016

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11. Good HangsLauren Patti – 2016

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12. Copper CrownCopper Crown – 2016

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13. VersusEureka California – 2016

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14. Stuff EP – My Cruel Goro – 2016

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15. African QueenAfrican Queen – 2015

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16. MirrorsA Light Divided – 2015

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17. Bipolar – Kreepy Krush – 2016

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18. Worlds ApartOktopus – 2015

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19. Buried in the SoundLost Frontiers – 2016

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20. Celebrate – Zombitches – 2016

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The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — March 21, 2016

The list this week is heavily representing Hit List veterans, and I couldn’t be happier to feature these artists again. Some of these albums and EP’s have been on almost permanent repeat for the last few months for me, and I’m only becoming more and more obsessed with them. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t some great new stuff to check out; there are still some new artists on the list today, many of whom released albums just in the last couple of weeks. This is a list for a sunny spring day, so if you’re looking for some energy-inducing music, have at it. As always, albums are in no particular order, so show all these incredible people some love!

1. Break Down The WallsBreak Down The Walls – 2016

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2. White Lotus – SingleIt’s Butter – 2015

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3. The Parts We SaveHeel – 2016

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4. Eugenia EPDarla and the Blonde – 2016

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5. Hardly Loaded EPPhantomHead – 2016

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6. Welcome to the Whist Coast (EP)Whist – 2015

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7. AlchemyAlchemy – 2013

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8. Free RecoveryFree Recovery – 2015

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9. Screech BatsScreech Bats – 2016

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10. Good HangsLauren Patti – 2016

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11. Muster PointJeeps – 2016

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12. OmensThe Furies – 2015

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13. RelentlessThe Nixon Rodeo – 2015

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14. The Eternal SeaThe Eternal Sea – 2016

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15. Five KitesFive Kites – 2016

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16. Gaining PerspectiveGlory Days – 2016

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17. I Talk to StrangersI Talk to Strangers – 2016

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18. The Dowsers SocietyThe Dowsers Society – 2016

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19. Mystic WomanPins & Needles – 2015

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20. Red Bricks FactoryRed Bricks Factory – 2016

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The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — March 14, 2016

A lot of new releases on the Hit List this week! Many of these albums dropped just in the last week, and showcase just how hard these artists have been working. The list this week is a healthy mix of newcomers and veterans alike, and with strong representations from Canada, the U.S., U.K., and Australia among others, the community of artists and material just continues to grow exponentially. The collective artwork on this week’s list is also some of the coolest stuff I’ve seen lately, so props to the great graphic artists whose work is represented here. As always, albums are in no particular order, enjoy!

1. The Parts We SaveHeel – 2016

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2. Blue Room Revival – MooseKick – 2014

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3. Alterhood – Alterhood – 2016

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4. Us Kids – SingleChelsea Shag – 2016

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5. Muster PointJeeps – 2016

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6. Softspoken Woman – SingleUtena – 2016

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7. BlackSuan – 2016

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8. Departure from VenusROMP – 2016

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9. Mystic WomanPins & Needles – 2015

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10. RE:saudade – .gif – 2015

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11. EDGESJocelyn & Chris Arndt – 2016

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12. Live SessionIcarus Dive – 2016

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13. Fall In Love And Fall ApartThe Drive Home – 2015

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14. Day OneFrom Ashes to New – 2016

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15. Europe – Single – Mulligrub – 2016

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16. Gaining PerspectiveGlory Days – 2016

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17. Psychosoul EPShadow Culture – 2016

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18. Nothing RemainsStill Phantoms – 2016

a1720332473_16-1 19. Show Me How to LiveWOES – 2016

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20. The Lippies EP – The Lippies – 2016

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The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — March 7, 2016

I love the new list today because it crosses a variety of genres. There’s a ton of synthe and electronic material on here today, and I’m loving all of it. Some of these tracks have a lofty, ethereal feel while other songs have that down and dirty alternative-punk sneer I dig so much. Spanning a plethora of geographies, the Hit List this week especially underscores the fact that area and Facebook-like count don’t matter; the only thing that matters is a sick riff and a great beat. ;D As always, albums are in no particular order, so hit these people up for a great set of music to start your week off!

1. Hit the AirBasic Land – 2016

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2. In Requiem EPIn Requiem – 2016

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3. Good DaysSkyline – 2016

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4. Five KitesFive Kites – 2016

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5. VectorsYeah Sure Whatever – 2016

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6. Muster PointJeeps – 2016

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7. Black – Suan – 2016

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8. Press ReleaseThe King’s Aces – 2016

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9. StonesCherry Water – 2016

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10. Alterhood – Alterhood – 2016

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11. Hound the World – SingleMobley – 2016

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12. DeVoll EP – DeVoll – 2015

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13. Mild Blood EPMild Blood – 2016

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14. SweetMeat – The BlackLava – 2016

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15. Abandoned HomesThe Aesthetic – 2016

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16. RE:saudade – .gif – 2015

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17. StargazeHiki – 2016

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18. The World Never Dropped (EP)Ocean Jet – 2016

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19. It’s Too Bright InsideLush Vibes – 2016

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20. Jakarta EPNovember Kings – 2016

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