Best of 2016: 30-21

-30: Thao and the Get Down Stay Down - A Man Alive

This was the first Thao thing I ever got successfully into. It's definitely frenetic but just this side of too frenetic, especially when the hooks come in.

-29: Oddisee - The Odd Tape

An always eclectic and bumping mix of instrumentals from Oddisee. Put this on when cleaning your house or driving around or something. 

-28: Cian Nugent - Night Fiction

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out where I stood on this album. Ultimately his Kurt Vile-esque singing-style and sprawling guitar playing became a cohesive and a pleasing generally mellow listen (aside from the heavy parts of Year of the Snake). Worth a spin if you like things that sound like how I described it. 

-27: Open Mike Eagle - Hella Personal Film Festival

Mike Eagle waxes poetic on life in the modern world. Refreshing, insightful, fun, often danceable thanks to Paul White's production. I think this is his best album yet, can't wait for the return of his podcast. 

-26: Cave Singers - Banshee

Earnest without being mopey, foot stomping without being Mumford-y, this is an organic and straightforward approach to folk rock that keeps the energy up.

-25: Steve Gunn - Eyes On The Lines

Elements of rootsy psychedelia abound but mostly this is just a groover of an album. Good one for a long drive on a boring freeway. 

-24: Basia Bulat - Good Advice

Part of me misses the stripped-bare autoharp/vocals combo of her early albums but this is growth and growth is good. These are big pop songs filled with life and soul and I'm excited to see where she goes next. 

-23: Big Thief - Masterpiece

This is a fantastic combination of heartbreaking singer-songwriter stories and hooky rocknroll that keeps bringing me back. Far from distracting from the storytelling, the driving music behind it keeps it interesting and focused and meaningful.

-22: Anderson.Paak - Malibu

This album took the world by storm this year I feel like, and rightfully so. It's a soulful, innovative groover from one of hip-hop's great new thought leaders.

-21: Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial

Last year's "Teens of Style" didn't quite crack my top 50, but this to me feels like a lot more of a cohesive statement of an album, and the production and songwriting have been taken up a notch. If you like Japandroids / Cloud Nothings other great cathartic indie rock, check it out.