It’s that time of year again. A month after I should have gotten my best of list out to the world. What a strange year for music. I definitely didn’t listen to as much this year for numerous reasons. Between transferring years worth of music from Rdio to another service and navigating all the bugs of Apple Music and Spotify, it was hard to focus on music that really stuck with me this year. Here are 10 records that I did spend time with. No particular order really. Check out the playlist below with a few extra tracks thrown in. Enjoy!
1. A Tribe Called Quest – We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service. I didn’t see this one coming. These guys were the sound of my high school. Never though I’d hear from them again let alone with something so vital. The way they dropped “We the People” the week of the election was electrifying. No hype building to the release just “BAM! Check this out!” and a spot on the best episode of SNL since Bush Sr. was president. What I said about no particular order isn’t true. This is the best album of the year.
2. Savages – Adore Life. Coolest band in the world for a few years now. Best live band, too. Never seen a crowd go crazy for new tunes like when they previewed these at FYF 2015. If Jehnny Beth’s ferocious a capella intro to “I Need Something New” doesn’t give you the chills there’s no saving you. Can’t wait to see what they do next. Punk as fuck!
3. Phantogram – Three. This is exactly what pop music should sound like in 2016. The lovechild of Curve and Massive Attack. Deeper, darker, chaotic. I love seeing a band get better with every record.
4. Trentemøller – Fixion. Never would of checked him out if not for the collaboration with Savages. He mixed their album and Jehnny Beth sings on his track “River in Me.” Stark, gothic body movements.
5. Boxed In – Melt. So many good jams on here. A darker, moodier, Englishier version of LCD Soundsystem.
6. Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos. The poet laureate of South London. As a rapper, poet, playwright, and novelist, Kate Tempest has mastered the English language much as Nick Cave has. Her words bring harrowing detail to the lives of her characters. I’m reading her novel “The Bricks that Built the Houses” right now. This girl is punching way above her weight.
7. Operators – Blue Wave. In case you didn’t realize we’re in the age of the synthesizer. Dan Boeckner makes the robots rock again.
8. The Kills – Ash & Ice. What can I say? These guys have been around for a bit doing their thing but they somehow keep getting better. Listened to this record a ton.
9. Glass Gang – 1 for None. Another synth rocker. Maybe it’s cause the singer reminds me of Michael Hutchence on the track “Luxury.” Big ups to Sonny DiPerrri for producing.
10. The Veils – Total Depravity. So… In the past I’ve always excluded records I worked on cause that’s a bit weird to praise your own production so much. But if you take away all of my contribution to this album you’re still left with three absolutely stunning tracks. The opening track “Axolotl” and closing title track both produced by EL-P of Run the Jewels are gorgeously abrasive slabs of soulful noise while “In the Nightfall” produced by Dean Hurley is like the eye of a hurricane in it’s beautiful stillness. Always an honor to work with such talent.