Best of 2016: 40-31

-40: Martha - Blisters In The Pit of My Heart

Thank god that enough time has passed since the pop-punk bandwagon boom that destroyed the genre for a while, because this is a brilliant, fun, moving collection of songs. The English accents help too. 

-39: Kishi Bashi - Sonderlust

K. Ishibashi takes his looping violin dance pop to a synthy 70's extreme and while not as cohesive as the last two, this has merit and I'd love to see him live again. 

-38: Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

After the lackluster "King Of Limbs" and a glitchy solo album I wasn't nuts about, this feels like a true return to form. Orchestral, but there is also finally some guitar back in the mix. 

-37: Islands - Taste / Should I Remain Here At Sea

Two albums? I group them, they have different vibes but nobody gets two slots on the best of. I prefer Should I Remain Here at Sea. A little mellower, a little moodier. 

-36: Woods - City Sun Eater in the River of Light

Woods keeps making Woods albums. I like this one- a lot of these songs could have been on With Light and With Love, but it does feel like they are finding ways to mix up the grooves a bit. 

-35: Robbie Fulks - Upland Stories

Robbie Fulks has his place in my list of pleasant americana, and though he never transcends a lot more than pleasantness, there is a particular warmth to a few of these songs that I think warrant a listen. Particularly the closer of the album. 

-34: Explosions In The Sky - The Wilderness

I think Mark T Smith learned a few new tricks from his side project "Inventions" that he's brought back to EITS, because this is the most refreshing album of theirs since their breakthrough. Less focus on chiming guitars and more on the broader soundscape, but still getting the occasional cathartic climax. Wish I had caught these guys live this time around. 

-33: Ryley Walker - Golden Sings That Have Been Sung

A beautiful and drifting set of songs reminiscent of Van Morrison. Vaguely psychedelic, but just kind of a mellow ride head nodder.

-32: Marisa Anderson - Into The Light

A beautiful collection of dreamy americana reminiscent of Zachary Cale. I put on a track to revisit for ranking and couldn't help but play the whole thing. 

-31: Cass McCombs - Mangy Love

I wasn't as enamored with this album as I was with "Big Wheel and Others", but in retrospect I think the sheer scale of that album led to me liking more songs. I like probably the same ratio of songs on this album, mostly in the first half, and it does have the same hazy flow. When a lot of music I like feels like it could be from the 70's, Cass tends to take that mood and build on it to make something thats wholly his.