2016 Music Review #2: Albums

Part 1 of this post is available here! This is the overdue second post where I look at what albums I listened to.

I’m having a drink with this one. It might get nonsensical by the end.

The way albums are calculated is that each track play counts towards an album play - the number given is the cumulative count of all track plays from the same album.

Albums

Total Number of Unique Albums Logged: 1,327

Top 15

The top 15 Albums I enjoyed in 2016 are as follows:

Let’s go through the top 10!

#1 Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

This lines up with the #1 artist I mentioned previously. These guys are great, this album is great. It gets played a lot, it works super well in a range of contexts. I have it on in the background just now.

This band were great, this album’s great. I’m going to keep asserting this till I’m blue in the face. Get your ears around it and save me the effort.

#2 We Banjo 3 - Roots of the Banjo Tree

Acclaimed folk album, rock solid band from Ireland. I saw them at HebCelt Fest in 2015, they were absolutely amazing live. This album is great for background at dinner parties and social events, it’s been trotted out then lots!

#3 The Chair - Road to Hammer Junkie

I don’t know where this road starts or where it ends, but the album is cracking. This is The Chair’s absolutely phenomenal second album, full of tracks that make me want to jump up and dance, which is a bit out of character!

Seeing them live is a delight - in a room full of people who knoW their music as well as I do, the anticipation, party and recovery are all amazing.

The Chair came in at #9 on the artist chart.

#4 Justice - A Cross The Universe

Justice were #8 on the artist chart

This one is special. I’ve been listening to it for years, I’ll continue to listen to it for years. It takes Justice’s “Cross” album and twists it in to something greater. They pull in tracks from other artists, mix them with their own tracks and spit out new creations.

They sample themselves, and give you hints of what’s to come next, and use strange tracks that work perfectly in their set. After a whole listen, if you know “Cross” and their influences, you’ll walk away from this album feeling intelligent and happy that you know so much about modern music.

It’s an absolute stunner and not to be missed.

#5 Breabach - Astar

Breabach were 4 on the artist chart.

Astar is the new album, I’ve put time in to explore and appreciate it. Having had my first listen of the new material be live, I instantly invested a lot of time listening to it afterwards. I often struggle to connect with music if I haven’t experienced it live.

#6 Above & Beyond - Acoustic

Above & Beyond were #2 on the artist chart

Acoustic is a really interesting concept. They’ve taken a selection of their most popular tracks and rewritten them as acoustic, jazz and lounge style tracks with a live band.

I’ve been enjoying this for a while - the film they made at the time (below) is pretty good.

Lewis and I went to see them in Manchester for the launch of Acoustic II, which was a special gig. There was a very touching moment when the original singer of On a Good Day came out to sing her song. She’d done it as session work maybe 10 years ago and left it at that, had no idea of the impact of the song or artist particularly. This was the first gig she’d performed with A&B, and I think it was overwhelming for her to see a room full of people sing it and believe in the song. She looked proper stunned. Super special moment.

#7 Sigur Rós - Hvarf / Heim

Sigur Rós came 7th in my artist chart - how weird is that!

This is a cute little double EP they brought out alongside the Heima film. One side (Hvarf) has unreleased songs, the other (Heim) has live recordings of some songs from the Heima documentary. The Heima songs are fantastic, I listen to them lots, that’s where the bulk of plays are. This relaxes me quite reliably.

#8 Worlds - Porter Robinson

Porter’s cracking, and Worlds is a super strong and interesting electronic album. It’s not dance music particularly, it’s just cracking tracks.

Divinity (below) is one of my favourite album openers - it just has such a clean, perfect sound that always pulls me in, hips shaking and singing along happily. Absolutely, shamelessly love it.

#9 Equal Kygo - Cloud Nine

Kygo is the hugely successful Norwegian producer who was making tropical house at exactly the right time. I bounced across the genre, and him in 2014 as it first became hot - the Teemid mixtape for Electro Pose soundtracked that summer.

This first full length album from Kygo is much the same - super sunny, chilled out beats and a great sense of party.

Another album with a brilliant opener - a piano overture, which is a nice surprise. Stole the Show (below) which follows it is super fun too!

#9 Equal M83 - Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

Dreamy, joyous electro pop. I’ve been listening to this on and off for a while - highlight songs are Wait and Midnight City, the Intro and Outro are cracking too.

The vide series for Midnight City / Reunion / Wait is great - worth a watch (below)

Honourable Mentions

There’s a few who haven’t made the list, but have made an impact and are worth recording for future reference:

#12 Explosions in the Sky - The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place

This is a strong contender for my favourite album of all time. It’s 5 tracks long and runs for 47 minutes, so the playcounts are unfairly low for it. It’s a post rock, instrumental album that’s been about for nearly 15 years.

If everything has fallen to shit and I feel awful, this is the first thing I reach for. It has been my reset button on everything happening in my head for years now. I used it at uni time and time and time again, and I still reach for it now.

I can’t name a favourite song, they all flow as several movements in the same piece and I don’t ever listen to them out of context or order.

This is an exceptional album, and one that you should listen to again and again and again. I absolutely, undeniably, utterly, completely love this album.

#13 Talisk - Abyss

I said most of what I could about talisk in the artist chart

This album is great, varied and has some phenomenal tracks. The concertina sounds mesmerising - worth a listen!

Next time: Tracks!

graphing powered by http://www.chartjs.org/, data used was taken from my last.fm account 2016-01-17

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