Here are some honourable mentions to start off my list. With new material coming from Pixies, Die Antwoord Slaves and many more, its been a huge year for the music world in 2016. Overall there have been some brilliant releases, one of these being The Saint Leonard record which is a mix of lyrics and melodies striking you with hypnotic powers, I’m so proud to say I had the opportunity to witness them sing live and it was great to support a couple of the shows they performed at.
Alongside this record some other honourable mentions include the new bluesy Rolling Stones record, a collection of Bob Dylan live recordings and also singles/EPs released by artists such as ‘The Garden’ ‘Cherry Glazerr’ and ‘Loyle Carner’. After multiple cuts, copies and pastes of different artists and analysis of all the talent we’ve seen this year, this was the final list I formulated. I hope you check out all the records mentioned above and find something which you fall in love with.
(10) PAINKILLER- JEEMBO
You know that feeling when you get home from work after like a 12 hour shift and you feel like nothing can revive you or bring life back into your soul? Well I promise this is the magical solution to your drowsiness. This record will not only give you like ten energy boosts, it will also make you want to go to every single trap party in town and do seven all nighters in one row.
(9)YES IM A WITCH TOO- YOKO ONO
Its Yoko Ono. Nothing more said.
(8) BLACK FACE (LP) - SCHOOLBOY Q
Normally I find it hard to listen to any post 90s rap but this stuff is really good, like really really really good! Schoolboy Q just keeps coming out with music which is the perfect balance between old and new.
Russian rap artist pharaoh has released not one, not two, but three whole albums this year filled to the brim with hard core trap beats and muffled Russian rap words. This genius continues to keep progressing with his sound and I promise you don’t have to understand what he’s saying in order to get into the music, the sound speaks for itself.
(6) (AMNESTY I) – CRYSTAL CASTLES
In mid-2014 my inner Witch House junkie died a little bit when Alice Glass announced she was leaving Crystal Castles. For me that was the death of time, space and life in itself; I thought nobody could ever compare to the hot pink lipped woman in the ‘Baptism’ music video, and began to resent the new alien who stepped into her place. I shouldn’t have been so quick to hate and judge as this new Crystal Castles record proves change isn’t always a bad thing and just allows for progression. In my opinion Edith Frances’ energetic vocals and persona is a great match to the former front woman and the record released this year proves that.
(5) CRAB DAY – CATE LE BON
I spent many of my teenage years buried under my bed sheets for days on end just listening to music, so perhaps that’s why Cate Le Bon’s tender music has always resonated with me. Her last record ‘Mug Museum’ is one of my all-time favourites featuring hypnotising and comforting tracks such as ‘Are you with me now’ and ‘I think I Knew’. There are elements of ‘Crab Day’ such as ‘love is not love’ which remind me of her previous record and she remains a lullaby transporting me from a lonely state into a state of peace. Thank you Cate le Bon.
(4) YOU WANT IT DARKER- LEONARD COHEN
I can’t be the only one who was wishing deep down that his last record would be dominated by acoustic strings just like his earlier works, and in my opinion none of Leonard Cohen’s later music compares to his first three albums but despite this ‘You Want It Darker’ is still a beautiful record due to its consistently rich lyrics. I still mourn the death of this musician and poet, but as he himself said ‘A singer must die’ and he will forever remain one of the most talented storytellers this world has ever seen. This was a beautiful testament to his artistry.
(3) SOFT HAIR – SOFT HAIR
The self-titled Soft Hair album puts me in one of two moods, wanting to either strut around my room in my underwear post shower or dance dirty in an 80s themed sweaty club and to me that’s why it’s one of the top albums of 2016. With its effortlessly cool lyrics and craftsmanship, I think this record is also one of the most underrated albums of the year. Not only is the sound unique but the music video to ‘This Lying Has To Stop’ is one of the best pieces of modern art in my opinion- it features Connan Mockasin singing half naked in front of a wall coated in tin foil alongside a beautiful shower scene with Sam Eastgate. If I could play this record anywhere I would play it in a futuristic alien spaceship on a trip to the moon stuck in 1981.
(2) WINOLOTO – TOMMY CASH (SINGLE)
Tommy cash is an Estonian Pro Rap superstar Gopnik who is currently one of the most creative Eastern European artists to emerge from the Baltic States’ music scene, and for this exact reason I put his 2016 single release ‘Winoloto’ at number two. Yes, it is a bit of a cheat BUT his single is the only single to feature on my top ten ‘Album’ releases list of the year, and this is purely due to the fact that he’s so cool I have to mention at least one of his pieces or else I wouldn’t be doing the list any justice at all. Hopefully there will be a 2017 album release that I can mention next year, but for now we have this punchy blend of bone snappin’ beats and rapping with a Russian accent. ps. He’s crazy live.
(1) BLACKSTAR – DAVID BOWIE
2016 saw the death of many individual geniuses as well as witnessing the end to a collective of minds- not only was the life of David Bowie taken away but so was Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke, Aladdin sane, and Blackstar; who was the last one standing. It wasn’t just the last studio album released by the world famous shapeshifting music and fashion icon but it was also the last era he ever birthed. This is why ‘Blackstar’ is not only the best album of 2016 but also the most significant and although Bowie’s legacy will live on forever in our hearts we cannot grieve his mortal death for we all know his mind was from another planet and he was only visiting. This album was the final chapter of a brilliant masterpiece which kept each listener, viewer and fan enticed throughout this journey starting from 1969 when his first record was released, and reaching out till forever.