On the Record: Some of our favorite Akron albums in 2016

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With a city full of musicians and music lovers alike, it’s no wonder there were so many local new albums for us to review in 2016. Here were some of our favorites.

Gretchen Pleuss, “From Birth, to Breath, to Bone”
“Even to new audiences, the local musician feels like an artist one has listened to for years. Pleuss is known for her recent takeover on Searchlight Songwriting Competition and as a finalist in The Great American Song Contest with her song, ‘Foreign Car.’ . . . With two EPs and three full albums out, Pleuss is building her reputation as a musician of the ages. Her recent release, ‘From Birth, to Breath, to Bone’ features light melodies and whimsical vocals.” – MacKenzie Mehrl, April 2016 issue

 


The Dreemers, “Is, Is”
“A listener can pick out a variety of influences from garage soul and surf to the more new wave side of punk (à la The Talking Heads), with a healthy dose of the Akron Sound thrown in the mix. . . Patrick has a soulfulness to his voice and can howl out lyrics with the best of them. Keith has unique sounding vocals that pair well Patrick’s singing, but his bass playing is really the glue that holds it all together. Grieshammer’s drumming is tight and steady, and there is just enough of a flair that it keeps it interesting.” – Gabe Gott, May 2016 issue

 


Time Cat, “Time Cat”
“This is an album simultaneously winsome and worried. Every track genuflects and rises up. These songs, ranging from the predictable to the unmooring, are sassy and romantic, folky and wild. This is a band at ease with its identity and though, at first listen, I heard toe-stubbing detours and superfluous tangents, I couldn’t resist the sonic blend of psych, blues, folk and jazz in the variety of guitar solos.” – Dawson Steeber, Sept. 2016 issue

 


Kudzi, “Pieces”
“Kudzi is a poet, but most of the lyrics for this album were either freestyled or a group effort. ‘The three of us would go in there and start rifling,’ says Kudzi. ‘It’s nice because three freestyle artists are in the studio working together. It’s like a super team.’ In fact, the entirety of the album was a group effort in every way: Kudzi, Alex and Duncan worked together on all aspects of the album—lyrics, instrumentals and production.” – Sophie Franchi, Sept. 2016 issue

 


Hoseff, “Heart Hunter”
“The follow-up to 2012’s ‘Modern Gypsies,’ his sophomore effort is an 11-song jaunt that only runs 37 minutes. It feels especially quick because you’re cycling through the ups and downs of a relationship between friends that gets strained by one’s addiction. Timely though it is, it would have been sooooooo easy for this to devolve into the maudlin. The minor miracle here isn’t how Hoseff handles the heavy stuff, but how he takes the topic seriously enough without taking himself so seriously that he can’t make you smile from time to time. Otherwise, the heartbreaking turns wouldn’t hurt enough.” – Whit Mumbley, Oct. 2016 issue

 


The Beyonderers, “Estimate of the Situation”
“Big, dark and rhythmic, these songs harken journeys along the coast highway at night and dark shorebreak images dimly lit from automobile lights. . . Throughout every burly instrumental guitars roar impressively, while the drums hold down the backbeat with vicious drum thunder in a manner that honors their inspirations but drops a big-block engine into the frame at the same time. This album rocks hard without the taint of nostalgia, and it’s good and greasy fun from front to back. It’s like listening to a dominatrix whip a gremmie out on Muscle Beach…it screams!” – Dawson Steeber,  Nov. 2016 issue

 

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