2016 was a year of mixed emotions, the deaths of Bowie, Prince and Viola Beach casting shadows throughout the year. However musically the year has been exceptional.
The long awaited returns of Radiohead and The Avalanches filled everyones ears with pulsating and brilliant music. Discovering new and fond favourites such as FEWS and their exceptional debut. Jaws, DIIV and Nothing waving the banner for shoe-gaze and the exquisite sounds of Bon Iver and James Blake haunting us yet again.
In this post, I look back on my year musically sharing some of my favourite memories, albums and songs that I will look back on fondly.
Gigs and Festivals
Beginning the year of gigs and live shows, i saw Daughter play an exceptional and emotional set in January. I closed the year by seeing The Temper Trap, going out with a sweet bang with Sweet Disposition.
Yet in-between i found myself surrounded in some of the best live performances i have seen. Below I talk about only a few of the 80+ bands i have seen live this year at various festivals and gigs across the country.
King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard – Green Man Festival 2016
A band who I was extremely looking forward to seeing after the release of the timeless ‘Nonagon Infinity’. After catching them briefly at Glastonbury 2015, i knew id have to see this band again. It was a fast paced, bonkers and crazy ride for a Thursday night slot supporting Wild beasts. The crowd let loose on the first night as King Gizzard played a blistering set filled with hits and passion. Halfway through the set, I was amused to find my dad in the mosh pit, possibly the most memorable moment of the entire festival. Even so, king gizzard played an outstanding set which left me battered and bruised for the rest of the weekend.
Bloc Party and Drenge (NME Tour 2016) – O2 Academy Birmingham
Yes i know its two bands but still what a lineup this was! Bloc Party a band who I have seen only the once, as a 9 year old at Reading 2008 and I have loved them ever since, so to find out this band would be playing on this tour was exciting as anything! Then i saw Drenge were supporting and I lost my mind. The gig itself was hectic. Drenge walked on to a thunderous applause and dived straight into Running Wild, creating a brutal atmosphere in a turbulent crowd. This would be the 4th time seeing the band, and also the best time. It was also the bands last show until they announced a few Xmas dates! (Keep an eye out for a review). Bloc Party were everything id hoped for. Although a changed lineup, Kele still produced those effortless vocals and brilliant sound i loved a a kid. Songs such as Helicopter and Banquet bought back memories in what was an extremely nostalgic night
Foals – Reading And Leeds Festival 2016
This was a slot destined to happen. After being able to see foals at their first appearance at reading 2008, I have been following them since and they slowly turned into my favourite band. I’ve seen them rise and rise, and this just topped it all off. It was like the icing in a perfect musical cake. They tier above everyone that weekend, producing one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen by anyone. When co-headliners Disclosure finished their set, i walked straight through the crowds to the front of the stage. I wasn’t watching this from a distance.
As the band walked onto the stage screams emitted from every direction. It was a stupendous , thrilling and epic set in which the band played new songs like ‘What Went Down’ and ‘A Knife In The Ocean’ and classic ‘Cassius’ which hadn’t been on the set list in 6 years. All in all, i was left dumbstruck and astonished by t all. watching your favourite band perform in small venues, low on the pecking order at festivals and then 8 years later they are headlining one of the biggest festivals in the world. That is something special.
FEWS – Green Man Festival 2016
Possibly one of the best sets of the year, Swedish band FEWS capitalised on an early slot in the Far Out Tent at Green Man Festival, playing to a fully packed tent in which described by David of the band in a recent interview with LIH was “Our highlight of the year”. Thrashing guitars, harmonic and passionate vocals and thunderous drums was exactly how to wake up the Brecon Beacons early on a Saturday morning.
Fat White Family – Green Man Festival 2016
Another set, and another from Green Man. Fat White Family played an astonishing, and utterly brilliant set at 2am, early on the Sunday morning of an outstanding Green Man 2016. It was sweaty, dark and invigorating. The fat Whites turned the far out stage into a sweaty, messy and crazy state, with their psychedelic noise parading through The Valleys when night had fallen. Just mind blowing.
JAWS – The Rainbow Warehouse, Birmingham
JAWS played their last gig of the year in their hometown of Birmingham and it did not disappoint. The Birmingham indie poppers played an outstanding set which showed us their top form, even at the end of a tiring tour. This was a tour which proved the bands credentials. Fusing their indie pop with hard beats and solid indie rock tunes to create a momentum which takes some stopping.
My Albums Of The Year
Now obviously I can’t list them all. The year was jam packed full of spectacular releases, which is why I have selected 5 of my personal favourite albums to talk about in this post. (Not in order).
King Gizzard An The Lizard Wizard — Nonagon Infinity
“Nonagon Infinity opens the door!” by far the best ride of your life, will be listening to this album on an eternal loop. The Aussie psych 7 piece returned with one of the most insane albums of the year. Nonagon Infinity is bonkers, clever and inspiring. Its original, and each song makes you want to throw your body from side to side in a brutal mosh pit, with King Gizzards exceptional speed and energy there to save you. Each song uniquely flows into one another cascading like a never ending river of craziness.
My Favourite Tracks:
FEWS — MEANS
The debut album from Swedish prog rock, shoe gaze outfit FEWS instantly blew me away. Its fast and progressive sound electrifies your ears, its completely different from anything around right now. You could compare it to Antidotes, the debut from Foals with its fast and accelerating pace which flows through the album. From The Zoo to Ill, this album never disappoints on every listen.
My favourite Tracks:
- The Zoo
- 100 Goosebumps
Bon Iver — 22, A Million
2016 saw the wait for a new Bon Iver record finally come to an end and we were not disappointed as they dropped possibly their best record yet. Full of brilliantly crafted songs, beautiful melodies, wonderful synths and bonkers song titles, Justin Vernon and co have created a masterful album reinventing their sound, whilst keeping that same charm we all love.
My favourite Tracks:
10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⊠ ⊠
21 M♢♢N WATER.
Radiohead — A Moon Shaped Pool
The most anticipated I have ever been for an album. Radiohead shook the musical world again by deleting their entire social networking profiles and surprise dropping LP9. Its a melodic journey of some of the most beautiful and enchanting songs you will hear this year. From slow movers, to haunting numbers, A Moon Shaped Pool is one of the most fascinating albums o the year.
My Favourite Tracks:
Burn The Witch
True Love Waits
DIIV – Is The Is Are
Shoegaze rockers DIIV returned after 4 years of uncertainty. Drug related issues, failings out have prolonged the wait for the record fans of the band have been waiting for. Well, it was well worth the wait. The 17 song, epic album created waves when it was released in February. With Zachery Cole Smith writing 150 songs for this album, we wonder what more lies within DIIV. After the torment of the past 4 years, this album is a release of everything the band went through. Now they are back, and hopefully here to stay.
My Favourite Tracks:
Under The Sun
Out Of Mind
If you would like to read about LIH’s top 25 albums of the year, click here.
Songs Of The Year
After clocking up around 103 full days listening to music on Spotify this year, I thought an accumulation of some of my favourite tracks into a playlist would be a very wise move. Choosing these tracks was utterly difficult but I got there in the end.
If you’d like to check it out click the link below, follow the playlist and listen to your hearts content.
2016 really has been an exceptional memory. I have witnessed some of the best live experiences, and listed to some of thefts music, from some of the best bands in the world. having the opportunity to spend so much time with music is something that I will cherish. This year is only the beginning.