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Top 20 Albums & EPs Of 2016

From ska rock mastery to cathartic folk melodies.

13 Dec 2016 / Opinion / written by TATC Staff

This year was undoubtedly ruled by the debut release. With most artists having teasted the waters with a single release here and there, many finally took the plunge into a full release territory, and the results are spectacular. So, in no particular order, enjoy our best picks for this top notch year’s albums and EPs.

1. Sol Gems – Lapis Lazuli. This debut album exudes all the finest touches of languid reverb and pyschedlic melodies that have found their way onto commerical radio, and rightfully so. The soundtrack of your summer. Listen here. Tecla Ciolfi

2. Native Young – Kings. This is a memorable offering, peppered in palate-cleansing interludes, and laced in striking conversations the band recorded among themselves over the years, providing a strikingly unique look behind the band front as a backbone to the project. Listen here. Skye Mallac

3.  Ruby Gill – Older. intoxicatingly endearing and enchanting, the now Melbourne-based songsmith’s debut, double-sided full-length encompassed distinctly emotive and mature lyricism. With a persistent theme but altering temperaments, “Older” highlights Gill’s fiercely determined but simultaneously comforting disposition. Listen here. Timothy Kohler

4. Medicine Boy – Kinda Like Electricity. Andre Leo and Lucy Kruger set yet another significant cornerstone in their tight career schedules. Their project’s debut album showcases a sobering but impeccably heartfelt character centered around resolute themes: escaping complacency, and the conflict between pretense and authenticity. Listen here. Timothy Kohler

5. Dan Patlansky – Introvertigo. With an album that spans every conceivable style and genre of blues rock as we know it, what sets Patlansky apart is his ability to channel the immense chops of Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan while still maintaining his own signature style. The solo on ‘Queen Puree’ alone puts him in a league of his own. Listen here. Stian Maritz

6. ByLwansta – Your Absolutely Right. Broody, brutal and even more introspective, the Durbanite’s debut offering cries existential conflicts concerning morale, various pressures and just how hypocritical society can be. How he addressed his topics provokes listeners to question almost everything they’ve become nonchalantly comfortable with. Listen here. Timothy Kohler

7. Dangerfields – Embers. Dangerfield’s inaugural offering slips comfortably into this list as an atmospheric release void of pretence and the unalterable monotony post-punk outfits often fall susceptible to. “Embers” thereby pacifies listeners from within its slow and soothing spell across the sonic textures of a rich melodic landscape. Listen here. Marike Watson

8. Grassy Spark – Portal. It’s hard to think of a rising group that had a better year. The release of their melodically textured debut album served as a springboard that gave us some of the best album launches of 2016 and saw them open for ska gods UB40. Listen here. Tecla Ciolfi

9. Peasant – III: No Love. Peasant delivers a colossal EP of multi-faceted metal with “No Love”. In spite of a few lineup changes they’ve never sounded better, ably delivering on hardcore, thrash, and most of all slow and heavy riffage that nods to the masters at large, and Black Sabbath in particular. Listen here. Stian Martiz

10. Sean Koch Trio – Natural Projection. Fresh off the Kommetjie coast and already with two European tours under their belt, the Sean Koch trio are testimony that small towns breed talent. Five sun-sea-and-surf-soaked, feel-good anthems make up their debut EP, which is a polished summer playlist for the books. Listen here. Skye Mallac

11. Miagii – You’re Freaking Out Right Now. Disobedient and merry, the lineup that is Miaggi unexpectedly grasped many of us without any hint of haste with an aggressive, dense albeit earnest temperament. Full of mischievous guitar lines and a spherical, stoner-rock motive, Miagii’s debut is undoubtedly one of the country’s most thirst-quenching offerings of the year. Listen here. Timothy Kohler

12. WVV: Pulsar. This album recreates a cosmic expedition through the impression of an experimental sound that circumnavigates both mechanical and futuristic attributes. Its conceptualisation extends unto the development of the album’s sonic progression, injecting contemporary synth sensibilities with a cluster of fleeting genres in a comprehensive sonic design that sustains an inclusive value. Listen here. Marike Watson

13. Card On Spokes – As We Surface. This album channels varying pulses of electronica through an arrangement seeped within velvet and emotive jazz-soaked lines. ‘Journey To life’ as the record’s opener aptly titles its unravelling force, signalling its voyage of transcendental dancefloor sounds through the humble precision and skill Card On Spokes increasingly harbours. Listen here. Marike Watson

14. Alice Phoebe Lou – Orbit. From busking in Berlin, touring the world extensively this year, to dropping her debut full length album, Alice Phoebe Lou has gained her recognition in the most organic way possible. Orbit is a striking and multifaceted project, brimming in quiet power and cathartic musical stories. Listen here. Skye Mallac

15. Isochronous – Polydimension. Isochronous prove their ingenuity throughout the progressive depth of “Polydimension” as a record of technical and inimitable value. Their experimental play upon rhythm structures alone solidifies this stance, unearthing Isochronous’ latest offering as a task of return fruitfully conquered. Listen here. Marike Watson

16. Bateleur – Bateleur. This band’s eponymous full-length release leaps forward across the selected entries of this list as an anomaly of sonic agility where expectation is surpassed unreservedly. From this record emerges an explorative venture within both contemporary and classical fields, grasping experimentation as its guiding force in an offering ultimately of incomparable calibre. Listen here. Marike Watson

17. Well Done Sun – We Have Time. Although encompassing a multitude of contrasting facets, highlights include particularly intricate, jazz-esque lines amongst groovy rhythms, leaving an incredibly fulfilling trace. Listen here. Timothy Kohler

18. Beat Sampras: Beat Sampras. Beat Sampras’ self-titled release emerged rather quietly amidst the present proliferating local electronica field where subtlety harnessed a greater impact in their favour. Through strokes of soft synth, smooth guitar, and an accompanying hip-hop undercurrent resonates a languid feeling that typifies the composed and restful appeal of Beat Sampras’ eponymous debut. Listen here. Marike Watson

19. Hellcats – Coffin Full Of Hellcats Vol. 2. The Hellcats further established themselves as ambassadors of true DIY rock n’ roll with their second EP. Rautenbach’s ever-catchy riffs combine stoner rock and ‘70s influences, that, when paired with Benigno’s screaming, makes a volatile combination that takes you straight back to the good ol’ days. Listen here. Stian Martiz

20. Mobbing Bali – Credo.  Spearheaded by possibly one of the most underrated vocalists on the scene, Warren Vernon-Driscoll, this seven-track EP is an expertly balanced offering. Their sound is strikingly simple, primarily vocal-centric, and tends to explore the rather more intricately straightforward spectrum. Listen here. Skye Mallac