Impacter’s Top 10 Albums of 2016

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Impacter’s Top 10 Albums of 2016

Impact Content Team

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Impact Staff picks their Top 10 Albums of 2016.

Dom Korzecke

Special Projects Director

1.Worry. – Jeff Rosenstock
In a year of intense discontent from all sides of life, Jeff Rosenstock’s Worry. came at exactly the right time. Exploring themes of helplessness, discontent, and the quest for something real, Worry. is nothing shy of a masterpiece that really feels like Rosenstock found his voice since transitioning out of Bomb The Music Industry. Seamlessly transitioning through different genres, all the while maintaining a strong feeling of connection.The album, is best listened to front to back at full volume.

2. The Dream is Over – PUP
Toronto punks PUP had a lot to live up to after 2014’s fantastic self titled debut and they delivered in every way possible! With an uncanny sense of style, and hard hitting lyrics, this was not an album to miss! I just wish I had gotten a chance to catch them in their most recent Michigan run, luckily Toronto is not too far.

3. Big Mess – Grouplove
Marking the first release since singer Hannah Hooper gave birth to her first kid, this album was ripe with catchy hooks about the purpose of life and genre defying instrumentation that fit perfectly alongside the rest of Grouplove’s discography. I just wish I could get these songs out of my head.

4. The Bible 2 – AJJ
The meme heavy marketing that AJJ released in preparation of The Bible 2 showed that the band is still having a ton of fun. Despite the incredibly dark themes singer Sean Bonnette is known for, a feeling of legitimate enjoyment for the songs can be felt throughout the album.

5. Moth – Chairlift
It has been over 4 years since the last time Chairlift put out music and they did not disappoint! Opting for a slightly more dancey feel originally put me off, but after repeated listen this one quickly jumped to one of my favorites of the year that I’m still singing along to!

6. Splendor & Misery – clipping.
Continuing the use of interesting samples and highly experimental arrangements clipping’s latest release comes off as a highly stylised collection of ideas that makes up, in my opinion, their best work to date. This album is just cool. 

7. Teens of Denial – Car Seat Headrest
I, like many who share this album on their list, had never heard of Car Seat Headrest prior to Teens of Denial but boy did this album sell me immediately! The themes of discontent and confusion are immediately relatable and the album really feels like a fresh venture into garage rock/lo-fi.

8. Human Performance – Parquet Courts
Parquet Courts have always had a way of making simple, albeit noisy, music seem entirely complex and interesting. In Human Performance they really start to feel like they are getting comfortable by venturing outside of their traditional style. I’m excited to see where they go from here.

9. Can’t Die – Chris Farren
This was self described “Punk Rock Celebrity” Chris Farren’s debut solo album and it did not disappoint. Each song is filled with cheerful melodies and the somber lyricism Farren is known for.

10. Say It Out Loud – The Interrupters
If there is any proof that ska has not been forced into obsolescence this is it! Solid ska/punk that will have you dancing by track 2! Add a guest spot by Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong and you have a soon to be classic.

Honorable Mentions:
Holy Ghost – Modern Baseball
Three – Diners
A Moon Shaped Pearl – Radiohead

Biggest Disappointment:
Joyce Manor – Cody

Looking Forward to still in 2016:
One Last Big Job – Ramshackle Glory (Out December 30th)

 

Andrew Younker

Content Team Member

1. Psychopomp – Japanese Breakfast

2. Blonde – Frank Ocean

3. Emotional Mugger – Ty Segall

4. Wildflower – Avalanches

5. Sleep Cycle – Deakin

6. Atrocity Exhibition – Danny Brown

7. Warlord – Yung Lean

8. Still Brazy – YG

9. Is The Is Are – DIIV

10. Preoccupations – Preoccupations

 

Jasmine Abbasov

Social Media Director

1.  22, A Million –  Bon Iver

2. Puberty 2 – Mitski

3. Awaken, My Love! – Childish Gambino

4. Lemonade – Beyoncé

5. Cleopatra – The Lumineers

6. Cody –  Joyce Manor

7. Freetown Sound – Blood Orange

8. My Woman – Angel Olsen

9. Psychopomp – Japanese Breakfast

10. Pool –  Porches

Honorable Mentions:

