A Year in the Ear: The best albums of 2016

by Thomas Blake

30. Richard Moult – Sjóraust

Experimental composition meets weird folk meets social history: read my review here.


29. Hello Shark – Delicate

Like the Silver Jews reimagined for post-emo millennials. No bad thing. Here’s a stream.


28. Laura Cannell – Simultaneous Flight Movement


27. Julien Marchal – Insight


26. Rusalnaia – Time Takes Away

Pastoral psych-folk from Sharron Kraus and Gillian Chadwick. Here’s a review.


25. Bon Iver – 22, A Million

Fan-alienating, Stevie Nicks-sampling electro-folk-R&B. Tres bon.


24. Diagonal People – Odyssey

Punk, prog and pop all in the same place, and that place is Swindon.


23. Space Mountain – Big Sky


22. Yama Warashi – Moon Zero

Arty, Brigitte Fontaine-esque dreaminess via Bristol and Japan.


21. Vaudou Game – Kidayu

French Afro-beat at its funkiest.


20. Julianna Barwick – Will


19. Kero Kero Bonito – Bonito Generation


18. Furrow Collective – Wild Hog

Reveiw here!


17. Anderson.Paak – Malibu


16. Gold Panda – Good Luck And Do Your Best

Oriental-tinged electronica with a hint of minimal techno.


15. Julsy – Ze Rest Of Uz


14. Yann Tiersen – Eusa

Breton composer at his Chopin-esque best.


13. William Tyler – Modern Country

One of the best instrumental guitar albums in a long time.


12. Michael Tanner – Suite For Psaltery And Dulcimer

The theory of drone meets the earthiness of pagan folk.


11. The Pooches – The Pooches


10. Nicolas Jaar – Sirens


9. Lambchop – Flotus 

Bon Iver’s not the only indie institution mining the rich, shimmering seam of electronic music.


8. Waclaw Zimpel – Lines

Jazz! Minimalism! Clarinets!


7. Petite Meller – Lil Empire

Simply the best pure pop album I’ve heard in years.

6. Lomelda – 4E*


5. Mothers – When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired


4. Jenny Hval – Blood Bitch

For a concept album about menstruation, this is surprisingly accessible.



2. John Cale – M:FANS

As uncompromising as always.


1. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – EARS

Stunning, mathematically detailed, conceptually brave, emotive against the odds.