Friday, 1 July 2016

12 Albums of 2016. Pt. 1 (01/07/16)

Here's the first half of '12 Albums of 2016', including all of our favourite albums from 2016 so far, it's full of fantastic releases from a variety of musicians and genres. As always, albums are in release date order and all download links can be found near the end of the blog post! Enjoy, and be sure to let us know your favourite albums from this year so far!

Not To Disappear - Daughter
Release Date: 15th January
Genre: Alternative Pop / Indie Folk
Tracks: 10
Chart Performance: #17 (UK Albums)
Singles: Doing The Right Thing / Numbers / How

I'm a big fan of Daughter, and have been for the past few years. It had been three years since their previous album release and a part of me was apprehensive about the overall sound they were going to create for this new one. However, they managed to surpass themselves and create an ethereal soundscape that flows throughout the whole album. Opening with 'New Ways', with a heavy focus on electric guitar, haunting vocals and resonating steady rhythms. 'No Care' is faster paced (and perfect for running to) and has a catchy chorus backed by a track that is impossible not to move along to. The album closes with 'Made Of Stone', which sits comfortably in my top three favourite Daughter songs behind 'Youth' and 'Medicine'. It's lullaby qualities allow the listener to truly get lost in the ambient sound and sleepy vocals of Elena; this is a wonderful album from start to finish.



Tell Me It's Real - Seafret
Release Date: 29th January
Genre: Indie Pop / Folk
Tracks: 13 | 16 (Deluxe)
Singles: Give Me Something / Oceans / Atlantis / Be There / Wildfire

It took me a while to sit down and really listen to this album, and as soon as I did, I regretted not treating my ears to it sooner. The first couple of songs I'd heard from this release were 'Wildfire' and 'Oceans', both of which I fell in love with and got stuck in my head on a frequent basis. Then I listened to the album and fell in love with the other 14 tracks, in particular 'To The Sea' which features Rosie Carney. The combination of Harry's wonderful guitar playing and Jack's beautiful vocals bringing their perfectly written story like lyrics to life makes it a great debut release, I'm excited to see what the future holds for Seafret!  


Everything This Way - Walking On Cars
Release Date: 29th January
Genre: Indie Rock
Tracks: 12
Chart Performance: #1 (Irish Albums) | #26 (UK Albums)
Singles: Catch Me If You Can / Two Stones / Tick Tock / Hand In Hand / Always Be With You / Speeding Cars

Easily one of my most played albums from this year so far. Even though I was a little later than most to enjoy this release, it has stuck with me throughout these first six month of the year, and that will continue far into the future. It's a stunning blend of well written lyrics, brilliantly layered piano, guitars, drums and great harmonies. 'Catch Me If You Can' has a strong beat throughout, powerful lyrics and an incredibly catchy chorus. Easily my favourite track from the album and one of my favourite songs from the year, is 'Tick Tock', there's just something about it that really resonated with me and it got stuck in my head, and there it has stayed! 'Flying High Falling Low' is a slower track that's brought to life with stunning piano, strings and powerful vocals built together around honest and emotive lyrics to create a genuinely beautiful song. 


Eliza and the Bear - Eliza and the Bear
Release Date: 16th February
Genre: Indie Rock
Tracks: 11 | 15 (Deluxe)
Singles: Make It On My Own / It Gets Cold

Eliza and the Bear started making music for fun, and that really shines through from the core of this album. I've seen these guys live a few times now and every single time has been an experience, two of the performances were at festivals and one was on their recent UK tour. Every time they have performed 'Friends' and the crowd has joined in with the anthemic chorus. The first song of theirs I ever heard, 'Brother's Boat', was a while back now; t was one of those songs I heard and instantly shared with everyone I knew. Again, it's a track with a brilliant chorus, as well as layered piano, guitars, bass and beats and harmonies. 'Talk' however is my favourite song of theirs. It features on the deluxe version of the album and whilst it's been bulked out a bit, the original idea and core is still very much there. 


Phase - Jack Garratt
Release Date: 19th February
Genre: Indie Pop / Electronica
Tracks: 12 | 19 (Deluxe)
Chart Performance: #13 (UK Albums)
Singles: The Love You're Given / Chemical / Weathered / Breathe Life / Worry / Surprise Yourself

This is probably one of the most talked about albums across the UK and music industry by this years most exciting artist. I'm pretty sure the first song of Jack's I came across was 'Worry' and instantly knew he was going to make it big. Soon after,  he released another EP, then became an 'overnight success', this his debut album and I think it's definitely going to be followed up by even more brilliant music. He manages to create fantastic bass and synth led tracks like 'Surprise Yourself' and 'Fire', whilst writing incredibly emotive and honest lyrics and stories into each song. I've shared how much I enjoy Jack's music a lot on this blog and have run out of adjectives to describe it with now. I've also had the pleasure of seeing him live twice and both times was left speechless and in awe of how inspirational and talented he is. 


i like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it - The 1975
Release Date: 26th February
Genre: Indie Pop / Rock
Tracks: 17
Chart Performance: #1 (UK Albums) | #1 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: Love Me / UGH! / Somebody Else / The Sound / A Change Of Heart

I'm not going to lie - this album took me a while to get into. In comparison to their previous album, I loved it the first time I listened, however this release, it took me a good seven or eight listens. That's not to say it's a bad album at all - I think it's just moved away from their debut album and they've evolved their sound and there's definitely a stronger focus on electronic 80s music influencing it. Which is definitely apparent in their single 'Love Me', which I have grown to love and get stuck in my head on many occasions. 'This Must My Dream' is a highlight song on the album for me, as it's a little closer to their debut album material (but not too close) and has a really neat sax solo in it, which I've always rated The 1975 for, as well as it's catchiness. It would be wrong not to mention 'Nana', a stunning and emotive song, that really shows they're not just 'an indie pop / rock band', it's raw and stripped back compared to the other tracks and is one of my favourite songs at the minute. 


