No Ripcord's Top Albums of 2016

No Ripcord's Top Albums of 2016

Original Source

50. Lambchop - FLOTUS

Lambchop - FLOTUS
November 4, 2016
Indietronica
Critic Score
81
20 reviews
User Score
72
67 reviews

FLOTUS is much more than another genre effort, where Wagner deeply alters his usual country bearings and gives it a new and unexpected orientation.

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49. Laura Mvula - The Dreaming Room

Laura Mvula - The Dreaming Room
June 17, 2016
Art Pop
Critic Score
77
9 reviews
User Score
74
41 reviews

Mvula has written a hypnotic record that provides a congenial embrace, but it also isn’t afraid to take bold action. A new star is most definitely born.

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48. Cymbals Eat Guitars - Pretty Years

Cymbals Eat Guitars - Pretty Years
September 16, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
83
11 reviews
User Score
77
94 reviews

In Pretty Years, the perennial late 90’s sounding rockers are stepping somewhat outside the box by introducing elements of heartland Americana and synth rock without turning away from their layered, guitar-heavy parts.

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47. Deakin - Sleep Cycle

Deakin - Sleep Cycle
April 8, 2016
Neo-Psychedelia
Critic Score
80
9 reviews
User Score
79
190 reviews

Sleep Cycle represents, and unintentionally so, a creative rebirth that goes against Animal Collective’s increasingly evanescent creativity. It took long enough, but the investment was worth it.

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46. Touché Amoré - Stage Four

Touché Amoré - Stage Four
September 16, 2016
Post-Hardcore
Critic Score
83
10 reviews
User Score
79
97 reviews

45. Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam - I Had A Dream That You Were Mine

Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam - I Had A Dream That You Were Mine
September 23, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
80
19 reviews
User Score
78
119 reviews

44. Whitney - Light Upon The Lake

Whitney - Light Upon The Lake
June 3, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
80
17 reviews
User Score
79
296 reviews

43. Wilco - Schmilco

Wilco - Schmilco
September 9, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
74
22 reviews
User Score
72
139 reviews

42. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Nonagon Infinity

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Nonagon Infinity
April 29, 2016
Psychedelic Rock
Critic Score
81
11 reviews
User Score
77
195 reviews

At first, it seemed as if King Gizzard’s stylistic motifs weren’t meant to be taken that seriously, but on their latest, Nonagon Infinity, the band wear their idiosyncrasies loud and proud.

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41. Jessy Lanza - Oh No

Jessy Lanza - Oh No
May 13, 2016
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
79
19 reviews
User Score
76
135 reviews

40. Huerco S. - For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)

Huerco S. - For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)
June 10, 2016
Ambient
Critic Score
82
7 reviews
User Score
79
76 reviews

Whereas Colonial Patterns hinted at an artist who maybe would’ve liked to get listeners to dance, Those of You wants to take our minds to a more serene place. It’s mesmerizing background music that doesn’t pass judgment if you let it take a secondary role in your daily life.

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39. White Lung - Paradise

White Lung - Paradise
May 6, 2016
Noise Rock
Critic Score
77
20 reviews
User Score
75
159 reviews

38. Minor Victories - Minor Victories

Minor Victories - Minor Victories
June 3, 2016
Shoegaze
Critic Score
69
16 reviews
User Score
74
60 reviews

Minor Victories predictably commingles lengthy passages and oodles of noise with a gothic insouciance, occasionally touching on slight shoegaze elements to deliver a coherently attractive voyage that tends to linger in its perpetual gloom.

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37. Nao - For All We Know

Nao - For All We Know
July 29, 2016
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
79
14 reviews
User Score
76
122 reviews

For All We Know is an extremely accomplished debut from a supremely talented artist ... Her emotional gradients are defined by her outstanding grasp on texturing both her voice and her electronics, and the production of the record allows this skill to come to the forefront of her debut.

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36. Sunflower Bean - Human Ceremony

Sunflower Bean - Human Ceremony
February 5, 2016
Neo-Psychedelia
Critic Score
73
15 reviews
User Score
74
58 reviews

Human Ceremony is an instinctive record, with the band more than happy to act on an impulse. The enthusiasm of the band is infectious, always remaining grounded but delightfully exploring their own infinite limitations.

