So fave releases of 2016? Easy. This was a great year!
2K16 Has had some cracker releases, it took a lot of thinking over the weekend after we got asked to do this as to what I really wanted to put in here and I think I’m pretty happy where we ended up.
Eyes more skulls than eyes – Plague
So I heard about this project through them playing with Space Bong out of Adelaide and honestly it’s just fucking genius aye. Firmly rooted in the dirgey nightmarishness of its influences. EMSTE went further to put some of the most forward thinking and multi-coloured sounding drone metal to come out this year.
Intrinsic Light – One Continuous Mistake
Thee mighty Intrinsic Light! Next to S.I.X , this was probably my most listened to release of this year. If you don’t know anything about this band check them out cuz they’re the fucking best, self-classified as “transcendental black metal”, on this album Intrinsic light display their ability to create a truly Hypnotic space.
Hashshashin – nihsahshsaH
As I said in my review this was an album i was definitely hanging out to hear when hash dropped it and i’m glad I did cuz it was probably one of most satisfying albums to come out this year. Esoterically and musically as far as the whole post/prog/whatever scene in australia goes they’re leaps and bounds ahead of everything.
Matt Malone – S.I.X
If I had to pick a favourite record of the year, this would probably be it. Doomy blackened country/post rock tat brings to mind bands like swans or current 93. The real selling points here is just how meticulously crafted every element of this record is. The lyrics are amazing, the energy from each player that’s captured is just ridiculous. Just so excellent.
Plasmodium – Entheognosis
Plasmodium is a pretty fuckin’ unique metal band. Their identities are largely a mystery which seems to be an aesthetic based choice, kinda like portal. And like portal their music is just immense and legitimately daunting. Entheognosis is an hour of just macabre nightmarish black metal totally devoid all lame metal dreck.
Anxiety – S/T
Haha so this is actually the only non aus release on my list other than Tim Hecker which I guess is pretty cool. Anyways, this release just rips. Snarling obnoxious lo fi hardcore punk that pays homage to some pretty classic sounds. Fans of any of the other bands on La Vida like Dawn of Humans or NO will get what i’m talking about. Just a total gem.
Blasarius Yonder – Dead Air
Blasarius Yonder put out multiple releases this year and they’re all fantastic but this was probably my favourite. Hazy glitched out shoegaze inspired electronic ambient music similar to Tim Hecker or Ben Frost.
Tim Hecker – Love Streams
The way this record seemed to be received was bewildering to me. Some people expected it to be more in the veins of his albums like ravedeath or virgins and seemed really apprehensive to how “synthey” and voice based the album was. Honestly i’ve listened to this like 50 times and its just so awesome on every level. The fact that Hecker’s progression from hazy ambient has become so focused on cool shifting rhythmic pulses and icy textures is just awesome. It’s like what listening to Steve Reich must have been for people in the early 80’s.
Birds – S/T
Bird’s debut release was one I heard earlier this year and it’s something thats still getting a listen every few weeks. A DIY punk take on improvised guitar/pedal ambience similar to Loren O’connor’s or Fennesz that’s just so masterful in its ability to make truly beautiful sounds without even a shred of bombast.
Religious Observance – Boiling Excrement
So i’ve been meaning to review this for ages (sorry sean 😦 ). But regardless, next to plasmodium this is one of the best heavy releases this year. Crusty misanthropic noothgrush style sludge ridden with clever and forward thinking sample usage and some the most grating noise parts you could hope to hear on a album like it. Forgive the lame cliche but it’s dead set what most sludge bands wish they sounded like.
Other noteworthy mentions
Diploid – Is God Up There?
Skin Prison – 2k16 Demo
Tangents – Stateless
Bunyip – Skunge
Ghost Skull – Who is The God of Dead Children?
Another year, another top 10 with my average opinions on music.
Here are my Top 10 albums and Top 5 EPs of the year:
10. Columbus – Spring Forever (UNFD)
Absolutely stellar effort from the trio out of Brisbane, delivering more of their brand of alt rock/pop punk in a tight cohesive package. Columbus are a perfect example of a band that is making music they love and having fun doing it. (‘Stay’ being an example of the band channelling their inner rock god image).
