A Best of 2016 on The Moon

2015 was not a great year politically, but 2016 has managed to Trump it by being simply deplorable. However, like 2015 and despite the loss of some great cultural icons, it has been another good year for culture, especially in film TV and Music.

Below is a 107 track playlist of the albums and new artist I have got into in recent times, some from 2015 but mostly from 2016. It is more than any previous year but as ever, it will not be comprehensive. It starts with 42 new tracks from part 2 and then follows on with the 65 track part 1, originally published in the summer.

To convert it to many other streaming providers you can use the recently upgraded and rather funkay Soundiiz

Part 2 features yet more foul-mouthed young ladies with guitars, but there is also a bit of Top Pop, Hip Hop, Soul, Americana folkiness and quite a bit of electronic psychedelia.

Below the playlist is a bit of guff on each artist and/or links to relevant Moon posts and often to Bandcamp, if the album is available to stream in full on it.

Thanks go to the usual suspects: the AV Club, A Finest Kiss, God Is In The TV and The VPME music blogs, BBC 6 Music, The NME, Uncut Magazine and Folk Radio UK a blog I have recently started following.

Part 2

1. Ezra Furman - Teddy l'm Ready

This is from a 5 track EP that was a very pleasant surprise from one of my top discoveries in recent years, who is now getting near to the attention his music deserves. His live set at Glastonbury was also a highlight, but if you could catch him live in a smaller venue I would strongly recommend it. The EP is a great addition to his LP of last year. Added together it delivers a more diversity of sound, harking back to his more Dylanesque moments with the Harpoons

2. September Girls - Catholic Guilt

This is an all female band from Ireland much promoted by the VPME. I had filed their first LP of punky shoegaze in the style over substance folder, but the 360 video for this track was evidence that they had made a similar jump to the likes of The Boo Radleys from their debut to their second LP. Hopefully, they will be doing Giant Steps next.

3. Peanus - I'm Not Your Problem

A top slice of Top Pop from this new band from Chester, EU. This track was part of an EP first released last year (2015), but has since been re-released as their second "single". The other four tracks available are very trad indie, but all are great tunes with cracking lyrics. I hope they can keep it up....

4. Wilco - We Aren’t the World (Safety Girl)

Another Year and another Wilco album, except this one was not such a pleasant surprise or given away for free like Star Wars from 2015. That album was not their strongest in terms of tuneage but made up for it with being sonically interesting and energetic. This latest release was recorded at the same time and is a collection of more laid back and straightforward songs, rather similar to the Jeff Tweedy solo LP from 2014. Again, the weight of great tunes is not as great as previous albums, but a few lovely tracks like this could be added to Star Wars to make an album to match the best of their previous efforts. I hope Mr Tweedy keeps up this level of productivity.

5. Of Montreal - It's Different for Girls

This is a great slice of Top Pop from an Athens, Georgia, USA indie institution. They have been on my radar since their last LP, but that was their 13th. They are one of those bands I could do with another lifetime to discover properly. This new one is poptastic and electronic but also varied and strange. It does remind me of Belle and Sebastian at their most electronic and out there. Much of their back catalogue is available on Bandcamp

6. Exploded View - No More Parties in the Attic

From a very interesting album of psychedelic tinged electronica recorded in Mexico in a collaboration between some local producers and UK-born, Berlin-based political-journalist-turned-musician Anika, who is also a singer in BEAK> , a band formed by Geoff Barrow of Portishead fame. Check it out on Bandcamp

7. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Jesus Alone

Mr Cave is an artist I have always admired from a distance and I knew some of his great tracks from Mercy Seat (via the late great Jonny Cash), Into My Arms to Dig Lazarus Dig! But I did get the impression that he maybe took things a bit too seriously. But then I did watch the film for his last album and found that he takes the music seriously but not himself and I belatedly got into the album. Since then he has had the tragic death of his son, which has unsurprisingly very much influenced this new LP. So it is heavy with emotion, but also manages to be uplifting and has rightly been hailed and a seriously great piece of work.

8. Beyond the Wizard Sleeve - Door to Tomorrow

From another album of very interesting psychedelia-tinged electronica from two Blighty based producers with a number of guest vocalist, including this excellent contribution from Euros Childs (Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci), along with Blaine Harrison (Mystery Jets), Jane Weaver, Holly Miranda and Hannah Peel (The Magnetic North).

9. The Paranoid Style - Daniel in the Basement

From a cracking debut LP from this duo featured on The Moon

10. Atmosphere - Won't Look Back

One of many great tunes from a fine album. It is their 8th LP, but I have only heard of them due to the AV Club, which is introducing me to lots of great independent American rock and hip hop that ought to get more exposure over here in Blighty. On The Moon, it is all rock n' roll.

