End of Year List, Music

LJR Music’s 2016 End-of-Year Spectacular

Happy New Year!  I’ve spent the last week of the year reliving the year in music. I’m proud to share with you my favorite albums and the best alternative music had to offer in 2016.

As usual, the albums are listed in order with my favorite listed first, so if you are short on time stick to the top of the lists. The albums are also grouped by one of three ratings: gold star , silver star ★ and bronze star . You will also find the genres listed first so you can skip over types of music that don’t interest you.

My taste in music continues to be a little offbeat, so open your mind and turn up the volume.

Goodbye 2016!

Spotify Playlist – Best of 2016 Highlights
Spotify Playlist – Best of 2016 Deep Cuts
Apple Music Playlist – Best of 2016 Highlights
Apple Music Playlist  – Best of 2016 Deep Cuts


Freetown Sound Blood Orange – Freetown Sound

  • Alternative Dance
  • London, England
  • Highlights: Best to You, Augustine, Hadron Collider, E.V.P.
  • Deeper Cuts: Desiree, Better Than Me, Hands Up, But You, Thank You, Juicy 1-4, Squash Squash, I Know


Emilys devolution★ Esperanza Spalding – Emily’s D+Evolution

  • Art Rock, Experimental Rock, Jazz
  • Portland, OR; New York, NY
  • Highlights: Earth To Heaven, One, Unconditional Love
  • Deeper Cuts: Rest In Pleasure, Elevate or Operate, Change Us


For All We Know★ Nao – For All We Know 

  • Electronic, Alternative R&B
  • London, England
  • Highlights: Bad Blood, Fool to Love, Girlfriend
  • Deeper Cuts: Adore You, Trophy, Get to Know Ya, In the Morning, Dywm, Happy, Inhale Exhale


my-woman★ Angel Olsen

  • Pop/Rock Indie Singer-Songwriter
  • St Louis, MO; Chicago, IL
  • Highlights: Shut Up Kiss Me, Intern, Sister
  • Deeper Cuts: Never Be Mine, Give It Up, Heart Shaped Face, Woman, Those Were The Days


Moon Shaped Pool★ Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

  • Pop/Rock Indie, Brit Pop
  • Oxyford, England
  • Highlights: Burn the Witch, Daydreaming, Decks Dark
  • Deeper Cuts: Present Tense, True Love Waits, Ful Stop, Desert Island Disk, Identikit


22-a-million★ Bon Iver –  22, A Million

  • Wisconsin
  • Pop/Rock Indie, Singer-songwriter, Experimental
  • Highlights: 33 “GOD”, 29#Strafford APTS, 22 (OVER S∞∞N)
  • Deeper Cuts: 8 (circle), 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄, 715 – CR∑∑KS, 00000 Million, 666 ʇ


Human Performance★ Parquet Courts –  Human Performance

  • Texas; Brooklyn, NY
  • Indie Pop/Rock, Punk Revival
  • Highlights: Berlin Got Blurry, Dust, Human Performance
  • Deeper Cuts: Outside, One Man No City, Captive of the Sun, Keep It Even


puberty-2★ Mitski – Puberty 2

  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Pop/Rock Indie
  • Highlights: Your Best American Girl, Happy
  • Deeper Cuts: I Bet on Losing Dogs, Fireworks, Thursday Girl, Dan the Dancer


singing-saw★ Kevin Morby – Singing Saw

  • Pop/Rock Folk, Singer-Songwriter
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Highlights: I Have Been to the Mountain, Dorothy
  • Deeper Cuts: Cut Me Down, Singing Saw, Drunk and On a Star


awaken-my-love Childish Gambino – “Awaken, My Love!”

  • Alternative R&B
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Highlights: Redbone, Me and Your Mama
  • Deeper Cuts: California, Zombies, Boogieman, Riot, The Night Me and Your Mama Met


gameshow Two Door Cinema Club – Gameshow

  • Pop/Rock New Wave Revival
  • Ireland
  • Highlights: Are We Ready? (Wreck), Bad Decisions
  • Deeper Cuts: Lavender, Ordinary, Fever, Gameshow


Teens of Denial★ Car Seat Headrest –  Teens of Denial

  • Pop/Rock Indie
  • Virginia
  • Highlights: Fill in the Blank, Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales
  • Deeper Cuts: Vincent, 1937 State Park


Adore Life★ Savages – Adore Life

  • Pop/Rock Indie, Post-Punk Revival
  • London, England
  • Highlights: Adore, The Answer
  • Deeper Cuts: TIWYG, Evil, Sad Person


i-had-a-dream-that-you-were-mine★ Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam –  I Had A Dream That You Were Mine

