(© Avi Spivak)
Friends, I’m very happy to introduce our ranking of the 20 best LPs of 2016. As I said last year, these LPs have been carefully selected with the ambition to recall in several years how great these last 365 years had been. I would like to address a big thank you – once again – to all of these artists for their singular genius. You’ll find a short review for each album dealing with the overall impression left by them several months after their releases. For more, please feel free to go back to the full album reviews, you may find some treasures – maybe a dead grandma is hidden in one of them. Alright, let’s go now!
(it would be a top 25 then…)
20. Meat Market – Dig Deep
Best slacker LP of 2016
Meat Market is one of these slacker bands that should be way more famous. Their new LP, Dig Deep, is excellent news for this sub-genre, proving that it is as fun as when it started. This album is logically full of hits, including “Floor” “What’s It Like” and “Dig Deep“. Anyone who cares about partying, pizza and beer should listen to this album, a killer that should be included in the upcoming books dealing with slacker rock’n’roll.
19. Ultimate Painting – Dusk
Best English LP of 2016
The duo originated from London released his 3rd LP this year, and as always, it is damn good! Something in it reminds us of the Velvet Underground, plus, Ultimate Painting has always proved to know how to be groovy. This LP intends to get as close to pop perfection as possible. Many songs deserved to be listed as “what to teach in music school,” because it’s simply made, perfectly crafted and haute voltige.
18. Zen Mantra – Zen Mantra
Best LP from New Zealand of 2016
Zen Mantra is one of the most unknown bands of this entire list, and yet, his LP is better than 99% of what was released this year. With their first album, Zen Mantra proved the world his ability to create some shoegaze that would make Galaxie 500 / MBV very proud. Released on Flying Nun Records, this band has it all, including some melodies that remind us that shoegaze music was intense, once upon of time. Try it, it’s dark yet colorful.
(mp3) Zen Mantra – Dimming Son
17. DIIV – Is the Is Are
Best shoegaze LP of 2016
DIIV is today most famous band in term of shoegaze / dream pop music. Is The Is Are, the band second LP, was released early this year via Captured Tracks, and it is a hit. The songs it contains are sometimes very dark – as “Bent (Roi’s Song)” and “Mire (Grant’s Song)” – in a way to reflect on the band pessimistic vision of our society. The twist of psych music in it adds a lot to it, making Is The Is Are a complete album that should inspire most of that scene.
16. Sapin – Smell Of A Prick
Best jangle-country LP of 2016
Sapin is a French band – one of the three to be integrated into this top 20 – that released a very, very good new album last summer via Howlin Banana Records. As we wrote in our album review, Smell Of A Prick creates a whole new genre of music, something in between country and bubblegum pop with some garage in it. The result? This LP can’t be compared to any other, and that’s awesome. “Hipster Johnny” and “Mr Pleasant” should be remembered as some of the best French songs of the last few years. Jacques Dutronc is DONE.
15. Paul Jacobs – Pictures, Movies & Apartments
Best garage noise LP of 2016
Paul Jacobs was integrated into all of Still in Rock top 20 of the last few years. In 2016, he releases two LPs including Pictures, Movies & Apartments. Very intense, very dirty and very raw, it has 13 songs which make us want to smash our head against the fridge. Some tunes are quite psychedelic – “Born In A Zoo” and “My Vacation” while other are punk and darker, try “Come Over” and “The Image (Pictures)“. Lastly, let us not forget to mention all the pop melodies it contains, “All I Know” being the best proof that Paul Jacobs also knows how to write music for our teenage dreams.
14. Dr Chan – Mental Dhead
Best Parisian LP of 2016
Dr Chan is soon to be a very big name in France. His first LP, Mental Dhead, has some of the jangle pop that Dr Chan used to play – see “Always Fun” – but is also very nervous. “Sleeping Like A Horse” proves that Dr Chan has excellent skills and the band singer has a voice that makes his LPs some sort of creepy-Fidlar-ish meets King Tuff. These guys know how to rock’n’roll, they know how to trash a place and how to make a drum party!
13. Mozes and the Firstborn – Great Pile of Nothing
Best 90s pop LP of 2016
We recall that Mozes and the Firstborn released its first album in 2013, and it was seriously good, making him the best European band of that year. Mozes and the Firstborn was back in 2016 and had changed his sound – going from some garage rock to some more Teenage Fanclub pop – proving the world to be equally good in both genres. Great Pile of Nothing
is full of amazing melodies, something that reminds us of the 90′, at the prom. Don’t miss that LP that was released via
Burger Records earlier this year, it will make you feel good instantly.
(mp3) Mozes and the Firstborn – OC/DC
12. Soft Hair – Soft Hair
Best LP for weirdos of 2016
Soft Hair is Connan Moccasin and Sam Dust, so it has to be weird, but at the end of the day, the band first LP is VERY weird, hard to catch at first, but so rewarding after a while. “Lying Has To Stop” is one of the biggest hits of 2016 and the rest of this album also has some amazing vibes. Soft Hair will make you cry and laugh like a babydoll, and you’ll like it. Common, be thirteen and be a little girl, you guys!
11. Parquet Courts – Human Performance
Best LP from Brooklyn of 2016
As always, a new Parquet Courts LP is hard to get. Andrew Savage’s voice is very intense, making the listening of his music very unfamiliar. Human Performance is punk, pop, powerful and straight to the point, reminding us of the Fugazi or of the Riot grrrl movement, but play by a man. Parquet Courts has always been arty and Human Performance wears perfectly his name. You’ll like it if you like “voices driven by guitar” album – or if you like The Sound And The Fury.
