For all of the dour 80's styles that are coming back, at least the dancy bright stuff is coming with it.
Best of 2016: 60-51
-60: Francis and the Lights - Farewell, Starlite
-59: A Giant Dog - Pile
Pure unadulterated sex, drugs, and rocknroll. A lively one!
-58: Jim James - Eternally Even
This is a dark, murky groover of an album.
-57: Sunflower Bean - Human Ceremony
Slightly dreamy simple indie rock / pop, reminiscent of Hospitality but less wishy-washy.
-56: Black Mountain - IV
Hazy, synthy, earthy, stonery, sometimes tender metal out of British Columbia.
-55: Mandolin Orange - Blindfaller
I'll admit at one point I wrote these guys off as a cutesy bluegrass duo that was pleasant enough to see live but not someone I'd listen to at home, but there's some really strong songwriting here.
-54: Marco Benevento - The Story of Fred Short
I bet this is a concept album of some kind. I didn't bother to explore, because even without the concept this is a fairly straightforward groover from the always experimental and generally bubbly Benevento.
-53: Daniel Lanois - Goodbye to Language
A beautiful collection of instrumental slide guitar. Somewhat experimental at times, the songs occasionally take left turns away from what my ear wants them to be, but this is a nice soundtrack to a nap or meditation if nothing else.
-52: 75 Dollar Bill - Wood/Metal/Plastic/Pattern/Rhythm/Rock
In a year that I listened to a lot of instrumental guitar albums, both "traditional" and "experimental", this one stands in a genre of its own. African rhythms, long-ass songs. If you like that, check this out.
-51: Nathan Bowles - Whole and Cloven
A spiritied banjo-focused set of americana that is impressive in a lot of ways and cohesive and worth your time.