Here are the 100 greatest LPs of 2016, according to Crack Magazine. Visit 2016.crackmagazine.net for more end of year coverage over the coming weeks.
GUERILLA TOSSEraser Stargazer DFA
At its heart, the fourth album from noise rock weirdoes Guerrilla Toss was a dance record. Discordant riffs and Kassie Carlson’s anxiety- ridden shrieks took centre stage, but underlining it all was a rhythm section giving a solid nod to Gang of Four, with thunderous post- punk drums and mutant-funk bass. In retrospect, perhaps it was the dance record this shitshow of a year needed – joyous and defiant in an otherwise disorientating and unsettling world.
KLEINOnly Howling Owl
Released quietly in February via Bandcamp – and then later as a heart-shaped diamante USB necklace – ONLY was one of 2016’s most alluring musical experiments. In terms of influences, Klein has cited the gospel music she was raised on due to her Nigerian pentecostal upbringing alongside 00s RnB and noise artists such as Bristol’s Silver Waves. ONLY’s abrupt mood switches and mutated vocals might have challenged the listener, but the music’s strange beauty encouraged repeated listens.
BABYFATHER"BBF" Hosted by DJ Escrow Hyperdub
Dean Blunt has never made things easy, but BBF was truly multifaceted – a mix of liquefied hip-hop, shrieking noise and subdued digital ambience mixed by the irrepressible DJ Escrow. Throughout the record, Escrow reflects on the near-impossible challenges creatives in the UK face today (“Not even making no Ps with the music ting, innit”), making for a nuanced and beautiful meditation at a time when it’s getting harder and harder to keep it real.
CAVERN OF ANTI-MATTERVoid Beats / Invocation Trex Duophonic
This debut album proper from Cavern of Anti-Matter – the project formed by Stereolab’s Tim Gane alongside his former bandmate Joe Dilworth and synth player Holger Zapf – was a fascinating display of krautrock filtered electro grooving. The record had the feel of an extended motorik jam, during which Gane clawed his guitar as Zapf’s arpeggios were spurred on by the physicality of Dilworth’s propulsive drumming. A hugely underrated record.
A TRIBE CALLED QUESTWe Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service Epic / SME
18 years since their last album, A Tribe Called Quest returned with this heartfelt comeback record, honouring the legacy of their legendary member Phife Dawg, who passed away this year aged 45. Eulogy, social commentary and space mission in equal measure, We Got It From Here was a triumph. Tribe disciples like Kanye, Kendrick, Anderson .Paak and Andre 3000 all featured but no baton got passed – everyone just felt free to kick it.
ELYSIA CRAMPTONElysia Crampton Presents: Demon City Break World Records
Elysia Crampton’s work is keen to push the boundaries of activism, exploring gender politics and notions of identity, nationality and race, much like her contemporaries Arca, Lotic and Rabit. Demon City felt like a sonic reinterpretation of Bosch’s Dante’s Inferno – a landscape of complete and nightmarish chaos. Polyrhythmic drums and maniacal laughs-turned-percussion created a sphere of sonic discomfort that conveyed Crampton’s own alienation as a Bolivian transgender artist in a world of homophobic, transphobic and racist predispositions.
WEAVESWeaves Memphis Industries
There was an authentic riotousness on Weaves’ confident, bombastic debut LP. By combining pop hooks, attention-grabbing riffs, and pleasing injections of skronky noise that maxed out all the dials, the Toronto noise-pop quartet succeeded in creating their own distinctive sound with the guitar/bass/drums format. Weaves was a reminder that, not only can bands be great fun, they can still innovate.
Ultra, like much of Zomby’s output, was deceptively simple. Following a comparatively clean-sounding pair of EPs, Ultra was an album of restraint. The overall pace was slow, and like the experience of being passed a joint by a much more experienced smoker, Zomby demanded that listeners lose themselves and tune into his warped perception of passing time, fluctuating between gentle euphoria and anxious dread.
SHY GLIZZYYoung Jefe 2 300 Entertainment
Symptomatic of increasingly blurred distinction between an album and a mixtape, Washington D.C.’s Shy Glizzy delivered this polished follow-up to his 2014 breakthrough tape with support from the 300 Entertainment label. Glizzy remains one of contemporary rap’s most distinctive voices. And by applying his quivering, half-sung style to emotionally resonant beats on tracks like Let It Rain, You Know What and Ride 4 U, Glizzy hinted at the sorrow that shaped his hardened worldview.
JULIANNA BARWICKWill Dead Oceans
Julianna Barwick’s music has always emulated rawness, intention and delicacy. Her latest album Will was a command of passion, with Barwick’s sound more personal than ever before. Written between Lisbon, New York and North Carolina, Will was a mirror for its surroundings; the spacey reverberations of the Lisbon underpass or the self-made isolation of her New York experience reflected in its intimate glide. It was these varying states – freedom, seclusion and so on – that gave Will a sense of journey.