Alternative Oscars & TV Awards 2017

Alternative Oscars & TV Awards 2017

As I continue to discuss the many pop culture reasons I have no social life, today we move onto the big and small screen. I fell off the wagon a tad with regards to movies so there’s certainly a few I didn’t catch that I intend on seeing soon. However I am very pleased with the 57 movies I did catch this year, and the winners of my alternative Oscars.
Where I actually spent most of my hours was on television, catching 31 shows. So included this year are some awards for binge-worthy TV too.

Best New Television Show
Mindhunter (Netflix)
GLOW (Netflix)
Guerilla (Sky)
Star Trek Discovery (Netflix)
American Gods (Amazon Prime)
Riverdale (Netflix)

There were plenty of excellent new television shows to sink time into this year, and the rate at which they are pumped out is exceeding furthermore. Networks and streaming services want the rights to the hottest shows as its apparent we as people love a good binge-watch. Netflix were of course the hottest property but Amazon Prime’s American Gods, the fantasy epic based from Neil Gaiman’s classic novel, is a lot of dark fun. Sky’s short series Guerilla was also a well-made look at race violence in 70s Britain.
Netflix’s forage into Star Trek was more mature than expected but is indulgent goodness. Murder and crime shows are always a favourite and Mindhunter definitely filled that spot for me this year. A worthy runner up was Alison Brie’s stylish wrestling comedy GLOW, however the winner is the addictive Riverdale.
The CW/Netflix teen flick based from the Archie Comics is marketed to the Twilight audience but has its heart in the right place. That right place being flickers of Veronica Mars, Cluedo and Glee. It’s as much full of cringe as it is full of heart, and if you can get past the former, it’s such an enjoyable watch.

The “Jumped The Shark” Award
Fortitude (HBO)
i-Zombie (Netflix)
Preacher (Amazon Prime)
Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)

This award is for the show that chose to go down routes that perhaps mean it’s due to wrap up rather than carry on. Four shows sprung to mind for taking things too far this year. HBO’s Fortitude which was my favourite show a few years back really had a let-down season two opting to make it’s lead characters psychotic and giving us no real people to root for. Preacher followed up a stellar first season by doing a full season on the road. It had its epic moments but the plot became thin with less than a handful of characters to share screen time. Orange Is The New Black wasn’t bad per say but did seem to hit a point of no return for the plot. I’m not entirely sure where it can go from here. The winner though was i-Zombie which in its third season almost stuck the landing until an insane season finale exposed the show’s biggest secret not just to the lead characters but the whole universe the show is based in. It was a very daft moment from an otherwise terrific show.

Best Comedy Show 2017
Love (Netflix)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Master Of None (Netflix)
Rick & Morty (Adult Swim)
Big Mouth (Netflix)

It was a massive year for comedy on Netflix with season 2 of hipster rom coms Love and Master Of None shining through with lots of heart. The third season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt tore the house down with its relentless pop culture attacks but the winner is the third season of Rick & Morty. It’s became a global phenomenon with Pickle Rick remixes and stampedes in American McDonalds over obtaining that sweet and delicious Szechuan Sauce! The show is at the top of its game, it cannot put a foot wrong and rightly deserves this award.

Best Actor in TV 2017
Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who)
Jon Bernthal (The Punisher)
Pedro Pascal (Narcos)
Rami Malek (Mr Robot)
David Harbour (Stranger Things)
Jonathan Groff (Mindhunter)

This is a toughie as everyone here deserves the nod. Returning Pedro Pascal, David Harbour, Rami Malek and Peter Capaldi remained the best things about their respective shows. Jonathan Groff, once the dreamy Jesse St James in Glee and star of acclaimed but canned HBO show Looking takes up a very serious and demanding role as a serial killer hunter in Mindhunter. Just pipping him though is Jon Bernthal’s hardass playing the role he was born for in The Punisher. His performance, his look and his demeanour made an okay show seem great.

Best Actress in TV 2017
Alison Brie (Glow)
Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek Discovery)
Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why)
Ruth Negga (Preacher)
Freida Pinto (Guerilla)
Gillian Jacobs (Love)

A powerhouse year in TV for these actresses, I find it tricky to select a winner here too. Gillian Jacobs and Ruth Negga return for second seasons of their shows where they steal the whole thing. Controversial 13 Reasons Why in my eyes is mostly a triumph largely in part to a brilliant Katherine Langford in the central role. I loved Alison Brie’s coming out party with her excellence in Glow but it really comes down to the ace Sonequa Martin-Green escaping a bit part role in The Walking Dead to do some seriously brilliant Vulcan acting in Star Trek and revolutionary Freida Pinto in Geurilla. I think Freida just knicks it!

Best Drama Show 2017
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Narcos (Netflix)
Doctor Who (BBC)
Riverdale (Netflix)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Mr.Robot (Amazon Prime)

When TV has been sublime this year, oh boy has it been sublime. Both seasons of Riverdale and the returning Narcos have been must see shows. The incredible Stranger Things painted Halloween and EVERYONE was talking about it. Doctor Who had its strongest season in many years with Peter Capaldi’s swansong. In it’s penultimate year, Game of Thrones broke the wheel on episode content and length, rounded off all of it’s loose ends and set in motion unbelievable plans for it’s endgame. The winner though is a show not so many people have been chatting about. Mr Robot’s third year took the show to unreal heights becoming the most exciting show on television. The complexity of it’s characters and the paths they choose is writing on the level of Breaking Bad and amongst the handful of perfect episodes this season was an hour long one take masterpiece that levels Ozymandias (Breaking Bad S5) as my favourite TV episode of all time. Mr Robot feels like it’s final few seasons will be essential television and this season certainly has been. If you’re not acquainted, get up to speed in the offseason. You seriously don’t want to miss this.

Low Buzz Film Of The Year
Free Fire
The Death Of Stalin
War For The Planet Of The Apes
Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets
Patriot’s Day

Lots to love in this shortlist for me. Mark Wahlberg’s one-two disaster movies Deepwater Horizon and Patriot’s Day were both great watches. British cult director Ben Wheatley followed up last year’s incredible High Rise with the crazy Free Fire. Armando Ianucci returned to the screen with The Thick Of It meets Communist Russia in The Death Of Stalin. For me it comes down to two. The War Of The Planet Of The Apes is probably the most underappreciated blockbuster of the year but for me the winner is the marmite Valerian. Dane Dehann and Cara Delevigne both shine in Luc Besson’s undescribable world building. It’s colourful and detailed in every shot. Yes the writing is a tad off at points but this story is magic and I wish we could return to this world.

Comedy Of The Year Which Actually Made Me Laugh
The Lego Batman Movie
The Big Sick
T2: Trainspotting
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

Comedies weren’t really on top this year, I’m certainly looking for higher quality of comedies next year. Anne Hathaway’s weird Colossal in which she accidentally plays a Godzilla-esque alcoholic monster terrorizing Seoul was fun. The Lego Batman Movie had a lego-bucket load of puns. T2:Trainspotting somehow lived up to expectation taking us back to Edinburgh but our lovable junkies are all grown up. The Big Sick is sensational and perhaps my favourite rom com since 500 Days of Summer which is the greatest compliment I can ever pay. My top pick here is the documentary Jim & Andy in which we see into the madness of Jim Carrey’s performance of Andy Kaufman. It stunned me, it made me laugh and broke my heart. You should definitely seek it out.

Great Film You’ve Never Heard Of
Brawl In Cell Block 99
Wind River
Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing, Missouri
Last year’s Indy output was outstanding and this year was no different. French horror Raw stayed on the brain like the lead character’s thirst for flesh. Vince Vaughan did great in the brutal Brawl In Cell Block 99. Jackie was a sensational period drama about JFK’s assassination from his wife’s viewpoint. Three Billboards Outside Of Edbbing, Missouri followed on from In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths’ weirdness for character building in place of a fully coherent plot. It’s an odd way of making movies, but it works. The winner though is Taylor Sheridan’s conclusion of the American Frontier trilogy which captures the beautiful but deadly Wyoming snowy wilderness. Renner and Olsen are also terrific.

Blockbuster That Got Thumbs Up Critically Too
Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol 2
Blade Runner 2049
Wonder Woman

There was a surprisingly lot to love here and quite a few films had to fight their way into my nominees. Marvel’s best film this year was Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2 which maintained the magic and charm of the first film. DC mostly blundered but struck gold with Wonder Woman mostly down to Gal Gadot’s amazing charisma on screen. I adored the remake of IT which was the best Horror movie this year and one I genuinely think I’ll be replaying for years to come. I struggled picking a winner here, but the runner up is Logan. James Mangold’s second attempt at our favourite Wolverine is my favourite superhero film ever made. It pits Hugh Jackman’s Logan in a post apocalyptic world where he and Professor X are essentially the last of the mutants who have all been hunted down. That is until they find a new generation of children with powers. It’s a road movie, it’s a movie about growing old and it should have honestly been the perfect send off for this whole franchise. You would think that would be enough to seal it but words cannot express how perfectly crafted Blade Runner 2049 is. Denis Villeneuve creates stunning visuals in every single shot of the movie and the full cast shine. This might be the most impressive Sci-Fi ever made, but like the original, I think it’ll take us years to find that out.

Surprisingly Garbage
Live By Night
The Snowman
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
John Wick 2

Live By Night, Mindhorn & The Snowman had good trailers and set-ups but turned out trash. Kingsman: The Golden Circle literally obliterated the world built in the first movie within the first five minutes making us lose so much charm. Colin Firth returned but it never felt like he was playing the same person. My pick here though is John Wick 2 which despite being so much better than all of the rest of these films still really failed to live up to expectation for me. When I watched the first movie I wanted to talk about it. When I watched this sequel, it didn’t impact me either way. That’s kind of worse than it sucking.

Surprisingly NOT Garbage
Beauty And The Beast
Patriot’s Day
Kong: Skull Island
Spider-Man: Homecoming

Shout-out to all these films I was worried about pulling out blinders. Disney’s Beauty And The Beast was well crafted and lovely to see. Patriot’s Day followed Deepwater Horizon in being really weighty and a good watch. Kong: Skull Island had all the ability to be a corny follow-up to Peter Jackson’s classic but it pulled through as one of the best military shoot em up’s since Aliens. We finally have a Spider-Man universe that feels right with fantastic performances and a story to go with it. Winning here is M. Night’s Split which is a massive return to form. James McAvoy’s performance is a must see.

The Skidmark Of Cinema Award 2017
Assassins Creed
King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword
The Mummy
The Snowman

These were absolutely the worst of the worst that I saw this year. Michael Fassbender turned in a corker with The Snowman and Assassins Creed both being rubbish. King Arthur and The Mummy were probably about as bad as expected but Matthew McConaughey starring as a crazy Gold mine prospector had no right to be this bad. Shame on you Gold.

