Local music heads pick their top albums of 2016

This week, we wrap things up and put a bow on this funky year. I know many that are more than happy to kick 2016 square in the ass and right out the door. Things were a bit nutty this year in every direction. The Cubs won the World Series. Good people are fighting to keep water safe and hold other people to their word. Portland now has a total of 14 parking spots in the entire city, and a football lacking air pressure dominated the news for months. And months. Oh, and what about that political race over the last year plus? What the heck did we do there?

I’m not sure about you all, but I know a lot of folks who lost people close to them. Husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters. One of my long time friends lost both of his parents in seven months. I felt like each day I swiped my phone, I saw tragic news. I suppose since we swipe more and more each day, we are exposed to more news like that. So, although it felt like it came on strong this year, maybe it was ... a normal year?

We all shared grief in the entertainment and music losses, and boy did those come steadily in 2016. Music wise, we were devastated every few weeks it seemed. David Bowie; Prince; Glenn Frey of the Eagles; Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire; Sharon Jones; Merle Haggard; George Michael; Phife of A Tribe Called Quest; Bernie Worrell; Greg Lake and Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (Lake also of King Crimson); Leonard Cohen; Leon Russell; ska/rocksteady legend Prince Buster, and the most important music producer of all time, the great Sir George Martin. Those are just a few, unfortunately.

So many think with the turn of the calendar page onto a new year that we’re going to be excused from future losses or maybe they’ll at least ease up a bit. Friends, I am a positive person and I love to see people filled with hope and promise for better things. However, next year probably won’t be “better” in terms of losses. We will lose more wonderful people from the music world and that’s just the way it is. Please, don’t shoot the messenger. I just don’t want us to think we’re jinxed or that 2017 totally sucks already when we lose our first artist. It is life! What we must take from this isn’t the sorrow of no longer having, but the savoring of what we had and how much joy it brought to us. Those memories can still bring us joy. Those albums can still bring us joy. We’re lucky we have them. Surely there will be more albums on the way to bring us more joy too. I hope. (insert confused, nervous Emoji face)

Until then, I asked a few local music-ish friends to share with us a few of their favorite albums from 2016. I said to give me three album picks. Some gave me one, some gave me five. That’s all good, though. I’m gonna start by bending the rule myself and give you 20 from me.

Because I’m close to the local scene and I host a radio show that features local music, I always tend to stay away from local on my year end lists. Can of worms. Ok, that’s all. Enjoy! Best of in the New Year to all!

Mark’s Top 20 (in no particular order)

Kristin Kontrol - X-Communicate
Big Jesus - Oneiric
A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here...

Cheap Trick - Bang, Zoom, Crazy... Hello

The Growlers - City Club

Run The Jewels - 3

Plague Vendor - Bloodsweat
Basement - Promise Everything
David Bowie - Blackstar
Beware of Darkness - Are You Real
The Monkees - Good Times
The Lemon Twigs - Do Hollywood
Bat For Lashes - The Bride
Violent Soho - Waco
Bob Mould - Patch The Sky
Whores - Gold
Against Me! - Shape Shift With Me
K.Flay - Crush Me
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Dissociation
The Lees of Memory - Unnecessary Evil

Jesse Gertz (Leveret)

Radiohead- Moon Shaped Pool

Frank Ocean - Blonde

Cornelius - Fantasma

Matt Cosby (Jeremiah Freed, photographer)

Kings of Leon - Walls

Drive By Truckers - American Band

Tegan and Sara - Love You To Death

Bon Iver - 22, A Million


Devin Temple (WCYY)

Bear Hands - You'll Pay For This

Kings of Leon - Walls

Band of Horses - Why Are You Ok

Rihanna - Anti


Chris Brown (Bull Moose)

Le Planete Sauvage (Fantastic Planet) Soundtrack

Aksak Maboul - Onze Danses pour Combattre Le Migrane

Fabio Fabor - Aquarium
*All were reissued on vinyl. Only one was ever available on CD.


Kim Warnick (The Fastbacks)

Full Toilet - I Disagree


Sasha Alcott (When Particles Collide)

Esperanza Spaulding - Emily's D-Evolution


Sam Ellis (The Restless Atlantic)

Saosin - Along the Shadow

PUP - The Dream Is Over

Lady Lamb - Tender Warriors Club


Kris Hype (Burning Time)

Thrice - The Be Everywhere, Is to Be Nowhere

Aaron Lewis - Sinner

Sick Puppies - Fury


McCrae Hathaway (State Theatre, Midwestern Medicine)

Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here...

Beyoncé - Lemonade

Marco Benevento - The Story of Fred Short

Margo Price - Midwest Farmer's Daughter

Dean Ween - The Deaner Album



Chance the Rapper - Coloring Book

Weezer - Weezer (The White Album)

Beyonce - Lemonade


Darrell Foster (Five of The Eyes)

Moon Tooth - Chromaparagon

Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D-Evolution

Vulfpeck - The Beautiful Game


Adam Ayan (Gateway Mastering)

Tegan and Sara - Love You To Death

A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here

David Bowie - Blackstar


Sonia Sturino (Weakened Friends)

Slingshot Dakota - Break

Dollys - Low Year

Sleeping Patterns - Toy Cars


Darren Elder (The Halo)

James Blake - The Color In Anything

Thrice - To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere

Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book


Peter McLaughlin (SPACE Gallery)

Big Thief - Masterpiece

Health&Beauty - No Scare

Wei Zhongle - Nice Mask Over an Ugly Face


Shawn Jeffrey “Facemelter” (Rock Rage Radio)

Revocation - Great Is Our Sin

Fates Warning - Theories of Flight

Killswitch Engage - Incarnate 

Last modified onTuesday, 27 December 2016 16:55