Albums of the Year 2016

2016 may not have been a great year (well let’s be honest, it was absolutely terrible), but there were plenty of great albums released. My ten favourites are listed below, but I’d also like to give shout outs to David Bowie, Cate Le Bon, Colin Stetson, Cross Record, PJ Harvey, Radiohead, Anna Meredith, The Julie Ruin, Frankie Cosmos, Factory Floor, Mitski, Xam Duo, Diiv & Danny Brown who all released wonderful records this year but didn’t quite make the list

10. Lisa Hannigan – At Swim

Lisa Hannigan’s first two albums were also excellent, but At Swim represents a new artistic peak for the Irish singer-songwriter. Her voice is as gorgeous as ever, but there is a new subtlety and depth to her songwriting, with songs managing to deliver immediate melodic hits yet still reveal new pleasures on each listen. The production from The National’s Aaron Dessner is also excellent, never do the arrangements overshadow the songs themselves, but the album is not afraid to step away from a standard folky palette to incorporate sounds from other genres (as in the electronica-influenced Undertow). An excellent album from an underappreciated artist.

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Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree

I’ve never been that close to the music of Nick Cave in the past. It may partly to do with my first exposure to his music being his duet with Kylie Minogue from his ‘Murder Ballads’ album, which is perhaps not the perfect place to begin. My next exposure to his work came with Mark and Lard’s parodies of two his songs on their Radio … Continue reading Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree

Albums of the year 2015

I knew that  2015 was going to be a good year for music when Sleater-Kinney, Belle & Sebastian and Bjork had all released albums within weeks of its’ start. Pretty much every artist whose albums I look forward to released one in 2015. The only downside to which is that there were many new (or new to me) artists who released great albums but couldn’t quite squeeze into my top 10. Haiku Salut, Ultimate Painting, Kendrick Lamar, Holly Herndon & Sleaford Mods are all albums well worth checking out. But on to the list (Spotify playlist of all ten albums below)

10. Joanna Newsom – Divers

Joanna Newsom is one of my all time favourite artists, and the person whose song this site is named after, so after waiting  5 and a half years for a new album, expectations were high to say the least. So, for Divers to simply be a very good album was a slight disappointment. It lacks the epic scope of Have One On Me or Ys, and the direct melodies of The Milk Eyed Mender, but is intricate, always interesting and more musically varied than anything she has produced before. Released late in the year, it may have time to grow on me yet. Even a slightly underwhelming Joanna Newsom album is better than most albums released any year.

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