Tag Archives: Briana Marela

Our favorite albums of 2015 (part 9)

Today, we’ll continue the countdown of my favorite albums of 2015. It was a ridiculously good year for new releases, and before I could even start the countdown, I named 25 honorable mentions. So far, we’ve counted down from 50 to 11, and today we’ll go from 10 down to 6.

Just to recap, the list of honorable mentions is here.

So far, the list from 50 down to 11 looks like so:
50)Lower Dens — Escape From Evil
49)Girl Band — Holding Hands With Jamie
48)Creepoid — Cemetery Highrise Slum
47)Thayer Sarrano — Shaky
46)Rachel Grimes — The Clearing
45)Stolen Jars — Kept
44)Hey Anna — Run Koko
43)Speedy Ortiz — Foil Deer
42)Marriages — Salome
41)Haiku Salut — Etch and Etch Deep
40)The Harrow — Silhouettes
39)Casket Girls — The Piano Album
38)Spectres — Dying
37)Eternal Summers — Gold and Stone
36)Esmerine — Lost Voices
35)Diverting Duo — Desire
34)Viet Cong — Viet Cong
33)astrobrite — Deluxer
32)Noveller — Fantastic Planet
31)Godspeed You! Black Emperor — Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
30)Long Beard — Sleepwalker
29)Hamsas XIII — Encompass
28)Westkust — Last Forever
27)Hop Along — Painted Shut
26)Lanterns On The Lake — Beings
25)Violent Mae — Kid
24)The Black Ryder — The Door Behind The Door
23)Moon King — Secret Life
22)The Soft Moon — Deeper
21)Trementina — Almost Reach the Sun
20)Beach House — Thank Your Lucky Stars
19)No Joy — More Faithful
18)Torres — Sprinter
17)Mount Eerie — Sauna
16)Shana Falana — Set Your Lightning Fire Free
15)Eskimeaux — O.K.
14)Ringo Deathstarr — Pure Mood
13)Pinkshinyultrablast — Everything Else Matters
12)SOAK — Before We Forgot How To Dream
11)Thrushes — Exposing Seas

As the countdown continues, remember to click on album art to go to where you can buy that album.

A Place to Bury Strangers — Transfixiation

10)A Place To Bury Strangers — Transfixiation
This is the fourth album from the Brooklyn noise rock/shoegaze/post-punk quartet who are often called “New York’s loudest band”. Indeed. When you see them live, you’ll need to reboot after the show. Maybe drive home in silence. Even when you listen to APTBS records, you’ll need a sensory break afterwards. This record is certainly no different. As the story goes, even the band themselves had to take a brief hiatus during the recording of this album. Yes, this is about noise and gadgetry. Yes, this is pitch dark. Yes, this is really difficult for a lot of people to digest. This is music that most people hate. The album has gotten mostly lukewarm or even unfavorable reviews, but Oliver Ackerman et al aren’t making music for Pitchfork’s benefit. They know who their fans are, and they know that Ian Cohen isn’t one of them.
If you’re not afraid of some noise and some darkness and some misery, this is a beautiful album that you will definitely need a break from after you’ve listened.

Briana Marela — All Around Us

9)Briana Marela — All Around Us
This is the third album by the Seattle experimental ambient pop singer/songwriter. Her first two albums were self-released, but she joined the Jagjaguwar family for this album. In a separate development, she joined forces with Alex Somers, who has produced records for Sigur Rós. So she’s got better production, she’s got label support, and she had a significant tour to support the new album, which came out on August 21. Because of her sweet voice of an angel-child, she’s compared to the late Trish Keenan out of Broadcast, and to Jessie Stein out of The Luyas. As much as I like both of those bands and both of those singers, I like this even more. Again, this was an album that wasn’t really all that well-received by critics, but I love it.

