Lioness – “Time Killer”
The debut full-length from this local super group was released by Dayton-based Magnaphone Records on Saturday, June 24 so it just barely fit the timeframe. However, a release of this quality has to make the list. Frontman Nathan Peter’s lush acoustic-pop songs are enhanced by a two-man string section and three female backup vocalists.
The Zygotes – “Circles”
You wouldn’t guess from listening to the self-assured third album from this Dayton act that founding members Simon Kingston and Zade Walters just graduated from Stivers School for the Arts in the spring. The trio’s music is exhilarating, confident and mature beyond the age of its members. Influences include vintage blues, Captain Beefheart and unconventional ’80s punk band the Minutemen.
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Salvadore Ross – “Mystery Head”
Kyle Byrum has been mining ’60s music for inspiration since his days with high-octane garage rockers the White Soots. That sonic devotion continues with Salvadore Ross but the results are a much more nuanced take on psychedelic rock with stronger hooks and a greater sense of dynamics. “Mystery Head” (Magnaphone Records) is very much a guitar-rock album but it’s more about supportive rhythm strumming, tasteful embellishments and fluid solos than a barrage of fuzzed-out riffs.
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Company Man – “Endless Growth”
Company Man’s debut was one of my favorite Dayton releases of 2016. I’m pleased to report the follow-up is even better. What started as a loose side project for Darryl Robbins of Motel Beds and Andy Smith of Me Time has quickly coalesced into a solid music-making outfit. The material draws on indie-pop, garage rock and post-punk for a sound quite different from the musicians’ work with their other outfits but is equally engaging.
And also worth your time: Other standout releases from the first half of 2017 include EPs from the Pullouts, Plasteroid and the Florals and full-lengths from Subterranean, New Regrets, SKRT and Bribing Senators.