LFM Albums of the year – 2016

It was meant to be a top 4. Then we bottled it and made it a top 10. Now it’s a top 16. 2016 has been a bit of a mental year for want of a better term. Brexit, Trump, Harambe, numerous greats being taken from us and worst of all a new Toblerone design. But now it’s time to sit back, relax, reflect and bask in the knowing glory that 2017 surely can’t be as bad as 2016.

Here at LFM we’ve put our heads together to pick out our favorite albums from 2016. Like everything we do here there is no agenda or overriding and conscious selection. These are purely our favorite albums for no other reason than because we really f*cking enjoyed the tunes and everything that came with them.

We want to hear your opinions on what your stand-out albums from 2016 were. So make sure you send us some abuse either by commenting below or tweeting us.

In total 6 different contributors have nominated a selection of their favorite albums. So in a very particular order and without further or do, here are our greatest albums of 2016!….

16. Warpaint – Heads Up

Nominated by Ben Bowman 

LA indie outfit Warpaint released third album Heads Up earlier this year and it makes for easy listening. Influenced heavily by hip-hop which creates the laid back vibe, Heads Up is a record surrounded by critical acclaim and the all-girl outfit from LA deserve just that. Standout track for me ‘So Good’ featured earlier this year in one of our 6 songs you need to listen to pieces and holds within it a lot of what is great about this record.

15. The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything you’ve come to expect

Nominated by Laura Whitters 

After eight years of waiting, the ‘supergroup’ that is The Last Shadow Puppets returned in 2016 with ‘Everything you’ve come to expect’. The duo of Turner and Kane was certainly worth the years of waiting, with a revised style that managed to build upon the sound of their younger years. Alex Turner’s renowned lyrics were anything but missing from this album, with them being most prominent in love songs such as ‘Sweet Dreams TN’ and ‘The Dream Synopsis’. Brilliant guitar riffs, catchy baselines, and impressive vocals made this a top album of 2016, leaving fans already excited for the next.

14. Slaves – Take Control

Nominated by Ben Bowman

For a band like Slaves, the follow up to their enthralling and breathless debut ‘Are you Satisfied?’ was always going to grab a share of the limelight. Take Control in parts does recognise what made the first record so popular, but the pair have proved themselves as being anything but one dimensional. Isaac and Laurie exclaim their dissatisfaction with our modern, consumer orientated society and is designed to create real pause for thought and provides a sense of self-realisation. Producer and Beastie Boy Mike D described it as a record the world needs right now – Take Control is predictably exciting, well produced and above all relevant. Standout tracks; Lies, Consume or Be Consumed, Same Again and Rich Man.

13. Eagulls – Ullages

Nominated by Jack Williams

A change of sound to their debut self-titled album which was full of heavy sounds. But any album that can be listened from start to finish without needing to skip any songs is immediately a success and this is exactly what Ullages is. The rifts of the guitars however have remained and have now created a more relaxed and laid back vibe, which reflects on the band as a whole.

12. Watsky – x Infinity

Nominated by Zurraq Khan

Rebellious alternative hip-hop is still on the rise and this album shows it. Watsky’s x Infinity tour hit home with his fans and critics. The loud, proud and ground-pounding sound of Watsky at full potential really shines through with this project and I absolutely love it.

11. Frank Ocean – Blonde

Nominated by Billy Hodder

Hinted and teased to us for what felt like forever, this follow up to ‘Channel Orange’ was not just anticipated or eagerly awaited for, it was demanded. Many feared that Frank Ocean would be unable to deliver an album that would meet and suffice to such an insistent pressure from fans, but those many people were proved to be short-sighted, senseless and irrelevant. The likes of Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce and Jamie xx all contributed to the superb Blonde. Frank Ocean is a master and Blonde is just another example of his genius.

10. Catfish and the Bottlemen – The Ride

Nominated by Jordan Scott

Catfish and the Bottlemen released their second album The Ride back in May, the follow up to their debut ‘The Balcony’, and it sounded huge. The album was packed with some great moments, songs such as Soundcheck, 7, Oxygen and Outside were the stand out tracks that went on to become big live favourites. The album’s acoustic moments were equally as special, Glasgow and Heathrow showed another side to the band, last seen on The Balcony’s Hourglass. The album propelled the band to another level, certainly one of the best records of the year.

