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Best Music of 2016 so far


#1

Usually we do one of these threads when we’re about halfway-75% through the year. Of course, nothing’s final until the year’s out. Now’s the time for sharing what you’ve liked so far.

Here’s what I liked, although don’t feel beholden to follow my format.

ALBUMS/EPs/MIXTAPES

  1. Kanye West - The Life Of Pablo
  2. Beyonce - Lemonade
  3. Frank Ocean - Blonde
  4. CHINAH - Once The Lights Are On EP
  5. Grimes - Art Angels
  6. Rihanna - Anti
  7. ScHoolboy Q - Blank Face LP
  8. The Avalanches - Wildflower
  9. Young Thug - JEFFERY
  10. LION BABE - Sun Joint

SONGS (limited to one song per artist)

  1. Kanye West feat. Chris Brown & Kid Cudi - “Waves”
  2. CHINAH - “Colder”
  3. Grimes feat. Janelle Monae - “Venus Fly”
  4. Beyonce - “Hold Up”
  5. Frank Ocean - “Nights”
  6. Young Thug feat. Wyclef Jean - “Kanye West”
  7. DJ Khaled feat. Nas - “Nas Album Done”
  8. Rihanna feat. Drake - “Work”
  9. M.I.A. - “Finally”
  10. Yeasayer - “I Am Chemistry”

There’s still some stuff I have to get around to (James Blake, Radiohead) but I think this list is pretty solid.

Below are some of the songs I singled out:

That last video is the stuff of nightmares.

All right, that’s me. What are yours?


#2

I’ve listened a lot to music this year, a lot of it new to me but not a lot of music that was released this year. In my 2016 playlist these are all that was actually released this year.

Danger - 6:24

Electrypnose - Mocalpo

Danger - 8:02

edit: Verb - Pink World


#3

My favorite new song of 2016, at least so far, is Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s “Come With Us.” (The F9 Extended Disco Remix is my preferred version of the song) from her album “Familia.”

Basic Version

F9 Extended Disco Remix

Runners up are Rhianna’s “Sledgehammer” from the “Star Trek Beyond” soundtrack.

And “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande


#4

It’s been a phenomenal year for new music (after a fairly low-key 2015). There’s one clear winner for me, but literally anything else I’ve bought this year could take the #2 spot, depending on my mood.

So, listing this year’s new albums in order of release rather than trying to rank them:

1. Mantra Vega - The Illusion’s Reckoning

New works from Heather Findlay are few and far between these days, so this debut album from her latest band project was a welcome way to open the year. This crosses over between folk and rock with a strong 60s feel and a little bit of modern prog. It’s maybe a bit too middle-of-the-road to be a stand-out classic, but she’s still the best singer in the world today so even her middle-of-the-road songs are streets ahead (see what I did there?) of most other bands.

2. Boreas - Ahoy Hoy

Another debut from a new band. They straddle the Scottish and Norse folk traditions and mix new tunes with traditional songs so there’s a lot of variety here, and it all sounds beautiful.

3. Iamthemorning - Lighthouse

In a year of incredibly strong albums, this is my album of the year. (And it just won Album of the Year at the Progressive Music Awards, so it’s not just me.) it’s a concept album about mental illness, so very cheerful. But so powerful. I got to the last track and literally cried. I think it’s wrong to take a single track from a concept album out of context, but this gives you an idea what they sound like:

4. Rachel Newton - Here’s My Heart Come Take It

There’s a formula to Rachel Newton’s albums: insanely complex harp instrumentals interspersed with traditional folk ballads sung in English and Gaelic. But that’s what she’s good at, so why mess with the formula? Another worthy album-of-the-year contender (though I preferred her previous album overall).

5. Josh & Co Ltd - Transylvania Part 1 - The Count Demands It

You wait years for a concept album and then three come along at once :confused: (this is the second of three this year). Well, this is exactly what the title says, but it works because Bryan Josh isn’t taking it seriously, he hams it up in the lyrics and the spoken word passages more than enough to let you know that. Where he is serious is in his guitar playing, which is as excellent as always. So yes, if you want some good fun, guitar-based, bombastic rock, this is what you need.

Ok, that’s only taken me through the first quarter of the year :open_mouth: I’ll do the next quarter later…


#5

Yes it is :anguished:

It was also the only one of yours that I could play - the rest were unavailable or blocked in my country.

Liked it instrumentally, found the voice a bit annoying.


#6

It’s likely the only one you would’ve liked, anyway. :smile: Maybe the CHINAH one, too.

I get what you mean about the vocals. I like them, but they’re probably love it or hate it.

@Hank, I really like the extended version of “Come With Us”! It’s super fun.


