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
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.