[sic] Magazine

2016: The Half-Term Report

Call us old-fashioned, but you can’t surely do an annual write-up until December at the earliest (what’s with those lists that come out in September?!) and, by extension, you can’t do a half-yearly summary until June is at least near to coming to a close. How’s this year shaping up no matter? Just dandy, really. We say the same each year, but if you’re of the opinion music just isn’t as good as it used to be, you’re looking in the wrong place. You’ll no doubt have your favourites all the same. Mine are below.

Perennial [sic] chart toppers in the label category 4AD, Sacred Bones, Matador, Captured Tracks, Woodsist, Island and Castle Face once again find favour in the round-up, but more noteworthy are the newcomers in the shape of Because and Blow Your Mind.

A number of former favourites are back with a bang, too. PJ Harvey needs no introduction and her new socio-political statement stands powerfully in today’s volatile landscape, her busy blasts of jazzy noise rightfully turning many a head. Savages, too, upped their game, their new post-punker surpassing even the most optimistic of expectations. Keeping the indie-styled, psychedelic shoegaze end up, DIIV’s bewilderingly titled latest is also at least half excellent despite being overlong. At the other end of the musical spectrum, [sic] ever-presents Woods have unquestionably landed the summer album of the year with their most recent, deciding to throw some tremendously funky dub into their trademark psych-folk template. Another former favourite, Zig Zags, have also followed fire with fire, outright thrash raining down on garage-metal blows at every turn.

Equally stepping up their efforts from promising material to date, The Limiñanas have no doubt now turned in a career-best with their super-cool and cinematically psychedelic Malamore. The same is true of Daughter whose chilly post-rock continues to incorporate the best of indie-rock as it goes. Noise-rock is also, as usual, well catered for and comes this year courtesy of the gloriously unpleasant industrial manoeuvres of Pop. 1280, while shoegaze is spectacularly covered as well by Chile’s woozy Trementina. Last but far from least, Show Me The Body’s self-release may the surprise package of the lot as, like Death Grips, it finds a winning mid-point between Hardcore and Hip-Hop – even its brief concessions to Nu Metal sounding fresh and exciting.

While few real stinkers are yet to cross my path this year the less said about sub-par indie-rock of this year’s Birth Of Joy LP the better, and so too parts of that iffy Cian Nugent solo album. And, also in this camp, there was slight disappointment too in LNZNDRF’ middling indie-kraut, as well as with Søren Juul’s overly tasteful synth-pop adventures. Nevertheless, and with a teetering stack yet to appraise, it’s no surprise to report that 2016 is turning out to be yet another corker.

That list in full (no particular order – linked where reviewed):

Daughter Not To Disappear (Indie/Post-Rock) [4AD]

Woods City Sun Eater In The River Of Light (Psych-Folk/Dub-Funk) [Woodsist]

The Limiñanas Malamore (60s Psych/Soundtrack) [Because]

Show Me The BodyBody War (Hardcore/Hip-Hop) [S/R]

Pop. 1280Paradise (Noise-Rock/Industrial) [Sacred Bones]

TrementinaAlmost Reach The Sun (Shoegaze) [Blow Your Mind]

PJ HarveyThe Hope Six Demolition Project (Singer-Songwriter/Indie-Rock) [Island]

Zig ZagsRunning Out Of Red (Garage-Metal/Thrash) [Castle Face]

SavagesAdore Life (Post-Punk) [Matador]

DIIVIs The Is Are (Shoegaze/Indie-Psych) [Captured Tracks]

No longer a fan of the album format? Hear some of our tracks of the year so far too:

What’s been floating your boat? Let us know below.