We’re finishing up the year by giving the platform to individual writers to share some their top 10s and personal favorites of the Best Music of 2016. Today’s highlights come from Treble’s editor, Jeff Terich.
Top 10 Albums of 2016:
10. Emma Ruth Rundle – Marked for Death
9. Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows
8. Solange – A Seat at the Table
7. Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition
6. Angel Olsen – My Woman
5. Baroness – Purple
4. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial
3. Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä
2. David Bowie – Blackstar
1. Savages – Adore Life
Top 10 Songs of 2016:
10. Solange – “Don’t Touch My Hair”
9. White Lung – “Below”
8. Savages – “TIWYG”
7. Danny Brown – “When It Rain”
6. Angel Olsen – “Sister”
5. Emma Ruth Rundle – “Protection”
4. Radiohead – “True Love Waits”
3. Beyonce – “Formation”
2. David Bowie – “Blackstar”
1. Car Seat Headrest – “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales”
What was your favorite album that didn’t make Treble’s year-end list?
Exploded View’s self-titled debut album was a discovery this year that sort of blew my mind. A multi-national collaboration between Mexican and British/German musicians, recorded essentially in a series of improvisational sessions, Exploded View’s debut album combines art rock, post-punk, industrial, noise, no wave, dancepunk and various other sounds into one gloriously unconventional and exceptionally thrilling set of music. It’s weird and discordant and unpredictable, and a lot of fun. I’m obviously disappointed it didn’t make the list, but I also sometimes like to enjoy things that aren’t already readily accepted as part of the canon.
What was your favorite non-2016 discovery?
These New Puritans’ Hidden. It’s funny—I liked These New Puritans when I first heard them in 2008, but not necessarily enough that I kept up with them. But after being caught by surprise with their spacious, Talk Talk-like 2013 album Field of Reeds, it occurred to me that I might have overlooked something with their second album. So I went back a few years to see if that was the case, and ended up discovering a new favorite in this weirdly orchestral post-punk album that’s darkly elegant and kind of doesn’t make sense on paper. A little like Exploded View, I suppose, even though the two albums sound almost nothing alike.
What was your biggest disappointment of 2016?
The election of Donald Trump. Followed by the baffling vocal support by Kanye West for Donald Trump (though I’m not sure why I should be surprised). Followed by M83’s Junk. Not sure what happened there, but when the best song on the album is the one with the ridiculous Steve Vai guitar solo, then something sure isn’t right. Or maybe it is. I don’t even know anymore.
What was the best live show you saw this year?
Well, I saw Savages twice this year, and they were fantastic each time, particularly at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles (hot damn, what a show!). But this year the show that stood out for me was Baroness’ tour date in San Diego in support of their new album Purple. The band’s set list incorporated every song from their new album, which all sounded amazing live, as well as highlights from throughout their career (it was a powerful enough performance, with enough energy and life that I was able to overlook the fact that they didn’t play “A Horse Called ‘Golgotha'”—I’ve heard them play it three times already, but I expect it to return next time). Even better, the San Diego audience was pumped beyond the laid-back stereotype it often lives up to. But best yet, through a little clever planning I was able to get a handwritten lyric phrase from John Baizley, which I then had tattooed on my arm. So yeah, it was a memorable show.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.