2016 was a phenomenal year for music. I’ve been listening to a huge volume of new albums this year, and having that crazy passion for music running through my veins again just feels truly amazing. I did my best to narrow down my long long list to just 10 albums but it was a hard task as I started with a respectable list of 25, which is surely a little indication about the quality of good albums this year. now LESS TALK MORE ROCK!
Jay IDK – Empty bank
I had zero idea who Jay IDK (which stand for “Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge”) was before I stumbled upon this record. what caught my attention to it was the cynical cover and album title, Empty bank. What I didn’t know at the time is that this dangerously quirky album will be my most played and no.1 this year.
The album, as the name indicates, is all about money and the problems it brings. Jay is an excellent storyteller, and he deliver his funny narrative with such charisma and wit, that you can’t help but instantly like him and this super-awesome album he created. get into it!
Swain – The long dark blue
Previously known as This Routine is Hell, which sounded exactly like Trash Talk, the guys took a new direction musically and changed the fuck out of their game (and name!), which made me very happy cuz let’s be honest… they had more potential than just being TT’s copycats. The Long Dark Blue is an angry/romantic grunge masterpiece with a fresh, dissonance heavy sound that often makes me shiver. They sure know their way around a killer riff and a catchy-as-fuck melody which you end up humming constantly throughout the day. Reinventing yourself as an artist ain’t easy but they’ve accomplished that perfectly, respect.
The Hotelier – Goodness
The Hotelier’s new album brings a much more mature and refined sound than their previous album Home, Like No Place Is There, which found the band going through the emo revival phase a lot of bands went through in 2014. While Home dealt with dark matters, Goodness is all about healing and moving forward. it’s a complex album with many depths and layers that beautifully unfold as the album progress.
Band of Horses – Why are you OK
If you ask my what the soundtrack to my summer was, I will answer Why are you OK. I was so so happy when this album finally came out as BOH is one of my favourite bands ever, and after a limping 2012 album – I highly anticipated this one. The guys are back with their fabulous sound and sweet ballads that can be much credited to producer Jason Lytle, from Grandaddy (another one of my favourites) and killer harmonies that just make you want to sing-along. Frontman Ben Bridwell’s experience as a father of four was the inspiration for this album, he said in one interview —”I work all night and then take them to school in the morning,” he joked, adding, “I’m the fucking scariest dad in the school, I’m sure.” parenthood teaches some to put their own problems aside and recognise what’s really important when other people are depending on you, and you can hear that in every note throughout the album.
Also, this song #majorfeels Listen / Watch
Bon Iver – 22 A million
More often then not, certain albums takes me back to certain times in my life, and Bon Iver is a prime example of that.
It’s been 5 years since Bon Iver’s last album, 5 years in which my life have changed tremendously, and to be completely honest I was kinda dreading this one for the reason mentioned above. Although I hardly listen to their old stuff nowdays, that feeling is always there.
I really hoped this album is gonna sound diffidently and when the first few singles dropped, I let a big sigh of relief. It was strange, weird, extremely experimental and just vaguely resembling the old Bon Iver. It’s a bit weird at first, wrapping your head around this new sound which is miles away from Justin Vernon’s identified folk-y vibe, but at the same time it’s undoubtedly him. I simply love the innovative and challenging approach this album offers to the listener – it just tick all the boxes for me.
Lontalius – I’ll forget 17
Being a teenager is hard. do you remember? those weird years between 15-19 when all you wanted from the world around you is to just make sense, and it constantly didn’t? I remember that vividly, and with Eddie Johnston (aka Lontalius) I get to actually relive this feeling in my head, which is a bit strange when you’re 33, but at the same time awkwardly nice.
I’ll forget 17 is a beautifully crafted album where Johnston, who is only 19, mixes his angelic, almost James Blake-y like voice with synthesisers to create an honest time capsule of youth.
Nothing – Tired of tomorrow
Nothing portray a very gloomy image of Life on Tired of Tomorrow; the lyrics are often dark and deals with a general sense of despair and just about all the wrongs in the world.
The band is clearly influenced by 90’s alternative bands such as Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine while their sound can be described as a gentle touch of shoegaze meets grunge.
The album is very intense, the songs are raw and cut through the ears like a sharp knife and by the time you get to the end of this album you kinda feel emotionally drained, but not in a bad way I suppose… it wouldn’t be on my list otherwise.
A Tribe Called Quest – We got it from here… Thank you 4 your service
ATCQ has probably been one of the first rap groups I heard back in the early 90’s, and when I grew up they’ve become a fundamental sound in hip-hop/rap for me. 18 years have passed since their last album, 18 years in which every single one of their albums have been spinning on my playlists endlessly no matter what phase I was in my life, and that says a lot about the timeless nature of their discography.
The death of Phife Dawg earlier this year, cast a shadow on the rumoured new album in the works, but against the odds the remaining members pulled it together and released their last album, which sound as relevant today as they did back in the 90’s like nothing ever changed.
Pup – The dream is over
I remember the first time I heard this album vividly, because by the end of it I was sitting in my chair with a huge smile on my face, clapping my hands like a weirdo and thinking WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? Pup are the weirdest combo between Single Mothers (what is it with Canadian punk that sound amazingly the same?) and Weezer which is a top notch combo in my book. On this album, they play a fast, fun and full of energy punk rock filled with one billion awesome guitar riffs, sing-a-longs, and shit loads of screaming from front man Stefan Babcock, who was very close to losing his voice after developing a cyst on his vocal cords when they started touring, and hearing from the doctor that “the dream is over”. Luckily for us (and maybe less for Babcock) he told the doctor to fuck off – and this record was born, in a true punk way.
J.Cole – 4 your eyes only
A very late (December release!) and unexpected edition to my list comes in the form of this album, which I got so hooked on that there was no way I was gonna leave it out of my list!
J. Cole created this little masterpiece where his rhymes are the most flawless I’ve heard in a very long time. He mixes elements of jazz, strings and beats so effortlessly while touching delicates subjects such as growing up rough, drug abuse and oppressed black lives. This album is touching, and his voice stands out ever so beautifully.