2016 has been a year filled with Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Donald Trump getting their ways, which is always going to be a terrible thing and not to mention losing Bowie, Prince and Alan Rickman.
Luckily though it has been a stellar year for music with established artists such as Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Green Day all bringing their A-game as well as the music scene being flooded with a whole host of immense talent from the likes of Yak, Hinds and Skinny Girl Diet all releasing incredible debut albums.
We have tried our very best at Smashed Vinyl to pick out the best albums of the year, all for your enjoyment.
Skinny Girl Diet - Heavy Flow (Jess Lynch)
When I first heard this album, I was really shocked yet relieved to find that it was so recent. I instantly made connections to the grunge era of Riot Grrrl bands and with vocals so intoxicatingly serpent-like it was like discovering Courtney Love and Hole for the first time. Much like Warpaint, they portray a sense of female empowerment in their music which I think is going to inspire a lot of girls to pick up an instrument. Skinny Girl Diet come with a bite, a kick and a punch and it's epic! Highlights include ‘Bored’, ‘Fix Me’ and ‘Eyes That Paralyse’.
Nick Cave - Skeleton Tree (Martha Cleary)
When Bowie released Blackstar, I couldn’t listen to the album the whole way through for weeks. I thought there wouldn’t be an album more haunting to be released this decade, never mind this year. Nick Cave has pointed out that most of the lyrics were written prior to the death of his teenage son in 2015, and yet it’s hard to listen to Skeleton Tree without unpicking it from the events that surround it. It’s not the lyrics of Skeleton Tree that haunt you, but Cave’s delivery; he sounds like a shattered, broken man who has suffered a great loss.
Turbulence - Broken Hands (Claire Thorn)
Full of hypnotic guitar riffs and UFO spacecraft like qualities, this album will surely blast you off into space. Echoing tunnels and jet engines replaced with paranoia, blessedness dreams and the bitter sweetness between life and death.
Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial (Ewan Atkinson)
The album is pumped full of anxiety with soothing yet jarring guitar riffs that portray the angst of the album perfectly. ‘Destroyed by Hippy Powers’ and ‘Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales’ are just two songs from the album that help give it the well deserved ranking of being a modern indie classic.
Shura - Nothing’s Real (Madelene Aldridge)
Shura has one of the most beautiful voices of 2016 and this is reflected in her powerful debut album Nothing’s Real.
Oscar – Cut and Paste (Joe Cadman)
From his bedroom studio Oscar crafts bittersweet guitar pop that’s perfect for a bright sunny day or a wasted day in bed wallowing in your own self-pity. ‘Cut and Paste’ blends breezy guitar pop with a sense of melancholy thanks to Oscar’s poignant, almost hopelessly romantic lyrics. However, the star of the show is Oscar’s silky baritone vocals. They’re like a comforting blanket you just want to wrap yourself up in and get all cosy, which coincidentally is the best place to listen to the album in full.