So it’s finally here! After much anticipation, here is Nothing Left Unsaid’s ‘Best Albums of 2016 (So Far)’ list. All entries had to be released before the 1st of July of this year, so sorry ScHoolBoy Q and The Avalanches but you’ll have to wait until the end of the year. Also, as much as we love Kendrick Lamar’s Untitled Unmastered, we’re not including it in this list because we’re classing it as a compilation of sorts. But before we begin, here’s a selection of honourable mentions.
Blood Orange – Freetown Sound
Death Grips – Bottomless Pit
Savages – Adore Life
Skepta – Konnichiwa
YAK – Alas Salvation
The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It
10. Ulrika Spacek – The Album Paranoia
Kicking off our list is the debut record from London based quintet Ulrika Spacek. Featuring members of Reading based shoegazers Tripwires, The Album Paranoia pulls heavy from Krautrock, shoegaze and neo-psychedelia. For fans of TOY, this LP is one of this year’s essential listens.
9. James Blake – The Colour In Anything
After his 2013 Mercury Prize Award winning album Overgrown, James Blake surprised fans back in May when he unexpectedly released The Colour In Anything overnight. Featuring a stunning collaboration with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, The Colour In Anything will more than likely gain the post-dubstep luminary another deserved Mercury Prize Award nomination.
8. Wild Nothing – Life Of Pause
Following his incredible sophomore album Nocturne, Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing returned earlier in the year with latest effort Life Of Pause. Continuing his excellent form, Life Of Pause displays a musician who’s honing on his craft with positive results. Coated in lavish synths and shimming guitars, Life Of Pause is a record definitely worth checking out this summer.
7. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity
On their tenth release since 2011, King Gizzard set out on their most ambitious project to date. The premise of Nonagon Infinity is that it’s an album that never ends, meaning the final track leads directly into the album’s opener. This results in a non-stop psychedelic frenzy that drags you into a trippy black hole that can’t escape from. It’s fucking bonkers and we absolutely love it here at Nothing Left Unsaid.
6. FEWS – Means
At the start of the year, Nothing Left Unsaid wasn’t aware of FEWS. However after hearing their debut, we can’t get enough of them. This full throttle post-punk record is filled with tonnes of gorgeous melodies that have got us wanting more. For fans of DIIV, definitely check this out.
5. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
It’s always an exciting time when rumours start to spread of a new Radiohead album. A Moon Shaped Pool is the ninth studio album from Radiohead and it’ll be memorialised as one of their best. AMSP is a heartwrenching, powerful and emotive experience, but my god it’s beautiful. Featuring some tracks that had been penned by the band for a while but never properly released, True Love Waits dates back to 1995, this album has technically been years in the making and it’s breathtaking.
4. Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo
Described as “a living breathing changing creative expression” by Yeezy, West has made multiple changes to The Life Of Pablo album after its release. With the album now finishing with the track Saint Pablo featuring Sampha, it seems we may have final version of TLOP. And what an album it is. With features from Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean and Chance the Rapper, to name a few, TLOP was definitely worth the wait. Its fragmented nature and rush of various ideas gives us a glimpse into what it’s like inside West’s creative mind, while further showcasing how he will be remembered as one of the true musical greats.
3. DIIV – Is The Is Are
After months and months of uncertainty and doubt, DIIV finally released a follow up to their critically acclaimed debut Oshin. Returning with a double LP, DIIV recorded an album of two distinct halves. The first half being more akin to their debut, with tracks like Under The Sun and Out Of Mind jangling away like it’s 2012. Whilst the second half is much darker, with Mire (Grant’s Song) and Dust being a more twisted and pained affair. It’s a sonically stunning record and we absolutely love it.
2. Eagulls – Ullages
A sort of surprise at number 2 is Eagulls’ second album Ullages. Not that we doubted them or anything, we loved their self-titled debut, but we were totally blown away by this release. Developing their sound with beautiful melancholy landscapes, Eagulls have really made a wonderful record here. When the end of the year comes by, this LP will be regarded as one this year’s best. Plus, we absolutely adore their track Velvet (check it out below).
1. LUH – Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing
And the number one spot goes to LUH’s Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing. Project of Ellery James Roberts and Ebony Hoorn, the couple’s debut is the most inspiring and important record to be released this year. The world is dark and twisted place at the moment, but with LUH, we all might be able to find a sliver of solace and hope. Ellery’s calls to action, accompanied Ebony’s serene vocals, juxtapose each other brilliantly to create something that is truly powerful and unique. With incredible instrumentation and production, SSFLTS is the work of two people who strive for perfection. It just so happens that they achieved that and made our favourite record of this year (so far).