Top 5 Albums of

2016

Honourable Mentions

  • Bat for Lashes — The Bride
  • Radiohead — A Moon Shaped Pool
  • Lord Huron — Lonesome Dreams
  • Shearwater — Jet Planes and Dreams
  • DIIV — Is the Is Are
  • The Weeknd — Starboy
  • Bon Iver — 22, A Million
  • FM-84 — Atlas
  • Stranger Things OST

Most Overrated

  • Radiohead — A Moon Shaped Pool. Although I really enjoyed it, the higher praise compared to their other records was 🤔.

Biggest Bummers

  • Kings Of Leon — Walls
  • Band of Horses — Why Are You Okay
The Avalanches — Wildflower
5

The Avalanches

Wildflower

Sixteen years since they exploded onto the scene, 'The Avalanches' FINALLY return with a damn fine follow-up to their timeless 2000 release Since I Left You. Is it as great? No. Is it too late? Well, sure, maybe... but the album is a fantastic continuation for the band and for fans. There's a definite 70's throwback on display here that feels right at home but just like classic Avalanches, they make it sound fresh, exciting and relevant. Welcome back guys and here's hoping the next record comes a little sooner...

playListen to ‘Because I’m Me’.

Angel Olsen — My Woman
4

Angel Olsen

My Woman

Two years ago, I discovered Angel Olsen’s raw, intimate second record Burn Your Fire for Not Witness and was immediately connected. In 2016 she followed it up with a stronger, tighter sound in My Woman where once again, she wears her heart on her sleeve. This album is about the facets of love — the struggles of power, the highs, and the lows. There’s elements of Dolly Parton and certainly Patti Smith throughout, but Olsen manages to make her sounds uniquely hers. Favourite tracks include ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’ and ‘Sister’.

playListen to ‘Sister’.

The Neon Demon — Cliff Martinez
3

Cliff Martinez

The Neon Demon

I don’t usually include film scores in my top five album lists but Cliff Martinez’s score to Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon is just too damn great to miss out. Martinez was behind the Drive soundtrack (which is also top shelf) but The Neon Demon score has an electricity that feels like the best 80’s synthwave made for today’s audiences. It's viscious (like the film), unbelievably cool, and my favourite track ‘The Demon Dance’ is done by none other than Refn’s son, Julian.

playListen to ‘The Demon Dance’.

Tycho — Epoch
2

Tycho

Epoch

I’ve been a fan of Scott Hansen as a designer at iso50.com for years now and his music also goes part and parcel to designing. Downtempo, ambient music feels right at home when you’re at long stretches in the creative process. It’s also incredibly appropriate to put on any of this records and just relax. Epoch feels like the band's most accomplished work to date with touches of Radiohead and DJ Shadow throughout. Standout tracks include ‘Epoch’ and ‘Horizon’. Tycho will be touring for Laneway in 2017.

playListen to ‘Horizon’.

Mitski — Puberty 2
1

Mitski

Puberty 2

Mitski’s album is my favourite album of 2016 because there is not an inch of fat to be found. Coming in at just thirty-two minutes, Puberty 2 is an artist in their prime, full of life and energy. Every track excels, throwing you around the room, and then let’s you sit quietly introspectively. Mitski even at such a young age, is a keen observer of the human condition and like Angel Olsen did this year, leaves it all out there with a devastating roar. Backed up by sweeping guitars, punk attitude and a unique voice, this is the album I kept coming back to in 2016 more than any other. Her single 'Your Best American Girl' is a modern classic, much like the rest of the album.

playListen to ‘Your Best American Girl’.