11. Avers - Everything Hz

A cracker from another great album of American rock n' roll from these repeat offenders on The Moon

12. Robert Rotifer - If We Hadn't Had You

One of many fine songs from an album I only got to know about by noticing it in an advert of new releases from the label in Uncut magazine. The Rotifer album from 2014 was one of my albums of that year, but Deezer did not alert me to this album as it was filed as Robert Rotifer. The name change does make sense, as it is much more of a solo LP, being reflective, low-key and personal. It will be interesting to see what his next LP is like, as he is an anglophile Austrian living in Brexity Blighty, with I presume quite different views from the likes of Gisela "Quisling" Stuart.

13. Hayley Bonar  - Called You Queen

Now a repeat offender on a Moon best of and one of many great tracks on an album featured on The Moon

14. Slow Club - Give Me Some Peace

Now repeat Moon post offenders from these Sheffield Sex City natives in Gods Very Own, EU.

15. Angel Olsen - Not Gonna Kill You

From one of the albums of the year. I did think I would be including one of the epic slower tracks like the title track, but this is a great song that is a good representative of an album which goes from the brilliant TOP POP of Shut Up, Kiss Me, to the melancholic grandeur of My Woman or Sister. Check it out on The Moon

16. The Divine Comedy - The Pact

One of many understated, but great tracks on Mr Hannon's latest LP. It was released with a deluxe version with 20 extra tracks named after days of the year. A bit of a google revealed that this was:

"In May, Neil Hannon and Frank Alva Buecheler’s acclaimed chamber opera, which explores the relationship between a dying son and his absent father through a series of letters."

On The Moon you can listen to the two mixed into one as A Long Album About Death on The Moon 

It is rather marvellous.

17. Teenage Fanclub - The Darkest Part of the Night

A classic slice of Fannies from there most stereotypically Teenage Fanclub album for decades. However, it is consistently good and very welcome after a 6 year gap. This track, plus three others feature on A Best of Teenage Fanclub on Spotify on The Moon

18. Cool Ghouls - Just Like Me

From the third LP from this San Francisco, California, USA band. I had checked out their last effort which I found to be a bit too shoegazey and lacking in tuneage. This new LP has added tunes and Americana to the mix. There is this explanation on the record companies Bandcamp  page for the album:

"If the first album was a celebratory debut, and the second an earnest venture into deeper waters, this third album is like the crystal born of the murky womb that was the second record, fertilized by the initial intention of the first. Not only have the ghouls reaped the crop they sowed; they’ve baked it into some new kind of bread.

For the uninitiated – Cool Ghouls play rock'n'roll. That's about all there is to it."

The other two albums and more can be found on the bands Bandcamp page.

19. Billy Bragg and Joe Henry - Gentle On My Mind

From an album of covers of American folk songs inspired by American railroads. Their version of In the Pines is not a patch on the ultimate Nirvana unplugged version, but overall it is a very pleasant listen. Mr Bragg's voice is most prominent on most tracks but on this one Mr Henry takes the lead to great effect.

20. Springtime Carnivore - Under The Spell

From one of the albums of the year and a great slice of TOP POP. The rest of the album is more folky Americana but wonderful - check it out on The Moon

21. Communist Daughter - Sunday Morning Again

One of the songs of the year. It is not very representative soundwise of the album, but it is a great album of modern americana tinged rock n' roll - check it out on The Moon

22. Hooton Tennis Club - Statue of the Greatest Woman I Know

A second entry on a Moon best of for this Merseyside, EU band. From an excellent second LP featured on The Moon

23. The Shacks - Hands In Your Pockets

From New York City, USA and from their debut EP which is also my EP of the year as it is 8 great tracks that featured on The Moon along with 2 tracks from their debut single. This dubby reggae number is great, but not very representative as the other tracks are more 60s inspired indie pop.

24. Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation - Sister Green Eyes

More interesting modern electronic psychedelia, this time from Sweden. From their second LP which followed from their 2015 debut. Both, along with an EP, are streamable from the usual places and both LPs are on Bandcamp 

25. Laish - Learning to Love The Bomb

A second entry on a Moon best of for the formally Brighton based Laish which is now the solo vehicle for Danny Green. This third LP came about after he lost his band and a relationship and ended up broke in London. The Big Smoke managed to inspire him to record new music and he found love again. The resulting record is mainly low-key and reflective with this track being a more upbeat highlight, which like Warm the Wind from the last LP, should have been on heavy rotation on BBC Radio 2 and 6.

26. Emma Ruth Rundle - Real Big Sky

Her last LP had a Moon post and her new one has had a bit more exposure over in Blighty and is a more polished affair with a heavier more PJ Harvey like sound. This track is a highlight and it is most reminiscent of her previous LP as it sounds like a demo version she was not able to improve on.

27. Honeyblood - Justine, Misery Queen

A second entry on a Moon best of from a second album which is a step up form their debut and features on The Moon

28. Julia Jacklin - Don't Let the Kids Win

One of many great tracks from another very promising artist from downunder. The LP reminds me of Heartbreaker era Ryan Adams in terms of sound and sentiment with similar variation, but also mainly low key, such as this title track.

