Best of 2016: 70-61

-70: Nels Cline - Lovers

Put this on if you want to feel sophistocated during a classy dinner party or something. Longtime Wilco guitarist covers Great American Songbook standards along with a few originals. 

-69: Damien Jurado - Visions of Us On The Land

This album has a vaguely western flair to it, that I think its more in the songwriting than the instrumentation. Kind of subdued and longing, not boring, but sort of searching in an expanse. 

-68: Tushka - Tushka

I've been waiting for a new Bowerbirds album for a few years now, but this electronic spin-off comes close enough to tide me over. 

-67: The Album Leaf - Between Waves

I wasn't nuts about the few tracks he sang on, but the instrumentals still evoke mood and sometimes shine and anything by Jimmy LaValle is generally worth your time. 

-66: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - EARS

I'll be straight with you - this album is weird as hell. Pretty "sound-scape"y, not a lot to hold on to, kind of got a electronic nature vibe going on. It's definitely interesting. A positive review should have a "but" after those statements, and I feel positively so I'll say...BUT, it's surprisingly listenable for that description.  

-65: Daniel Bachman - S/T

His previous album got a little too dissonant for me, but this is a nice pastoral (but still experimental) finger picking journey. 

-64: Hope Sandoval and the Warm Intentions - Until The Hunter

I'm late to the Mazzy Star game, and this apparently isn't even Hope Sandoval's first solo album, but it's a breezy romp as expected featuring a nice duet with KV.

-63: Chuck Johnson - Velvet Arc

As I springboard off of William Tyler into the world of instrumental guitar performance, I find a lot of guys like this, but few of them have the warmth along with the technical skill that Chuck Johnson has. Title track is a winner. 

-62: ANOHNI - HOPELESSNESS

This was super political and itense but laser-focused and pretty brilliant. Antony's voice is, as always, transcendent. 

-61: Kanye West - The Life of Pablo

At this point, the music can't be separated from the man, and it suffers for that. It's a messy moonshot of an album that doesn't always deliver, but Ultralight Beam got played on repeat for a few weeks there when I needed headspace.