The “Casey Affleck Award” for Best Actor
Jeremy Renner (Wind River)
Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)
Denzel Washington (Fences)
James McAvoy (Split)
Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)

Look, if you haven’t seen Manchester By The Sea you really need to. Casey Affleck’s performance is going to stay with me and haunt me for years. It’s the realest portrayal of grief and emptiness I’ve ever seen. He deserves to win. Everybody here deserves a look in. Renner’s quiet hunter in Wind River is his most mature and physical performance yet. It suited him well. Daniel Kaluuya evoked the true horrors of Get Out perfectly, and James McAvoy brought true horror into Split with his psychotic, crazed performances. Denzel Washinton’s Fences performance would be the outright winner in any other year if not for Affleck. They deserve to share a win but I’m not copping out sorry. Spend time watching Manchester By The Sea and Fences and make up your own mind. They’re both winners but Affleck takes it for me.

The “Natalie Portman Award” For Best Actress
Frances McDormand (Three Billboards)
Ana De Almas (Blade Runner 2049)
Garance Marilliar (Raw)
Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Once again I apologise, but it’s a travesty that Natalie Portman didn’t win the Oscar for Jackie. During no seconds of that movie did I feel like I was watching an Actor. It was Jackie Kennedy down to the mannerisms and the accent on every letter and everything in between. It’s a perfect performance.
Gal Gadot made Wonder Woman the coolest superhero on the planet, Garance Marilliar shone becoming unhinged and animal like as Raw progressed and Ana De Almas had a breakout making everyone fall in love with a hologram. Frances McDormand deserves special mention for what might be her best performance of her career. She is the Queen of pissed off in movies now, I kind of hope she takes this role into everything she takes forthcoming.

ACTUAL Film Of The Year (Top 10)
10. Get Out
9. IT
8. Wind River
7. Silence
6. Logan
5. Baby Driver
4. Blade Runner 2049
3. La La Land
2. Manchester By The Sea
1. Dunkirk

Get Out was a pop culture phenomenon and a piece of genius. IT was my favourite horror movie this year and one of my favourite of all time as it portrayed nightmares and the way we felt as children perfectly. Wind River is the ice cold and deadly conclusion of the American Frontier trilogy we wanted. Silence is an epic with extraordinary sacrifices and performances all round. Logan is my favourite superhero film ever made. Baby Driver is note by note perfect as Edgar Wright flexes his imagination and attention to detail as a director. Blade Runner 2049 went where no Sci-Fi had gone before. La La Land is a timeless classic, an unforgettable musical romantic adventure. Manchester By The Sea affects me still 11 months after watching it. The best movie of the year though must be Christopher Nolan’s technical masterpiece Dunkirk. The infamous story of 400,000 men stranded at Dunkirk trying to escape the Axis forces pushing them back. Starring a supreme ensemble cast headed up by Hans Zimmer’s earth shattering score plus Christopher Nolan’s complex time scales. It’s stunning and in IMAX I had never had a cinema experience like it.

Thanks for reading.


The New Music Mixtape: Best Albums 2017

The New Music Mixtape: Best Albums 2017

Over the past twelve months, one of my life goals was to listen to as much as possible. About half way into the year I realised I was on course to hit a pretty cool milestone so I can say with pride, that I managed to enjoy 500 albums this year.

From those 500, I have taken my absolute favourites to talk about a little bit, and link them below so you too can enjoy.

50. TWIABPAIANLATD – Always Foreign
Amidst band departures and anger at the political landscape, TWIABPAIANLATD make an ironic stab at how crap things are in their song writing whilst maintaining their rich, full post rock sound.

49. The XX – I See You
Jamie XX’s solo work creeps in as The XX mash fresh sounds together, for their fans to party to the band’s best record yet.

48. Wiley – Godfather
The only Grime album you needed to pay attention to this year.

47. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 3
Just at the turn of the year, Run the Jewels stayed on form releasing their third album in four years. Despite these being free mixtapes, they have far more stud records than most major label releases.

46. Brutus – Burst
In a year with returns from Queens of the Stone Age and Royal Blood, Belgium’s Brutus released the best stadium rock music. It’s one of the most immediate and loud albums I heard this year.

45. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me
It would be impossible and immoral to discuss this album on terms of enjoyment. One of the most harrowing expressions of grief ever recorded, but a must listen.

44. Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile To The Surface
A genius showcase of burying honest insecure and sometimes existential problems inside of electrifying, grandeur indie rock.

43. Sheer Mag – Need To Feel Your Love
The Philadelphia punk rock band strip things back to basics for riff anthem after riff anthem with powerhouse vocals and killer hooks.

42. THEY – Nu Religion: Hyena
R&B burst out of its glass ceiling with dark blends of rock, pop & hip hop around every twist.

41. Khalid – American Teen
A very solid Pop/R&B effort from now global superstar Khalid which exerts an adrenaline shot of much needed youthfulness into the scene.

40. Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex
A single sound captured across an album. CAS’s static dreamy shoegaze makes this into a concept album about love, sex and the world we live in.

39. Pond – The Weather
There’s been plenty of mind-bending prog rock soundscapes from Aussie bands Tame Impala and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard over the past few years, but Pond’s The Weather is the most successful yet.

38. Code Orange – Forever
In a year of outstanding efforts from metal bands (Mastadon, Pallbearer, Converge as notables), It’s Pittsburgh’s Code Orange who stole the show.

37. Jay-Z – 4:44
Jay’s understated comeback says exactly what it needs to with regards to family, race and politics. Lyrically his best album in over a decade, with raw production that didn’t need flash to sell its story.

36. Kesha – Rainbow
A deeply personal album start to finish which has its faults but really charms through in pop and country records.

35. Corbin – Mourn
R&B outsider Corbin channels grunge heroes to make a post-modern take on what heavy rock and hip hop can sound like meshed together.

34. Phoebe Bridgers – Strangers In The Alps
A debut album has no right to be this good lyrically, but LA singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers sticks the landing instantly. Looks back at classic song writing but paints it with a modern folk palette ala Lana Del Rey or Angel Olsen.

33. Brockhampton – Saturation 3
The culmination of a year long project results in the boyband’s most versatile and experimental work. The album concludes looping into its predecessors whilst pointing towards similar output next year.

32. SZA – Cntrl
Top Dawg Entertainment had a fantastic year with Kendrick (we’ll get to that), but SZA’s coming out party was better than we could have ever hoped for. She effortlessly joins Lamar and Schoolboy Q as the label’s heavy hitters.

31. Charli XCX – Number 1 Angel
Frustrated with the direction her label vision for her, Charli lets us into her brain. She’s a traditionalist pop fan and pop star, but also a visionary creating the future of pop music with her friends.

30. Yung Lean – Stranger
In a break out year for many emo rappers, the Swedish OG puts out stellar work to show he’s still King Emo of the Emo Castle.

29. Alex Lahey – I Love You Like A Brother
Frantic, funny and life affirming indie rock from Australia by one of the most likeable artists making music today.

28. Joey Bada$$ – All Amerikkkan Bada$$
Whilst I loved this on first hearing, I waited all year round for the seminal Trump album. I had it with me almost the full year. It’s Joey’s record.

27. Rina Sawayama – Rina
Sunny, inventive pop music from London newbie Rina Sawayama. The blog hive’s favourite pop record of the year, it’s easy to understand why.

26. Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights
Gorgeous voiced Tennessee singer Julien Baker boxes herself over self-worth, religion and loneliness in an epic that rivals any Rocky movie. Almost like a movie or diary being played out, you hear Julien grow in confidence and willpower as the album progresses, which is stunning.

25. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
James Murphy gives fans the comeback beyond their dreams with several tribal rants and raves about life in America.

24. The Horrors – V
A triumphant return for Gothic indie band The Horrors who make their most complex records of their career on an air tight V.

23. Thundercat – Drunk
Manic and daft at points, Thundercat’s experimenting is one of the most thrilling listens this year.

22. Makthaverskan – III
Perfect 80s gothic songwriting from the Swede’s third album featuring some of the most infectious guitar records of the year.

21. Rapsody – Laila’s Wisdom
Rap’s new megastar sets out her path with a stellar debut album.

20. Trampolene – Swansea To Hornsey
Probably the best Welsh indie album since The Holy Bible. Passionate to its roots lyrically wrapped much craved real guitar riffs. It’s like the days of early Arctic Monkeys.

19. Brand New – Science Fiction
First things first, I heavily condemn and give no credit to the frontman of this band. That being said, Brand New made the best album of their career and made songs that genuinely help battle adult male depression. That’s something to shout about.

18. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Modern Ruin
Something different for Hardcore Punk hero Frank Carter turned out to be something that felt just right. Loud, punchy, layered punk rock masterclass on offer here.

17. Dave – Game Over
Late in the year, after some satisfactory single drops, Dave finally sets the bar. Seven minute political wastes and beef based club smashes, Game Over is Dave heading into 2018 on top.

16. Muna – About You
Dark and funky indie with plenty of dance references from LA trio Muna. There’s special songwriting with  love songs written from the viewpoint of homosexual woman but with the ability to fit a relatability for anyone. Certainly one of the brightest sparks from a new band this year.

15. The National – Sleep Well Beast
The National finally made a record I loved start to finish with Sleep Well Beast. From clicking the play button, you’re taken into their own mood the band have honed over the years. They make several of the best singles of their career, and their best album. I’m a casual fan and this excites me. What it must feel like to be a National hard core and have had this release.

14. Brockhampton – Saturation
Ah, where it all started. After a string of creative, intelligent singles like Gold and Star, Brockhampton released the first of their life altering Saturation albums. It stood up as a full album, with each song offering something new and exciting. I played it to death and you should too.

13. Logic – Everybody
The magna carta of positive rap music in 2017 was through Logic and his groundbreaking Everybody. This would have been a perfectly great choice for a Grammy now that I think about it. Stupid Grammys.

12. Sorority Noise – You’re Not As ___ As You Think
Upon discovering the fantastic movie Manchester By The Sea, which is one of the most brutal and real depictions of male depression and grief I’ve ever seen, Sorority Noise’s triumphant take on the topic was a real sticky album for me. It was the film’s counterpart, spearheaded by the amazing No Halo. I never dropped it, they were my favourite hard rock band this year.

11. Drake – More Life
A playlist is a cooler word than an album anyway, Drake’s in the right here guys. More Life was a celebration for me of everything Drizzy has released over his career. There are songs on there that hark back to his early days like his collab with Jorja Smith, songs that hark to the future like his trap anthem Portland and banger after banger.

10. Charli XCX – Pop2
Late year surprise drop Pop2 is Charli XCX’s most complete work. Her and PC Music’s AG Cook combined with a plethora of friends to create many individual choons but also a fully flexed showcase of both of their fantastic vision for pop music. The album being called Pop2 is fitting, as they seem to be trailblazing the way.

