Favourite albums of 2016

1. Mitski — Puberty 2

A record full of life and haunted by death, that fizzes and rages and feels fresh and surprising on every listen.

2. Angel Olsen — My Woman

A shape-shifting statement of vulnerability and resilience.

3. Brian Fallon — Painkillers

An album made to be played on repeat as you’re driving at night, the only car on the road and no destination in mind.

4. Leonard Cohen — You Want it Darker

A supremely graceful final act

5. Beach Slang — A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings

“Your arms are a car crash / I want to die in”

6. Frank Ocean — Blonde

The platonic ideal of the pop record as public diary entry.

7. David Bowie — Blackstar

“Look up here, I’m in heaven / I’ve got scars that can’t be seen”

8. Teenage Fanclub — Here

Songs which instantly feel familiar in the best way, classic, timeless, warm.

9. Beyonce — Lemonade

One of the most zeitgeisty pop culture artefacts of the year, but even more satisfying as a record than thinkpiece fodder. Human, angry, tuneful, beautiful, vital. Both timely and timeless.

10. Julia Jacklin — Don’t Let the Kids Win

Prematurely world weary, like a twentysomething Neil Young likening to his life to an old man’s or Patsy Cline sighing into a golden microphone.

11.Car Seat Headrest — Teens of Denial

The album about growing up bored and and disillusioned that feels so homespun and relatable that we’d all like to think we could have written it .

12. Maxwell — BlackSUMMERS’night

The second part of an immaculately produced song suite where all the sharp edges have been sanded down to a smooth, shapely whole. A balm for strange times and a collection of songs to luxuriate in.

13. Bon Iver — 22, A Million

The year’s most enigmatic record. Pure gibberish or visionary genius? I’m willing to spend a lot of time figuring it out.

14. Bat For Lashes — The Bride

Underrated concept record with that brand of stylish, lush darkness only Natasha Khan can do.

15. Japanese Breakfast — Psychopomp

A record which explodes with sunshine and life and then reveals hidden depths. Bittersweet like all the best pop music.

16. The Radio Dept. — Running Out of Love

Pop symphonies for introverts.

17. Drive-By Truckers — American Band

At first glance, the title sounds blandly descriptive. A few listens later, it sounds like a mission statement of admirable clarity, something to strive towards.

18. The Handsome Family — Unseen

Dark, deeply funny, empathetic: a classic Handsome Family record.

19. Frankie Cosmos — Next Thing

The best collection yet from a prolific talent. Fragile earworms and intimate song sketches.

20. Solange — A Seat at the Table

The second entry of the Knowles family in this list #proudparents

21. Nada Surf — You Know Who You Are

Unfashionably melodic and improbably consistent, Nada Surf have had maybe the best career of any band ever written off as a one (novelty) hit wonder.

22. Pinegrove — Cardinal

Sturdy songs which feel lived in, formed of experience and wisdom.

23. Summer Flake — Hello Friends

A sleeper record built to both soothe and thrill. Melodies buried under a heat haze and guitar noise.

24. Hamilton Leithauser & Rostam — I Had a Dream That You Were Mine

A pop genius and a cult crooner team up. You’ll never believe what happens next…

25. Let’s Eat Grandma — I, Gemini

Almost single-handedly made recorders cool. Pop songs written by people who had never heard pop songs before.

Honourable mentions: Eleanor Friedberger, Hiss Golden Messenger, The Goon Sax

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