19 visual artists countdown their 10 favorite albums of 2016 with reimagined cover art.
Ten View Albums
10 James Blake The Colour in Anything by Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch

Smart vocal layering throughout.

Play "I Need A Forest Fire"
10 Metronomy Summer 08 by Simone Noronha

It took me a little bit of time to get into this album at first. Joe Mount isn't bound by his past work which is inspiring and I can only hope that for my career. Once I got into the rhythm of this album I could not stop listening to it. Help.

Play "16 Beat"
10 Edward Sharpe &
The Magnetic Zeros
personA by Anna Hurley

At times bluesy and majestic, PersonA mixes an upbeat sound with profoundly dark lyrics, and I was immediately drawn to that dichotomy.

Play "Wake Up the Sun"
10 Omni Deluxe by Eric R. Mortensen

Rightful comparisons to Television and Wire aside, Omni has a fractured, jangly voice of their own. Deluxe is raw and awkward in the best possible way.

Play "Afterlife"
10 Lvl Up Return to Love by Chris Muccioli

Nostalgic, energetic, and sometimes straight shredding indie rock. Lvl Up has always been one of my favorite bands to see in Brooklyn and this release is their strongest to date.

Play "Pain"
10 Kendrick Lamar Untitled Unmastered. by Richard Perez

Even tracks from Kendrick’s cutting room floor are miles ahead of other artists this year.

Play "untitled 02 | 06.23.2014"
10 Danny Brown Atrocity Exhibition by Mark Weaver

strange, quirky, dark

Play "Rolling Stone"
10 Nite Funk Nite Funk by Grace Danico

I've been a big fan of Dam Funk and Nite Jewel's individual projects, and have been waiting for a true collab between them since they released "Am I Gonna Make It" for XLR8R in 2009. This EP released on Glydezone was exactly what I was waiting for - energetic, funky, smooth jams.

Play "Let Me Be Me"
10 Oathbreaker Rheia by Nate Utesch

Belgian black metal with a lot more singing and shoegazing than you’d expect. It’s like a three-meat chili whose star of the show ended up being the okra and carrots.

Play "Second Son of R."
10 Palehound Dry Food by David J. McMillan

Technically released in 2015, but we didn’t get it in the UK until this year. Jangly, dazed guitar sounds, and low-fi vocals that make me want to go on long summer road trips with friends.

Play "Cinnamon"
10 Modern Baseball Holy Ghost by Alana Louise

This album is like that moment when you're in a crowded show, standing in the pit, but time slows down, the band grows inaudible, and you turn and look at your friend, and you realize how sweaty you both are.

Play "Apple Cider, I Don't Mind"
10 Poliça United Crushers by Adam R Garcia

You can't front on the powerful content, incredible production or Channy's haunting voice on UC. Shout to the Minneapolis fam..

Play "Summer Please"
10 Machinedrum Human Energy by Mike Davis

It sounds like the future, but right now.

Play "Do It 4 U"
10 Amir Obe Won't Find Love In The Hills by Justin Pervorse

This EP is short but packed with plenty of chill. It's perfect for a late night ride to In-N-Out.

Play "One Night Thing"
10 L.A. Witch Drive Your Car by Shawna X

Ever want to wake up feeling like a badass? Seriously that's the playlist I have with all L.A. witch songs. This 3-woman surf punk group's DGAF vibes & lyrics really gets me motivated during some low times.

Play "Ain't Coming Home"
10 DIIV Is the Is Are by Jessica Hische

Diiv’s 2012 release was on HEAVY rotation for me for quite a while (aka 2012-present). Their 2016 release didn’t disappoint.

Play "Dopamine"
10 D.R.A.M. Big Baby D.R.A.M. by Erik Marinovich

Remember hearing ‘Just A Friend’ by Biz Markie for the first time? Well, D.R.A.M. will make you feel the same.

Play "Broccoli"
10 Whitney The Light Upon the Lake by Damien Correll

An understated record I kept coming back to this year from two former Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Smith Westerns members.

Play "No Woman"
10 Thee Oh Sees A Weird Exits by Mackenzie Brookshire

It's a trip :-)

Play "The Axis"
Nine View Albums
9 The Avalanches Wildflower by Eric R. Mortensen

Did aural collagistes, The Avalanches, take 16 years to lovingly craft this amazing follow up to 2000's Since I Left You, or did it take 16 years to legally clear all the samples?

Play "If I Was A Folkstar"
9 Animal Collective Painting With by Nate Utesch

Cut, chopped, bended, skewed and sizzled. The catchiest anti-music.

Play "Hocus Pocus"
9 Rihanna Anti by Adam Garcia

I'm in a constant state of soreness from dancing to Work and Consideration.

Play "Consideration"
9 Sun Glitters Another Day by Shawna X

Sun glitters has always been on my rotation for chilling and zoning out, and they do it again with 'Another Day' - the experimental sounds takes me into a deep creative zone.

