KNBA - KBC

Marissa Lorusso

Spend some time in Boston's indie rock circles, and the name Pile is bound to come up in awestruck tones. The acerbic, noisy rock band's four previous albums and ceaseless DIY tours have earned it local hero status among the leagues of die-hard fans who shout along to frontman Rick Maguire's every word. And Pile is well-known as an idol for its peers, too – just ask defunct Boston cult favorites Krill, who named an EP in the band's honor.

In the last week of 2016, we're featuring just a few of the songs that, for whatever reason, never got their due this year.

Thelma's music sounds almost otherworldly. Slightly spooky and often dramatic, it mixes the warm, human sensibilities of folk with slightly off-kilter electronic elements. The intensity in the music makes sense, given its origins: When Natasha Jacobs, the band's founder, began to focus on songwriting, she did so with a commitment to overcome her lifelong fear of performing. A few years later, while studying composition at SUNY Purchase, Jacobs began experimenting with electronic instrumentation.

A recent tweet from Philadelphia's Mannequin Pussy says "i appreciate heartbreak only because of how transformative it can be." That may as well be the thesis of the band's forthcoming album, Romantic, though you wouldn't necessarily know it from the record's sound: brawny punk with a fuzzy pop streak.

The first few seconds of Field Mouse's upcoming album, Episodic, might fool you. The opening track, "The Mirror," begins with gentle, atmospheric guitar strums and a building drumbeat; then, suddenly, it explodes into a melodic, scuzzy rock song with skittering guitars and a demanding rhythm. "What a way to say 'f*** off,'" sings Rachel Browne. What a way to kick off an album.

What's most striking about Japanese Breakfast's first full-fledged album, Psychopomp, is how gracefully it treads over difficult territory. What started as singer and guitarist Michelle Zauner's side project — she took on the moniker to release solo work when not performing with Little Big League — eventually became an outlet for songs of grief and mourning in the aftermath of her mother's death. Sonically, Psychopomp is a far cry from the Philadelphia emo band's music, trading crunchy indie rock for haunting pop songs with swirling synthesizers.

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