Stereotype Top Albums of 2017

2017 has been a cracker for music, I found it really hard this year narrowing it down to 10 albums, and as always there’s so many great albums released that I haven’t even listened to – my only hope is I discover the truly great ones over the years to come.

I’ve put together a sample Spotify playlist of two of my favourite tracks from each album, so maybe hit play on this, while you read on down.

10. The XX – I See You

In at number 10, really only number 10! The previous album Coexist never really gelled with me, but this album has been a staple in our house this year. 5 years was a long time to wait for this, but it was truly worth it.

9. Ryan Adams – Prisoner

This ain’t no love song, err album. A breakup album that is painful to the core. But all the same a solid release from Adams, and given it’s his 16th album, he’s not showing any signs of running out of ideas or steam.

8. Milky Chance – Blossum

Milky Chance are one of those bands which I can’t decide if they’re a guilty pleasure or, what is the alternative here? I’ve thrashed this album, summer days, friends and good times; it’s been the soundtrack to all of the above in 2017.

7. Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog

I’m clearly not hip enough as I only discovered Mac DeMarco this year, instantly I’ve probably made him uncool now with all the indie/hipster kids. But I don’t care, great album, fantastic recording and just a very easy listen with wide appeal.

6. Cut Copy – Haiku from Zero

What an album! Every time I’ve played this it just puts a smile on my face. Ridiculously catchy loops (like on Airborne), laid back vocals and a fun vibe.

5. Elbow – Little Fictions

Elbow and The National are two of my favourite bands, both album announcements had me eagerly awaiting their releases. One delivered in spades, the other I felt was hit and miss, and made me persevere to get through the to end of the album. Little Fictions is an effortless listen, with variety yet the consistent tones of front-man Guy Garvey holding it all together perfectly.

4. Thievery Corporation – The Temple of I & I

The Richest Man in Babylon is one of my all time favourite albums, and Thievery Corporation have had a LOT of airtime over the years, but the last couple of albums I’ve found them slightly stale. The Temple of I & I has strong and familiar roots/downbeat sounds, but it feels fresh at the same time. A stunning comeback to their best.

3. Bonobo – Migration

I’ve always heard the name Bonobo and known a few of their tracks, but 2017 was the year that Bonobo happened if you will. Migration is a fantastic electronic album, and Break Apart would be up there for track of the year for me.

2. The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

After taking my top album in 2014, the follow up had some big shoes to fill, and fill them shoes it did. A Deeper Understanding from start to finish does everything right, healthy doses of reverb, decay and perfectly placed distortion. It might feel like this albums a little more polished and grown up, but that is perfectly fine with me

1. Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness

A stunning voice and a recording to match. Turn down the lights, pour another glass and let the crazy world fade away…




Stereotype Top Albums of 2016

2016 has been a great year for music, I found it really hard this year narrowing down this list to a Top 10, and of course I still am only able to scratch the surface off the music released. Maybe I’m at that stage where I like familiar music, or maybe I need to branch out more, but only two artists on this years list hadn’t made my Top 10 before…

10. Steve Gunn – Eyes on the lines

Eyes on the Lines is a solid album from start to finish, it’s really listenable and one of those albums you can put on loop and forget that it’s been the same 40mins of melodies looping for the past 6hrs or more. Great for a road trip, summertime in general or just because you want to listen to some good music from a talented singer/songwriter. Favourite tracks: Full moon tide, Nature Driver, Night Wander

9. Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions – Until the Hunter

One of my favourite female vocalists, Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star just has a relaxing effortless nature to all her music. Let Me Get There featuring Kurt Vile is a stand-out, but there’s plenty more here than just that. Mazzy Star fans should be all over this, and those who need a little peace and quiet, have a listen to this. Favourite tracks: Let Me Get There, Salt of the Sea, Liquid Lady.

8. Dave Dobbyn – Harmony House

One of the few CDs I bought this year, I was very excited to listen to this release from the elder statesmen of NZ music as he’s worked with the Phoenix foundation boys. It’s still a Dobbyn album through and through, but you can hear the influence of the boys across the album, keep doing what you do Dave. Favourite tracks: Our Summer Storm, Angelina, Harmony House.

