Here are my Top 5 local singles of the year.
1) Sixties Future – “Saint”
In the time where much of indie music has some kind of gimmick, it’s refreshing to hear a band deliver some straight forward rock 'n' roll, and no local group did that better in 2015 than newcomers Sixties Future.
On “Saint,” the first single from the act’s self-titled EP, the gravely Americana rockers deliver an introspective cut of heartland rock that blends the National, Bruce Springsteen and Gaslight Anthem into a perfect Rust Belt package.
2) A House Safe For Tigers - “Anne Marie”
While Buffalo’s music scene is getting younger by the day, leave it up to a couple of local veterans to deliver one of the year’s best cuts of ear candy. “Anne Marie” merges Brandon Delmont’s restrained, yet magical orchestration perfectly with Mark Costantino’s plaintive vocals, creating a mature slice of psych pop that would make Brian Wilson smile.
3) Orations – “Curses”
Speaking of seasoned vets, the post-punk act Orations, while still a relatively new band, is full of long-time local players who have spent their fair share of nights at Mohawk Place over the years. The four-piece’s latest 7-inch “Incantation” is led off by dreamy “Curses,” a shimmering jangle pop number with by Jess Collins’ reach-for-the-sky vocals.
Not only a nod to some of the band’s most direct influences (The Smiths, The Cure, New Order), the single manages to stand tall on its own as a fine inclusion to the genre
4) Jax Deluca – “Dirt is in the Ground”
Earlier this fall, the Squeaky Wheels executive director released her sublime debut record, “Wither Without You.” The album’s lead-off single, the stark “Dirt is in the Ground,” features a soulful Deluca on ukulele delivering a simple invitation for change.
Shades of Karen O, Binki Shapiro and Buffalo’s own Julie Byrne can be heard in the songwriter’s hopeful vocals.
5) Sonny Baker – “Family Tree”
After releasing a handful of EPs over the years, Buffalo wunderkind Sonny Baker returned in 2015 with “flesh it out,” his first collection of solo material backed by a proper band.
The EP’s stand-out track, “Family Tree,” fits quite nicely to next college rock heavyweights Sonic Youth as it does to their torch bearing followers of Broken Social Scene. Full of noodly guitar work and building hooks, “Family Tree” finds Baker at his absolute best.