2016 proved a testing year for music and the world at large. A year of inconsistencies, sadness, uncertainty, but sometimes, a bit of joyous surprises. My selections captured perhaps an underlying state of mind, a subconscious shift to political agenda, despite not being politically driven. Evident in 3 of the 5 New Borns I chose this year, the other 2 selections (Hope Sandoval’s Until The Hunter and Villagers’ Where Have You Been All My Life? Live at RAK) offered me a much-needed soothing feeling to the soul.
Artist: Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions
Album Title: Until The Hunter
Label: Tendril Tales
Genre: Singer/Songwriter, Alt-Rock
Moments Of: Quilt, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Mazzy Star
An unexpected return from the soulful and tranquil tones of Hope Sandoval, who delivered an album of complete sombre beauty. Yes there is more to Sandoval than her classic 90s ‘Fade Into You’
Artist: Steve Mason
Album Title: Meet The Humans
Label: Domino/Double Six
Moments Of: Badly Drawn Boy, The Beta Band, DD Dumbo
Despite limited air-play and recognition in Australia, ex-frontman of The Beta Band, continues to gain the worthy respect in his home country (UK) with this singles full album of multiple musical genres all with an underlying political voice of the state of our world.
Artist: Local Natives
Album Title: Sunlit Youth
Label: Loma Vista Recordings
Genre: Indie Rock/Pop
Moments Of: Fleet Foxes, Yeasayer, Band of Horses
Three albums complete and still no signs of cracking up, LA’s Local Natives continue to belt out perfectly constructed songs that now are stamped with their own unique sound, layered with multiple drum driven and harmonising melodies.
Artist: The Radio Dept
Album Title: Running Out of Love
Label: Labrador Records
Genre: Electro Indie Pop
Moments Of: New Order, Pet Shop Boys, The Stone Roses
On the surface, Sweden’s lo-fi pop duo return with a quintessential album that is dripping with typical electronic glitches, drifting dream-like vocals and ear-worm melodies, but this time around the band make their powerful lyrical stance on their beliefs and views of the state of their home country.
Album Title: Where Have You Been All My Life? (Live at RAK, London)
Genre: Singer/Songwriter, Indie-Folk
Moments Of: Bright Eyes, Travis
The release of ‘Where Have You Been All My Life? (studio album) affirmed Irish singer/songwriter Conor J. O’Brien as Ireland’s most emotionally prolific songwriters of a generation, what pips this album to the number 1 spot is the warmth and emotional intensity a live experience can have when played in its raw state. Powerful and completely compelling.