Best Local Comp
Ali Jaafar might have the most exciting attic in Minneapolis. The top floor of his home is where the Hollow Boys frontman/recording engineer keeps Ecstattic Studio, a professional recording space in which dozens of bands around town have captured their self-funded albums. To document its 2015 work, the studio released Ecstattic Forever, the fifth in a series of compilations that collect tunes recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jaafar. Like a post-rock ice cream shop, Ecstattic Forever samples every flavor of DIY guitar music, from the psychedelic grunge-pop of Lunch Duchess' "Cry" to the shadowy doomgaze of Elliot Reed and Yume Nikki's collaboration "Frozen." The comp's 16 tracks — including cuts by Strange Relations, Joey Joey Michaels, and Ego Death — define Jaafar's "artist-fi" recording style, which, as he puts it, captures "however dirty, clean, wet, dry, big, small, or whatever the song (and its composers) require."