check out our favorite releases from 2016!

kimber – bonobo
lindsay – bonobo
dario – the flaming lips
jeff – chemical brothers reissues
dominic – the flaming lips

BonoboMigration CD/2xLP+MP3 (Ninja Tune)
Simon Green aka Bonobo returns with his sixth album, the masterful, magisterial Migration — a record which cements his place in the very highest echelons of electronic music and beyond. By turns lush, manic, beautiful, melancholy, joyful, and packed with both emotion and technical skill, this is perhaps his most ambitious attempt yet to capture the very textures of human existence in his work, as Green says of the broad dynamics on the album, “Life has highs, lows, loud and quiet moments, beautiful ones and ugly ones. Music is a reflection of life.” In particular, there is a theme here of migration, eruditely put by Green as “The study of people and spaces,” he expands, “It’s interesting how one person will take an influence from one part of the world and move with that influence and effect another part of the world. Over time, the identities of new places evolve.” It is a theme with a personal as well as a sociological aspect to it. Opener and title track “Migration” sets the tone for the record — a shifting, gradually building combination of complex electronic programming (Green programmed a special algorithm to create the drum sequencing) and live piano playing, the sense of movement in the music is palpable.


The Flaming LipsOczy Mlody CD/LP+MP3/2xLP+MP3 (WB)
Produced by The Flaming Lips and their long-time producer Dave Fridmann, Oczy Mlody is the follow-up to their 2013 album, The Terror. The album is available in several configurations: a 12-song CD, a 12-song double-LP vinyl edition (pressed on purple and orange color vinyl) and an 11-song single-LP vinyl edition (both of which include a digital download card of all 12 songs. “Rightly cast as sonic extremists, The Flaming Lips have spent three decades mining the depths of noise rock, bubbling electronica, and heady psychedelia. They’re just as thematically extreme, shifting from the fantastical euphoria of Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots to the dystopian fever dreams of their last two releases, most notably 2013’s claustrophobic The Terror. It’s finally onOczy Mlody where the band combines its sober and whimsical sides, extolling the weird virtues of unicorns and fairies not with abandon, but with intent. This tempered approach gives Oczy Mlody the unnerving and absurdist charm of a neon parade accidentally routed through a patch of scorched earth, making it the realest encapsulation of the whole Flaming Lips universe. It stands clearly as a curious thing of its own, a masterstroke of rhythm and tone that neither trips head-on into bliss nor spins into dismay.” – Slant


Flo Morrissey / Matthew E. White Gentlewoman Ruby Man CD/LP (Glassnote)
Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White team up on a new album of covers. Features renditions of songs originally written/performed by James Blake, The Velvet Underground, Frankie Valli, Frank Ocean, Leonard Cohen, and more.
MadnessCan’t Touch Us Now CD/LP (UMe)
New album from the veteran British pop band. Tracks such as “Mr Apples,” “Mumbo Jumbo,” the Amy Winehouse referencing “Blackbird” and the title track “Can’t Touch Us Now” capture the band’s inimitable combination of pop, reggae and soul influences. As on many of Madness greatest moments, the lyrics are gloriously observational and humorous, beautifully framing life in London.


Run The JewelsRun The Jewels 3 CD/2xLP (Run The Jewels Inc.)
RTJ3 is essentially the Run The Jewels manifesto, an outpouring of rage and defiance that never loses sight of the objectives: rallying the troops, holding all accountable, and toppling oppression. [It] is a well-timed, finely tuned rap epic that confronts the ruling class (here addressed as ‘the masters’) with deadly precision; it’s rap as resistance. With a demagogue waiting in the wings to assume the presidency, their particular Molotov mix of explosive shit-talking and unfiltered insubordination feels vital. Their interplay is instinctual this time around; the songs move and shuffle with its MCs intuitively trading bars, filling the gaps in each others’ phrases, and feeding off each others’ energies, using their booming voices to cut through the startling noises of a future dystopia. The key to RTJ3 is closer ‘A Report To The Shareholders,’ which is plainspoken about the duo’s message and intent: ‘Maybe that’s why me and Mike get along / Not from the same part of town, but we both hear the same sound coming / And it sounds like war.’ Seconds later, Killer Mike goes full Malcolm X: ‘Choose the lesser of the evil people, and the devil still gon’ win / It could all be over tomorrow, kill our masters and start again.’ This is the ire of a group that’s tired of saying I told you so.” [Best New Music/8.6] — Pitchfork