Play "Sunlight"
9 Thee Oh Sees A Weird Exits by Richard Perez

Psych-garage stalwarts continue to bring heavy fuzz and creep into the cosmos.

Play "Ticklish Warrior"
9 NxWorries Yes Lawd! by Erik Marinovich

Knxwledge makes beats for days and Anderson .Paak convinced me to buy a Cutlass to play this in. Only time I thought a 19 track album could have used another 19 songs.

Play "Link Up"
9 Karl Blau Introducing Karl Blau by Chris Muccioli

Late on my radar I’ve completely fallen in love with this record this season. 10 tracks of perfectly curated and orchestrated classic country covers from Townes Van Zandt to Don Gibson. Even a Bee Gee’s track, all fitting seamlessly together for this unique release.

Play "To Love Somebody"
9 F.S. Blumm & Nils Frahm Tag Eins Tag Zwei by David J. McMillan

You feel immediately lulled into a relaxed state. Their glitchy, improvisations bounce between two incredible musicians. Perfect accompaniment for late nights in the studio, or to just before you fall asleep.

Play "Day One One"
9 BadBadNotGood IV by Mackenzie Brookshire

So good, so jazzy. Quit your day job and lay in the sun forever kind of good.

Play "Time Moves Slow"
9 Solange A Seat At The Table by Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch

Funky and uplifting piano/synth parts.

Play "Junie"
9 Car Seat Headrest Teens of Denial by Damien Correll

Will Toledo wears his inspirations on his sleeve and maybe I just like most of his inspirations.

Play "Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales"
9 Russian Circles Guidance by Justin Pervorse

This record sounds like the soundtrack to something weird and mysterious. So you could say I'm into it.

Play "Lisboa"
9 Chance The Rapper Coloring Book by Alana Louise

This album makes me miss living in Atlanta a little bit. Makes me think of riding the Marta to MLK Station late at night, heading home. Cabbagetown, Zone 6.

Play "Same Drugs"
9 Yumi Zouma Yoncalla by Grace Danico

I got hooked on Yumi Zouma through their 2014 EP, and their latest album delivers the dreamy vocals and synthy goodness I first fell in love with.

Play "Yesterday"
9 Goat Requiem by Anna Hurley

Requiem has beautifully complex arrangements that really makes me want to dance.

Play "I Sing In Silence"
9 Survive Stranger Things OST by Mike Davis

We all fell in the love with the show. The retro styling was so on point and the music played a huge role in the authenticity of it all.

Play "Stranger Things"
9 Angel Olsen My Woman by Mark Weaver

melodic, raw, lo-fi

Play "Never Be Mine"
9 Drake Views by Simone Noronha

This is a party favorite. This album brings people together, to the dance floor.

Play "Controlla"
9 Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool by Jessica Hische

I feel like it’s almost mandatory that a new Radiohead release make the top 10, but I really love this album. It makes me want to go on a drive alone in the fog.

Play "Deck’s Dark"
Eight View Albums
8 Blood Orange Freetown Sound by Damien Correll

I'll listen to (and probably love) whatever Dev Hynes makes (except for Test Icicles). Plus this record produced my favorite single of the year.

Play "Best to You"
8 Anohni Hopelessness by Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch

A thoughtful emotional production.

Play "Crisis"
8 Kamaiyah A Good Night in the Ghetto by Erik Marinovich

Whenever you drive to Oakland queue this album, roll down your windows and turn the bass up.

Play "How Does It Feel"
8 Soft Hair Soft Hair by David J. McMillan

Perfect music to work to. Who couldn’t love a track with the line “I’d like to watch you run, but I’ll never touch your bum…”? Poetry.

Play "Lying Has To Stop"
8 Jim James Eternally Even by Mackenzie Brookshire

This is in my headphones at times renders me incapable of sitting still...eyes must close, face must smile. Was really hard to pick a favorite song.

Play "Here In Spirit"
8 Thao & The Get Down Stay Down A Man Alive by Jessica Hische

It's crazy to me that it took moving to San Francisco to hear of this band, but I've been a fan for a few albums now. It's hard to pick a favorite track, but I lean toward Thao's dancier / groovier songs.

Play "Astonished Man"
8 Night Lovell Red Teenage Melody by Justin Pervorse

Theres a dark and angsty vibe this record has thats just fun to listen to. Does this make me cool?

Play "Just Tryna"
8 NxWorries Yes Lawd! by Richard Perez

Malibu was great but .Paak and Knxwledge is an unstoppable collaboration

Play "Best One"
8 Ethereal Look At Me by Shawna X

I'm not sure why ethereal is not as popular as he should be. His music, with a touch of jazz, layered with his melodious rap, is great to relax to... on top of being an amazing lyricist.

8 Kaytranada 99.9% by Adam R Garcia

The up-and-coming Canadian's infectious thumping will leave your ears and soul stirred. 99.9% guaranteed.

