2016: Best Albums Through January 31st

Written by | January 31, 2016 5:35 | No Comments

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Blackstar – David Bowie – We’ve heard four of the five songs before and there is nothing approaching the old touch, but it sounds like nothing else you’ll hear this year, a trip hop beat, skronk jazz doomsday scenario. I wrote the doomsday line before he died, and it has improved with his death due to a cultural elegance and wall of mirrors brilliance.

Malibu – Anderson Paak – is a concept album about surfing in Pre–Vietnamese War Malibu before it sidesteps into a self portrait, peaking very very high and maintaining it with only an occasional falter on this state of the art hip hop triumph. “Come Down” a masterpiece and the The Game and Talib Kweli are fine featured artists

Death Of A Bachelor – Panic! At The Disco – better than Fall Out Boy, and that includes the execrable “Victorious”. For sure, “Crazy=Genius” is the best song you’ve ever heard that name checks Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson and puns on “mike, love” and the best song ever about being 28 and peering down the loaded gun of 30. And then it gets really good.

Anti – Rihanna – The kick is, this is a drug induced, unfocused, mess of an album. But the only mistake is one of omission, “Bitch Better Have My Money” should’ve been included. Only “Desperado” from the first six tracks are open to debate, the ballads are pretty good, the fast ones better, and Trevor a bigger aid than Chris Brown, though not than Jay Z

Wild Stab – The I Don’t Cares – After a couple of disappointing songs last year, this seemed like it was gonna be an alt rock star circle jerk, but Paul Westerberg is too good a writer and every time he takes the lead is magical and even when he doesn’t Juliana Hatfield is up to it. A delightfully swift witted, fast on its feet rock triumph

New View – Eleanor Friedberger – I was expecting a goodie, the coupla songs I’d heard were all aces, but this goes a touch too Lillith Fest before it ends. At its best there is an addictive tunefulness and a hard headed singer to pull em through . Shout out to that guitar solo on “Because I Asked You”

In The Magic Hour – Aoife Donovon – If Donovan is a journeyman vocalist and a Brooklyn indie stalwart, she is one whose time has come on this immaculately sung and arranged modern singer songwriter album, that summons Joni, but doesn’t stay there

Feed The Fire – Promise And The Monster – this is Billie Lindahl, who exude an enthralling ghostly sensuality on song after song –

Skilled Mechanics – Tricky – Former trip hop superstar, the Tricky kid is on his game with these funky rhythm beat tracks. But then he is always on his game and if this sounds like more of the same, it is more of the same of something no one else has ever done . “Don’t Go” is a blueprint tricky track –

The Traveller – Baaba Maal – Senegal superstar goes electronica, that’s the short story. The large story is if there were more songs that rocked out with the persuasiveness of “Fulani Rock”, this would be the big time crossover he has been striving for since forever

The Long Way Home – Show Of Hands – If this is UK Americana, which it isn’t, or English folk, though without the clever clever of Fairport Convention, which it is, it is still awful good

Let Me Get By – Tedeschi Trucks Driver – Not so fast with the Jam Band Crown abdicated by the Allman Brothers.. While the soul songs are fabulous, the Americana songs are nothing much, the quirk tracks odd though not unpleasant and the blues a drag till the solo kicks em over … maybe they should follow Eat A Peach’s lead and do a half live, half studio effort

American Appetite – Harriet – Dawes’ former keyboard player Alex Casnoff’s new band Harriet have something Dawes never had, astounding consistency. This is Socal indie pop with an eye on the 70s, but willing to ignore the 70s and go its own way. An occasional misstep, the title track is too clever for its own good, is more than made up with by first rate rocker “Inheritance”

Hot Sauce – The Madcaps – If they’re meant to be funny, this French bands humor doesn’t travel, but if they are meant to be straight up no chaser garage rock, they do it well

I Long To See You – Charles Lloyd and The Marvels – saxophonist Lloyd’s new band play fresh arrangements of rock, folk, jazz, hey is that country and western, pop hits, sometimes a Gregory Porter or a Norah Jones adds vocals

Misty Shrub EP – Bird Dog – Despite being from Malibu, these guys have a rustic indie folk with beard vibes offset by an ambient sound based around soaring harmonies. And even better than you think it is

Suicide Songs – MONEY – Somewhere between funny and manic depressive, this is modern shoegaze from Manchester

Don’t You – Wet – So far, so hype, so good, with these consistently talented synth poppers

Leave Me Alone – Hind – Madrid chick band add pop punk to occasional Latin flow and uncomfortable lyrics to general badassness, just waiting on Taylor Swift endorsement to break Stateside

Paramount – It Lies Within – Hardcore metal from industrial slums Flint, Michigan is a no nonsense ear bleeding treat. Start with “Lights The Way” just to remind yourself there are melodies as well

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