my music

2016 was the best year for music in my lifetime.  The rest of the year can take a hike but the music was top notch.   I bought more new releases in 2016 than ever before and I am still buying albums released in 2016 today.  It’s become something of a project. 

 

I know it’s weird. 

So in order to convince you that 2016 was indeed a vintage year for music, here are my favourite albums from everyone’s least favourite year and if you know of any 2016 gems that I’ve missed please do tell me and if I like them I will buy them and add them to the page.    


The list is in no particular order. 

Kanye West The Life Of Pablo

Ultralight Beam is the best opening track of the year by a country mile.

TEEN Love Yes

Best girl band of all time.

Beyoncé Lemonade

One of the rare occasions where everyone united over something positive in 2016.

Olga Bell Tempo

Sounds German but isn’t German.

clipping. Splendor & Misery

Concept rap album about a slave astronaut in the future.

Show Me The Body Body War

Hardcore punk with occasional banjo.

Elza Soares A Mulher Do Fim Do Mundo

79 yrs old. Often described as the Brazilian Tina Turner. Fair Play.

Esperanza Spalding Emily’s D+Evolution

Jazz rock with elegant hooks.

Drugdealer The End Of Comedy

Like The Beatles interrupted by Miles Davis.

The Frightnrs Nothing More To Say

Favourite reggae album of the year.

Greys Outer Heaven

Loud.

Saul Williams MartyrLoserKing

More poetry set to hip hop instrumentals.

CC Mose Beat Me

Jangly American indie. Plenty of cool fx on the vocals.

Montaigne Glorious Heights

High quality ambitious mainstream pop.

So Laid Back Country China Sin Cristales

Vocals sometimes sound flat but in a great way. From New Zealand.

Various Artists The Hamilton Mixtape

Musicians cover songs from the musical. Some of the songs were written for Hamilton but cut from the final show.

Lemon Demon Spirit Phone

Sing-a-long indie pop with a distinct sense of humour.

C.C.T.V. Practice Tape 3.6.16

A demo recorded at a band practice with interludes.

Moor Mother Fetish Bones

Breakout experimental hip hop album. A nice surprise.

Florist The Birds Outside Sang

Like a slightly more mature version of Frankie Cosmos.

Yussef Kamaal Black Focus

Disjointed jazz album that somehow still works as a whole.

Mitski Puberty 2

Your Best American Girl was probably most people’s single of the year.

The Monroes Live From London

Recorded in the 80s, first released in 2016. Madness sounding Norwegian band.

Mr Oizo All Wet

Sue me.

Kristin Hersh Wyatt At The Coyote Palace

24 songs! Named after one of her sons.

Skeletons Am I Home?

Jazz jamming with indie pop vocals.

Lee Fields & The Expressions Special Night

Stunning soul record.

Flock Of Dimes If You See Me, Say Yes

Very poppy guitar and synth album.

Lee Hazlewood 13

Music recorded in ’71 for someone else. Hazlewood nicks it, sings over it and releases it in 2016.

Childish Gambino “Awaken, My Love!”

More soul/funk/R&B than rap and all the better for it.

Modern Baseball Holy Ghost

One half is about losing a loved one and the other half is about depression.

Kamaiyah A Good Night In The Ghetto

Would be huge in a perfect world.

Mal Devisa Kiid

Some tracks are stripped down bass and vocals, others are full bangers.

Oddisee Alwasta

Jazzy hip hop. My favourite of his releases so far.

Ryley Walker Golden Sings That Have Been Sung

Beautifully arranged and 70s sounding.

Wes Borland Crystal Machete

The guitarist from Limp Bizkit wrote a soundtrack to a film that doesn’t exist.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Cell Phone Bikini

He released 12 albums in 2016 but this is my favourite. Shout out to the title.

Various Artists Biscuits For Your Outside Man

Unsigned musicians from North Carolina singing songs about food.

serpentwithfeet blisters

Individual and haunting.

case/lang/veirs case/lang/veirs

Folk supergroup featuring Neko Case, k.d. lang and Laura Veirs.

40 Watt Sun Wider Than The Sky

Slow songs with some incredible vocals.

