Now that the dust has settled on 2016, here’s what your WTJU Rock DJs have named as their Top Tens of the year. Hope you discover something you didn’t know of, or remember something you forgot about. Have fun exploring – and as always, thanks for listening!
DJ Ham Honey, “Just Take This With You,” Mondays 11pm
1 kuedo – slow knife – (planet mu)
2 nicolas jaar – sirens – (other people)
3 solange – a seat at the table – (columbia)
4 rihanna – anti – (def jam)
5 21 savage & metro boomin – savage mode – (slaughter gang, llc)
6 kevin gates – islah – (atlantic)
7 ian william craig – centres – (130701)
8 nick cave & the bad seeds – skeleton tree – (bad seed ltd.)
9 boosie badazz – in my feelings. (goin’ thru it) – (s/r)
10 huerco s. – for those of you who have never (and also those who have) – (proibito)
Matt, “Just Take This With You,” Mondays 11pm
Radiohead, A Moon Shaped Pool (XL)
A Tribe Called Quest, We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service (Epic)
Car Seat Headrest, Teens Of Denial (Matador)
David Bowie, Blackstar (Columbia)
Kendrick Lamar, untitled unmastered. (Interscope)
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Nonagon Infinity (ATO)
Brian Eno, The Ship (Warp)
Teenage Fanclub, Here (Merge)
Leonard Cohen, You Want It Darker (Columbia)
Wilco, Schmilco (dBpm)
Maggie, “Cosmos With Sara,” Tuesdays 1am
Kamaiyah, A Good Night in the Ghetto (Kamaiyah)
Young Thug, JEFFERY (300 Entertainment)
A Tribe Called Quest, We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service (Epic Records)
Kodak Black, Lil B.I.G. Pac (Dollaz n Dealz Ent)
Lil Yachty, Lil Boat (Quality Control Music)
Gucci Mane, Everybody Looking (1017 Records)
21 Savage & Metro Boomin’, Savage Mode (21 Savage & Metro Boomin’)
Solange, A Seat at the Table (Saint Records)
YG, Still Brazy (Def Jam Recordings)
Rihanna, ANTI (Westbury Road)
Dave, “Ye Olde Tuesday Afternoon Rocke Show,” Tuesdays 2pm
not a best-of per se, and in no particular order:
tortoise / the catastrophist / thrill jockey
steve gunn / eyes on the lines / matador
damien jurado / visions of us on the land / secretly canadian
eric bachmann / s/t / merge
lambchop / flotus / merge
william tyler / modern country / merge
thee oh sees / a weird exits / castleface
car seat headrest / teens of denial / matador
andrew bird / are you serious? / loma vista
de la soul / and the anonymous nobody / a.o.i.
Andy, “Virginia Tradition,” Tuesdays 11pm
(1) Tim Hecker: Love Streams (4AD)
(2) M. Geddess Gengras: Interior Architecture (Intercoastal Artists)
(3) Babyfather: BBF Hosted By DJ Escrow (Hyperdub)
(4) Elysia Crampton: Demon City (Break World Records)
(5) Foodman: Ez Minzoku (Orange Milk Records)
(6) Yves Tumor: Serpent Music (PAN)
(7) Lolina: Live In Paris (Self-Released)
(8) DJWWWW: Arigato (Orange Milk Records)
(9) Lorenzo Senni: Persona (Warp Records)
(10) Dedekind Cut: $uccessor (NON)
Wicked Sharkie, “Witches Brew,” Wednesdays 2pm
Andy Shauf, The Party (Anti-)
Dungen, Haxan (Mexican Summer)
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Nongon Infinity (Flightless)
A Weird Exits, Thee Oh Sees (Castle Face)
The Everywheres, Dignity Fever (The Everywheres)
Honey Radar, Blank Cartoon, Honey Radar
New Boss, Home Problems, (WarHen)
Jagged Jaw, Tonight Is, (Jagged Jaw)
The Murlocs, Young Blindness (Flightless)
Temples, “Certainty”, [Single] (Heavenly)
Pond, “Sweep Me Off My Feet” [Single] (Modular)
Brett, “Merging With The Night,” Wednesdays 11pm
Dyan, Looking For Knives (Self Released)
La Femme, Mystere (Born Bad Records)
New Boss, Twee Boogie Vol. 1&2 (Funny/ Not Funny Records)
Autolux, Pussy’s Dead (30th Century Records)
M83, Junk (Mute)
Avers, Omega/ Whatever (Self Released)
David Bowie, Blackstar (RCA/Columbia)
Charlie Hilton, Palana (Captured Tracks)
Mary Ocher + Your Government, Mary Ocher + Your Government (Klangbad)
Bill Baird, Earth Into Aether (Talk Show)
Stevik, “Merging With the Night,” Wednesdays 11pm
Albums (alpha order)
David Bowie, Blackstar (RCA) – The final masterpiece of the Starman waiting in the sky.
