Beau Brady's Top 10 Albums of 2016
Beau Brady of Excuse Me shares his 10 favorite albums of 2016:
10. The Field - The Follower
I've been a huge fan of Axel Willner's project The Field since his 2007 debut LP From Here We Go Sublime. The Follower is his fifth album and properly follows suit of his previous four records providing tightly repetitive samples that ebb and flow often for 10 minutes at a time. For nearly 10 years, I've constantly returned to his records for reading, sleeping or focusing on projects. I'm thrilled to add another impressive album of his work to his already dense discography.
9. Clams Casino - 32 Levels
When I first heard Clams Casino's Rainforest EP in 2011, I couldn't wait to hear what he could do with a proper full-length. Five years and three instrumental mixtapes later, he finally crafted an album that attempts to highlight the unique producer's many strengths. Not only did he gives fans an album that highlights his hip-hop work (with A$AP Rocky, Lil B and Vince Staples) and his work with singers (Mykki Ekko and Sam Herring of Future Islands to name a couple), he also provided listeners with a disc of instrumentals of every track for his old school fans that grew to love him on his work alone. It was an album with something for everyone.
8. Frank Ocean - blonde
I was one of many super fans when Frank dropped channel ORANGE the summer of 2012. It was a long wait for a follow-up, but this summer we got TWO Frank Ocean albums. Most listeners gravitated to blonde for good reason. It contained the most obvious singles ("Ivy" / "Nikes" / "Nights") scattered about between interludes, brief songs and a 4-song ending that rivals any record released this year. It was enough that Frank fans should be good for another 4 years. And if it isn't...
7. Frank Ocean - Endless
Then Frank has you covered with the album the preceded blonde by one day. Endless was released solely on Apple Music as a "visual album." This has prevented, and is still preventing, many people from hearing this incredible album. It's a different beast from blonde but I feel works better as a smoother album listen. Ideally there will be other ways to hear this album in the future, but anybody that doesn't mind Frank building some stairs, there is a beautiful album that will assuredly keep Frank fans happy for years to come.
6. The Avalanches - Wildflower
16 years after they redefined sampling with their classic debut Since I Left You, The Avalanches return with their long-awaited follow-up Wildflower. Most noticeably a more song-oriented approach than the massive mix feel of Since I Left You, Wildflower offered up a single featuring Danny Brown and DOOM just a few songs away from a track with Toro y Moi singer Chaz Bundick. The album effortlessly hops from one genre to the next with enough micromanaged sample work to keep you noticing new sounds on every listen. Easily the most exciting summertime album this year.
5. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
The buzz around Car Seat Headrest reached a peak with the proper Matador release of Will Toledo's THIRTEENTH album. For the past six years, Will quietly was figuring out his unique approach to music on Bandcamp, which is why even though this may be your first time hearing his band, it sounds so fully formed. It's a massive statement from a young musician that seems so prolific, we may have to get used to getting more high quality albums from him every year.
4. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
Let's get this out of the way now: the only reason The King of Limbs felt like a minor Radiohead release was because of its 8-song brevity. In reality, Radiohead have never released a bad album. Their return with A Moon Shaped Pool is yet another revered addition to their immaculate discography. The fact they finally gave b-side "True Love Waits" the proper studio treatment sends this album into instant classic status.
3. Nicolas Jaar - Sirens
Nicolas Jaar has been busy since his 2011 debut solo LP Space Is Only Noise by releasing music under different project names. But Sirens is his official follow-up to his debut and it shows all the side work has paid off in spades. Serving in part as a lyrical history lesson on his home country of Chile, there are notable lyrics that could apply to another political landscape. Make no mistake, this album is a behemoth and we'll likely not see Nicolas try to follow it up for some time.
2. Young Thug - JEFFERY
I didn't get on board with Young Thug initially. I checked out The Barter 6 last year, but it was when Jamie xx grabbed him to be on his album's highlight "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)" that I finally took notice. Multiple mixtapes later, Thuggah shocked everyone with the fully formed JEFFERY complete with, easily, the best album artwork of 2016. But album art is nothing if the songs aren't there, and they're all fully accounted for. Each song (save bonus cut "Pick Up The Phone") is named after one of Thug's influences, a couple of them actually appear on the album (Gucci Mane & Wyclef Jean). Perhaps inspired by his recent engagement, Thugger sounds as full of joy as he did on the Jamie xx song that made me like him in the first place. I'd heard Young Thug was something special in hip-hop and JEFFERY is the album that made me a certified believer.
1. David Bowie - ★
It was game, set, match eight days into 2016. Arguably the greatest musician to ever walk this planet releasing an album about his death, that would transpire a mere two days after this album was released. The music video for "Lazarus" contains the best evidence that Bowie knew he was on his way out of this world. The fact he even bothered to write one more game-changing album will be discussed well after I'm dead as well.