Fantasy football has nothing on the competition between this fall’s albums. On the left, Massachusetts locals gear up to throw some punches. On the right, national acts sharpen their teeth to take a bite out of the competition. All are worthy competitors, but only one will be left standing—and our predictions will certainly hold up.
Ian Aware Ian Aware EP | RELEASE DATE: Out now | NEXT SHOW: TBA
Funeral Advantage Body Is Dead | RELEASE DATE: Out now | NEXT SHOW: 9.25 @ Out of the Blue Too Gallery
Nina Ryser / Nathan Ventura Jerry Blindfold split | RELEASE DATE: 9.21 | NEXT SHOW: TBA
Dutch Rebelle Kiss Kiss | RELEASE DATE: 9.21 | NEXT SHOW: TBA
Defeater Abandoned | RELEASE DATE: Out now | NEXT SHOW: 10.11 @ Middle East Downstairs
Camino Don’t Believe the Height EP | RELEASE DATE: Out now | NEXT SHOW: TBA
LOCALS ROUND ONE
The flawless guitar tones and lush production of Funeral Advantage’s Body Is Dead are too comforting to not override Ian Aware’s slow-roll psychedelics.
Lo-fi experimental songs are perfect for the fall, but the timeless acoustics of Sam Moss and his Fleet Foxes-like guitar are even more of a shoe-in.
Two of the fiercest acts in the city battle it out with a no-shit attitude, but Dutch Rebelle’s unstoppable confidence see her raps conquer the hardcore punk of local staple Defeater.
Even though both Michael Christmas and Camino slip groove into their sound, Camino’s sample-based electronic funk can’t keep up with the humor and wit of Christmas’ hip-hop.
LOCALS ROUND TWO
Funeral Advantage’s LP doesn’t lose its charm. Instead, it explores the stretch between romance, adventure, and unlimited jubilance through relatable identity. Sam Moss, although talented behind a guitar in his own right, doesn’t run the gamut quite as well.
Dutch Rebelle spits just as many words, if not more, into her verses than Michael Christmas, but the freshly minted 21-year-old figured out his style quicker than Rebelle. For Christmas, it’s all about self-deprecation, smug smiles, and humor that isn’t in your face, aka the perfect combination.
LOCALS ROUND THREE – WINNER!
Funeral Advantage’s LP wakes you up in the morning and keeps you fueled during breezy fall days. A single song off Michael Christmas’ LP (like “Who?”) gets you amped in the morning, pumps up your work break, and latches your crew in a friendly headlock come nighttime.
Car Seat Headrest Teens of Style | RELEASE DATE: 10.30 | NEXT SHOW: 12.4 @ Lizard Lounge
Ought Sun Coming Down | RELEASE DATE: 9.18 | NEXT SHOW: 9.30 @ Great Scott
CocoRosie Heartache City | RELEASE DATE: 9.18 | NEXT SHOW: TBA
Julia Holter Have You In My Wilderness | RELEASE DATE: 9.25 | NEXT SHOW: TBA
Joanna Newsom Divers | RELEASE DATE: 10.23 | NEXT SHOW: TBA
NATIONALS ROUND ONE
Post-collegiate angst gets old if you don’t mold it just right. Car Seat Headrest writes for a crowd while Alex G gets stuck in his own head a little too often.
Francophile freak folk duo CocoRosie’s new album is a return to its old sound, all snug and simple, yet Julia Holter pulls ahead by going even more bare on her upcoming LP.
No matter how much reinvention Bradford Cox and his crew go through on their upcoming LP, Joanna Newsom’s return from a five-year silence gives Divers phenomenal volume.
NATIONALS ROUND TWO
Newcomers Car Seat Headrest put up a solid fight that can’t hold up to the veteran status of Julia Holter and her mastermind production work on Have You In My Wilderness.
NATIONALS ROUND THREE – WINNER!
There’s no shortage of creativity here in any aspect. What Holter lacks, though, Newsom boasts: a breadth of escapism still light enough to land you back on your feet when you want to return to planet Earth.
LOCAL VS. NATIONAL FINAL WINNER!
They couldn’t be more different—a heavy, barely legal rapper and a petite, 33-year-old harpist—or entertaining in their own rights, but the head-to-head battle leans in our favor. Newsom’s record prizes self-exploration and whimsy with gold, but Michael Christmas’ release encourages all listeners to gather round, hold on to one another, and seize a sense of community no matter how shitty or shining times are. Not even hubby Andy Samberg could give Newsom as much swagger as Christmas flaunts on a weird day.
We started off with eight great local acts and eight well-known nationals, but the time has come for only one to rise to the top. He’s got a puff of smoke lingering around his hair and he’s too busy laughing to get a jump start from the beginning, but Michael Christmas comes speeding around with surprising ease. Watch as he passes the charming sample-based funk and grooves of Camino, dribbles past colleague Dutch Rebelle, and makes a perfect basket against Funeral Advantage. By the time he reaches the top, Christmas has enough speed to just barely pass the national status of Joanna Newsom, a queen rarely dethroned, but side-stepped just this once to let a rising star get his proper time in the spotlight.