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.

3. SALES – SALES LP

 

2. John Cale – M:FANS

As uncompromising as always.

 

1. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – EARS

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

 

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