' Top 16?' I hear you ask...Yes, Top 16...I had originally intended to do a short, sharp Top 10, however, this year has been stellar for album releases so I went a bit easy on myself and allowed an extra six to be included 'cause i'm a bit cheeky like that (insert sarcastic smile/winking emoji here...).
2016 has been an odd year, a year of significant loss, but, also a year of significant releases - Yin and Yang as they say, a year of true opposites. We've seen the return of some big players: Radiohead, DJ Shadow, David Bowie, Kathleen Hanna, and Aphex Twin to name but a few, but we've also seen some lesser known artists expand and grow with their recent releases: Kevin Morby, Mitski, Mourn, Summer Cannibals...anyway...here's my Top 16 of '16!
1. Savages - Adore Life
This is probably the most interesting band around right now and Gemma Thompson is probably the most interesting guitarist around right now. This album is in my Top 10 of all time nevermind this year. Do yourself a favour and at least listen to this band if you haven't already. Stunning.
2. The Julie Ruin - Hit Reset
Never have we needed Kathleen Hanna more - questions about her relevancy are, well, irrelevant. A more than welcome return for this band - sounding catchier (check Sara Landeau's guitar work on this record) and more honest than ever. 'Mr So and So' is without a doubt my favourite track on this album as it verbalises my experiences as a (female) musician DOWN. TO. A. T. (it also name-checks my favourite band which is always a plus!). I could write for days about how important KH is, and how relevant The Julie Ruin are as a band, but I won't as this is a band you need to 'discover' and get angry with on your own terms.
3. David Bowie - Blackstar
It's hard to ignore the significance of this album, and there are no words that I can write that haven't already been written about this record, but, I will say that this is by far my favourite Bowie album, and it's poignancy never fails to leave a tear (several tears) in my eye.
4. Angel Olsen - My Woman
This is a great album. Not my usual listening choice genre-wise, however 'Shut Up Kiss Me' is one of THE most infectious songs I've heard in a long time, don't get me wrong, this isn't a one song album this is a very solid album start to finish.
5. Summer Cannibals - Full of It
The third album from these Oregonians sounds bigger and fresher than their previous releases. Their recent signing to Kill Rock Stars is promising - keep an eye on this band.
6. Suede - Night Thoughts
I got pretty excited as a long time fan of Suede when I heard they were doing a soundtrack (of sorts)...and I wasn't disappointed. This is Suede back to their cinematic best and 'Night Thoughts' is definitely up there with 'Dog Man Star'.
7. Kevin Morby - Singing Saw
I'd never heard of Kevin Morby until this release and in a way I'm glad I hadn't as I don't think this album would've had the impact it did. The production on this record is amazing - probably the best production I've heard this year - it's an absolute pleasure to listen to.
8. Body/Head - No Wave
Kim Gordon. Enough said.
9. The Thermals - We Disappear
I feel like this band should be more well known, these guys and gal are so underrated and probably one of the most consistent when it comes to quality. 'We Disappear' is second only to 'The Body, the Blood, the Machine' in their repertoire - brilliant album. They also happen to be the second bunch of Oregonians on this list...so many great bands have hailed from Oregon, The Thermals are no exception.
10. Beverly - The Blue Swell
This is what I imagine sunshine to sound like if it were to start making a sound...it's so breezy and light and happy - this album rarely left my turntable all summer.
11. Mourn - Ha Ha He
12. TacocaT - Lost Time
13. The Duke Spirit - Kin
14. VHS - Gift of Life
15. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
16. Mitski - Puberty 2
Honourable mentions (in no particular order):
Roly Porter - Third Law
Bleached - Welcome the Worms
Glass Animals - How to be a Human Being
BadBadNotGood - IV
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Nonagon Infinity
Xiu Xiu - Plays the Music of Twin Peaks
Omni - Deluxe
Wye Oak - Tween
The Empty Page - Unfolding
S U R V I V E - RR7349
Exploded View - Exploded View
The Kills - Ash & Ice
Weaves - Weaves