Head of music Alice Mills takes us through her five favourite albums of 2016
Radiohead- A Moon Shaped Pool
2016 gave us Trump but it also gave us the return of Thom Yorke. Radiohead’s ninth album A Moon Shaped Pool was released in May and I’m still not quite over it. After removing all presence on social media then dropping the brilliantly grizzly ‘Burn the Witch’ earlier this year Thom yorke proved yet again that he is nothing short of a genius. If there is one album you listen to this year then it is this one. Once Burn the Witch finishes listeners stumble from track to track in a dream like trance that effortlessly moves between discordant melodies and mournful wails as the band tow the line between dreams and nightmares in a perfectly chaotic style. It’s truthful, it’s beautiful and it makes you catch your breathe. Ending on the incredible ‘True Love Waits’ fans can finally come up for air. Rumored to be the final Radiohead album, if true, the band have gone out with a bang.
Palace-So Long Forever
After the release of two EPs and four years since their formation palace fans really have had to wait forever for their debut album. However in November the band released ‘So Long Forever’ and the soothing tones and drowsy vocals were back to reassure fans that it was so worth the wait. Likened to ‘sonic valium’ Leo Wyndham vocals make the band stand out from the crowd and can transform a song with pretty simple lyrics (‘It’s over’) into a beautiful masterpiece with so much meaning you’re redownloading tinder and wondering where it all went wrong. Although production of album tracks such as Bitter are different and arguably not as good as when first released, every song on the album works together to create the most relaxing yet cutting album of 2016. Hot chocolate for the ears it’s smooth, it’s rich and I just can’t get enough.
Public Access TV-Never Enough
Formed in 2014 and becoming popular after the release of the single ‘Monaco’, Public Access TV have started to make a name for themselves, releasing new album ‘Never Enough’ this year. Public Access TV are a post punk rock band with that mastery of punk that only Americans seem to be able to create perfectly, wrapped up in a big parcel of rock and roll. The album is gritty but upbeat and with an effortless feel that makes the music feels even more enjoyable. I wouldn’t blame you for likening the four piece to the likes of The Strokes or Hot Hot Heat however their otherwise distinct sound still holds enough weight to stand it’s ground. Stand out tracks include ‘In Love and Alone’ and ending the album in style ‘Sell You on a Lie’. Showing that simple is sometimes better Public Access TV will have you humming along before the album has even finished.
Jamie T –Trick
Wonderfully messy, grizzly and unforgivingly raw Jamie T was back with a vengeance in 2016 and we welcomed him with open arms. Trick has had mixed reviews but the familiar brash style of Jamie T as he tackles his usual topics of drugs, death and all things dark, in that familiar satirical manner is a delight. Our mysterious urban youth has grown up and with it has brought heavier music in tracks such as ‘Tinfoil Boy’ and more retrospective lyrics such as “Funny how you never give a f**k when you’re 20” in ‘Joan of Arc’. The London born singer has matured but still hold on to that real life, tell-it-how-it-is that we screamed along the lyrics to at sixth form house parties and sat and reflected to when times got tough. In stand out track of the album ‘Sign of the Times’ he drawls that he wishes he had been “a little more exceptional”, but oh Jamie, you couldn’t possibly be.
Explosions in the sky-The Wilderness
Post-rock extraordinaire Explosions in the Sky returned in April with their most recent album ‘The Wilderness’ which can be described as nothing else but utterly sublime. As an all instrumental band recycled riffs and anything less than perfect precision is noticeable however that is never a problem for the Texas hailing four-piece who have yet again put together an album that takes you on a journey as you flow from track to track. The album is epic, it makes you feel like you are the back of motorbike, like you are stood in middle for a storm with your arms in the air or maybe just maybe running through the wilderness. It makes you want to cry, to laugh and tell someone you are in love with them, and this is even before the end of the first track. The album is 46 minutes long yet there is never a moment that you want it to end. The band keep it interesting with gentle electro and pure synthy goodness. Explosions style of music works better when listening to the album in its entirety as one piece so sit back, relax and take a trip to the wilderness, I promise you’ll never want to leave.