Staff Picks: 2016 Albums of the Year

By Lilli Banks

2016 was such a wonderful year for creating, producing, and putting out new music. I was flooded with new albums and singles which made my top two choices for this year quite difficult. I decided that my two favorite albums of 2016 are I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful, Yet So Unaware of It by The 1975 and Disappear Here by Bad Suns.

#1: I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful, Yet So Unaware of It by The 1975

I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful, Yet So Unaware of It is an album compiled of 18 songs. It’s quite a different sound than their debut album. The song has some upbeat songs with lots of instrumentals and songs that tell new stories. Matty Healy, lead singer and writer, has a spectacular vocabulary that creates a picturesque scene for the listener as the music itself creates the atmosphere. The album goes deeper into the writer’s life with his mother’s postpartum depression and questioning his identity, etc. Thanks to the language he uses and innovative uses of instruments, the songs take you to place where he is and puts you in the writer’s position. I find the album to be enticing from beginning to end especially with the way he takes you into his world. One of my all-time favorite songs, Loving Someone is featured on this album. It has become the anthem for the LBGT community, which is quite close to my heart. The song portrays a message that has the entire crowd at a show, screaming the lyrics. I was lucky enough to be one of the people screaming in the crowd after a heavy event in the United States. Hearing these songs live was something I was expecting to be quite similar to the studio album. Since The 1975 use a lot of beats and sounds from computers, I expected that sort of experience. It surely changed my world to hear it live. They created that strong atmosphere on stage which was brilliant to witness. It is an album that truly got me to fall in love with The 1975 and is now one of my favorite albums.

#2: Disappear Here by Bad Suns

Disappear Here by Bad Suns also reigns in my top two albums for 2016. As a sophomore album, some artists tend to change their sound and venuture more. They definitely experimented a bit more, but they were still able to capture the same sound and excitement that the first album, Language and Perspective had. Bad Suns music is perfect for jamming with your friends, your windows down, and the wind flying through your hair. This album kept that liberating feeling that I got with the first album. Disappear Here was the first single released off the album and definitely brought in a new crowd. It also brought such high anticipation for the release of the full album.There is not a single song off the album that I skip or wait for it to end. I was lucky enough to see 10 of the new songs on their Disappear Here tour. I am quite in love with Daft Pretty Boys, Love Like Revenge and Maybe We’re Meant to Be Alone. I was able to ask Christo, the lead singer and writer, about MWMTBA after the show. I grew even more of a love for the song. I hope to hear Love Like Revenge live when they go on their Heartbreaker Tour (there will be a gallery or review for that so stay tuned!). I highly recommend giving this album a listen and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Honorable Mentions:

(some albums were not released this year)

First Impressions of Earth – The Strokes

The 1975 – The 1975

COIN – COIN

The Balcony – Catfish and the Bottlemen

Blossoms – Blossoms

Disappear Here – Bad Suns

The Altar – BANKS

Glitterbug – The Wombats

ILIWYSFYASBYSUOI – The 1975

Wiped Out! – The Neighbourhood


A Music Lover’s Guide To Sick Days

By Rachel Perkins 

I’m currently working my way down the /mu/core essentials listening list – it’s a mighty task, but I’m enjoying it. I’ve discovered some great new favourites, given some obscure albums a go and found a fair few hidden gems among genres I’d usually ignore. Recently I’ve been feeling awful and fighting off a cold, and whilst I love discovering new music from this list, there are days that I just don’t want to put up with Brian Wilson, Joy Division or even Bjork. When I feel like crap I need music that is comforting; I need music to warm my heart and drive out the winter blues.
So here’s some recommendations for background music for your sick day. I’m not a doctor, but music is certainly good for the soul. Put on a record and rejoice in music’s ability to transform you.

All of my album choices will warm you up from the inside out. Recommended intake would be with a good book to read, lots and lots of layers and a big fuzzy blanket to cuddle up with. Maybe even throw in some snacks and a hot chocolate for good measure.

