In the digital era we have access to more music than ever before. Spotify and Apple Music have given us the ability to listen to virtually any song ever released at the click of a button. With so much music available to us, how do we find music that we like? Playlists and algorithms have become the new mixtape and one of the best ways to find new music, but my favourite way to discover new music is still by recommendations from other people. So in light of that, here are my 10 favourite albums/EPs from 2016, complete with a Spotify playlist (at the bottom). Leave a comment and let us know your favourites!
10. The Japanese House – Swim Against the Tide
The Japanese House (aka Amber Bain) really took off in 2016 with this, her third EP. With obvious comparisons to Imogen Heap, Bain makes her own blend of indie-electronic pop seem effortless.
Stand out tracks: Face Like Thunder, Swim Against The Tide
09. Sia – This is Acting
Sia’s album of “songs that didn’t make it onto other people’s albums” certainly doesn’t feel like a collection of b-sides. In 2016, she become the first female artist over the age of 40 to top the US charts, since Madonna over 16 years ago.
Stand out tracks: The Greatest, Reaper
08. Josh Gauton – As the Water Rise
Independent artist, Josh Gauton, definitely impressed with his debut release. Great songwriting, combined with a killer vocal performance, made this my favourite indie release of 2016.
Stand out tracks: Smoke and Mirrors, Faber
07. OneRepublic – Oh My My
OneRepublic are fast becoming one of those bands that delivers with every album. In the same way that Coldplay have done in the past, they’ve managed to move their sound forward, whilst still making it sound like OneRepublic. Not an easy thing to do, and they’ve done it well.
Stand out tracks: Heaven, Kids
06. Bon Iver – 22, A Million
Possibly the most anticipated album of 2016, Bon Iver delivered one of the most unique albums of the year. With almost indecipherable song titles, and heavily edited vocals, Justin Vernon has created an album that sounds like the future.
Stand out tracks: 715 – CR∑∑KS, 22 (OVER S∞∞N)
05. Leeland – Invisible
Recently signed to Bethel Music, Leeland have delivered their best album since Sound of Melodies. With lyrics that feel fresh, and just the right amount of electronic elements, Invisible stands apart from others in it’s genre.
Stand out tracks: Invisible, 139/Dead of Night
04. Foy Vance – The Wild Swan
The Irish singer-songwriter returns with another album of folk goodness. The Van Morrison musical nods are even stronger with this offering, and when combined with Foy’s voice, it hits all the right notes.
Stand out tracks: She Burns, Bangor Town
03. Christine and the Queens – Chaleur Humaine
French pop star Héloïse Letissier certainly had a year to remember, receiving critical acclaim for her album of smooth pop songs. Unique vocals and understated production made this album feel different.
Stand out tracks: Tilted, iT
02. Gallant – Ology
This album made me fall in love with R&B again. Gallant’s near flawless falsetto vocals, soaring melodies, and thoughtful lyrics make this album so listenable.
Stand out tracks: Weight in Gold, Episode
01. Jack Garratt – Phase
Jack Garratt’s unique style of music straddles the indie/mainstream divide perfectly, feeling comfortably at home in both. His impressive one-man-band live show and alternative, yet catchy, blend of pop music make this the stand out album from 2016.
Stand out tracks: Weathered, Surprise Yourself
Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book
Frank Ocean – Blonde