Despite our negativity and cynicism, we must admit that 2019 was a banner year for original innovative music in the Capital District! So many great groups came to our attention, so many collaborations, so many disparate organizations (record labels, promoters, venues) working tirelessly to bring us all the good stuff we’ve come to find out about over the past couple of years as more and more original groups come to the forefront and receive the attention they deserve! So it’s no surprise then that our survey this year was extremely diverse; out of nearly 300 votes, over 120 groups were voted for! Which means only those that received the most votes from the most people got in. So if your band isn’t included, rest assured it’s likely that you were either mentioned or nearly made it. An insane list of everyone voted for is mentioned at the bottom for exploitative purposes. However, only a few lucky groups can be the best of the worst, so if you’re mentioned below, lots of people have seen and enjoyed your performances and/or records in 2019!
All links are to bandcamp sites because bandcamp is FUCKING AWESOME as far as we know; the Spotify of independent music with no ads ever. If you haven’t been there, visit every single one of these bands’ (and any other local band you like’s probably there) pages today! Oh how I wish we could be sponsored by Bandcamp.com
10. The Abyssmals
Making their first appearance here on Times Boredom, we’ve long been fans of this campy 60s era sounding hip retro-rock and roll quintet from Schenectady. I mean, they’ve been making music and performing only since the 2010’s (far as we know), but if you heard them without knowing anything about them you’d be certain they were a hip underground L.A. garage band or British Invasion rockers from the 1960s. And given their traditional rock and roll vibes, surf guitar, and highly stylized vocals covered in reverb and delay, it’s obvious that’s the sound they’re going for. Husband and wife team Jarpon and Muffy Reyes makeup the most visible and essential part of this band, with all band members other than Muffy decked out in black leather and sunglasses. Muffy is a master of costumes and performance flair, almost in stark contrast to the cooler than cool stances of the rest of this rockin band.
9. Sky Furrows
They’ve done it again. An incredibly innovative group that sounds pretty much like no other and has yet to play much outside of Saratoga Springs has made the top ten list of original local bands. This old school indie rock (think Pell Mell meets Minutemen… if you know who either of them are or SHIT ABOUT SHIT!) band is fronted by the Capital Region’s very own punk rock poetess Karen Schoemer. No melodies interfere with this frontwoman’s evocative sing-speak style that reminds one of Patti Smith and Kim Gordon, but whose poetry is far better and more interesting than either one (in our humble opinion). Off the cuff tales of all male bands debating the first woman to “force her way into SST records” are mixed into a stream of consciousness of magical descriptions of everyday mundane appearances with what appear to perhaps be the inner intruding thoughts of Schoemer. Unfortunately, there’s nothing funny about this band, hence we haven’t written an article yet despite our admiration. They’re just overwhelmingly impressive and original, increasingly making their mark in Saratoga Springs and hopefully soon venturing much further beyond…
8. Eternal Crimes
Eternal Crimes has been a non-stop post-punk machine in Troy and around the Capital District for nearly a decade. In addition to most importantly reinventing themselves by changing their microgenre nomenclature, EC (as those in the know don’t ever call them) has been spreading their dark, bloody wings across the northeast and beyond over the past year to promote their new album Cryptically Acclaimed. And for those of you that have seen them live but never heard them on record, you must hear this album! Whereas live only some of their influences come through (because they’re always so fucking LOUD which to us = awesome but not everyone), this excellent new recording by bass player John Gill clarifies their sound and you can hear their genuine post-punk influences such as Suicide, Joy Division, the Misfits, Wire… just about any group that fits said overlooked, cryptically acclaimed genre. Eternal Crimes gets better every year they’re together, and there’s reason to believe 2019 is just the beginning!
7. William Hale
So the name ‘William Hale’ is one of those confusing indie-rock type names that can refer to several things. For the most part, William Hale hails from Glens Falls (an increasingly important town in the Capital District scene giving us the Mess, No More Death Stars, Pencildive, etc), and is the nom de guerre of Lucas William Hale VanScoy (of the ‘Ravacon collective’) and his backing band. Many members of his band are regular fixtures in not only his but other popular Glens Falls groups (just like all the other groups we mentioned that keep trading players and driving us nuts keeping track!). Specifically notable players are upright bass player Jade Macduff and the omnipresent scenester Alicia Macier, who plays the unusual instruments of rock violin and sometimes even the accordion all over the Glens Falls scene. William and his crew of misfits have also done several shows as ‘William Hate’, a dark and violent character that syncs up well with his more recent, grittier look. He and his crew have also gone under other names, like the Ravacon collective and, um… to be honest we can’t quite sort it out — Lucas, if someone’s told you about this article and you’re not busy, send us an e-mail and we’ll do an interview to sort all this out. Our readers desperately want to understand what all these names and collectives represent!
6. Haley Moley
Once again Ballston Spa’s Haley Moley have blanketed the Capital district in many performances and new songs that we’re told will soon be released as a new album. Their members have also been involved in several other projects, including Sinkcharmer, Che Guevara T-Shirt (huh?), and Architrave. And of course, that’s what earns you points when it comes to this survey. You gotta make yourself known, see? Get yourself out there. Join a hundred bands! Make friends with cool people! Play synthesizers and indie rock and dance and disco and darkwave and never play the same place twice! That’s how Haley Moley keeps doing it, and that’s how you can too! That and they’re incredibly talented, write really cool unique songs, and are constantly active artistically (yeah, sorry, the whole ‘learn 3 chords and go out and rock’ does not incredible bands often make). Must never be a dull moment when you’re in this band. And as soon as there is, chances are a new song that features diverse genres and the defining in-depth, soft and dark alto vocals of lead singer Jennifer Coleman as well as often 2 or 3 other members of the band will soon emerge to challenge and bemuse you!