Hamburger Helper Watch The Stove

Rap mixtape. Literally rapping about hamburgers at times.

五條人 夢幻麗莎髮廊

From Guangdong Haifeng and singing in a language only spoken in that region of China.

Swet Shop Boys Cashmere

Debut political rap album from Riz MC (Riz Ahmed) and Heems from Das Racist.

Xylouris White Black Peak

Lute and drums combo with Greek vocals.

Gregory Alan Isakov Gregory Alan Isakov With The Colorado Symphony

Folk music with an orchestra thank you very much.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Nonagon Infinity

Every song runs into the next including the last song into the first song forming an eternal loop.

Alex Anwandter Amiga

Chilean Latin electro pop.

Rihanna ANTI

Not taking the easy route and releasing music that challenges her fans.

Melanie De Biasio Blackened Cities

One 24 minute track. Often referred to as the Belgian Billie Holiday.

Martin Creed Thoughts Lined Up

Eccentric Scottish indie epic.

Hannah Epperson Upsweep

Rashomon music. The same five songs twice and told from the perspectives of two different characters.

David Bowie Blackstar

Let’s not beat around the bush, he died and the album is about being dead.

IAN SWEET Shapeshifter

Excellent melodic noise trash.

Jeff Rosenstock WORRY.

A half-conceptual pop punk epic.

Frankie Cosmos Next Thing

15 short and simple indie pop songs.

King Dude Sex

Bought this purely based on the band name and album name both being awesome. Luckily the music is awesome too.

Suzi Analogue ZONEZ V.1

Unofficially called I Hope My Momma Is Bragging On Me In Heaven. Experimental electronica maybe?

Foonyap Palimpsest

Avant garde singer songwriter. Simple and unique.

Zelooperz Bothic

Similar to Danny Brown but mumbles more.

KING We Are King

Prince loved them and Prince died. Killer harmonies.

Nevermen Nevermen

Supergroup feat doseone, Mike Patton of Faith No More and Tunde from TV on the Radio.

Car Seat Headrest Teens Of Denial

One of the best grunge-y indie albums in decades.

Parquet Courts Human Performance

First class Rough Trade type indie group.

James Blake The Colour In Anything

Unpredictable and engaging. Also, Quentin Blake cover art – yes please.

The Colorist & Emilíana Torrini The Colorist & Emilíana Torrini

Icelandic singer and Belgian orchestra awesome collaboration.

Low The Exit Papers

Instrumental slow songs. They sent it off to film studios in the hopes of getting work writing soundtracks.

Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman Lice Two: Still Buggin’

What’s not to like?

Macmanaman New Wave of British BASEBALL Heavy Metal

A crazy instrumental monster.

Solange A Seat At The Table

Mature R&B with thought provoking and insightful lyrics.

Fog For Good

Fog’s piano album. Unpleasant electronic sounds and infectious choruses.

Rats On Rafts De Kift

Dutch indie trash racket with horns.

Danny Brown Atrocity Exhibition

Nasty pushing-the-envelope hip hop with great hooks.

Zeal & Ardor Devil Is Fine

Unique spiritual black metal blues.

PJ Harvey The Hope Six Demolition Project

Singing about social cleansing and whatnot.

Laura Mvula The Dreaming Room

Probably a genius.

Crying Beyond The Fleeting Gales

Stadium rock mixed with computer game guitar solos.

Bon Iver 22, A Million

Don’t write him off if you didn’t like his early stuff, this is totally different.

PUP The Dream Is Over

Anthemic punk about being hungover.

Alex Cameron Jumping The Shark

He wrote these songs to entertain his friend at the pizza place they worked at in Sydney.

Kendrick Lamar untitled unmastered.

Jazz rap b-sides. He released this without announcing it.

Pixies Head Carrier

Return to form!!!

Cate Le Bon Crab Day

Exquisitely quirky Welsh indie jams.

Run The Jewels Run The Jewels 3

They released this on Boxing Day, a move that is undeniably cocky as hell.

Pinegrove Cardinal

I know emo/country sounds like a bad genre but this album is superb.

Andy Shauf The Party

Socially awkward Canadian guy singing about the characters at a party.

Uni Ika Ai Keeping A Golden Bullseye In The Corner Of My Mind

Alternative and mainstream all at once.

