Albums Of The Year 2016

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Albums Of The Year 2016

It's come around again, the time to insist you pay attention to our taste in music.  2016 has been both a great and terrible year for music - tons of brilliant new albums (as you'll see below) and lots and lots of death.  This year we lost David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Sharon Jones, Colonel Abrams, David Mancuso, Pete Burns, Bobbie Vee, Prince Buster, Alan Vega, Bernie Worrell, Guy Clark, Merle Haggard, Phife Dawg, Keith Emerson, George Martin, and loads (LOADS) more.  With all that death there needed to be some good stuff to take our mind off it, and fortunately there was.  Below are South's 20 favourite albums (note - not best; favourite), and the rest of our 50 (numbers 21-50 aren't in any order, as how do you choose your 39th favourite record of the year??).  We also have contributions from our pals at XL Recordings, Domino, PEAK, Tough Love, and our Saturday boy (when he turns up).
So, here it is, our favourite albums of 2016, our Festive Fifty:

1. Angel Olsen - My Woman (BUY)

2. Whitney - Light Upon The Lake (BUY)

3. Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker (BUY)

4. David Bowie - Blackstar (BUY)

5. Ultimate Painting - Dusk (BUY)

6. Goat - Requiem (BUY)

7. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree (BUY)

8. Brian Eno - The Ship (BUY)

9. Nap Eyes - Thought Fish Rock Scale (BUY)

10. Tortoise - The Catastrophist (BUY)

11. The Monkees - Good Times (BUY)

12. Plantman - To The Lighthouse (BUY)

13. Cavern of Anti Matter - Void Beats/Invocation Trex (BUY)

14. Michael Nau - Mowing (BUY)

15. Pete Astor - Spilt Milk (BUY)

16. Wilco - Schmilco (BUY)

17. Itasca - Open To Chance (BUY)

18. Not Waving - Animals (BUY)

19. The Tyde - Darren 4 (BUY)

20. Karl Blau - Introducing (BUY)

The rest of our favourites, in alphabetical order:

Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids - We All Be Africans (BUY)

Asylums - Killer Brainwaves (BUY)

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - Ears (BUY)

Avalanches - Wildflower (BUY)

Badbadnotgood - IV (BUY)

Devendra Banhart - Ape In Pink Marble (BUY)

Be - One (BUY)

Bitchin Bajas & Bonnie Prince Billy - Epic Jammers & Fortunate Little Ditties (BUY)

Haley Bonar - Impossible Dream (BUY)

Bon Iver - 22, A Million (BUY)

Boys Forever - Boys Forever (BUY)

Alex Cameron - Jumping The Shark (BUY)

The Comet Is Coming - Channel The Spirits (BUY)

The Early Years - II (BUY)

Fat White Family - Songs For Our Mothers (BUY)

The High Llamas - Here Come The Rattling Trees (BUY)

Hinds - Leave Me Alone (BUY)

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression (BUY)

Lnzrdrf - Lnzrdrf (BUY)

Mendrugo - More Amore (BUY)

Anna Meredith - Varmints (BUY)

Kevin Morby - Singing Saw (BUY)

Jeb Loy Nichols - Long Time Traveller (BUY)

Parquet Courts - Human Performance (BUY)

Britta Phillips - Luck Or Magic (BUY)

Plaid - The Digging Remedy (BUY)

Margo Price - Midwest Farmer's Daughter (BUY)

Teenage Fanclub - Here (BUY)

Ulrika Spacek - The Album Paranoia (BUY)

XAM Duo - XAM Duo (BUY)


Patrick Johnson -

I think my top 5 albums will bare a striking resemblance to a lot of other people’s top five albums - which is further proof that 2016 has been an exceptional year for music. In what has been a rollercoaster 12 months - we have seen some of the world’s most loved and treasured cultural icons cease to exist in human form (their art will live on of course) all whilst living with the fact that 53.4% of the population rage voted for a decision based in intolerance and fear….also Trump. 

