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52 Reasons 2016 wasn’t a COMPLETE Bust

31 December, 2016

So, 2016. A veritable political shitfest, which I would be glad to see the back of were it not for the knowledge that the next four years will likely be even worse. But on the plus side, I did add another 52 albums to my music library, most of which will continue to bring me joy long after Captain Asshat has exited the White House.

2016 was a middling year for music. It stated out well, with my first 7 weeks’ purchases all being brand new releases (and typically bought on the day of release – which the record companies moved from Tuesday to Friday for some reason), but things slowed down to the point where by year end only just over half of my purchases were ‘new’ in 2016 (and some of those took a while to worm their way in, for example Car Seat Headrest‘s Teens of Denial, which was released in July but it took me until December to fully embrace it…). But that’s probably just me being ‘more selective’, as a lot of the regular music tastemakers (Pitchfork, Stereogum, Album Of The Year, Rolling Stone…) managed to find a lot to be excited about if their traditional ‘Best of…’ lists are to be believed. I’m lucky if I have two in any given one of these Top 50 lists: most of them also picked up on Car Seat Headrest, and of course Radiohead‘s wonderfully understated A Moon Shaped Pool (which was thrown into an even more bleaker perspective when Thom Yorke’s recently-ex wife – with whom in mind much of the album was clearly written – upped and died not long after it was released), but I think I’m just not ‘urban’ enough to enjoy most of today’s contemporary ‘artists’.

This is further evidenced by me picking up seven reissues over the year, which clearly puts me in the ‘old nostalgist’ camp that the record companies are targeting with their ‘Super Deluxe Editions’ full of ‘b-sides and unreleased alternative takes (which, generally, were b-sides or unreleased for good reason). Though in my defense, I did pick up a few ‘recent-albeit-not-2016′ releases from bands that were at least new to me, like Dog and Panther and Hudson Bell, so it’s not like I’m one of those sad-sacks still just listening to stuff from my youth…

That said, I am still stuck in the fairly familiar territory of indie, shoegaze, and post-rock, but this year I also seem to have forayed more into the noisy side of things than I usually do, with some great rock / psych-rock offerings from Black Mountain, Magic Wands, Creative Adult, and the (mostly) excellent Australian band The Peep Tempel. Psych rock in particular seems to be making a bit of a comeback, so maybe we’re gearing up for a Hawkwind revival, and I’ll be back in fashion again by the end of 2017.

Anyway, full list of purchases below (as I didn’t manage to post them all to Twitter during the year (usual excuses…)). Album of the year for my money – and based purely on which 2016 release I have been spinning (or is that streaming, for MP3s?) the most – would have to be the uniformly excellent Full Circle by Haelos. This is sort of on the come-down side of Trip-Hop, and sounds like the album that The XX should have made as a follow-up to their debut album (XX), had they not released the extremely disappointing Coexist in 2012 (and I don’t hold out much hopes for their third full-length, I See You, which is due out imminently, either). Honorable mention also goes to the Got Time single, by the consistently wonderful Dead Heart Bloom, but as it wasn’t a full-length I’m not counting it against my 1CD/wk limit (although the 36-CD Dylan box counts as one weekly CD, so clearly I’m a bit fast and loose with the rules, here…).