Beach House — Depression Cherry

8)Beach House — Depression Cherry
This is the fifth album from the Baltimore dream pop duo and the first of two albums they released in 2015. The songs from Depression Cherry and the songs from Thank Your Lucky Stars were recorded during the same sessions, but they promise that they aren’t companion albums and that Thank Your Lucky Stars isn’t a “b-side album”. They swear that Thank Your Lucky Stars isn’t the Amnesiac to Depression Cherry‘s Kid A, but despite their protestations, fans and critics will always refer to the two 2015 albums as companion albums or sister albums or whatever. I love this band, and I think that they can do no wrong. You’ll remember seeing Thank Your Lucky Stars at 20 on the countdown. I obviously like this one a little more.

Bully — Feels Like

7)Bully — Feels Like
This is the debut album by the Nashville post-grunge quartet. There’s a lot of reasons to like this band, and most of it has to do with frontwoman Alicia Bognanno. Her story, her charisma, her badass-ness. However, I always like to point out that the drummer in this band is named Stewart Copeland. A drummer named Stewart Copeland, but not that drummer named Stewart Copeland. As far as I know, that’s his real name. Aside from all the personal backstories, this is just a really good band who put out a remarkable debut. Bognanno won’t be able to do the things that she’s doing to her voice for very long (just ask Bob Mould), but for now, it sure is fun to hear her belt this shit out.
The band came to Hopscotch this year, and I had them very high on my list. Unfortunately, the venue they were in was over capacity, and since nobody was leaving, I wouldn’t have been able to get in even with a VIP band. Incidentally, even my “plan B” for that time slot got foiled for the same reason. They’re coming around next month, and I won’t miss it this time.

93MillionMilesFromTheSun — Fall Into Nothing

6)93MillionMilesFromTheSun — Fall Into Nothing
This is the fourth album by the melodic shoegaze trio from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England. The album came out in May, but I didn’t get it until a few months later. As much as I liked their earlier stuff, this one really hit me hard. It was all I could listen to for about a month. It’s worth pointing out that they also released an EP of Ride covers this year, and it’s quite good. In a connected way, this album reminds me so much of that period of time when Ride was riding the wave of Nowhere and things were going really well for them. Before Britpop forced them and other UK shoegazers to adapt their sound to whatever it was that NME and Melody Maker would write favorable things about. Before even the label bosses made their shoegaze bands write Britpop stuff. This reminds me of the real Ride.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow, I should finish the countdown, and then do a recap on Thursday.


08.28.2015 — “Surrender” by Briana Marela

Briana Marela

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Surrender” by Briana Marela (2015, from the album All Around Us).

Briana Marela is an ambient pop/experimental singer/songwriter from Seattle. I don’t know anything about her and had never heard of her until I got an email promoting the new album, which came out last week via Jagjaguwar.

She self-released a cassette-only album called Water Ocean Lake in 2010, followed by the Speak From Your Heart album in 2012. She immediately got to work on the new album, writing the songs in 2012/2013. Through a series of circumstances, her new songs found their way into the hands of Sigur Rós producer Alex Somers, and they started working together in Iceland to get All Around Us made. At some point in the process, she joined the roster at Jagjaguwar. While this is her third album, it’s the first with label support and the first that will have a significant tour to back it. Her tour, by the way, is a run through North America as the opening act for ambient/electro songstress Jenny Hval. Jenny Hval will be playing at Hopscotch, which will be in full swing in just two weeks. However, Briana Marela will not be there. At least not on the “official” schedule. I haven’t studied the “day party” schedules yet, so I may get a chance to see her at one of those.

Today’s song makes me think of what might happen if Jessie Stein from The Luyas collaborated with The Postal Service.

This is that song
“Surrender” by Briana Marela

I love the multiple layers of vocal track and the vocal manipulation that makes it sound all glitchy. As I said, Marela’s cherubic voice instantly brings to mind Jessie Stein from The Luyas and the late Trish Keenan, who was the front of Broadcast. Oddly enough, on some other songs from the album, she reminds me of Amy Millan from Stars. The song “Everything Is New” sounds like could easily be a Stars song. Something from the In Our Bedroom After The War sessions.

The point is that although there are certainly some cool musical things going on, the star of this show is Marela’s voice.

Please enjoy the video

You can buy a physical copy of All Around Us from Jagjaguwar via SC Distribution here. You can get downloads from bandcamp here or through Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, etc.


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