Kate Bush, Before the Dawn (Concord Records) – This 3-disk set captures Kate’s first live performances in 35 years. Her voice has matured beautifully and the recordings– said to be unaltered–are lush and nearly flawless.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Skeleton Tree (Bad Seed Ltd) – The sixteenth album from this Australian band is exquisitely dark and intense.
Dyan, Looking for Knives (Dyan) – The debut album by this duo is a delightful mix of mostly toned-down synthpop.
Brian Eno, The Ship (Warp Records) – Eno’s first album since 2005 that includes vocals. The closing track, “I’m Set Free,” is a great pop song that leaves you wanting more of the same.
Future Elevators, Future Elevators (Communicating Vessels) – This varied and dreamy synthpop album is the debut of a “retro-futuristic” Birmingham, Alabama band.
Cate Le Bon, Crab Day (Drag City) – The loveable fourth album of this quirky indie-pop Welsh singer-songwriter.
LNZNDRF, LNZNDRF (4AD) – This collaboration between Brian and Scott Devendorf, of The National, and Beirut’s Benjamin Lanz results in a fine psychedelic electronic album.
Methyl Ethel, On Inhuman Spectacle (4AD) – This debut album of an Australian trio is full of fine and artsy psych pop.
Nico Muhly & Teitur, Confessions (Nonesuch) – A creative collaboration between Nico Muhly, the acclaimed modern classical composer, and a singer-songwriter from the Faroe Islands.
Jherek Bischoff & Amanda Palmer, Strung Out in Heaven: A Bowie String Quartet Tribute (8TF Records) – An EP of covers of several Bowie songs, including an awesome rendition of “Blackstar.”
Jane Siberry, Angels Bend Closer (Sheeba Music) – The acclaimed and unpredictable Canadian singer-songwriter’s latest release is exquisite and highly polished.
Baconfat, “Hot and Cold Skulls,” Fridays 2pm
Various Artists compiled by Julien Dechery and DJ Sundae, Sky Girl (Efficient Space)
Jimmy Carter and Dallas County Green – Summer Brings the Sunshine (Numero Group) reissue
David Casper, Tantra-La (Numero Group) digital reissue
Don Slepian, Sea of Bliss (Numero Group) digital reissue
Mistress Mary, Housewife (Companion Records) reissue
Various Artists, Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music (Numero Group)
SunPath, Dream Music (Leaving Records) cassette/digital reissue
Chuck Senrick, Dreamin’ (Numero Group) digital reissue
Bill Jerpe, Bill Jerpe (Soft Estate) reissue
Nick Carter, Abstracts and Extracts (Flashback) reissue
PS F*ck 2016 and here’s an honorable mention
Bob Brown, The Wall I Built Myself (Tompkins Square) reissue
Jack, “Sounds of Noise,” Saturdays 1am
Xiu Xiu – Plays the Music of Twin Peaks (Polyvinyl)
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Rhymesayers)
Brian Eno – The Ship (Warp)
Autechre – elseq (Warp)
Paul Simon – Stranger to Stranger (Concord)
Swans – The Glowing Man (Young God)
A Tribe Called Quest – We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your service (Epic)
The Orb – COW / Chill Out, World (Kompakt)
Mark Kozelek –Mark Kozelek Sings Favorites (Caldo Verde)
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool (XL)
Sister Pirate Jenny, “The Garage Sale,” Saturdays 2pm
Angel Olsen, My Woman (Jagjaguwar)
– Mainly here for the slow burners, it was nonstop and that’s a handsome video or two she did
Kendrick Lamar, Untitled Unmastered (Interscope)
– Guess an EP of castoffs from this guy still can merit the most plays from me in the year. just talking empirical facts here, I listened to this a lot
Childish Gambino, Awaken My Love (Glassnote)
– Con: Borderline Funkadelic identity theft Pro: see Con
Lambchop, FLOTUS (Merge)
– Is it wrong to like an album because it has a modernist hump to it? a really velour soft hump but the 11 and 18 minute brackets on this album is just Lambchop transcendence overdrive. I never thought Lambchop would kinda sorta draft off of Michelle O as much as Melania
John Carpenter, Lost Themes II (Sacred Bones)
– If you know the synth dread of Escape from New York or Assault on Precinct 13 OSTs, JC is still the truth
2Chainz, Daniel Son; Necklace Don// Hibachi for Lunch (Self)
– I listened to these two EPs so many times that I started to hate listen even the two tracks I didn’t dig
Vivien Goldman, Resolutionary Songs (Superior Viaduct)
– More in the reissue vein here but I have loved “Launderette” for years and just bathed in this album most of the year.
Chance the Rapper, Coloring Book (Apple)
– Everyone is right. In a year replete with awesome hip-hop, this one was it …all summer long… then fall. and we back…
New Boss, Home Problems (WarHen)
– Yeah you can accuse us of playing local favorites but this album is just stupid listenable and I feel like I would be cheating you if I didn’t tell you that. it’s not nepotism, it’s just good!