The xx I See You CD/LP+CD/LP+12”+CD (Young Turks)
I See You immediately stands out from the rest of [The xx’s] tiny discography because it’s the album that opens up the range of sounds they’d been willing to use. This time around, they’re using samples, some of which must’ve been awfully expensive to clear: Drake, Hall & Oates. The straight-up dance-music drums that have always been an implicit part of the group’s sound are now more explicit; after those opening horn-bursts on ‘Dangerous,’ for instance, there’s a quick-but-meaningful pause, and then a sort of UK garage shuffle locks in. The single ‘On Hold’ is built on a wonderfully layered little throb, and it feels exultant in the way that few of the group’s songs do. ‘Say Something Loving’ feels like it’s built on top of the sort of skeletal, moody dubstep track that Hyperdub might’ve released in 2009. It’s not like they’re throwing airhorns on their tracks or anything, but if you put all three xx albums on shuffle, you’d be able to pick out most of the I See You tracks within five seconds” – Stereogum. [Limited clear vinyl pressing is also available.]


The Chemical Brothers Exit Planet Dust [Reissue/1995] 2xLP (Astralwerks)
The Chemical BrothersDig Your Own Hole [Reissue/1997] 2xLP (Astralwerks)
The Chemical BrothersSurrender [Reissue/1999] 2xLP (Astralwerks)
The Chemical BrothersCome With Us [Reissue/2001] 2xLP (Astralwerks)
The Chemical BrothersPush The Button [Reissue/2004] 2xLP (Astralwerks)
The Chemical BrothersWe Are The Night [Reissue/2007] 2xLP (Astralwerks)
The Chemical BrothersFurther [Reissue/2010] 2xLP (Astralwerks)
Limited edition color vinyl reissues of The Chemical Brothers’ first seven albums.


The Killers Hot Fuss [Reissue/2004] LP (Island)
The Killers match postpunk guitars with a synthesizer overlay that recalls ‘80s new wave without burying their sound in nostalgia. On their debut, Hot Fuss, frontman Brandon Flowers plumbs his imagination for tales of murdered lovers (“Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine,” “Midnight Show”), voyeurism (“Mr. Brightside”), and sexual confusion (the single “Somebody Told Me”). On standard vinyl.


Tokyo Police ClubMelon Collie And The Infinite Radness CD/LP (Dine Alone)
So say Tokyo Police Club, who are set to release their first batch of new music since the enterprising and vaulting 2014 LP Forcefield. Now ten years on from their 2006 debut EP, the Toronto four-piece are looking back to the energy and spirit of that formative era while keeping an eye on the future. And with the two-part and self-released Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness EP’s being let loose on both ends of 2016, lead singer/bass player and principal songwriter Dave Monks, drummer Greg Alsop, keyboardist/guitarist Graham Wright, and guitarist Josh Hook have harnessed that primal and instinctual joy to make Tokyo Police Club’s tightest, brightest, and certainly raddest batch of songs to date.


AFI – The Blood Album CD/LP
AUSTRA – Future Politics CD/LP
CHERRY GLAZERR – Apocalipstick CD/LP
JOAN OF ARC – He’s Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land …CD/LP
PHILIP GLASS – Music For The Crucible CD
PINK FLOYD – Momentary Lapse Of Reason LP
SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM – Grand Opening and Closing LP reissue
“” “” – In Glorious Times LP reissue
“” “” – Of Natural History LP reissue
XX – I See You deluxe LP box
PAUL WELLER – Stanley Road LP
“” “” – Heavy Soul LP