Well it’s that time of year and the one thing we’re all desperate to do is remember a bunch of stuff that happened this year before we all go get wasted over new years and subsequently forget our mother's names. Despite two of the most dominant western powers trying to capsize their own ships and more people we remember from telly or albums 20+ years ago snuffing it than ever before, 2016 has been a great year if your passion lies in listening to incredible new music. I for one have been so deluged in great music that I haven’t even been able to keep up! Therefore you’ll even see some notable records here that haven’t been reviewed. Anyways, enough rambling and let’s get down to business…
10. RxR – Fallout 5
Yes, this is a shameless plug. This album took me over two years to finally finish and having it out in the world is one of the great crowning achievements in my life. From a pure volume standpoint I have listened to the songs in this album more than anything else this year. Also I think it’s quite good!!
9. The Wonder Beers – Geezers
The Wonder Beers are an enigma to me. It all sounds the same and it’s shouty and it’s all simple to the point of ridiclousness and it just WORKS SO WELL!!!!! I can sing along with every tune a minute into hearing one for the first time and it’s chunky and satisfying and hilarious without trying hard to be. There is just something so infectiously fun about everything to do with TWB and I can’t hear them without smiling my head off like an idiot!
8. Tiger Army – V
This one is a big nostalgia grab for me. I was big into pop psychobilly for a while and Tiger Army were the top of my list of awesome super cool bands I loved. I can’t say that it’s the greatest offering they’ve ever put out but an average day at the office for Tiger Army is better than most can achieve in a lifetime in my rose tinted opinion.
This album broke my head! I desperately wanted to review this when it came out but I just couldn’t (and still can’t) find a fitting way to describe what this album is about. This is something truly original and incredible and you’ll be doing yourself a grave disservice if you don’t put it on and give it a listen. Something caught between Capdown and Rage Against the Machine!
6. Guttermouth – Got It Made/New Car Smell
In true Guttermouth fashion they can’t do anything normally. Instead of releasing an album they release the Got It Made EP and then, after it was received well, dropped New Car Smell a matter of months later. It think it’s a good approach to making sure the music you’re releasing is consistently good (cough, cough, Blink 182) and other bands could do well to follow their example. Full of crude humour, fast licks and completely zero tolerance fuck giving policy these are two EPs cut from the same cloth and a great listen either if you’re in a stupid mood or if you’re feeling too serious and need to lighten up.
5. Babymetal – Metal Resistance
Out of everything else I take away from this year, the fact I found and fell in love with Babymetal will one of the most lasting. This album, up until today, gets played constantly. It’s a perfect blend of shredding metal, cutesey J-Pop and small dabs of about anything you care to think about. The mix of Japanese Idols and sometimes brutally heavy music is a fun enough gimmick to start you listening but the well crafted tunes and catchy hooks and incredible musicianship on constant display is what will win you over and keep you coming back for more. I don’t ever see this leaving my album rotation!
4. DROPTHIS – Culture to Criticise
I think it shows how incredible a year that something as blisteringly incredible as the true blue full length DROPTHIS experience only notched up number four on my list. Any normal year something as high quality as this would easily be top! Incredible new songs and re-mastered classics from the sadly now defunct Kent super band make this a pleasure to witness from start to finish. Also slightly prophetically one of the standout tracks in a stacked card is the irredeemable Nothing, co-starring Cat Goodman of Demon Smiles fame, which is where you can now find frontman Jordan.
3. Face to Face – Protection
When this hit I instantly thought “this is it, album of the year right here” and damn if it isn’t nigh on perfect. Face To Face took a little time off and then came back with what amounts to their best work yet. A blinding album from cover to cover - as beautifully created and executed as you could possibly hope for from a band that all the cool 90s punks you looked up to told you were one of the greatest to have played. Funnily enough though absolutely everything I’ve said here can also translate to my next pick…
2. Belvedere – Revenge of the Fifth
And then came Belvedere. Absolute legends of melodic hardcore and one of the blisteringly fast trinity (Satanic Surfers and Propaghandi the other two) that ingrained in me the deep love for a very specific genre of punk rock that I carry with me to this day. As mentioned before maybe the best album they’ve ever produced and with a back catalogue like theirs I’d say I could give higher praise for this. It’s not just a nostalgia pick, it’s genuine undeniable excellence.
1. Mute – Remember Death
Of course there’s always a winner and of course it’s MUTE. To say I love this album is to insult it with grave understatement. This is an album that all other albums throughout history wish they could be. Mute are a band that have honed tightened an already winning formula over the last 10 years and this album is the utter pinnacle of all that’s come before. This is my taste in music. This is what I think all music should sound like forevermore. When I die, build speakers into my coffin and have this album play on repeat for all eternity. I feel sorry for music now because I can’t ever see it getting better than this. I’m honestly not exaggerating when I say that nothing else has hit my stereo since it came out and I can’t imagine what could come along to make me take it off.