Play "Lite Spots"
8 Migos YRN 2 Mixtape by Mike Davis

Not too many rappers can say they have a flow named after them. These guys are steady blazing trails and setting the pace for what's next in rap and also slang that your Aunt will eventually start using.

Play "Commando"
8 M83 Junk by Mark Weaver

cheesy, wacky, synth-heavy

Play "Walkaway Blues"
8 Ceres Drag It Down On You by Alana Louise

At 1:49 is when all the dudes point at the lead singer and yell the lyrics.

Play "Nothing on Your Shoulders"
8 Lizzo Coconut Oil by Simone Noronha

A feel good album, a pretty good way to start your day.

Play "Coconut Oil"
8 Japanese Breakfast Psychopomp by Eric R. Mortensen

Psychopomp refers to the escort that guides the newly deceased from this mortal coil to the afterlife. In memory of her late mother, Michelle Zauner's debut album transcends the terrestrial realm, guiding our souls from a solemn state of grief to a transcendent and radical joy.

Play "The Woman That Loves You"
8 M. Ward More Rain by Anna Hurley

Breezy in sound, yet soulful in content, M. Ward's voice always makes me feel warm.

Play "Time Won't Wait"
8 Jessy Lanza On No by Nate Utesch

A perfect hodgepodge of 90’s R&B and multi-colored footwork music. Apparently she filled her producer’s apartment with tropical plants during the writing process in order to combat a possible radon gas leak.

Play "It Means I Love You"
8 Moses Sumney Lamentations by Grace Danico

I wish this man would put out a full album. Lamentations is just another taste of his work, and this EP in particular feels airy, introspective and ethereal.

Play "Lonely World"
8 Black Mountain IV by Chris Muccioli

Some of my favorite psychedelic rock songwriting. Lyrical hooks and guitar riffs to last all year, all around solid record.

Play "Cemetery Breeding"
Seven View Albums
7 The Radio Dept. Running Out of Love by Nate Utesch

Sweden’s own brand of electronic pop music has always captured something so polished and yet so cathartic in the same sticky-sweet bubble gum snap. The Radio Dept.’s first record since 2010 follows suit all the same.

Play "Swedish Guns"
7 Jamila Woods HEAVN by Simone Noronha

This is such a strong album, and this is her first! I’m excited to see everything she goes on to do.

Play "Blk Girl Soldier"
7 Jessy Lanza Oh No by Shawna X

Jessy Lanza is sexy as fuck. If you ever see her live, this unassuming, small-framed girl in sweatpants & cap has the most sensuous voice in the world, paired with some deep beats & a ton of energy. I love listening to her in any occasion, especially when I'm feeling mischievous.

Play "Vivaca"
7 Kaytranada 99% by Erik Marinovich

Good for any occasion this album always deliver and will put a bounce to your step.

Play "Weight Off"
7 Ablebody Adult Contemporaries by Grace Danico

This album is romantic, soft and synthy - a combination sure to warm many a winter night.

Play "Send Me A Letter"
7 Yumi Zouma Yoncalla by Damien Correll

In my experience, whenever a band first releases a string of incredible EPs before their debut, that debut is almost always a clunker. Yumi Zouma listens like a guilty pleasure, but deserves to be on this list considering how much I've played this one.

Play "Barricade (Matter of Fact)"
7 Frankie Cosmos Next Thing by Jessica Hische

I love me some mellow indie pop. Listening to this album makes me feel like I'm back in art school in the best way. I'm more of a mix-tape girl than a cover-to-cover album listener, but it's impossible to not listen to Frankie Cosmos albums the whole way through.

Play "If I Had a Dog"
7 The Avalanches Wildflower by Mark Weaver

nostalgic, bright, layered

Play "Colours"
7 American Football American Football by Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsche

An album that quickly brings back memories of driving through the suburbs.

Play "Home Is Where The Haunt Is"
7 Woods City Sun Eater in the River of Light by Chris Muccioli

Psych rock with a strong groove and classic rock hooks. Their fullest and most solid release to date.

Play "Can't See at All"
7 Lindstrøm Windings by Eric R. Mortensen

Closing Shot builds and resolves in such a satisfying way, it's downright masterful.

Play "Closing Shot"
7 Conor Oberst Ruminations by Alana Louise

“Tried to lose myself in the primitive, in Yosemite, like John Muir did. But his eyes are blue and mine are red and raw.”

Play "Barbary Coast (Later)"
7 Solange A Seat At The Table by Adam R Garcia

Solange's incredible release was beautifully consistent sonically and visually, and couldn't have showed up more on-time. Baby sister isn't in someone's shadow anymore.

Play "Don't Touch My Hair"
7 Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool by David J. McMillan

I can’t get why new Radiohead albums seem to be so divided in opinion. This is just a solid album from an incredibly solid band. Definitely a lot darker than previous albums, so it maybe didn’t get enough plays this year as it deserves, but I also didn’t want to have too many depressing days in the studio.

