Breaking down the albums that just barely missed the top 5 (audio links below)
Holy shit, 2016 was a great year for music. Sure, the mainstream continued to pander the lowest common denominator (with a few bright, spots depending on who you ask) and that fabled second or third coming of “Rock n’ Roll” that my friend keeps praying for still hasn’t happened, but for those of us with some music savvy will find that there was no shortage of great releases. So much so that I’m still playing catch up.
Right off the bat I have to let you know what releases I still haven’t gotten around to: NxWorries, Run The Jewels (came out too late to make the running), Leon Vynehall, Max Graef and Glen Astro, and way too many more to list. And one more thing I want to point out: everything listed from here on out are albums I bought; I rarely download albums, and I never stream them.
The albums listed below are albums that I thought were of note from 2016 that just barely didn’t make my top 5 for one reason or another. All of them are definitely worth checking out but the albums in my top 5 I just like that much better.
Without further ado, let’s get into it with…
Max Graef Band – Dog
Dog released pretty early on this year and was probably the first anticipated album for me of 2016. And at first, I was pretty underwhelmed. It felt like band practice tape where everyone got together, pressed record, and said, “Yeah, that’ll do it!”. Yet when I came back to it later this year, I discovered that it’s looseness is part of it’s charm, and with that in mind, the album became much more enjoyable. Honestly, I think the promise this band shows is what makes it most interesting I wouldn’t mind seeing the band flesh out some of these ideas more in a second release (which I think is happening in the form of Torben Unit).
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band – 55
As probably one of the most playful releases of this this year, Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band provided exactly what I wanted from them: tons of covers and tons of funk. It just misses the mark of greatness because it doesn’t have that truly special something that elevates it beyond fun, novelty record. And I think part of what spoiled it for me is that I had been collecting their 45’s up until the release of the album, which a good half the record had been released on. All that being said, fans of steel drum-driven funky covers should definitely grab this one.
Suff Daddy – Birdsongs
It’s been a pretty quiet year for the most prolific member of the Betty Ford Boys crew, and I don’t mean that in terms of output. Birdsongs is probably the most mellow thing the beat maker has ever put out (and that says a lot considering some of the man’s past efforts). Overall, it’s not my favorite project from Suff Daddy (that honor still goes to the excellent Suff Sells) but I find it in constant rotation when I can’t think of something else to listen to.
Carlos Nino & Friends – Flutes, Echoes, It’s All Happening!
Truthfully, I wanted to put this album in my top 5 album list but I just haven’t given it enough time to sink in yet (I got this album in the back end of November). The song I’ve posted is not a good indicator of what this album sounds like, which could be best described as jazz-meets-ambient with elements of classical thrown in the mix for good measure. In terms of musically adventurous albums I’ve heard this year, this one would probably be at the very top and highly recommended.
V/A – Tempo Dreams Vol. 4
Speaking of albums just missing my top 5, Tempo Dreams Vol. 4 just barely gets edged out. A superb, diverse collection of mellow beats and bass, house, and other forms electronic music, it just barely misses the top 5 not because it’s bad by any stretch of the word, it’s just there are albums I liked better last year, period. Still, a damn fine collection of music.
Melodiesinfonie – Be Thankful
And finally, the last album just barely missing out on the top 5 has to go to the mellow beat master kingpin, Melodiesinfonie. Before this year, I had no idea who this guy was but he’s definitely on that list of people who I will always check out when he releases new music. This album was in near constant rotation this year and is always a pleasure to return to. And if I made a list of my top 10 songs of the year (which I might still do), “Tuk Rueh” would definitely be on it. Jazzy, addictive, catchy beats that can both put you at peace and get you excited at the same time. Definitely check this out if you haven’t.
So there you have it, my runner-up albums that just barely missed the mark, in no particular order. Please feel free to share your thoughts/hate with me the comments down below. For the rest of the week, I’m gonna forgo new music posting in favor of my top 5 favorite albums of this year so please stay tuned.