29. American Wrestlers - Vote Thatcher

From a St. Louis, Missouri USA based band much championed by the A.V. Club, but the main man is Gary McClure from East Kilbride, Scotland, EU. He had previously released albums as part of the Manchester based shoegazey Working For A Nuclear Free City and one solo record, but had given up on releasing music, got together with an American lady, moved across the pond and started working for a delivery company. But he could not keep his muse at bay and managed to self-record last years debut album, which has been quickly followed up by a second. From both you can make an excellent playlist of low-fi American/new wave tinged rock n' roll.

30. Baby Queens -Red Light

Gary Lineker not only has sound politics but he can also spot a great tune, as he shared this cracking debut single on Twitter. They are a Top Pop soul group from Wales, EU and they have released a fine album produced by Super Furry Animal Cian Ciarán.

31. Deap Vally - Post Funk

The second LP from this duo from Los Angeles, CA, USA and their second appearance on a Moon best of. Like their debut LP, it not all great but there is enough good stuff to make a fine and interesting 10 track LP. I suspect the marketing types may have told them to go away and write more "singles" as three of the first four tracks are like a parody of themselves, and they are also three of the four album pre-releases. However, from the fifth track, it becomes much more interesting and diverse.

32. The Wave Pictures - Pool Hall

Another year and another great album from The Wave Pictures, except that it is their second album of 2016. Back in February, they released A Season in Hull on vinyl only and they have managed to keep it off the Interweb so far.  So you would think a best of both would be a match for their more recent Moon posted LPs, but this latest LP for the great unwashed is not quite as good. The sound is better than ever, and a bit more diverse - the lovely title track would not be out of place on a Belle and Sebastian LP, but there is not quite the weight of great tuneage compared to their last three full releases.

33. Weyes Blood - Used To Be

A second entry on a Moon best of, after the lovely Maybe Love featured on A Best of 2015. She was born in Santa Monica, CA, USA  but grew up in Doylestown, PA and for this, her third LP the sound has developed to a more fuller and much LA pop sound rather like Lana Del Rey singing Father John Misty composed and produced tunes. Like Mr Tillman, her previous releases were more folky, but her songs are not quite as gettable, but a few listens brings reward. All 3 LPs and last years EP are on Bandcamp

34. The Big Moon - Cupid

Another entry on a Moon best of for this brilliantly named band from London, EU. No debut album yet, but they have released five new songs since their debut EP, including a great cover of Beautiful Stranger - one of Madonna's finest moments and it is not out of place as their own songs are just as poptastic. The four other new songs do not quite match the brilliant Nothing Without You as featured on A Best of 2015, but they are not lacking in ambition and are not afraid of a big chorus. It is also good to see that they, along with Black Honey, are not being rushed, as was also the case with Wolf Alice, and I hope they have as much success. I did recently accidentally tune into BBC Radio One and they were playing their latest single Formidable, it is my least favourite, but one that can get stuck in your head. I hope the album sustains the quality and diversity of releases so far.

35. Margaret Glaspy - You and I

Another foul mouthed lady with a guitar entry from a great debut album, that I only came across due to a GIITTV live review. She hails from California, USA but is now Brooklyn-based and is a bit of a cross between the likes of Shelby Lynne and PJ Harvey. To me, it is the kind of LP that KT Tunstall ought to be making. This track is the most poptastic, but the whole LP is strong songwise with just a couple of tracks getting a bit too M.O.R. I hope the marketing types don't push her too much in that direction and her next steps are more PJ Harvey like.

36. John K. Samson - Postdoc Blues

From the second solo album from the lead singer of The Weakerthans who hail from the land of enlightenment to the north of Trumpyland.  Recommended by the AV Club and Folk Radio UK it is a lovely Folky Americana record that very much addresses the issues of the day, not quite protest music, more laments at the state of the world - so very 2016. Check it out of Bandcamp

37. The Moonlandingz - Black Hans

Self-described as "Psychedelic Ouija Pop" and a band made up of Adrian Flanagan, Dean Honer Fat White Family’s Lias Saoudi and guitarist Saul Adamczewski . They have described this track as "a celebration of the Outsider, the socially inept, the so-called village weirdo and a curse on the shrivelled genitals of those regressive little Englanders that won’t let us move forward, to be ourselves.” Quite. They have released two EPs so far, the album should be interesting….

38. Vanessa Anne Rudd - Behind The Wall

The title track from the debut solo LP from this London-based, half-German singer-songwriter. She has previously released more electronic music as part of Rubicks, and Six Years, but this LP is great modern folk. This track is not the best song on the LP, but it is marvellously and sonically brooding and epic.

39. Menace Beach  - Give Blood

Hailing from Leeds, EU in the Good Lords very own County. They are another band that has upped their game recently, their debut LP  did not quite float my boat, but since they have released a number of singles and EPs that have. This is their latest single and the second LP will be released on 20th Jan.

