I know you don’t care, but here are
My Favorite Albums of 2016
by Cass McCombsCass McComb’s indie-folk is deep and beguiling. Aspects of his lyrics and arrangements are reminiscent of Bill Callahan, such as when he switches from singing on Medusa’s Outhouse to intoning “If it’s so easy, you try. Here, you try.” This somewhat inscrutable change seems dark, but then turns out to be a Seinfeld reference. So, with McCombs you get it all; gorgeous songwriting, interesting lyrics, and moods to suit all.Bum Bum Bum
by Sunflower BeanSunflower Bean is an incredibly fun, upbeat band. They write catchy pop, and while some of their hooks feel dark, their irreverent attitude comes through in their goofball lyricism.I Was Home
by David BowieAfter a life of transformations, David Bowie’s final record settled into a new soundscape; his backing band for Blackstar was a local NYC jazz combo. As Bowie died two days after the record’s release, many of the songs are cast in the light of an ill man making his last music, and it is beautiful and heartbreaking.Lazarus
by BadBadNotGoodIV is a very fine contemporary jazz record. The Canadian 4-piece creates fun, almost hip-hop inflected tunes, and moves effortlessly between styles. Some are electronic jazz instrumentals, others showcase wild horn solos, and a few feature guest vocalists (like the standout track Time Moves Slow).Speaking Gently
by Heron OblivionHeron Oblivion updates a genre that I’ve always had an appreciation for: progressive folk. In this self-titled debut, they update the soundscape to be more rock than folk, and update the vibe to be a bit more psychedelic. In the end, it all comes together to a very enjoyable pastiche.Sudden Lament
by The AvalanchesThe Avalanches’ long-awaited followup to their 2000 plunderphonics record Since I Left You keeps most of the elements that put them on the map, while refreshing others. The biggest departure from their previous work is an assortment of non-sampled vocal tracks, and by and large, this experiment in original composition lands well. Though there are some deep troughs in the record (particularly the song The Noisy Eater), it is very enjoyable on the whole.Subways
A Moon Shaped Pool
by RadioheadThis beautifully arranged record finds a home for some of Radiohead’s longest-standing unreleased material, songs like True Love Waits and Burn The Witch. It’s interesting to see how the band’s skill and experience in new arenas (like Jonny Greenwood’s orchestral score for There Will Be Blood) can come together to perfect old material like this.Decks Dark
by Anderson PaakAnderson Paak has got to be one of the most charismatic performers working these days. He sings and raps while playing driving, staccato drums. His performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk was so fun, I bought the record before it was finished.The Bird
Light Upon The Lake
by WhitneyWhitney is sort of throwback music, that which revels in the influences of two of the members’ previous bands, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Smith Westerns. Beautifully orchestrated, it glides along with strings and horns and goes down easy.No Woman
That’s it. Thanks for reading.
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