The Philadelphia indie music scene continues to pop, and keeping this alphabetized best of 2016 list to 10 names was a challenge.
Apologies go to Beach Slang (they made it last year), bands that put out only EPs, albeit excellent ones (like Sheer Mag and Queen of Jeans), as well as worthies such as Thin Lips and Killiam Shakespeare. I'm sure I'm forgetting somebody, but the 10 acts below indisputably merit attention.
Dr. Dog, The Psychedelic Swamp (Anti-) This high concept cassette-only project was discarded in 2001 and revived last year for a collaboration with Pig Iron Theatre, yielding tunes as catchy as any in the band's catalog.
Steve Gunn, Eyes on the Lines (Matador) The Lansdowne-bred guitarist extraordinaire casts an intoxicating blues- and jazz-informed spell on songs that loop back on themselves, all about the journey rather than the destination.
Hurry, Guided Meditation (Lame-O). Expertly crafted power-pop in the manner of Teenage Fanclub, Big Star, and Matthew Sweet. At Union Transfer Dec. 17.
Japanese Breakfast, Psychopomp (Yellow K). Shimmery pop songs that don't shy away from serious stuff, including the cancer death of singer Michelle Zauner's mother.
Lil Uzi Vert, The Perfect LUV Tape (Generation Now/Atlantic). Hard-spitting energetic rhymer born Symere Woods, who's heir to Meek Mill's Philly street rap crown, expressing his freedom on "Do What I Want."
Lushlife/CSLSX, Ritualize (Western Vinyl). Producer-rapper Raj Haldar's rich sonic tapestry blends indie rock with hard-hitting hip-hop, with guest contributions from Ariel Pink, Marissa Nadler, Freeway, and Killer Mike.
Mannequin Pussy, Romantic. This feverish and fabulous album by the foursome fronted by Marisa Dabice won't take up too much of your time. 11 songs fly by in 17 minutes. mannequinpussy.bandcamp.com. At PhilaMOCA on Jan. 16.
Notekillers, Songs and Jams Vol. 1. In nearly 40 years, the Notekillers have now put out two full-length albums. The wonder is that the second one by David First's blistering avant-rock band is their best. Notekillers.bandcamp.com
Nothing, Tired of Tomorrow (Relapse). The Domenic Palermo-led quartet play at earplug-demanding volume live, but their shimmery shoegaze proves downright delicate when the volume's turned down.
Sad13, Slugger. Smart and self-assured solo debut by recent Philly transplant Sadie Dupuis, leader of the heretofore Boston indie outfit Speedy Ortiz. This Slugger will be knocking it out of the park at all-ages venue Everybody Hits on Monday.