2016 Wrap – Top Records

The recap continues. Read on for Gemma, Rochelle and Angela’s favourite records from 2016.

Gemma

BANKS – The Altar

This record received some hit and miss reviews which was surprising, considering the calibre of its tracks. This one really seemed to be a cathartic release for Banks, a way for her to work through a specific period of her life and, understandably, the rhythm of the record itself was a bit strange. As a whole, however, a record with tracks like ‘Gemini Feed’, ‘Judas’ & ‘Trainwreck’ cannot be discounted.

Glass Animals – How To Be A Human Being

It’s not easy to follow up a debut record that was as well received as Glass Animals’ Zaba, but far out, these guys went above and beyond. Applauded for their unique, off-kilter style on Zaba, the quartet broached more pop and hip hop elements on this year’s release to create unbelievable tracks like ‘Agnes’, ‘Season 2 Episode 3’ and ‘The Other Side Of Paradise’. Interestingly, too, the record was largely written based on conversations lead man Dave Bayley had with various people over the course of the previous year.

Cub Sport – This Is Our Vice

I reviewed this one way back in February and I certainly stand by that. This is a record that could have very easily gone the way of many other local acts- cheesy, simple and appealing only to a fad. Thankfully, it is actually a masterfully written album that not only showcases the gorgeous vocal talents of singer Tim Nelson, but also brings more credibility back to Australian pop music.

Owen Rabbit – One

I am including an EP in here purely because it is that good. Owen has been kicking around this year dropping amazing single after amazing single, and now he’s followed it up with an equally amazing EP. Highlights include the likes of ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Oh My God’. Littered amongst his signature production are some slightly creepy, unsettling moments that keep bringing you in to listen even closer still.

Honourable Mentions:

Paul Dempsey – Strange Loop
Jamie T – Trick
The Trouble With Templeton – Someday, Buddy

Angela

Urthboy – The Past Beats Inside Me Like A Second Heartbeat

Congrats, mate – you’re the token man. This wouldn’t have happened without my best friend Imogen. Do you remember when you met her after your show at Howler? Lucky man. You should feel honoured. Every day, I swear, she would ask “have you listened to Urthboy’s album yet?”. Eventually I broke and I’m glad I did. I can’t quote this word for word, or rattle off the song names. But when I think of it, I feel warmth. I think of the powerful voices, the stories you tell, and the solid craftsmanship underlying one of the year’s best.

Daughter – Not To Disappear

Not to Disappear follows Daughter’s trend of making beautiful, sad music, and yet is more convincing and more accomplished than previous works. They have expanded on their cathartic indie folk by blurring the edges, densifying their rhythm section and layering the elements. It isn’t a fragile as their debut If You Leave. The feeling remains bleak but there is new depth to the pain. Anger and confusion drill holes into new situations. As someone whose brain sometimes makes them unwell, the corners of this record help that.

Julia Jacklin – Don’t Let The Kids Win

Julia Jacklin really knocked the socks off everyone with this record, especially given the absence of recent EPS. This is the sort of record you could buy your lover, your mum and your friends as a way of sharing a piece of yourself. Perfectly balancing simple but effective instrumentation and Jacklin’s silken voice, Don’t Let The Kids Win floats around you, drawing out emotion before soothing it. One of the most persuasive and beautiful records of 2016.

Carly Rae Jepsen – EMOTION B-Side

To think that Emotion B-Side are the tracks that didn’t make 2015’s Emotion blows my mind. This is one spectacular collection, slickly produced and wonderfully written. This technicolour picture traces the all the subcategories of love – bouncy baby-faced dreams on ‘First Time’, sultry tales of unrequited love on ‘The One’, grandiose heartache on ‘Fever’, the humorous leaving song ‘Store’, confused flirtations on ‘Body Language’… I could go on. This is pure killer, no filler.

Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos

On her second record Let Them Eat Chaos, Kate Tempest individually explores the stories of people living in dark London. She brings these creations to life with a combination of soft narration and enthralling monologues, set against a backdrop of minimal, compelling production. Her mimicry is so eerily accurate it moves beyond theatre into something nearing a documentary. Whilst these are not real people, this sprawling tapestry is bound together with a very real feeling. Tempest feasts on it. She brings the undercurrent to the surface so it cannot be ignored, so that it demands attention. Let Them Eat Chaos is a both a display of Tempest’s incredible craft, and a terrifying commentary on our current world. 

Honourable Mentions

Hayley Kiyoko – Citrine EP
Oh Pep! – Stadium Cake
Angel Olsen – My Woman

Originally posted in BMA Magazine.

Rochelle

Ceres – Drag It Down On You

Ah, the second album. It’s always a challenge to follow up a record, especially one that was so well received (I Don’t Want To Be Anywhere But Here, 2014). Stepping it up on their own accord, the band invited their musical hero Tom Bromley of Los Campesinos! over to produce the record. The outcome was a masterpiece of raw, unabashed emo punk that resonated with people everywhere.

Luca Brasi – If This Is All We’re Going To Be

The Tasmanian rockers blessed us with another truly incredible punk record this year. Their strongest release to date, it’s gritty, heavy and comes with lyrics that hit at all the heartstrings.

Anderson Paak – Malibu

There’s no doubt about it, Anderson.Paak is the hottest vocalist of 2016. He’s featured countless track from the likes of Mac Miller, Kaytranada, GoldLink and literally everyone else. But it’s his solo work which really stacks up. You’ve got your classic singles there (‘Put Me Thru’, ‘Am I Wrong’) but there’s some absolute gold when you look further. ‘Parking Lot’ is a highlight, as is ‘Without You’ – which features a cheeky vocal sample from Nai Palm.

DD Dumbo – Utopia Defeated

This record was well and truly worth the wait. You can hear the development and refinery of DD Dumbo’s sound that’s taken years to perfect. It’s a debut that features expansive sonic landscapes and multiple magical moments. ‘In The Water’ and ‘Toxic City’ are unassuming works of art.

Camp Cope – Camp Cope

I’m so enamoured with the fact that the work of ladies in punk and rock is being appreciated. Camp Cope’s debut release is a revealing and raw record which pushes the boundaries of its genre. Holding it all together is Georgia Maq’s songwriting, which is truly a gift to us all. This album is the inspiration to keep fighting the good fight for a little while longer.

Honourable Mentions

Yeo – Icarus
Maribelle – Overtake EP
Ngaiire – Blastoma

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