With 2016 coming to a close we thought now would be an opportune time for the Spinster staff to list our favorite albums of 2016. Today we have Nick's picks.
► The Dandy Warhols – Distortland
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge Dandys fan, but I’m also one of their staunchest critics. I don’t mind saying I think their last two albums This Machine and Earth to the Dandy Warhols were not examples of their finest work. The good news for me, and you, and everyone else is Distortland is completely the opposite. In fact, I believe this is one of the better psych rock albums to come out in 2016 and ranks among the best work in their discography. If you haven’t listened to the Dandys in a few years, give this one a chance.
► Mannequin Pussy – Romantic (Buy it Here)
Sometimes a band makes the right album at the right time, and when you hear the raw emotion and rage that flies out of lead singer Marisa Dabice’s mouth on this hard-hitting punk rock album, you can’t help but believe that coupled with the recent election and divisiveness of the country perhaps 2017 will be a new age for punk. In addition, this album is particularly good with the way it balances grinding punk rock guitar riffs with more melodic sections that constantly surprise the listener, making this blistering 17-minute album worthy of repeated listens.
► The Avalanches – Wildflower (Buy it Here)
I kind of hate The Avalanches for making me like this album so much. Every time I think I’m done listening to it for a while, one of the tracks from the album gets stuck in my head and I’m back to listening to it again. This album is as good as anything DJ Shadow or RJD2 ever made and that’s high praise considering I love both those artists immensely.
► Francoise Hardy – Collections I-V
If I wanted to be fast about it I could have just written, “Pretty Much Everything Released by Light In The Attic Records” for this blog post and called it a day, because honestly, I love just about everything LITA puts out and I think the Francoise Hardy re-issues are the crown jewel of their work this year. Hardy’s work has never sounded so clean and vibrant thanks to LITA going back to the original tapes for the mastering of these reissues. And no, I don’t speak French, but that doesn’t stop me (and shouldn’t stop you) from putting on one of these albums and enjoying the enigmatic sounds of the queen of Ye-Ye girls.
► Solange – A Seat at the Table
Damnit Solange! Damnit! Damnit! Damnit! I hate being this guy! Why do you make me be this guy? I hate being the guy who puts an album on the best-of list for the end of year, even though it only came out like 2 weeks ago. That feels lazy and like cheating. On principle I’m against it. But I’m having to bend my own principles because this. album. is. on. point. Much like the Mannequin Pussy album I referenced earlier, this album strikes exactly the right tone at exactly the right time. It’s both confrontational and empathetic. It’s both collective and alienating. And the musicality is top-notch as well, fusing R&B and soul and hip-hop into a melange that feels both utterly new and classic all at once. I just have one question. Is this going to be the new normal? Are we going to have two Knowles sisters who put out A-grade work consistently? Because I might need some notice so I can prepare myself for our new Knowles overlords. At this point I’m expecting Blue Ivy to put out the hottest 6 song mixtape I’ve ever heard and all she’s going to wrap about is candy and nap time.