  • Pop/Rock Indie, Singer-songwriter
  • Leithauser: Washington D.C.; New York City, NY; Los Angeles, CA / Rostam: New York City, NY; Los Angeles, CA
  • Highlights: In a Black Out, A 1000 Times
  • Deeper Cuts: When the Truth Is . . ., Rough Going (I Don’t Let Up), Sick as a Dog, 1959


case:lang:veirs★ case/lang/veirs – case/lang/veirs

  • Singer-songwriter, Indie Folk
  • Virginia/Alberta, Canada/Colorado
  • Highlights: Atomic Number, Honey and Smoke
  • Deeper Cuts: Song for Judee, Delirium, Greens of June, Behind the Armory, Best Kept Secret, 1,000 Miles Away, Supermoon, I Want to Be Here, Why Do We Fight, Georgia Stars


Moth★ Chairlift – Moth

  • Electronic, Synth Pop
  • Boulder, CO and Brooklyn, NY
  • Highlights: Moth to the Flame, Ch-Ching
  • Deeper Cuts: Romeo, Polymorphing, Crying In Public, Show U Off


SVIIB★ School of Seven Bells – SVIIB

  • Electronic, Dream Pop
  • New York, NY
  • Highlights: Open Your Eyes, Ablaze
  • Deeper Cuts: On My Heart, A Thousand Times More


Emotions and Math★ Margaret Glaspy – Emotions and Math

  • Singer-songwriter, Blues Rock, Indie Folk
  • California, New York
  • Highlights: Emotions and Math, Somebody to Anybody
  • Deeper Cuts: You and I, No Matter Who, Love Like This, Memory Street, You Don’t Want Me


little-seeds★ Shovels & Rope – Little Seeds

  • Pop/Rock Folk
  • South Carolina
  • Highlights: I Know, Botched Execution,
  • Deeper Cuts:  St. Anne’s Parade, Invisible Man


running-out-of-love★ The Radio Dept – Running Out of Love

  • Electronic, Alternative Dance, Dream Pop
  • Sweden
  • Highlights: Swedish Guns, Occupied
  • Deeper Cuts: Sloboda Narodu, We Got Game, This Thing Was Bound To Happen, Committed To the Cause


The Dreaming Room★ Laura Mvula – The Dreaming Room

  • Singer-Songwriter
  • Birmingham, England
  • Highlights: Phenomenal Woman, Kiss My Feet
  • Deeper Cuts: Let Me Fall, Show Me Love, , Lucky Man, People, Ready or Not


Fading Lines★ Amber Arcades – Fading Lines

  • Dream Pop
  • Holland
  • Highlights: Fading Lines, Turning Light
  • Deeper Cuts: Right Now, Come with Me, Constant’s Dream, I Will Follow, Perpetuum Mobile


Big Black Coat Junior Boys – Big Black Coat

  • Electronic, Synth Pop
  • Ontario, Canada
  • Highlights: Over It, Big Black Coat
  • Deeper Cuts: You Say That, Baby Give Up On It, What You Won’t Do For Love, And It’s Forever


blackstar★ David Bowie – Blackstar

  • Pop/Rock Indie, Experimental Rock, Art Rock, Jazz
  • England
  • Highlights: Lazarus
  • Deeper Cuts: Blackstar, ‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore, I Can’t Give Everything Away, Girl Loves Me, Dollar Days


blond★ Frank Ocean – Blond

  • New Orleans, LA
  • Alternative R&B
  • Highlights: Pink + White, Ivy
  • Deeper Cuts: Nikes, Nights


Love & Hate★ Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate

  • R&B, Singer-Songwriter
  • London, England
  • Highlights: Love & Hate, Black Man In A White World
  • Deeper Cuts: One More Night, Cold Little Heart, I’ll Never Love


wildflower★ The Avalanches – Wildflower

  • Electronic, Alternative Dance
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Highlights: Frankie Sinatra, Subways
  • Deeper Cuts: Because I’m Me, Colours


The Colour in Anything★ James Blake – The Colour In Anything

  • Indie Electronic
  • London, England
  • Highlights: Radio Silence, I Need a Forest Fire
  • Deeper Cuts: The Colour in Anything, I Hope My Life, FOREVER


Oh No★ Jessy Lanza – Oh No

  • Electronic, Club Dance
  • Hamilton, Ontario Canada
  • Highlights: It Means I Love You, VV Violence
  • Deeper Cuts: Never Enough, I Talk BB, Going Somewhere, Vivica


how-to-be-a-human-being★ Glass Animals – How To Be A Human Being

  • Pop/Rock Indie
  • Oxfordshire, England
  • Highlights: Life Itself, Youth
  • Deeper Cuts: Season 2 Episode 3, Mama’s Gun, Agnes


The Bride★ Bat For Lashes – The Bride

  • Indie Rock, Experimental Rock
  • London, England
  • Highlights: In God’s House, Sunday Love, I Do, Honeymooning Alone, I Will Love Again, In Your Bed
  • Deeper Cuts: Joe’s Dream, I Do, Honeymooning Alone, If I Knew, I Will Love Again, In Your Bed


