2016 was a year where I didn’t do much but listen to 98.9 Nash Icon, Steely Dan, and The Rita… But in the odd minute here and there I tried to fit in some new releases and what follows is the fruit of that listening. Apologies for the delay, I know we’ve all moved on to 2017 and no one wants to look back, but hey here’s 2016 again:
Best of 2016
1) Blood Pressure – Need To Control (Beach Impediment Records)
-Only one record I heard this year could be described as perfect, and this is it.
2) Weyes Blood – Front Row Seat To Earth (Kemado Records)
-Weyes Blood’s ever-expanding approach to baroque, ethereal folk just keeps getting better, and Front Row Seat To Earth isn’t hurting for its poppier sensibilities.
3) Battle Trance – Blade Of Love (NNA Tapes/New Amsterdam Records)
-Not quite the revelation that Palace Of Wind was, but a remarkable contemporary avant-garde jazz record nonetheless. Sax heaven.
4) Sissy Spacek – Reversed Normalization (Helicopter) / Disfathom (Helicopter)
-Reversed Normalization highlights Wiese’s fixation on The Haters, pumping out three killer tracks of musique concrete harsh noise blasts whose mangled vocals and stop-starts belie Sissy Spacek’s noisecore affinities. Disfathom, on the other hand, takes the bands noisecore and renders it as some of the cleanest riffless grind they have yet produced. Can’t settle on one? Why not pick both.
5) Bromp Treb – Concession Themes (Feeding Tube Records)
-Where to even begin on this one? Bromp’s bleeps and bloops create a new grammar here, beyond noise, beyond everything. Deep spaces communications, deep sea rumblings, mechanical malfunctions; disorienting beats transmitting to the furthest reaches.
6) Russian Tsarlag – Unexplained American Goat (Wharf Cat Records)
-The slime drone chants of earlier releases has given way to Angelo Badalamenti inspired desolate ghost ballads.
7) Tapehead – Welcome To Heck (Media Schlitz)
-Rotcore goes KISS. Hard rock’n’roll and Clevo influenced punk fuse to make the best bar rock band of 2016. Raise your cans of Genee Cream and welcome in the new order of rock’n’roll.
8) Samuel Boat – Flowers 12 Stems 3 Sunflowers (OSR Tapes)
-Off-kilter bedroom pop that feels both goofy and personal. For fans of Gnar Tapes or The Kingdom Flying Club.
9) Arms Race – New Wave Of British Hardcore (Painkiller Records , La Vida Es Un Mus )
-80s UK- and USHC and oi! come together with seething results as Arms Race throws together influences ranging from YDI to Ultra Violent into a mosh-ready classic.
10) NAO – For All We Know (Little Tokyo Recordings)
-Featuring production from AK Paul, NAO’s debut album of electrofunk blends together Prince (early as well as more recent tracks like “Funknroll”), 90s R&B, and soul into an engaging whole full of massive sounding synth work, addictive hooks, and stand-out vocals.
Honorable Mentions: Gucci Mane – The Return Of East Atlanta Santa (Atlantic), Farting Corspe – s/t (Craniophagus Parasiticus Records)
1) Diva Cup – Overflow (Saucepan Records/Minimal Care)
-Ugly, clamorous, snotty drum-and-bass noise punk/hardcore. Trashy, tinny tone. Howled vocals. Beyond necessary. Diva Cup is all you need.
2) Putrefacao Humana – Colhendo Desespero (At War With False Noise/SPHC/ +6 others)
-Early 90s cult Brazilian noisecore pushed into pure noise through no fidelity. Essential. Brutal. Not for the faint of heart.
3) OPS-PSF/Limbs Bin/Parasite Social/Penis Geyser – 4-way split (Smash Music/Follow Me In The Laser Eye)
-An absolutely necessary and incredibly diverse sampling of some of the best noisecore going in the world today.
4) xRepentancex – Cleansing (Carry The Weight Records)
-Continuing to prove that vegan straightedge metalcore can still be great, xRepentancex follows up with one of last year’s most moshable bangers with two more essential tracks. RIP.
5) Son Of Salami – Bacon Street (Post-Materialization Music)
-Joey Pizza Slice puts forth four of the catchiest tracks of 2016. Lo-fi pop gold. The only thing keeping this EP so low is how brief it feels.
6) Uranium Club – Who Made The Man? (Static Shock)
-Devo is alive and well in Minnesota.
7) NASA Space Universe – 70 AD EP (Feel It Records)
-NSU’s final will and testament, 70 AD EP, left us with nine tracks of the SST-Japanese-Die Kreuzen chaotic hardcore they spent years developing to perfection. Vocals remain unhinged as ever while musically it grows evermore into Neu! territory. Nothing like going out on top.
8) Impalers – Cellar Dweller Promo Tape (self-released)
-This teaser should have everyone excited for more to come from these Texas psychedelic hardcore greats.
1) Gucci Mane – Guwop Home (feat. Young Thug)
-2016 was a big year for Guwop (Everybody Looking, Woptober, The Return Of East Atlanta Santa, featured on countless tracks) and no where is it more apparent than on the modern trap masterpiece that is Guwop Home. It also doesn’t hurt that everything Thugger touches is gold.
2) Tim McGraw – Humble & Kind
-Top 40 country perfection. Simple, catchy, and memorable.
3) Bromp Treb – side B of The Last Functioning Audio Cassette Left On The Planet
-Brompifornia dreaming on such a winter’s day.