What a year, right? Amongst the jawing and yapping about everybody’s favourite releases, we figured we’d throw the conch to our esteemed genre reviewers. Here’re their top two releases of 2016.

 

Chris Murray

Chris Murray David Bowie Car Seat Headrest

David Bowie, Blackstar

“It’s the personal mindscapes and sheer joy this artist with no peer shared the past five decades that transcend sorrow and shock… There is no God, but there is David Bowie.” (Full review)

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Car Seat Headrest, Teens Of Denial

“Musically alert, fresh and jarring in the best kind of way, CSH seem to capture every indie metaphor without buying into the ‘too cool for school’ cliché… It’s gonna take a bolt of lightening shooting from a unicorn’s a-se to beat this as album of the year, seriously.” (Full review)

Buy Now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Billy Pinnell 

Billy Pinnell Beth Hart Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, You Want It Darker

“Beautifully under-produced, Cohen’s wizened voice sings, whispers, speaks, sometimes in the company of female gospel and soul singers, and a synagogue choir on at least two straight-ahead love songs.” (Full review)

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Bert Hart, Fire On The Floor

“Among the great singers of her generation, Beth Hart’s new album – the most musically varied of her two-decade career – was recorded in three days with an all-star band that included guitarists Waddy Wachtel, Michael Landau and Dean Parks, drummer Rick Marotta and keyboardist Ivan Neville.” (Full review)

Buy Now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Jeff Jenkins

Jeff Jenkins Melody Pool Bernard Fanning

Melody Pool, Deep Dark Savage Heart

“Melody Pool is special… As the title suggests, Deep Dark Savage Heart is not always easy listening. But there are some truly beautiful moments, and the album provides a window to this musician’s soul.” (Full review)

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Bernard Fanning, Civil Dusk

“More than two decades after Powderfinger’s first release, Fanning’s voice remains an instrument of beauty, capable of conveying words that hit you right in the heart, ‘a bleak and brutal sadness nobody could contrive.'” (Full review)

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Jake Cleland

Jake Cleland friendships A.B. Original

friendships, Nullarbor 1988 – 1989

Nullarbor explores the violence people inflict on themselves and the world around them… it’s a sublime horror with a spiritual undercurrent.” (Full review)

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A.B. Original, Reclaim Australia

“Reclaim Australia is a political bomb drop from the title down… A.B. Original’s dual MCs Briggs and Trials wield humour and heavy bass to shred white Australia.” (Full review)

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Simon Lukic

Simon Lukic Metallica Fates Warning

Metallica, Hard Wired… To Self-Destruct

“It appears as if Metallica had something to prove this time around – not just to their fanbase and peers, but to themselves and the legacy that the albums Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets and …And Justice For All created.” (Full review)

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Fates Warning, Theories Of Flight

“Vocalist Ray Adler gives his all, and his heartfelt delivery imbues Theories Of Flight with a personality not felt on many progressive metal albums.” (Full review)

Buy Now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Emily Kelly

Emily Kelly John K Samson PUP

John K Samson, Winter Wheat

Winter Wheat offers nourishing variations on tone and topic, the most brilliant of which falls on Select All Delete (an instructional dissection of modern tech anxiety)… just gorgeous and good for the soul.” (Full review)

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PUP, The Dream Is Over

“You never really expect something resembling pop punk with shrill, pointy vocals to be so commanding and angry but PUP have managed to squeeze more vitriol into one pop album than we could’ve possibly anticipated.” (Full review)

Buy Now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Simon Winkler

Simon Winkler Angel Olsen Kaytranada

Angel Olsen, My Woman

“A new Angel Olsen album, a new masterclass in songwriting… Identity, memory and the chaos of life and love are crafted into perfect pop songs for the first half of the record, and later on the album these universal themes are formed into plaintive, extended arrangements.” (Full review)

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Kaytranada, 99%

“His tracks can usually be identified instantly… they carry a special jazz-infused melodic character, rugged breaks and buzzing basslines that are unmistakable in the midst of the ever-growing beats scene.” (Full review)

Buy Now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Tim Lambert

Tim Lambert Hockey Dad Tkay Maidza

Hockey Dad, Boronia

“I’m chucking a sickie, grabbing my surfboard and heading to the coast. You can’t stop me. Hockey Dad made me do it.” (Full review)

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Tkay Maidza, TKAY

TKAY is marbled with intergalactic synths, dancehall vibes and [Maidza’s] furious flow… If this is the kind of record being released at 20 by the bubbly Maidza, world domination is inevitable, and I for one welcome our new supreme leader.” (Full review.)

Buy Now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Alesha Kolbe

Alesha Kolbe Illy Griswolds

Illy, Two Degrees

“Illy’s latest release showcases his talent for making truth catchy… Two Degrees is a hip hop venture with bright allusions to Illy’s future as an artist – any more collabs with Anne-Marie and I might just lose my mind.” (Full review)

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The Griswolds, High Times For Low Lives

“Whether it’s the Grouplove-esque ballads of Out Of My Head, or the Mark Ronson vibes on Birthday and You Don’t Love Me, even the beastly-synthy, almost ‘gameshow intro’ jump into You Don’t Love Me, everyone will find a song they love on this release.” (Full review)

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Savannah Douglas

Savannah Douglas Empire Of The Sun Lady Gaga

Empire Of The Sun, Two Vines

“What their previous albums were to futurisim and icy wonderlands is what Two Vines is to a gorgeous Tarzan-ian forest overtaking the modern world…. nothing short of magical.” (Full review)

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Lady Gaga, Joanne

“Mother Monster has evolved into a grand goddess… If her previous albums were tasked with getting our attention, then Joanne’s purpose is to give Gaga’s crazy soul a voice.” (Full review)

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Zoë Radas

Zoe Radas D.D Dumbo Jeff Rosenstock

D.D Dumbo, Utopia Defeated

“Innovative rhythms, artful arrangements, immaculate sound design and a surprising instrumental palette provide a constellation of ideas that will undoubtedly be studied and admired for years to come.” – Simon Winkler (Full review)

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Jeff Rosenstock, WORRY

“Forever with his finger on the punk rock pulse, Jeff Rosenstock has dedicated an entire album to worry; or more specifically anxiety, depression and their many moody bedfellows.” – Emily Kelly (Full review)