Play "Deck’s Dark"
7 Thrice To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere by Justin Pervorse

I've listened to Thrice since I was in High School. This record stirred up a batch of bad hair and thrift store t-shirt nostalgia.

Play "Stay With Me"
7 Mild High Club Skiptracing by Mackenzie Brookshire

Just a groovy, happy little album that makes me feel like smoking weed and going roller skating.

Play "Tesselation"
7 A Tribe Called Quest We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service by Richard Perez

Worried this album would feel like ATCQ trying hard to be relevant or a heavy handed Phife tribute. Glad to be so so wrong.

Play "The Space Program"
7 Rihanna Anti by Mike Davis

I never paid much attention to her music until people kept relentlessly requesting her music when I was DJing over the last few years. I got into the hits, but never thought much of them. I listened to ANTI right when it came out and was really impressed. There's so much depth to the songwriting, construction, and overall approach.

Play "Kiss It Better"
7 Walter Martin Arts & Leisure by Anna Hurley

Walter Martin is so fun and silly and lovely that I'll pick up and listen to just about anything he does.

Play "Down by the Singing Sea"
Six View Albums
6 Natural Child Okey Dokey by Chris Muccioli

Psych-y, garage-y, dead-y, blues-y all by way of Nashville, TN. They’ve got it all.

Play "Sure Is Nice"
6 Blood Orange Freetown Sound by Grace Danico

Freetown Sound is a melange of feelings, textures, and collaborations, and this album in particular feels especially powerful with its collaborations and production.

Play "E.V.P."
6 Solange A Seat At The Table by Richard Perez

Poetic, powerful and brutally honest a contemporary soul masterpiece.

Play "F.U.B.U."
6 Zuluzuluu What's The Price? by Mike Davis

Funk is alive in Minneapolis! This group came out of nowhere and blew everyone in our city away. Can't wait to hear what they give us next.

Play "Fades"
6 Allah-Las Calico Review by Jessica Hische

My love for modern-sloppy-psych-garage-rock is so extreme. I think listening to it just makes me feel cooler. This Allah-las album is poppier than their last release, but it still makes for excellent campfire or poolside grooves.

Play "Warmed Kippers"
6 Beyoncé Lemonade by Simone Noronha

I like this version of Béyonce. There’s strong emotions - mostly rage that comes out rather beautifully.

Play "Freedom"
6 Hailu Mergia Wede Harer Guzo by Mackenzie Brookshire


Play "Bati Bati"
6 Frank Ocean Blonde by Alana Louise

So chill. "Close To You" is such a bonfire song on a starless night. Best played in West Texas.

Play "Close To You"
6 Beyoncé Lemonade by Adam R Garcia

A I refuse to justify my love for Bey.

Play "Hold Up"
6 Golden Suits Kubla Khan by Anna Hurley

Kubla Khan is sweet and easy listening, I found myself tapping my feet to it quite often this year.

Play "Another One"
6 Leonard Cohen You Want It Darker by Nate Utesch

An extraordinary finale from the life and career of a remarkable man.

Play "You Want It Darker"
6 Angel Olsen My Woman by Eric R. Mortensen

Dang. Angel just keeps getting better... every new album like the shifting of a gear. The engine roars a little louder on My Woman.

Play "Intern"
6 Jim James Eternally Even by Mark Weaver

funky, psychedelic, hazy

Play "Hide In Plain Sight"
6 Tycho Epoch by Justin Pervorse

If you like music with beeps, boops and dings you'll probably like this. I obviously do since its in my top 10.

Play "Horizon"
6 Bon Iver 22, A Million by Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch

A complex production of analog and digital approaches tied with heightened vocal textures.

Play "715 - CR∑∑KS"
6 A Tribe Called Quest We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service by Damien Correll

As an ATCQ fan, I was expecting to not really care for this record. I was way off on that assumption.

Play "Dis Generation"
6 Bibio A Mineral Love by David J. McMillan

Bibio feels like the perfect soundtrack to the English Countryside. The low-fi guitar tracks on this album make me want to put on some wellington boots and walk around the Yorkshire dales with a flask of tea, before enjoying a picnic on the roof of my houseboat.

Play "Wren Tails"
6 Bon Iver 22, A Million by Shawna X

Bon Iver's music is always unique in its sound, and interesting to contemplate, in regards to the layer of his various vocals and instruments. I feel this album especially was him breaking out of his mainstream shell, and really just telling it, making music, as pure as bon iver himself.

Play "___45___"
6 Lance Skiiiwalker Introverted Intuition by Erik Marinovich

Best TDE record of the year. Smooth flows occasionally doused with lighter fluid.

Play "Could it Be"
Five View Albums
5 Nothing Tired of Tomorrow by Justin Pervorse

You know all those records you're embarrassed to say you listen to? This isn't one.

