Ok, heading from the bottom to the top, here are my top 20 songs of 2016. Objective? No. Subjective? Yes. A great listen? Of course. I will be playing these on my radio show on http://www.seahavenfm.com on Thursday 29th December at 7-9pm. It will be great if you can come along for the ride.
- Catfish & The Bottlemen – Soundcheck (The Ride 2016)
They won their first Brit Award for British Breakthrough act on 24 February 2016. On 27 May 2016, they released their second album, The Ride. This was the single. You can’t help liking it.
- In Camera – Realise (Realise Single 2016)
18. Jo Ash – Embers (Embers single 2016)
EP releases Lucid Dreams (2014) and Locked In (2015) gave us a taste of the talent that lurks here. Jo is in the process of recording her first solo album; the first single from the album – Embers – was released on 16th July 2016. Memorable.
- Viola Beach – Boys that Sing (Viola Beach 2016)
The great lost and tragic story of 2016. The band’s final line-up consisted of Kris Leonard (guitar and vocals), River Reeves (guitar), Tomas Lowe (bass guitar), and Jack Dakin (drums). All four, along with their manager Craig Tarry, died in a car crash in Södertälje, Sweden, on 13 February 2016.
Posthumously, their album went to Number 1 and Coldplay played one of their tracks in tribute at Glastonbury. What might have been doesn’t even come close.
- Rationale – Fuel to the Fire (Single 2016)
His debut EP Fuel To The Fire, won over the likes of Pharrell and Justin Timberlake and he’s on countless ‘Ones to Watch’ lists. This explains the case.
- Ray Blk (ft Stormzy) – My Hood (Durt Mini Album 2016)
This is the real south-east London. RAY BLK’s soaring bittersweet ode to it cuts both ways. Exhilarating – all chicken shops and sportswear and nights you’ll never forget – and then it turns, to babies having babies and police raiding you for your dinner. Then Stormzy pops up, telling us how “the woman in the Caribbean shop is always rude”.
14. Spring King – The Summer (Tell Me if You’d Like to 2016)
Spring King began as a solo project in 2012 of songwriter and producer Tarek Musa who sings and plays drums. He may also start collecting awards.
- Matt Corby – Wrong Man (Telluric 2016)
His debut album Telluric has been ten years in the making with six EPs keeping his fans at bay in the meantime. The album is out now and there is no longer any excuse not to nominate this man for a Mercury Award.
- The Lapelles – Seventeen (Seventeen Single)
Gary Watson, the frontman of rising Scottish band the Lapelles died after falling into the river Clyde in Glasgow. The singer was due to celebrate his 22nd birthday the day after the accident occurred. The second tragic entry on the list. Sometimes the best eulogy is simply to listen.
- Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – I Need Never Get Old (Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats 2015 in US, 2016 in UK)
Perfect soul and RnB from Missouri. Released in the US in 2015, but so keen was I to include this that I have used the fact it was released in this coutry in 2016 as an excuse to include this track played in tribute to the ‘died too young’ members of the list.
Bonus tracks not on the list, but loved and will be played on the 29th.
Christine & The Queens – Tilted (Chaleur Humaine 2016)
Camp Claude – All This Space (Swimming Lessons 2016)
- Frances – Don’t Worry About Me (Don’t Worry About Me Single 2016)
In August 2014 she sang lead on “Fire May Save You” for the French music label Kitsuné. In July 2015 she released the EP “Grow” for Communion Records. Then in October 2015 she released the EP “Let it Out”.
In November 2015 she was shortlisted for the 2016 BRIT Awards: Critics’ Choice Award. In December 2015 she was nominated for the BBC Sound of 2016. Listen and learn why.
- Primal Scream – Where the Light Get In (ft Sky Ferreira) (Chaosmosis 2016)
Part of the Indie scene’s rock royalty.
Chaosmosis is the eleventh studio album by Scottish band Primal Scream. It was released on 18 March 2016 on the band’s First International label, through Ignition Records. The album’s lead single, “Where the Light Gets In”, was released on 1 February 2016 and features American singer Sky Ferreira. She and Bobby Gillespie have created a superb modern male/female duet with feeling.
Bonus track – not on the list
Kings of Leon – Waste a Moment (Walls 2016)
- Damien Jurado – Exit 353 (Visions of us on the land 2016
This guy is a virtual veteran with 11 albums prior to this behind him. This was its first single. I now have 11 albums to go out and buy.
Bonus track not on the list
Kaiser Chiefs – Hole in my Soul (Stay Together 2016)
Kaiser Chiefs released their newest album: Stay Together on the 7th October and it sounds exponentially, their best yet. This is brand new. Not on the list, but demands to be played.
- Radiohead – Burn the Witch (A Moon Shaped Pool 2016)
Originally written in 2000 Radiohead did not promote the album until the week before its release, when they released the singles “Burn the Witch” and “Daydreaming”. They didn’t need to. It was the fifth Radiohead album to be nominated for the Mercury Prize, and was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album and Best Rock Song (for “Burn the Witch”) at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. It topped the charts everywhere, becoming Radiohead’s sixth number-one album in the UK and a bestseller on vinyl. It was certified gold in the UK on 24 June.
- The Coral – Miss Fortune (Distance Inbetween 2016)
‘Distance Inbetween’ is The Coral’s eighth full-length studio album by English indie rock band The Coral, their first for five years. This was a single. A brilliant return.
- St.Paul & the Broken Bones – I’ll Be Your Woman (Sea of Noise 2016)
Paul Janeway’s lyrics sifts through racial violence and political unrest, considering how it affects his intimate relationships and asking tough questions about how to respond as a compassionate person and a man of faith. Listen to this and you’ll understand why the Rolling Stones regularly turn up to their gigs.
- Laura Mvula – Overcome (The Dreaming Room 2016)
In January 2016, Mvula released “Overcome”, a collaboration with Nile Rodgers, and the lead single from The Dreaming Room. She also launched the #SheWill campaign, aimed at breaking down the barriers that prevent millions of girls worldwide from attending school. That’s the way to start a year.
- Michael Kiwanuka – Black Man in a White World (Love and Hate 2016)
Another Communion Records signing. He has been compared to Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, Randy Newman, Terry Callier, and Otis Redding, as well as Van Morrison and the Temptations. In the future they may be compared to him.
- Gregory Porter – Take Me to the Alley (Take Me to the Alley 2016)
Porter’s fourth album, Take Me to the Alley, was released on 6 May 2016. This is the title track. He imagines God returning to earth and spending his time in alleys and ghettoes. Down to earth and celestial all at once.
- The xx – On Hold (I See You 2016)
In 2010, the band won the Mercury Prize for its debut album. Their second album, Coexist, was released on 10 September 2012. The band’s third studio album, I See You, will be released on 13 January 2017. Jamie and the band quite simply never release a record that is anything less than sublime. They make it look easy. It isn’t.
This list formed the basis of a radio show on http://www.seahavenfm.com hosted by me on the 29th December 2016:
The two hours can be listened to here: