Here’s LUNKHEAD’s countdown of the year’s best albums. Let us know in the comments section if you disagree.
20) Surf, Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment
Instead of a promised second album, Chicago’s Chance The Rapper followed his vibrant, swinging and acclaimed debut Acid Rap by going completely left-field, with a project celebrating life and community. Free jazz centres the sounds comprised here, while a range of vocalists and musicians join Chance, Donnie and the gang to create an uplifting and soul-searching meditation that genuinely stands alone from the popular. It connects on a meditative and existential level, taking in Nickelodeon themes, gospel-tinged sweetness and duets with Erykah Badu along the way.
Check out: Questions, Familiar and Sunday Candy.
For fans of: The ageless spirit of Motown, soul and jazz.
19) Mr Wonderful, Action Bronson
Food, drugs and relentless bragging, Dr Lecter himself came good on his major label debut. As crazy as we’ve come to expect, from sampling Billy Joel on Brand New Car to soul skits from street-life found deep in the heart of Queens (Thug Love Story 17 The Musical) and hair blowing in the wind psychedelic jams like Easy Rider. Completely eccentric and heaps of fun, a high salute to truly being who you are and flipping the bird to the rest.
Check out: Easy Rider, Actin Crazy, Baby Blue.
For fans of: Crazy psych-soul New York rap, The Wu-Tang Clan mixed with The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
18) Blossom, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
Leaving Gallows in a blur of flames and spit, breaking stages the world over and changing the music industry forever, Franky C gave a finger to his old haunts and embarked on a journey into lighter, but ultimately uninteresting, forays before nigh-on completely disappearing. However, in recruiting The Rattlesnakes in the darkness, a motley crue of British rock and hardcore affiliates, Frank burst back into the more violent end of music that had missed him so. More London than Danny Dyer driving a black cab and manic as a thousand trapped tigers, the album brings Frank back to doing what he does best with a slightly more soulful slow-burning edge, and the Gallows-meets-Pavement of I Hate You opens up whole new territories to explore.
Check out: I Hate You, Juggernaut, Fangs.
For fans of: Frank-era Gallows flirting with bits of The Sex Pistols, The Ghost Of A Thousand and The Bronx.
17) I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, Earl Sweatshirt
With the crazy internet-age innovation and baseball-bat chasm left by Odd Future now in the dust, Earl Sweatshirt steps forward on his own (mostly without his OF cohorts) with an album that paints a picture of a depressed, reclusive Earl drinking and reflecting – mainly on his grandmother passing away and having to finally face growing up. Some of it is frustrated near to the point of incoherence, but when the clarity bursts through the emotional mess, it’s of a hugely confident rapper whose wordplay is as genius as it is acerbic. Deep cutting tribute to lost loved ones DNA and disorientated pit of regrets Mantra shine bright through the darkness, while jazz samples (Grief) and carnivalesque melancholy (Huey) pop up out of nowhere.
Check out: Mantra, Huey, DNA.
For fans of: The darker side of Odd Future, MF Doom, Jay-Z flows , lo-fi hip-hop.
16) New Bermuda, Deafheaven
Mixing searing witch-like black metal with beautiful Smashing Pumpkins-esque breaks, Deafheaven won the hearts of music lovers and music purists alike two years ago with the hugely acclaimed Sunbather. New Bermuda is a bowl-over of a follow-up with the prog length of all five tracks hitting the key of excellence and passing by in what feels like nothing. The build in Brought To The Water could be straight off Siamese Dream and Gifts To The Earth features a refrain that sounds like classic Oasis, all while never comprising the metal abrasion, which is y’know pretty genius right?
Check out: Brought To The Water, Gifts For The Earth, Baby Blue.
For fans of: 90s alt-melodies (Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage) swirling in black metal, sprinkled with elements of shoegaze and Mogwai.
WORDS: WILL CROSS