Top 10 Releases of 2017: Part 4

1. stampeter - too many boys
(2017 Self-Released)

too many boys is twenty ounces of sentimentality, left in the freezer so long that it pressurizes the air inside its bottle. The plastic warps, the cap pops, and you're left with a sticky mess that smells like sucrose and growing pains. 

Spanning seven tracks in just 19 minutes, Connecticut's stampeter approach their fifth EP with an anthemic conviction that'd make their back catalogue of folksy twee pop tunes tremble in fear. Roomy and raw, the record's an introspective take on the retro college-rock sound of 90's acts like Blake Babies or The Lemonheads that ditches pretension for melodic WOOs that you can scream along to, station wagon windows rolled down. 

"waters", sandwiched right in the center of too many boys, is the album's standout moment. It's a love song about leeches and big city dreams that steadily shifts from its nervously strummed verse to a power-chord-driven chorus, unfurling infinitely in all directions, revealing the cataclysmic power held within. Stampeter stay true to their sloppy, slacker-rock aesthetic here, but unintentionally tap into a confidence that draws genre-transcending brilliance from just two chords. The way Luca Bartlomiejczyk's sustained vowel sounds melt into Judge Russell's slogging bassline: it sneaks up on you and warms your cynical soul. A Casio's glassy hum mimes the melody, taking up residence in your psyche's now-cozy confines. 

From the slow heaves of "pullout couch" to the twangy vocal harmonies that close the woozy "paws", this record is a flurry of knockout punches that perfects any genre it touches. too many boys is emo, grunge, folk, and ambient all at once, blurring the lines between each distinction: it's the product of its own reality.