FAVES OF 2016
Ain’t It a Sin, Charles Bradley – The world just keeps doing Charles wrong, and it sounds like he’s ready to battle back.
All Coltrane Solos At Once, Saul Williams feat. Haleek Maul – Williams gets his Kool Keith on in a song that’s as much freak rock as it is hip-hop.
Angel, Nice As Fuck – I’d like to think this is what happens when Jenny Lewis and friends hang out and listen to Blondie albums.
The Answer, Savages – In my head, I can see Beavis and Butthead headbanging to this, fists raised to the sky. From my favorite album of the year, Adore Life.
Boys (That I Dated in High School), The Prettiots – It’s awkward, apologetic, nostalgic and funny, but never bitter.
Burn the Witch, Radiohead – Always good to have Radiohead back with new material. Like this song. Love the album.
Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, Loretta Lynn – Ms. Lynn, 84 years old with sense of humor intact, rips it on this light-hearted bluegrass cut.
Funeral for a Great Drunken Bird, All Them Witches – Stoner rock by some guys who both know what the Misty Mountains are and can probably tell you off the top of their head that they’re also known as Hithaeglir.
In Bloom, Sturgill Simpson – I love it when a cover really changes the way you think about a song, such as when Marilyn Manson covered The Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams back in the 1990s. Nirvana’s In Bloom always felt like it was raging against the machine. Simpson’s version creates an atmosphere of melancholy, with a bit of defiance coming in toward the end of the song. And it’s goddamn beautiful.
Keep on Keepin’ On, Bleached – Fans of The Runaways and The Donnas should enjoy the driving, head-bobbing Keep on Keepin’ On from this California quartet.
I Decide, The Julie Ruin – A cool blast of hot punk.
Lyrics, Skepta feat. Novelist – Reminds me a bit of Dizzy Rascal, that off kilter, seriously syncopated rhyming over sparse, strange production that gives it an almost otherworldly feel.
Make It Right, The Coathangers – Step up and make it right, advise this all-woman punk trio from Atlanta.
My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars, Mitski – Almost sounds like a cover of a Guided By Voices’ song, with that lo-fi/DIY attitude, short and to-the-point musically and odd lyrically.
Never Hold On, King Khan – Music to soothe the soul. Never Hold On would be just as comfortable in 1966 as it is in 2016.
Pain, De La Soul feat. Snoop Dogg – Pain is classic De La Soul, sounding like something you could have pulled off of any of their albums from the last 25 years, yet fresher than anything you’re hearing on the airwaves right now.
She Makes Me Laugh, The Monkees – I’m as surprised to see this on my list as anyone, but She Makes Me Laugh is a gorgeous nugget of shimmery summer beach pop.
Shut Up Kiss Me, Angel Olsen – Olsen’s first two singles from her upcoming album are decidedly different from what we heard from her on 2014’s awesome Burn Your Fire For No Witness. And that’s not a bad thing.
Strange Torpedo, Lucy Dacus – Not even old enough to drink legally when her album was recorded, Dacus has a bright future as a songwriter.
Swear Jar (again), Milk Teeth – A good year for female frontwomen who rock. Go ahead, put another penny in the swear jar.
Twist My Fingaz, YG – This party track rides a traditional, West-Coast funk groove like something off Doggystyle or The Chronic, which seems like a contradiction when YG muses, “I really got something to say / I’m the only one that made it out the West without Dre.”
Um Chagga Lagga, The Pixies – It’s so good to have The Pixies back together. Frank Black mixes singing and talking over a thick guitar groove.
untitled 02 | 06.23.2014., Kendrick Lamar – Hip-hop’s reigning MVP gets a little more abstract, dropping untitled unmastered. without fanfare in the spring. Lamar probably isn’t winning any Grammys for this one, but who cares? The fans should love this unexpected gem.
You Don’t Get Me High Anymore, Phantogram – I like a cut that oozes attitude. This is a song to strut to.
ON THE BUBBLE
All of Me, Dirty Dishes; Even Though Our Love is Doomed, Garbage; Kids, The Frights; Ox Blood, Plague Vendor; Under the Influence pt II, Snoh Aalegra; Wear Me Out Loud, The I Don’t Cares
III, Maxwell; American Appetite, Harriet; Captive of the Sun, Parquet Courts; Clouds Never Get Old, Bas; Criminal, Eliza Hardy Jones; The Decay of Lying, The Melvins; Divorce Separation Blues, The Avett Brothers; Dogma, Hell Came Home; Drag Queen, The Strokes; E.V.P., Blood Orange; Feel Right, Esme Patterson; Hold Your Own Hand, Mothers; How Did I Get Through the Day?, Har Mar Superstar; I Won’t Pay, Bear Hands; A Living Human Girl, The Regrettes; Losing It, Robert Pollard; Moon, Beth Orton; Mxney, Chuuwee; Nganshe, Mbongwana Star; No Star, Greys; No Woman, Whitney; November, Kera & the Lesbians; Power Child, Night Beats; RCVR, Big Black Delta feat. Debbie Gibson; Secrets (Cellar Door), Radical Face; Sex & Drugs, A Giant Dog; Since You Been Gone, The Heavy; Six White Horses, Karl Blau; Strive, A$AP Ferg feat. Missy Elliott; We Turn Red, Red Hot Chili Peppers; White Flag, Joseph; Wow, Beck