9. Idles – Brutalism
British band Idles were the centrepiece of angry punk speaking about political issues surrounding Brexit and other tragedies and let downs by the government. Songs like Mother and Well Done resonated with crowds upon crowds over Summer festivals. It came timely and really fit the bill of what youths in Britain needed to express their views on the way the country is being run.

8. Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy
Tyler, The Creator released his best work of his career with Flower Boy, his own Channel Orange. I say that not only because he used the lyrics on the album to talk about his sexuality but also to release music we never thought he would create. This is an album about love, about growing up and likewise topics, whilst maintaining enough OF-esque rap bangers.

7. Paramore – After Laughter
The pop punk band stake their claim as the best pop band on the planet, reaching into the past to draw inspiration from 80s rock pop like Blondie which you can certainly hear in their hit Hard Times. What is admirable is whilst this plays as Paramore’s most colourful album in their now long career, it is also their darkest lyrically. Songs like Rose Coloured Boy and Fake Happy are some of the most stunning of Hayley Williams’ lyrics.

6. Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
Our Father dropped his second full length which is a long, complex and funny take on the world we live in. It’s a commentary on the world we live in for cynics, pessimists and optimists too. Modern life hasn’t felt so real on record.

5. Lorde – Melodrama
Melodrama is such an important record. Lorde on it sways away from the pop hierarchy (her tour was Academy level, not Stadium as her contemporaries). She is the cool popstar to adore, and adored she was by the many this year. Green Light and Melodrama tops so many lists. The album itself is a concept album of a break-up and getting back into the swing of life. It’s gorgeous start to finish.

4. Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms
Creeper’s debut album sits so highly because of how exciting it is to have a new British band evoke the highs of emo heavyweights like My Chemical Romance or earlier Fall Out Boy. Eternity, In Your Arms is a quick storm of punk rock imagery, painted with the band’s sensational branding. They are the most accessible emo band in what seems like forever to obsess over. Their music allows that, and encourages it. They should from here become massive.

3. Kendrick Lamar – Damn
I’m not sure any of us are clever enough to dissect Damn and discuss it properly but I know at least that it is genius. Kendrick Lamar is on his own level, in his own world with his music. With Damn, for me, he cements his-self as the greatest artist working today. His music makes hits, has bars to appeal to all hip-hop fans, but still feels like it’s deeper than that. Then of course in December when the wave of excitement had mostly passed, he announces that the album was supposed to be played backwards. Damn is an enigma that I can’t wait to throw on repeat until I work it out.

2. J Hus – Common Sense
The biggest success in British music this year came from UK rapper J-Hus. His loud blend of 90’s west coast rap production, African rap flow and lyrical content and his ability to create R&B anthems was unmatched. Every song on Common Sense feels like a celebration. It’s a positive album about winning in life. It should have won the Mercury!

1. Brockhampton – Saturation 2
My most played album this year, and also my favourite, is the second instalment on the whirlwind ride that was Saturation. Brockhampton, the world’s best new boyband threw us Saturation 2 at a time when I was still trying to pick my jaw up from the first album. Brockhampton have injected energy into my day to day life this year, creating music that is always instantly exciting, fresh and damn good at a blistering pace. Their love for their craft and them being so young and new to music that they can threaten break-ups or drop music at the click of a tweet is so attractive. For me exploring new music and finding things to listen to, they have been the best thing about 2017.

The album itself is stacked, more so than their debut or Saturation 3 which followed in December. The cinematic opening to Gummy is a solid example of how their music on this record felt a bit more layered and more confident of the band’s style than their predecessor. Queer and especially Junky are some of the best tracks about sexuality in rap songs ever laid to record. More so than their other albums, there are songs here which give everyone a chance to shine. Meryln Wood’s quirkiness on Swamp or Ameer Vann’s angry flow about race on Fight were highlights. The group’s best vocalist Bearface does his best year’s work on Jesus and Summer. The album cohesively comes together, offering some of the finest production work of the year. The group created Saturation with the pun of oversaturating the music industry with three albums in a year. They made everything that was great about music in 2017.

The New Music Mixtape: Best Of Q2 2017

The New Music Mixtape: Best Of Q2 2017

Despite being out of action in April, I’ve managed to catch-up on everything that I need to in the world of new music. I’ve listened to every album and song I can get my hands on and collated it all. There’s been so much to love, and surprisingly so little to hate. Music has left me feeling very positive thus far this year.

Especially coming out of a dangerous operation which could have taken away my ability to hear, having so much great new music to explore and find has made my successful recovery much easier of the past few months. It’s been a challenging time for me and I know it sounds kind of corny, but music has helped me through it so much.

I wanted to take a bit of time to list off some of my favourite albums of the year so far and list some of my favourite songs so far. As we hit the half-way point of the year, here is my favourite albums so far, from the 220 I’ve heard.

Top 50 Albums
50. Sylvan Esso – What Now
49. Mastadon – Emperor Of Sand
48. Formation – Look At The Powerful People
47. J-Hus – Common Sense
46. Sohn – Rennen
45. Alison Crutchfield – Tourist In This Town
44. Cherry Glazerr – Apocalipstick
43. Vagabon – Infinite Worlds
42. Migos – Culture
41. Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone
40. Nines – One Foot Out
39. Dude York – Sincerely
38. Sundara Karma – Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect
37. Jamiroquai – Automaton
36. DJ Khaled – Grateful
35. Charli XCX – Number 1 Angel
34. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
33. Hey Violet – Hey Violet
32. White Reaper – The World’s Best American Band
31. Life – Popular Music
30. Paramore – After Laughter
29. Lorde – Melodrama
28. Kendrick Lamar – Damn
27. Cashmere Cat – Nine
26. Wiley – Godfather
25. Ryan Adams – Prisoner
24. SZA – Cntrl
23. Sampha – Process
22. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me
21. Fleet Foxes – Crack Up
20. Pond – The Weather
19. The XX – I See You
18. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 3
17. Code Orange – Forever
16. Joey Badass – All Amerikkkan Badass
15. Big Sean – I Decided
14. Stormzy – Gang Signs And Prayer
13. Logic – Everybody
12. Khalid – American Teen
11. Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
10. Idles – Brutalism
9. They – Nu Religion: Hyena
8. Jidenna – The Chief
7. Thundercat – Drunk
6. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Modern Ruin
5. Sorority Noise – You’re Not As ___ As You Think
4. Muna – About You
3. Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms
2. Brockhampton – Saturation
1. Drake – More Life

Drake comes out on top for me by turning in a lengthy, genre spanning and career spanning album. There’s cuts on it that throw back to Take Care and Thank Me Later but also tunes on it that throw forward to current and future trends. His mastery over understanding on what people want to listen to is so impressive, so it’s an easy decision for me. It could well be the best album he’s ever made.

Moving onto my favourite tracks, the past few months have really picked up. The start of the year left me with Stormzy and Father John Misty ahead of the pack. After April through June, this is where the list currently sits, top to bottom.

With their modern Disco perfection, it’s Arcade Fire joined by the slick sounds of Calvin Harris’ Slide out in front of the rest of the pack. So far though, 2017 is shaping up gorgeously. I’ll be back with you in Q3!

The New Music Mixtape: Best of Q1 2017

The New Music Mixtape: Best of Q1 2017

We’ve made it to the end of Q1 and boy oh boy what an interesting start to the year we’ve had. A young lad from Suffolk released an album which saw all sixteen songs chart in the Top 20 on opening week. We saw Grime celebrate a milestone by crowning its new King, Stormzy, with a Number 1 album. And we enjoyed exuberant returns from Katy Perry, Lorde and…Uhm, Steps.
Its proof that music is more unpredictable than it has ever been before. The one thing that is concurrent is that it’s always bloody great. As always I have been listening non-stop around the clock for the most exciting pieces of music released. With over five hundred records already under my skin, I’m going to try and rank the Top 50 so far.

If you’d like to listen on the go, here’s a handy Spotify playlist for you.

50. Jazz Cartier – Tempted
49. Allison Crutchfield – I Don’t Ever Wanna Leave California
48. The Magic Gang – How Can I Compete?
47. Bad Sounds – Meat On My Bones
46. Marsicans – Friends
45. Wall – River Mansion
44. Isaac Gracie – Reverie
43. Maggie Rogers – On & Off
42. Get Inuit – Barbiturates
41. Life – Euromillions
40. Pale Waves – There’s A Honey
39. The Amazons – Black Magic
38. Kendrick Lamar – The Heart Part IV
37. Clean Bandit – Symphony
36. Me Not You – Relief
35. Sea Bed – Pretender
34. SZA – Drew Barrymore
33. Jamiroquai – Cloud 9
32. Future Islands – I Ran
31. Fickle Friends – Hello Hello
30. Future – Mask Off
29. Icarus – King Kong
28. Pwr Bttm – Answer My Text
27. Sorority Noise – A Better Sun
26. Jessie Reyez – Shutter Island
25. Dave x J Hus – Samantha
24. Rex Orange County – Best Friend
23. Creeper – Black Rain
22. Idles – Stendhal Syndrome
21. Charli XCX & Cupkkake – Lipgloss
20. Khalid – Coaster
19. Salen – Heartbreak Diet
18. Joey Bada$$ – Land Of The Free
17. The XX – Say Something Loving
16. Sampha – No One Knows Me (Like My Piano)
15. Lana Del Rey – Love
14. Mount Eerie – Real Death
13. Thundercat – Show You The Way
12. Young Fathers – Only God Knows
11. Nicki Minaj – No Frauds
10. Alt-J – 3WW
09. Migos – Bad And Boujee
08. Muna – Crying On The Bathroom Floor
07. Middle Kids – Never Start
06. Future & Rihanna – Selfish
05. Jidenna – Bambi
04. Lorde – Green Light
03. Frank Ocean – Chanel
02. Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
01. Stormzy – Big For Your Boots

Alternative Oscars & Cinema 2016

Alternative Oscars & Cinema 2016

The Oscars this week released their highly anticipated nominations to much discussion, but with only a few surprises. To the shock of absolutely nobody, La La Land swept up with Manchester By The Sea shortly behind it. The likes of Fences & Hacksaw Ridge also saw themselves set up nicely.
The Oscars normally select films which have early year release so many of the nominated films did not release in the UK in 2016. With that being said, I’d like to take the time to pick some Alternative Oscar Categories from the 75 films I saw in 2016.

Low Buzz Film That Should Have Been Nominated For Best Picture
Winner: Midnight Special
Nominated: Free State Of Jones, The Infiltrator, Bleed For This, The Fundamentals Of Caring
With enchantment and wonder reminiscent of the equally underappreciated Super 8, Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special is a clear winner in this category. Its a chase film to get a boy to safety after he exerts mysterious powers. Michael Shannon is terrific.

Comedy Of The Year Which Was Actually Funny
Winner: The Nice Guys
Nominated: Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Hail, Caesar!, Deadpool, War On Everyone
Before he won over the hearts of zillions in La La Land, Ryan Gosling turned out a hilarious turn in The Nice Guys from Shane Black. Gosling and Crowe team up to make an incompetent but oddly endearing cop duo. The 70s have never looked this fun.