40. Law Holt  - It's Inside Us

Belatedly brought to my attention by her second GIITTV track of the day. I think she hails from Edinburgh, where she has worked with Young Fathers but her Bandcamp page has her London based. She is one of my discoveries of the year. This tune is from her album City from June and it one of 10 interesting and brilliantly hard to categorize tracks. She has since released a 6 track mini album, which is a bit more laid back, but with a great lead track called Holy which should be all over BBC Radio 1 and 6 like a rash. Check them both out on Bandcamp

41. Monomyth - Re:Lease Life (Place 2 Go)

Another band who I had previously checked out who have since won me over with their second LP. They also hail from the land of enlightenment to the north of Trumpyland. The new album is described as more diverse and is rather like a combination of the most poptastic parts of Pavement and Teenage Fanclub. You can check it out on Bandcamp

42.  Gabriella Cohen - This Could be Love

Another very recent discovery and another great female singer-songwriter from downunder. It is an album that may well be worth a Moon post but my access to it has been hindered by it not being available via Groove, but this has made me appreciate how good the UWP Deezer app is on Windows 10. In common with the other two albums not on Groove it is a self-released LP. It is described as her debut, but there is another album and an EP on Bandcamp

Part 1

1. Martha - Six Men Getting Sick Six Times (Mendable)

This is one of a handful of tracks Martha released in 2015. Their excellent debut featured on The Moon and there is another excellent albums worth available in the usual places or as pay what you like downloads on Bandcamp. This track is a bit different from their more normal indie rock, it is possibly a glimpse into a more folky future, but has in common a great tune and great lyrics. Their second album has just been released, it features just one of the tracks released last year and is just as great as the debut.

2. All Dogs - That Kind of Girl

From a fine album from late in 2015, this brilliant track is the most punk on it, the rest of the album is more grungy Lemonheady slacker like but very good indeed. Maryn Jones, the lead singer, had previously released a solo album and has also been/is a member of:

3. Saintseneca - Necker Cube

This is from their third album of folk rock released in 2015. They are led by Zac Little, with additional vocals from Maryn Jones since the second LP. It is very different from All Dogs, but is a fine LP. This track is the most instantly gettable and the only one with a big Polyphonic Spree-like chorus. Other tracks have less traditional structure, and so it took me a while to get my head round it all, but it is worth persevering with.

4. Mammouth Penguins - We Won't Go There

From another fine album of US indie rock that I only got into late in 2015. This is one of quite a few highlights.

5. Flyying Colours - Not Today

Wavy Gravy from their debut EP was a highlight of A Best if 14. I would have thought an album would have followed in 2015, but instead there was another 5 track EP, which passed me by until it was highlighted in the EPs of the year post from A Finest Kiss.  None of the new tracks quite matched Wavy Gravy, but it is a better EP overall, with the addition of some great backing vocals and the two EPs do add up to a great ten track LP.

6. Willowspeak - All Yours

Another fine album from late 2015 of indie americana. This opening track is the highlight, but the rest of the album carries on in much the same vein and often comes close to matching it.

7. Trapper Schoepp - Ballad of Olof Johnson

Finally into 2016 and this great americana/country track is about Mr Schoepp's Swedish immigrant ancestor surviving a winter in a hole in South Dakota sheltered by his overturned wagon. The AV Club alerted me to it as the first single from his second LP, which led me to his debut, Run, Engine, Run, from 2014 which would have been one of my faves of that year if I had known about it. It is just the kind of coherent americana many would want Ryan Adams to make. The new album Valentines & Rangers is not as good, more varied but not as serious. Like Mr Adams he is not as great when he tries to do more straight up Rock, though, again like Mr Adams, the song can shine through on tracks like Don't Go, which on first listen sounded pretty naff, but then I found myself singing along on my second listen. He also released an EP called Olaf, Ogallala and other Oddities and the best of both do make a fine playlist.

8. La Sera - I Need an Angel

The latest La Sera LP is the best thing to come out of Ryan Adams Taylor Swift cover album, as his co-conspirator was Todd Wisenbaker who had produced the last La Sera record which was another great LP from 2014. La Sera had started life as the solo project of Katy Goodman, the bassist from the Vivian Girls, but for this LP she and Mr Wisenbaker had become a duo with Mr Adams as a producer.  The last LP has a classic American indie sound, but this new one is far more Americana but with great live sounding production and with some added bits of strangeness from Mr Adams.

9. Cage the Elephant  - Cold Cold Cold

Back to 2015 with an album that came out in December, from a band a few in the UK may recall having a hit some time back in the wake of the White Stripes bursting onto the scene.  This album is, by all accounts a step up for them and it certainly is a stronger set of songs than anything I have checked out from Mr White recently. It is also pretty varied with some obvious Anglophile influences, such as this track which would not be out of place on a record by the:

10. The Coral - White Bird

From a great new LP on which they expand their sound to take in some heavier American influence and kraut rock - as on this track, which would not be out of place on:

11. Serpent Power - Life is a Ball

Back to 2015 again as I only found out about this through a review in Uncut about The Coral album. The Serpent Power are two members of the current Coral line-up, and it plainly had an influence the sound of The Coral LP. However, this track would have made fantastic Coral single back in the day.

