Weirdo Music Forever Picks Our Favorite 5 Releases of 2016
Say what you will about 2016 (and there's plenty to say!), it has been an exceptional year on the new music front. And while we see music as anything but a competition, and no list is by any means definitive, we would like to share some of the records that have been dearest to our hearts during this most recent jaunt around the sun. Here, in no particular order, are our 2016 five faves:
1. Front Row Seat to Earth (Mexican Summer), Weyes Blood
Why: This album stands alone in its sincerity and beauty. Its flawless vocals, along with sophisticated compositions, arrangements, and production make this a must-listen. It is a rare experience indeed to know that a new album is going to be in your life for years to come, but this is one of those rare experiences.
Start With: "Do You Need My Love"
2. Nobody Pays Me Much Mind Until I'm Gone (Doom Trip Records), R. Stevie Moore
Why: The Godfather of Home Recording still has it, and then some. R. Stevie Moore serves as an example for weirdos and non-weirdos alike as he continues to churn out DIY gems seemingly at will, and contributing to his formidably important, lifelong body of work. Fittingly enough, this album was released on cassette tape, lending a full-circle feeling to the proceedings.
Start with: "Girl Rage"
3. It's Christmas Time with Gary Wilson (Cleopatra Records), Gary Wilson
Why: With its abstract interludes, jazzy keyboard-laden soundscapes, and unique biographical narrative, this collection of songs is bound end up one of the weirdest - yet most pleasing - holiday records in your collection. Ably employing his usual genius for making the exceptionally eccentric surprisingly smooth, Wilson makes this album something considerably more than simple holiday kitsch.
Start with: "A Christmas Tree for Two".
4. Phases (Manifesto Records), Cellars
Why: This synth-permeated offering is so easy to listen to, you'd be forgiven for initially underestimating just how good it is. And despite its unabashed nod to the past, this dynamic group of songs from Cellars is subtle, smart, and somehow equally contemporary. Fans of Ariel Pink - credited as the album's producer - will also absolutely want to check this one out.
Start With: "Still in Love"
5. That's How Baby Learns (Post Pop), Charles
Why: This impressive, instantly-loveable collection of DIY dreampop bangers by director/editor/recording artist Charles technically bears the release date of Dec. 31, 2015. We found and bought the cassette tape that was released in 2016, though, so we count it as a safe and important addition to the list here.
Start With: Hollywood Rabbi