Great Film You’ve Never Heard Of
Winner: The Invitation
Nominated: Imperium, Keanu, Morgan, Victoria
The Invitation just wins out ahead of Victoria for me here. There’s so much tension in the air from the first second of The Invitation, which is handy as knives are on hand to cut the tension at the reunion dinner from hell. The trailer promised mayhem and the film rewards those who can withstand hairs on the backs of their palms for 90 minutes before exploding into a truly shocking finale. Go seek it out!

Blockbuster That Got Thumbs Up Critically Too
Winner: Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them
Nominated: The Jungle Book, Doctor Strange, Star Trek Beyond, The Magnificent Seven
Shouts out to every film here, they all did a good job of providing excellent popcorn munching moments but also did a good job of the whole making a decent film thing too.
Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them had so much pressure to follow-up one of the biggest franchise’s ever as a sort of soft-reboot prequel. What it did was magically create New York in the 1920s with so much panache. Redmayne & Fogler were marvellous together.

Live Action Family Film Of The Year
Winner: The BFG
Nominated: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, Goosebumps, Ghostbusters
Spielberg’s 2016 was spent crafting a live action re-make of one of Roald Dahl’s best books and the film was a lovely success. In particular its British etiquette through-out was fun and Mark Rylance’s broken English was masterful as The BFG.

British Film Of The Year
Winner: High-Rise
Nominated: The Girl With All The Gifts, A Monster Calls, Sing Street
Probably the strongest category of them all, British film had a fantastic year. High-Rise for me was special. This was a novel that took decades in the making to correctly transfer to film. Some said it could never be done with its maddening plot and metaphorical nightmarish scenarios, but Britain’s best Ben Wheatley was clearly up to the challenge.

Film I’m Most Likely To Buy On DVD And Replay Loads
Winner: Sing Street
Nominated: The Hateful Eight, Deadpool, The Edge Of Seventeen, Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them
If you know me, you’ll know I’m a sucker for musical films and Sing Street combined everything cool about being in a band, 80s music and chasing girls into a really honest and funny film. It’s a tremendous watch with lots of life lessons on every watch through.

Surprisingly Garbage
Winner: Suicide Squad
Nominated: The Secret Life Of Pets, X-Men:Apocalypse, Captain America: Civil War, Rogue One
All of these films were built to be really exciting parts of the year and all flopped about like a lousy, lonely Magikarp. Suicide Squad led the disappointments with probably the biggest mis-sell of a film ever on trailer. I have fond memories of the Bohemian Rhapsody trailer being the best thing ever. What a damn shame.

Surprisingly NOT Garbage
Winner: 10 Cloverfield Lane
Nominated: Star Trek Beyond, Deepwater Horizon, The Magnificent Seven, Jason Bourne, War Dogs
All of the nominated films deserve credit for taking the plunge into risky territory and coming up Milhouse. 10 Cloverfield Lane was an interesting one. I hated Cloverfield and throwing the name over this new film was always dangerous. What we got though was a superbly tense, scary and mindboggling experience of the end of the world seen through John Goodman’s bunker. I was thrilled by the end of the madness.

The Skidmark Of Cinema 2016 Award
Winner: Sausage Party
Nominated: Ride Along 2, The 5th Wave, Grimsby, The Legend Of Tarzan, Mechanic: Resurrection, Independence Day: Resurgence
None of these films should have been seen by human eyes. All absolute garbage. Nothing nice to say. What a shame about Independence Day. Sausage Party wins out because unlike the rest I felt something. I felt offended. Never have I been so uncomfortable at the cinema without actual laughs to follow. It was just a disgusting awkward watch.

ACTUAL Film Of The Year
Winner: Arrival
Nominated: High-Rise, Sing Street, Train To Busan, The Invitation, Kubo & The Two Strings, The Accountant, The Jungle Book
Whilst Train To Busan, High-Rise and Sing Street were all higher on my overall list, I think Arrival had many film of the year qualities about it. It had perfect direction, storytelling and acting but also left me feeling stunned, sorrowful and eager to talk to people about it. Its a spectacle and absolutely not the film you think you’re going to get.

And For Good Measure He’s My Rankings For 2016
1. The Revenant
2. Train To Busan
3. Sing Street
4. High-Rise
5. Arrival
6. Spotlight
7. The Invitation
8. Kubo & The Two Strings
9. 10 Cloverfield Lane
10. Moana
11. The Jungle Book
12. Doctor Strange
13. The Accountant
14. Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them
15. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
16. The BFG
17. Sully: Miracle On The Hudson
18. War Dogs
19. Star Trek Beyond
20. Zootropolis
21. The Big Short
22. Midnight Special
23. The Nice Guys
24. Victoria
25. The Hateful Eight
26. The Girl With All The Gifts
27. A Monster Calls
28. Hunt For The Wilderpeople
29. The Fundamentals Of Caring
30. Ghostbusters
31. Deepwater Horizon
32. Hail, Caesar!
33. Deadpool
34. Bad Moms
35. The Magnificent Seven
36. Hell Or High Water
37. Under The Shadow
38. Green Room
39. Rogue One
40. Nerve
41. Free State Of Jones
42. War On Everyone
43. The Edge Of Seventeen
44. Jason Bourne
45. The Infiltrator
46. Bleed For This
47. Central Intelligence
48. Keanu
49. Captain America: Civil War
50. Trumbo
51. The Purge: Election Year
52. Triple 9
53. Imperium
54. X-Men: Apocalypse
55. Goosebumps
56. Why Him
57. Kung Fu Panda 3
58. Morgan
59. Office Christmas Party
60. Independence Day: Resurgence
61. Inferno
62. Suicide Squad
63. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
64. The Secret Life Of Pets
65. The Angry Birds Movie
66. Dirty Grandpa
67. Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates
68. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
69. The 5th Wave
70. Grimsby
71. The Legend Of Tarzan
72. Batman v Superman
73. Sausage Party
74. Mechanic: Resurrection
75. Ride Along 2

The New Music Mixtape: Songs of 2016

The New Music Mixtape: Songs of 2016

Welcome along to the most important article I’ll post on my website all year, my Songs of The Year. I’ve shortlisted an insane 1,940 records I’ve found and enjoyed down to just 300.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been listening. I’ve been listening and I’ve been noting down every new piece of music I hear. That’s been countless hours listening, exploring and falling in love with new music. It’s probably important for me to talk a little about just how important that’s been for me. I returned home post-Uni with no immediate plans on what my future held. I’ve done alright, I have two incredibly fulfilling radio jobs and a third to follow in the new year. That being said, in between those successes, there’s a lot of down time. I live in an area where I don’t really have anything to do, or anybody to speak to. I’ve fallen out of touch with most of my friends for the most part. When I have been down or felt the darkness creeping up, putting my energy into music discovery has saved me countless times this year. So collecting all of this data and collating it does me a greater happiness than I could ever expect anybody reading will take from it.

That pre-face out of the way, let’s get into this. My hope is you find your favourites listed through-out but also a lot of records that slipped under the radar but burst with excitement and progression. Find numbers 300-201 below with a lovely Spotify playlist (or Soundcloud links) to all of the records.

300. AlunaGeorge – I’m In Control
299. Danny L Harle – Broken Flowers
298. Atom Tree – Body
297. The Temper Trap – Burn
296. Echos – Gold
295. Denzel Curry – Knotty Head
294. Agua Roja – Joey
293. Young Franco – Drop Your Love
292. The Naked & Famous – Higher
291. Rews – Miss You In The Dark
290. Beffroi – Faint
289. Rocheii – Body Language
288. Sylvan Esso – Radio
287. Weezer – LA Girlz
286. Wolfie’s Just Fine – It’s A Job
285. Ramsey – See You Bleed
284. Moses – Leave, Leave, Leave
283. Tender – Oracle
282. Solange ft Sampha – Don’t Touch My Hair
281. Bear’s Den – Napoleon
280. Oyls – Maps
279. Dan Croll – Swim
278. Idles – Well Done
277. DRAM – Cash Machine
276. Bryce Fox – Horns
275. Twenty One Pilots – Lane Boy
274. Skott – Lack Of Emotion
273. The Head & The Heart – All We Ever Knew
272. Wall – Cuban Cigars
271. Jelani Blackman – Submarine
270. Dua Lipa – Last Dance
269. The Amazons – In My Mind
268. Biffy Clyro – Re-Arrange
267. Potty Mouth – Smash Hit
266. Matt Corby – Monday
265. Miles Mosley – Abraham
264. Circa Waves – Wake Up
263. American Football – I’ve Been So Lost For So Long
262. Margaret – Cool Me Down
261. Obongjayar – Creeping
260. John Jacob Magistery – Carol
259. Chance The Rapper – Blessings Reprise
258. Jesiah – Babylon
257. DJ Shadow & Run The Jewels – Nobody Speak
256. Tegan & Sara – Boyfriend
255. Ralph – Cold To The Touch
254. The Avalanches – Because I’m Me
253. Karo – Wolfbaby
252. Yellowcard – The Hurt Is Gone
251. Beaty Heart – Flora

I toyed with the idea of writing out a paragraph about each song I’ve included in my list. They really deserve to be spoken highly of, each and every one of them. They’ve all played important parts in my year, even if it was just smiling or grinning upon first hearing them. Hopefully you have the time to sink your teeth (and ears) into the 300-201 playlist. What follows now will back-up why you should spend your time listening.

250. Sohn – Signal
249. Salen – Copper Kiss
248. Me Not You – Bulletproof
247. The Kills – Doing It To Death
246. Seramic – Waiting
245. Warhola – Lady
244. Shells – Gold
243. Tourist – To Have You Back
242. Mallrat – Tokyo Drift
241. Clean Cut Kid – Make Believe
240. Drake – Keep The Family Close
239. LCMDF – Rookie
238. Khalid – Location
237. Team Picture – Classic M
236. Pinegrove – Old Friends
235. Sigala – Say You Do
234. Passenger – Anywhere
233. Swet Shop Boys – Aaja
232. Beck – Wow
231. DMAs – Delete
230. Kings Of Leon – Walls
229. Cape Cub – All I Need
228. Cherry Glazzer – I Told You I’d Be With The Guys
227. Childcare – Film Club
226. Pumarosa – Honey
225. Local Natives – Past Lives
224. Biffy Clyro – In The Name Of The Wee Man
223. Pup – If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You
222. Twin Atlantic – The Chaser
221. Black Honey – Hello Today
220. Courteeners – The 17th
219. Elohim – Sensations
218. Deftones – Prayers/Triangles
217. Ian Sweet – All Skaters Go To Heaven
216. Anderson.Paak – Sillicon Valley
215. Connie Constance – Clouds
214. Estrons – Drop
213. Strong Asian Mothers – The More That I
212. Louis Berry – Nicole
211. Arizona – I Was Wrong
210. Skott – Porcelain
209. Weyes Blood – Do You Need My Love
208. Catfish & The Bottlemen – Outside
207. Cigarettes After Sex – K
206. Desiigner – Timmy Turner
205. Beyonce – Sorry
204. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dark Necessities
203. Kanye West – Fade
202. Declan McKenna – Isombard
201. Kaytranada – Lite Spots

Dammit Beyonce! We almost got through 100 records without needing an alternative link. Her track Sorry, placing at 205, is the only record not on Spotify in the below playlist. I’m so annoyed I’m not even going to give her the attention of finding an alternative link, let’s just move past it. *composes self* Okay let’s bring on 200-101.

