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!