Check out a best of The Coral's new LP and the Serpent Power on The Moon

12. Fat White Family - Love is the Crack

The third entry onto a Moon best of from this band, but they are yet to get a Moon post. Like the debut the album, it is partly brilliant, but there is a bit of filla and it is also a pretty murky listen overall. They can't help but write some great tunes with some choice lyrics such as this one. They did not include their 2015 singles either, so if you start with them and then add the best of the album you do get a great albums worth.

Well, that enough indie/folky/americana/scouse psychedelic rock, time for some TOP POP! from......

13. Primal Scream - Where Light Get In

Featuring a great vocal contribution from Sky Ferreira. In an ideal world it would be still riding high in the charts and filling dance floors across the globe, but sadly we are in far from an ideal world. The album is typical Scream, being half great but half not, unlike their last LP which was almost a full album of greatness, but could have done with a track like this one. They are at least adding to a best of collection to match any band.

14. Bent Cousin - Where do I Belong

The band that kicked off A Best of 2015 Part 1, with the wonderful Bentpaperboy from their excellent debut EP. Releases since have not quite lived up to its promise, including the debut LP. But if you add it all together you can make a brilliant playlist that is also very varied, from electronic versions of Dinosaur Jr tracks and other pop moments like this with a guest rapper to indie rock n' roll and gorgeous acoustic folk numbers.

15. Daughter  - No Care

I had not come across Daughter before, but their second album was plugged pretty heavily, and it is very good, quite Delgado like in places but also rather like Coldplay and their early best. This track has a bit of an edge and is also pretty poptastic, which makes it an exception on the album -  they could do with a few more like it.

16. Wildhood  - Double Dark

This is the most unexpected pleasure of the year. Wildhood is Jordan Stephens, one half if Hip Hop duo Rizzle Kicks, but this is a bit different from the cheeky chappy but clever and very successful pop of the Kicks. This track was a track of the day on God is on the TV, but they and I would recommend checking out the whole 7 track EP, which is just as dark and brooding and impressive.

Enough Top Pop, time to get a bit psychedelic...

17. Black Mountain - Constellations

Sunflower Bean released the finest double A side single of 2015, featuring two brilliant slices of psychedelic punk rock, I was hoping that they would release a whole album in a similar vein in 2016, but it was Black Mountain who did, with the exception of the very 70s Pink Floyd last track, and they have been over three previous albums and a soundtrack. It is one of the best albums of the year to not get a Moon review, but the consistency of tunes is not quite what I would have hoped from my imaginary psychedelic punk rock Sunflower Bean LP.

18. Sunflower Bean -  I Want You to Give Me Enough Time

A mentioned above, the album was not quite what I expected, it turned out to be more like the indie jangle of most of their debut five track EP. There is only one previously released track on it, so you can make a very impressive playlist from all their tracks. Their three finest slices of psychedelic punk rock are not on the album, but then it does have their best bits of indie jangle such as this lovely track.

19. Edward Penfold - Up Down1

From a very fine nine track album brought to my attention by GIITTV. Mr Penfold is/was part of a psychedelic garage trio called Taos Humm, and this LP brings to mind a Syd Barrett, Ray Davies inspired collaboration between Graham Coxen and Julian Cope. Nuff said.Sadly not on Groove music, but oddly, it can be found on Soundcloud.

20. Quilt - O'Conner's Barn

A second entry to a Moon Best of from this psychedelic indie-rock band from Boston, Massachusetts, USA. From another fine album that does manage to at least match their last one. This track does also have a wonderful 60's west coast sound and highlights the great voice of co- vocalist Ms Anna Fox Rochinski.

21. Coves - I'm not Here

Another second entry on a Moon Best of, but from an album that does not quite match their debut which was featured on The Moon. Although this track, and a couple of other tracks in the second half of the LP, do get a bit psychedelic and more ambitious. The singer has had singing lessons and her delivery is more confident, and the vocals sound more real, but then some of vocal jiggery-pokery on the debut did yield excellent results.

22. Emma Pollack - Intermission

The third solo album from the former Delgados co-lead singer, one of Scotland's finest bands. It is not as great as her last one but better than her first, and this track is amazing.

23. Steven James Adams - Kings of the Back of the Bus

This is a cracking highlight from a very fine album. It is the former Broken Family Band lead singer, from Cambridgeshire, EU, at his most direct and cynical. Other highlights are more reflective and folky, such as the lovely Ideas, and while Togetherness, the opening track, does initially sound a little Coldplay-lite, it is actually a great political lyric and one of the songs for 2016.

24. Lily and Madeline - Nothing

A third track on a Moon best of from these two sisters from Indianapolis, USA. They were on Sufjan Stevens label, but they have now moved onto a major. Despite that, their sound has developed well, with some subtle production changes that have actually made their sound more interesting, but the great songs and voices remain, along with a bit of extra maturity as highlighted in the twist at the end of this closing album track.