200. Zara Larsson – Lush Life
199. High Contrast – Remind Me
198. Mitski – Fireworks
197. Sia – Broken Glass
196. Pup – DVP
195. Shame – Gold Hole
194. Yellow Days – Gap In The Cloud
193. KoRn – Rotting In Vain
192. MO – Final Song
191. Joey Bada$$ – Devastated
190. OneRepublic – Kids
189. Hunny – Colder Parts
188. Jagwar Ma- OB1
187. Skott – Wolf
186. The Academic – Mixtape 2003
185. Run The Jewels – Talk To Me/Legend Has It
184. Blaenavon – My Bark Is Your Bite
183. Bibi Bourelly – Sally
182. The 1975 – She’s American
181. The Japanese House – Face Like Thunder
180. Jorja Smith – Blue Lights
179. Japanese Breakfast – Everybody Wants To Love You
178. Pwr Bttm – I Wanna Boi
177. Hotton Tennis Club – Katy-Anne Bellis
176. Tender – Afternoon
175. Dreamwife – Hey Heartbreaker
174. Twenty One Pilots – Ride
173. Post Malone – Go Flex
172. Bantug – Wine Beeline
171. Kiiara – Gold
170. Passport To Stockholm – Better Days
169. Maggie Rogers – Dog Years
168. Shura – Touch
167. Snakehips & Zayn – Cruel
166. Will Joseph Cook – Take Me Dancing
165. Imany (Filatov & Karas Remix) – Don’t Be So Shy
164. Francis & The Lights – It’s Alright To Cry
163. Slothrust – Like A Child Hiding Behind A Tombstone
162. Pep & Rash – Love The One You’re With
161. Kano – Garage Skank
160. Bad Sounds – Avalanche
159. Nilufer Yanya – Small Crimes
158. Dua Lipa – Blow Your Mind (Mwah)
157. Muna – I Know A Place
156. Portishead – SOS
155. Slotface – Take Me Dancing
154. AlunaGeorge – I Remember
153. The Lumineers – Ophelia
152. Travis Scott & Young Thug – Pick Up The Phone
151. Lapsley – Love Is Blind

That puts us nicely at the half way mark of The New Music Mixtape’s Songs of 2016. There were so many records in that past 50 that I had bookmarked through-out the year for being my song of the year but such has been the quality of records I’ve discovered this year. So many gems to behold. There was only one record not on Spotify in that past 50 which was Portishead’s haunting cover of ABBA’s S.O.S initially featured in the soundtrack for film High Rise but later released as a tribute to Jo Cox in what was one of 2016’s most harrowing tragedies. You can hear it here. Okay, let’s go back in!

150. Sia & Sean Paul – Cheap Thrills
149. Car Seat Headrest – Fill In The Blank
148. Phoebe Ryan – Boyz N Poizn
147. BJ The Chicago Kid – The New Cupid
146. Gypsy & The Cat – I Just Wanna Be Somebody Else
145. Chvrches & Hayley Williams – Bury It
144. Timeflies – Once In A While
143. John Legend & Chance The Rapper – Penthouse Floor
142. Flume – Never Be Like You
141. Jessie Reyez – Figures
140. Asking Alexandria – The Black
139. M83 –Do It, Try It
138. Oscar & The Wolf – The Game
137. George Cosby – All Of Your Love
136. Bad Sounds – Wages
135. Danny Brown – Really Doe
134. Michael Kiwanuka – Black Man In A White World
133. Anderson.Paak – The Season/Carry Me
132. Miike Snow – My Trigger
131. Usher – Crash
130. Justice – Alakazam
129. Angel Olsen – Shut Up, Kiss Me
128. Her’s – Dorothy
127. Abra – Crybaby
126. Frightened Rabbit – Get Out
125. Twenty One Pilots – Stressed Out
124. Ray Blk – Chill Out
123. Island – Spotless Mind
122. Sampha – Blood On Me
121. Taking Back Sunday – Death Wolf
120. Drake – Feel No Ways
119. Bon Iver – 715 Creeks
118. Radiohead – True Love Waits
117. The Avalanches – Frankie Sinatra
116. Blossoms – Charlemagne
115. Bruno Mars – Versace On The Floor
114. Justin Jay & Friends – What Do You Want
113. Vant – Peace & Love
112. Joyce Manor – Last You Heard Of Me
111. Nvdes – Don’t Fvck Your Neighbour
110. Biffy Clyro – Wolves Of Winter
109. Tove Lo – Cool Girl
108. Tall Ships – Meditations On Loss
107. QTY – Rodeo
106. Serpentwithfeet – Blisters
105. Fronteers – Idol
104. CRX – Broken Bones
103. Elf Kid – Golden Boy
102. Raye – I, U, Us
101. Gallant – Weight In Gold

And with Gallant just missing out (for now), we arrive at The New Music Mixtape’s Top 100 Songs of the Year. I will stress that I’ve poured countless hours over the past week shortlisting and ordering. Essentially as much as I love end of year lists with all of my heart, I love the urge to talk through all of the music I’ve found even more. Apologies that I can’t talk through them all, but hopefully you have the time to listen through to the playlists above and now the Top 100. I’ve also put all of the Top 100 into a Spotify playlist for you too. Without further a-do, please find my favourite songs of the year.

100. Rihanna – Work
Like it or loathe it, you had an opinion and that is important. Rihanna’s unlikely comeback early in the year brought in two very new realities. Firstly that global superstars now have so many platforms to release music, that they’ll do it in their own way and trust their brand to follow on whatever changes they make. Secondly, we are in the middle of a tropical typhoon in the charts, with so many songs influenced by RiRi’s turn on Jamaican/Caribbean culture.

99. Drake – Controlla
Drake’s third and final spot on my end of year list goes to Controlla, not One Dance. Sure the former spent 15 weeks atop the UK charts and Christ knows how long elsewhere over the world, but Controlla is the most successful song from Drizzy’s new venture. He, like Rihanna, wanted to explore the incoming tropical waves and Controlla is for my dollar a solid overview of what hit music sounded this year.

98. Nvdes – The Other Side
Keep an eye out for my post about my picks for the most exciting artists heading into 2017, because from the get go, Nvdes have sounded like a band certain to make a massive splash into the future. The Other Side is the sturdiest evidence of this, blending colourful disco, bubblegum pop sensibilities and a cool slacker mentality – all combining to give us an unpolished rebellious sibling to Friendly Fires.

97. Maggie Rogers – Alaska
Alaska is absolutely the perfect staple track for any new music playlist you’ll have advertised to you this year. It’s a given that 2017 is going to be enormous to the Pharrell prodigy, who mixes downtempo dance music with her folk background.

96. Denzel Curry – Ultimate
Above else when I hear a new trap record, what I need is the ability to wile to it. Ultimate did that greater than any other in 2016 and as such the drop on Ultimate has found a home in countless memes on-line and party playlists.

95. Wet – The Middle/Turn Away
As I did with Run The Jewels earlier, I’ve went for a double booking here. I’m allowed to, it’s my list dammit. Wet are one of the best bands on earth. New York is a hub for creative and young romantics growing up. There’s absolutely piles and piles of sweet sounding New York bands singing about the troubles of romance and whilst they’re mostly great, to stand out from that is something really, really special. Wet do that. They’re the best new band coming out of New York for my money and I wanna push as much of them onto people as I can, so tell your friends.

94. Seramic – Found
Another super exciting sound for 2017 is mate of Jack Garratt and sorta similar sonically, Seramic. Creating big moments out of spaciously tranquil mixes seems to be his forte, creating crescendos out of nothingness. The reason Found has ‘found’ its way so high up the list is due to how euphoric this chorus is. Forget the bad times, get in on this chorus folks!

93. Childish Gambino – California
I will say that if you want to pretend I put Redbone here that is totally fine. The quick line is, Gambino dropped a sick 70s funk album and I indulgently love this drenched in autotuned, slightly offbeat comic sounding tune. Sure it’s a strange pick, especially to the omission of any of the actually great tunes off of Awaken Your Love, so just pretend this pick represents the whole album, m?

92. Krrum – Evil Twin
Evil Twin makes me smile for so many reasons. The royal sounding brass is engaging. The vocal sample is funky as a pigeon and it’d absolutely wreck a speaker system if you turned the bass right up. Seriously don’t do that!

91. Moose Blood – Knuckles
Hey guys, it’s The New Music Mixtape’s Top songs of 2001 and as you’d expect its emo pop punk heavy! Hey guys, it’s The New Music Mixtape’s Top songs of 2016 and surprisingly ITS STILL emo pop punk heavy! Thank you for existing Moose Blood ❤

90. Kaytranada – You’re The One
Canada’s new super-producer has amassed a number of streams this year that’s just plain silly. The guy is so popular after his excellent 99.9% album, and for me the stand-out from is the lush You’re The One. Brb, having a boogie.

89. Honeyblood – Ready For The Magic
Said it in my album reviews, for a band to essentially split in half, recover and slam out an anthem like this in less than a year is ‘A+’ for effort.

88. Sheer Mag- Nobody’s Baby
Sheer Mag are so new and underground and much cooler than any of us, that they ain’t on Spotify. So I’ve attached the Bandcamp link below for you to go purchase their music. Essentially the coolest punk rockers on the planet.

87. Sohn – Conrad
Whilst Signal was the proper comeback we all craved, the marching Winter born Conrad was the Sohn comeback we all needed. Multi-layered, sinister but ultimately entrancing, precisely what the artist does best.

86. Solange – Cranes In The Sky
I will never understand the logic of why listening to sad lyrics and music makes things less bad for us as a listener, but Solange’s Cranes In The Sky is the perfect remedy for 2016. Whatever has troubled you, Solange it away.

85. Bastille – Good Grief
Good Grief was a proper banger for all ages. The absolutely perfect British radio tune of 2016 and it was the strong lead single for a strong new album. Two thumbs up for the efforts this year Dan & co.

84. Catfish & The Bottlemen – Twice
Twice is the sound of a band maturing on album number two. Like all great bands, Catfish & The Bottlemen have found a comfort in their originality and are confident pushing the boat out. Twice succeeds in being a stonking tune for the fans but also in being something new and exciting for the band to test out. I mean, that pace breakdown is stunning on every listen.

