Stephen White

With the holiday season here and 2016 winding down to a close the Last Mixed Tape has delved deep into its reviews and come up with its top 20 albums of the year. See full list and Spotify playlist below. 

20. Heroes In Hiding – Curtains
What TLMT had to say: “Curtains turned my own perception of Heroes In Hiding on its head and now I’m hooked. Delivering a record filled with thematic weight and a large depth of field, the band take indie-rock genre expectations and throw them out the window, resulting in a dramatic first outing from the four-piece.” (Review – here)

19. Jack O’Rourke – Dreamcatcher
What TLMT had to say: ““Nostalgia’s gonna floor ya” croons Jack O’Rourke during the opening moments of Dreamcatcher, in a lyric that serves as a warning for both the songwriter and the listener. Because O’Rourke’s debut is a record forged in the past and shaded by the selective haze of distant memory.” (Review – here)

18. Swords – Tidal Waves
What TLMT had to say: “A emotionally melancholic album, Tidal Waves finds Swords looking to create a bigger picture musically. And with its atmospheric production and the trio’s emotive songwriting the record does just that and more besides.” (Review – here)

17. Pixie Geldof – I’m Yours
What TMLT had to say: “A noir-pop gem, I’m Yours is a dreamlike introduction to Pixie Geldof’s music. Big, sweeping and personal Geldof’s debut subverts all expectation with aplomb and leaves the future wide open for the artist to walk a very different path indeed.” (Review – here)

16. Cathy Davey – New Forest
What TLMT had to say: “A dark modern fairytale in album form, New Forest is a beautiful curio populated with hidden gems. Taken by the hand and introduced to world where pop hooks are contorted into something new, the album is everything we could have hope for and more from Davey. A journey worth every second of the six-year wait.” (Review – here)

15. No Monster Club – I Feel Magic
What TLMT had to say: “Listening to No Monster Club’s  I Feel Magic for the fourth time, I was hit by just how much the album has to offer. As record’s go, Bobby Ahearne’s latest L.P. is a treasure-trove of musical oddities and curios, and one that reveals new sounds and elements with each play.” (Review – here)

14. We Cut Corners – The Cadences of Others
What TMLT had to say: “The Cadences of Others is an album built from the ground up. Sitting upon a bedrock of ambience and given weight by the deep rhythm and repose that populates We Cut Corners music, the duo’s third outing seems to capture the sound they’ve been searching for all these years.” (Review – here)

13. All Tvvins – IIVV
What TLMT had to say: “Sometimes its easy to forget or underappreciate the difficulty of writing straight-up pop music, especially in a modern context. Writing a song that leaves a lasting impression in four minutes or less is an art in and of itself, and one that has always fascinated me ever since childhood. With IIVV All Tvvins take on this task and swing for the fences, each song could be a single, each song is worthy of constant replay, making IIVV an album deserving of the praise that has followed All Tvvins since first emerging on the scene.” (Review – here)

12. Bleeding Heart Pigeons – Is
What TLMT had to say: “Is may very well divide opinion, but there can be no doubt it will leave a lasting impression. It’s an album filled with choices, ones that Bleeding Heart Pigeons commit to fully. Filled with sorrow and unease, Is is a triumph.” (Review – here)

11. Everything Shook – Drinking About You
What TLMT had to say: “Easily one of the record’s of the year, Drinking About You is the ‘other’. Living in the periphery of the Irish music scene and contrasting the dull factory-line malaise of the mainstream with something far more interesting, unsafe and unknown. And isn’t that what music is all about?” (Review – here)

10. Little Green Cars – Ephemera
What TLMT had to say: “There comes a point during Ephemera when you forget, just for a second, that your listening to an album in a conventional way. It comes during the middle (‘Clair de Lune’), when the deep-seated emotion of the record becomes all-encompassing. Little Green Cars never let up with this heart-wrenching tone, and instead further evoke whatever it is you relate to in either the music or the lyrics. This is a record that leaves you with exactly what you brought into it.” (Review – here)

