2016 Music Report

It’s that time again: a year’s worth of trawling through blogs, friend recommendations, Anydecentmusic.com and Spotify Related Artists, producing multiple hundreds of candidates. The list is ground down over 365 days of listening, leaving only a few standing out at year’s end.

Each album is submitted to the usual treatment: a guaranteed three listens (unless I’m violently opposed from the get-go). If I like it at the end of the three, it either stays in rotation and is eventually archived in my ‘good albums of the year’ folder. If not, it gets thrown into the digital void and forgotten.

It’s different from how I used to consume music, and it’s the blessing and curse of moving from a physical to digital format – much easier to justify dropping the shit, but so much good stuff also gets forgotten along the way without a physical avatar to remind me it exists.

So here they are, the 20 or so albums of 2016 which wormed their ways into my heart (in order of first listen):

Shearwater – Jet Plane and Oxbow
Fiona Talkington (curated) – Northern Edition
Phronesis – Parallax
Solar Bears – Advancement
Nonkeen – The Gamble
Colin Stetson – SORROW: A reimagining of Gorecki’s 3rd symphony
Oddarrang – Agartha
Opeth – Sorceress
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid
Nick Cave – Skeleton Tree
Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
Drive-By Truckers – American Band
Knifeworld – Bottled Out Of Eden
Wrekmeister Harmonies – Light Falls
Russian Circles – Guidance
Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 3
Ticon – Mirage
Overhead, The Albatross – Learning To Growl
Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
Animals As Leaders – The Madness Of Many
Grumbling Fur – Furfour
Touche Amore – Stage Four

Shearwater – Jet Plane and Oxbow

Album number ten from these Austin, TX rockers was always destined to be on this list. It has too many elements for which I’m an absolute sucker: catchy melodies, epic loudness range, reverberant spaces, intelligent lyrics, a perfect blend of amplified, acoustic and electronic (also there’s plenty of 80s production here too; it’s hard to not like huge gated verb on drums).

This is grand and stadium-ready. It’s also intelligent and yields more with each listen.

Fiona Talkington (curated) – Northern Edition

Phronesis – Parallax

Nonkeen – The Gamble

Colin Stetson – SORROW: A reimagining of Gorecki’s 3rd symphony

Oddarrang – Agartha

Opeth – Sorceress

Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid

Nick Cave – Skeleton Tree

Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker

Drive-By Truckers – American Band

Knifeworld – Bottled Out Of Eden

Wrekmeister Harmonies – Light Falls

Russian Circles – Guidance

Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 3

Ticon – Mirage

Overhead, The Albatross – Learning To Growl

Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos

Animals As Leaders – The Madness Of Many

Grumbling Fur – Furfour

Touche Amore – Stage Four

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