Bitchin Bajas & Bonnie Prince Billy, Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties (Drag)
– on take-off and landing, it is my aural ativan
Jeremy, “Cadmium,” Sundays 1am
Cadmium’s top 10 albums of 2016 in no particular order:
Death Fortress, Deathless March of the Unyielding (Fallen Empire Records)
Kawir, Father Sun Mother Moon (Iron Bonehead Productions)
Thrawsunblat, Metachthonia (Ignifera Records)
Downfall of Nur / Selvans, Selvans / Downfall of Nur (Avantgarde Music)
Mare Cognitum, Luminiferous Aether (I, Voidhanger Records)
Beldam, Still the Wretched Linger (Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)
Helgamite, Hypnagogia (Lost Apparitions Records)
Sojourner, Empires of Ash (Avantgarde Music)
Khonsu, The Xun Protectorate (Jhator Recordings)
Saor, Guardians (Northern Silence Productions)
Don Harrison, “Radio Wowsville,” Sundays 11pm
11 Discs that I really, really liked in 2016 (not the best, I repeat, NOT the best, because I didn’t hear everything and neither did you)
- Washington Phillips – Washington Phillips and His Manzarene Dreams (Dust-to-Digital)
- Thee Oh Sees – A Weird Exits (Castleface)
- Dori Freeman S/T (Free Dirt)
- Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool (XL)
- The Monkees – Good Times! (Rhino)
- A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic/Sony)
- Avers – Omega/Whatever (Egghunt)
- Betty Davis – The Columbia Years (Light-in-the-Attic)
- Miramar – Dedicated to Sylvia Rexach (Barbes)
- Paul Simon – Stranger to Stranger (Concord)
- De La Soul – … And the Anonymous Nobody (AOI)
Tim O’Shea, WTJU Rock staff
I’m only pointing to one album this year. No top songs or concerts, just this true blue hip hop album:
A Tribe Called Quest, We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic)
Timothy, WTJU Rock staff
Branches, White Flag, (self)
Frightened Rabbit, Painting of a Panic Attack, (Atlantic)
Hammock, Everything & Nothing, (Hammock)
Jezabels, Synthia, (Jezabels)
Little Children, f.f., (Cosmos Music)
Prinze George, Illiterate Synth Pop, (Sounds Expensive)
Shearwater, Jet Plane & Oxbow, (Sub Pop)
Spookyland, Beauty Already Beautiful, (PIAS)
Tate, Allen, Sleepwalker, (Votiv Music)
Tobias the Owl, Every Eye Is a Universe, (London Tone)
– clearly #1
Song of the year:
Jeff Beck, “Shrine”, Loud Hailer, (ATCO)
– the rest of the album is trash, so surviving to the last song was well worth it.
D-Mo, WTJU Rock staff
Blood Orange, Freetown Sound (Domino)
-A multifaceted synthpop album with countless guest spots.
Chance the Rapper, Coloring Book (self-released)
-A life-affirming mixtape from hip hop’s reigning wunderkind.
Leonard Cohen, You Want It Darker (Columbia)
-An almost biblical farewell transmission from one of rock’s poet laureates.
Matmos, Ultimate Care II (Thrill Jockey)
-An oddly satisfying piece of musique concrète.
Cass McCombs, Mangy Love (Anti-)
-A quietly confident, focused effort from the prolific singer/songwriter.
Kevin Morby, Singing Saw (Dead Oceans)
-A well-produced, beautifully arranged album of folk rock.
Frank Ocean, Blonde (self-released)
-A monumental, self-reflective work of R&B that further pushes the bounds of the genre.
Noname, Telefone (self-released)
-A playful, poetic debut mixtape from a promising voice in Chicago’s burgeoning hip hop scene.
A Tribe Called Quest, We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service (Epic)
-A surprising, miraculous final album from one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all time.
William Tyler, Modern Country (Merge)
-A solid collection of instrumental guitar-based tunes fit for playing on the open road.
Poubelle (Nick Rubin), WTJU Rock Staff
Didn’t hear everything I wanted to, but, in no particular order…
- De La Soul, And the Anonymous Nobody (AOI)
- Cool Ghouls, Animal Races (Empty Cellar)
- Frank Ocean, Blonde (Boys Don’t Cry)
- Summer Flake, Hello Friends (Rice is Nice)
- Sun Ra, Singles (The Definitive 45s Collection, 1952-1991) (Omnivore reissue)
- Ultimate Painting, Dusk (Trouble In Mind)
- Various, Imaginational Anthem Vol. 8: The Private Press (Tompkins Square reissue)
- Various, Sitting in the Park (Numero Group reissue)
- Various, Studio One Showcase: The Sound of Studio One in the 1970s (Soul Jazz reissue)
- Wilco, Schmilco (dBpm)