10. Tracy Bryant – Subterranean
Best Post Nineties LP of 2016
Tracy Bryant is a new name to be remembered. His first LP, Subterranean, was released earlier this year via Burger Records. The label has a lot going on and I think that Tracy Bryant didn’t get all the attention he deserved. Using many elements of the music from the 90s, he released an excellent album for those who love classic melodies. In short, Tracy Bryant produced some post-nineties music, reminding us of the past and creating something very new and authentic as the same time.
9. Johnny Mafia – Michel-Michel Michel
Best European LP of 2016
(full review here)
Johnny Mafia is THE big revelation of 2016. His first LP, Michel-Michel Michel, is an absolute killer to which every garage lovers will want to make love. I should also mention that Johnny Mafia is excellent when playing live, in short, this band is what’s next. Let’s make a bet: they’ll make some BIG stages in the coming months, some in the US, some in all Europe, some at the top of the world. Yay, Johnny Mafia is France proud and future!
(mp3) Johnny Mafia – Sleeping
8. Wyatt Blair – Point Of No Return
Best 80s pop LP of 2016
We remember that Wyatt Blair released one of the best power pop album ever back in 2013. Well, he’s back this year with a music way more 80s, but as cool as the one we knew. Post Of No Return should have been the soundtrack of Ferris Bueller, because it magnifies what was cool 30 years ago. All of the songs are hits, 100% killer! I bet ya the Queen of England cannot resist dancing when she’ll year this LP – as she will!. I bet ya NO-ONE can resist it. And I bet ya a lot of money on it, as they used to do in Wall Street back in 1984.
7. CFM – Still Life of Citrus and Slime
Best new band of 2016
CFM is the new project of Charles Moothart, known for his participation in the Ty Segall band, Fuzz and more… And boy oh boy, Still Life of Citrus and Slime is a masterpiece for those who love psych stoner music in Thee Oh Sees fashion. This album also is one of the most interesting of the year in terms of recording, something to teach in all music school. Come and enter into this cabinet of curiosities, you’ll never be the same, my dear, you’ll never be the same…
6. Natural Child – Okey Dokey
Best country-ish LP of 2016
Natural Child has been around for years but it has never released something as good as Okey Dokey. More country-ish than ever, it recreates the feeling of an old DIY bar somewhere lost in Tennessee. In it, you’ll find some psych music with “Out of Sight“, some for the old man with “NSA Blues” and many hits for dancing all sorts of weird stuff, like “Benny’s Here“. In short, Okey Dokey is the album creating the strongest atmosphere of 2016 – and years!
5. Ty Segall – Emotional Mugger
Best garage LP of 2016
Ty Segall is everyone Master and it’s always weird not to rank him at the first place, but the first 4 are masterpieces, so what can ya do? Emotional Mugger is one of Ty Segall best release, a true statement from a living legend. With these eleven songs, Ty Segall proved his will to experiment and go further down into his mind. That simple fact deserves everyone respect, and everyone head-bang, whether you like experimental garage punk-ish or not. We will remember this artist in 50 years and Emotional Mugger may be one of the ones we’ll talk about the most.
4. Chris Cohen – As If Apart
Best spleen LP of 2016
Chris Cohen is starting to get recognized as a genius. His second LP, As If Apart, had been described by many as a true masterpiece, encapsulating the feeling of being alone and outside the world. It has a lot of tenderness – see “Memory” – and the beauty of a book written by Baudelaire – see “Drink from a Silver Cup” -. As If Apart encapsulates the spleen of the greatest songwriters, which Chris Cohen certainly is. I’ll be proud to talk about this guy to my grandchildren, and hopefully, that’ll talk about how sincere and humble he is to their grandchildren as well… This isn’t only music, this is poetry in music!
3. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity
Best psych LP of 2016
(full review here)
Yes, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard is the KING of psych rock for years now. And guess what? Nonagon Infinity is his best LP so far, because it has the krautrock aspect we love so much in its music and because it also adds a true concept to it. Nonagon Infinity was produced to be played as a full circle, something that’s never ending. It is, without contest, one of the best psych LP of the decade. It is, without contest, an LP that is raising the bar in terms of where psych music should go, and also, in term of what rock’n’roll should be.
(mp3) King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Robot Stop
2. Murals – Violet City Lantern
Best magical LP of 2016
No doubt that Murals is the lesser-known band of that entire list. And yet, ranking him at the 2nd position is not a statement from me, in fact, Violet City Lantern IS one of the best LP I ever heard in my whole life, definitely one of the most magical as well. As I said in the album review, Murals taught me how to listen and see his music at the same time. It feels like the band captured all of the best sounds in the all world and put them into his LP. It’s almost hard to believe that Violet City Lantern actually is real. I feel like I should start to pray God, even though I’m an atheist.
1. Thee Oh Sees – A Weird Exits
Best LP of 2016
(full review here)
For the first time in Still in Rock history, the same artist is ranked two years in a row at the 1st place of our ranking. Last year, Thee Oh Sees won the best LP of 2015 title with Mutilator Defeated At Last. In 2016, A Weird Exits exploded once again everything we knew in terms of rock’n’roll. This album gives a new definition to what “powerful” is, it reveals a new way to create music for the mind. A Weird Exists is louder and stronger than us, very authoritative. So we bow before him, conscious of its genius. This kind of masterpiece is Still in Rock raison d’être, it gives meaning to way more than our hearings.