A WALK ACROSS ROOFTOPS // THE BLUE NILE

The Blue Nile are a Scottish band whose genre falls between the broad horizons of folk and pop. My first recommendation is their debut album. Released in 1984, this is their most critically acclaimed release and whilst largely ambient it carries with it plenty of 80s charm (which is totally what you need for a pick-me-up). The album uses your mind as a canvas, building up a beautiful nighttime city-scape among it’s typical of the decade synths and Paul Buchanan’s crooning vocals (‘I am in love… I am in love with you’). The highlight is, undoubtedly, ‘Tinseltown in the Rain’, which shines with optimism of a new life for old lovers. The bass line is infectious and carries the dark mood through unsuspectingly catchy instrumental breaks. At 38 minutes, this album is short yet carries with it plenty of emotion. It’s subtly romantic, eerily beautiful and moments away from being the soundtrack to a John Green movie. You’ll listen to this album once and forget about it.. shortly before coming back to it when you need a good cry.

Listen to it here !

 
ELBOW // THE SELDOM SEEN KID

Everyone knows this album, or if they don’t it seems to suddenly come back to them when prompted with the standout track ‘One Day Like This’ or ‘Grounds for Divorce’ (which, I swear to God, is the music for every video game trailer going). Most music fans will know Elbow is sort of ‘The Northern Radiohead’ which is mildly true if you’re into the simplistic pop rock of ‘Creep’. The Seldom Seen Kid is perfect for those who enjoy the softer side of alternative rock – it won’t stick in your head as much as Imagine Dragons or Foster the People but it will impress you in its cleverly crafted, witty ways. Ultimately it can be a tad boring and edges a wee bit too much on the safe side, but it’ll also grow on you with each listen and has moments with incredible vigor to get you off your feet and tapping your toes.

Listen to it here!

 
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE // KINTSUGI

Much like the Japanese art of Kintsugi, Death Cab for Cutie’s latest release is a triumph for the days when you need to put yourself back together. Ben Gibbard and co. truly crafted medicine for the soul with this release, and if you weren’t persuaded by the hype when this album first came out I hope I can persuade you now! At its core, Kintsugi is a rock album but this doesn’t equate to it being void of charm. The album is pretty and sweet but also packs a punch with plenty of power chords.

This album will spark your creativity and get you ready to go back to work or school. It’ll remind you that whilst you might feel like hell, there are musicians out there creating music so wonderful that it adds a bit more meaning into your weary, run-down life.

Listen to it here!

 
KING CHARLES // LOVEBLOOD

King Charles writes funny and lovely songs about the funny and lovely women you wish you could be like. There’s bouncy piano, cute snippets of guitar riffs and lots and LOTS of hand clapping. To put a King Charles song on is like injecting pure sunlight into a room. Like a modern day Adam Ant, King Charles has plenty of originality (and not just in his music – he looks pretty out there, too).

Listen to it here!

 

 RADIOHEAD // OK COMPUTER

Okay, so I’m totally biased with this choice, but every list I write has to have at least one shout out to my faves. OK Computer is a classic 90s album that doesn’t mean to parade around its excellence but totally does and, in my humble opinion, is the quintessential feeling down-in-the-dumps album. This is not because it’s overly happy or poppy, but because I first listened to this album when I was 13, and it’s since quickly become my go-to comfort album. With each listen I discover something new to love about it among the tight knit production and, my favourite part, the traces of a dystopian concept. To me, it’s ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars’ for a new generation. Whilst you’re taking sometime to rest and relax, treat yourself to what is sure to become a new favourite. And don’t just take my word for it. Seriously, listen to it.

Listen to it here!

Hopefully these albums will help to brighten your day and put some pep in your step. If not, try anything by The Beach Boys – cause if that doesn’t make you feel brighter, I don’t think anything will.