5. Thinner Friends
This trio of super hip scenesters Madeline Darby, Gary Ziroli, and Shane Sanchez just recently came upon the scene. But apparently they’ve been blowing everyone away with the eclectic combination of their diverse styles brought seamlessly together. Like I said, scene points, amirite? Actually, I’m not. Truth is that the individual idiosyncratic musical appetites this trio brings together with deference not only to the Gestalt but to each other’s style and the intricate yet fluid sharing of the spotlight makes for a semblance of signal to noise ratios that given the electronic flow charts in seemingly new forms of measurements equals INTENSE ROCK AND AUDIENCE STUPEFACTION! Yeah, seriously. Go see this group if you get a chance. You will NOT be sorry. Sounds like nothing else.
A stripped down version of Haley Moley or an additive version of Sinkcharmer? One can’t help but be reminded of those two acts considering that Architrave is composed of husband and wife superlative musical team Paul and Jen Coleman. Yup. More scene points! These kids and the super dark kids take them all, I swear. Building on the sounds that made Sinkcharmer a huge local star within a year of his bursting on the scene, Architrave continues in the less band is more electronic noise and danceable vibe of an inimitable stable of vocals with depth and mystique and electronic devices. The setup is intimidating, the electronics on time and ultra clear, the sounds entrancing and mesmerizing… and this is just a recently inspired collaborative project from these prolific writer/performers still in development!
3. Mr. Cancelled
(Photo by Tessia Bekelja)
Thanks solely and completely to our promotional efforts, Mr. Cancelled has surged up the chart this year 4 positions to number 3! Well that and their recently released album awesome album Every Town Has Its Dolls, constant performances, and of course association with the cool superdark scene. It’s true that everytime you see these guys (especially self described ‘old guy’ frontman Gary Ziroli), they’re playing their hearts out and having fun. Bringing a mix of pop punk, noise, and innately constructed melodies and lyrics that anyone with any taste can sing along to, Mr. Cancelled rocks the local scene like a cooked turkey on fire falling off an airplane with a soda for screaming into!
2. Blood Blood Blood
Oddly enough, in addition to Mr. Cancelled above, Blood Blood Blood (which shares members with Mr. Cancelled) is one of the few groups to really climb up the chart from last year. Once it was revealed that they were, in fact, the Olson twins, a large amount of unwanted notoriety and popularity faced them everywhere they went. Which honestly is quite impressive for a darkwave industrial death-lectronic group. There aren’t many towns where electronic groups with horror inspired lyrics over gothic almost gloomcore synths and distorted beats are known and loved above nearly all other original local acts. Probably says something about our area. Something, dare I say… Super Dark?!!
1. White Devil and the 666
Anyone who saw White Devil (aka E.S. Cormac of the Hill Haints) the first time he played solo at Pauly’s Hotel knew he was gonna turn the entire local scene upside down! And the addition of the 666 (aka Black Jack Cassidy of Moon Worship and Kevin Johnston of Sisterhood of Sleep) brought this insane blues duo from outer space (and Texas) to the pinnacle of dark and frighteningly entertaining performance art in the Capital District. And based on their increasingly confident and wild performances of down home authentic way-down-in-the-delta blues (from Albany, Schenectady and Troy, the fertile delta of authentic imitation insane bluesbilly jams), we’re guessing they’re gonna be around to level this town until it can’t take no more. Congratulations, WHITE DEVIL AND THE 666 (you’re just gonna have to imagine a bunch of reverb and that guy that says ‘SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY’s voice saying this in your head since we haven’t figured out how to embed sound files yet)! YOU KICKED ALL OUR ASSES!!!!
Runners Up (all the terribly great groups that didn’t make the collective top ten but were loved enough to be part of somebody’s top ten):
Pony in the Pancake Candy Ambulance belle skinner burly Laveda Mystery Girl Steve Hammond and his rabid children Che Guevara T-Shirt Hill Haints jagaloons Madeline Darby Motorbike pencildive Scum Couch Sinkcharmer Bear Grass Chief Comrade Nixon Home Body Safety Meeting Bare Mattress Bruiser and Bicycle Brule Country Bad Boys Coal Palace Kings dark honey dirt church dryer electric turtle fine grain Geoff Gorden goat sausage Haunted Cat kid vicious Leap the Dips Mountain Carol no more death stars Onlyness prince daddy and the hyena Slaughterhouse Chorus the machine Ugly Muppets Wet Specimens a judgemental swarm of bees ampevene andrew mirabile another michael avenue a bad mothers bendt born dying buried alive burnt hills Chloroform Party chris neuman cindy cane Fat Poodle Fossergrim fringe history frozen heads Fucking Christ Galene Gay Tastee Girl Blue Girth Control Greens Horse Apples Joan Kelsey’s Silver Lining Johnny Booth Lemon of Choice Lone PhoneBooth Male Patterns Matt Griffin Band Neighborhood of make believe Nickopotomus Parashi Pink Nois Postage Project Kate Ramblers Home Rambutan Scavengers Senior Living Sisterhood of Sleep Spirt of Violence stellar young the erotics the non-compliants the sea the sea thinking Tiki Bats Tom Atkins useless cans vice grip Zan & the Winter Folk Zeffler grabass cowboys blue ranger paradisa wove ciarra fragale corry loveday drank the gold tambourelli and her supertrips Dead Tooth Hasty Page Moribund Muzzle Lords NXNES Rechorduroys