Modern music delivery services being what they are, the end of the year often has me feeling like the dude who breaks his glasses in the Twilight Zone library. The means to listen to everything exist, but I always find a way to miss out on something major. This is a rundown of the 25 biggest musical misses of my year; things I didn’t make time for, didn’t realize had come out, things I will get to eventually and things I didn’t know existed until someone told me. Consider this the “Congratulations, you played yourself” section of Fatter Older’s year-end coverage.
25) The Melvins – Bases Loaded
John Gentile from Punknews.org spends most of his time on Twitter telling people that the need to listen to either The Melvins or the Cromags. I’ve never listened to either, so a new Melvins record seems like as good a place to start as any. I’m sorry, John, I will listen to the Melvins next year.
24) Xenia Rubinos – Black Terry Cat
Xenia Rubinos is basically the less twee version of TuneYards. Rubinos’ debut, 2013’s Magic Trix, was an out-of-nowhere favorite of mine. Sorry I didn’t get a chance this year to dip into more of her multi-instrumental world jams.
23) John K Samson – Winter Wheat
I am not one of those people who lives and dies with the Weakerthans (though shouts to this sad-as-hell song about a cat dying), but Samson’s reputation as a songwriter is more than enough to pique my interest in his solo work. Winter is coming, so I’m sure I’ll get to this.
22) Bat for Lashes – The Bride
Another artist who is largely a blind spot for me. The Hunted Man freaked me out. Maybe I’m just traveling in the wrong circles, but it seems like this record came and went with no significant fanfare. I want to see why.
21) Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate
I have Home Again on vinyl and it is pleasant enough.
20) Red Fang – Only Ghosts
All I know about Red Fang is that they are on tour with Torche. That’s enough.
19) Purling Hiss – High Bias
It’s a municipal law that one cannot live in Philadelphia without listening to Purling Hiss.
18) Robert Glasper Experiment – ArtScience
I don’t know fuck-all about jazz, but The Robert Glasper Experiment’s Black Radio remains a stirring, rewarding listen. It stands to reason that ArtScience would be just was fulfilling.
17) The Joy Formidable – Hitch
Really just into this because “Whirring” remains a power jam.
16) Deftones – Gore
Deftones have been around long enough that I need to consider them outside of the nu-metal universe I associate them with. I know there’s more to this band than “Seven Words” and “My Own Summer.”
15) Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
If nothing else, 2016 is the year in which I started to reverse course on Radiohead. King of Limbs is pretty good, y’all!
14) Sleigh Bells – Jessica Rabbit
Sleigh Bells do one thing, and it’ll be interesting to see how that one thing holds up on LP4.
13) Wye Oak – Tween
Ever since Wye Oak did that haunting cover of “Mother” for the AV Club, my interest has been piqued. Plus, my wife is from Baltimore, so I’m predisposed to be sympathetic to this rock duo.
12) Dawes – We’re All Gonna Die
I will listen to this, love this, and my transformation into a Dad will be complete.
11) Isaiah Rashad – The Suns’s Tirade
Big year for TDE.
10) Dinosaur Jr – Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not
I like the part where the crunchy guitar solos go on and on forever.
9) Jeezy – Trap or Die 3
There is a case to be made – a case I support – that Jeezy’s been on a late-career resurgence since Seen It All (and I’d go as far back as his My Name is My Name-era guest verses). Reviving the Trap or Die moniker will be the ultimate test; is it truly Snowman season, or is Jeezy just trying to get some blow of his most cherished franchise? I’ll find out some day.
8) NX Worries – Yes Lawd!
I only had room for one Anderson Paak project in my heart this year, and it was this video.
7) Wolf Parade – Ruins
Apologies to the Queen Mary is a central text of modern indie rock. Time to return to the temple.
6) The Avalanches – Wildflower
A few things: 1) “Frankie Sinatra” is a killer song and everyone else is wrong about it. 2) This belongs on any shortlist of best videos from the last 20 years 3) It will be fascinating to hear how this band has evolved in a landscape it helped to create.
5) Angel Olsen – My Woman
Critical smash, have no idea what it sounds like.
4) Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow
Guilty of Everything was a Fatter Older favorite three years back. Need to catch up.
3) Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
This is to be the final album for this experimental grindcore monolith. Need to see how the story ends.
2) A Tribe Called Quest – We Got it From Here …
Confession time: I never spent any significant time listening to A Tribe Called Quest, which partially explains my lack of urgency around getting into this record. I pledge to spend all of next year listening to no new music and catching up on older, foundational stuff that I’ve missed. Tribe will be included in that run, and this will find me then.
1) Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Apparently, this is the best country album of the last however many years, and the bridge between shit like Florida Georgia Line and Jason Isbell. It’s critically acclaimed, commercially successful, up for a Grammy and, if word is to be believed, the kind of album that could redirect mainstream rock. Plus, I’m going to need something to listen to after that Dawes album.