9. David Bowie – Blackstar

Nominated by Billy Hodder

27 albums. That’s an album for every-year I’ve existed and another 8 just for good measure. Blackstar was the curtain call on an extraordinary, timeless, pivotal, pioneering and revolutionary career from an artist that will always remain a great. From the haunting and poignant ‘Lazarus’ to the 10 minute long ‘Blackstar’, Bowie delivered a 27th album that stood up on it’s own to the 26 that came before it. Bowie always felt like one of those icons that would never leave us. Alas, he left us one last gift in the form of Blackstar. God bless such a monumental soul.

8. Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love!

Nominated by Zurraq Khan

A huge step in the alternative direction for our beloved Donald Glover. Most loyal fans are used to his mainstream hip-hop tunes but this album takes a big step in the opposite direction. A heavy bass and funk riff combined with a slow jazz sound to create a concoction some could only dream of, this album is absolutely fantastic. It shows how talented Donald really is, the variety he can produce and what he can achieve. Critically acclaimed too, like it matters.

7. JAWS – Simplicity

Nominated by Ben Bowman

Simplicity is a stunning, matured effort from Birmingham band JAWS. Still with no record deal, Schofield and co have created an album with shades of their debut, with the same elements of dreamy guitar hooks, but it seems as if the band has developed since their debut – summarised for me in album opener Just a Boy which features a mesmerising instrumental.

6. Raleigh Ritchie – You’re a man now, boy

Nominated by Billy Hodder

During a Love Saves The Day performance in 2015 Raleigh Ritchie sported a printed shirt saying ‘Bristol boys make more noise’. This Bristol boy did exactly that with his debut album. A perfectly weighted blend of R&B to soul to cinematic orchestras and beyond. The album is a stripped back insight into Ritchie’s vulnerabilities and is very much a relatable and empathetic narrative that anyone who has struggled with the transition from childhood to adulthood can identify with.

5. Skepta – Konnichiwa

Nominated by Billy Hodder

While most people often perceive UK Grime as an emerging genre it is a testament to Skepta, his patience, relentlessness and unwillingness to bail that this critically acclaimed album is actually his fourth in a pioneering career that is finally coming to the fruition and materialization that it deserves. Class struggles, subcultures and youth are all addressed in an album that is one of the finest sociocultural-narratives of modern Britain. A deserved winner of the prestigious 2016 Mercury Prize and an album that cannot be ignored.

4. Christine And The Queens – Chaleur Humaine

Nominated by Billy Hodder

Electric-pop, inducing hooks and tackling gender politics and identity, this debut album from Héloïse Letissier is a standout masterpiece. It is an album that cannot only question our societal values but also send us into endless escapism and daydreams. Letissier has gone from strength to strength since breaking out from her native France and this debut album is likely to only be a huge stepping-stone in what looks to be an impressive and significant career.

3. Blossoms – Blossoms

Nominated by Ben Bowman

Ever since Blossoms have burst onto the scene, their incredible desire and capability to write wonderfully melodic tunes and anthemic choruses has earned them a reputable fan base. The band’s humbleness and vocal bemusement at their incredible rise adds to their likeability, but this shouldn’t overshadow what a great debut album this is. From when the infectious riff of album opener Charlemagne drops right through to the closer Deep Grass, it’s clear that this is a record packed to the rafters with great tunes. Romantic and wanderlustful in its nature, Blossoms self-titled, chart-topping debut truly stamped its mark on 2016. Standout tracks; Charlemagne, Honey Sweet, Getaway and My Favourite Room.

2. The 1975 – I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

Nominated by Laura Whitters and Jack Williams 

Love them or hate them, The 1975 are rolling in success and the limelight of music currently and are we surprised? Not at all. An album that’s certainly as grand as its title, ‘I like it when you sleep…’ represents both the personality and ever changing sound of Hann, Macdonald, Daniel and Healy. The combination of synths, classic guitar lines and the vocals of frontman Matty Healy, provided listeners of 2016 with a unique, genre defying album which has been impossible to ignore. It sticks to the principles which brought The 1975 success in it’s debut album, catchy songs and a huge variation makes them one of the most likeable bands at this current time.

1. DMA’s – Hills End

Nominated by Zurraq Khan and Jordan Scott

Australian band DMA’s announced themselves as one of the most promising bands around today with their debut album ‘Hills End’ released earlier this year. The album included amazing vocals, song writing and musicianship that was almost unparalleled by any other release this year. Stand out tracks were Lay Down, So We Know and Delete, all showcasing their talents with melody and building a song to a huge anthemic conclusion. Hills End kicked the year off well and set the bar high, setting the band up for a very promising future. Where most of us have been wishing for a comeback from some of the greatest in this scene, bands like this are creating their own music that gives us that nostalgia in our own generation. This whole album does exactly that. To perfection.

 

 

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