Music

Pazz & Jop, the Village Voice Music Critics Poll: This Year’s Most Far-Out Ballot

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Justin Farrar, a freelance writer and curator for Resident Advisor, Third Bridge Creative, and Napster, managed an impressive feat, casting a ballot with ten albums and ten songs that garnered zero votes from the other 549 voters in this year’s poll. Farrar explains his approach:

I want to hear musicians absolutely obsessed with their own unique visions, so much so that what the outside world thinks of them largely is irrelevant. I simply don’t hear that kind of intensity in more popular records. One of my favorite releases of 2016 is Forced Into Femininity’s I’m Making Progress, a tape on the excellent Decoherence imprint. It’s all about operatic absurdism built from stuttering drum machines, motley belches of sound, and shrieking meditations on shattered self. In a lot of ways, it’s the crazier, underground counterpart to Anohni’s critically lauded Hopelessness. But where Anohni is too refined, too professional, for my temperament, Forced Into Femininity goes straight for the jugular with straight-up transgressive inscrutability.

Not everything on my ballot is balls-to-the-wall bonkers. Some of it is fantastic, hook-stuffed music whose only fault is that it isn’t championed by publicists who have the ears of Pitchfork. Boy Harsher’s Yr Body Is Nothing, on DKA Records, is one of the most fully realized minimal wave/synthpop records of the past decade. The blend of cold, mechanized dread and rock ‘n’ roll physicality is so damn captivating precisely because it’s far more insular and less concerned with mimicking previously established templates in those genres. The best art has to forget everything: the public, history, tradition, and especially us critics.

Albums (10 points each)

Ariisk, Fatal Errors

Boy Harsher, Yr Body Is Nothing

Finished, Cum Inside Me Bro

Forced Into Femininity, I’m Making Progress

Liquid Asset, Colony Denied

Naked Lights, On Nature

Next Delusion/Boris Hauf Sextet, Next Delusion

Profligate, Abbreviated Regime Volume One

Tether, Mirror Finish

Viki Viktoria, New Victorian

Songs

Chromesthetic, “Suicide”

Craow, “Game of Fools”

Fwy!, “CA State Route 138”

Kill Alters, “Sensory”

M Ax Noi Mach, “Walking at Night”

Prostitutes, “Pressure on the Haunted”

Pure Ground, “Still”

Pussy Mothers, “Get From in Front of Me”

Sponge Bath, “Golden Light (Club Mix)”

Unicorn Hard-On, “Miss Maddox”

Don’t miss the rest of the 2017 Pazz & Jop, Village Voice Music Critics Poll coverage:

The Complete Results

The Top Albums of 2016

The Top Singles of 2016

The Best of the Rest

This Year’s Tabulation Notes

The Black Stars of 2016: From the Knowles Industrial Complex to the Hip-Hop Avengers

In a World of ‘Lemonade,’ Misogyny Creeps Onto the Pop Charts

Chance the Rapper’s ‘Coloring Book’: Digital Music Victory or Corporate Land Grab?

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