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Best Music of 2016

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Best Music of 2016

Postby numbersix » December 15th, 2016, 7:26 am

It wouldn't be Christmas without excessive amounts of lists. And so it's time for whoever is up for it to take on their favourite songs and/or albums of the year.

I'm going to post the 5 albums that almost made my Top 10 on Saturday or Sunday, and then from Monday I'll be counting down my Top 10 songs and albums, one of each every day. Hoping Surfer, who's in the process of Facebooking his advent music calendar as we speak, can join in too.
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Re: Best Music of 2016

Postby JohnErle » December 15th, 2016, 1:01 pm

Since shutting down Dynamic Range Radio for good this year I haven't made any effort to keep up with what's new out there ( I didn't even know Bat For Lashes had new music out until Surfer mentioned it on FB) but I should be able to scrape together a Top 5, mostly from artists I've liked in the past who came out with something new.
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Re: Best Music of 2016

Postby silversurfer19 » December 15th, 2016, 4:51 pm

Hey guys, sorry I've not been around much lately, lots of stuff going on in my life (some good some not so), but always try to pop in every so often just to see what you are all up to. Will definitely be contributing on here, don't worry about that. Will probably just be a cut and paste job from Facebook with maybe a different video, but I will certainly be interested in what everyone has been enjoying this past year. Finding that record that I'd either missed or dismissed is always a lot of fun!
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Re: Best Music of 2016

Postby numbersix » December 15th, 2016, 5:06 pm

Great!
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Re: Best Music of 2016

Postby numbersix » December 18th, 2016, 8:28 am

Gonna kick off my Best of 2016 with a list of 5 albums that just missed my top 10:

PJ Harvey: The Hope Six Demolition Project
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wai3pwVs_ms
While still an earnest and impressive album, the political aspect of the lyrics didn't always work, and the songs weren't instant classics like her last record.

Tim Hecker: Love Streams
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vn9FXebN9g
More beautiful, chilling, wonderous ambient music from the master, and this is perhaps his best work to date.

Pill: Convenience
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGKyj9ZFqaA
An impressive debut from the post-punk sax-infused noise act.

Marching Church: Telling it Like it Is
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eo6EidVmj4
Elias Ronnenfeld's solo act has found its groove with this collection of assured alt-rock songs, channeling everyone from Cohen, Bowie, The Pogues to Nick Cave.

Pop 1280: Paradise
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruA-wco5voc
Dark, gloomy sci-fi inspired industrial music. Heavy as fuck
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Re: Best Music of 2016

Postby Leestu » December 19th, 2016, 12:12 am

I just listened to the Tim Hecker album last week....I tried but whilst pleasant enough it was too ambient for my tastes.
I couldn't get into the PJ Harvey album this year...sadly I found it a bit forgettable.
I liked the couple of songs I heard from Marching Church throughout the year....I'll check out the whole album soon.
Haven't heard of the other two artists. I'll listen to these tracks when I get a chance, hopefully when I get home from work today.
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Re: Best Music of 2016

Postby Leestu » December 19th, 2016, 6:17 am

Before a few albums that just missed my top 10 I'm going to start with a couple of great EPs from this year that I listened to a lot. With modern albums these days often being about 40 minutes and only 8 songs or so, these aren't much shorter and deserve recognition. They are not just a great single and a few throwaway b sides, they are a peice of art themselves with all great songs.

Gang of Youths: Let Me Be Clear
https://youtu.be/z9SCIeMh8G0
https://open.spotify.com/album/0GzFdmuO7jyvXWA1G9L7tT
6 songs of angsty passionate alt rock goodness.Highlights are Strange Diseases, Both Sides Now, The Good Fight.

Tiny Little Houses: Snow Globe
https://youtu.be/vjaypxttsgg
https://open.spotify.com/album/50o7IDk7ht5WzUfI0WgdvA
Indie noise pop folk whatever. Whiney in a good way! Other highlights are the acoustic Hate That You're Happy and an inspired cover of Kasey Chambers, Not Pretty Enough, turning a shitty country pop song into something sublime.

LVL UP: Return To Love
https://youtu.be/tGhvLX5BDKw
https://open.spotify.com/album/1Rbn1CelIquUSSBqnZ9gTl
90s lo fi inspired mixed with some grunge and post rock influences surprisingly works. Fittingly on the Sub Pop label. Other highlights Five Men on the Ridge, and the album closer Naked in the River with the Creator.

Catfish and the Bottlemen: The Ride
https://youtu.be/Ibv5N70ncsk
https://open.spotify.com/album/6PrcsM0LNzEYEmxvLNTJQN
I dismissed this band at first but this album full of catchy singalong songs surprised me. Other highlights are Twice, Soundcheck, Postpone.

Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool
https://youtu.be/Ti6qhk3tX2s
https://open.spotify.com/album/6vuykQgDLUCiZ7YggIpLM9
Radiohead are becoming synonomous with quality. Other highlights Burn The Witch, Identikit, Daydreaming.
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Re: Best Music of 2016

Postby numbersix » December 19th, 2016, 12:12 pm

Here we go...

Album #10
DIIV: Is The Is Are



DIIV's second album takes the drugs out of sex and rock n roll, and turns it into something sickening. You can tell the lead singer was in the middle of rehab when he conceived of these songs, many of them incredibly downbeat and defeatist. That strategy could have made for a dreary aural experience, but the band's mastery manages to make the pain and suffering all sound immensely beautiful. I could have done with a few less tracks (there are 17 on the album) but the ones that work really do work.


Track #10
Exploded View: Orlando



Simplicity can sometimes be the key. This haunting track by new US/Mexican act Exploded View is grounded by a groovy drum and bass combo, yet pushed into the ether with a descending synth loop and the singers Nico-like vocal performance.
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Re: Best Music of 2016

Postby numbersix » December 20th, 2016, 5:53 am

Album #9
Danny Brown: Atrocity Exhibition



While the world was singing praises for Kendrick Lamar's demos album and Kanye's overblown and occasionally brilliant The Life of Pablo, this came along and blew them all away. Danny Brown comes across as the hip-hop king of weird, using strange samples (including some post-punk!) do deliver warped songs about the queasy aspects of his life. It's a varied and atmospheric record. It also slightly helps that he sometimes sounds like Chief Wiggum.


Track #9
Jesu and Sun Kil Moon: Exodus



We're all quite aware at how 2016 is being labelled as a shitty year. This track, a collaboration between country act Sun Kil Moon, whose albums frequently feature in my yearly Top 10s, and experimental metal band Jesu. Starting off in typical SKM style, Mark Kozelek's lyrics are diary-like as he ponders of the death of Nick Cave's song, leading him to the topic of loss in general, while Jesu's gentle piano accompanies. But the song builds into a beautiful coda of empathy and healing, as Mark and a chorus (including Low's Mimi Parker) sing to those who have lost their children.
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Re: Best Music of 2016

Postby Buscemi » December 20th, 2016, 5:58 am

So Danny Brown's from Baltimore (or he's the reincarnation of Edward G. Robinson)?

I will never understand how Kanye West is still relevant. The guy is like the musical version of James Franco: spending every waking moment trying to find new ways to end his career or do something so irredeemable or self-indulgent but somehow failing to do that as he's still getting untold amounts of money to do things.

Of course, these are probably the same people that keep Saturday Night Live in the public eye despite it being run by a walking corpse and being an overlong and less funny copycat of The Daily Show (I can't wait until either a. NBC finally cancels it* or b. they get a showrunner that actually understands humor and doesn't insist on copying the overpraised Tina Fey formula that was wasn't funny to begin with but only got praised for Fey's Palin impression after she left the show**).

* - But they never will as their timeslot is unopposed and the Big Four still thinks the Nielsens are gospel.
** - Political humor is fine in short spurts but being dependent on it all the time just to get on all the news stations because you think you're The Daily Show is simply desperate, especially since the pre-Fey were never dependent on it, choosing instead to focus on the talent and characters. Of course, SNL hasn't had a truly talented figure since Will Ferrell.

Rant over. As for music, I'm not sure if I listened to anything new this year (the most recent David Lynch album, the most recent Scala and Kolacny Bros. album, and whatever film scores on Spotify were the closest). Radio stations here are shit (it's all 1. talk radio/religion up your ass, 2. country/classic country/alt-country with some sports peppered in, 3. adult contemporary/trying to convince you that Carrie Underwood is a good musician, or 4. formats that refuse to shut up about how great the 80's were aka Stranger Things: The Radio Format) and anything good is few and far between. Good thing I got Spotify on my phone. It made a long road trip to and back from Kansas City a lot easier (stations listened to: David Lynch Radio, Tom Waits Radio, Ennio Morricone Radio, and I think I listened to Eva Cassidy Radio also).
Everything on this post is strictly the opinion and only the opinion of Buscemi.

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Re: Best Music of 2016

Postby Leestu » December 20th, 2016, 6:22 am

Album #10

Jarrow "2003 Dream"

https://open.spotify.com/album/1R13utGfwVwK5AAyoEzqLt

This is why I love listening to whole albums when I hear a song I like, because you never know when you'll find an unpolished gem amongst the detritus that passed under everyone's radar. Like this debut album from Jarrow. Low fi bedroom indie pop that is interesting and quirky with a good mood vibe that just kept me coming back to listen to again and again. I guess somebody else liked it because combined with some rave live reviews it scored him the opening slot on the upcoming Car Seat Headrest sideshows over east.
Other favourite tracks are James Impala, Mutual Feelings, Cube (featuring a great sax coda).
Here is the song that made me listen to the album:

$$ Spoilers $$



As usual my real 10 favourite songs would all be from my favourite albums, in fact even more so this year where half of them would be from my #1 album, so here are 10 songs worth hearing from 2016.