25. Misty Miller - Next to You

Another third entry on a Moon best of from Ms Miller, who finally, after much wrangling with her record label, managed to release an album. As per, many of the best tracks had already been released, some had been available on Spotify etc, but then were taken off. This track and Girlfriend were re-recorded and re-released, but both had come out originally in 2013. I don't like the new version of Girlfriend as much as the original, and it is a shame that you can't still stream it, but the new version of this track is quite an improvement. It is a great song, and her voice is a great mix of Kim Wilde and PJ Harvey. She has since got out of her contract and may be coming back with a new band, and I am sure whatever she comes back with will be interesting.

26. The Magnetic North - Little Jerusalem

A very lovely and one of many highlights from one of the albums and projects of the year. Check it out The Moon

27. Steve Mason -  Words in My Head

Another entry in a Moon Best of from the former Beta Band lead singer. The album is consistently good, it is just not as diverse as his last album and does not have the interesting but short interludes interlinking the songs.

28. Meilyr Jones - How to Recognise a Work of Art

A cracking opening track from a great LP featured on The Moon

29. The Shadow Puppets - The Dream Synopsis

From another album that did not live up to it's predecessor, but then their first album is one of my faves of the last decade. Mr Turner does also bring out the best in Mr Kane as some of his contributions are very fine indeed. This track is one of Mr Tuners's finer moments and does wonderfully hark back to his earlier life as a dreaming youngster in Sheffield Sex City in Gods Very Own County.

30. PJ Harvey - The Wheel

Ms Harvey provided the highlight of my armchair Glastonbury experience, in an ideal world she would be the headliner, but sadly we are living in a world that is far from ideal. However, it is great that she has had a number one album three decades into an amazing career and that she has done it by getting brilliantly political and bold. In the past, when she has pushed the boat out a bit she has tended to retreat into her comfort zone for her next LP, but this time, she just pushed out the boat more from Let England Shake with brilliant results.  In a year of such incomprehensible political failure, this song is all about what should have been the top priority of our "representatives"  and "media", instead all we have had a paltry intention to possibly help less than 10% of the estimated 28,0000 on which they are now failing to deliver.

31. Andrew Bird - Left Handed Kisses

One of the songs of the year from a very fine album, especially the deluxe version. It can be a little M.O.R and could do with some more unconventional tracks like this one, which also makes use of his skills with a violin and has a fantastic vocal contribution from Fiona Apple.

32. White Wine - Sitting on a Beach

Another great track from a great album featured on The Moon

33. Kevin Morby - Black Flowers

One of a few highlights from a fine album by the former Woods bassist. He has successfully created a sound that is an updated combination of Dylan and Cohen.

34. Tacocat - Horse Girls

This is a band whose last album was one I checked out and did not quite get into, and they did not quite manage to get on  A Best of 14Bridge to Hawaii was a great single, but I did not find the rest of the album up to it, but this latest album is a step up, with this track being just one of many highlights. It is a very simples song, but it is also pretty clever, with the same lines repeated but in two very different styles.

35. Horse Party - Receiver

A second entry into a Moon best of from their second LP and is one of many highlights from an LP that is more consistent than their debut, though no track quite matches the brilliance of Back to Mono as featured on A Best of 14.

36. She Drew the Gun - Poem

One of the songs of the year and the song for 2016. It is a standout and quite unique on the album, but it is a fine album that was rather unexpectedly polished and laid back. In parts it does get a bit Lana Del Rey like in sound and subject matter, and also rather like the more laid back and cinematic tracks from:

37. Vienna Ditto - Frank Account

This is not one of their more laid back or cinematic tracks but more their Voodo Si-fi Blues side that is also delightfully political. It was released early on Soundcloud in response to the Panama Papers leak, and it is part of a great 6 track EP that follows up their debut that was featured on The Moon in a playlist with the many great tracks they had released before the LP.

38. Bleached  - Sour Candy

The is a fantastic slice of poptastic rock n' roll that ought to be a standard down at your local karaoke. It is from a great second LP as featured on The Moon

The first LP and associated releases available on Spotify etc also make a great playlist.

39. The Duke Spirit - Wounded Wing

This is a band based in London, EU, that I had heard of, but never really heard. Their name and album covers had led me to believe they were some kind of folk act, but they turned out to be a classic female-fronted rock n' roll band. This is their fourth LP, and it is one of the best not to get a Moon review. A couple of reviews I did read said it was ok, but not as good as their earlier records, so I ought to check them out, as it is quite hard to pick one highlight from it. I went with this track as it does feature the dulcet tones of Mr Mark Lanagan, and because the playlist could do with a change of pace. It is also a beautiful track that could be a highlight of an Emma Pollack or Delgados record. The rest of the LP is far more rock n' roll, but just as well produced.

