At first glance, you might think a collaboration between Welsh shoegaze/post-metal rockers Jesu and the idiosyncratic folk rock of Sun Kil Moon shouldn't work — and on paper, you're absolutely right — but this album proved us all wrong. Jesu/Sun Kil Moon combines the two group's distinct styles in a way that creates a refreshing new sonic canvas for Mark Kozelek's lyrics to be painted on.
Track You Need To Hear: "Exodus"
Jesu/Sun Kil Moon
Jesu/Sun Kil Moon
Released: January 21, 2016 | Calo Verde / Rough Trade
Fresh off writing the summer's biggest hit (Rihanna's colossal single "Work"), the Toronto-based R&B singer (and notable studio mate of Drake) returns with his best album to date. PARTYNEXTDOOR3 finds the singer at his most self-assured and convincing, resulting in a sonically pleasing album that grooves just as much as it pushes its own boundaries.
Track You Need To Hear: "Not Nice"
Released: August 12, 2016 | OVO Sound / Warner Bros.
Fostercare's sound can best be described as Dead Kennedys meets Misfits. Sterilization relies heavily on screams, raucous guitar riffs, and a sense of nostalgia for messy '80s punk rock, but Fostercare is able to find art through the fury. This album sounds chaotic until you look at the bigger picture: This album is one of the best underground punk records in over a decade.
Track You Need To Hear: "Bury Me"
Released: April 13, 2016 | Total Punk Records
Future once again teamed up with DJ Esco (who he worked with on 2015's fantastic 56 Nights) and continued his reign as King of Mixtapes. Project E.T. is nothing groundbreaking from the duo and sees the tried-and-true method that made Future who he is today, but boasts enough blistering beats with catchy hooks to keep us wanting more.
Track You Need To Hear: "100it Racks"
Project E.T. (Esco Terrestrial)
DJ Esco / Future
Released: June 24, 2016 | Freebandz Entertainment
Yes, Lawd!, the collaboration between Anderson .Paak and hip-hop producer/beatmaker Knxwledge under the name of NxWorries (pronounced “No Worries”), is an album that evokes the silky-smooth sounds of ‘60s R&B, gospel, soul and hip-hop. At times, the album feels like a victory lap for .Paak, especially after this year’s star-making solo full-length Malibu, but calling it that would be an absolute disservice to what is an incredible standalone project.
Track You Need To Hear: "Suede"
Released: October 21, 2016 | Stones Throw Records
Just days before the release of his new album Pool, Porches' Aaron Maine said, "I'm just dealing with the responsibilities of being an adult one responsibility at a time." Pool is an incredible, synth-driven record full of introspection; it is an album that fully encapsulates the feeling of being alone in a big city without being lonely.
Track You Need To Hear: "Be Apart"
Released: February 5, 2016 | Domino
6LACK's entrance into the scene saw a mysterious vibe surrounding him (a la The Weeknd in 2011), possessing an alternative R&B sound that sparks a specific vibe within you. FREE 6LACK is alluring, seductive; it shows a singer who knows exactly what you want, but dangles it in front of you, just out of reach. 6LACK has staked his claim as a legitimate artist that deserves your attention, and for good reason.
Track You Need To Hear: "PRBLMS"
Released: November 18, 2016 | LoveRenaissance / Interscope
Parquet Courts has quietly been making some of the best rock revivalist music of the decade. Since 2014's breakthrough album Sunbathing Animal, the band has continued to expand their sound, and Human Performance is no different. The album is highlighted by frontman Andrew Savage's quick-witted lyrics and showcases some of the most dynamic music the band has created to date.
Track You Need To Hear: "Human Performance"
Released: April 8, 2016 | Rough Trade
On Mangy Love, Cass McCombs' gentle croon and fantastic songwriting is on full display, but he does so with a more upbeat sound than we're used to hearing from the singer-songwriter. On the album, you see a real artist making real music — something that should not be overlooked in 2016.
Track You Need To Hear: "Bum Bum Bum"
Released: August 26, 2016 | Anti-
YG and DJ Mustard teamed up to create a proper sequel to My Krazy Life and is full of the rapper's reflections of life growing up in Compton. Still Brazy is proof that if you are unapologetically yourself, it works. YG made a name for himself as a gang-banging rapper with a knack for writing infectious hooks over gangsta rap/G-funk beats, showing the rest of the world that if you can rap, you can make it.
Track You Need To Hear: "FDT"
Released: June 17, 2016 | Def Jam