No Ripcord's Top Albums of 2016

No Ripcord's Top Albums of 2016

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50. Lambchop - FLOTUS

November 4, 2016
Critic Score
81
21 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.

49. Laura Mvula - The Dreaming Room

June 17, 2016
Critic Score
77
9 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.

48. Cymbals Eat Guitars - Pretty Years

September 16, 2016
Critic Score
82
11 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.

47. Deakin - Sleep Cycle

April 8, 2016
Critic Score
80
9 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.

43. Wilco - Schmilco

September 9, 2016
Critic Score
73
22 reviews

42. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Nonagon Infinity

April 29, 2016
Critic Score
81
11 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.

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

June 10, 2016
Critic Score
83
7 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.

38. Minor Victories - Minor Victories

June 3, 2016
Critic Score
70
16 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.

37. Nao - For All We Know

July 29, 2016
Critic Score
79
15 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.

36. Sunflower Bean - Human Ceremony

February 5, 2016
Critic Score
73
15 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.

32. Weezer - Weezer (White Album)

April 1, 2016
Critic Score
73
21 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.

30. Sarah Neufeld - The Ridge

February 26, 2016
Critic Score
72
12 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.

29. PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project

April 15, 2016
Critic Score
76
33 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.

28. DIIV - Is the Is Are

February 5, 2016
Critic Score
71
26 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.

27. Preoccupations - Preoccupations

September 16, 2016
Critic Score
79
19 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.

26. The Avalanches - Wildflower

July 8, 2016
Critic Score
79
31 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.

24. Frank Ocean - Blonde

August 20, 2016
Critic Score
86
35 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.

23. Blood Orange - Freetown Sound

June 27, 2016
Critic Score
79
28 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.

22. Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.

March 4, 2016
Critic Score
84
27 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.

20. Parquet Courts - Human Performance

April 8, 2016
Critic Score
82
27 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.

18. James Blake - The Colour in Anything

May 6, 2016
Critic Score
79
25 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.

17. Wild Beasts - Boy King

August 5, 2016
Critic Score
74
25 reviews

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

15. Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch

September 30, 2016
Critic Score
82
21 reviews

14. Bat For Lashes - The Bride

July 1, 2016
Critic Score
76
31 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.

13. ANOHNI - Hopelessness

May 6, 2016
Critic Score
79
27 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.

11. Savages - Adore Life

January 22, 2016
Critic Score
80
33 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.

9. Solange - A Seat at the Table

September 30, 2016
Critic Score
87
25 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.

8. Mitski - Puberty 2

June 17, 2016
Critic Score
85
25 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.

7. Angel Olsen - My Woman

September 2, 2016
Critic Score
86
32 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.

6. Beyoncé - Lemonade

April 23, 2016
Critic Score
90
32 reviews

5. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial

May 20, 2016
Critic Score
82
21 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.

4. Bon Iver - 22, A Million

September 30, 2016
Critic Score
87
35 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.

3. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

May 8, 2016
Critic Score
87
36 reviews

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

2. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree

September 9, 2016
Critic Score
89
29 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.

1. David Bowie - Blackstar

January 8, 2016
Critic Score
85
35 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.
Original Source: http://www.noripcord.com/features/top-albums-2016
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