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35. Swans - The Glowing Man

Swans - The Glowing Man
June 17, 2016
Post-Rock
Critic Score
78
17 reviews
User Score
80
182 reviews

34. Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book

Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book
May 13, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
85
22 reviews
User Score
77
532 reviews

33. A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service

A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service
November 11, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
86
23 reviews
User Score
84
395 reviews

32. Weezer - Weezer (White Album)

Weezer - Weezer (White Album)
April 1, 2016
Alternative Rock
Critic Score
73
21 reviews
User Score
74
206 reviews

In writing White Album, Cuomo stresses how he felt he hadn’t made a full-blown beach album, even though many would be quick to defend that Blue Album is the quintessential nineties surf rock album. But never has there been a theme attached to it, and in White Album, Weezer are dutifully following a similar pop template akin to The Beach Boys’ pre-psychedelia streak.

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31. Shura - Nothing's Real

Shura - Nothing's Real
July 8, 2016
Synthpop
Critic Score
79
16 reviews
User Score
77
160 reviews

30. Sarah Neufeld - The Ridge

Sarah Neufeld - The Ridge
February 26, 2016
Critic Score
72
12 reviews
User Score
71
27 reviews
The talent, confident and imagination on display throughout this album makes it a must-listen, a chance to let your mind wander and to lose yourself in an incredible plangency of strings.
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29. PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project

PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project
April 15, 2016
Alternative Rock
Critic Score
76
32 reviews
User Score
73
221 reviews

While the music remains as invigorating as ever, the subject matter has the most direct through line of her discography. If Let England Shake looks at conflicts both past and present from an afar, journalistic view, then this album is up-close and personal. The result mostly succeeds, though it's not without problems.

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28. DIIV - Is the Is Are

DIIV - Is the Is Are
February 5, 2016
Dream Pop
Critic Score
72
25 reviews
User Score
73
285 reviews

Is the Is Are is told with barefaced honesty, seen through the lens of a band that is reclaiming their capacities as a unit after their lead songwriter faced near self-destruction.

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27. Preoccupations - Preoccupations

Preoccupations - Preoccupations
September 16, 2016
Post-Punk
Critic Score
79
19 reviews
User Score
77
185 reviews

Preoccupations is a strong follow-up to an excellent debut record. It showcases a band that is evolving and finding new ways to stretch out their sound.

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26. The Avalanches - Wildflower

The Avalanches - Wildflower
July 8, 2016
Electronic
Critic Score
79
30 reviews
User Score
78
362 reviews

Wildflower is simply a joy, an euphonious hour-long journey that exists in some wonderfully naive and blissful alternate universe. It’s an aural paradise you’ll never want to leave.

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25. case/lang/veirs - case/lang/veirs

case/lang/veirs - case/lang/veirs
June 17, 2016
Folk
Critic Score
80
20 reviews
User Score
77
107 reviews

24. Frank Ocean - Blonde

Frank Ocean - Blonde
August 20, 2016
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
86
33 reviews
User Score
85
788 reviews

There’s a reason why this could be considered his attempt at writing an album akin to Sgt. Pepper: as Ocean consciously sets a very clear tone with some intrepid experimentation, he finds to way to put the focus almost entirely on thought-provoking sentiments.

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23. Blood Orange - Freetown Sound

Blood Orange - Freetown Sound
June 27, 2016
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
81
27 reviews
User Score
80
321 reviews

It’s a collection of unsightly surveillances expressed in a magnificent manner, and the work of a man more than capable of out-creating himself.

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22. Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.
March 4, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
84
26 reviews
User Score
81
647 reviews

The tracks don’t have the cinematic grandeur of those that made that album, but the dark, stalking hypnosis of the ‘untitled’ tracks that didn’t make the cut only serve to further display Lamar’s stratified, multi-faceted genius.

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21. Shearwater - Jet Plane and Oxbow

Shearwater - Jet Plane and Oxbow
January 22, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
78
14 reviews
User Score
70
83 reviews

20. Parquet Courts - Human Performance

Parquet Courts - Human Performance
April 8, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
82
27 reviews
User Score
77
326 reviews

Cut for cut, this is a triumph of melody and intelligence, with hooks that aren't cute and noise that doesn't dampen introspection, cosmic and prosaic at the same time. Parquet Courts have conquered rock 'n' roll's biggest hurdle: to move forward while staying true to themselves.

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19. Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker

Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker
October 21, 2016
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
87
19 reviews
User Score
82
220 reviews

18. James Blake - The Colour in Anything

James Blake - The Colour in Anything
May 6, 2016
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
79
25 reviews
User Score
78
498 reviews

His voice is peerless, quietly adapted to his world of minimalist beats and ghostly electronics. The effect is stark, and intensely compelling. At 17 tracks long, this is a listen that plumbs substantial depths, but in Blake’s world, time ceases to be a constraint.

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17. Wild Beasts - Boy King

Wild Beasts - Boy King
August 5, 2016
Art Pop
Critic Score
74
25 reviews
User Score
68
111 reviews

Its songs churn out their most muscular grooves yet, leaving a trail of testosterone in their wake.

