While 2016 may have been one of the most horrid years in a long time, at least it has provided music the ammunition to create some truly great albums this year. While most of these are covered in the many end-of-year publications around the web, some have still been criminally under looked in the annual evaluation. So in response, here are five albums from this year that deserved more attention than what they got.
Cass Mccombs – Mangy Love
Cass has remained teetering on the edge of the music spotlight for some time now, but has yet to fully cross over. It’s hard to understand why considering his oeuvre has remained so consistent including this year’s album Mangy Love. This is a record that breaks new ground for McCombs, taking his usual melancholic alt country styling into the new realms of soft rock, blues, among several others but never falling flat. It’s a testament to his old school songwriting chops that still feel so refreshing in this day and age.
Warehouse – Super Low
Landing somewhere between Throwing Muses and Life Without Buildings, Warehouse’s unique post-punk blend is truly propulsive in a genre that still seems stuck in its retro gazing. The highly interlocked guitar style, melodic bass runs and restless drum work lay the perfect blueprints for lead singer Elaine Edenfield’s snarled yet tuneful vocals to run all over.
Frankie Cosmos – Next Thing
Indie pop is one of the more over-saturated genres in recent years, with its many mainstream imitators and ineffectual posteur dudes with Fender Mustangs. This is what makes Frankie Cosmos’ coyly DIY approach so damn refreshing. Lead singer and songwriter, Greta Kline (yes, daughter of that other famous Kline), has been carving out her own niche that does away with the macho shirt fronting that indie rock has become. Next Thing is a breezy, bouncing bundle of songs that leave just as soon as they arrive (but will then refuse to leave your head anyway).
Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Denial
Another artist that seems so ready to burst into big leagues, but is still yet to get such recognition is Will Toledo and his band Car Seat Headrest. While moves to big labels can be somewhat daunting a move, Teens of Denial, Toledo’s first LP for Matador records, is quite possibly his strongest work yet. Hitting somewhere between Pinkerton-era Weezer, Pavement, Sebadoh, and early Pixies, the album has a dynamic yet grounded run of songs that demonstrate Toledo as one of the more thoughtful members of Indie rock in recent years.
Julia Jacklin – Don’t Let the Kids Win
While she is one of the more truly affecting frontwomen Australia has to offer in Phantastic Ferniture, it took her own solo album to really let her vocal prowess shine. A suite of songs that range from lilting to stomping, they’re all loftily raised by her amazing voice. Even if it may be a bit front loaded, it still finishes with a strong kicker in the title track with lyrics like “We’re gonna keep on getting older/It’s gonna keep on feeling strange and/After a late one, I don’t know anything/Except the more I keep on talking/The less breath I got left to sing.” Lord forbid it’s gone forever.
So there’s our picks for underrated albums of the year. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below!