TLMT’s delves into this year’s international albums to choose its top 20 records of the 2016. See the full rundown and Spotify playlist below.
20. Parquet Courts – Human Performance
No frills post-punk from Parquet Courts, Human Performance once again showcases Andrew Savages way with words but also the group’s ability to turn this emotional bare backdrop into grounded street-level art-punk.
Key Track: ‘Berlin Got Blurry’
19. Promise and the Monster – Feed the Fire
Bold, dramatic and enthralling Feed the Fire has atmosphere and depth to burn.
Key Track: ‘Time of the Season’
18. Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book
Few artists embody the creative spirit of modern music in the same way Chance the Rapper does. His third outing, Coloring Book, is by far his most accomplished and vivid (lyrically & sonically).
Key Track: ‘Same Drugs’
17. Mothers – When You Walk A Long Distance
A melodic post-grunge inflected debut from Athens, GA band Mothers, When You Walk A Long Distance is a beautifully shaded record that plays with both the dynamic and harmonic power behind the group’s engrossing sound.
Key Track: ‘It Hurts Until It Doesn’t’
16. Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition
Manic but unmistakably focused, the fourth studio album from Danny Brown is the Detroit artist at his most unflinching and honest. Not an album for the faint hearted.
Key Track: ‘Dance In The Water’
15. Nice As Fuck – Nice As Fuck
A gloriously bare-boned alternative-punk album, Nice As Fuck’s (Jenny Lewis, Erica Forster & Tennessee Thomas) self-titled debut is a raw and brilliantly unkempt record, that has more going on underneath its bone-rattling garage-rock veneer.
Key Track: ‘Runaway’
14. Martha – Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart
A playful indie-pop record, Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart runs the gamut of emotions with Martha delivering an album that fizzes with vibrant melody.
Key Track: Ice Cream and Sunscreen
13. Savages – Adore Life
With Adore Life Savages pull back slightly from the visceral impact of their debut L.P. to create an album where tone dominates the songwriting just as much as the central message behind it all.
Key Track: ‘Adore’
12. James Blake – The Colour in Anything
An epic undertaking from an artist who is more than up to the task, The Colour in Anything could very well be Blake’s masterpiece. As beautiful as it is deep.
Key Track: ‘I Need A Forest Fire’ (featuring Bon Iver)
11. Blood Orange – Freetown Sound
Dev Hynes third Blood Orange record, Freetown Sound is synth-pop production turned all the way to eleven. The music of Freetown Sound throws hooks, beats and catchy chorus at the listener until they can’t help but fall for its charms.
Key Track: ‘Best to You’
10. Christine and the Queens – Charleur Humaine
One of the breakout acts of 2016, French synth-pop act Christine and the Queens not only delivered one of the songs of the year in ‘Tilted’ but also an album that matches the hype in Charleur Humaine.
9. Anderson.Paak – Malibu
Malibu is an album that feels effortless but is in reality so intricate in the way it presents itself that the production of Anderson.Paak’s sophomore is a work of art in of itself. Great music, presented in the best possible light.
Key Track: ‘Come Down’
8.Kristin Kontrol – X-Communicate
Kristin Welchez’s transition from Dum Dum Girls to Kristin Kontrol is one of great bravery and catharsis. Sounding like an artist in the throes of a creative high X-Communicate is a wonderfully stylised album that finds Welchez at her most interesting and best.
Key Track: ‘Show Me’
7. Warpaint – Heads Up
Heads Up marks further step into sonic sea change Warpaint are undertaking. Best captured in the upward pop of ‘New Song’ and ‘So Good’, the four-piece have merged their drermier sounds within a broader sound without losing themselves in the process.
Key Track: ‘New Song’
6. Frank Ocean – Blonde
The long-awaited and much hyped follow-up to his 2012 debut Channel Orange, Frank Ocean’s Blonde more than lives-up to its much-lauded predecessor with a production so dense and depthful that makes the record instantly captivating.
Key Tracks: ‘White Ferrari’
5. Glass Animals – How To Be A Human Being
Every track on How To Be A Human Being could be a single, that’s how infectious the music of Glass Animals sophomore outing is. An album that sees the group throw as much as they can at the listener, How To Be A Human Being is infectious.
Key Track: ‘Life Itself’
4. David Bowie – Blackstar
A lasting final monument to one the greatest artists who has ever submitted music to vinyl.
Key Track: ‘Blackstar’
3. Bon Iver – 22, A Million
Continuing the sonic exploration of his eponymous second album, Bon Iver’s return is an immersive haze of glitching samples, ethereal vocals and isolated lyrical musings (mirrored in the off-kilter song titles), resulting in his most interesting work to date. A record that deserves your full attention.
Key Track: ’22(Over Soon)’
2. Angel Olsen – My Woman
My Woman is a giant leap forward in the already accomplished career of Angel Olsen. A complex album that’s easily the indie/dream-pop artist most ambitious records to date, Olsen’s third studio offering is the sound of a songwriter at the height of their creative powers and fueled by self-assured inspiration all wrapped up in unflinching music. Essential listening.
Key Track: ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’
1.Bat For Lashes – The Bride
The long-awaited return of Bat For Lashes doesn’t fail to live-up to its promise. A bewitching journey once more into the world of Natasha Kahn, The Bride is a darkly lit concept album that deals with despair, tragedy and death in a way that only Bat For Lashes can. A truly haunting record.
Key Track: ‘In God’s House’