2016 was an important year for the effect music can have on a person. Luckily, we were graced with some incredible work this year. We got through this weird year and have the wherewithal to make 2017 better.
1. Pinegrove – Cardinal
At first, Pinegrove confused me. Why did all these punks like this folk band so much? Then I gave Cardinal a listen and immediately “got it”. Cardinal evokes the best memories of my childhood and now into a seamless record that keeps a level head on my shoulders. Nothing else came close.
The Hotelier did what came naturally after 2014’s powerhouse Home, Like Noplace Is There and wrote a record about life’s wholesome, bright outlook. A perfect branch on their tree, the band brought exceptional poetry and art into Goodness; what came out was the exact same thing.
Whenever Every Time I Die release a record, the exact words that leave my mouth are “how do they keep doing this?” in reference to them consistently outdoing themselves. Low Teens is the band’s most superior effort to date, and seemingly the most personal and raw. Nothing can stop this band.
4. The Dear Hunter – Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional
When The Dear Hunter dropped the bombshell that they secretly worked on Act V immediately after wrapping up Act IV, a certain niche of the internet exploded. Two intricate and exceptional records released one year apart was enough to make fans happy. However, when a process that some may consider rushed delivers the band’s best effort to date, some things really aren’t too insane.
5. Frameworks – Smother
Frameworks has been on my radar since 2013’s Small Victories EP. The band didn’t have to prove how heavy they could be; this kind of thing comes naturally to them. Smother, the band’s Deathwish Inc. debut, is no exception. In fact, consider it the band’s thesis. Smother showcases how gripping and invested the band can be without sounding abrasive.
6. Crying – Beyond The Fleeting Gales
7. Touché Amoré – Stage Four
8. Pity Sex – White Hot Moon
9. Tancred – Out Of The Garden
10. Emarosa – 131
Top 5 EPs
1. Adjy – Prelude (.3333)
2. Turnover – Humblest Pleasures
3. Self Defense Family – Superior
4. Lions / Perspective, A Lovely Hand To Hold / Sports. – 3-Way Split
5. Aaron West And The Roaring Twenties – Bittersweet