5. Simplicity // JAWS
The last remains of the B-town squad are still making waves with their sophomore album. Simplicity shows how much JAWS have grown since their debut, Be Slowly. This intricate and profound self released record features everything from marvelously dreamy tracks like ’17’ to heavier, more grungy ones like ‘What We Haven’t Got Yet’. Without the support of a label, the boys have done an impressive effort, making a varied and yet coherent album. Moving on from the child-like bliss of their previous work, JAWS still captures the vibe of escapism, yet this time it touches on heavier subjects and with tunes to match. Their musical journey has barely begun, and with an amazing album like this it will be bliss seeing where they are headed.
4. A Moon Shaped Pool // Radiohead
Moving beyond their existential gloom, Radiohead’s ninth studio album proves that even the legends can still surprise us. Probably the music industry’s most anticipated album – the entire music press flipped after Radiohead’s social media blackout. The mystique surrounding the release played on songs they’ve teased with for years, like singel, ‘Burn The Witch’, as well as closer, ‘True Love Awaits’ which was featured on the band’s Amnesia tour in 2001. Framed by half-known sounds A Moon Shaped Pool invites us to dive into dark waters of new material. This is most likely the most human release Radiohead have to day, might be the age, yet it suits them brilliantly.
3. I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It // The 1975
I know a lot of people who will kill me for saying this. I also know a lot of people who will say that it’s better than third place – so, everyone, chill. Discussing the artistic merit of The 1975 versus their tendency towards utter crap, is for another day. This album deserves a place as one of the best releases of 2016 because it succeeds as few others have in combining elements from several different genres. This makes it actually a better record than their self-titled debut. *gasp* I Like It When You Sleep sparkles with old pop references in a modern wrapping. Frontman Matty Healy’s charismatic lyrics take the album to the next level building up from a good musical foundation to a poetic master piece served in every format from classic pop, rock and R&B. Still signed to indie label, Dirty Hits, The 1975 keeps to their roots even whilst quickly becoming one of the biggest bands on Britain.
2. Heads Up // Warpaint
Rough Trade’s own Warpaint have emerge bolder and more spontaneous in what is their most mature album to date. The California outfit’s last studio release, 2014’s self-titled ‘Warpaint’, gained them critical praise and a core base of fans – so now they have gone and done something quite sdifferent. Though still holding onto their layered vocals and gloomy guitars, Warpaint emerge out of their comfort zone to test out new territory such as Hip Hop and R&B. Aptly titled ‘New Song’, for example, is more up beat than what we have come to expect from these Cal-girls; and structurally more complex. But it still stays in touch with the down tempo rock which has been their trademark.
1. Sunflower Bean // Human Ceremony
The New York based trio isn’t only the best debut of the year, the release goes all the way to the top with their innovative melodies and mix between classic vocals and rock-based guitar. Judging by the single ‘Easier Said’, prior to full release of Human Ceremony, this was assumed to be a light-melodic album, yet the riffs which form an important part of it demonstrate much heavier influences. The vocal dynamics between Nick Kivlen and Julia Cumming are remarkable: there are superb harmonies, and contracts, between his edgy vocals and her classic falsetto.
“We tried to make the record a few times in different ways before this one. Then the stars kinda aligned, and we worked with the right producer. We’re really happy with how it turned out,” Julia Cumming told Rising East back in March. They have every right to be ‘really happy’ with it as it made the absolute to of my list this year.