The Best Albums of 2016. So Far.

Even though everyone seems to be kicking the bucket this year, there are surprisingly several musicians on Earth still releasing albums. Ever the backward-looker, I’m happy that there’s been enough awesomeness this year that I’m willing to listen to something the month – sometimes even the week! – it comes out. Here is my list so far.

5. Teen, Love Yes
I have never experienced disappointment like the kind that happened when I saw Teen in concert in April. Not their fault – they’re awesome and rocked the place. I was hoping for a little more authority I guess, since I’d been listening to this album through some health difficulties and it was pure fun and escapism. What got me the most initially was “All About Us,” for its super synthy pop texture, but I eventually gravitated to the feminist message of songs like “Free Time.”
Side note: I LOVE the way they dress. It’s pretty much like how they look in this video.

4. Field Music, Commontime
I don’t have much to say about this except my man plays it a lot when I go over there. The summer soundtrack of 2016? We never even talk about it. But any album that starts with a bassline like this is tops in my book.

3. Hedwig Mollestad Trio, Black Stabat Mater
I’ll confess to only hearing this live in concert, in Oslo. Oh, what a tiresome and expensive way to consume music! Poor me. But these girls shook the rafters there and they are the female equivalent of Rush! I can’t imagine anything better, other than sharing a bottle of wine with Geddy Lee on my shitty balcony.

2. Case/lang/Veirs, Case/lang/Veirs
This is a slow-growing one. “Imagine singing with k d!” says my guy. “Imagine singing with Neko!” I say back. “Who is Laura Veirs?” we ask. Who cares. There is definitely something magical about three-part harmony. Add in Case’s fucked-up phrase structure and weirdo lyrics and lang’s honey-dripping seducto gloriousness, and who cares what you were supposed to do today. Don’t give up on first listen; it might seem snoozy, but it’s not at all.

1. Julie Ruin, Hit Reset
My new goal in life is to touch Kathleen Hanna. I would probably finally have that breakdown I’ve been planning for a few years now. I was in the same room as her last week: that’s the first step. I almost cried. She’s got the authority I was looking for in the Teen girls, and remains the gal we can look up to. So awesome for someone who’s almost 50 and still rocking out like she was 20. One of the Sound Opinions guys doesn’t like her voice. ?? It makes me want to marry her.

I actually wrote this piece and enabled the comments because I want recommendations on what to listen to. Thoughts? For example, have you heard any of the albums from Roxette, Paul Simon, Tegan and Sara, Sturgill Simpson? Red Hot Chili Peppers? Voivod? RICK ASTLEY?