This page contains all the music reviews I’ve written for music released in 2016. On account of my podcast – which you should listen to! – I have been completely absorbed in the music of the past for the last year and 3/4s, so I have heard very little new music. That makes me a little bit sad, so if you have any recommendations, do let me know.
1. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Skeleton Tree (8/10)
Not his best set of a songs, but a rather radical reinvention of their sound.
2. Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool (8/10)
This is the most orchestrated album Radiohead has made since Amnesiac – and it’s considerably more orchestrated than that. The near-omnipresent orchestrations – with strings often scored to sound like other instruments – makes this record sound new and different (more often than not) compared to their last effort. The songs are still very much recognizably Radiohead, but I feel like they’ve replaced the traditional density of their arrangements – regularly combining traditional rock band instrumentation with non-traditional, and programmed noises – with an even more traditionally dense sound, that of a (large) string section. And that’s refreshing because I thought the last album really sounded like a band that was losing its edge, or had lost it. Here they’re as mellow – perhaps even more mellow – but it feels fresher. And that makes me happy.
3. The Dillinger Escape Plan: Dissociation (8/10)
I might be a little too excited by this because I know it’s their last. Fortunately, I got to see them recently. Anyway, I like this, but I might be overrating it simply because I know there’s no more where it came from.
4. The Bad Plus: It’s Hard (8/10)
A more traditional (for them) record than the last few, I still really enjoy this, probably because it’s what I loved in them initially. Read the review.
5. Weaves (8/10)
I like this less than their show I saw but it’s still pretty great. Read the review of Weaves’ debut.
6. Free Salamander Exhibit: Undestroyed (7/10)
Though as compelling and provocative ever, there is also a huge sense of deja vu, and the sense that a part of the old band is gone. Read the review.
7. Wilco: Schmilco (6/10)
Perhaps my least favourite Wilco album since AM.