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16. Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate

Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate
July 15, 2016
Soul
Critic Score
83
17 reviews
User Score
79
160 reviews

15. Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch

Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch
September 30, 2016
Art Pop
Critic Score
82
20 reviews
User Score
77
181 reviews

14. Bat For Lashes - The Bride

Bat For Lashes - The Bride
July 1, 2016
Art Pop
Critic Score
76
31 reviews
User Score
73
154 reviews
Yes, a concept album is difficult to pull off in the best of circumstances, but damn does Khan sell it. By letting the music guide the narrative, not the other way around, she (mostly) avoids the storyboard pitfalls that plague other such endeavors. It also helps that Khan's never sounded better. She hits that sweet spot between power and control that dazzles but doesn't overwhelm.
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13. ANOHNI - Hopelessness

ANOHNI - Hopelessness
May 6, 2016
Art Pop
Critic Score
81
27 reviews
User Score
78
426 reviews
While her work with Antony has mostly embraced a spiritual softness, her newfound defiance with her new moniker Anohni is just as vulnerable, except that she’s now communicating those bare emotions with a cold and uncompromising eye. What hasn’t changed, however, is that voice, a powerful vibratto that can tug into one’s deepest emotions with the most sensible and unpresuming touch.
Full Review →

12. Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition

Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition
September 27, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
83
29 reviews
User Score
85
473 reviews

11. Savages - Adore Life

Savages - Adore Life
January 22, 2016
Post-Punk
Critic Score
79
33 reviews
User Score
74
313 reviews

While Savages have upped their game in terms of song craft in Adore Life, starting with the impeccable instrumentation, it doesn’t always favor the task at hand.

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10. Kanye West - The Life of Pablo

Kanye West - The Life of Pablo
February 14, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
79
32 reviews
User Score
76
921 reviews

9. Solange - A Seat at the Table

Solange - A Seat at the Table
September 30, 2016
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
86
23 reviews
User Score
83
463 reviews

A Seat at the Table is intensely rich and gracious in its candor, so much so that it’s quieter, painstakingly personal moments are every bit as robust as direct aggression.

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8. Mitski - Puberty 2

Mitski - Puberty 2
June 17, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
86
24 reviews
User Score
80
402 reviews

Mitski’s boldness is hugely impressive, and couple that with the fact the record is so expertly mixed and edited, she has produced one of the year’s more complete LPs.

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7. Angel Olsen - My Woman

Angel Olsen - My Woman
September 2, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
86
30 reviews
User Score
82
496 reviews

What makes My Woman great isn't the new synths or the rockier tone. It's Olsen herself, filling these songs with the love, desire, anguish and acceptance that comes from her perspective as a woman.

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6. Beyoncé - Lemonade

Beyoncé - Lemonade
April 23, 2016
R&B
Critic Score
89
30 reviews
User Score
80
762 reviews

5. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial

Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
May 20, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
82
20 reviews
User Score
82
460 reviews

It’s the adequate album to write when you’re on a quest to become something, later to realize that you’ve no idea how to carry on fulfilling that need. It’s a transition that Toledo perfectly captures, one that he’s relieved to have outgrown.

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4. Bon Iver - 22, A Million

Bon Iver - 22, A Million
September 30, 2016
Art Pop
Critic Score
88
33 reviews
User Score
81
676 reviews

These songs are chaotic, unexpected and jarring. Samples, vocoders, and shambling synths crash together in an unstructured soundscape. But if you listen through the anarchy, you will find a stirring, masterful odyssey.

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3. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
May 8, 2016
Art Rock
Critic Score
87
34 reviews
User Score
86
1003 reviews

With A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead didn't reinvent the wheel, but instead crafted an emotionally resonant, musically unexpected and richly rewarding album.

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2. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree
September 9, 2016
Art Rock
Critic Score
90
27 reviews
User Score
84
451 reviews

Skeleton Tree is the sound of feeling and not expressing sorrow. It’s something unexplainable, a feeling you can’t quite place into words when you’re still decompressing.

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1. David Bowie - Blackstar

David Bowie - Blackstar
January 8, 2016
Art Rock
Critic Score
85
33 reviews
User Score
85
867 reviews
It’d be quite the impenetrable send off were this the end of his career, but as he’s proven time and time again, it always feels like he’s got something else to prove regardless of the time it takes him to get there.
Full Review →
Original Source: http://www.noripcord.com/features/top-albums-2016

MORE 2016 YEAR END LISTS:


MORE YEAR END LISTS FROM NO RIPCORD:


Check out our 2016 Year End Summary.