7. Lambchop – Flotus

Lambchop’s made our top 10 before, but Flotus is a really different album from Mr M. There’s some really interesting samples and instrumental tracks – plus a lot of vocoder use that could be polarizing. A great album to just sit back and relax too. Favourite tracks: In care of 8675309, NIV, Harbour Country)

6. Damien Jurado – Visions of us on Land

Jurado’s last release made our top albums of 2014 list, and I’d say Visions is an even stronger release. I really just like the vibe of the whole album, brilliant in the sunshine with a cold one of wrapped under a blanket with the rain coming down outside. There’s moody tones mixed with upbeat folky tempo’s, that sounds like it wouldn’t work but it does, and it does wonderfully. Favourite tracks: Cinco de tomorrow, QACHINA, Walrus

5. Bon Iver – 22, A Million

When I first heard 8 (circle), it was this live version that blew me away. It took a few listens to get into this album, its more experimental, more sample based and more electronic than any of their earlier works, but obviously its still Bon Iver, and still is held together by Vernon’s vocal capability. This album’s been on high rotate at our place over the year and keeps just getting better and better. Favourite tracks: 8 (circle), 33 “GOD”, 666 ʇ.

4. James Blake – The Colour in Anything

This release from James Blake continues the trend of interesting samples, voice manipulation and an amazing recording. However, the vocal performance on tracks like F.O.R.E.V.E.R and My Willing Heart, really show just what a class act Blake is. Favourite tracks: I Need a Forest Fire (Ft Justin Vernon), Put that away and talk to me, My Willing Heart)

3. David Bowie – Blackstar

And the stars look very different today… One of many loved artists to have passed in 2016, but I don’t think any other loss was felt quite as widespread as losing Bowie. His final gift has truly magnificent moments, for me the drums and bass on this album are unreal. Favourite tracks: Blackstar, Lazarus, Girl Loves Me.

2. Kevin Morby – Singing Saw

I’d never heard of Kevin Morby before 2016 and after listening to Singing Saw I wanted more, I’ve really enjoyed his earlier releases too but opening up this vinyl to find a green colour disc, was the cherry on top to what is an outstanding album. Favourite tracks: I have been to the mountain, Dorothy, Drunk on a Star.

1. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

When news of a new Radiohead album was announced as par for the course the internet went into frenzy, well all us Radiohead nerds did at least. The first two tracks released (Burn the witch and Daydreaming) gave us a taste of what was to come, while I liked these I felt the rest of the album could go either way, but of course, these guys are phenomenal at what they do, and sure enough the rest of the album built on these tracks to be my vote for album of the year. There’s more here than just for fan-boys like myself. Favourite tracks: Decks dark, The Numbers, Present Tense.


Bring on 2017 and from Tiens and I here at Stereotype Hifi, Merry Christmas!

Stereotype Top Albums of 2015

The first half of 2015 I was struggling to get into albums, there were plenty of singles I was enjoying but when listening to the rest of the artists work I was starting to think it might be a bad year for albums – is there such a thing? No! It turns out, I just needed to listen to less radio and invest some time searching out new music, rather than just going to my current collection. Having said that, I still barely scratched surface of what has been released, and I’m sure in the coming years I will find many gems that were released this year that don’t feature here.

Let us know what you’ve enjoyed in the comments below, here’s our picks for 2015:

10. The Phoenix Foundation – Give up your dreams

10Wellington based The Phoenix Foundation have featured in our top lists before, Give up your dreams sees more experimentation and variety, a slight deviation from the proven track perhaps which is essential for any band to stay relevant. I found this record took quite a few listens to get into and the new sounds sometimes work great; as on Celestial bodies, and other times have me finding the skip track button as on Playing Dead.

Favourite tracks: Prawn, Celestial bodies, Sunbed

9. Leon Bridges – Coming Home

09Coming Home is a bit different from my usual tastes, it’s a soul album with a retro feel, Bridges reminds me of the brilliant Amy Winehouse at times with his ability to bring something new at the same time as sounding like it could have come out in the heyday of the likes of Aretha Franklin or Sam Cooke.