40. Black Honey - All My Pride

A second entry in a Moon best of from a band from Brighton, EU, that are yet to release an LP, it is from their second LP and they have now released enough singles and EPs to form a very impressive LP long playlist. This track showcases their more straight up rock n' roll mode, but other tracks, like Headspin, hark back to the pre-rock n' roll era in a Lana Del Rey like way. Sadly their first EP has now been taken off Spotify etc, but it can be found on Ubend, and another track Mothership is on Soundcloud. No doubt these tracks might well all re-appear on the debut LP, and the excellent Sleep Forever will be re- released as a single...

41.  Evans the Death -  Cable Street Blues

A London, EU group that featured the excellent Enabler on A Best of 2015 have now come back pretty quickly with a new and very ambitious album, and this track is one of many highlights, with a great contribution from an unknown, but familiar sounding guest vocalist. The album as a whole is maybe a bit much in one go and could do with a couple of Enabler like tracks to lighten it up a bit, but it is great to see them pushing the boat out so much.

42. Beverly - You Said It

Like a top notch, Tanya Donelly fronted Breeders track from an excellent album featured on The Moon

43. Big Thief - Real Love

This is one of the songs of the year, as is the title track from an americana tinged rock n' roll LP from Brooklyn, USA that is the one of the best to not have a Moon post so far this year. The lead singer, Adrianne Lenker, previously released a solo record, but her great, honest, Jenny Lewis/Jeff Tweedy like songs and lyrics work brilliantly with a band, especially on this track with its amazing guitar - it would be a highlight of a Wilco album.

44. She Makes War - Cold Shoulder

More great foul-mouthed Lady rock n' roll from Wales, EU. From a very fine album that is also pretty diverse it quite folky in parts.

45. Yak - Out on a Limb

A track not featured on the album from this year, but from the three track EP released late in 2015 on Jack Whites record label. It is on Spotify but not on Groove (apart from a not very good live version) , and you can download it individually from iTunes but on Google Play can only download the whole EP. It is all a bit odd but it is a fantastic track, almost as good as the brilliant Smile from A Best of 2015 and you can make a great playlist from all their releases so far -  as featured on The Moon

46. Kate Jackson - Metropolis

From an album recommended by the VPMEGIITTV and A Finest Kiss. And it is a fine LP that was started with Bernard Butler many moons ago but then only recently finished after she had spent some time as an artist in Rome, but music and Blighty and the romance of it's motorways drew her back eventually. She was the lead singer with the Long Blondes, a band like The Duke Spirit, I had heard of but don't recall hearing, this may be because they both broke through just before I got into streaming, and so some further investigation will be required.

47. Unloved  - I Could Tell You But I'd Have to Kill You

Time for a cinematic soul interlude kicking off with this brilliant track from a EU/US collaboration between David Holmes and Vincent & Mr. Green Check out a great playlist on The Moon

48. Cat's Eyes - Drag

A great slice of poptastic cinematic soul from this very interesting EU/Canadian collaboration between Kent, EU born Faris Badwan from The Horrors and Italian-Canadian soprano, composer and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Zeffira. It is from a fine second album and they have also produced the soundtrack to The Duke of Burgundy.

49. Jarvis Cocker - Theme from Likely Stories

Mr Cocker has managed to find some time, between his radio and Sainsbury's adverts, to produce some new music. It is just a EP as a soundtrack to a Sky Arts TV project but, it is excellent and has added two tracks to A Yorkshire Treasure - A Best of Pulp and Jarvis Cocker on The Moon

50. Big Deal - Saccharine

Like Evans the Death, this is another London, EU indie rock outfit with their second entry on a Moon best of, and who also come out with a more ambitious follow-up. They have also gone from being a duo to a full band. The new album is a step up and does have this poptastic highlight that the Evans the Death LP could do with.

51.  Marissa Nadler - Hungry is the Ghost

Some excellent Big Sur Gothic from this artist previously featured on The Moon 

Her new LP does not quite match her last in terms of song quality, but her sound has continued to develop. Comparisons with Lana Del Rey continue, she may well be a influence on Miss Grant, but then this track could also be highlight of her Ultraviolence album.

52. Nice As Fuck - Guns

This is the most unexpected pleasure of the year so far. It is the latest project from the brilliant Jenny Lewis which is a guitar-less all female threesome. It is not quite as brilliant as any of her post-Rilo Kiley albums but is great fun and very different. This track is the most serious and, in the Good old USA at least, very political.

53. Malcolm Middleton - Big Black Hole

I preferred the first few solo albums from Mr Middleton to his work as one-half of Scotland's Arab Strap and to the early releases of his partner in crime Aidan Moffat. His work was more song-based and with a more obvious folk influence. This has gone into reverse recently, with Mr Moffat getting all song-based and brilliantly folky, while Mr Middleton went all rather Arab Strap like with Human Don't Be Angry and now his latest solo LP is song-based but mostly electronic in sound. It is a fine record, as his previous records have been a mix of folky and electronic tracks and this track would not be out of place on any of his previous records. He is also as wonderfully droll but also as uplifting as always.