Play "A.C.D. (Abcessive Compulsive Disorder)"
5 Glass Animals How To Be A Human Being by David J. McMillan

I could see myself dancing to this. Thankfully no one will ever have to witness that.

Play "Pork Soda"
5 MNDSGN Body Wash by Grace Danico

As its title suggests, this album washes over you and makes you feels energized and fresh with that good old fashioned boogie funk sound.

Play "Wherever U Are"
5 Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool by Mark Weaver

expansive, ethereal, haunting

Play "Daydreaming"
5 Black Marble It's Immaterial by Eric Mortensen

Sparse yet lush? Dark, but still somehow hopeful? Modern while simultaneously evoking nostalgia? It's Immaterial navigates these polarities without going grey.

Play "Frisk"
5 Angel Olsen My Woman by Chris Muccioli

A super diverse record from an already solid songwriter. The soft songs are softer and the harder songs are heavier.

Play "Not Gonna Kill You"
5 A Tribe Called Quest We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service by Simone Noronha

I really like this album. It’s super catchy with so much substance, I’m on genius.

Play "Movin Backwards"
5 Frank Ocean Blonde by Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch

Beautiful singing and production work.

Play "Close To You"
5 Nicolas Jaar Sirens by Richard Perez

From quiet ethereal moments to pulsing motorik beats Sirens is captivating

Play "Three Sides of Nazareth"
5 Solange A Seat At The Table by Damien Correll

This record came out of nowhere and blew me away. Don't get me wrong, I loved Lemonade, but this is the better album.

Play "Cranes in the Sky"
5 Kvelertak Nattesferd by Nate Utesch

The sign out front says, “Norwegian black metal,” but hear me now: this is soft-top-convertible-heavy-metal. “1985” was an unsuspecting favorite track (and music video) from all of 2016.

Play "1985"
5 Omni Deluxe by Mackenzie Brookshire

Pleasant find from ATL :-)

Play "Wire"
5 Mavis Staples Livin' on a High Note by Anna Hurley

Mavis Staples is wonderfully joyful, reflective, and optimistic—I needed this album a lot this year.

Play "Love and Trust"
5 A Tribe Called Quest We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service by Jessica Hische

This album feels like a gift to help drag us out of the hell that is 2016. RIP Phife, and thank you, Tribe.

Play "The Space Program"
5 Basement Promise Everything by Alana Louise

Ultimate 90's nostalgic vibe. Basement is amazing live too.

Play "Oversized"
5 The KVB Of Desire by Shawna X

Another group that makes me feel like a bad ass, but mostly because of their moody 80s vibe is perhaps why i love the KVB so much. Of Desire creates an atmosphere that makes me feel like I'm in a different time and place entirely.

Play "Never Enough"
5 Beyoncé Lemonade by Mike Davis

What's left to say about this one?

Play "Hold Up"
5 Post Malone Stoney by Erik Marinovich

A deliciously produced sound with hooks on every track and a solid trifecta (r&b/rap/pop) of a genre album .

Play "No Option"
5 Santigold 99¢ by Adam R Garcia

I can't get enough of Santi. Her attitude, style and voice, mmmmm. And this album's all about consumerism. A good reminder for the holidays.

Play "Chasing Shadows"
Four View Albums
4 Jessy Lanza Oh No by Richard Perez

An electro rnb dance party for all the shy boys and girls.

Play "It Means I Love You"
4 Kanye West The Life Of Pablo by Simone Noronha

I found myself liking this album as much as his eariler ones. I regret not going to see him live. T_T

Play "Saint Pablo"
4 Beyoncé Lemonade by Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch

powerful, necessary, and inspiring.

Play "Formation"
4 Badbadnotgood IV by Mike Davis

I watched these dudes perform in Vancouver a few years ago and love hearing them grow and develop so much depth to their music. There's such a cool and creepy undertone to this record.

Play "Speaking Gently"
4 The Radio Dept. Running Out of Love by Damien Correll

They really shouldn't wait this long in-between records, or maybe they should.

Play "We Got Game"
4 Oathbreaker Rheia by Justin Pervorse

*insert the most metal emoji there is* - This record shreds and the vocals are super sexy.

Play "Where I Live"
4 Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Suzanne Ciani Frkwys Vol.3: Sunergy by Nate Utesch

Two of electronic music’s most innovative masters (albeit 40 years apart) of the modular synthesizer. Working together for RVNG Intl.’s “Frkwys” collaboration series.

Play "Closed Circuit"
4 Kendrick Lamar untitled, unmastered. by Adam R Garcia

King Kendrick with the curve ball.

Play "Untitled 03"
4 Lil Yachty Lil Boat by Erik Marinovich

Off Beat beats that'll stay stuck in your head forevvverrrrrrrr.