Favourite tracks: Coming Home, Better Man, Shine (live)

8. Mark Ronson – Uptown Special (Daffodils)

08You must have been living under a rock if you haven’t heard the single Uptown Funk or the incredibly catchy Feels right for that matter. But there’s more to this album that these two pop masterpieces. Daffodils featuring Kevin Parker of Tama Impala fame is my favourite track on the album, and Leaving Loz Feliz also featuring Parker is another stand out. This is a fun summer album.

Favourite tracks: DaffodilsFeels right (clean version), Uptown funk

7. Calexico – Edge of the Sun

07There’s so many musical styles on Edge of the Sun its hard to pin down what category you would class this, sure there’s goign to be something on here you don’t like, but as an album something so diverse shouldn’t work but for me it does. Have a listen to my favourite tracks below, and if you don’t like them, the other half of the album is completely different so give that a listen.

Favourite tracks: Bullets & Rocks, Tapping on the line, Moon never rises

6. Tame Impala – Currents

06-currentsArguably THE act of 2015, Tama Impala has delivered a solid album that kicks off with one of the tracks of the year Let it happen. The second half of Let it happen I just love, and this is an album that will reveal more to you on each listen.

Favourite tracks: Let it happen, The less I know the better, Love/Paranoia

5. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

05-sufjan-stevensI didn’t know what to expect prior to listening to this, as is the case with any Sufjan Stevens album, he’s one crazy creative cat! With delicate guitars, airy vocals, beautiful but sombre tones, Carrie & Lowell proves once again that you don’t need an album to be happy, upbeat or written in major tones in order to be uplifting. Have a read of the Pitchfork review for some insight into the intimate and family background of his best work yet.

Favourite tracks: All of me wants all of you, Drawn to the blood, The Only Thing

4. Beach House – Depression Cherry

04-beach-houseNot to be content with release one album in a year, Beach House released Depression Cherry and then 2 months later dropped the follow up Thank Your Lucky Stars. For me, Depression Cherry was the stand out work and took the band in a slightly different direction while remaining firmly within the dream pop genre and producing and album that could only be Beach House.

Favourite tracks: Bluebird, Sparks, Beyond love

3. SJD – Saint John Divine

03-SJDI had heard critics raving about SJD’s Saint John Divine, and the radio friendly I wanna be foolish had certainly got me interested, but I was not expecting to be so blown away with the album. I love NZ music, but only if it’s good, not because its from NZ. This is a special album and if you can get the opportunity to see SJD live, jump at it, his catalog of work is impressive and has so much to draw on and Saint John Divine adds even more strength to this.

Favourite tracks: Helensville, I Wanna be Foolish, Invisible man

2. Father John Misty – I Love you, Honeybear

02-Father-John-MistyIt’s always risking quoting YouTube comments, but I have to agree here; “this is music at some of its finest. I wish I could bottle it n take it like a drug wen needed” (sic). This album has featured on many top lists for 2015, and I have to agree, its gotta be one of the most played in my house (after Toddler radio on Pandora) with plenty of variation across the album, check out my favorites below and see if you agree? 

Favourite tracks: When you’re smiling astride me, True Affection, The night Josh Tillman came to our apt

1. Jamie XX – In Colour

01-jamieXXSitting on top of many album of the year lists for 2015 is Kendrick Lamar, but not for me. In Colour took me back to my love of big beats and big bass while on many evening commutes, it’s been somewhat of a headphone album for me, but one that never fails to be played right through and keep me interested from start to finish, with no skipping of tracks.

Favourite tracks: Loud places, Obvs, I know there’s gonna be (good times)

What’s in store for 2016? Well we know that Beck will release his teased album and on the back of Dreams and one of the best tracks of the year The Chemical Brothers – Wide Open (links to Spotify) where he performed vocal duties, and with Radiohead, Wild Nothing, Choir of Young Believers, Sun Kil Moon, Gorillaz, Deftones, James Blake, LCD Soundsystem, The Horrors and many more all expecting to release albums, I think its going to be a great one.