Another year has gone, another set of belter records. 2016 has seen the returns of superstars such as Radiohead, Adele and Bowie and of course that long awaited second album from Mr Ocean, we had big names dropping tracks all over the shop. So with all this going on in the heavens I have picked MY top 5 from a lovely year of music, hope you like it, but you probably won’t.
Jack Garratt – Phase
Perfect for: Fans of James Blake and Lapsley
I credit myself with the discovery of this guy after I stumbled across his stuff on Soundcloud well before he got any attention from BBC and others. I loved everything about him in those early days, from the giant beard to the endless list of instruments he used but I hated how long I waited for that first album. But now Phase has finally been dropped it’s good to see everyone else is agreeing with my day one prediction.
The calming tones in tracks like Worry are the things that I fell in love with at first, showing a mature understanding of how is electronic instruments work, taking inspiration from everything from folk to deep house in the way he produces. This being said the heavier tunes like Chemical and Far Cry grew on me over time. Both have obvious drum and base tones thrown in there, showing he can manoeuvre his sound around all genres, a true Jack of all trades. Many complain that this leads to him being a master of none but, to me, he is just a very clever lad showing everyone what he can do.
The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come to Expect
Perfect for: Fans of Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines
There have been rumours for years now asking when two of the coolest men in rock music would team up once more to blow our socks off. Last time, the bromance of Miles Kane and Alex Turner brought me one of my favourite albums of all time and even though this one didn’t hit the same heights I still listened to it on repeat over and over with a smile on my face. When the debut single Bad Habits was released I heard a lot of people moaning about it not being original but I don’t know what people expected. It smacked you in the face with Kane’esque arrogance and had the vintage finish we have come to expect from Turner in recent years.
Miracle Aligner is a nostalgic boat trip to the first album and Aviation pays homage to the classic rock tunes that inspired them to pick up a guitar in the first place. Tried and tested formats with a completely original spin for the overly critical 21st century. The biggest musical regret I have from this year was not seeing them live and I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself, a box to tick for the next album I suppose.
Savages – Adore Life
Perfect For: Fans of Joy Division and PJ Harvey
My personal choice for the Mercury Prize. The more I listened to it the more I just loved lead singer, Jehnny Beth’s, voice, making all of their punkness sound ultimately classy. They are definitely not the type of band I normally listen to but when someone does something so well I think it’s hard not to appreciate it.
Whether it be the shameless build up and drop in Sad Person or the infectious bassline in tunes like Evil these girls know how to turn moody into a hit. My personal favourite is definitely Adore, one of the best songs of the year and a perfect badge of identity for the band as a whole. “If only I’d hidden my lust, And starved a little bit more, If only I didn’t ask for more, Is it human to adore life?” taking the piss out of bores who can’t enjoy the little things, my type of people.
Anderson. Paak – Malibu
Perfect for: Fans of Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean
Dr Dre’s newest protege doesn’t fit the usual mould. He’s 30 years old, he is not a newbie to the musical world and his production experience makes him a lot less one-dimensional than a lot of the artists on his record label; Aftermath. With a vocal range that would challenge any performer in the RnB world today, he chooses to show off that little bit more by being an extraordinary rapper as well. Featuring on records with Kendrick and Chance, with everyone else in between, he’s got a lot of fans in high places.
A tough upbringing, involving an abusive Father and several job problems that led to him being homeless with a family, took Paak away from his musical dreams for many years and it wasn’t until Dre decided he was good enough for another shot he had a real chance of turning into a superstar. Malibu is full of soul, class and everything you want from this genre, with enough flamboyance and freestyling for you to think “wow where has this guy been”. Listen to The Bird if you want to know what this guy’s about.
Jamie T – Trick
Perfect for: Fans of The Macabees and The Cribs
I was quite a latecomer to the magic of Jamie T, not really giving him a fair crack of the whip until Carry on the Grudge came out in 2014. But with that record showing me how good he actually was I was soon hooked by all his golden oldies but Trick, in my opinion, is his best yet. The fourth album from the colourful cockney contains some of his heaviest tunes to date, with the sense that he fancies himself as a rapper starting to become a reality. Punk, indie, rock, hip-hop, he tries to mix a lot in but it always keeps your toe tapping.
With this edition, Jamie takes himself away from the ‘London is everything’ mentality and writes about themes the entire nation can relate with. The story of Tinfoil Boy basically describes how drug addicts get pushed to one side because they’re too embarrassing for society, Tescoland points fun at how everyone gets lost in their own little world and Power over Men describes how some women are just objects of sexual desire in the eyes of many. Jamie T has grown up and it is bloody brilliant to see.
So there it is. A bit of everything really for you lot to sink your teeth into if you haven’t already but I assure you you won’t be disappointed on any of them. Special mentions must also go out to Kano’s Made in the Manor, Spring King’s Tell Me If You Like To and Jagwar Ma’s Every Now and Then – all definitely worth a listen. Let’s hope 2017 keeps on producing worldies.