Throws Throws

Very English vocals on top of innovative electro.

Head Wound City A New Wave Of Violence

Exactly what you’d expect from the band name and album name.

Various Artists I Love You All The Time

The Play It Forward Campaign launched late 2015 but most of these songs were released in 2016. 73 different bands all covered I Love You All The Time by Eagles of Death Metal with all the money going to The Sweet Stuff Foundation.

Marsheaux Ath.Lon

Stylish Greek synthpop duo.

Michael Kiwanuka Love & Hate

Soul album that feels like it’s telling a story.

Frank Ocean Blonde

Hugely anticipated and he delivered. Ivy is the best song of 2016 in my opinion.

Devin Frank The Vanishing Blues

Technically imperfect on purpose. Indie-ish country type sound.

Yoko Ono Yes, I’m A Witch Too

The queen of my heart. Every track is a collaboration with a different musician.

Dinosaur Jr. Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not

J Mascis has the best voice on the planet.

Slowly Rolling Camera All Things

Amazing vocals that blend with the music wonderfully.

Lambchop FLOTUS

Fragile electronic folk. Favourite album title of the year.

The Drones Feelin Kinda Free

Subversive rock with a singer who sounds tall but I’m not sure.

Islet Liquid Half Moon

A band finding their sound and sounding like no one else.

Wei Zhongle Nice Mask Over An Ugly Face

So much going on without sounding messy. Super original.

Xenia Rubinos Black Terry Cat

Every track’s a winner. Tune-Yards mixed with Prince.

Johnnie Frierson Have You Been Good To Yourself

Solo gospel songs originally self released on cassette.

Årabrot The Gospel

Top notch cult Norwegian noise rock.

The Get Money Squad Nothing’s Wrong

Jon Bap and his brother release some demos before their upcoming album.

Jenny Hval Blood Bitch

Art pop album about periods and vampires.

Kadhja Bonet The Visitor

Her voice is entrancing at times. Great album to relax to.

Susso Keira

Recorded during a trip to Gambia and directly sampling the sounds of the Mandinka people. Love the field recordings on this album.

Young Thug JEFFERY

Every track is named after someone he respects. As is the album.

Seekersinternational The RaggaPreservation Society

A jungle album in 2016.

Lady Gaga Joanne

Named after her father’s late sister.  The album is more fun than that makes it sound though.

Ka Honor Killed The Samurai

Stripped down rap record from a firefighter.

Aesop Rock The Impossible Kid

Hip hop album with personal themes and lyrics.

Eric Bachmann Eric Bachmann

Awesome Americana album with great backing vocals doing ooohs and stuff throughout.

Cassius Ibifornia

Very strong dance record with lots of cool guests popping up here and there.

Trust Fund We Have Always Lived In The Harolds

Instantly catchy indie songs covering a wide range of tones and moods.

No Monster Club I Feel Magic

A good old quirky bit of fun.

Róisín Murphy Take Her Up To Monto

100% doing her own thing without even trying.

Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place You’re Doomed. Be Nice.

A prog-punk beaut of an album.

Deakin Sleep Cycle

Solo album from one third of Animal Collective.

My Vitriol The Secret Sessions

One of the bands of my teens release their first album in 15 years.

Metá Metá MM3

Afro Brazilian Samba Jazz Rock Fusion from São Paulo

True Love Heaven’s Too Good For Us

The kind of hardcore album I’ve been looking for since I was 13.

Youngster Jiji Sui / / Rap

Experimental rap jerks with some pretty funny lyrics.

Iglooghost Snoring (Music To Sleep To)

One 39 minute track, three acts, a modern day classical masterpiece.

Jank Versace Summer

I don’t know if it’s a soft J or not. Awesome pop-punk.

Sioux Falls Rot Forever

Like early Modest Mouse. One of the longer albums of the year.

Death Grips Bottomless Pit

Noisy experimental rap. One of my favourites. Not everyone’s cup of tea.

Chance The Rapper Coloring Book

Most people’s favourite mixtape of 2016.

Kacy & Clayton Strange Country

All country music should sound pretty and sad and not cheesy.