Telluric - Matt Corby
Release Date: 11th March
Genre: Alternative / Acoustic Neo - Soul
Tracks: 11 | 13 (iTunes)
Singles: Monday

I've been a big fan of Matt Corby's heavenly vocals and stunning acoustic songs for a long time now and when I found out he was releasing his debut album this year I was excited. Whilst the release wasn't really anywhere near what I was expecting, it's still a brilliant release! When Matt released 'Monday' as the lead single it was apparent Matt was still going to be creating songs that showcased his wonderful vocals. However my two favourite songs from the release 'Belly Side Up' and 'Knife Edge' take a more neo-soul and jazzy turn and it's a welcome one. The steady rhythms throughout, groovy guitars and bass lines just make it an album to really sit back and chill out to; which ultimately is what Matt's music is all about. 


Lemonade - Beyonce
Release Date: 23rd April
Genre: R&B
Tracks: 12 (+ film)
Chart Performance: #1 (UK Albums) | #1 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: Sorry

This album only just made it on here, and to be honest, I have only listened to a few of the songs so far, but what I've heard, I have really liked - so that meant it qualified. This release is different to Beyonce's previous ones, as it features more artists, writers and influences, meaning her sound has evolved. 'Hold Up' was the first song I heard from the album, and instantly thought 'I need to listen to this album', it was definitely Beyonce's trademark kind of song, with empowering lyrics, an incredibly catchy chorus (that instantly got stuck in my head) and it had everyone talking. As you'll find out a little later on in this post, I'm a big fan of James Blake, so 'Forward' is (obviously) a highlight from this album for me. It also meant that Beyonce also included a slower track on this album, and I've always enjoyed her slower, ballad like tracks more than others, so it was a natural favourite. 'Formation' is my other highlight, an incredibly empowering song and a Beyonce anthem. .. (please note the video linked below is the music video for her lead single from the album, it's controversial, but c'mon it's Beyonce!) 


Carry - Joy Oladokun
Release Date: 29th April
Genre: Acoustic Soul
Tracks: 10 
Singles: Shelter

I received an email early April with Joy's press release attached and 'Shelter' linked to listen to. The first time I listened to the track I instantly knew I wanted to run a feature on Joy and this album. The rawness and emotion that shone through in this fantastically written song just got stuck in my head. Another song I really enjoyed for it's gentle powerfulness with stunning piano, strings and raw and wonderful vocals is 'Poison'.  'Bread & Wine' is a little different to the two songs previously mentioned, as it's a little faster paced, grittier and darker, with an incredible electric guitar solo. I enjoy every single song on this album every single time I listen to it and I really wish it received the love and attention it deserves from more people; so if you like what you hear below please go give the rest of the album a listen too :) 


The Colour In Anything - James Blake
Release Date: 6th May
Genre: Alternative / Ambient Pop
Tracks: 17
Chart Performance: #13 (UK Albums)
Singles: Modern Soul / Timeless

James dropped this album with not a lot of warning and the world of music went round in a bit of a James Blake hurricane. Once I heard the album, I realised that the excitement was 103% justified! It's good old James Blake ambient pop with many injections of soul throughout. 'f.o.r.e.v.e.r' is a stunning piano led song that's full of emotive songwriting. James teamed up with Bon Iver for this release which is every dream pop follower's dream... 'I Need A Fire' is a beautiful soundscape brought to life by James and Justin Vernon's wonderful vocals, it has a soulful vibe throughout with a funky backing track underlining the overall song. Another favourite from the album is the lead single 'Modern Soul' it encapsulates what the whole release is all about perfectly and summarises where James Blake's music is at right now, powerful, ambient soundscapes with emotive lyrics sung by James' wonderful vocals. 


Dawn - Ry X
Release Date: 6th May
Genre: Electronica Soul / Folk
Tracks: 12
Singles: Berlin / Sweat

I've been a follower of Ry X's music for what seems like ages now, but was surprised when I found out his new album, was actually his debut album. If you're looking for an album to really chill out to or fall asleep to, this is the one for you! It features one of my all time favourite songs 'Berlin', truly stunning vocals presenting poetic lyrics against a wonderful soundscape of guitars and synths. This is a creation that carries on throughout the album, two highlights for me are 'Howling' and 'Sweat'. If you're into really soul filled electronica and like beautiful harmonies and vocals (James Blake / Matt Corby etc.) you're bound to fall in love with this album... 


The Adventures of the 90's Kid - Polly Money
Release Date: 13th May
Genre: Pop
Tracks: 6
Singles: It Would Be Ok

Yes, I know this is an EP, however it's a release that I believe is one of the best from this year so far, and definitely deserved a spot in this blog post, so here it is! Full of fantastic upbeat, pop tracks this EP is perfect for every summer playlist. Starting off with '5'5', drawing the listener in to the catchy melodies and chorus (which be warned, will likely get stuck in your head). It's a brilliantly crafted track with sounds echoing the lyrics and the lyrics echoing every 90's kids childhood. The lead single 'It Would Be Ok' is definitely the most memorable from the EP, with Justin Timberlake style riffs and beats running throughout. However, 'Jimmy's Got A Gun' is currently my favourite from the release, starting with electric guitar, and growing into an incredibly catch track. The EP's a good un, and if you were born in the 90's (or enjoyed the music in the 90's - you're bound to love this from start to finish!) 


Album Links:
The Adventures of the 90's Kid - Polly Money: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/adventures-90s-kid-ep/id1104912224

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