Blackstar – David Bowie
Blonde – Frank Ocean
Remember Us –  Life Regina Spektor
Coloring Book – Chance the Rapper
Blue & Lonesome – The Rolling Stones
Wildflower – The Avalanches
Schmilco – Wilco

 

Andrew Becker

Content Team Member

1. Psychopomp – Japanese Breakfast

2.Down in Heaven – Twin Peaks

3. Skiptracing – Mild High Club

4.  Light Upon the Lake – Whitney

5. Atrocity Exhibition – Danny Brown

6. Human Performance – Parquet Court

7. Malibu – Anderson .Paak

8. Sales LP – Sales

9. Young Blindness – The Murlocs

10. Glory – Good Morning

Honorable Mentions:
Nonagon Infinite – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Emotional Mugger – Ty Segall
Front Row Seat to Earth – Weyes Blood

 

Joel DeJong

Operations Director

1. Coloring Book – Chance the Rapper
The burst of positive energy that 2016 desperately needed. An album with this staying power will continually make me remember how to smile good.

2. Beyond Control – Kings Kaleidoscope
A focused and propulsive follow up to a stellar debut. Each song as intricate and hard hitting as the last.

3. H A R D L O V E – NeedToBreathe
Following up their career best with a diverse and enjoyable experiment. Filled with renewed confidence and love for life, they run free with studio tricks and church choirs to make catchy music.

4. Awaken, My Love! – Childish Gambino
I have a sneaking suspicion the more time I spend with this album, the higher it’ll creep up my list. As of right now, it’s an eclectic funky treat.

5. The Hamilton Mixtape – Various Artists
A side project that amplifies what is great about the show while giving its own impressive spin on beloved material. With a head spinning list of collaborators, Lin-Manuel Miranda continues to reinforce his status as a force to be reckoned with.

6. Air For Free – Relient K
A true return to form, expansive and experimental, and personal in all the right ways. Air For Free is a bright and lovely album that’s perfect for a summer drive, or to unlock memories of warmth on a cold day.

7. One Wild Life: Body – Gungor
A fitting completion to a trilogy of records that deserve to be listened to back to back. Together, they paint a beautiful picture, on its own, Body provides a more than satisfying listen.

8. untitled unmastered. – Kendrick Lamar
I often refer to To Pimp A Butterfly as a full 3 course meal of an album. Untitled unmastered would then be the delicious leftovers that will satisfy me until Kendrick blesses us with our next full meal.

9. Campfire II – Rend Collective
Only Rend Collective can make Oceans sound fresh again in 2016. Further continuing my theory that their songs sound best stripped down and played around a campfire.

10. Where The Light Shines Through – Switchfoot
If pain is where the light shines through, 2016 could’ve used its fair share of light. This album will continue to be an inspiration and comfort for difficult times.

 

Greg McClure

Content Team Member

1. Puberty 2 – Mitski

2. untitled unmastered. – Kendrick Lamar

3. Psychopomp – Japanese Breakfast

4. Atrocity Exhibition – Danny Brown

5. Nonagon Infinity – King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

6. Teens of Denial – Car Seat Headrest

7. Human Performance – Parquet Courts

8. Bottomless Pit – Death Grips

9. We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service – A Tribe Called Quest

10. Skeleton Tree – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

 

Tony Wilson

Graphic Designer

1. Atrocity Exhibition – Danny Brown

2. Primma Donna – Vince Staples

3. Opus – Eric Prydz

4. Every Open Eye – Chvrches

5. 4 Your Eyez only – J Cole

6. untitled unmastered. – Kendrick Lamar

7. W:/2016ALBUM/ – Deadmau5

8. Jessica Rabbit – Sleigh Bells

9. Bottomless Pit – Death Grips

10. Blank Face – ScHoolboy Q

 

Sarah Dropsey

Promotions Director

1. Lemonade – Beyoncé

2. Holy Ghost – Modern Baseball

3. 22, A Million – Bon Iver

4. Awaken, My Love! – Childish Gambino

5. Human Ceremony – Sunflower Bean

6. The Life of Pablo – Kanye West

7. The Dream is Over – PUP

8. My Woman – Angel Olsen

9. American Boyfriend – Kevin Abstract

10. Cody – Joyce Manor

 

Justin LaBelle

Street Team and DJ Staff Member

1. 131 – Emarosa
This release was something I anticipated for the entire year when it was announced, and it certainly did not disappoint. Bradley Walden’s vocal range is only amplified on this album by the lyrics and his accompanying bandmates. The album takes the listener through a journey of self-discovery and acceptance, just as the band has in re-making its image after dropping their prior singer. Not to mention, it makes for one amazing study album for finals to de-stress with.

2. Can’t Go Home – Stories Untold
Stories Untold has had a big year in 2016, cementing gigs and their sound through the release of their new album. I remember being at their release show and seeing the passion in their art as they played. This album takes a spot on my list not only because it remains a local alt-rock masterpiece for me, but because it gives me faith that the local music scene is a media platform that isn’t giving in to mainstream music artists.

3. Treehouse – I See Stars
While this is by no means the best album in their discography, this Michigan electronic hardcore band (EHM) reached lyrical proficiency on this album. It presents their strongest writing in light of their recent departure with their unclean vocalist, with which current clean vocalist Devin Oliver takes helm. With drums recorded by the incredibly talented Luke Holland, I would recommend “Everybody’s Safe in the Treehouse,” a telling song about Oliver’s struggles in their family home and in their life, and “Portals,” a  song against the violence shown by multiple mass shootings, to get the best feel of this album. Prepare for headbanging melodic hardcore music.

4. Starboy – The Weeknd
While this was only released on November 18th of this year, it has made Billboard’s Hot 100 with all of the songs charting on there at the same time. And, not to mention, it reached the highest number of streams total, beating Drake’s previous record with Views. The beauty writes itself, XO.

5.  Sincerely, John The Ghost – John The Ghost
I cheated a little on this one: this EP from the frontman of The Maine, John O’Callaghan, did come out this year, but it certainly was not just an album. It came with a book of poetry written by the singer/songwriter, scattered between lyrics to the songs and smaller “food for thought” pieces. I fell in love with the poetry, and the message of the album allows the listener to hear and reciprocate the same feelings “The Ghost” has on his mind, but just can never find the words to say it. It was truly an experience. 

6. Along the Shadow – Saosin
Saosin came back! My best experience this year was seeing the original vocalist, Anthony Green, return with the group to release a new album that highlights what made them post-hardcore icons. That should be enough, but I recommend “Control and the Urge to Pray” to start with this album.

7. Pixie Queen – Anthony Green
Following his return to Saosin, Anthony Green released a solo record dealing with the struggles of addiction and the harsh realities of marriage, illustrating the construct is not all what the movies make it out to be. It’s a heart-wrenching record that has led to many long nights contemplating the world, and that’s why it’s on my list.

8. Taking One For The Team – Simple Plan
The pop-punk giants made a huge return this year, with Good Charlotte, Sum 41, Blink-182, the Descendents, and Simple Plan all making records. Yet, Simple Plan is on my list this year because this album reminded me why I liked them in the first place: they are punk kids with style. They have always had their own sound that goes against the world and what others think of them, which really resounded with me back on their early albums, and certainly shines now on this record. Songs like “Opinion Overload” and “Perfectly Perfect” are for the bleeding heart. This album has everything, and takes my award for best comeback album this year.

9. Mothership – Dance Gavin Dance

Dance Gavin Dance combines melody with hardcore with randomness and “cringe” with funk all in one. And with their new lead singer, Tilian Pearson, originally from Tides of Man, he finally comes into his own and sets his style in line with the band’s, which had been established all the way from Downtown Mountain Battle. If you’re a fan of weird and wild songs, or looking for a break from “normal” hardcore music, try this album. From its song titles, like “Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise” and “Flossey Dickey Bounce,” to its beats, it surely is a record to remember…or forget when the aliens wipe your memory. Get it?

10. Bittersweet – Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties
This solo project from the frontman of the pop-punk group The Wonder Years yields a tone which reaches back to the singer’s Americana roots growing up. Normally, I’m not a fan of the Americana style, but this EP with “‘67 Cherry Red” allows the style to shine brightly and demonstrate the frontman’s wide variety of talent which propelled him in the pop-punk scene.