Luckily though, this year saw a return to musicians actually saying something important, taking a stand and educating fans to the inequality and injustice of the world. Surprisingly though, these record came from some of the world’s largest and most mainstream pop stars rather than the underground politico-punks of old. Beyonce, Kendrick, Kanye, Solange, Dev, Frank and in at the last minute, A Tribe Call Quest all made essential records that tackled ongoing prejudice especially the race wars America is still very much in the throws of….and closer to home, Skepta, Kano, Wiley, Giggs and (sort of) newcomers AJ Tracey, Section Boyz, Elf Kid and Novelist all continued to carry the brightly burning torch of Grime and UK Rap. These are records that won’t just be hailed as some of the best of 2016 but will hopefully be looked back on as documents in history that soundtracked actual change. 

1. Kanye West - LIfe of Pablo 

2. Show Me The Body - Body War

3. Radiohead - Moon Shaped Pool (BUY)

4. Frank Ocean - Blonde

5. Beyonce - Lemonade


Dean - the Saturday boy

1. Kaytranada - 99.9% (BUY)

2. Malcolm Middleton - Summer of '13 (BUY)

3. Botany - Deepak Verbera (BUY)

4. Christopher Tignor - Along A Vanishing Plane (BUY)

5. El Guincho - Hiperasia (BUY)

6. Hieroglyphic Being - The Disco's Of Imhotep (BUY)

7. Metronomy - Summer '08 (BUY)

8. Fat White Family - Songs For Our Mothers (BUY)

9. Skepta - Konnichiwa (BUY)

10. Classix - Faraway Reach (BUY)


Gregory Wells (Domino Recording Co./Plug Life)

1. Yuseef Kamaal ‘Black Focus’ LP (Brownswood) - been on non-stop since I heard it, so inventive and fresh sounding, production is amazing too!

2. Steven Julien ‘Fallen’ LP (Apron Records) - real journey of an album, XL is the highlight.. great use of samples. Artwork is my favourite of the year too (pic was taken in Southend!)

3. MNDSGN ‘Ya Own Way’ song (Stones Throw) - new to me this year on the ever-reliable Stones Throw. Incredible bass!

4. Weyes Blood ‘Front Row Seat To The Earth’ LP (Kemando/Mexican Summer) - Incredible voice and beautiful warm analogue production. Love all the late dropping 70’s -esque drum fills too! (BUY)

5. Jamie Isaac ‘Couch Baby’ LP (Marathon) - very talented 21-year old from south London. Created very listenable delicate, mid-paced, stoner-jazz. 

6. Soft Hair ‘Lying Has To Stop’ video - if there is one video you’re going to watch this year, make it this one. The end shower scene will be etched into your brain for eternity. (BUY)

7. Michael Nau ‘Mowing’ LP (Full Time Hobby) - fairly late entry but great and very listenable album from Michael Nau. Love his very casual vocal delivery. (BUY)

8. Oby Onyioha ‘Enjoy Your Live’ song - not sure I’ve listened to something as much as this.. technically not from 2016 but about to released as part of a new Lagos Disco comp from the ever brilliant Soundway. 

9. Devendra Banhart ‘Jon Lends A Hand’ song (Nonesuch) - whole album is pretty decent but this track has be the highlight. Being honest, Devendra could released an album of farts and I’d still probably say album of the year. (BUY)

10. Jeremy Underground ‘Beauty: A Journey Through Jeremy Underground’s Collection’ Compilation (Spacetalk) - brilliant eclectic collection of rare soul and disco records collected by renown Parisian crate-digger Jeremy Underground.


Matthew Thornhill (XL Recordings/Young Turks)

In chronological order of release:

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto & Bryce Dessner - The Revenant OST (BUY)

CFCF - On Vacation

Damien Jurado - Visions Of Us On The Land (BUY)

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - Ears (BUY)

Karl Blau - Introducing (BUY)

Frank Ocean - Blonde

Cass McCombs - Mangy Love (BUY)

Francis & The Lights - Farewell, Starlite!

Solange - A Seat At The Table (BUY)

Lambchop - Flotus (BUY)


Stephen Pietrzykowski (Tough Love)

In no particular order:

Various Artists - Sky Girl

Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch

Liberation - Liberation

Pussy Mothers - The Number 1

Kevin Gates - Isiah

Fat White Family - Songs for Our Mothers

Carla Dal Forno -  You Know What It's Like

Yves Tumor - When Man Fails You

Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker

Angel Olsen - My Woman

Listen to Stephen's playlist HERE

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