April 20, 2024

New Fury Media

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Top 10 Albums of 2016 (So Far)

With the advent of internet hosting and streaming sites, anyone can now make and distribute their music for the world to hear, and as a result, the web is bombarded everyday with hardworking, creative musicians trying to get their works listened to. It’s easy, therefore, to miss a lot of what’s being put out there, and it can be difficult to wade through the releases that, frankly, aren’t so mind blowing.
In simplest terms, this article aims to answer the question “what have I been missing?” The new year is young, and yet, there are quite a few releases that deserve attention, ten of which will be discussed here.

10. Set the Sea – Set the Sea
Set the Sea cover art
Genuine, driven, and fun, Set the Sea get 2016 started on a hell of a high note with some of the best Pop Punk we’re likely to hear this year. It doesn’t exactly break tremendous ground (the genre rarely does) but that’s not so important when a release is quite this catchy, well-written, and memorable.

9. V&PNF – S
V&PNF - S cover art
Some people may argue that this album is experimentalism and minimalism gone awry, and they may not be wrong. However, this odd electronic release, consisting of songs all shorter than 60 seconds, is, at the very least, aesthetically intriguing. Each track sounds like film tape being chewed up by a VCR and played backwards. It is at once eerie and aurally stimulating.

8. ADHDJ – Alvord Ln
Alvord Ln cover art
Eccentric, psychedelic glitch and trip-hop music with interesting and eclectic guest vocalists make for a stylish, slick, and enjoyable listen throughout. The beats are nice and the synths, like the album cover, ooze with color.

7. Kicktime – L.R.N.H.C.
L.R.N.H.C cover art
Kicktime doesn’t waste any time pummeling listeners with their particularly extreme and direct brand of Hardcore Punk. Dizzying chords and oppressive distortion are in endless supply, making this short release endlessly satisfying.

6. VWO – EP
EP cover art
Perhaps no musical trope is more played out today than the throwback retro band, yearning blandly for the psychedelic rock sounds of the 60s and 70s. However, this New Zealand outfit breaks the mold and demands attention with their gorgeous melodies and beautiful guitar sound.

5. Jake Nature – World Peace & Good Tunes
World Peace & Good Tunes cover art

Excellent, light Hip-Hop with airy beats and a smooth, solid flow. Jake Nature claims that this album was made to be something fun to kick off the year. It’s clear that he has more than hit his mark.

4. Squishchin Chubbs – Test Results and Initial Resonance
Test Results and Initial Resonance cover art
An odd, interesting, and diverse electronic album that utilizes elements of instrumental hip-hop, Chiptune, IDM, and ambient music. The album isn’t aggressive in its approach, but it manages to be particularly ambitious, probably without even realizing it, and best of all, it easily reaches the high bar it sets for itself.

3. Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä
Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä
Black Metal has undergone tremendous change over the years, particularly within the last decade, and Finnish band Oranssi Pazuzu exemplifies this progression extremely well, merging psychedelic rock and experiment Black Metal, which, in itself, is not entirely new, but the band does it so well, they’ve more than earned a spot on the list.

2. ∆N†i vØx Aи L†D – The Blair Witch Cult
The Blair Witch Cult cover art
Who says Witch House is dead? This Japanese release brings back the atmosphere of Witch House with the musical sensibilities of drone and House music, with a Gothic injection. A very interesting album that anyone could get lost in.

1. Signor Benedick the Moor – Maiden Voyage Suite
Maiden Voyage Suite cover art
I would not be at all surprised if, by the end of 2016, this was my favorite Hip-Hop release of the year. Ambitious, adventurous, challenging, and aware. These are all words that, while describing this landmark release, do it too little justice. This album, so far, stands above the rest as a unique and transcendental musical experience in Hip-Hop music.

-Andrew Oliver

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