Play "Minnesota"
4 Cian Nugent Night Fiction by Chris Muccioli

Bluesy and warm acoustic guitar backed up by classic rock accents. Just good music.

Play "First Run"
4 Me & My Drummer Love Is A Fridge by David J. McMillan

Gloomy sounds mixed with great song writing and a beautifully, powerful voice. Bonus points for being a Berlin band.

Play "Prague I & II"
4 Childish Gambino Awaken, My Love! by Shawna X

Not gonna lie, I wasn't a fan of Childish when he first came out - something felt fake about him. This album really changed my mind and made me realize that first part of Childish was part of the process. He was able to bring some 70s, indie, trippy sounds into his music and mix it in a way I've never heard of before. Not to mention Atlanta, damn, Donald Glover is one talented dude.

Play "Me & Your Mama"
4 Kaytranada 99% by Grace Danico

Kaytranada is an incredible producer, and this album is so colorful with its crisp sounds and many collaborations. Track Uno really sets the tone of what a listener's in for.

Play "Glowed Up (feat. Anderson.Paak)"
4 Pinegrove Cardinal by Alana Louise

If the Blue Ridge Mountains were turned into an album it would be Cardinal.

Play "Aphasia"
4 Frank Ocean Blonde by Mark Weaver

emotional, sparse, minimal

Play "Nikes"
4 Leonard Cohen You Want It Darker by Anna Hurley

Leonard Cohen is king.

Play "On the Level"
4 The Parrots Los Niños Sin Miedo by Jessica Hische

I was in Brighton earlier this year and wandered into a record store. They were playing this album, which looks and sounds like some forgotten psychedelic garage band from the 60s/70s—turns out the album was released in 2016 by a group of young dudes from Madrid. It's my top recommended album this year, mostly because no one on this side of the Atlantic has heard of them, and because it’s impossible to not scream "No Me Gustas, Te Quiero" at the top of your lungs.

Play "No Me Gustas, Te Quiero"
4 Rival Consoles Night Melody by Eric Mortensen

Night Melody really feels more like art than music. More like a composition than a song. Akin to movement... or something. I was confused by how hard I fell for this album.

Play "Lone"
4 Lizzy Mercier Descloux Mambo Nassau by Mackenzie Brookshire

Kick your shoes off, time to dance.

Play "Room Mate"
Three View Albums
3 PUP The Dream Is Over by Alana Louise

I saw Pup at a small, outdoor venue over the Summer. It was so humid and the show was right after a rain. Temps were in the mid-nineties. I couldn't breathe but also couldn't help but scream all the songs with everyone else. I definitely accidentally grazed my arm on some tall guy's ultra-sweaty back. This whole album describes that single moment.

Play "DVP"
3 NXWorries Yes Lawd! by Grace Danico

The dream team of Knxwledge and Anderson.Paak come together in full force on this album with its soulful samples and gritty, yet tender, lyrics. I couldn't get the image of a 1970s Oldsmobile Cutlass out of my head.

Play "Scared Money"
3 Angel Olsen My Woman by Jessica Hische

I wore out Angel Olsen's 2014 release Burn Your Fire for No Witness, so I was chomping at the bit for this release. She is so talented, and this album is so good.

Play "Shut Up Kiss Me"
3 Chance the Rapper Coloring Book by Mark Weaver

soulful, introspective, powerful

Play "Same Drugs"
3 Basement Promise Everything by Justin Pervorse

I like music with big riffs ok. Deal with it.

Play "Promise Everything"
3 Blood Orange Freetown Sound by Nate Utesch

Nostalgic R&B at the surface. Gutting and poignant at its core.

Play "Augustine"
3 Kaytranada 99.9% by Mike Davis

He's on fire right now.

Play "Lite Spots"
3 Car Seat Headrest Teens of Denial by Eric R. Mortensen

If Will Toledo isn't rock's best hope for the future then rock might not have a future.

Play "Fill In The Blank"
3 Hamilton Leithauser / Rostam I Had a Dream That You Were Mine by Damien Correll

Full disclosure: The Walkmen were my favorite [contemporary] band and I was really, really bummed when they broke up.

Play "A 1000 times"
3 Regina Spektor Remember Us to Life by Anna Hurley

Full of personality and pop, Regina Spektor's voice is truly breathtaking.

Play "Older and Taller"
3 Nicolas Jaar Sirens by Shawna X

Nicolas Jaar has a way to carry me away to somewhere timeless, completely imaginary, and dreamlike - into somewhere that is me, stripped from all aesthetics, facades and left with barebones & pure creativity.

Play "Killing Time"
3 Swet Shop Boys Cashmere by Simone Noronha

There are very few musicians in pop culture who look like me. These guys talk candidly and with humor about living in a post 9/11, Brexit and now Trump era. But they have other fun tracks too!.

Play "Phone Tap"
3 Kevin Morby Singing Saw by Chris Muccioli

The perfect record for a rainy day or cold walk. Morbys voice is comforting, almost familiar sounding, and his writing is ripe with hooks without being cheesy.

