Welcome to the Vulture Hound Top 30 Albums of 2016 – a countdown of the best releases from the past 12 months, as selected by Vulture Hound Music writers and contributors.
Listen to full Top 30 on Google Play Music here – https://play.google.com/music/playlist/AMaBXykSlUttGs4UcpvQKNS9xlfqtSlrvccPaNKxcWJZraZ4-CriY6KYkCdqcTA_2O2qxwyeKZnNcziwn0JHvq2aCwj0uBGvGA==
Part 2: Top 10
#10 Black Foxxes – I’m Not Well
“I’m Not Well has quickly marked its territory as being the soundtrack to a breakdown. Due to the emotion poured into every last single crevice of its entirety, it’s not an album to be played for background music. It’s merely an experience that injects a thousand feelings into your bloodstream as it conquers issues of mental health and strife.” (KT)
Must hear tracks: ‘Bronte’, ‘Husk’, ‘Whatever Lets You Cope’, ‘Slow Jams Forever’.
#9 Deftones – Gore
“Just when you think Deftones must be running out of ideas, they produce yet another corker. As expected, Gore is complex and submersing with the sweeping melodies of ‘Phantom Bride’ and the heavy crunch of ‘Doomed User’. There’s no sign of them losing their spark just yet.” (PM)
Must hear tracks: ‘Phantom Bride’, ‘Geometric Headdress’, ‘(L)MIRL’, ‘Hearts/Wires’.
#8 Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
Must hear tracks: ‘Daydreaming’, ‘Burn The Witch’, ‘Glass Eyes’, ‘Tinker, Tailor…’.
#7 Norma Jean – Polar Similar
“Polar Similar is its perfect soundtrack to a year of continuous political conflict. A cataclysmic apocalypse of riff laden aggression poised alongside lyrics of isolation. It’s the angst ridden tomb stone on the grave of how 2016 has felt for many of us…like the end of the world.” (CT)
Must hear tracks: ‘The Planet’, ‘1,000,000 Watts’, ‘Synthetic Sun’, ‘Reaction’.
#6 Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love!
“Change does a person good – for Donald Glover, change led to discovering something truly special. The genre shift from Hip-Hop to Funk that Glover takes on this project brings out his true talent – his singing and song craft have never been better. Awaken… showcases an artist truly coming into their own.” (JD)
Must hear tracks: ‘Me And Your Mama’, ‘Zombies’, ‘Redbone’, ‘Baby Boy’.
#5 Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow
“On the surface, Tired of Tomorrow is a dream like record of 90’s shoegaze and melodic post-hardcore. However, if you’re looking for some grit and a whole load of existential conflict, just dig a little deeper. Lyrical themes of anxiety, fear, and regret make Tired of Tomorrow both a devastatingly bleak and breathtakingly gorgeous experience.” (DW)
Must hear tracks: ‘Fever Queen’, ‘Eaten By Worms’, ‘Vertico Flowers’, ‘A.C.D (Abcessive Compulsive Disorder)’.
#4 Touché Amore – Stage Four
“Simply put, Stage Four is the most creative, emotional and risky record from the band yet. A record about piecing together the life and death of Jeremy Bolm’s mother and her battle with cancer. You’ll feel a mix of emotions over the course of the 30 minute run time; heartbreak and anger, hope and acceptance.” (TS)
Must hear tracks: ‘Eight Seconds’, ‘Flowers & You’, ‘Displacement’, ‘Gather (Bonus Track)’.
#3 Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book
“In a year that seemed determined to diminish any hope we had left Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book wasn’t just welcome, it was goddamn necessary. Bringing together arts from across the musical world and creating a few miracles himself, Chance became the ultra light beam he was destined to be.” (JD)
Must hear tracks: ‘All We Got’, ‘No Problems’, ‘Smoke Break’, ‘Same Drugs’.
#2 Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree (MD)
“The truest essence of music is to move the listener and enthrall, Skeleton Tree does just this. After more than 35 years in the game Nick Cave, along with the current incarnation of the Bad Seeds, produced not only their finest work but one of the great albums of the age. Experimental, lyrical, heartbreaking, cathartic. Skeleton Tree is all of these things. An unabashed masterpiece it will stand tall amongst the greats.” (MD)
Must hear tracks: ‘Jesus Alone’, ‘Distant Sky’, ‘I Need You’, ‘Girl In Amber’.
#1 David Bowie – Blackstar
“There is no topping the artistic achievement that is Blackstar. Born of — and inevitably tied to — tragedy, Bowie’s final offering traces the seven stages of grief in as experimental a way as only he could. This is decades of artistry condensed into 40 emotional, boundary-pushing minutes. God bless David Bowie.” (TR)
Must hear tracks: ‘Dollar Days’, ‘Lazarus’, ”Tis A Pity She Was A Whore’, ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’.