pretty ghouls 2

Pretty Ghouls left; Mz. Mockery, T.J. Ghoul and Li’l Queenie

Considering that Playing Detroit is still in its infancy at just four months old, it’s no surprise that there are a slew of notable releases I missed out on this year. While compiling my Best Of list, I found it only fair to do my research and revisit the women (and their male counterparts, respectively) who made 2015 one of Detroit’s most memorable music years to date. Here are five releases from the past year that slipped under my radar but stopped me in my tracks.

1. PRETTY GHOULS: Dead At The Dandy Teen Club

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Probably my favorite local punk trio, Pretty Ghouls, taps into classic punk elements without sounding like a carbon copy of yesteryear. Their energy is unmatched and their EP Dead At The Dandy Club (released in June) is an unapologetic six minutes of angst-y bliss.

Favorite Track: “Cool Girls”

2. TART: These Are Not Love Songs

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Adam Michael Lee Padden and Zee Bricker are Tart. Aptly named, Tart’s July 2015 release, These Are Not Love Songs tempts 70’s L.A. new wave with bursts of Bjork worthy howling and manages to be both cathartic yet danceable.

Favorite Track: “Hello”

3. BEST EXES: Cactus Demos[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=639391798 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

Cactus Demos is a conversational collection of tracks that feel like a poignant post-one night stand breakfast tied with an email entitled “I Think We Should Talk.” Best Exes channels Jonathon Richman’s banter-y cadence. It feels familiar and sometimes sad, but they found a perfect formula to provoke a sense of comfort throughout. Cactus Demos is a hug, but one with pats, not rubs.

Favorite Track: “Weird Kind of Nice”

4. VALLEY HUSH: Don’t Wait

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Lianna Vanicelli and Alex Kaye make up Valley Hush. Their June 2015 release, Don’t Wait, is a vast and colorful EP that could be the love child of St. Vincent and Karen O. Vanicelli’s vocals are impressive not only in regards to range, but in its evocation. The orchestration sometimes sounds like a video game under water. Don’t Wait is from another planet and undoubtedly one of the most thoughtfully produced releases this year.

Favorite Track: “Children”

5. PRUDE BOYS: Family Style Glamour

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Garage punk trio Prude Boys (Sadie Slam, Caroline Myrick, and Quennton Thornbury) fuses Joan Jett with The Ramones with Hunx and His Punx to make a frantically catchy cocktail on their debut EP Family Style Glamour. It’s punk you can do the mashed potato to while still feeling enough rage to break something (which you’ll clean up, of course).

Favorite Track: “The Devil Was Adopted”