9. James Vincent McMorrow – We Move
What TLMT had to say: “We Move is not just the new James Vincent McMorrow album. It’s the next phase in a career that’s constantly changing. We’re very far from the earthy shores of 2010’s Early In The Morning and further past the sunset haze of Post Tropical, this time around McMorrow’s music feels like the destination not the journey.” (Review – here)

8. Bantum – Move
What TLMT had to say: “Move is a snapshot, a suspension of the present. Producing an album that feels like it exists in the here and now, Bantum has taken his music somewhere it hasn’t necessary been before. Absorbing the world around him, the artist has melded his sound into the vibrant melting pot that has seen electronic, R&B, hip-hop and funk all blend further and further into one another. A breakthrough not only for Bantum but also the scene.” (Review – here)

7. Lisa Hannigan – At Swim
What TLMT had to say: “It would be easy to say that At Swim is Lisa Hannigan’s best work, it certainly feels that way. But rather than an isolated piece, it seems Hannigan’s entire solo career is entwined. There could be no At Swim without Passenger, and no Passenger without Sea Sew. So in this way Hannigan’s latest offering is yet another compelling instalment in what is becoming one large canvas. This is what sets At Swim and its creator apart from the rest of the tide.” (Review – here)

6. I Have A Tribe – Beneath A Yellow Moon
What TLMT had to say: “Beneath A Yellow Moon is written to elegantly, it reminds me of a classic black and white Hollywood movie. In its starring role is songwriter Patrick O’Laighaire, an artist whose way with words and commanding vocal has all the qualities of a golden age leading-man.” (Review – here)

5. Overhead, the Albatross – Learning to Growl
What TMLT had to say: “The running joke in the build-up to Learning to Growl’s release is how long it has taken Overhead, the Albatross to make it. However, this misses the point. Whether or not OTA could have or would have released the record sooner is inconsequential, they didn’t and because of this time began to become an essential ingredient. You can hear it, not only in the large-scale production but also in the playing. These songs have lived long before the album, and the journey they and the band have been on is evident throughout Learning to Growl itself. Some records need immediate impact, others need to ferment, and time was on OTA’s side. Monumental.” (Review – here)

4. The Altered Hours – In Heat, Not Sorry
What TLMT had to say: “In Heat Not Sorry is musique noir. Made to be projected onto a late-night cinema screen in flickering black and white, this is music of the night… The Altered Hours don’t want us to feel at ease with In Heat Not Sorry, even after its over and the cinema’s empty.” (Review – here)

3. Rusangano Family – Let the Dead Bury the Dead
What TLMT had to say: “I once stated that Rusangano Family are Ireland’s answer to the Specials some 30 years later, and Let the Dead Bury the Dead is an affirmation of this. Not only is it a landmark in Irish hip-hop, it’s a landmark in Irish music full-stop. Few albums have captured the restlessness, frustration and want to act on so many of the issues that face our generation than Rusangano Family do on this record. Let the Dead Bury the Dead is the sound of Ireland 2016.” (Review – here)

2. September Girls – Age of Indignation
What TLMT had to say: “Throughout Age of Indignation September Girls have you right were they want you, and use this space to be heard. And, in a world were safe mediocrity is often rewarded it is essential that September Girls’ be listened to. There’s no “difficult second album” syndrome here, instead Age of Indignation is the sound of a record that needed to be made, and needs us to hear it.” (Review – here)

And the Last Mixed Tape’s Album of the Year 2016 is…

katie-kim-salt-album-cover-930x930

1. Katie Kim – Salt
What TLMT had to say: “In a world where blandness and safety sells, Katie Kim stands apart. However, Kim is not defined by her difference to the mainstream. At the start of this review I said those not used to (or unfamiliar with) Katie Kim should take the journey that is Salt, this is not only because of how different it is, but because it deserves to be heard by everyone.” (Review – here)

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