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Top 20 Albums of 2016

Obviously, I like music. Just in case all the bands I photograph didn't give that away.

So obviously I place an unnecessary amount of importance on listing my favourites albums of any given year. So here's the list for 2016, which was a pretty great year for music if you ask me. 

20. Savages "Adore Life"

19. The Devin Townsend Project "Transcendence"

18. All Tvvins "IIVV"

17. Black Peaks "Statues" 

16. Childish Gambino "Awaken, My Love"

15. Bon Iver " 33"God"" 

14. Thrice "To Be Everywhere is to be Nowhere"

13. Heck "Instructions"

12. Every Time I Die "Low Teens"

11. Banks "The Altar"

10. Letlive. 'If I'm The Devil..."

The best hardcore bands always kind of leave hardcore behind, and Letlive. are no exception. Incorporating a lot more art rock atmospherics and soul arrangements into their sound the band really start to push at the boundaries of their sound, marking them out as a band with real creative ambition and not just punk rock ragers. 

9. Biffy Clyro "Elipsis" 

A return to the obtuse arrangements and experimentation of ‘Puzzle” without sacrificing any of the pop nous they’ve acquired since that record, Biffy Clyro continue to prove their worth as one of the UK’s best bands. This album gets into the top purely on the strength of “Rearrange” and ‘In The Name of the Wee Man’ alone. Two of the strongest tracks of the year from any record. 

8. Fatherson "Open Book"

The best collection of sad songs you’ll hear this year. Beautifully arranged and considered instrumentals provide the perfect backdrop to some incredibly sincere and affecting lyrics and vocal performances. A must for those who enjoy indulging their own sense of melancholy.

 

7. Zoax "Zoax"

A combination and jazz intricacy, metal groove and rock hooks, Zoax are a totally unique bunch. The record’s production doesn’t quite do their rich sound justice, but this is a band with a real identity that has them stand out head and shoulders from the pack. A masterclass in inventive song writing and instrumentation. 

6. Milk Teeth "Vile Child"

Effortlessly cool and total unconcerned with being cool, this record reaffirms your taste in rock music being exciting again. Equal parts snotty grunge, enraged punk and introspective song-writing, this band are immediately distinctive and endlessly endearing. ‘Vile Child’ is one of the strongest debut rock records in years. 

5.Architects "All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us" 

The crowning glory in Architects back catalogue, this record is the perfect slab of modern heavy music. Pulverising rhythms collide head-on with subtle electronics and Sigur Ros esquse guitar atmospherics to create a richly textured masterpiece. This album turned out to be the swan song for the late Tom Searle, Architects song-writer and mastermind, but if this is has lasting legacy he’s achieved more than most.  

4. The 1975 "I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It"

Unashamedly pretentious pop music. No one, not even the band, would pretend for a second they’re reinventing the wheel, but this record is full of bombastic and totally engrossing quirky pop music. Occasionally a lit too self-indulgent and overblown, it makes up for it all with the incredible quality of song-writing and instrumental variation on display.

3. The Anchoress "Confessions of a Romance Novelist"

An incredible combination of progressive and pop music. There’s no compromise here, but that doesn’t detract from the accessibility of these songs. the 80’s throwback aesthetic makes for a warm and inviting sound you’ll want to visit again and again as you explore the album’s compelling narrative and undeniable hooks. 

2. The Dillinger Escape Plan "Dissociation" 

Kind of a no brainer here wasn’t it? The final album from one of my favourite bands of all time doesn’t disappoint. Subtly more left-field and obtuse then their last two records, ‘Dissociation’ perfectly showcases every facet of the band from destructive chaos, to delicate melody and unexpected jazz breaks. If you’re going to go out on a high this is the way to do it. 

1. The Black Queen "Fever Daydream" 

Easily my record of the year, this stunning collection of darkly romantic and sexy pop electronica is incredible. The punk rock sensibility that informs its DIY release doesn’t hurt either. If you’re a fan of quirky and melodically rich electronic music then you should really be listening to this right now. If you like great pop music you should be listening to this right now. If you like good music…you get the idea.

Here's a lovely a wee Spotify playlist with some of my favourite tracks from these releases if you're so inclined to give it a listen or give me a follow on there then feel free to do so. 

Or don't. Or whatever.