My Best Albums of 2016: The Silver Medals: 20-11
The #OPS Best Albums List
I started my musical journey into alternative music with The Clash's self-titled album when I was in Junior High School. Now that I am 49, I find that my hunger for listening to new music has barely changed since.
Look, you are probably going to find albums here you have never heard of. You are going to be mad that some of your favorite albums aren't represented or seem like they should be ranked higher.
All I can tell you is that I listened to over 400 albums this year, that I whittled that list down to 150 albums, and that in the last few weeks I listened to all 150 of those albums again. Hopefully, my digging will bring you some albums you can love!
A few days ago I released the Bronze medals #45-21. It drew responses from multiple record labels and the artists Powell, Deerhoof, Vomitface, and several others. You can find that list HERE.
I also put out a Spotify Playlist including selections from the #45 - 21 list, you can find that HERE.
I hope you Explore, Enjoy, and Share this amazing Music!
The Silver Medals #'s 20 - 11
#20 - Hideous Sun Demon - The Industry Connections LP (Warner Australia)
I really enjoy Hideous Sun Demon, they are noisy and messy in all the best possible ways and also just seem to be okay doing their own thing. I have really liked what has been coming out of the Australian and New Zealand alternative scenes over the last few years and HSD is one of my favorite examples of the increasingly good news coming from Down Under.
#19 - Hallelujah The Hills - A Band Is Something To Figure Out (Discrete Pageantry)
As you probably already know, I am a huge Hallelujah The Hills fan. They are the only band I have ever included twice on one of my weekly playlists. I have strongly supported their work many times on this blog, and I think that they are almost criminally underappreciated.
This is a great album and part of a string of great albums that they band has released over the last few years. If you have more questions, maybe my recent interview with singer and songwriter for HTH Ryan H. Walsh can answer them?
#18 - The Avalanches - Wildflower (Astralwerks)
A truly great return to form for the Australian hip-hop group after a long hiatus. I still catch myself humming their song Frankie Sinatra now (months after the album was released). This album is as full of Infectious fun and catchy hooks as Plunderphonics was back in the 90's.
#17 Thao & The Get Down Stay Down - A Man Alive (Ribbon Music)
I have listened to this album consistently all year long. This album really shows off how far Thao Nguyen has grown as a songwriter and musician over the last few years.
Also, in a world full of depression, panic, and fake news, this album is just FUN. If I made a 'Happy Happy Joy Joy" playlist of 2016 songs it would certainly contain songs from this album (although it is a serious album too). I am not talking as much about message as I am about "feel" here, this album just sounds bright and bouncy in the best possible way.
No matter the reason, this was an early 2016 release that has lasted for me.
#16 - Angel Olsen - My Woman (Jagjaguwar)
Just a truly beautiful album by a mature professional with a great voice. There is not one time that I have listened to this album since it was released that I had one moment of doubt it belonged in my top-20. Great songs, passionately delivered, by a truly gifted and caring singer. Also, "Never Be Mine" is in my top-10 songs of the year (coming soon) for sure (gives me wonderful member berries for the late 50's and early 60's...you know, when I wasn't alive).
#15 - Lithics - Borrowed Floors (Water Wing Records)
I have tried really hard to get to know this band. They are a REALLY reclusive Portland band that apparently presses and releases their own albums. They have a Bandcamp but they have almost no internet presence and seem to mostly be content with playing in Portlandia. That said, this was my third-favorite Post-Punk album of the year. It is REALLY good and reminds me of why I fell in love with sparse minimalist bands like Television, The Raincoats, and The Slits in the first place.
#14 - Kino Kimino - Bait is for Sissies (Ghost Ramp)
I have been beating the drum for this album for a long time too. Kino Kimino is Kim Talon (Eagle & Talon) with backup from Steve Shelley and Lee Reynaldo (who used to play with a band you may have heard of before called Sonic Youth). I liked this album so much that songs from it made their way onto three or four of my playlists including one of my most popular (Women To The Front 2016).
This is another album that is been out for quite a while that has stayed in my regular rotation throughout the year. Fierce Fun!
#13 - Cymbals Eat Guitars - Pretty Years (Sinderlyn)
I still am not entirely sure why Cymbals Eat Guitars are vacuuming around an open coffin (also wouldn't the paraffin from all those candles confound the vacuum cleaner a bit?). Cymbals Eat Guitars have mastered that big dense sound that makes me want to shout choruses out loud in the forest around a giant roaring campfire (whatever that means).
I guess it is also that sprawling sound that I have associated with bands like The War On Drugs that make me feel like driving fast with the top down on a desert highway. I guess I am saying that if you let yourself get lost, the result is pretty epic. And, of course, they are (like me) from the greater NYC area and are (like me) influenced by the late great Loud Reed.
12. Moon City Boys - I Need More (8tta 7uor)
If I were to claim a "find" of the year, for me it would be this band made up of girls from Sweden playing my second-favorite post-punk album of the year (which is really saying something because that Lithics album is really great).
I first heard a two-song EP and then this album full of thoughtful song construction backed by a driving urgency and a really bright sound. This is another band that there just isn't that much information on the internet about, but wow, I loved this album!
Oh, also, "Carry My Bags" is most like on my favorite songs of the year. list too (spoiler alert)
#11. A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here...Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic)
Look, I love Vince Staples...like I really do...but F him on his 90's rock comments.
Anyone who reads this blog or knows me understands how fundamental ATCQ is to my musical upbringing. Hearing Tip being serious again, even after the loss of Malik (RIP Phife), almost made everything else going on seem like it might be okay again (it was released right after a certain election that you may have heard about).
Not sure what to say here except that Tribe can do little wrong in my book.
Okay, that is the end of #20-11.
I will put a playlist out tomorrow for #20-11 and the TOP TEN will be out on Friday!
Explore, Enjoy, and Share Music!
What was your favorite album on the list so far?
What albums were new to you?
What is your prediction for which album will be #1?
Let me know what you think, leave a comment!