9. BADBADNOTGOOD – IV (Innovative Leisure)
The Canadian born quartet back again with their stellar brand of jazz/hip hop fusion. The group expanded their sound on this release as well as collaborating their artists such as producer Kaytranada, rapper Mike Jenkins & Sam Herring of Future Islands. This band consistently puts out great music and I can wait to see what the band comes up with next.
8. Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow (Relapse Records)
For me, this shoegaze revival has only really produced a few notable bands (the rest being My Blood Valentine & Slowdive ripoffs) which left me sceptical to listen to this album but I was pleasantly surprised with this new offering from Nothing. Some of the most catchy tunes I have heard this year and definitely a cut above the rest of the bands doing this sound.
7. Balance & Composure – Light We Made (Vagrant Records)
Probably my most anticipated album of 2015 and god did this thing deliver. On this release, B&C changed up their sound a fair bit compared to their last album. Adding a lot more synth and electronic based influence to their sound with similar comparisons to bands such as Radiohead & The Cure. A massive highlight on the album being that beautiful huge sounding fuzz/synth bass tone.
6. Siberian Hell Sounds – Svengali (Art As Catharsis)
This album is straight up evil and I love every bit of it. Everything on this album is sonically bigger and crushingly brutal compared to the band’s past releases and it is some of the best blackened grind I have ever heard.
5. Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo (GOOD Music/Def Jam Recordings)
From public psychotic episodes to Trump meet ups, 2016 has had a lot of Kanye thrown into our faces but when you get past Kanye the celebrity, you get The Life of Pablo. One of my favourite hip hop offerings from the Atlanta rapper since 2010’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’.
4. Trophy Eyes – Chemical Miracle (UNFD)
When I first got my ears around ‘Chemical Miracle’ my first reaction was, ‘this is actually what I thought the band was capable of and then some’. The lads from Newcastle have completely out done themselves on this album and is a testament to newer bands trying to achieve greatness in the Australian alternative scene yet consistently evolving on every release. (Also there’s blast beats on the record so that’s a winner).
3. Touché Amoré – Stage Four (Epitaph Records)
What an experience this album is. Vocalist Jeremy Bolm, after the passing of his mother of cancer in 2014 has written one of most powerful, real and moving albums i have heard in recent memory. Aside from the fantastic lyrical content of the album, the whole band has evolved and have really found their sound on this album. Adding elements of post punk and post rock influenced by anything from The National, Sun Kil Moon & The Smiths to their brand of post hardcore. Also featuring an amazing track ‘Skyscaper’ featuring the equally amazing Julien Baker which is probably the band’s most un-Touché song on the album which is definitely not a bad thing.
2. Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book (Independent)
The highly anticipated mixtape from the Chicago rapper/producer is my favourite hip hop album of 2016, which at this point “will snatch the grammy’’. On Colouring Book, Chance has written one of the best upbeat, gospel albums I have ever heard exploring elements of jazz and soul in tribute to his idols and influences from James Brown to Kanye West. Boasting features from Kaytranada to Lil Wayne to the Chicago Children’s Choir, Chance’s choices of features has been an odd one but in true Chance form, he has made every one of them fit perfectly on the record (I can believe I love a track featuring 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne but here we are).
1. Oxen – ‘Oxen II’ (Lacklustre Records)
This album changed me as a music listener & musician. Everything from the haunting vocal performance to the beautiful dreamy guitars to the impeccable song structure and pacing, Oxen have delivered an absolute masterpiece on ‘Oxen II’. There’s not much more I can say about this release because I feel like it needs to be experienced and interpreted in your own way so give it a go, you won’t be disappointed.
Top 5 EPs of the Year
The Comfort – Love
Polaris – The Guilt & The Grief
Hindsight – Disposable Paradise
The Hard Aches – I Freak Out
Harbours – Nothing Stays The Same
See you in 2017 and another crap top 10 list 🙂
Aussie metalcore with all the polish and shine that’s become standard. Thankfully they’ve also included excellent songs with their riffs and pit churners. SO maybe it’s not so standard after all? (ooh burn!) Continue reading Ocean Sleeper – Six Feet Down (EP) 2016
If forced to name my favorite cloud-themed solo instrumental djent project, it would have to be IBUILTTHESKY. Continue reading IBUILTTHESKY – The Sky Is Not The Limit (2016)
Blackened hardcore/crust with a touch of metal. Hell yes.