Hello friends! For the last 8 years, I have released my Favorite Albums of the Year as a note on my Facebook page, but this year since I had this newly re-done site I decided to post them here, and with some clickable jams along with it! I've had hundreds of coffees to these albums here, and I hope you do as well. Welcome to my 9th Annual Favorite Albums of the Year, 2016 Edition.
I was surprised by the amount of music that released in 2016, or rather, the amount of enjoyable music. It seemed to start right away at the turn of 2015-2016, and it never really stopped. I'll preface as I have in some of my previous years, the list is in order as of today when I organized it, however obviously slight (or maybe drastic) bumps occur from day to day.
Saosin - Along The Shadow
There are two vocalists that I love listening to in modern post-rock music: Jonny Craig and Anthony Green. Now, I enjoy Circa Survive, but I still don't think anything really touches the power behind Saosin's 2003 Translating the Name. That said, having Anthony back in the band has been enjoyable, if for only little moments on the track that try to be what they used to be. The leading track The Silver String being a great example of that.
Rival Choir - I Believe, Help My Unbelief
Starting off like a The Chariot album, Denton, TX's Rival Choir is a band I never got to see while living in Dallas, though I knew one of the band members from the coffee community. You'll also notice they are the only post-hardcore band on my list. You gotta have one.
Wye Oak - Tween
While the Baltimore duo has always been a indie/folky/dream mashup of a sound, Tween is the most dreampop and slightly ghastly of any previous releases they've done, which is mainly what keeps me captivated in the album.
Explosions in the Sky - The Wilderness
Being a solo instrumental guitarist (or former one) I can't NOT like an Explosions in the Sky album. Is it my favorite they've put out? No Way. I'm still on team The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place. It is their best they've put out in the last 7 years though, and for that I'm glad to have it on the list.
Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
If you were to ask me what I'd think a new Radiohead album would sound like, I honestly couldn't tell you. As much as I love older Radiohead, which for the most part A Moon Shaped Pool reminds me of, it also isn't my favorite record they've done. I do love it though, I just find myself having to be in a certain mood to really appreciate it.
Thrice - To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere
Thrice has been pretty untouchable in sound since their inception. To Be Everywhere is a solid album that continues to provide nods to every style the band has hit in their ride as a band yet still being its own thing.
Porches - Pool
There is a band or artist like this that always ends up on my list. That Pallers/Toro y Moi synthpop vibe that I just love working to or chilling to. This year it happened to be Porches.
Ray Lamontagne - Ouroboros
Ray gets pretty trippy and vibey on this album, and I love it.
David Bazan - Blanco
David Bazan has been doing music forever. While I can often miss Pedro The Lion, I have loved most everything Bazan has released solo, with Blanco being his more even touching some of that beloved Headphones synth.
Leslie Odom Jr - Leslie Odom Jr
Maybe I just can't get enough of this Tony Award winning male vocalist, but Leslie Odom Jr and his jazz-filled solo album is one of my favorites.
All Get Out - Nobody Likes a Quitter
All Get Out is pretty underrated if you ask me. I love that despite the Manchester Orchestra influences, I've always been album to love them for them. Plus I remember sharing the stage with them years ago back in Cincinnati which always brings back good memories.
Jim James - Eternally Even
While I'd rather have a new My Morning Jacket album, I won't say no to more Yim.
Frank Ocean - Blonde
I won't lie, everyone was talking about Frank Ocean and I didn't really know who they were talking about. I was a bit late to the party, but finally decided to give it a listen and was caught off guard and simultaneously intrigued with the dreamy and atmospheric layering that filled most the songs. Is sort of drifts you through the album unlike I've heard in quite some time.
David Bowie - Blackstar
Bowie's 25th album surely came by surprise, and became all the more hauntingly beautiful in the wake of his death. I personally cannot get over the jazzy musicality combined with those dragging vocal lines.
John Paul White - Beulah
I've been waiting for a solo JPW album for a long time (what 10 years since his last?) and you know what? I think it sounds better than The Civil Wars. Great guitarist, great musician, great lyricist, great storyteller.
Caleb Groh - Ocelot
Caleb is perhaps one of the greatest musical minds I've ever met in person and I don't think he gets enough recognition for it. Ocelot is a slight deviation from, or at least full embrace of, sounds he's been hinting at for the last few years with beautiful execution in how it is tracked and layered. I love everything about this album.
From Indian Lakes - Everything Feels Better Now
This album is so haunting, so emotional, so dark compared to previous stuff. If Copeland ever made you sad, this may make you curl up into a ball and cry. I still love it, so so much.
Local Natives - Sunlit Youth
I know several people told me they didn't like this album as much because of the production being so prominent on the album. I get that, but this band isn't Cavil At Rest anymore. Where Hummingbird and Gorilla Hands have their place in intention, intensity, and emotion, Sunlit Youth is just a joy to listen to.
Bon Iver - 22, A Million
The release (live) of this album was like a dream come true. Ethan and I talking to each other while watching the stream from Eau Claire Festival. I loved it, and was excited to hear more from Justin Vernon. When the album released, as much as I enjoyed the songs (and honestly how insane it is to read some of the background of lyrics, history of songwriting, symbology etc), it felt too short to me, more like an EP. Still, so many layers going on.
James Blake - The Colour In Anything
While I wouldn't say Enough Thunder is my favorite work James Blake has done, it certainly is up there. I like the more airy, piano and vocal focus. I like the space it leaves. I find The Colour In Anything most similar to that sound.
Pinegrove - Cardinal
Pinegrove was the surprise album of the year for me, but it tugs at the strings of a year-year-younger self's heart.
Daughter - Not To Disappear
Daughter was a random discovery in 2013 and I'm so glad for it. Continuously beautiful, a little more aggressive than If You Leave (my favorite album in 2013), yet a wonderful start-to-finish listen.
Black Foxxes - I'm Not Well
Thank you for Nathan Quillo putting me on to these guys. Such a solid album, and I love albums that sound so full for a three piece. Part Silverchair, part My Epic, just a heck of a rock album.
The 1975 - I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It
I remember the first time I saw the video for The 1975's Sex, before they re-recorded it in their more anthem-rock version for the formal album. I loved it, runner-up for Song of The Year in 2013. This album was so unexpectedly wonderful. Dancy, groovy, beautifully soft. It has everything, and very close to being the best album of the year.
Polica - United Crushers
I'm sorry... I can't help it. This album touched me in a way no other album did. Is it a little more spaced out and absent musically from their previous work? Yes, at times. Channy's vocals are just gorgeous. The bass is ripping.
Favorite EPs of the Year: 2016
SBTRKT - Save Yourself
My Epic- Viscera
Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion Side B
The World Is A Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid To Die - Formlessness
Wafia - (m)edian
Nathaniel Ratliff - A Little Something More From
Honorable Mentions and albums I need more time with:
Plini - Handmade Cities
Blood Orange - Freetown Sound
Beyonce - Lemonade
Rihanna - ANTI
Kendrick Lamar -untitled unmastered.
American Football - American Football LP2
Co-host of the I Brew My Own Coffee Podcast and always has all the chocolate. I also love to play board games. Yea, let's go do that right now.