83. Saba/NoName – Church/Liquor Store
Upon my first listen to this one from Saba, I was very excited about what I was hearing. Yes the production is great, the song is catchy, Noname does a perfect spin, but damn the flow on Saba is spectacular. Pick yourself up the Bucket List project asap!

82. Declan McKenna – Bethlehem
My pick to win the BBC Sound of 2017, Declan McKenna has been on my radar since last year’s excellent wavy indie tune Brazil. He’s been building the foundations of his artistry and sound and Bethlehem is a really fun and proud record. I’m proud as a fan, he should be proud as an artist. This kid’s gonna go far.

81. Fifth Harmony – Work From Home
#RIP5H Mine and the lads’ favourites 

80. Klangstof – Hostage
The first record I heard on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show (Yes, it took me a long while to get the software working). This is what music discovery is about though, finding something that peacefully brings you in and then blooms into something that takes your breathe away. I pray this is your first listen to Hostage so you will experience the same.

79. The Weeknd – Starboy
Remember the days when Abel was releasing free mixtapes? Honestly doesn’t seem like it was so long ago but now it feels galaxies away. This Daft Punk collaboration ensured that The Weeknd has had two years on the trot with excellent albums and growing superstardom. Where to next?

78. Radiohead – Daydreaming
Top tip incoming: If you find yourself at the end of the world and everybody else is gone and your phone has almost run out of battery, make this the song you listen to. It’ll fit the mood perfectly!

77. Chase & Status + Slaves – Control
My favourite thing about C&S is how well they can maintain the crunching D&B anthems they’ve become known for whilst adopting traces of the artists who collaborate with them. They’ve become Kings of showcasing British talent and Slaves are as talented as they come. What we got with Control was a song you could really sink your teeth into which sounded as much a C&S hit as a Slaves one.

76. Warpaint – New Song
It’s absolute madness that a lot of Warpaint fans aren’t fans of this record. Their label wanted them to make something poppy and they did it with ease. They didn’t just do that, they made one of the best pop songs of the year. Succulent melodies and a riff to have cartoon heart eyes over. Can you tell I quite like this one?

75. Kings Of Leon – Waste A Moment
Huge success commercially for a band who’d been struggling for a few albums. It’s also kept the fans happy, harking back to their rockier days before the sludge of Tennessee Country we’ve had to put up with for the past five years. Welcome back Followills.

74. Whitney – No Woman
Speaking of Country and Americana, Whitney did it right this year, capturing the ears and hearts of many. Warm is the colour Whitney.

73. Elohim – Hallucinating
Anyone fancy a bit of Mariachi? If your answer was anything other than ‘Always!’ then you should probably just leave right now, we can’t be friends.
For real though, adopting a Mariachi band on your second single takes guts and Elohim’s shaping up to be one of 2017’s most interesting and unpredictable artists. This is the magical, Hallucinating.

72. Skott – Amelia
Skott has had one EP out to her name, and all 4 tunes have made their way onto my end of year list. That’s damn good going as I didn’t even realize until I started typing out my collated data from the year. As for her future, she’s been tipped more than a waiter at a fancy restaurant so she should be another name on your watch list for the next year. My favourite of hers so far is Amelia, which has haunting dramatics about its storytelling.

71. Fickle Friends – Cry Baby
Been on this band for a few years but had no idea they had this sort of throwback nostalgic bubblegum synthpop in them. Superb record to cry on the disco floor to, if you’re into that kind of thing.

70. Strong Asian Mothers – Don’t Let Go
In my eyes the greatest omission from the BBC’s tips list for next year, Strong Asian Mothers look destined to hit superstardom for me. Their name is two thirds literal. They aren’t mothers but their music is solid and does have excellent Asian tinted sizzle about its production. Don’t Let Go is massive, its waters starting calm but leading into choppy waves towards it’s endgame.

69. Blink-182 – Bored To Death
This one has topped mine and many of my friends’ most listened to song of the year on Spotify and there’s definitely reasons there. Blink are good at making earworms and even without the integral Tom DeLonge, they can still make a super hit. Another signifier of the terrific return of pop punk and emoism.

68. PartyBaby – Don’t Say It
Over in the States, there haven’t been many projects for Americans to proud of more than LA quartet PartyBaby. Composed of ex 30 Seconds To Mars and Portugal, The Man members what you get is nothing you’d expect from those. Think Weezer’s poppy grunge but made for 2016 and you’re kind of there. Don’t Say It struck a chord with me for sure, it sounding absolutely huge.

67. Clean Bandit – Rockabye
The moment where Clean Bandit turned up and saved us from the crushing tropical pop-dance plaguing us all, with actual creative pop. Thanks guys!

66. Kano – 3 Wheels-Up
Released at the very beginning of the year but remaining a Grime anthem through-out 2016, Kano’s party banger was always gonna wind up high in my list. I honestly don’t think we’ve had as many Grime anthems this year as previous years despite the scene growing, so this one was important.

65. Moose Blood – Honey
The sound of pop punk still packing a punch in 2016 primarily came through this tune from the excellent Moose Blood. Catchy chorus and sweet sounding riffs abound.

64. The XX – On Hold
Late year return from The XX after Jamie’s superb turn as a solo artist last year. The result of his findings there have changed The XX’s sound a bit as they come back with a very danceable tune which still retains the utter blackness and darkness that we’ve come to know and love from the band.

63. Viola Beach – Boys That Sing
From tragedy, many people in music did with Boys That Sing what felt right. They showcased how terrific a band Viola Beach were set to be. Coldplay singing a-long at Glastonbury was a special moment in music for lots of people, myself included, this year.

62. Honne & Izzy Bizu – Someone That Loves You
Both artists have had a good year but have suffered from lacking that substantial hit to put them both in my love pile instead of my like pile. That being said with this collaboration is filled with love and plays like a really good Karaoke pairing. I know labeling something Karaoke is never supposedly nice but I mean it honestly here!

61. Mulan – Night
I have absolutely zero information on new artist Mulan but blimey this sole song from the artist is enough to be excited by. It scratches on the ears before rewarding you with a disgustingly sick guitar riff and slick vocal. I have no idea what we have on our hands here, but the mystery is exciting.

60. Neck Deep – December (Again)
Neck Deep are another pop punk band bringing the sound back to the fray. December is a wonderful song by the band recorded both as a big pop punk record and a stripped back acoustic ballad. No matter which one you prefer, they’re both terrific and have some of the best pop punk couplets in forever.

59. Chairlift – Crying In Public
We’ve had the news that we’re losing Chairlift after Spring next year and so the current album is their final. Their swan song for me is Crying In Public, a gorgeous and fluttery swooning pop song that I’ve not had off repeat all year. I’ll miss you guys.

58. Bruno Mars – 24k Magic
Every line should be branded on T-Shirts, every sexy synth drop remembered for all time. It’s completely daft and indulgent but it’s wonderful if Bruno’s funk throwback is your thing.

57. Jay Prince – Father, Father
There’s tonnes of rap music coming out of London and almost all of what is spoken about is Grime. How refreshing it is to have an artist like Jay Prince on the scene who is channeling the styles of the likes of SaveMoney. This is excellent and original British rap which I am all about.

56. Broods – Heartlines
Broods are a band who can pen a pop hit. They’re probably the best musicians out of New Zealand in a majorly long time (I even prefer them to Lorde). On album number 1 they shined through in moment almost writing the perfect pop record. Heartlines is their magna carta thus far.

55. Pet Shop Boys – The Pop Kids
PSB go super-meta and make a pop smash hit about being a fan of pop smash hits. They also do it as part of a pop-dance album. They’ve been in the game so long but continue to freshen it up, hail PSB.

54. The Rhythm Method – Home Sweet Home
One of music’s lousiest stories this year was the closure of cult London club Fabric. The following week, music fans were naturally sombre about a City known for its music and culture. Then London’s best new band The Rhythm Method released Home Sweet Home, an ode to London. They saved that week.

53. Sundara Karma – A Young Understanding
My favourite record of Reading’s Sundara Karma so far is this unashamedly 80s influenced rocket with a big chorus and vocal which had essence of David Byrne about it. What struck me about it so much though was its stride, its confidence.

52. The 1975 – A Change Of Heart
This won’t be the final time I talk up Matty Healy’s songwriting but A Change Of Heart is terrific in detailing falling out of love with somebody. As we’re stuck, squished like sardines with more than enough songs about falling in love, this one hits home for those of us not shacked up with somebody. Thanks for being relatable where others aren’t Matty.

51. Two Door Cinema Club – Bad Decisions
Whilst their debut album packed lots of punch, the previous TDCC album really, truly sucked. They’d gone away a while and for them to take the chance on such a big change in sound was admirable. The real breakthrough for them this year was the terrific Bad Decisions which is the best funky indie tune in, well maybe forever?

50. Rae Sremmurd – Black Beatles
Yes this was as close as we had to a viral hit this year, with the Mannequin Challenge taking over, but this was already in my top list before that was a thing. Sremmlife 2 was a bit of up and down but Black Beatles stuck out like a sore thumb as sounding timeless. Having Gucci Mane on the song after his release from jail felt important. Black Beatles was more than a viral hit. It was Rae Sremm cementing themselves amongst the big dogs, having the audacity to label themselves the Black Beatles.

49. Bon Iver – 22 (Over Soon)
Bon Iver’s campaign came and went quite quickly and kind of modestly this year and the first record he teased from his album ’22, A Million’ is a blueprint of what makes Justin Vernon’s main project mine and most people’s favourite on earth. Its understated, it has layered vocals that sound like they’ve been compressed from the heaven’s above. There’s a warm Saxophone solo. There are vocal samples on the breeze through-out. And then the clouds open for a truly breath-taking moment. I’ve just described 22 (Over Soon) but that description works for much of his work.

48. Kid Canaveral – First We Take Dumbarton
Heroes of the underground indie scene in Scotland, Kid Canaveral have always teased brilliance for me, but with First We Take Dumbarton they gave us the whole boat and then a cruise liner to go with it. The lyrics don’t really do much for me but sonically, no other indie rock song hit the spot like the guitars in this one.

47. Grouplove – Welcome To Your Life
A stallion of an indie pop gem that Grouplove fans will be screaming back to the band for life. The verses have a terrific swagger about them and then that chorus, blimey. It’s such a large chorus it’s giving me Vertigo.

46. Vant – Karma Seeker
I thought 2016 was a really great year for this band. They’d been releasing fairly sub-standard records in the lead-up but between Peace & Love mentioned earlier and more so this record, I think they’ve found their stride. Karma Seeker is ambitious and leaps and latches onto you on first listen. Grunge is alive and well!

45. Car Seat Headrest – Does It Feel Good (To Say Goodbye?)
Interesting choice for many here as my favourite song of Car Seat Headrest is one they never actually released. They did this record for a mate’s indie film and for me it sums up what this band are all about. Thick as hell guitar played with real intensity. Slacker yet emotional vocals from the genius that is Will Toledo, and then when the record does just enough to break your wall down it attacks with a wall of sound and the most painful guitar solo of the year, probably one of the best solos of the year in general. This folks, is Car Seat Headrest at their best.

