On world music day sbcltr lists down the best albums of 2016
It has been a gauntlet start to 2016 across the music spectrum. From a musical perspective, so far the year has been a trend killer. Long gestating masterworks, cliché playbacks and some factory pop jingles, all have seen the light of day. On this list, you will find music that has grown on us over the last six months. There is jazz, electronic, metal, punk, hip-hop , experimental as well as indie-rock of all stripes. Here’s our recommended choice of the ridiculously good albums of 2016 so far. Read on. Listen in.
Album: Never How You Plan
Jam bands have always had a special charm to them, however the former Fly Union member, Jerreau, is no jam band—he is an MC! He made a mark on 2016’s hip-hop scene with his groove-laden mixes entwined with personalized laidback rapping. The track that stands out on Never How You Plan is definitely Champagne (Ohh Baby)”.
Four years ago, Aussie electronic music producer and DJ Flume was an artist that converted a buzz on soundcloud into an IRL acclaim; but that was four years ago. In May, Flume produced his second album, Skin, an album that featured Vic Mensa, Allan Kingdom, Raekwon, Little Dragon, AlunaGeorge, MNDR and Beck. If the assortment of stars featured on the album wasn’t enough, Flume took his music a notch higher with a very future bass sound and gut wrenching layers that take this album to a different intoxicating level.
Probably, Blackstar will always be remembered as David Bowie’s last album. While that is true, it is also so much more. It is one of those albums that keep creeping up on you and gnaws at you. It isn’t really one of Bowie’s bests, but it’s definitely proof that, Bowie was full of surprises, even at the very end.
Album: I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It
The 1975 is a fresh retrospective into the world of Jam bands with it’s version of funk based dance rock. One must definitely listen to I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It, if not She’s American.
Electronics Coltrane’s son ,Ravi; Coltrane bassist Jimmy Garrison’s Son, Mathew and Jack Dejohnette (who played with John Coltrane once for three songs in the early sixties)— that’s the crux of the band behind the album . This album takes one on a journey into a meditative state that has no return point, but then again we had the same views on A Love Supreme
Album: Puberty 2
Three albums down, Mitski Miyawaki took her fourth album into a new dimension in terms of her trademark orchestral sounds. This album explores new richness and range. Mitski, for us, is one of those artists that evolves with every masterpiece she sits down to make. Tracks that are an absolute must listen on the album are My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars and Your Best American Girl.
James Hinton, the Providence-based producer known as the Range is a fresh ray of hope in the world of electronic music. Potential, his second album explores the gaps between everything positive, hopes, dreams, to the reality check of the weight of holding on to life. If that doesn’t build your curiosity, the track Florida will.
The Finnish psychedelic black metal quintet Oranssi Pazuzu, have been doing everything right. From adding sounds that border Krautrock, Afrobeat, free jazz, dub, ambient and noise, to their Floydian and Zeppelinesque music that has taken their fourth album to a level where rhythmic perfection meets the missing pieces for a near perfect musical journey. The best track on this 69 minute piece of art is Hypnotisoitu Viharukous.
Album: I Still Do
Eric Clapton fans have always considered Slowhand to be his best. Some don’t see reason in that. Some say the follow up Backless was the shit. We are in that boat where we agree to all three opinions. So, when we heard I Still Do, Clapton’s 23rd album, we weren’t surprised that he had joined hands with Glyn Johns – producer of Slowhand and Backless. I Still Do is a blast from the past, especially with tracks like I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine, Cypress Grove and “Spiral. Listen to it for nostalgias sake.
Album: Eraser Stargazer
Free for all anarchy, danceable grooves and a sense of avant rock—Guerilla Toss has time and again proved themselves to be worthy of a listen,. This first full length album is wild and absolutely disorienting with screeching guitars and a glimmer of RHCP’s— The Uplift Mofo Party. A fine line between old school and contemporary, Guerilla Toss does nothing wrong with Eraser Stargazer. Our personal favourite is Grass Shack.
Album: Before A Million Universes
Any band that reminds us of Fugazi deserves a mention. This band takes you back to the 90’s hard-core scene with their debut album. So Much You & National Parks are definite listens. Though, we have to say, the whole album deserves a listen.
Album: A Good Night In The Ghetto
Okay, so this isn’t really an album but it’s a mix-tape that propelled Kamaiyah to release a song with Drake. A Good night In The Ghetto is about everything from pondering on what it is to be rich, no strings sex entwined with a sense of funky old school hip hop. Our pick of this mix-tape is definitely Fuck it up.
Album: Post Pop Depression
What you get when you put the inventor of punk – Iggy Pop and his biggest fan – Josh Homme in a room together is absolute mayhem. Earlier this year, the duo put out an album – Post Pop Depression which is a viable concoction of an attitude adjustment. Listen to Break Into Your Heart.
We love a woman with tattoos, we love even more when said woman is a pop star that redefines pop music in this era. The woman in question is none other than Rihana whose last album is an expressionist piece that takes the whole concept of turning pain into an absolute work of art. Definitely not an album like her past ones, with hit after hit this one is a think piece, that sees Rihanna evolve as an artist . Hear Kiss it better and Same Ol’ Mistakes
Album: Culcha Vulcha
For the last few years Snarky Puppy have churned out albums that have made Jazz music more contemporary and cool , Culcha Vulcha is no different this is an album that is a journey into South Asian percussion,. New Orleans jazzy sounds and psychedelic funk –all this carefully weaved into their perpetual orchestral groove. Palermo is one such track that holds you by the scruff of your collar.
Miles Davis & Robert Glasper
Album: Everything’s Beautiful
The best cover album of the decade. Everything’s Beautiful is Robert Glasper’s rendition of Miles Davis’ tracks that feature an array of artists. Artists on the lines of Ledisi, Erykah Badu, John Scofield, Hiatus Kaiyote, Little Brother, Stevie Wonder, Bilal, KING and Laura Mvula. There isn’t any particular track to listen, we suggest you just switch off, get yourself a bottle of the finest wine and tune in.