You've been waiting for it all year...so here it is: my "Best Of" highlighting the most interesting music of 2016. Sadly, just as Chuck Prophet sang, it was a bad year for rock and roll.
10. Ghost of a King by The Gray Havens. They are good kids. And they played a lovely house show in our living room back in February. The music is pop-y, literate, and edifying.
9. Eternally Even by Jim James. Jim James' solo stuff is dark but always somehow encouraging, melodic, and almost guaranteed to have many guitar freak-outs.
8. Signs of Light by The Head and the Heart. The critics generally disliked this album. While not a solid overall as their first two albums, this entry in the H&H catalogue has its high points.
7. Schmilco by Wilco. Cerebral, quiet, and of unusual depth, this is Jeff Tweedy's finest songwriting since Sky Blue Sky.
6. Sunday Music by Hymns from Nineveh. Have you heard of Jonas Petersen? Probably not. He is a spectacularly gifted Danish singer/songwriter making wonderfully melodic pop. Give him a listen.
5. The Wilderness by Explosions in the Sky. Saw them in Minneapolis in September. Producing guitar virtuosity of epic proportions, this post rock band has been doing it well for a long time.
4. Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Umm, this is the most disturbing and beautiful album you will hear this year.
3. Visions of Us on the Land by Damien Jurado. I am biased, believing that everything DJ produces is wonderful and life-changing. This is his final chapter to the trilogy that began with Mariqopa.
2. Why Are You OK? by Band of Horses. As bad as this year was for rock and roll, BoH did their part. This is simply a great album from beginning to end.
1. A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead. Radiohead continues to be the most creative band out there. Breath-taking beauty mixed with dread.