It's got to that time, as we bring in the new year, where we reflect on the previous year's music.
As you've seen, over the past few weeks we've been sharing some individual lists of top 5 records of 2016 written by some of the members of bands that are involved with Close to Home, and to top it off, I'd like to give you my personal top 5 of the year... (excluding Close to Home releases, obviously)
Bon Iver - '22, A Million'
I completely understand why people, even Bon Iver fans, might not be too into this record. I've experienced a very similar thing this year with Childish Gambino's 'Awaken, My Love'. For me, though, this is almost exactly the progression I would have wanted from a third Bon Iver album. I'm also extremely excited at the prospect of seeing older songs performed in this newer style at Bon Iver's 2017 tour dates.
Joyce Manor - 'Cody'
Talking of evolving musically, Joyce Manor also decided to take a little detour in 2016. Although not quite as big a shift as Bon Iver, Cody presents a detour from the usual Joyce Manor formula nonetheless, and I think it's about time. I'm almost certain I'd have been happy with Joyce Manor releasing scrappy punk anthems on 11 minutes albums every couple of years for the rest of my life, but I'm also extremely excited at the opportunity which this ever-so-slight change in sound opens up. It's a fantastic record that I didn't know I needed until I heard it.
Modern Baseball - 'Holy Ghost'
Holy Ghost puts forward everything we've come to know of Modern Baseball, with absolutely everything we expected, but this time all of it is bumped up one or two notches. It's a tightly packed record full of tracks that almost don't feel complete until you hear them live. I know that's a weird thing to say about a record that I'm praising, that it feels incomplete, but trust me... it's one of those records that you won't really understand the full extent of how much you love it until you hear the tracks alongside a room full of people drunkenly belting the vocals at the top of their lungs. Having said that, I really don't want to take away from how much of a fantastic listen it is even in the comfort of your own home, as it's certainly worthy of your time with regards to that too.
Chance The Rapper - 'Coloring Book'
I know, technically not an album, it's a mixtape, but regardless I had to include this record on the list. I am obviously extremely interested in underground, independent music across the board and have followed Chance's musical career since the release of his second independent mixtape 'Acid Rap' back in 2013. To do what he has done completely independently, in the time he's done it, within a genre which relies so heavily on radio air-time and hit singles, is nothing short of incredible. Also, he managed to release three of the best hip-hop mixtapes I've ever heard in the process.
Pinegrove - 'Cardinal'
Almost nothing has gotten me as excited within music this year as the fact that Pinegrove are seemingly only just getting started. After completely rinsing this record this year, along with their Audiotree performance, I'm beyond excited to see what comes of one of my new favourite bands in the future years. Although not their first release, Cardinal is as good an introduction as you are ever going to get, so start here, work back, and look forward.
Skepta - 'Konnichiwa', Porches - 'Pool', Basement - 'Promise Everything', Jimmy Eat World - 'Integrity Blues', Balance and Composure - 'Light We Made'