Not really in any order.
Run The Jewels 3 – Run The Jewels
It’s a Christmas Fucking Miracle and all I’ve been listening to for the past few days. Seems destined to be played heavily throughout 2017. Energizing as fuck.
Martyr Loser King – Saul Williams
Oh, NBD, just another fascinating, genre-hopping epic from Saul Williams, this time about a hacker in Burundi who becomes the titular figure. A graphic novel exploring the same overarching story is on the way, but focusing on another character who plays a notable role on this album. Works as a story or a collection of immediately arresting stand alone tracks.
Saul Williams’ is one of the first voices I turn to when I can’t make sense of the world anymore and this was one of the things I listened to in 2016 the very most.
Adore Life – Savages
Solid followup and subtle evolution from their stellar debut, Silence Yourself. Some of my favorite drums these days. Also a good substitute for caffeine if you’re stuck.
Brighton – The Shondes
Keeping it in the family over here. I can’t pretend to be objective, but I’ve definitely listened to this more than any other album in 2016 (except maybe the next entry). Definitely The Shondes strongest album ever, on balance. I particularly appreciate the lyrical development, so keenly focused and evocative, here. It’s hard to write real, adult love songs this genuine and moving, not to mention protest songs that are also love songs and vice versa. Let alone make ‘em all such earworms. Here’s the first video I directed for a song from it, more are coming:
Lemonade – Beyoncé
100% lives up to the hype which wasn’t hype, just recognition of a truly awesome piece of pop music art. Love this album, both the audio and visual, so, so hard.
Trans Day of Revenge – G.L.O.S.S.
I really enjoyed the fuck out of GLOSS and am selfishly bummed they broke up. Hope to hear more from the members in other contexts.
I can’t find a video for this ep but here’s a whole show!
Beware of the Dandelions – Complex Movements
Complex Movements is a Detroit-based arts collective exploring the intersections between complex science and social justice movements. Beware of the Dandelions is a traveling art installation. This album features music from the installation, and is a kind of sci fi hip hop epic tale featuring one of my all-time favorite rapper, Invincible/Ill Weaver. One of the most ambitious and enjoyable albums of the year, and one that could not be more timely.
Sevvin/Merrypocalypse – Jean Grae
Sevvin is a blissfully chilled out ep of grown up electronic tunes while Merrypocalypse is…pretty much exactly what it sounds like, but even funnier and catchier. Quelle Chris comes along to aid you through the holiday season (though really, some of these songs apply year round). I basically listened to this on a loop for a few days, there. Flask and sippy cup not included.
I can’t find videos from either of these, so here’s the underneathu video, cuz who doesn’t need a random ass excuse to watch that again:
Blonde – Frank Ocean
I don’t have my brain fully wrapped around this album yet. I don’t know how I think it stacks up to Channel Orange, which is still in semi-regular rotation on my iTunes and seems headed to fave-albums-of-all-time status, but it sure is still giving me a lot to chew on. It moves me, which means a lot.
Um, I can’t find anything other than reviews and “reaction videos” re: this album, so have a Frank Ocean/Beyoncé video from her self titled album. Why the hell not. I’m a nice lady:
Bruno Mars – 24K Magic
I don’t hate fun.