Where do I begin? Like so many of us, it all changed on Election Night 2016. As I sat and watched the deterioration of our home, I was thinking about how I truly live in a bubble in New York, and the confirmation of ignorance from the rest of our country was devastating. I’m trying to be hopeful, but with every office appointment, it keeps getting worse. Just like Seth Meyers said, “we gave him his chance.” Can’t really say I heard a lot of music that inspired me this year as well. Drumming up the strength to talk about the things I loved this year feels like a chore. Nonetheless, I’m in too deep with POOP to turn back now, so here are a few highlights I can muster:
1. Bon Iver – 22, A Million Heading into Radiohead territory is not the worst thing for Bon Iver’s latest. Finally, it is a record with voice tuning I can actually listen to, it’s the future of folk.
2. Pinegrove – Cardinal Early Whiskeytown, real Americana angst. It’s an open road record; you can hear the weariness in the vocals. A lot of ground is covered in these eight songs.
3. Hiss Golden Messenger – Heart Like A Levee His most diverse record to date; reminiscent of 70’s soul and easy rock sound. “As the Crow Flies” is the perfect description.
4. A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service More than a nostalgic trip down memory lane, this is memorable closure to one of the all time greats.
5. Wilco – Schmilco Never a band who gets complacent, this companion record to Star Wars tones it down a bit. It’s an end of the night record – one best heard through headphones and the space to think.
6. Mayer Hawthorne – Man About Town Classic white boy soul and Steely Dan, I can’t help but hum along and sway to his songs. Great hooks and a great live performer.
7. Robert Glasper Experience – ArtScience Definitely one of the best in the Jazz world today, he can hold his own with any of the masters of new and old. Also check out the work he did for the Miles Davis movie. Very interesting.
8. Big Thief – Masterpiece Bold name for an album, but they live up to its title. Reminds me of old Bettie Seveert or Lucinda Williams. Crunchy guitars, sultry lead vocals.
9. Bob Mould – Patch The Sky This man could do no wrong in my eyes. Smart and very relevant, this is power pop at its very best. How do all guitarists not revere him today?
10. Lou Barlow – Apocalypse Fetish (EP) Classic Lou. Quiet, introverted but filled with angst. At least he is still able to get his aggression out in his day job with Dinosaur Jr.
Records I listened to this year that I didn’t hate but will probably never listen to again:
1. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial Catchy, power pop is alive and well. The great-grandson of The Kinks meets Cake.
2. Alejandro Escovedo – Burn Something Beautiful With the help of some of his REM buddies, Alejandro puts out another Americana classic.
3. Angel Olsen – My Woman Ethereal vocals set the tone for this solid set.
4. Exploded View – Exploded View Post-punk and avant-garde electronics.
5. Drive-By-Truckers – American Band Still as powerful and relevant after all these years.
6. Dinosaur Jr. – Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not More of the same is not always so bad.
7. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool See Dinosaur Jr. description above.
8. Kevin Morby – Singing Saw Dark singer-songwriter.
9. The Flaming Lips – Oczy Mlody Still waiting for the next Yoshimi, and this is definitely not it.
10. Esperanza Spalding – Emily’s D+Evolution Happy to listen to this boundary pusher anytime.
Best reissues and collections (otherwise known as the opportunity to write about older artists and albums I still love):
1. Big Star – Complete Third Keep these treasures coming, since they never get old.
2. Bob Dylan – The 1966 Live Recordings No, I don’t own it. This 36-CD collection of all recordings from ‘66 has some gems.
3. Mike Watt – Ring Spiel Tour 95 Had tix to this show but they wouldn’t let me in due to overcrowding since Nirvana’s drummer was debuting his new band…
4. The Meters – A Message from the Meters: The Complete Josie, Reprise & Warner Bros. Singles 1968-1977 A masterful collection.
5. Ween – GodWeenSatan: Live One of the all time great live bands, this record captures them at their best after taking some time off.
6. Velvet Crush – Pre-Teen Symphonies How did I miss this them first time around? The best of Big Star and Badfinger rolled into one.
7. Van Morrison – It’s Too Late to Stop Now…Vols. II, III, IV Van the Man at his peak, this reissue doubles the output of the original.
8. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – Dim the Lights, Chill the Ham Talk about a blast from the past, great Canadian surf rock band for the my generation.
9. Led Zeppelin – The Complete BBC Sessions And why not? Gotta have a little Zeppelin every now and then.
10. Jeff Buckley – You and I A collection of all his covers. The loss still hurts.
There you have it. I am now officially ready to close the door on 2016 and move on. As I sit here thinking of the Woman’s Match, I am inspired by what I see around me -my wife’s outspokenness and the kindness in my son’s eyes motivate me to be a part of the change movement and strive for a better future.
Eric Fine NYC, still