BEST OF 2016 – The List

Albums of the year

  1. Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos (Caroline / Universal

“Let Them Eat Chaos” is a difficult album. It’s not an album that you can listen to when you’re in a rush, nor is it an album on which you can easily skip songs, or which you can listen to while you do your coursework. In fact, you can’t do anything else while listening to this album.
It requires attention. A lot of attention. Especially when it comes to the lyrics.

Kate Tempest has a lot to say. And she says it in a very clever way. While she tells the stories of her protagonists (each got his or her own song) she zooms in on one verse (“Esther’s in her kitchen, making sandwiches / The slats on her blinds are all wonky and skewed / You can see her from the street before she moves out of view”) and zooms out on the next one (“Europe is lost, America lost, London lost / Still we are clamouring victory / All that is meaningless rules”).

She manages to list everything that goes wrong in this world right now on this album. Issues that have been adressed a hundred times before, but when Kate Tempest sings and raps about them it feels like the first time and never sounds like a cliché. Maybe it’s because she does it in such an insistent, urgent way that leaves you with goosebumps and a sudden desire to change the world.

Kate Tempest already contributed a lot to that required change with this album – definitely my No. 1 this year!

  1. Angel Olsen – My Woman (Jagjaguwar)

There’s probably nothing Angel Olsen’s going to release in the near future, that will win my heart as much as her third album “Burn Your Fire For No Witness” did. Still, “My Woman” is something special. It lacks the fragile production of her former albums, which underlined her frail, intense voice so perfectly. Nevertheless her newest, poppier release still worships the gloomy sadness that lingers around all her songs. “Doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done, still got to wake up and be someone”. Yes, and Angel Olsen is being someone very extraordinary right now.

  1. Isolation Berlin – Und aus den Wolken tropft die Zeit (Staatsakt)

It’s been a while since I got excited for a german(-singing) band the last time. Trümmer, Wanda, the recent Bilderbuch stuff, etc. – none of that really spoke to me.
Isolation Berlin make up for that gap big time though.
Und aus den Wolken tropft die Zeit” is the perfect soundtrack for long, lonely winter walks and nights spent awake wallowing in self-pity and longing for lost love.
Lyrics that are sadder than a Balzac novel accompanied by soothing guitars and keyboard melodies that make you feel like it’s – after all – not that bad.
Clearly a treasure.

  1. Cat’s Eyes – Treasure House (RAF Records)

Also nothing less of a treasure is the predictively titled “Treasure House” by Faris Badwan’s and Rachel Zeffira’s band Cat’s Eyes. Released in June it reveals its true magic even more when you listen to it in the cold season. Harp sounds that drip down your skin like snowflakes on a silent winter’s day. Very magical.

  1. BADBADNOTGOOD – IV (Innovative Leisure / Rough Trade

I only just discovered this band recently and immediately fell in love with their jazzy electronic sound. One of the best discoveries of the year!

6. Fat White Family – Songs For Our Mothers (Fat Possum Records)

7. Preoccupations – Preoccupations (Flemish Eye/Jagjaguwar)

8. The Growlers – City Club (Cult Records)

9. Mild High Club – Skiptracing (Stones Throw Records)

10. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity (ATO Records)

Gigs of the year

  1. Thee Oh Sees // 23.08.2016 // Futurum Music Bar, Prague

Sometimes I get a little afraid that music might be losing a bit of its magic for me. That songs don’t move me as much as they used to and that gigs become a bit of a standard procedure with constantly receding excitement.
The Thee Oh Sees gig in Prague wiped all of those worries away though; I’d might even call it the best gig I’ve ever been to.

It was a sold out show and every single person in the audience was dancing. There were always at least 5 people crowdsurfing at once, people who randomly started to make out with the person next to them, stage invasions and people having the time of their lives, including me.

Madness! I wish more gigs were like that.

  1. Holy Wave / Holydrug Couple / The Oscillation // 19.03.2016 // La Maroquinerie, Paris

3 bands whose sets floated perfectly into each other, conjuring up a soothing, psychedelic haze. Heaven probably sounds like this!

  1. The View // 07.02.2016 // Chelsea, Wien

I’m not really a fan of any of the stuff The View have released after their second album “Which Bitch?”. And most of their fans probably feel the same way.

The View seem to have kind of realized that too, which would explain why their setlists recently include mostly songs of their first two albums.

And even though their records went kind of shitty, their live shows still burst with youthful vibrancy and songs like “Skag Trendy” and “Superstar Tradesman” still sound as relevant than ever.

  1. Peter Doherty // 03.01.2016 // White Trash, Berlin

I love the Libertines a lot. Everytime I try to remember when I had my first “musical enlightment”, the moment when I thought for the first time “yes! music it is! always and forever!” one of those moments that Lou Reed described so perfectly well in “Rock And Roll”, it’s this: I, thirteen years old, bought the second Libertines LP, out of curiosity and coincidence rather than intentionally. I turn it on, at first only for background music purposes. But then “Music When The Lights Go Out” comes on and I turn to the stereo, tears in my eyes, promising myself that I will never stop listening to this band who so fundamentally changed my life at this very moment.

However, it were always Pete’s solo gigs, rather than Libertines or Babyshambles gigs, that really left an impression on me. It was my ninth time seeing him live and it was magic all over again. He played for straight 4 hours until early in the morning, no setlist and tried to do every single song the audience wished for. We got all the classics and the hidden gems. I guess I’ll always hear the music! ❤

  1. The Underground Youth // 03.05.2016 // Arena, Wien

Wow. Just wow.

Photograph Angel Olsen: ©Amanda Marsalis

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