30 Best Albums Of 2016

bestof2016greenlandsmall

Looking back at what a shit year 2016 has been, it’s no wonder I published more music writing than ever before. As the months wore on I found myself swiping away more and more real news in my feed and just getting lost in Bandcamp and other music sources. I wasn’t really trying to bury my head; I was looking for a better way of thinking.

The world is what it is, but I can frame it and focus on it however I choose. Immersing in the toxicity of bad news and worse reactions changed my perception one way, so I aimed to change it another way. Art has been a life sustaining tonic all my life, a refuge sought in times of stress, loneliness, and most of all, deep frustration. If I’ve hit a brick wall, I know that obsessing about the problem won’t help. I need to detach, breathe, and follow something made to surprise. A good story or song is something to be lost in, sure, but it grants perspective. It can bend the light just so, showing me a new way to see.

Perspective also comes from travel. The simple but profound act of experiencing other parts of the world can never be overestimated. This is where the image at the top of this list comes in. It’s Greenland, as seen from my plane back home to the United States from Ireland a month ago. I happened to open the window shade during the brief window when we were passing over the very tip of the continent-sized island. It felt like magic.

I’m entering 2017 with hope that good news can happen and that we can press on, even when our heroes are gone. I look around and I wonder who the future heroes are going to be. Those people will be standing against the dark tide and risking everything. They’ve got new ideas to replace the scary old ones that never quite die.

Looking back on the past year of music, I see a lot of new ideas and new perspectives on old ones. The best kind of music always elicits surprise, even if it’s made in a familiar way. There’s a flash of feeling, a rush of blood, and it clicks. Everything on this list mattered to me and I hope some of it can matter to you.

Let’s begin the countdown. These are the 30 best albums of 2016:

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NV – Binasu

NV Binasu

I’ve said it before, but Orange Milk is one of the most exciting music labels out there right now. They’ve published some of my favorite albums of the past few years, from Giant Claw, Nico Niquo, and more, so I’m always on the lookout for what’s next. This week, my eyes fell upon the cover of NV’s Binasu and I knew I needed to listen right away.

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What I’m Into This Week (5/1 – 5/7)

Pacific Rim Gypsy Danger

This week was shot out of a cannon. I was out of town, spending the weekend in Chicago, visiting the aquarium and accidentally joining a political protest, but I returned to great news.

Radiohead was suddenly back and doing interesting things. I had new vinyl from Can and Andy Stott. Beyoncé was still riding high on the crest of a mighty art-pop wave, and her album was still lodged in my car stereo. Then, after the worst storm of the year, the sun came out to play.

Let’s get into it.

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