We are at that coveted halfway point in 2016, so we decided to each pick five of our top albums of the year so far. This was far more difficult than either of us anticipated because of all the great music 2016 has bestowed on us.
Side note: we tried to make it easy on our readers to listen-- click on the album art for a direct link to each album.
So let's get to it.
Christian's Top 5 Albums of 2016
#5 Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper
While lots of people weren’t impressed with Coloring Book, it’s hands down one of the albums I’ve listened to most so far this year. The thing I enjoy most about this record is that every song feels like its’ own idea.
Favorite tracks: “Same Drugs” and “Finish Line/Drown”
#4 Nothing I Write You Can Change What You’ve Been Through by Trash Boat
The songs are varied, making for a wholly entertaining listen. The instrumentals are extremely tight. The vocals on this record are strong when they should be and more subtle when necessary. The lyrics are poignant and hard-hitting, something that is missing from many modern pop-punk albums.
Favorite tracks: “Tring Quarry” and “Catharsis”
#3 Wasted Mind by Direct Hit!
This concept album punched me in the face and I loved every second of it. Let Wasted Mind take you on a weird, quirky journey through drug imagery and anthemic punk tunes.
Favorite tracks: “Artificial Confidence” and “Was It The Acid?”
#2 It Is What It Is, It’s Whatever by Friend Prices
Catchy, quick, fun, all the things that I’ve come to expect from Ryan Rockwell (of Mixtapes and countless other bands). The perfect sound for riding around a small town.
Favorite track: “Your house isn’t haunted, you’re just lonely”
#1 : Holy Ghost by Modern Baseball
Modern Baseball’s follow up to 2014’s You’re Gonna Miss It All was definitely the record I most anticipated for 2016. Their 2012 record Sports and their aforementioned 2014 release were albums that I went back to regularly. The lyrics were well-written, the instrumentals were interesting, there was a definite charm to Modern Baseball.
Needless to say, when they announced Holy Ghost, I pre-ordered it immediately. I knew it was going to be good. I didn’t listen to the singles, I just ordered it. Now writing this after listening to this album over and over and over and over, I can say that Modern Baseball did not let me down. Gaining the insight that the short documentary “Tripping in the Dark” (that the band released in anticipation of this album) provided helped me to see the direction that MOBO was moving. I had a feeling that this album was going to be darker, a bigger pill to swallow and generally, different. Holy Ghost is an immediate change of pace for the listener. The opener and title track “Holy Ghost”, is clenching. The heaviness of the words “my third wish has always been three more” speaks to a subject that lots of records don’t and that’s true discontent. It’s self-aware, but not in a romanticized kind of way, in an honest way. Ultimately, I think that’s the theme of this record, being aware of your own discontentment. It’s something that’s really hard to do. We feel bad for not being content when things are seemingly going well, but it’s not always something we can help. Whether it’s discontentment with yourself, with a relationship gone south, or with the distance between you and someone you care about-- there’s always something that can be done. You can confront these things, in one way or another. You may need help, but that’s okay. That’s what Holy Ghost says to me. Looking forward, while acknowledging mistakes have been made.
“If it’s all the same, it’s time to confront this face-to-face. I’ll be with you the whole way. It’ll take time that’s fact. I’m not just another face. I’m not just another name. Even if you can’t see it now, we’re proud of what’s to come and you.”
Favorite tracks: “Everyday” and “Just Another Face”
Becca's Top 5 Albums of 2016
#5 SALES LP by SALES
This is my go to late night listen. This album is a blend of a bunch different of sounds-- blending of elements of electronic, soul, rock, and a little bit of jazz. Perfect for evening highway cruising.
Favorite tracks: “big sis” and "best times"
#4 Going By by Told Slant
As an avid fan of melancholy melodies, this is one of my go-to albums. Each track has incredible, thought-provoking lyrics. I stopped giving up on trying to pick a favorite track. They created too many incredible songs to exclusively choose one. Contradicting what I just said, I’m going to attempt pick two tracks as my favorite to follow GrizzlyGround's theme:
Favorite Tracks: “Tall Cans Hold Hands" and "Eggs in a Basket"
#3 Camp Howard by Camp Howard
This is the only album I listened to for about two weeks straight. I’m talking late nights in the darkroom to early mornings in the art studio and all the in-between moments when I crushed cans of green tea in my car trying to keep myself awake during finals week(s). It’s an easy album to listen to repeatedly-- especially while driving around at night. It’s bluesy, it’s grunge-y--
bottomline: it’s groovy.
Favorite Tracks: “Llorando Y Fumando” and “Heavy Blow”
#2 Puberty 2 by Mitski
First, the vocals are absolutely beautiful and the sound is unlike any other I’ve ever really heard before. Each track has a poetic narrative quality to it and is a stunning masterpiece. I'll also admit that this album emotionally snuck up on me. I found myself unexpectedly crying in public at one point during the first time I listened. However moments later, I was bumping my head to another track. This is album is incredible.
Favorite Tracks: "I Bet on Losing Dogs" and "Your Best American Girl"
#1. Cardinal by Pinegrove
This album has accompanied me through many experiences in my life, perhaps that’s why I love it so much. "Aphasia" calmed me down as I gripped the steering wheel driving through a wall of white fog over mountain tops. “Cadmium" was there for me as I sat on the curb in the dead of night outside of a gas station trying to slow my racing heart from chugging too much lukewarm coffee. “Old Friends” was my travel companion as I left my home in the mountains to arrive to my home by the sea, all before catching a bus to my new home in the city. “New Friends” recently consoled me because I realize how much I’m going to miss this city at the end of summer. I’m still going to be in love with it all when the summer ends. I’m going to miss late night walks through Little Italy, shows in Brooklyn, short interactions on the subway, quick exchanges between myself and the fun security guard in my building, and the genuine people I’ve met here.
“Size of the Moon” is here with me now as I write. It’s the Fourth of July and it’s raining. There’s this excerpt from this book I love that talks about fireworks in Manhattan on the 4th and I built up this moment because of it. I wanted this night to change me or to confirm something within myself that I already knew to be true. As I sit staring out of my window with my roommate by my side and “Waveform” playing in the background, I realize that it did. This night deviated from my expectations, but this is the only place I wanted to be-- looking outside of a foggy window in a sweaty room with no AC waiting for fireworks. Free of expectations.
I could go into the technicality of this album— that it blends all the styles of music I love. That I wish the lyrics were painted behind my eyelids, so I could read them even as I sleep. There is no point. I love this album. Period.