We loved High Places‘ slightly underrated sophomore LP, and here are some artists and shows HP’s Rob Barber loved this year.
> Tiny Vipers live
I am a maximalist. I over dub and mix everything I make, possibly to the extreme. I am totally obsessive-compulsive. It is an incredible experience to see Jesy totally fill a room with just her voice and an acoustic guitar. Tiny Vipers live makes me feel like I am hiding behind over-embellishment. She is the real deal.
> We Like Cats: Proper Eats EP
White Rainbow & Valet meet at Portland Dub station in a rub-a-dub stylee. Feline-centric Dub, Like chocolate and Peanut butter!!!
> Dunes 12″
You will totally know this band in a few months, trust me. They play LA a lot, and I never get tired of them. Beautiful and dreamy, watery and drippy pop.
> Todd P’s Monterrey Mexico festival
This man threw a festival that nobody would have ever dreamt of. He has a work ethic like nobody i have ever known. Yes, the fucked up US border police and drug cartel violence maybe made a bit tricky to attend this if you were coming from the US, but playing in a beautiful valley to REALLY excited Mexican kids, and getting to see all their bands play too, made this the festival of a lifetime for me!
> Tearist live
Stand back or you might get hit with a chunk of rusted steel. The most violently beautiful live experience ever.
> Sun Araw: On Patrol and live
Dubbed as heck, Drenched psyche. Again, LA rules.
> Zach Hill & Carson McWhirter live in Japan
Yes, playing after them every night was basically like getting on stage and lighting your farts with a match. They killed it. Super free-psyche overload.
> Ken Seeno & Dustin Wong‘s respective solo albums.
So when Ponytail stopped playing, I was really really sad. High Places toured the US with them and it blew my mind every night (see my Zach and Carson write-up above to see what I mean exactly). So imagine my pleasant surprise when we were last in Baltimore and the two guitar brains of Ponytail both gave me their new solo records! And they are so completely different and uniquely amazing that I couldn’t believe it. You always wonder what is next when a great band ends. Well expect to hear more from these dudes for sure! And with Jeremy drumming in the Boredoms, I think the legacy of Ponytail is doing great!!
> No Age
Three albums in and still killing it!!
> Former Ghosts
YET Another LA peep I get to see play a lot. I know he usually tours with other people, but alone, easily the heaviest solo dude ever.
Agree on that Former Ghosts comment. High Places’ blog/myspace.