Synthia★ The Jezabels – Synthia

  • Pop/Rock Indie
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Highlights: Pleasure Drive, Come Alive
  • Deeper Cuts: My Love Is My Disease, Stand and Deliver, Unnatural


stranger-to-stranger★ Paul Simon – Stranger to Stranger

  • Singer-songwriter
  • New Jersey, New York
  • Highlights: The Werewolf
  • Deeper Cuts: Wrist Band, Stranger to Stranger, Street Angel, Proof of Love, The Riverbank, Cool Papa Bell


Need Your Light★ Ra Ra Riot –  Need Your Light

  • Pop/Rock Indie, Chamber Pop
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Highlights: Absolutely, Water
  • Deeper Cuts: Foreign Lovers


★ C Duncan –  The Midnight Sunthe-midnight-sun

  • Dream Pop
  • Scotland
  • Highlights: Wanted to Want It Too, Other Side
  • Deeper Cuts: On Course, Nothing More


Potential★ The Range – Potential

  • Electronic, Experimental Techno
  • Providence, RI; Brooklyn, NY
  • Highlights: Florida, Copper Wire
  • Deeper Cuts: Retune, Falling Out of Phase, Superimpose, Regular


citizen-of-glass★ Agnes Obel – Citizen of Glass

  • Pop/Rock Chamber Pop
  • Denmark
  • Highlights: Familiar, Stretch Your Eyes
  • Deeper Cuts: It’s Happening Again, Golden Green, Red Virgin Soil, Grasshopper


i-remember★ AlunaGeorge –  I Remember

  • Electronic, Club Dance
  • London, England
  • Highlights: I’m In Control, Automatic
  • Deeper Cuts: Not Above Love, Mean What I Mean, I Remember


Are You Serious★ Andrew Bird – Are You Serious

  • ElleSinger-Songwriter, Indie Folk
  • Chicago, IL
  • Highlights: Roma Fade, Left Handed Kisses
  • Deeper Cuts: Capsized, Valleys of the Young


schmilco★ Wilco – Schmilco

  • Pop/Rock Indie
  • Chicago, IL
  • Highlights: If I Ever Was a Child, Someone to Lose
  • Deeper Cuts: Locator, Normal American Kids, Common Sense, Cry All Day


nothings-real★ Shura – Nothing’s Real

  • Dance Pop
  • Manchester, England
  • Touch, 2Shy, Indecision, Make it Up, What’s It Gonna Be, Touch (Four-Tet Remix)


not-to-disappear★ Daughter – Not To Disappear

  • Pop/Rock Folk
  • London, England
  • Highlights: Doing The Right Thing, Numbers
  • Deeper Cuts: New Ways, How


Life of Pause★ Wild Nothing – Life of Pause

  • Pop/Rock Indie, Dream Pop
  • Virginia
  • Highlights: TV Queen, To Know You
  • Deeper Cuts: Life of Pause, Reichpop


III★ Moderat – III

  • Electronic, Experimental, Techno, Club Dance
  • Germany
  • Highlights: Reminder
  • Deeper Cuts: Running, Finder, Eating Hooks, Intruder


redemption★ Dawn Richard – Redemption

  • Alternative R&B, Alternative Dance
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Highlights: Not Above That
  • Deeper Cuts: Renegades, LA (feat. Trombone Shorty), Vines (feat. PJ Morton)


a man alive★ Thao & The Get Down Stay Down –  A Man Alive

  • Indie Rock
  • Virginia
  • Highlights: Nobody Dies
  • Deeper Cuts: Astonished Man, Meticulous Bird


Patch the Sky★ Bob Mould – Patch the Sky

  • Adult Alternative/Singer-Songwriter
  • New York
  • Highlights: Voices in My Head
  • Deeper Cuts: Losing Sleep, Hold On, Monument, The End of Things


Good Advice★ Basia Bulat – Good Advice

  • Pop/Rock Folk
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Highlights: Fool
  • Deeper Cuts: La La Lie, Infamous


every-now-then★ Jagwar Ma – Every Now & Then

  • Pop/Rock Indie, 90’s Revival
  • Australia
  • Highlights: OB1
  • Deeper Cuts: Give Me A Reason, Slipping, Ordinary



  • Electronic, Alternative Jazz, Alternative R&B
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Highlights: Time Moves Slowly
  • Deeper Cuts: In Your Eyes


painting with★ Animal Collective – Painting With

  • Pop/Rock Indie, Experimental Rock
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Highlights: FloriDada
  • Deeper Cuts: Golden Gal, Lying In The Grass


Good Luck and Do Your Best★ Gold Panda – Good Luck and Do Your Best

  • Electronic
  • London, England
  • Highlights: In My Car
  • Deeper Cuts: Metal Bird, Pink and Green, Time Eater, Unthank, I Am Real Punk


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