Basement – Promise Everything
There is no doubt that Promise Everything would be on this list. I have been a Basement fan since Songs About The Weather, and seeing the band transform over time has made my fangirl heart happy. Promise Everything is the first full-length release since Colourmeinkindness in 2012 before the band’s hiatus. The new album showcases the band’s grungier sound, matched with some mellow ballads like “Oversized” and “Halo” that give the album a great balance. I will be honest, when I first listened to the album I expected more songs similar to “Whole” and “Yoke,” but once I fully immersed myself and saw the new songs performed live, I felt much differently. I truly believe this is Basement’s finest work, and I certainly am not the only one to think so. All in all, this album is absolutely my favorite release of 2016, and I’m looking forward to much more music in the future from these guys.
Listen to: “For You The Moon”
Pinegrove – Cardinal
Cardinal may be the oddball on the list, but it certainly stands tall amongst many of the releases of 2016. With their powerful harmonies, lively instrumentals, and relatable lyrics, Pinegrove seems to fit within their own heavenly genre. The album has a great mixture of fast-paced jams like “Visiting” and some slow and emotional songs like “Aphasia.” What stuck out to me the most about Cardinal, aside from the beautifully unique vocals, was the way the album flows lyrically with “Old Friends” as its start and “New Friends” as its end.
Listen to: “New Friends”
Tancred – Out of the Garden
Jess Abbott (Tancred; Now, Now) is amongst many of the kick-ass female musicians that blessed the industry in 2016. Tancred’s release of Out of the Garden brought us female punk power complete with angsty lyrics and a hint of darkness. The instrumentals are punchy and her voice is striking, and each song carries its own energy. Whether I found myself yell-singing to “Pens” or pounding on the steering wheel to “Pretty Girls,” it is so easy to get lost in every song on the album. I, personally, consider this the best road-trip album of the year.
Listen to: “Pretty Girls”
Mat Kerekes – Luna & the Wild Blue Everything
As the calmest release on the list, Luna & the Wild Blue Everything is a perfect blend of somber and sweet. Mat Kerekes (Citizen) shows us a softer side that compliments Citizen’s heavier sound. Don’t get me wrong, Luna & the Wild Blue Everything has some upbeat songs like “Direction” and “The Means of (),” but the slower melancholic songs are what really captured me. Kerekes brilliantly showcases his vocal capabilities on this album. The expressive lyrics paired with the soothing instrumentals prove Kerekes’ to be a musical genius.
Listen to: “From None"
Like Pacific - Distant Like You Asked
As the cliché goes, Distance Like You Asked may be last on this list, but it is certainly not the least. To be truthful, Like Pacific caught me a little off guard with this release. I was expecting a great album from them, of course, but after listening to it front to back it had far exceeded my expectations. The album is extremely catchy and has a great sense of “flow.” With many of the newer pop-punk bands that have emerged from the scene, I find a lot of them merging together with songs that are far too similar. This is not the case with Like Pacific, as vocalist Jordan’s unique sound and their sentimental lyrics set them apart from the rest. What I love the most about this album is that it’s so hard to pick just one song to be “the song” to check out from this album because every song is a hit.
Listen to: “Richmond”
Knocked Loose – Laugh Tracks
Pity Sex – White Hot Moon
From States Away – Hypervigilant