Play "Drunk and On a Star"
3 Whitney Light Upon The Lake by David J. McMillan

Again, jangly guitars and upbeat, low-fi vocals (and brass!) make it a great summer album.

Play "Golden Days"
3 Kanye West The Life of Pablo by Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch

A bold, gritty, gospel experience.

Play "Ultralight Beam"
3 Moondog H'art Songs by Mackenzie Brookshire

Maybe the coolest fucking old man, ever.

Play "Do Your Thing"
3 Anderson .Paak Malibu by Adam Garcia

Anderson .Paak is unfuckwithable. The follow-up to his groundbreaking album "Venice," this one's way more melodic and experimental, and I'm excited to see where dude goes next.

Play "The Season | Carry Me"
3 BadBadNotGood IV by Richard Perez

BBNG continues to expand their sound with some great collaborations with folks like Colin Stenson and Kaytranda.

Play "Chompy’s Paradise"
3 Noname Telefone by Erik Marinovich

This is a deep well rounded album from start to finish on both the lyrical and sound side of things.

Play "Diddy Bop"
Two View Albums
2 Bon Iver 22, A Million by Mark Weaver

experimental, glitchy, beautiful

Play "8 (circle)"
2 Blood Orange Freetown Sound by Shawna X

Blood Orange's Cupid Deluxe was my soundtrack through some dark times of a breakdown, a breakup- a personal death in many ways. Two years later at a very different and much more stable stage of life, Freetown Sound reminded me of all I've learned, all that's changed and everything that guided me to a new revival.

Play "I Know"
2 Deerhoof The Magic by Eric R. Mortensen

A band I started listening to in college some 15 years ago is still making surprising music in 2016 and how badass is that?!?!

Play "Kafe Mania!"
2 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree by David J. McMillan

His almost breathless delivery of "...and one more time with feeling" gets me every time. A beautifully bleak album.

Play "Magneto"
2 BadBadNotGood IV by Grace Danico

I love jazz, and the arrangements and collaborations on IV were fun to listen and vibe to. These guys really go hard live, and sound even better IRL than they do on the album.

Play "In Your Eyes (feat. Charlotte Day Wilson)"
2 Nick Waterhouse Never Twice by Anna Hurley

Never Twice calls back all of my favorite R&B sounds of the 60's in an unrelentingly catchy set of songs.

Play "Katchi"
2 Aesop Rock The Impossible Kid by Adam R Garcia

Utter verbosity. I listen to Aes like I read Lewis Carroll, to get lost in language.

Play "TUFF"
2 Chance the Rapper Coloring Book by Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch

Uplifting and solidly positive.

Play "Summer Friends"
2 Angel Olsen My Woman by Damien Correll

It's been a pleasure to see/hear Angel Olsen evolve as a recording artist. This one's her most ambitious and best to date.

Play "Sister"
2 Kaytranada 99.9% by Richard Perez

In a perfect world Lite Spots was the song of the summer, no doubt. In a perfect world a lot of other things would have happened to...

Play "Lite Spots"
2 Daniel Romano Mosey by Alana Louise

Daniel Romano used to be in a punk band called Attack in Black during the mid-late 2000's that will always be my favorite band. I find it hard to describe his new music as "country" because the style of album is so different from one another. His lyrics blindfold you with so many emotions – mostly songs about loneliness and loved ones, but some so ridiculous that they leave you lost and confused. Long live the King of Mosey.

Play "(Gone Is) All But A Quarry Of Stone"
2 Anohni Hopelessness by Simone Noronha

This album is raw, heart breaking and seductive at the same time. I don’t think I can talk about it intelligently but give it a listen because it’s more than worth it.

Play "Drone Bomb Me"
2 Helado Negro Private Energy by Mackenzie Brookshire

Thank you, Helado, for being alive and wonderful.

Play "Young, Latin and Proud"
2 Diamondstein The Ridges by Nate Utesch

A sinister and cinematic ocean of synthesizers. You’ll be dragged into the dark and torn apart by its swelling beauty.

Play "Conversations"
2 Thee Oh Sees A Weird Exits by Chris Muccioli

An absolute guitar melting, drag race of a record. Double drums, shrieking vocals. Hell. Yes.

Play "Dead Man's Gun"
2 Bon Iver 22, A Million by Jessica Hische

I have to admit—I didn’t really get the hype over this album at first. It was a slow grower. I'm including it more because literally every human I know couldn't shut up about it than because it personally knocked my socks off. That said, I have a feeling that this is one of those albums that will take me months or years to truly fall in love with and then I'll look back and think of how silly and naïve I was to ever deny its amazingness.

Play "29 #Strafford APTS"
2 Desiigner Panda by Mike Davis

Look. I'm not gonna get all thinkpiecey here, but if you listen to this entire song and still say the kid can't rap, then get the fuck outta here.