Leonard Cohen You Want It Darker

I love how gravelly his voice sounds on this album.

Shawna Virago Heaven Sent Delinquent

Songs about the trans experience and cars.

BADBADNOTGOOD IV

Cocky bunch of jazz douchebags.

Nada Surf You Know Who You Are

Always wanted to buy something by them but didn’t know where to start so I got this and I like it.

Nice As Fuck Nice As Fuck

A love letter to Bernie Sanders. Featuring Jenny Lewis.

Animal Collective Painting With

Their most accessible album to date.

Okilly Dokilly Howdilly Doodilly

Metalcore devoted to Ned Flanders.

Angel Olsen MY WOMAN

One of the biggest indie albums of the year.

OLYMPIA Self Talk

Cool 80s inspired indie pop.

Noname Telefone

Outside-the-box hip hop.

His Name Is Alive Patterns Of Light

Creative rock inspired by the Large Hadron Collider.

Pictish Trail Future Echoes

We once both supported Josie Long on tour together and I never got tired of watching his set every night.

Bas Too High To Riot

Methylone was one of the best rap singles of the year.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree

Full of heavy, personal sadness and exceptional lyrics.

Zach Schimpf Who Speaks To You?

Singer songwriter with weird keyboards.

Guerilla Toss Eraser Stargazer

Shouty art noise.

Marissa Nadler Strangers

Beautiful gothic singer songwriting.

Yoni & Geti Testarossa

Side project featuring Yoni Wolf and Serengeti.

A Tribe Called Quest We Got It From Here… Thank you 4 Your Service

Farewell album from one of the greats.

Mothers When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired

The vocals make this album, powerful and frail at the same time.

G.L.O.S.S. Trans Day Of Revenge

Hardcore punk reaction to Orlando.

Eleanor Friedberger New View

Timeless record from the accessible half of the Fiery Furnaces.

The Hotelier Goodness

Terrific album despite the spoken word intro track.

Bür Gür Have You Lost Your Faith In God

Stripped down sound all of their own.

Vic Mensa Innanetape

Rap mixtape about the internet and the like.

Alex Izenberg Harlequin

Acoustic singer songwriter with original arrangements.

Vulfpeck The Beautiful Game

Cheesy happy dance funk tunes.

Yohuna Patientness

All sounds blend into one another while the melodies run through everything beautifully.

Princess Nokia 1992

Perfectly confrontational. Bart Simpson contains my favourite lyrics of the year.

sonotanotanpenz Conga

Japanese duo using acoustic guitars and drum machines.

Laura Gibson Empire Builder

Her apartment burnt down so she wrote this album. The kind of emotional folk-y music that a company would use to sell you a car or a phone these days.

Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas Mariner

Collaborative metal album about space travel. Five long songs. Love the contrast in the vocals.

Meredith Monk On Behalf Of Nature

Named after a stage show she wrote about climate change. Inspiring vocal compositions with some other instruments thrown in at just the right times.

Troller Graphic

Darkwave. I don’t know what that means either. I think it’s synth music mixed with a type of metal.

Kelsey Lu Church

A captivating voice that pulls you into every track.

Blood Orange Freetown Sound

“An album for the under-appreciated”.

Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool

So very sad.

The Claypool Lennon Delirium Monolith Of Phobos

Les Claypool and Sean Lennon are really peculiar fellas.

Gøggs Gøggs

Side project featuring Ty Segall and Chris Shaw of Cults.

Thorsten Schmidt Hereford Wakes

Soundtrack to a spooky 70s TV show released for the very first time.

Jesu & Sun Kil Moon Jesu / Sun Kil Moon

Favourite collaboration of the year. Love the letters he reads from his fans.

Odd Nosdam Sisters

Intellectual electronic music.

The Lonely Island Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Hilarious and actually good.

Rapsody Crown

High quality mixtape, awesome lyrics.

Told Slant Going By

Best-song-under-a-minute of 2016 is Eggs In A Basket.

NV Binasu

Russian synth act. Immediately exciting and different.

Kafka’s ibiki Nemutte

40 minute jam session in Tokyo.

WOMPS Our Fertile Forever

Described by a friend of mine as “what’s this squawk?”