 

Aaron Martinez

DJ and DJ Evaluation Staff

1. Blonde – Frank Ocean

2. Coloring Book – Chance the Rapper

3. 22, A Million – Bon Iver

4. 99.9% – KAYTRANADA

5. Freetown Sound – Blood Orange

6. The Colour in Anything – James Blake

7. Ology – Gallant

8. Malibu – Anderson .Paak

9. A Seat at the Table – Solange

10. Blackstar – David Bowie

Honorable Mentions:
Endless – Frank Ocean
untitled unmastered. – Kendrick Lamar
Awaken, My Love! – Childish Gambino

 

Claire Postelli

Music Director

1. Puberty 2 – Mitski

2. Is The Is Are – DIIV

3. Lemonade – Beyoncé

4. The Life of Pablo – Kanye West

5. Holy Ghost – Modern Baseball

6. Coloring Book – Chance the Rapper

7. Teens of Denial – Car Seat Headrest

8. 22, A Million – Bon Iver

9. The Dream Is Over – PUP

10. My Woman – Angel Olsen

Honorable Mentions:
Splendor & Misery – clipping.
Kindly Now – Keaton Henson
Cody – Joyce Manor

 

Audrey Matusz

Station Manager

1. Seat At The Table – Solange
I’m ranking these albums based on how much they altered my soul. Seat At The Table is Solange’s third studio EP, but her first to articulate the sentiments and aesthetics of neo soul and girl power so well. Best “Self Love” Album of The Year.

2. Blank Face LP – Schoolboy Q
Turn up album of the year. Your party was not lit if it didn’t feature Groovy Tony, Dope Dealer or, of course “That Part.” Not to mention with memorable appearances by Kanye West, Anderson Paak and E-40.

3. Is The Is Are –  DIIV
Somehow Z Cole has managed to stay true to the roots of shoegazing, post-punk revival while improving their sound. Also best live performance I attended this year.

4. Atrocity Exhibition – Danny Brown
Sir Daniel really grew up this year. He has taken time to reflect on and battle with his identities of The Adderall Admiral, The Father and The Hipster all in one melancholic (but at times hype af) record that would make even Ian Curtis look like a weak case. I was a proud fan to see fuller experimentation and depth in his work, it is clear  Danny is as serious about good music as he is about partying.

5. Princess Nokia – 1992
Not only has her instagram been my main source of life during finals, but she is well on her way to becoming one of the fiercest FEMINIST rappers of all time. “Brujas” is my favorite track where she explains the history of santéria, sisterhood and Afro-Caribbean culture. Like, thank you.

6. Telefone – Noname
THIS IS HER FIRST STUDIO ALBUM YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW LONG I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS.

7. 99.9% –  Kaytranada
This album was the soundtrack to my summer roadtrip to Toronto. It was also my soundtrack to turning up in Toronto. Also, props to him for getting the best song out of AlunaGeorge in the last 3 years.

8. Freetown Sound – Blood Orange
2016 was the year of the “Self Love” Album. For me, this album is a contemporary work investigating a young person’s journey to understanding freedom, race, and identity.

9. PRINCESS – ABRA
ABRA earned her title of the “Darkwave Dutchess” this year. PRINCESS continues the legacy of vulnerable lyrics with catchy, grimey hooks. It seems like ABRA has also established her brand this year which is synonymous with “unif, leather chokers, and glitter highlighter”

10. Do What Thou Whilt – Ab Soul
Clearly I’m a TDE fan. I just haven’t found too many artists who formulate metaphors like Ab Soul does. This album sways from real depth and back to ridiculous like the manic genius behind the work. These days I rarely get through a whole album in one sitting, but DWTW kept me entertained from start to finish.

 

Benjamin Hickey

Content Team Member

1. Psychopomp – Japanese Breakfast

2. Yes Lawd! – NxWorries

3. Endless – Frank Ocean

4. Blonde – Frank Ocean

5. Atrocity Exhibition – Danny Brown

6. Wildflower – The Avalanches

7. 22, A Million – Bon Iver

8. Painting With – Animal Collective

9. Still Brazy – YG

10. Malibu – Anderson .Paak

 

Michael Obrien

Street Team and Content Team Member

1. Cardinal –  Pinegrove

2. S/T – Camp Cop

3. The Party – Andy Shauf

4. Blanco – David Bazan

5. Parallel Lives – Gates

6. Nobody Likes A Quitter – All Get Out

7. Ruminations – Conor Oberst

8. Holy Ghost – Modern Baseball

9. Painkillers – Brian Fallon

10. Stage Four – Touché Amoré