54. Aidan Moffat - Abduction Lullaby

As mentioned above, Mr Moffat has got wonderfully folky in recent years, and he has followed up his excellent album with Bill Wells from last year with this brilliant re-writing of traditional Scottish folk songs, along with an accompanying film. Both were featured on The Moon

The album is mostly hilarious and full of some exceedingly fruity language, but it also has some more serious and political moments, including this wonderful track. It might well be The Moon album of the year.

55. Mitski - Happy

The great opening track with some fine freaky sax from a great follow-up to her breakthrough LP. Both have featured on The Moon

56. The Psychic Ills - I Don't Mind

This song will no doubt be the most too cool for school of the year, it features the amazing voice of Hope Sandoval and could be a highlight of the classic Mazzy Star debut. The rest of the album is also very too cool for school and a few of the other songs are almost as great. There are also some interesting instrumentals in the second half, which do go on a bit but then do add some diversity of sound. They are a duo from New York, USA, and it is their 5th LP.
57. Aida Victoria - Mortimer's Blues

This is a great track of modern southern blues from a very promising debut album. And she hails from Nashville, USA but the Nashville sound it ain't.

58. Rick Redbeard - Get Blood (friendly)

A highlight and a duet with his sister, from Mr Redbeard's second solo LP. Both have featured on The Moon along with some musings on the great streaming debate.

59. Emily Jane White -  The Black Dove

More Big Sur Gothic from this Oakland, USA born one time EU resident, who found success in France, but is now based in San Francisco, USA. This track was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and is one of the more expansive on a fine LP that is very much in the same vein as Marissa Nadler (see above). Ms Nadler was a guest vocalist on her last LP and also like Ms Nadler she has an extensive back catalogue  - this is her 5th LP.

60. Xylaroo - On My Way

More fruity mouthed ladies, but this time from two sisters from London via elsewhere in Europe and Asia. Jenny Lewis/Rilo Kiley have been cited as a big influence which is apparent in this bright folk-pop song with great honest and edgy lyrics about just being what you want to be.

61. Emma Russack - You Gave Me

From a fine album and an artist who has been compared to fellow Aussie Courtney Barnett. She does have a similar delivery and lyrical style, but the album is like a whole LP of Ms Barnett at her most laid back and reflective. This track is one of the most expansive, but the whole LP is consistently good.

62. Oh Pep!  - Doctor Doctor

More from Ozzie Land but from a female folk pop duo, like Xylaroo, but with less fruity language. This track is on of many highlights on a promising debut LP. There is also 3 EPs you can find on Bandcamp.

63. Mutual Benefit - Lost Dreamers.

This is an artist I had checked out before, but their last LP did not quite do it for me. Like the last Tacocat album, it had one great track, but nothing else came close to matching it, but, again like Tacocat, this new LP is a step up, especially this gorgeous track which reminds me of Big Star at their most laid back and sublime.

Mutual Benefit 
is Jordan Lee who hails from Austin Texas but is now based in Brooklyn, New York, USA. He has also released a number of EPs which you can find on Bandcamp, with the exception of The Cowboy's Prayer which is only on the usual streaming services.

64. Michael Kiwanuka - Cold Cold Heart

This is the epic Pink Floyd meets Isaac Hayes opening track from a brilliant new album from London, EU. I did check out his first, which was ok retro soul but a little M.O.R and this new album is very modern soul with lots of soul produced by Danger Mouse. A live version of this track did go on Moonstream to advertise this post, but the LP would have had it's own Moon post if it had not clashed with pulling this one together and so it might end up being the Du Blonde of 2016.

65. Matt Berninger and Andrew Bird - Lyke Wake Dirge

And finally some top notch Spook Folk. This version of this ancient folk song appeared on a US TV show in 2014, but a similar version has also been used as the theme song for the 2016 BBC series The Living and the Dead. This track and some other Spook Folk songs, by the like of Liz Fraser of the Cocteau Twins are the best thing about it, but for some reason it is quite hard to find out about all the tracks used. This was not the case with the excellent Our World War which also had a brilliant soundtrack which was listed for each episode on the series webpage. But, after a bit of a Google, it transpires that the songs were recorded by The Insects from Bristol, EU, exclusively for the series and you can download the soundtrack for £7.99 from their website

The singer of Lyke Wake Dirge is one Mark Leggasick, a  fellow Bristolian, who releases Honky Tonk country as Howlin’ Lord and is part of Screamin' Miss Jackson and the Slap Ya Mama Big Band

His vocal on Lyke Wake Dirge is very different from Howlin’ Lord, it is very like Matt Berninger only better, and track is more restrained but also spookier.

There are also two versions on the debut LP by the ultimate spook folkers The Hare and The Moon. If this it tickles your fancy then you can stream or download lots more great Spook Folk from their Bandcamp page, and you can find yet more great Spook Folk on The Moon with A Best of Dark Britannia Parts 1 and 2.

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