Thursday, December 22, 2016

Big Band: My Favorite Music of 2016

7. Postiljonen "Reverie"

Swedish band Postiljonen is a newcomer for me, being introduced to their ethereal music by the great Gorilla vs. Bear. Culling the best parts of synth wave bands like Beach House and Chromatics while echoing Sigur Ros in small doses, their second album, "Reverie" ispure joy from start to finish.

6. Tindersticks "The Waiting Room"

English band Tindersticks (having been around since the early 90's) need no introduction. However, they still fly so far under the radar- composing lilting soundtracks scores now and then- that when they do release a full album, it's almost a minor miracle that I want to shout it from the rooftops. Every song on "The Waiting Room" is near perfect, alternating behind loud thrash and atmospheric doop-dips. It's a wondrous thing.

5. Mogwai "Atomic"

Yes, it's a soundtrack, so its audible intention is to mix with image and narrative, but Mogwai's sound is so immersive and transportive that it can exist on its own, allowing our brains to supply the images. Low key and droning one minute then full of space and room to breathe the next, each song expertly draws out unexpected emotions. I'm very curious to see the film now.

4. Mitski "Puberty 2"

An adrenaline rush of tunes that, initially, feels abstract with its crushing guitar-heavy backdrop against indie rock singer Mitski's beautiful and lamenting voice, "Puberty 2" eventually becomes an anthem about identity, self worth and, yes, pure indie rock fun.

3. Explosions In the Sky "The Wilderness"

I doubt one of my favorite bands of all time, Austin's own Explosions In the Sky, will ever release an album I don't completely fall in love with. "The Wilderness" is no exception, managing to wrangle a series of sounds and rhythms (some people aptly call it post-rock) into such a emotionally devastating swirl of sound that if often becomes the soundtrack of my life.

2. Bon Iver "22, A Million"

The first 2 songs on Bon Iver's experimental new album place his current mood somewhere between playful and alienating. The first typifies his soft, melodic side while the second bleeds into the first as if it were some 90's house song being played on fuzzy, worn out speakers at their highest volume. I knew I'd love this creation and it only deepens and absorbs upon repeat listen.

1. Radiohead "A Moon Shaped Pool"

Even though a majority of the songs on Radiohead's ninth studio album have existed in one form or another for years now, having them spruced up and officially released (with a few startling changes, looking at "True Love Waits") is a fever dream. No other band is producing music as soul-cleansing.

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