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Hey there music lover! You like new stuff? Great! You’ve stumbled into the perfect corner of the internet. Each week all sorts of audiolicious goodies are unleashed onto the masses and this is where they come to be judged. I’ll tell ya what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s a waste of your precious time. So strap on your headphones and let’s take a ride!
The Big News
Round two of the end of the year list extravaganza! Last week we did the top songs of 2016, this week we move on to the big boys full freaking albums!! The list comes from a pool of about 400 albums, the majority of which were covered in the 50ish editions of NMW. It also includes things I sort of stumble into and stuff that is sent to me for consideration by labels and agents and whatever. Couple of rules – every album must be released in 2016, must contain only original music, and, the newly introduced 2016 rule, if you release a record and die shortly afterward you cannot be on the list. Unless you’ve released the album of the year. Get it? So you cannot release the ninth best album of the year, but you can be number one.
Anyway, here’s a look back at the last three winners.
Neko Case, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, Anti-
Jolie Holland, Wine Dark Sea, Anti-
Public Image Limited, What the World Needs Now, PiL Worldwide
There ya go! Pretty diverse if ya ask me!
There’s always a special consideration. As a totally arbitrary rule covers records are excluded from this list, sometimes unfairly. Like Neil Young’s A Letter From Home in 2014, and Sexwitch’s brilliant record last year, we always make room for a great covers record. This year it’s Madeleine Peyroux’s fantastic collection, Secular Hymns.
Joanna Wallfisch, Gardens in My Mind, Sunnyside Records
Smooth and funky, saucy and sassy, this record really impressed me.
The Waco Brothers, Going Down in History, Bloodshot
Get it? Got it? Good!
Shovels & Rope, Little Seeds, New West
Not as impressed by this record as I was excited for it. But still a strong effort.
10. Money, Suicide Songs, Bella Union
This thing came out in January and sort of stuck with me.
9. Lydia Loveless, Real, Bloodshot
Lotsa hype for this rekkid, but like the Shovels and Rope effort I just was kinda, eh, uh, yeah. You know, longtime fans of Ms Loveless, I feel like she’s slipping away. Like next year she’s gonna open for Taylor Swift or something.
8. Dana Falconberry & Medicine Bow, From the Forest Came the Fire, Modern Outsider
I think Falconberry might turn into one of the great iconoclastic outsider musicians of our time. Loved this record and I was determined to name it album of the year from the day it was released.
7. Mary Halverson Octet, Away With You, Firehouse 12 Records
6. Wussy, Forever Sounds, Shake It
The first repeat offender this year! Wussy’s latest record was nearly a masterpiece, praised by just about everyone. Good job Cincinnati!
5. The Handsome Family, Unseen, Loose
An unheralded masterpiece, I didn’t see this on a lot of top ten lists (didn’t read many either). But it’s as quirky, creepy, and goddamn beautiful as any HF effort.
4 Lucinda Williams, Ghosts of Highway 20, Highway 20 Records
It’s Lucinda. It’s a double album. It’s a masterpiece.
3. The Felice Brothers, Life in the Dark, Yep Roc
A simple slice of “one foot in the door, the other one in the gutter” style Amrericana that I listened to constantly this year. “America, you are my nightmare indeed”….
2. Wovenhand, Star Treatment, Sargent House
A harrowing blast of apocalypse fueled frenzy from America’s preeminent fire-breathing barker of brimstone, this album fucking blew everyone paying attention away. This is the Colorado outfit’s most accomplished effort to date and it came so close to being number one this year.
1.David Bowie, Blackstar, Columnbia
Yeah, I kinda cheated, but this is the best album Bowie ever made. I’m serious, it’s better than Low, better than Ziggy Stardust, better than anything St David did. And it deserves your utmost attention.
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