Once again, we present our end-of-the-year favorites from the Burst & Bloom family and friends. It is our hope that you might discover something that has made us happy in 2016, and that it will make you happy as well.
2016 was a quieter year for Burst & Bloom. We released three new CD’s, plus a few digital-only albums. If you haven’t yet, we hope you’ll check out Jim Rioux Darlings of the Soil, Mara Flynn Good Hands, and Guy Capecelatro III The Smallest Darkest Things. The digital releases can be found here.
And now, on with our favorites:
- Chance the Rapper Coloring Book
- David Bowie Blackstar
- Kanye West The Life of Pablo
- Car Seat Headrest Teens of Denial
- The Radio Dept. Running Out of Love
- Japanese Breakfast Psychopomp
- The Lemon Twigs Do Hollywood
- Kendrick Lamar untitled unmastered
- Daniel Romano Mosey
- Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds The Skeleton Tree
- Leonard Cohen You Want It Darker
- Mitski Puberty 2
- A Tribe Called Quest We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service
- Karl Blau Introducing Karl Blau
- Young Thug No, My Name is Jeffery
- Iggy Pop Post Pop Depression
- Joyce Manor Cody
- Pusha T King Push: Darkest Before the Dawn
- The Avalanches Wildflower
- Wolkoff Without Shame
- Alex Cameron Jumping the Shark
Song of the year: YG & Nipsey Hussle “Fuck Donald Trump”
Andy Shauf The Party
Mothers When You Walk a Long Distance You Are Tired
Snowblink Returning Current
House of Wolves s/t
Matt Pond Winter Lives
Gregory Alan Isakov With the Colorado Symphony
Frankie Cosmos Next Thing
Dolfish Foreclosure American Dreams
Kristin Hersh Wyatt at the Coyote Palace
Let’s Eat Grandma I, Gemini
Modern Baseball Holy Ghost
Richmond Fontaine You Can’t Go Back if There’s Nothing to Go Back to
Owen The King of Whys
Daughter Not to Disappear
Billie Marten Writing of Blues Yellows
Keaton Henson Kindly Now
Tricky Skilled Mechanics
Adam Torres Pearls to Swine
Bianca Casady & the C.I.A. Oscar Hocks
Matt Pond Winter Lives
Top Ten Favorite Songs of 2016
1. “Three Candles” by Kyle Craft
2. “Shut Up Kiss Me” by Angel Olsen
6. “Wanted You” by Twin Peaks
3. “Your Best American Girl” by Mitski
11. “Human Performance” by Parquet Courts
5. “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd
4. “Faces” by Buck
7. “Used To Be” by Weyes Blood
9. “Dopamine” by Diiv
8. “Cheap Thrills” by Sia
10. “On The Lips” by Frankie Cosmos
- Neurosis Fires Within Fires
- Windhand Grief’s Infernal Flower
- Wrekmeister Harmonies Light Falls
- Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree
- Steve Gunn Eyes On the Lines
- Angel Olsen My Woman
- Sumerlands Sumerlands
- Parquet Courts Human Performance
- Animal Collective Painting With
- Ghost Bath Moonlover
- Skyrim Remastered
- World of Warcraft: Legion
- Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes
- Fallout 4
- Hyper Light Drifter
- No Man’s Sky
- The Witness
DYLAN METRANO (Tiger Saw, Cape Snow)
1. Margo Price Midwest Farmer’s Daughter
I’d never have predicted that a debut album from a country singer would be my choice for top album of the year, but 2016 was undoubtedly a year of surprises. Of course, Margo Price is more than just a country singer. Price’s music is reminiscent of classic country, but is heavily indebted to soul music, and her songs have a very contemporary, confessional edge to them. While any of my top five might have taken the top spot (and I was really torn between this one and Solange), I chose “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter” because every song on it is great, with not a note of filler. The definition of a classic. A record that I came back to over and over throughout the year. I saw her perform recently in Boston, and the band covered both Loretta Lynn and the Meters, which I think says it all. For more, see my interview with Price here.