44. Estrons – I’m Not Your Girl
I’ve fallen for Estrons really quickly. A big part of it is because they sound a lot like Wolf Alice but where the latter’s lyrical content is brushed in metaphor, fantasy and myth, Estrons tackle super honest issues of growing up. And it’s not often we get that in British Indie Rock when it’s female fronted. This band are offering something fresh and I’m Not Your Girl whilst being brilliantly blunt lyrically, is also a storming banger.

43. Eat Fast – Public Displays Of Affection
A whirlwind of everything that’s great about British guitar music in 2016. Enough of this talk about it not being there or it being totally eclipsed by Grime music. Bollocks. Eat Fast have something to say about that and the result is dizzyingly scuzzy and glorious.

42. Saint Phnx – Reload
My favourite find in Scotland this year is these lads from Glasgow. The Brothers Jukes come at music differently to most in the Scottish scene. Maybe it’s because Scotland is very proud of its heritage sounds but there’s a LOT of folk led new music in Scotland and I need woken up a bit. Reload does that. These guys instead want to be like Imagine Dragons, like Coldplay. And based off of this record and its follow-up King, they’re making a good start.

41. Jorja Smith – Something In The Way
Jorja Smith’s voice can stop time, like that coin off of The Queen’s Nose. What a show. I’m going to come across really blasphemous to some here but Something In The Way is the most Back To Black song I’ve heard since Amy passed. And because it brought back the emotion and tears of those memories, I’m with Jorja all the way heading into 2017.

40. Desiigner – Panda
Oh god we’re losing serious bangers now. At number 40 is Panda, a song which was absolutely my favourite song of the year in many senses. The artist in question is nuts but exceeds a positive attitude and energy unseen in Trap ever. The song does the exact same. This existing was a good thing for 2016.

39. Christine & The Queens – Tilted
Strictly released in 2015, but made its name in 2016 so I’m allowing it. The movement of Tilted this year was fantastic, with this record being completely sold out in local Tescos all over the UK. At least for a few weeks, our Country had sick taste in music and we have CATQ to thank for that. Should probably mention that as a love song it is perfect too and her style and yeah you’ve heard it all before, we all love you Heloise.

38. Twenty One Pilots – Heathens
Its no bias you’ve seen 21P FOUR times in this list. With their second album, which was technically released last year, they’ve become the biggest band in the world. Stressed Out and Ride did the job in the Charts but Heathens was really the turning point over here in the UK where people started really getting excited about this band. I managed to catch them live at Leeds Festival and they performed with energy unmatched to any I’ve ever seen live, and I’ve spent a lot of pocket money on gigs. This band are special and this song was Alt-Rock’s savior in 2016.

37. Fatherson – Just Past The Point Of Breaking
With their second album this year, Fatherson really matured into the emotional indie folk band they were always going to be. The highlight was opening song which has so much drive and power in it. The kind of song to bring a tear to your Dad’s eye, this is Just Past The Point Of Breaking.

36. Get Inuit – Teriyaki
Surf Pop at its finest coming out of the capital of Surf Pop, London. Wait…
Get Inuit are a terrific prospect heading into 2017 and for me Teriyaki worked on just being a short, sweet taste of new music that wanted to have fun. It might be the funnest tune in my whole list.

35. Joyce Manor – Fake I.D
My favourite post punk band in the world, Joyce Manor, released their new album Cody this year. Whilst it wasn’t quite the classic I wanted it to be, Fake I.D as the lead single was the perfect tease. The lyrics are witty and a bit lame but in a way that’s perfect for a post punk band in our time to be. The music is terrific. And it all comes in at under two and a half minutes. Nailed it.

34. DRAM & Lil Yachty – Broccoli
This year there’s been so much BORING beef happening with Rap’s biggest superstars and aside it all, what’s been lovely is the emergence of two new superstars who aim to have a lot of fun. DRAM and Yachty getting together for this daftly brilliant party anthem felt right and as such it’s been a huge success all over the world.

33. Michl – Kill Our Way To Heaven
Wouldn’t be surprised if this one slipped under your radar as it’s really not had the recognition its deserving of. This record was an early year perfect earworm for me. If you’re a fan of the weird, dramatics of Clarence Clarity and LA Priest then Michl is somebody you want to start listening to pronto. You’d do much worse starting with this.

32. Gallant – Bourbon
The moment where the voice became the great songwriter. Gallant has had a fantastic 2016, releasing his debut album Ology and an array of solid singles. For me his best moment has been Bourbon which has the darkest but most gorgeous couplets this year has produced in the R&B world.

31. Puppy – Entombed
Sheer excitement was my reaction to hearing Entombed for the first time. Puppy are a British band who are unafraid to use deadly and monstrous sounding riffs around their My Bloody Valentine like vocals. Praying they keep this up as we need more British heavyweights around.

30. Zayn – Pillowtalk
The final pure pop song in this year, meaning the best pop song of the year belongs to Zayn. I tell you for sure when he left the best boy band on the planet I didn’t give him the time of day but he proved me wrong. Pillowtalk is a song mature beyond his years which is just written and crafted to perfection in every way.

29. InHeaven – Treats
Urgency is the key word in InHeaven’s sound. Treats is a fantastic record which clearly wears its Sonic Youth and Hole influences its sleeves. An earworm and a big record for fans of scuzzier stuff.

28. Cape Cub – Lifeline
A personal favourite band of mine from my time in the North East of England and a band I tipped to do awesome things this year on my blog last year. They did that with a really awesome EP. From it, my favourite is Lifeline which states their ambition more than any record so far. You’d not be remised for thinking you were listening to early Coldplay here and I believe Cape Cub have it in them to air for the stars with records like these.

27. Clean Cut Kid – We Used To Be In Love
2016 has felt like CCK’s year but this a band who haven’t actually released their album yet. Instead their singles have been so good this year that they’ve barely been out of the limelight. My ultimate favourite of the band’s though so far is this 80s synth pop influenced catchy number. I can’t quite place the band’s sound yet with equal amount of 80s pop, folk and indie rock. And that’s maybe a good thing. Unpredictable but so, so enjoyable.

26. The Rhythm Method – Party Politics
Next year should be a good’un for this duo and this excellent record which is every bit of Mike Skinner as it is of Neil Tennant was the very beginning of that. This is a band who regularly sell out gigs which I’ve been informed make up of 50% hardcore kids relating in this new band and 50% industry bigwigs seeing this love and taking furious notes. This band cannot fail at this point.

25. Beyonce – Formation
A proper moment in music this year was Beyonce’s Superbowl performance where she released Formation to the masses. The superb visual album Lemonade followed too and whilst in lots of ways there were other records I preferred, Formation was the most important. What I will say is the black panther signifiers was a bit crumby and kind of not on but I’m trying to ignore that. Ultimately a record I’m frustrated with but as it always should, the music shines through and for me, this is a banger.

24. Hunny – Vowels
The best Indie rock chorus I’ve heard in years both for the intensity and fun of the music but more so lyrically. This self-aware cheesiness is what indie is all about.

23. Rejjie Snow – Pink Beetle
Damn, just imagine if this was the lead single on Gambino or Chance’s albums. We’d all have named it the best record of the year for certain. This super accessible yet dark record is from new Irish rapper Rejjie Snow, a name I expect to hear a lot next year.

22. White Lung – Below
There’s been some backlash here from fans of White Lung as the normally hardcore band have turned to making a pop monster. I can’t understand how anybody can’t be effected by the power of this song’s chorus or build up. It’s broken me into pieces multiple times this year.

21. Schoolboy Q ft Kanye West – That Part
Loved Q’s new album but it was lacking singles or highlights. It more-so worked as a body of work and a sound. That being said That Part will be in clubs for AGES. And that weirdly minimalistic Yeezy verse, timeless.

20. Kanye West – Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
I was lucky enough to be part of the audience to view Kanye West’s album launch at the cinema and when Father Stretch My Hands was unleashed, I was overwhelmed. The Kid Cudi sung drop proceeded to catch my emotions off guard a further infinite times. In a career full of highlights, its honestly up there with the best music Kanye has ever produced.

19. Francis & The Lights – See Her Out (That’s Just Life)
When was the last time you can honestly say a song has made you feel something undefined. Something that you relate to but you can’t explain why. It’s not that the lyrics are relatable but the actual music. The mood, the dramatics, be it spacious or full, be it rock, rap, pop or whatever. When was the last time you related to music properly, because mine was this record and implore everybody to really sit and block out the world and pay attention to it.

18. Hamilton Leithauser & Rostam – A 1000 Times
When Rostam left Vampire Weekend early in the year it was a really sad time. I knew he was a big part of the production of the band but listening to 1000 Times showcases just how big a part of the charm of Vampire Weekend he was. With Leithauser of The Walkmen, both men have crafted a wonderful, classical sounding album with this song at the front of it.

17. The Range – Florida
I think it’s generally been a pretty meh year for dance music and producers but with The Range we had a well needed blip. His album wasn’t super set on what it was but amidst the concoction of sounds, Florida shone through with real charisma.

16. Savages – Adore
The first great song of 2016 turned out to be one of the greatest of the full year. Savages have done something special with this ballad of sorts about admitting that despite the things that are wrong in it, life is great and should be adored. A lesson we can all use in 2016 I’m sure.

15. Kojey Radical – Kwame Nkrumah
If he’s new to you, Kojey Radical is a spoken word artist who adds a darker depth to his music than most on the scene. Kwame Nkrumah was the Ghanaian president who brought the country Independence from Britain. With the comparison, Kojey wrote an off kilter ballad for forward thinkers to get behind. Strive for greatness and speak out for what you want, just like Nkrumah did. An important record.

14. Lil Yachty – 1 Night
One of my favourite new sounds this year has been that of Lil Yachty, a new type of rap sound. A lot of people have labeled him mumble rap but he doesn’t like that so I’ll explain it my own way. Autotune can be used correctly as an instrument and Yachty does that. He uses this with fun beats and lyrics. He doesn’t care for trailblazers like Tupac and Biggie which has brought him a lot of criticism but he’s doing something new and I’m a fan.

13. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gamma Knife
A band who were new to me this year but have actually released eight albums so far. Crikey. What you need to know is these dudes are insane Aussies who make rapid psycho-rock. Gamma Knife spoke to me on a number of levels in being the most creative rock song in years but also having a video which reminded me of Monty Python. It all really shouldn’t work, but absolutely does.

12. Shura – What’s It Gonna Be?
Loved the year that Shura has had and this record is her crème de la crème. Infectiously interesting pop with a subject we can all relate too by a brand new artist who is bringing something exciting to the fold.

