2016 was the year that Sniffle Party (Serena Wagner by day) became a staple of the local Eau Claire music scene. After releasing her debut EP “Peach Dream” last April–which you can listen to below along with her newest single–Sniffle/Serena has kept busy playing numerous shows throughout the area…appearing in basements and bars, at Phoenix Park, The Cabin, and more!
She describes her music as “dreamy future witch pop”, and that paints a perfect and evocative picture of the atmospheric, catchy, melancholy tunes she brings to life with the help of producer/beatmaker Two Castles (who also did a “Best Of 2016” list for us that you can see here). Serena’s dedication to the DIY art scene in Eau Claire extends beyond music, though, with her and collaborator Elle McGee releasing Twig Issue No. 2 last year as well. Twig is an independently published zine that compiles illustrations and poems from area artists and wordsmiths. Find out more about Twig here.
…there’s little doubt that 2017 will be another busy year for Serena artistically, and area music/visual art/poetry fans can look forward to more Sniffle tunes, art prints, and zines from Serena & Co in the year to come. In the meantime, though, enjoy the music she’s already put out as well as the six albums below that she picked for us as her favorite releases of 2016!
CRUMB – Crumb
Crumb’s three-song ep is a sweet little bundle of happiness! 1970’s soft rock mixed with a lil’ blues and topped with a badass wavy female-lead vocalist. best songs: all three.
BIBIO – A Mineral Love
This album is truly something special. It’s ebb and flow between samples, synths, and smooth guitar keep me in it the whole time. Best songs of the album? They’re all pretty great so its best you just dive into the whole thing.
KING – We Are King
King has totally captivated me. This album successfully weaves a powerful yet classic alt r&b sound with electronic synths and echoing vaporware vibes. Best songs off the album: Hey + The Story.
MOSES SUMNEY – Lamentations
I don’t really know how to describe my thoughts on Moses Sumney (now EXC alumni) besides the fact that i’m in love. His incredible vocal range in harmonies and dabbling guitar offer something much along the likes of Lianne La Havas with a little bit of Prince. Best songs off the album: Worth It + Lonely World.
LAPSLEY – Long Way Home
If you haven’t given Laplsey a listen yet, she deserves your ears. Her commanding yet smooth voice and pop elements are similar to that of London Grammar, but with a more intimate delivery. Best songs off the album: Falling Short + Love is Blind + Hurt Me (but really its all good).
DAWN RICHARD – Redemption
Dawn Richard has a voice like buttah. This year she released “Redemption” with a more haunting electronic sound that I can’t get out of my head. definitely a good album if you’re lookin’ to boss out. Best songs off the album: Sands + Vines.
“It would be a bit of a misnomer to describe 25-year-old singer and songwriter Moses Sumney as an overnight sensation, given that he has nothing in the way of hit singles and has yet to release a full-length album. Still, there’s no denying the fact that Sumney has managed to create a gentle storm of buzz, a description that might also be an accurate way to characterize the music he makes: quietly intense and held aloft by Sumney’s remarkably diaphanous voice. Since releasing a self-recorded EP, Mid-City Island, in 2014 he quickly established himself as someone to watch, snagging opening gigs for the likes of Dirty Projectors, Junip, and Sufjan Stevens, sharing stages with Erykah Badu and St. Vincent, and chilling with fan friends like Solange Knowles. For someone whose music often treads the same kind of ethereal and elliptical sonic terrain as Grizzly Bear or Beach House, the sudden flush of attention has been both affirming and surreal, not to mention distracting for someone who is desperately trying to finish making a record.” (Source)