  1. HINDS – Leave Me Alone (2016)
  2. Daughter – Not To Disappear (2016) [Vinyl]
  3. Shearwater – Jetstream and Oxbow (2016) [Vinyl]
  4. Siouxsie & The Banshees – Classic Album Selection Vol. 1 (1978-1983 / 2016)
  5. Still In A Dream: Shoegaze ’85-’95 (2016)
  6. DIIV – Is The Is Are (2016)
  7. Wild Nothing – Life Of Pause (2016)
  8. Jack White – Blunderbuss/Lazaretto (2014) [Vinyl]
  9. Bowery Electric – Bowery Electric (1995)
  10. Cloud Cult – Seeker (2016)
  11. Airiel – Winks & Kisses (2005)
  12. Haelos – Full Circle (2016)
  13. Silversun Pickups – Better Nature (2016)
  14. Night Beats – Who Stole My Generation (2016)
  15. Black Mountain – IV (2016)
  16. A. Armada – Anam Cara (2008)
  17. Cocteau Twins – Milk And Kisses (1996)
  18. Pelican – The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw (2005)
  19. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool (2016)
  20. White Lung – Paradise (2016)
  21. Magic Wands – Jupiter (2016)
  22. Minor Victories – Minor Victories (2016)
  23. Woodsman – Woodsman (2015)
  24. LNZNDRF – LNZNDRF (2016)
  25. PJ Harvey – Dry (1992)
  26. Suicide – Suicide (Reissue)(1977 / 1998)
  27. Patti Smith – Horses (Reissue) (1975 / 2005)
  28. Deerhunter – Cryptograms (2007)
  29. The Union Trade – A Place Of Long Years (2015)
  30. Risley – Risley (2016)
  31. The Fall – Live At The Witch Trials (1979 / 2015)
  32. Creative Adult – Fear Of Life (2016)
  33. Hammock – Everything and Nothing (2016)
  34. Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy (Reissue) (2011)
  35. Jesus and Mary Chain – Darklands (Reissue) (2011)
  36. Sleepy Sun – Maui Tears (2014)
  37. The Fall – Hex Enduction Hour (2009)
  38. Okkervil River – Away (2016) [Vinyl]
  39. Dog and Panther – What Happened (2010)
  40. Bob Dylan – The 1966 Live Recordings (1966 / 2016)
  41. Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come To Expect (2016) [Vinyl]
  42. Drop Nineteens – Delaware (2009)
  43. The Decemberists – The Crane Wife (10Yr Box) (2016)
  44. Frank Zappa – Little Dots (2016)
  45. Sharon Van Etten – Are We There (2014)
  46. Peep Tempel – Joy (2016)
  47. And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of the Dead – IX (2014)
  48. Kate Bush – Before The Dawn (2016)
  49. Little Children – Discography (2016)
  50. PIL – Metal Box (Super Deluxe Edition) (2016)
  51. Hudson Bell – When The Sun Is The Moon (2005)
  52. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial (2016)

There’s also a bunch of CDs that I bought second hand throughout the year, either at record stores or via third-party sellers on Amazon. Typically these were opportunistic purchases of things I wouldn’t necessary have bought at full price, or ones to fulfill a new obsession (note The Fall – and it’s not without good reason that the 2nd hand record shops have an abundance of The Fall CDs…), so I don’t really count them in my one-CD a week limit (hey, my game, my rules!). I probably should, though, as the number does seem to add up, now that I see them all listed out:

  • Lush – Lovelife
  • Cocteau Twins and Harold Budd – The Moon and the Melodies
  • Sun Kil Moon – Ghosts of the Great Highway
  • Red House Painters – Down Colorful Hill
  • Sonic Youth – Washing Machine
  • Sonic Youth – A Thousand Leaves
  • The Fall – Grotesque
  • The Fall – Extricate
  • The Fall – Dragnet
  • The Fall – The Real New Fall LP
  • The Fall – The Frenz Experiment
  • The Fall – Reformation Post T.L.C.
  • The Fall – Fall Heads Roll
  • Pixies – Trompe Le Monde
  • Independent 20 Volume 10 (Beechwood)
  • The Smiths – Hatful of Hollow
  • Pavement – Crooked Rain Crooked Rain
  • Shearwater – Palo Santo
  • Menomena – Friend & Foe
  • Ultra Vivid Scene – Joy 1967-1990
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
  • Groove Armada – Best Of…

So, roll on 2017 for another 52 distractions from the fallout of 2016. Or maybe I can just put everything I already have on random / continuous play and try to blot it all out that way. With a current 18,685 songs, I’d only hear each song six times in a year (assuming no sleep), which would no doubt be better for my sanity than watching any of the 24/7 news channels…

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