11. Lapsley – Operator (DJ Koze Radio Remix)
My Song of the Summer was this absolutely ridiculously excellent Disco remix of Lapsley’s Operator. Not much to say on it, just that if it doesn’t make you groove I’ll wire you a fiver. (I’m not actually going to do that, but the point stands).

10. Chance The Rapper – No Problem
Chicago has a new national anthem and it comes courtesy of its current King, Chano from the 79th. No Problems is feel good, it’s a big tune for independence. In Chance’s case this is independence from record labels but it can transcribe to whatever situation you have going on, like all great music should.

9. Miike Snow – Genghis Khan
Early in the year, Miike Snow released their best song yet with the entertaining, fun, light-hearted banger that is Genghis Khan. Built on the central idea of being protective (we’ve all been there), Genghis Khan is precisely what creativity in music is all about. An earworm of the highest order.

8. James Blake & Bon Iver – I Need A Forest Fire
It was a collaboration that millennial vibe emos such as myself have prayed for, and a prayer answered. I Need A Forest Fire doesn’t offer much in the way of the song making a lot of sense but the impact of the production and of two of the most gorgeous voices on the planet combining and mesmerizing for four minutes.

7. Crying – There Was A Door
Crying are a band from New York who mix a big bag of sounds to make something truly unique. This record has bits of Rush and Yes in it, it has scratches like Run DMC, it has the 90s cheesiness Hanson, it has the indie vocal sensibilities of Chairlift. It has guitars like Van Halen. Surely, surely somewhere in there you find something you love?

6. Vic Mensa – There’s Alot Going On
The sound of a young artist tearing up everything you thought you knew about him and starting a new beginning. Vic Mensa is doing some of the most important work in hip-hop to speak for Black Lives Matter, to speak out against Trump and Police Brutality. He’s one of the most admirable speakers in Rap today and with this record, for me, it was a powerful statement piece.

5. Bon Iver – 33 ‘God’
Bon Iver has three songs in my Top 10 this year and there’s a reason. He’s the most important artist working today. In his own work, he didn’t do fan service. He releases his own, cracked, imperfect masterpiece. The centerpiece for me is 33 ‘God’, a song which more than any on the album goes full frontal with its religious intentions. Such an enormous topic should be tricky and taboo to cover but it somewhat fits Vernon’s voice perfectly. Certainly when the song begins we are on earth with gorgeous piano and strings which fit his folk stylistics perfectly. However by the end of the song we’re somewhere entirely different. 33 was the supposed age Jesus Christ died at and 33 ‘God’ is the kind of sound befitting even the Heavenly Son’s ascension to Heaven.

4. Mitski – Your Best American Girl
I think the general consensus is that most people loved what Mitski did this year. She made an excellent album for adolescents growing up struggling with love. Mitski too, goes very honest and graphic on the record and Your Best American Girl is the main event of her work this year. It’s been a year-long power anthem for those who are feeling like the one they want is worlds away. There’s a difference between falling for somebody and falling in love with a notion of somebody, and Mitski’s put this down in music perfectly.

3. Kanye West ft Chance The Rapper – Ultralight Beam
The opening to The Life Of Pablo saw Kanye West tackle faith, the state of our planet and people. He’s never been one for modesty. What he created is a Church sermon filled with choir and his prodigy Chance the Rapper going up in flames literally blazing every other rap verse this year has seen. The song has bits of darkness in it despite being about ultralight. It’s about light and dark and keeping faith amongst light and dark. The perfect record for every single person on this planet.

2. The 1975 – Somebody Else
Matthew Healy, thank you for creating the best break-up song ever. The brain is a complex buggar and I pray you never have to experience possessive feelings over somebody. It’s a horrible thing not loving somebody but also not wanting anybody else to love them. And it doesn’t make you a bad person but until Somebody Else this was unspoken of. Why The 1975 were great this year wasn’t because of songs like The Sound which turned them into pop behemoths. It was that lyrically they’ve become so damn relatable.

1. Francis & The Lights – Friends
From the first moment I heard Friends I knew it was going to be at the very top of my list and as the data was collated, and as I started shortlisting, it never looked in doubt to be honest. Francis is an artist who didn’t really have a great run of things with his first attempt at breaking the music industry but on his new album and on Friends there is so much music to here that sounds like it belongs in 2016, like its forward thinking, positive and exciting. Bon Iver features prominently here to and sings a great deal of it, and he has put his stamp on so many of 2016’s greatest works. Francis’ energy is what seals the deal though and with the music video having a dance routine to accompany, this one has ticked all of the boxes. Lyrically its about longing what a friendship feels like after breaking up out of a relationship. It explores the idea that friendships are as important as relationships and this year I think the idea of just being nice to each other goes a long way. So as this is released just in time for New Year, surround yourself with friends. I’ll be by myself most likely but as I’ve stated at the beginning of this list, music’s been a great friend to me this year and will continue to do so. This is my favourite song of the year and if you’re also a big fan, we should be friends.

Top TV Shows of 2016

Top TV Shows of 2016

I’ve really enjoyed 2016 for providing captivating, next level television be it on American networks like HBO or AMC, to Netflix and now the new super player, Amazon Prime. There’s so much on offer out there now so I’ve compiled a list of my favourites from this year.

Honourable Mentions: Blindspot (NBC), Love (Netflix), Vinyl (HBO), The Crown (Netflix), Atlanta (FX)
On My List To See: The Night Of (HBO), Mr.Robot (S2, USA), The Man In The High Castle (S2, Amazon)

15. Stag (BBC 2)
It’s no secret that I struggle to be entertained by British drama, I’m not completely sure why. However, the dark twisted comedy of Scottish highland massacre show Stag really kept me enthralled. Excellent performances and relationships all round and enough slapstick gore to shake the whole of the highlands at.

14. The Walking Dead (Season 7, AMC)
It’s an interesting question as to where TWD is at in its run. It’s hit a rock bottom of sorts with numbers drastically falling and there’s a reason why. It’s become procedural. Rick Grimes and his band of merry men are stagnant in Alexandria. Along comes a bad dude and after a few tussles and a few losses, we go full circle. The Walking Dead has lost its way and no amount of shock killings or stellar work from Jefferey Dean Morgan is going to solve the problems. The show needs a bit change or it’s going to continue to rot.

13. Orange Is The New Black (Season 4, Netflix)
After a truly dull third season, OITNB returned to some form with a better fourth effort. There’s still too much time spent with nothing really happening and maybe that’s accurate, but the show has become a bit of an indulgent watch. The end of season shock was terrific television but I still felt like I need more from the show.

12. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 2, Netflix)
Kimmy had a really difficult task this season. Its set-up around her prison, the bunker, was such a big part of Season 1 and the downfall of Jon Hamm’s ‘Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne’ was a pivotal moment in the show. So how does Kimmy move on with life? It turns out by touching on darker themes like therapy and trying to find her mother. It wasn’t as enjoyable a watch but there were still lots of incredible gags and overall a success.

11. Marco Polo (Season 2, Netflix)
Season 2 of the epic Mongolian empire story was released this year and to lesser fanfare than it deserved. The excellent cast returned but with new deceptions, wars to rage and bridges to burn. Both central characters were in exceptional form but I would have preferred more time spent between them rather than their separate stories.

10. The Man In The High Castle (Amazon)
What if the war was won by Axis? This is the question brought to life in Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle, and it’s a great watch. The acting can sometimes be lackluster but set-up, scenery and plot succeed greatly and pave the way for an excellent second season, which is released really soon. Season 2 has just been released so will absolutely be on my watch-list!

9. Outcast (Cinemax)
If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead’s darker elements then Outcast may be for you. I’ve been hearing lots of good things about The Exorcist TV show recently but Outcast is by far the possession show of the year. From TWD writer Robert Kirkman, Outcast follows dark goings on in a rural American town which possession scarred Kyle Barnes is on a mission to stop. It’s a chilling watch.

8. Game Of Thrones (Season 6, HBO)
Season 6 of Game of Thrones took us to the peak of the show, setting out the table for the remainder of the show’s run which will happen over two years in shorter seasons. I have reservations about the show, which is famed on so many different complex characters, being slaughtered for shock value and to tie up loose ends. I think we’ll lose the political side of Game of Thrones really soon and whilst the battle is with Winter, and its right to knock off the people who don’t have a place in that final battle, I think it takes away from a lot of the enjoyment of the show. That being said there were some really huge moments this season which I think we’ll remember alongside the top moments of the whole show.

7. Luke Cage (Netflix)
Mike Colter is a fantastic lead it turns out. Marvel’s Luke Cage carefully trods along the fence of Blaxploitation carefully and just stays on the right side of it. Harlem looks, sounds and feels great and the characters we have are really fun. Well worth a watch and a welcome addition to the Marvel family.

6. Daredevil (Season 2, Netflix)
Netflix’s first efforts at keeping a superhero franchise strong and running in its second season came through Daredevil, and they did the job right. The cast additions split up the series really well. The action was there, the pace was there and it was great for comic book fans to indulge in. The one thing/person that was missing they even brought back for a few scenes too. All good.

5. Narcos (Season 2, Netflix)
When the first season of Netflix’s efforts at Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s life story finished, we knew that it was set in stone that he would perish soon after. History shows that the show wasn’t able to keep him around. So Season 2 gets the fact he will die out of the way quickly. What we’re left with is a slow, tense build up done correctly which usefully draws your sympathy on both sides. Also enjoyable is seeing Pedro Pascal have an increased role in the play.

4. Stranger Things (Netflix)
It was the show that stormed the world in 2016. Hitting cult status within 24 hours of release, Stranger Things’ upside down, eggos & awesome 80s horror vibe made for one of the most easily accessible shows in years. Excellent young cast that have bags of potential too.

3. i-Zombie (Season 2, The CW)
The CW was already onto a hit with i-Zombie in season 1. It’s a show which wears its super geeky, pop culture loaded writing on its sleeves and doesn’t take itself too seriously, in the same way Veronica Mars didn’t before it. Season 2 upped the ante with progressive story lines for all characters and a great villain or two at the core. The big budget season finale was zombie filled mayhem on a level the show has never attempted before. I-Zombie has become a must-watch.

2. Preacher (Amazon/AMC)
Exceptionally impressive first season which effortlessly drops a shock value moment of weirdness at random intervals in each episode. The cast is great with Ruth Negga and Joe Gilgun being great finds for Tulip & Cassidy. The end of Season 1 was so drastically enormous that I’m not sure where Season 2 picks up but it’s the craziest ride on TV.

1. Westworld (HBO)
Words fail me when trying to describe the gap between Westworld and every other show I’ve seen this year. It’s first season is perhaps the best first season I’ve seen of any show ever. An incredibly fun and open premise with lots of different complex characters and a bucket load of mystery, questions and secrets which slowly but surely crack open as the series continues. Insanely good character work from the likes of Jeffrey Wright, Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood. I’m in love with everything about Westworld and its devastating we won’t have it back for a while. If you’ve not seen it, make the time.