Top 10 indie releases 2016

The year has nearly gone…to the majority it wasn’t a good year. And that is an understatement. Surely strange things went on: politics weren’t too great and we lost a lot valuable artists along the way. Was it a bad year for indie music? We have picked 10 of our favourites this year. An eclectic mix to say the least:

Estella Rosa’s top 5 :

ABLEBODY – ADULT CONTEMPORARIES:
A grown-up pop album with songs that will stand the test of time. Contains traces of my favourite lost bands like Prefab Sprout & China Crisis, but easily “stands” by itself as well. Well crafted pop-songs with a “wink” and a smile. Ablebody will go places! Watch them!
Fav track: Gaucho

HAZEL ENGLISH – NEVER GOING HOME EP:
The EP is a nice collection of Hazel‘s DIY creations to date. I can have her songs on repeat and never get bored. She creates the sort of preferred soundtrack to my life. Dreamy, pure, sunny and full of expectation.
Fav track: Control

PURO INSTINCT – AUTODRAMA:
The new Strawberry Switchblade!Sky and Piper are the embodiment of hazy-indie-dream-glitter-glam….I don’t mind the transition from dreamguitar to dreamelectro. But it would be nice if the next album could blend both. Where Hazel would represent my innocent side, Puro Instinct make the soundtrack to my weirder, darker side. I feel completely at home in both… For lovers of Tamaryn’s “Cranekiss
Fav track: Panarchy

KNOWER – LIFE:
Knower was the one band that totally blew my mind! I do not love or play all the songs on the album, but the ones I do love have string-sections that are out of this world, Louis Cole‘s super intricate powerdrumming, epic bass playing by Tim Lefebvre and Heavenly vocals by Genevieve Artadi. Life isn’t the same after hearing the orchestral part of “Cry Tomorrow/ Laugh Today“. I am seldom moved to tears but Cole has done the trick…. Knower defy all genre limits…Musical Serotonin!
Fav track: Real Thing

DAY WAVE – HARD TO READ EP:
Just top, super dreamy jangle-pop! That ray of light in the catalogue of indie music…we all need it sometimes. Road-movie soundtrack set in a sultry after-summer-scape. Jackson Phillips has a distinctive, signature sound that I absolutely adore…
Fav track : Gone

Wesley Breard’s top 5:

ALCEST – KODAMA:
Combines elements of pre-shoegaze post-punk (the Chameleons) with the atmosphere of their French blackened post-metal meets the mystique of a Hayao Miyazaki film. Add in the punchy-fuzzy pop of 90s stuff like the Smashing Pumpkins with a more delicate majesty than Billy Corgan could ever muster. A profound return to Alcest’s earlier BM roots. Like the last leaves of autumn falling silently in a purple sky onto a pond, sending gentle ripples outwards, hours before a winter storm.

SOLANGE – A SEAT AT THE TABLE:
My personal favorite among the many new albums of this year. I feel like not only is this one truly essential and important work of art, but one that stands and speaks for itself. It discusses politics, race, sexual tension and other very human topics in one big, sensual & groovy voice. She has been in her sister’s shadow for too long.

THE WASHBOARD ABS – HAVE YOU SCANNED YOUR CLUBCARD?:
Clarke crafts very elegant and melancholic, barren-yet-lush, folksy tunes that call to mind a cluttered old room, full of comfort and warmth yet devoid of joy in the wake of too many memories in visual range. Old lovers, past days, dead flowers, new loves yet to come.

LSD AND THE SEARCH FOR GOD – HEAVEN IS A PLACE:
I might be biased, I love this band and I’ve met them a few times, but this EP was a comeback we needed. Some argued that their first EP (self-titled) was a fairly typical shoegaze album; squealing guitars, whispering vocals, a wall of phasers seemingly shining like starlight, fast and lively drums. However the impact it has made on the scene since first impact has been, of course, stellar. And with their second release, we finally got our second dose of San Francisco’s best little opiate.

EH46 – METROPOLE DES ANGES:
JT Schweitzer wreathes together a rich sonic tapestry from his home in the woods of Big Bear. Long days spent staring at the twinkling lights millions of miles away from the planet. He takes his influences from groups like A Winged Victory for the Sullen and brings a similar neo-classical approach such as theirs to a greater, ambient palette. All individual sounds seem to glide in unison with each other, creating a greater texture that seems watery, kaleidoscopic and yet substantial enough to touch. This album evokes a good feeling of wandering, yet also inspires a want to just sit down, relax, and listen to it.

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