An Overview of All the 2016 Releases You Might've Missed

An Overview of All the 2016 Releases You Might've Missed

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Guided Meditation

(Lame-O Records)

Matt Scottoline named his band Hurry as a tribute to the way he writes songs. To the contrary, these songs don't sound tossed off in the least. The Philadelphia band's third full-length, Guided Meditation, is reminiscent of Grand Prix-era Teenage Fanclub blasted through a haze of classic Weezer. If that sounds irresistible, mosey on over to the intersection of power pop and indie rock and listen to some Hurry. Take your time. (Ed Zeitz)


Tuesday Night Live

(Jigsaw Records)

For having only released a debut full length, this Boston trio sure has its act together with 13 mostly short tracks (10 under two minutes) heavy on choppy, agitated chords, along with forceful vocals from either Zoe, Matt, or both of 'em together. Nearly all of Tuesday Night Live's songs feel frantic but never out of control, and the band has that scrappy, underdog quality that endears you to it on the very first listen. Halfsour also unleashed a bustling EP ("Charm School") late in the year, half doubling our pleasure with six more fully feverish tracks. (Zeitz)

Letters To Cleo

Back To Nebraska EP

(Dot Rat)

When you hear that one of your favorite bands from, say, the mid-'90s, is planning to release new music for the first time in almost 20 years, you might hold your breath, thinking "dear sweet jeebus, please don't let it suck." After the first chorus of Back To Nebraska's bangin' opening track ("Can't Say"), you exhale, as a smile creases your face. After the first bars of the next track, "4 Leaf Clover," pure giddiness sets as you realize that Letters To Cleo has picked up right where they left off. Kay Hanley's voice has remained pure and muscular, while the rest of the band settles into a familiar and potent groove on all five songs. For fans both old and new, the Cleo comeback is quite welcome. (Zeitz)

Kadhja Bonet

The Visitor

(Fat Possum)

Defying categorization, Kadhja Bonet's debut EP is a tasteful menagerie of songs that highlight her talents not only as a songwriter, but a guitar, flute and string player as well. The penultimate track, "Nobody Other," is a stunning piece of pastoral pop that serves as a nice counterpoint to the records other classically influenced ditties like "Fairweather Friend." The Visitor's fantastical textures and musical imagery sound just as much at home in the present as they do the past and future. (Teddy Eisenberg)

Extra Medium Pony


(Exit Stencil)

Armed with existential dread and a snarling guitar, Cleveland songwriter Rick Spitalsky has penned an impressive assortment of lo-fi anthems on his second outing as Extra Medium Pony. Songs like "Further Along" recall the glory of loveable loser bands like Built to Spill, Pavement and Herzog, while tunes like "Reindeer Boots" show Spitalsky expanding his talents as a songwriter. Don't let the title of this record fool you, the songs here are anything but meaningless. (Eisenberg)

New Planet Trampoline

Dark Rides and Grim Visions

(Stow House Records)

New Planet Trampoline has crafted the local psychedelic masterpiece of 2016, bringing their own inspired form of haunted rock to the sprawling double LP Dark Rides and Grim Visions. Showing themselves equally as comfortable riding the waves of big riffs on "Dark Rides" as floating through the breezy, Brit-pop melodies of "There Is Nothing More To Say," this quartet serve as the perfect tour guides through a musical wonderland bigger than the listener knew possible. (Eisenberg)

Sister Smirk

Ruff Tape

(Peanut Butter Records)

In a year where pop music can largely be viewed as cookie cutter or uninspired, Cleveland's own Roseanna Safos challenges the very boundaries of the genre with a dizzying collection of garage gems on Ruff Tape. Drawing on genres from indie to doo-wop, songs like "Diego" and "I Found My Baby" show pop music at its most distorted, but also it's most fun. Good luck getting any of these melodies out of your head anytime soon. (Eisenberg)

Tune into WRUW 91.1 FM Cleveland or online at to hear:

Genevieve Mathieson: Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Wednesdays 7-9a.m.

Emma Sleva: The Occasional Detour, Saturdays 11a.m.-1p.m.

Ed Zeitz: Chasing Infinity, Sundays 8-10a.m.

Teddy Eisenberg : The '59 Sound, Thursdays, 8-10a.m.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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