Another year down and
hundreds thousands of hours devoted to listening to new tunes.
Here’s my pick of the best of the year that stuck with me (so far…who knows what December will bring?):
NAO, For All We Know
NAO, from London, brings elements of nu-soul and late 90’s r’n’b together in a funky album with infectious grooves and surprisingly epic moments. Just check out the song ‘In the Morning’ below…
Car Seat Headrest, Teens in Denial
In my opinion, a conglomeration of all indie artists of the 00’s and 10’s mixed with The Cars – all the while charting new frontiers for indie music. Will Toledo understands the genre and has crafted an amazing album with epics stretching as long as 12 minutes in length. Sometimes nihilistic, sometimes ironic, this is a great album.
Death Grips, Bottomless Pit
From the opening track ‘Giving Bad People Good Ideas’, Death Grips’ fourth LP, Bottomless Pit, is unrelenting and intense. Although chaotic on the surface, there’s a lot to appreciate in the arrangements and hardcore influence. MC Ride’s flows are addictive, if you give them a chance. Not for the faint of heart.
Cameron James Henderson, Storm Rollin’ In
It seems a little gratuitous to include a mate’s album on the list just ’cause…he’s a mate. But I’ve come to appreciate this album the more I’ve listened to it. A mix of blues and folk, it was a serious leap forward in terms of seeing Cameron’s musical evolution and a very well balanced album. He’s an extremely talented songwriter and guitarist – I can’t wait to see where he goes next.
A Tribe Called Quest, We got it from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service
The first album from the Rap/Hip-Hop legends, A Tribe Called Quest, since 1998. I’ve only dipped into some of their classic albums such as The Low End Theory and been relatively unschooled in their style but have enjoyed it. This 2016 album, featuring the late Phife Dawg who died in March this year, is packed full of guests such as Elton John (sampling ‘Benny and the Jets’ on ‘Solid Wall of Sound’), Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and apparently Jack White. Really good stuff.
Nick Cave, The Skeleton Tree
A beautiful and haunting album set against the backdrop of the death of Cave’s son last year. The album stylistically follows on from Cave’s last album Push the Sky Away, with Warren Ellis’s continued use of synths to create moody landscapes (surprised?!). The opening song, ‘Jesus Alone’, is an ominous song with strange time that feels like it ‘hovers’ without resting on something secure and predictable. It’s a good indication of how the rest of the album unfolds and how moving through dark times can feel.
Show Me The Body, Body War
An intense offering from NYC post-hardcore group, Show Me The Body. Body War is an intense album with nods to different aspects of punk and hardcore music, with a banjo. Some of the intense sounds are reminiscent of the intensity of a Death Grips album, with punk. Super addictive.
David Bowie, Blackstar
I almost forgot about this early release of 2016, just days before his passing. The videos, everything is haunting on this amazing swan song. Bowie always had his finger on the pulse of pop music and masterfully left his mark on many genres.
What were your favourite albums? Feel free to sing out some recommendations!