It's the final part of our albums of the year series, we hope you enjoyed our selections and hope you have a great Christmas and New Year!
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.
Julia Jacklin - Don't Let the Kids Win (Ewan Atkinson)
Julia Jacklin's debut album is (in this humble opinion) the best singer-songwriter of the decade, let alone the year. That is quite a bold statement, especially in year that also received Nick Cave's haunting 'Skeleton Tree' and Leonard Cohen's sublime 'You Want It Darker', but it is one I stand by. Julia's vocals are enchanting, the guitar is subtle yet mesmerising and the song-writing is on another level. It has it's perfect sorrowful moments of reflection that any good singer-songwriter needs but Julia Jacklin also brings in much a lighter and hopeful sound throughout the album. It's this mix that makes the album the masterpiece it is.
Yak – Alas Salvation (Joe Cadman)
Possibly one of the most volatile albums of the year, the London trio’s debut album arrived like a sledgehammer blow to the head. However, ‘Alas Salvation’ isn’t all about pummelling your senses into the ground as underneath the sludgy noise Yak create there are some serious melodies that tie the whole thing together. What’s most impressive though is how they have managed to bottle up the essence of their unhinged live shows into a 40-minute onslaught that constantly feels as if it’s about to teeter over the edge. Yak declared that they “came to save your bacon” on the title track and with Alas Salvation they have done just that.
Childish Gambino - “Awaken My Love!” (Claire Thorn)
Childish Gambino had gone through one hell of an amazing journey to find his sound and I think he’s now accomplished that with his new record “Awaken My Love!”. This record is a ride of serenity and absolute chaos of gospel, pulsing screams and soulful melodies.
Exploded View - Exploded View (Jess Lynch)
The fact that the album is entirely first take improvisations should be enough for you to stop what you're doing and have a listen. I came across this band when I discovered English/German singer, Anika. Her whirling, robotic vocals in her solo work are enhanced in Exploded View by the powerful and erratic rhythm of the band. After listening to the album, I instantly fell in love with the track One Too Many and how it represented the bands range and capability with sound and emotion. Highlights include ‘One Too Many’, ‘Disco Glove’ and ‘Gimme Something’.
Billy Bragg and Joe Henry – Shine a Light (Ewan Atkinson)
An album of railroad songs recorded across America on trains and at stations. Billy Bragg and Joe Henry’s vocals work perfectly together on this stripped back album.
Honeyblood - Babes Never Die (Madelene Aldridge)
The follow up to Honeyblood’s self titled debut album, Babes Never Die is a perfect fusion of girl power and punk rock.