ANOHNI Hopelessness

More political than the Antony & The Johnsons stuff.

Vokonis Olde One Ascending

Favourite stoner album in years. Swedish.

The Wedding Present Going, Going…

Concept album about a road trip. Starts with 4 instrumentals.

Weezer (White Album)

One day Weezer will run out of colours to name albums after.

Tycho Epoch

Instrumental tech-heads.

BIG A Little a ZebrAa

Like a lo-fi Animal Collective.

Weaves Weaves

A modern day B52s but whackier.

Quilt Plaza

Very few bands begin with Q these days.

Homeboy Sandman Kindness For Weakness

Sounds more DIY than his previous albums. Hip hop.

Shy Layers 2

Nostalgic techno-pop.

LVL UP Return To Love

Instantly catchy. Every song could be a single.

ESP Ohio Starting Point Of The Royal Cyclopean

Featuring members of Guided By Voices. Straightforward stuff that grows on you.

Horse Lords Interventions

Avant-garde instrumental prog.

Macula Dog Why Do You Look Like Your Dog?

Shouldn’t work but it works.

Tancred Out Of The Garden

Feel like you’re in a 90s teen movie.

Katie Gately Color

A bit like Bjork. Inventive use of vocals.

The Savage Young Taterbug Shadow Of Marlboro Man

Super lo-fi lo-fi recordings. What a band name.

Kilo Kish Reflections In Real Time

One of the most creative pop albums of the year. Loads of great ideas executed perfectly.

Flowdan Disaster Piece

Grime but not as poppy as most.

Shooter Jennings Countach (For Giorgio)

A tribute to Giorgio Moroder who wrote the music for The Neverending Story.

Jon Bap What Now?

Like a modern day Beefheart in many respects. Love it big time.

Jon Bap Let It Happen

Love this big time too.

Youngster Jiji Barbarossaep

EP released after Sui / / Rap.

clipping. Wriggle

EP released before Splendor & Misery.

POLYSICS What’s this???

Still managing to sound like a brand new and exciting band.

Nine Stones Close Leaves

Prog-grunge. That’s all you need to know.

Anna Meredith Varmints

Experimental minimalist inspired stuff.

Andy Cooper Room To Breathe – The Free LP

Happy hip hop album.

Klaus Doldinger’s Passport Doldinger

Sax. Lots and lots of sax.

Foodman Ez Minzoku

Borderline unlistenable. Mid Summer Night is one of my favourite tracks of the year.

Prince Daddy & The Hyena I Thought You Didn’t Even Like Leaving

Overlooked punk album. Great band name.

Meilyr Jones 2013

His relationship and his band both ended in 2013 so he released an album about it in 2016 and called it 2013.

Cold Pumas The Hanging Valley

Smart indie album from Brighton.

AJJ The Bible 2

Excellent Punk Folk. Used to be called Andrew Jackson Jihad.

Vaudou Game Kidayu

French Togolese Afro Funk.

ROAR Impossible Animals

Simultaneously nostalgic and modern. Experimenting with a 60s sound.

Lizzo Coconut Oil

Positive, fun, feel-good party music.

Matmos Ultimate Care II

Every sound was made using their washing machine. One 38 minute track (the length of a single wash cycle).

Gallant Ology

Evolved R&B album without any obvious arrangements.

Swans The Glowing Man

The final part of a musical trilogy.

Marching Church Telling It Like It Is

Danish Brit-Pop Soul with a front cover so bad it’s good.

Adam Torres Pearls To Swine

A very special folk album. His voice is like nothing else.

Katie Dey Flood Network

Electronic noisescapes and acoustic guitar with melodies snuck in.

Deftones Gore

The guitarist himself slagged this off before it came out but, like a lot of people, I really like it.

HDBeenDope PHeace Be The Journey

Classy.

Xylaroo Sweetooth

Clean acoustic pop.

JJ Doll JJ Doll

Hardcore punk band featuring members of Ivy.

KAYTRANADA 99.9%

One of the songs has Craig David on it and even that song is really cool.

Mourn Ha, Ha, He.

Smart and catchy post hardcore from Spain.

Holy Wave Freaks Of Nurture

Psych rock from Austin, Texas. So many puns in the tracklisting.