2016 may have been a tough year, but at the same time it was a wonderful year in music, and you heard it all on No Country for Old Music.
In fact there were so many great releases that in order to do the best possible run-down two shows are required. The process was not easy, narrowing down countless full-length albums, singles, and EPs was a very time consuming process, but DJs Sassy-pants and Jackson were up to the task.
Here is part one of the best music of 2016, and make sure to tune in Tuesday, December 20th from 8-9 pm for part two
Ty Segall & The Muggers – Squealer Two – Emotional Mugger
Ty Segall, what CAN’T you say about him – The prolific performer, writer, producer, multi-instrumentalist finds himself digging deep into the darkness of the modern psyche in his eighth studio album – Where he enlisted the help of buddies Corey Hanson, Mikal Cronin, Emmett Kelly, King Tuff, and Charles Moothart. Oh yeah while touring the album he also donned a creepy baby mask and went under he name Sloppo.
Parquet Courts – Paraphrased – Human Performance
On their fifth studio album, the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Texas-and-Boston band continues to expand beyond their loud, art-punk roots. From the slow and somber Steady on My Mind to the expansive yet lonely sounds of One Man, No City – The band is moving past their “Pavement Phase” as many music-publications liked to lump them into in their early years.
Adam Green – Someone Else’s Plan – Aladdin (OST)
Off the official soundtrack for a strange, trippy re-imagining of Arabian Nights – Writer, Director, Actor, Musician Adam Green enlisted the help of Alia Shawkat, Macaulay Culkin, Devendra Banhart, Har-Mar-Superstar, and many others. It’s certainly weird and it’s certainly great.
A Giant Dog – Sex & Drugs – Pile
Memories (or lack-thereof) are the name of the game on Pile – The latest album from the Merge Records group based out of Austin. “Can’t even remember being young” (yeah, who can anymore) are echoed over a great piano line and ripping guitars. Even if you can’t remember being young, you’ll remember this track after hearing it.
Allah Las – Warmed Kippers – Calico Review
LA-based psych-revivalists the Allah Las bring more sun-draped reverb laden tracks on their latest Calic Review . A load of late-sixties influence from (Fifth Dimension-Byrds to Revolver-Era Beatles) can be heard, but the Allah Las are bringing their own creativity to the table and cementing their own groovy place in the modern-age of psychedelic pop.
Soft Hair – Relaxed Lizard – Soft Hair (S/T)
Soft Hair are Connan Mockasin and Sam Dust (LA PRIEST / Late of The Pier) and the album’s recording took place over five years. Soft Hair offers a view into an exotic world with a blend of familiar, unfamiliar and unconventionally attractive sounds – a world of weird and wonderful, but hey it’s Connan Mockasin – the ordinary is never to be expected.
Childish Gambino – Have Some Love – Awaken, My Love
Much about Donald Glover, who performs under the pseudonym Childish Gambino, has changed since his last major release Because The Internet – and they have changed for the better. Gone are the days (on this record at least) of pop-culture centered rhymes and here are the days of Psych-Funk (See Funkadelic, Parliament, Sly & The Family Stone, etc.) vibes and Bootsy Collins samples. It’s a new refreshing sound, and this album that just snuck in at the end of the year is worth at least multiple listens, but you’ll probably be doing that anyway.
Sassy Pants’ Picks:
Beyonce – All Night – Lemonade
There was perhaps no more controversial female artist in 2016 than Beyonce and her 2016 release, Lemonade. When Beyonce dropped “Formation”, news outlets of every kind covered the single. The nearly 3 month wait for the rest of the album proved to be well worth it. Mrs. Carter created a rollercoaster of an album where every song could was a stand alone hit. My pick for “All Night” highlights what I believe to be the best of Lemonade’s soft, but strong vibe.
Rihanna – Higher- ANTI
Rihanna’s ANTI was released early in the year, and unfortunately eclipsed by the release of Beyonce’s “Formation” single, but make no mistake, ANTI is Rihanna’s best album to date. There’s a range to this album unlike the ones that come before it. “Higher” in particular is a plea for another chance. It stands alone on this album of much catchier, dance-ready hits.
Solange – Cranes in the Sky – Seat at The Table
Prior the A Seat at the Table, Solange hadn’t released an LP since mid 2008. Many critics agree that this is Solange’s strongest release to date, managing to both find her voice and utilize it to it’s fullest potential. I would say that this was the best R&B release of 2016. The amount of time and effort that went into this album is apparent, with nothing – not even the wispiest of hums – out of place.
Suns of Thyme – Do or Die – Cascades
Suns of Thyme’s Cascades is a nosedive into the past, bumping into a few decades on your way to hit the ground. I thought about how to describe this group and this album, but Dan Epstein at RevolverMag says it best. “On its second full-length release, German rockers Suns of Thyme further refine its ‘krautgaze’ sound, taking the motorik drone of 1970s krautrock and the dreamy jangle of early ’90s shoegaze, and fuse it with elements of 1960s psychedelia and early ’80s post-punk.” There you have it. It’s a bonafide trip.
Mitski – Your Best American Girl – Puberty 2
After 2014’s Bury Me at Makeout Creek, I didn’t think Mitski could get any cooler, but this year she released Puberty 2 and it was a punch in the gut. With P2, Mitski clearly pulled from a new, deeper well of emotion. Songs on this album are fun and catchy, but serious and the sincerity comes shining through. The heavier subject matter and stepped up technical game leaves Puberty 2 at the top of my list for 2016’s indie releases.
Angel Olsen- Shut Up Kiss Me – My Woman
Disclaimer: I wasn’t an Angel Olsen fan until this album, and BOY, did MY WOMAN make me a fan. On MY WOMAN, Olsen chose to break out of the indie folk darling box that had built around her with past releases like Burn Your Fire for No Witness and Half Way Home by creating a new persona. MY WOMAN’s Olsen is loud and driven and isn’t afraid to throw some glitter around. For me, this album proves she’s not a one-trick pony and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for her musical future.