I’m a little late with the list for 2016, but I’m happy to once again post this annual exercise.
Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
The music is an interesting take on modern country music, and the lyrical concept is a love letter to his infant son. This came out the week I found out I was going to be a father for the first time. It became the soundtrack to that journey, up until my son was born in December. I will love this album for the rest of my life.
Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression
He says his recording career is wrapping up, and I believe this is the perfect way to go out. He recruited Josh Homme – another of my all-time favourite musicians – to make this album, and the result is a rock n’ roll tour de force. Iggy at 69 is both raw and refined.
Tanya Tagaq – Retribution
When music defies all labels and the artist herself powerfully commands respect and space for her people in all realms, that’s revolutionary. Her last collection of songs took me places I never imagined music could, and this one took me even further.
A Tribe Called Red – We Are the Halluci Nation
They’ve gone from providing the soundtrack to the urban Indigenous experience to creating a global Indigenous movement that celebrates beauty, creativity, and positivity. The songs are a fun and exciting musical blend of electronic, powwow, and hip hop that follows a pretty compelling narrative.
Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason
No other band makes heavy metal as precise and powerful as Meshuggah does. These Swedish juggernauts have an unmistakable sound that’s complex and captivating, and decades into their dominant run, they’re stronger than ever.
Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition
I’ve always appreciated how dark and weird Danny Brown can make hip hop, and this one goes deep on both fronts. His skillful eccentrics yield some pretty serious bangers, while going to some harsh and profound places in between.
Big Business – Command Your Weather
Going back to their roots as a two-piece has somehow created louder, stronger songs than on their last (also excellent) album. Some may consider it a stretch to call Big Business “metal”, but I think they’ve created some of the most unique and enjoyable music in the genre.
The Melvins – Basses Loaded
Their production pace is roughly an album a year, and while recent output has ranged from just okay to deadly, Basses Loaded lands on the deadlier end of that spectrum. It may seem like a gimmick, but using a different bass player for each song results in a pretty eclectic heavy sound.
PJ Harvey – The Hope Six Demolition Project
I really enjoyed her music back in the day, but she kind of fell off my radar in recent times. My buddy Chunk highly recommended this new one, and I was glad he did. Her beautifully commanding voice remains on a righteous pedestal, and the album’s mostly gloomy vibe is right up my alley.
Run the Jewels 3
I’m still getting to know this Christmas miracle, but I already like it more than Run the Jewels 2, which I didn’t think was possible. This hip hop powerhouse only seems to be getting better and better, making some of the most important music for our times.
And the rest of what I really enjoyed in 2016:
David Bowie – Blackstar
Nine Inch Nails – Not the Actual Events
A Tribe Called Quest – We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service
WHOOP-szo – Citizen’s Ban(ne)d Radio
Black Mountain – IV
Testament – Brotherhood of the Snake
Saul Williams – MartyrLoserKing
Jim Bryson – Somewhere We Will Find Our Place
Beyoncé – Lemonade
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid
Deftones – Gore
Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
Metallica – Hardwired…to Self Destruct
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
What was your favourite music from 2016?