Song #10

Hideous Sun Demon "Oscillate"'

https://open.spotify.com/track/2I2hc9tJISFu1qhgk5g566

One of my favourite local bands to see live. I've seen them about five times this year including when they supported Thee Oh Sees. The lead singer's demented, intense performance is something worth seeing. From the very good album "Industry Connections" released this year.

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Re: Best Music of 2016

Postby numbersix » December 20th, 2016, 6:41 am

The thing about Kanye is that you have to separate the persona from the music. He's annoying as fuck as a persona, but abstract that from the music and you'll see him in a different light. His last few albums have contained profoundly brilliant music, so if I have to enduring his posturing in order to get music as ambitious as that, I'll do so.


Also, Leets listed to your #10s. The album track was pretty good- very lo-fi but very pleasant. The HSD song was blocked, but I listened to another and sounds like my kinda thing. Definitely in that Thee Oh Sees twisted rock n roll world. You Aussies are great at that!
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Re: Best Music of 2016

Postby Leestu » December 21st, 2016, 6:00 am

Album #9

David Bowie "Blackstar

https://open.spotify.com/album/2w1YJXWMIco6EBf0CovvVN

What a fucker of a year 2016 was, losing Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Lemmy, and Prince Buster. Bowie was a one of a kind legend and to make a record this great (his best in decades, probably since Let's Dance in my opinion, and even before that in most others opinion) while he was going through what he was is remarkable. I doubt we will ever experience anything like that again. At least I was consoled by him leaving us this parting gift. His music will always live on.

Girl Loves me


Song #9

Wedding Ring Bells "That Joke Was Wasted On You"

About a month after I first heard this song the artist, Fergus Miller, tragically passed away. I was listening to the radio when the presenter announcing this news broke down in uncontrollable sobs. It was the realest emotionally powerful radio I have ever heard and added poignancy to an already beautifully sad song. A few years ago he released music under the name Bored Nothing and for further evidence of his talent and potential check out a song called Bliss. The whole Bored Nothing album is worth listening to but Bliss is the highlight.

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Re: Best Music of 2016

Postby numbersix » December 21st, 2016, 9:29 pm

Album #8
David Bowie: Blackstar



Oh my, what a loss. One of the few names that inspired everyone, whether old, new, fans of classic rock, musos, pop fans, those who appreciate avante garde art, design, fashion, film, etc. When I got this record he was still alive, and I remarked how strong it was, more than the usual "return to form" crap critics spout. And then the following day he dies. And the album takes on a new weight, the tone and mood of some songs make more sense. What a genius. To make the realisation that he's going to die into art, to make his death a tribute to his music and his fans. It's the ultimate artistic statement. Literally to his last day Bowie remained bold and visionary.


Track #8
Jenny Hval: Female Vampire



Jenny Hval comes across more like a conceptual artist than a musician at times, although in her latest record Blood Bitch she manages to marry the two. Based around menstruation, these songs sound great, particularly this key track, her ethereal vocals floating around a tune anchored in an electro beat. I think Bowie would have liked it.
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Re: Best Music of 2016

Postby Leestu » December 22nd, 2016, 5:33 am

I forgot about Alan Vega in yesterday's post. A major influence on a lot of bands I've loved over the last 30 years from The Jesus and Marychain and Spacemen 3 to LCD Soundsystem and Thee Oh Sees. An unforgivable omission. :oops:

Album #8

Big Scary "Animal"

https://open.spotify.com/album/6C1V5WGnR4B1YS2mAfJmDP

For an excellent description of this album from the band themselves see http://www.bigscary.net but if that's a bit tl;dr I will summarise poorly. Not a concept album as such but a thematic album about life, from base desires of reproduction, hunger, and survival through to higher concepts of love and kindness. But more importantly this duo's third album is full of tunes. Hard to define as a specific genre every song is different, but they are all intersting, well written, nuanced songs that are great to listen to again and again. As no single song can adequately express what the album is like as a whole I've chosen my favourite. A great song with an awesome piano hook.

The Opposite of Us


Song #8

DOPE LEMON "Marinade"

https://open.spotify.com/track/6hEgxs180paMoUGrHQKarf

A side project of Angus Stone of Angus and Julia Stone fame this song has a killer hook and a Lou Reed vibe. The opening track from an interesting album where he has taken his folk inclinations to full on hippy shit by the end of the album.

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