I have a lot of spare time in between my ears which is why I have such a long list of favorite records from the past year. In keeping with newfound tradition I have put together a list of the second tier of my favorite records. Honorary mentions that should have been included, but weren’t because of space constraints, can be found here.
20 Ultimate Painting | Dusk
This is a record from some guys from the UK bringing us rock music in tune to the 1960s. The most enjoyable moments in music are when you can witness someone recreate something old and make it new again, and I like the cover art font choice.
stand outs: Bills, Monday Morning, Song For Brian Jones
19 Communist Daughter | The Cracks That Built the Wall
The stumbling upon Communist Daughter is solely the responsibility of my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist. If you are confused by that opening statement then do yourself a favor and Google it. You can thank me later…and, your welcome. The melancholy tone to the stripped down emotion within this record is difficult to forget. The tattered wellbeing of the singer is front and center in the lyrics of the songs on The Cracks That Built the Wall and I hope that future Communist Daughter records start to reflect the positive progress to the mental state of the lead vocalist.
stand outs: Hold Back, Balboa Bridge, Sunday Morning Again
18 Sioux Falls | Rot Forever
Sioux Falls is for when you want to listen to some classic Modest Mouse or Built to Spill, but with new perspective and fresh blood. There are several epic 6 to 7 minute tracks on Rot Forever that easily become the soundtrack to the background of your afternoon. The ambition of this record are admirable and definitely worth checking out.
stand outs: 3fast, Dom, In Case It Gets Lost
17 Milk Teeth | Vile Child
If the XX ditched the DJ and adopted an actual drum set, infatuation for the 80s, and some screamo then you end up with Milk Teeth. The UK still knows how to breed good punk bands.
stand outs: Brickwork, Brain Food, Get A Clue
16 The Lowest Pair | Fern Girl & Ice Man and Uncertain As It Is Uneven
Banjo’s, a beard, and that trendy guy/girl dual vocal. This kind of music reminds me of my late grandfather. Not because he played a banjo or that he had a beard (he did not), but because his love for music represents to me the foundation of music that this record builds upon. I used to seek this genre out for the sake of remembrance, but now it has easily become part of my taste in music. I call it a win-win, and with 2 records released by The Lowest Pair this year it helps solidifying them as one of my favorites.
stand outs: Sweet Breath, Mason’s Trowel, The River Will
15 Hope Sandoval & the Warm Intentions | Until the Hunter
I should preface this with saying that I wouldn’t have thought to like or listen to Hope Sandoval if it weren’t for my incredible wife. I tend to dominate the speakers at home with my fairly annoying selections, but sometimes I’ll forfeit control for the sake of a good recommendation. Thanks, Nicole, this was a good listen. To summarize, it would benefit to include that with a guest vocal of my favorite singer of 2015 on one of the tracks helps with my liking of this record as well.
stand outs: Let Me Get There, A Wonderful Seed, Into The Trees
14 Third Eye Blind | We Are Drugs
Personally, it is simple to write about Third Eye Blind. It is comforting, for some reason, to listen to Stephen Jenkins lispfully sing over tracks that take you back to 1998. The ironic part here is that there really hasn’t been a good album since Kevin Cadogen left the band in 1999. With that being said, and with the addition of some new 20somethings to the band’s lineup, 3eb has finally put together a record that is good again. After listening to it, my first thought is: “I’d totally purchase a Steph Jenkins rap album!” Jenkins can’t sing, but he can write a killer pop record.
stand outs: Cop vs Phone Girl, Company Of Strangers, Isn’t It Pretty
13 Michael Kiwanuka | Love & Hate
I’m super white. Ask my wife. My overcompensation this year to be more musically diverse has been very refreshing and has come with a more diverse list of favorites. The future of music has offered the ability to expand yourself as a music fan as you digitally explore artists similar to those that you already listen to. Kiwanuka is one of my favorite self-discoveries and this record that brought me to him will remain a personal favorite of mine.
stand outs: Love & Hate, Black Man In A White World, Father’s Child
12 Saint Motel | saintmotelevision
To represent my absolute whiteness, Saint Motel has become part of the soundtrack of my life in 2016. “Gotta get up, gotta get up, MOVE!” has become the single lyric to keep me going. Dancing with my kids to LA2NY in the living room while my wife shakes her head and laughs has given new reason to enjoy indie dance pop music again.
stand outs: Move, Born Again, Local Long Distance Relationship (LA2NY)
11 Wye Oak | Tween
Tween happens to be that abbreviated record that takes you to a place where you want to be when you are somewhere that you don’t. The quilted musical atmosphere within Tween will be doubled down as you find yourself instinctually starting the record over when it suddenly ends.
stand outs: Watching The Waiting, If You Should See, Trigger Finger