Best of 2016: Keith Ulrey of Pohgoh, New Granada Records

Born, raised and still living in Tampa, Florida, Keith Ulrey sank his teeth into Central Florida’s DIY/indie/punk/emo scene almost 30 years ago and remains involved as a musician, show promoter and record store owner.
He lives and breathes all things music. The label he co-founded in 1994, New Granada Records, is still going and has seen notable titles over the years from Jen Wood, Sunbears!, Candy Bars, Braid, Permanent Makeup, Thrushes and more.
Still playing the drums at 45, he recently resurrected ’90s indie/emo-darlings Pohgoh after 18 years, New Granada’s “flagship” band from the label’s early years, featuring his wife Susie on lead vocals and guitar. New music and a handful of shows have been well-received with plans to record a full-length album in 2017.
Always a sucker for the ’90s indie-rock ‘hey-day’er’, here’s his the list of favorite releases from 2016 he provided Ghettoblaster.
This list is in alphabetical order, but I think this new AF would be my #1 by leaps and bounds.  I will admit, maybe due to my age or where I was musically at the time, to not ever hearing the first AF LP.  I knew of it and who was in it, just never got around to exploring it.  I received a promo CD of this new one at my record store I run and it absolutely captured my attention.  It’s beautiful, it’s perfect.  It’s as if Red House Painters and The Mercury Program mated and had a musical baby.
BAT FOR LASHES – The Bride (Parlophone)
Always a sucker for female vocals.  Natasha Khan never disappoints.  I don’t really know if I have much to say about it, other than I just love it.
COEDS – Thrill Me! (New Granada)
A selfish pick, as this was released on the label I run, New Granada.  Savannah, GA’s COEDS play a dirty, gritty sort of garage rock that recalls the fun snottiness of X-Ray Spex or King Khan.  Great to see live and a ton of fun.  Something to crank while driving around with the windows down.
DAG NASTY – Cold Heart; 7” (Dischord)
Near and dear to my youthful heart.  Dag Nasty are easily in my personal top 5 most influential bands in my life.  When they announced they were releasing a new single after all these years with original singer Shawn Brown, I was skeptical, but it far exceeded my expectations.  Classic sounding mid-’80s Dischord w/ modern recording production.  Intense.
IAN SWEET – Shapeshifter (Hardly Art)
More of what I love, female fronted indie rock/pop.  Great songs and wonderful vocal delivery from Jilian Medord.  Hooks galore, I would put them in the ‘for fans of Land of Talk’ folder.
METHYL ETHEL – Oh Inhuman Spectacle (4AD)
Kind of a sleeper hit for me.  Discovered this band via promo CD.  One play turned into a couple months of repeat.  Not sure how to categorize this one.  Aussie male/female fronted indie w/ elements of dream-pop.  I’m not really selling this one very hard! Just check it out.
OUTER SPACES – A Shedding Snake (Don Giovanni)
One of my many musical vices is ’90s female-fronted indie rock or current bands with a ’90s throwback flare.  Outer Spaces do just that.  This could’ve come out in 1995 and would have been in all of my friends car tape decks.  Takes me back to the days of Madder Rose, Tsunami, etc.
EMITT RHODES – Rainbow Ends (Omnivore)
When ’60s/’70s power-pop whiz-kid Emitt Rhodes called it quits after four major label albums and vowed to never record/release again, the world was left with some of the most wonderful post-Beatles-influenced pop ever set to tape (please check his self-titled 1970 debut for an album that is as good or better than any McCartney release).  Hell froze over when it was announced Emitt would be releasing his first album of all new material in more than 40 years.  Rainbow Ends, of course, has a more mature adult-contemporary feel throughout, but songs are there…. and that voice, oh man.  What a wonderful comeback.
WYE OAK – Tween (Merge)
A fan of Wye Oak since their pre-Merge Records days as Monarch, I’ve intently followed the band’s career and loved every direction they’ve gone.  Their last full length, Shriek, while very different in sound/approach, is my personal favorite. So, when the stop-gap release of Tween was announced as outtakes from the Civilian/Shriek sessions, I knew I was in for a treat.  And a treat it is.  Can’t wait for the next album.
(Visit Ulrey here:
Pohgoh Facebook
New Granada Records Facebook)