There has been a hell of a lot going on in the music world this year and it’s certainly been one of loss and upset. We’ve lost many big names throughout 2016 and it’s been such a massive shock to the industry that it’s left us wondering if we’re in some sort of alternative universe. I think we’ll probably be very glad when it’s all over. As for albums of the year, well that’s a tough one too.
I’ve bought and listened to a lot of records this year and enjoyed seeing most of my favourites releasing new material. In my usual way of approaching what I consider to be the best of the year, I am only focusing on the albums that I’ve loved and played constantly rather than the ones the media tell me I should like. Looking at other lists for this year there are plenty I’ve never heard of or listened to so I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon and say I love it just cos NME do. You probably won’t agree with my list, but I work on the basis of albums I love and never tire of, not those I’ve listened to just once for the sake of it.
So, here we go with my albums of 2016.
5. Mystery Jets – Curve Of The Earth
I’d never really taken that much notice of Mystery Jets before this year and it was only when I heard Bombay Blue that I decided to investigate a bit further. Curve Of The Earth had been out a few months when I picked it up and I remember putting it onto my iPod and settling down to listen and realising that this was something pretty damn good. I was very taken by the sound they produced, the imagery it invoked and of course the song writing. Not sure why I hadn’t get into them before, but it’s definitely been an album I’ve listened to multiple times since purchasing it. Highly recommended.
Essential tracks: Bubblegum / Bombay Blue / Telomere
4. Seafret – Tell Me It’s Real
Ah, Seafret. When I mention their name, not many people have actually heard of them which I hope is something that will change very soon. They are pretty new to be fair and this year saw them release their first album Tell Me It’s Real. I first heard them when I noticed that Tom Speight would be joining them on tour so I decided to check them out. I was very pleasantly surprised and really liked their folksy sound and wonderful vocals. When I spent a bit more time listening and digesting the lyrics I discovered that they seemed to capture raw feelings so very well and the album fast became a regular feature on my playlists. Definitely a band to watch out for. Highly recommended.
Essential tracks: Oceans / Breathe / Missing / Wildfire
3. Trashcan Sinatras – Wild Pendulum
The last album release from the Trashcan’s was back in 2009 when In The Music joined their catalogue. Jump forward to 2014 and the news that a PledgeMusic campaign for a brand new album would be taking place. That album arrived in 2016 and was called Wild Pendulum. And what an album it is. The band have lost none of their magic and the beautiful vocals, music and wistful lyrics are all there for us to drink in. Their ability to write timeless songs is not lost on me and I can happily listen to nothing else but them for days on end without ever getting bored. It’s most definitely a skill, an illness and an art. You can read a gig review of their show in London here. Highly, highly recommended.
Essential tracks: Best Days On Earth / All Night / What’s Inside The Box / Autumn
1. Teenage Fanclub – Here
It was very difficult for me to pick a number one album so I have two which are jointly at first place. The first is Here by Teenage Fanclub. It was very exciting to hear that the Fannies were working on new material for release this year and when I’m In Love was released as a lead up to the album it was apparent that they were back on top form. It had been a few years since their last record and when they played a couple of pre-album shows I was lucky enough to go along and spend a very happy evening watching them own the stage in London. Here is simply wonderful. It contains everything you want and expect from a TFC album with equal parts Blake, Love and McGinley on writing and singing duties. A simple formula at its best from a group who have not lost anything over the last 25+ years. Read our gig review here and go and buy the album.
Essential tracks: Thin Air / I’m In Love / The Darkest Part Of The Night / The First Sight / It’s A Sign
1. Turin Brakes – Lost Property
My other number one album for 2016 is Lost Property by Turin Brakes. This was an album that took me quite a while to fall in love with and I have no shame in admitting that I wasn’t taken with it on the first attempt. It was a hard pill to swallow for me as I am a massive fan of the band and didn’t quite understand why it wasn’t ‘doing it’ for me this time around. The penny finally dropped when I just listened to it with my heart and stopped trying to analyse every single part of it and understand the methodology and construction of the album. What I finally found was a piece of work which showcases what I actually already knew, what an incredibly talented band these guys are. Lost Property has brought them back to the mainstream and opened up their music to a whole new audience who now have the fortune of finding a vast back catalogue of albums to work their way through. You can read my full album review here and take it track by track to find out why you should be listening to this record. Buy it, digest it and put it on repeat.
Essential tracks: Brighter Than The Dark / Jump Start / 96 / Keep Me Around / Rome
Albums bubbling under
The Divine Comedy – Foreverland
Rick Astley – 50
Feeder – All Bright Electric