#7

For albums I have (alpha order):

Julianna Barwick, Will
David Bowie, Blackstar
Brandy Clark, Big Day in a Small Town
The Field, The Follower
Kevin Gates, Islah
Maxwell, blackSUMMERnights
Cass McCombs, Mangy Love
Kevin Morby, Singing Saw
Weezer, White Album
YG, Still Brazy

For songs, I don’t know, maybe these three:


#8

I just found out Art Angels was from last year, so everything below it moves up a notch and AIM by M.I.A. takes the 10th slot.


#9

My favorite albums so far this year have been:

Blink 182 - California

Violent Femmes - We Can Do Anything

Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor’s Guide to Earth

I’m looking forward to:

Metallica - Hardwired… To Self Destruct


#10

Best of 2016 - second quarter

. 6. Moulettes - Preternatural

Weirdly, I heard a lot of this year’s albums live before I bought the CDs. Including this one. With a new five-piece, electric-guitar-driven line-up, this album is a lot harder than their previous ones. I prefered their older albums, but I admire them for trying new things and remaining one of the most unexpected, eclectic bands around:

. 7. Magnum - Sacred Blood, Divine Lies

A band in its 4th decade, Magnum stick to the formula that works for them. I know they’ll never hit the heights of bygone days again, but they continue to churn out albums that don’t disappoint, and every now and then something really special:

. 8. Ayreon - The Theatre Equation

Yay, a prog rock concept album with my favourite singer in the world :slight_smile: . Specifically, this is a live recording of a rock musical performed last year, and it is breathtakingly good whether you’re watching the DVD or just listening to the music:

(Heather Findlay at the back, the first female vocal.)

Hmm. I think that’s it for Q2. I’ll do the third quarter next week as I’m expecting to buy another album at the weekend (and it will be superb – I know because I’ve already heard all the songs live).


#11

I like the Danger tracks. Electrypnose was a bit irritating (not to mention being an annoying word to type :wink: ) and outstayed its welcome. Verb started really well but started getting annoying when the rhythmic parts came in.

I think that what I take from this is that there’s a limit to how much clinical machine rhythm I can take before I start wishing for human drumming.


#12

Best music of 2016 - 3rd Quarter

. 9. Hannah James - Jigdoll

I backed this on kickstarter on faith, without having heard any of Hannah James’s solo music before. It was worth it. It’s a stunning debut of modern folk music, on which Hannah multi-tracks voice, accordion and percussion to haunting effect. Makes me wish I had seen her live shows last year.

. 10 Lady Maisery - Cycle

It’s Hannah James again (that keeps happening to me, the same names crop up in different places), this time in a trio with Fiddle and Harp playing (mostly) traditional music, so a completely different character to Jigdoll.

. 11 The Shee - Continuum

I just picked this at the album launch at the weekend and it’s already played to death. It’s not traditional, it’s all newly-commissioned music (from names like Martin Simpson, Kathryn Tickell, Chris Wood…) but it’s a perfect example of modern folk music.

Ok, finished, though I have maybe two more new CDs to come later in the year.


#13

Here’s my list, so far:

  1. Crystal Castles - Amnesty (I)
  2. MSTRKRFT - OPERATOR
  3. Grimes - Art Angels
  4. The Avalanches - Wildflower
  5. Jack Garratt - Phase
  6. Kendrick Lamar - Untitled Unmastered
  7. Kanye West - The Life of Pablo
  8. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
  9. Frank Ocean - Blond
  10. Death Grips - Bottomless Pit

#14

Danger is the boss.


#15

Big release date for me, maybe the biggest in years. I haven’t been to the store yet but I plan to buy Danny Brown, Nicolas Jaar, Solange, Bon Iver, and the Drive-By Truckers.

Yes I still buy physical media (not sure if Solange got a physical release tho). I am a sucker I guess, but I still love it. I have heard all of these albums already, and they’re all great.


#16

The Solange album is so good. Listening now.

I want to check out Bon Iver (heard a little of this and it’s great), Jaar, and Danny Brown, too.


#17

Just listened to Roosevelt’s self-titled debut album. Great stuff.


#18

The new A Tribe Called Quest album is fantastic. I was expecting a solid latter day release, something akin to Nas’s Life Is Good, but this is on par with their creative peak.

Features from Elton John, Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Jack White, Busta Rhymes, and (briefly) Kanye, too.


#19

Rick Astley’s comeback album has been nominated for album of the year at the BBC Music Awards.

Astley’s 50 gave the singer his first UK number one for almost 30 years.

It will compete for the BBC Radio 2 album of the year award with Adele’s 25, Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams, ELO’s Alone in the Universe and Michael Kiwanuka’s Love & Hate.

But there is no place on the shortlist for David Bowie’s Blackstar, which came out days before his death in January.

:expressionless:


#20

I heard Rick Astley on The Nerdist podcast the other day. It was quite refreshing when he was asked how he hadn’t done much between the early 90s and now that he said he made loads of money and was quite sensible with it so he was fine.