2. Solange A Seat at the Table
Solange’s album “True” was a favorite in 2012, and this follow-up was highly-anticipated. This was the perfect record for these times, a highly personal, political album, with a rich pastiche of sounds that digs and cuts deeper than anything she’d done previously, and frankly, exceeded all expectations. The sounds are warm and soulful, with spoken interludes that only add to the narrative. Her recent television appearances have shown sharp attention to color, movement, and visual presentation.
3. Adam Torres Pearls to Swine
Torres’s high lonesome falsetto is the stuff that dreams are made of, and the sounds on this album are so starkly beautiful.
4. Hello Shark Delicate
The third near-perfect album from Hello Shark, and their first for Ordinal Records. Every Hello Shark song is a puzzle and a secret. Hello Shark’s sound is getting ever more intimate, and on a winning streak that I hope just keeps going and going. Hey, Linc- “Delicate” beat “Lemonade”!
5. Angel Olsen My Woman
Such a different-sounding album from 2014’s “Burn Your Fire For No Witness” (my favorite album of that year), it took me a while to find my way into this one, but it was well-worth it. This album swings from gorgeous folk to rock n’ roll to doo-wop to dance music, but it all works, and it’s a giant leap forward from one of the my favorite voices in contemporary music.
6. Sia This is Acting
I’m including this as much for her amazing live show, videos, and television appearances as for the album itself, but don’t get me wrong- the album is stacked with hits, in the best sense of the word. Sia writes incredibly catchy songs, and delivers them with that untouchable, unique powerhouse voice. She’s a boss.
7. Childish Gambino Awaken, My Love
Out of nowhere, right? I wasn’t familiar with Donald Glover’s music before this, but this modern take on seventies funk and soul is right up my alley. A truly unique vision, executed perfectly.
8. Beyonce Lemonade
A huge record, in every sense. And another giant step forward for progressive pop and r&b music.
9. Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam I Had a Dream That You Were Mine
Wow! A super-creative, musically adventurous, yet accessible record that continues to reveal itself more and more through repeated listens. Rostam’s music is a perfect match for Leithauser’s voice.
10. House of Wolves s/t
Another classic album, from one of our great, largely-unheralded singers. Music to fall in love to.
11. Chris Staples Golden Age
Staples is a terrific lyricist with a simple, direct delivery, and another album full of great songs.
12. Mothers When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired
Mothers have got a unique, captivating sound, and their album is one for the ages.
13. Dirty Projectors “Keep Your Name” / Amber Coffman “All to Myself” (Tie)
The best two-song single that never was. I’m very excited for more music from both in the new year.
A lot of great records this year. I decided to choose those releases that I returned to with the most frequency—number one being the most listened to. I’ve also included my favorite track.
10. Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool (“The Numbers”)
9. The Veils Total Depravity (“Swimming with the Crocodiles”)
8. Leonard Cohen You Want it Darker (“Traveling Light”)
7. Kevin Morby Singing Saw (“Singing Saw”)
6. Tindersticks The Waiting Room (“Help Yourself”)
5. POLICA United Crushers (“Melting Block”)
4. Sam Evian Premium (“I Need a Man”)
3. Klangstof Close Eyes to Exit (“Hostage”)
2. Damien Jurado Visions of Us on the Land (“Lon Bella”)
1. Andy Shauf The Party (“The Worst in You”)
PETER SQUIRES (Landladys, solo)
10 Best Shows I saw on the Seacoast in 2016:
- Yo La Tengo at The Music Hall, Portsmouth, NH (April 8)
- David Bazan house show, Portsmouth, NH (May 1)
- Okkervill River at 3S Artspace, Portsmouth, NH (July 15)
- Pawtuckaway Takedown Festival, Strafford, NH (September 17)
- Nada Surf (& Me!) at 3S Artspace (September 20)
- PWR BTTM, Bellows, Lisa Prank & Tancred at 3S Artspace (October 22)
- Halloween Show feat. The Cure, Talking Heads, The Breeders & more at The Ratskellar house, Dover, NH (October 29)
- Frankie Cosmos w/ Big Thief & Guy Capecelatro III at 3S Artspace (November 9)
- Hush Hush Sweet Harlot Reunion Show ft. Guy Capecelatro III, Tiger Saw, Dan Blakeslee & more at WSCA, Portsmouth NH (November 15)
- Jonathan Richman at 3S Artspace (November 19)