Play "Panda"
2 A.Chal Welcome to GAZI by Justin Pervorse

This record has so much chill that I listened to it for 3 weeks straight when it released. Just try it. I know you want to.

Play "Vibe W/U"
2 Isaiah Rashad The Sun's Tirade by Erik Marinovich

A self reflection record with equal parts of dark and light moments.

Play "Free Lunch"
One View Albums
1 Frank Ocean Blonde by Damien Correll

The wait was worth it, but I don't really want to wait that long again.

Play "Ivy"
1 Kevin Morby Beautiful Strangers b/w No Place to Fall by Chris Muccioli

Morby writes that “This release is dedicated to and written for all the people I have never met but have only read about.” It’s beautiful and haunting, heartbreaking and peaceful.

Play "Beautiful Strangers"
1 Dequexatron XOOO Feed The Streets by Mike Davis

On April Fool's Day, Hamburger Helper released a rap mixtape. We all thought it would be hilarious, not realizing the opening track from Minneapolis rapper Bobby Raps was about to be the best damn song of the year.

Play "Feed The Streets"
1 Francis and the Lights Farewell, Starlite by Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch

A funk infused production that makes you want to dance and shake.

Play "Comeback"
1 Solange A Seat At The Table by Grace Danico

Solange created the soundtrack of 2016 with A Seat at the Table. It captures what it feels like to be a minority in a America.

Play "F.U.B.U."
1 David Bowie Blackstar by David J. McMillan

I remember walking around a snowy Berlin the day this came out, imagining Bowie walking the same streets 40 years earlier. His death hit me more than I thought a musicians death would. As Tony Visconti said, it was his 'parting gift.'

Play "I Can't Give Everything Away"
1 Big Jesus Onerica by Justin Pervorse

I'm friends with the lead singer and this record rips. Their last record has also been in the CD player of my car since 2013.

Play "Floating Past You"
1 Frank Ocean Blonde by Jessica Hische

This album is truly fantastic. It’s impossible to pick a favorite track because they all bring something different. I know this will be in a number of people’s top 10, so I'll share my personal favorite tracks, the block from White Ferrari to Godspeed.

Play "White Ferrari"
1 Solange A Seat at the Table by Simone Noronha

This album is in constant rotation. It’s subtly serious and really God damn elegant.

Play "Cranes in the Sky"
1 Chance the Rapper Coloring Book by Richard Perez

This album breathes with life, in a crap year it’s a testament to the uplifting power of good vibes.

Play "No Problems"
1 Nothing Tired of Tomorrow by Alana Louise

It's impossible to pick a single favorite song from this album. This was released around the time that I went to Alaska for the first time. The feeling of listening to this album while driving down the Alaska Route 1 between monstrous glaciers is hard to describe.

Play "The Dead Are Dumb"
1 Rich Chigga Dat $tick by Shawna X

Rich Chigga only has 3 songs under his belt but he is a 17-yr old kid in Indonesia, learned how to speak english from youtube, a huge loner, a (true) weirdo because he is antisocial as hell, made fanny packs a thing and not just some ironic bullshit thing - but his thing. At first you'd think the song is just a parody, it is actually really, really good. He is my favorite person of 2016.

Play "Dat $tick"
1 Bon Iver 22, A Million by Adam R Garcia

Midwest magic. A transcendent blend of the known and the new.

Play "10 d E A T h b R E a s T"
1 A Tribe Called Quest We got it from Here...Thank You 4 Your Service by Mark Weaver

complex, political, genre-defying

Play "We The People..."
1 Andrew Bird Are You Serious by Anna Hurley

Are you Serious is profoundly moving, thrilling, sorrowful, and beautiful.

Play "Puma"
1 Iggy Pop Post Pop Depression by Mackenzie Brookshire

I was surprised at how good this album is - Iggy is STILL the man.

Play "Sunday"
1 Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein Stranger Things, Vol. 1 by Nate Utesch

Thirty-six vignettes from the Netflix Summer monolith. As a cynical and an admittedly pretentious aficionado/doofus of “synthesizer music,” the incessant comparisons of this score to Tangerine Dream and John Carpenter made me more than skeptical. In the end, every ounce of praise heaped upon Dixon, Stein and the rest of their crew for their body of work is more than warranted.

Play "Kids"
1 Leonard Cohen You Want It Darker by Eric Mortensen

Leonard Cohen (1934–2016) left behind such a gift with You Want It Darker. Providential almost, if I believed there were a hand at the helm. For this cover I've combined graphic elements from his seminal albums and completed the arrangement with an ensō, the zen buddhist symbol representing enlightenment. Cohen's music played an important role in my life, and I am thankful for his poetic wisdom.

Play "Steer Your Way"
1 Frank Ocean Blonde by Erik Marinovich

If you don't like this album we can't be friends.

Play "Nikes"