STEELE PICKS: Best Albums of 2016

here’s the music in heavy rotation or that intrigued me or moved me in 2016. we need music and the arts now more than ever. music heals.

chairlift

 

 

Chairlift, Moth [Columbia]
–the duo aptly describes its music as “25th-century folktronica.” infectious beats, sweet vocals. the Brooklyn band just announced its break-up on Twitter.

 

Bat for Lashes, The Bride [Parlophone]
— concept album. all the songs on this album= perfection. dark humor, dark melodies with gorgeous arrangements, provocative lyrics and lilting, rich vocals.

 

Warpaint, Heads Up [Rough Trade]
–the all-female Los Angeles indie band plays soothing, swirling, pretty, contemplative, dreamy, free-spirited music. Warpaint is Emily Kokal (guitar, vocals), Jenny Lee Lindberg (bass, vocals), Stella Mozgawa (drums, vocals) and Theresa Wayman (guitar, vocals). The new album sounds a bit more pop, a bit more loud and loose without departing from the loveliness that makes up Warpaint’s current musical catalogue.

 

Daughter, Not to Disappear [4AD]
–haunting vocals, swirly moodiness and thoughtful lyrics

 

Tindersticks, The Waiting Room [City Slang]
–sexy, dark music. Singer Stuart Staples oozes romance with that brooding baritone and the varied instrumentation of violin, keyboards, percussion and guitar leads to gorgeous layered arrangements.

 

Band of Horses, Why Are You OK [Interscope]
–this band makes me feel slightly warm and fuzzy. also one of the best shows this year.

 

Julianna Barwick, Will [Dead Oceans]
–this album soothes and calms. I often listen to it while I’m at acupuncture. my review.

 

The Julie Ruin, Hit Reset [Hardly Art]
–edgy brilliance. The spectacular album bursts with a tangible emotiveness, unapologetic lyrics and a collective embrace for individual truth and identity.

 

Basia Bulat, Good Advice [Secret City]
–there’s an earthy loveliness in the Canadian folk singer-songwriter’s vocals. her captivating and honest lyrics get buoyed by layered melodies.

 

James, Girl at the End of the World [BMG]
–one of my favorite 90s Britpop bands. this electronica/ indie-rock album does not disappoint. my review.

 

Suede, Night Thoughts [Warner Bros.]
–another one of my favorite British bands from the 90s still at it.

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