Some years, I list favorite albums. Some years it’s favorite cuts. This year, I’m all over the map, but so is the landscape of music – and in my opinion, that’s kind of how it should be.
Here’s some of the new music I discovered last year … and how (<– literally as well as figuratively, kids! Let’s learn the difference in 2017).
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
The self-titled album making the rounds on pop and alternative radio now was actually released in 2015, but Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats also released A Little Something More From Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats in 2016, plus two singles from the original album: Wasting Time and I Need Never Get Old.
These guys haven’t been together that long, but they’re polished aF. Talk about picking your roster…I love them and they’re on the top of my list to check out live. Take note, Ben.
Below is my favorite track, Howling at Nothing.
The first K. Flay single that caught my ear was Can’t Sleep, released in 2014. But the artist has actually released four EPs and 10 singles in six years, including Crush Me and its lead single, this year’s Blood in the Cut.
Note: I knew nothing about K. Flay before I heard that first tune, and continued to know-not-much other than her sound for a long time. For this reason, I think she’s a great example of a voice that permeates without a lot of branding fanfare; I only recently looked up more information as I discovered more of her music. She’s still the coolest, and I’m loving her vibe.
A Tribe Called Quest
Soon after seeing Tribe’s reunion performance on SNL — albeit sans long-time member MC Phife Dawg — I bought the full album We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, released in November 2016. Full disclosure: I’d just gotten an iTunes gift card for my birthday (Thanks Jon), so the timing was right. But I’m very happy with my purchase. The timing of this release could not have been better, given the climate in the U.S. right now… not to mention this is a solid album from start to finish. Stand-out tracks for me include We the People (my new anthem), Kids and The Space Program.
I think the first time I heard these guys and their new album, Wildflower, was via one of my local radio stations, WEQX. – the same goes for K. Flay. The Avalanches are catchy, bizarre, and samply… I describe their lead track Frank Sinatra (below) as Squirrel Nut Zippers meet Gorillaz.