As voted for by the contributors of Loud And Quiet, our favourite records released this year, and a reminder of exactly what they are
40. Stephen Steinbrink
The nomadic singer’s first studio-recorded album of bittersweet indie after a decade of touring the West Coast’s DIY underground.
The third album from the Swedish, clandestine psych band. As cosmic as ever, with slightly less static and beefed up melodies.
The LA band’s third album of slinky indie and growing electronic elements, following their more difficult self-titled record of 2014.
Social injustice, war, celebrity and what it’s like to live in trigger-happy, modern America go into the RnB dub band’s less auto-tuned third album.
The singer’s sixth solo album, and second ‘visual’ record, accompanied by an hour-long film broadcast on HBO.
35. Beyond The Wizards Sleeve
The Soft Bounce
The long awaited debut ‘band’ album from DJs Erol Alkan and Richard Norris that explores French cinema, psych and ’60s sunshine pop.
Jack Colleran’s debut album of nocturnal, isolated soundscapes, full of building electronics that rarely rely on beats to propel them.
33. Jessy Lanza
A step up in tempo for the Toronto singer’s second album of slick RnB disco, with electronics again from Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan.
32. Angel Olsen
The indie-folk singer’s album of two halves – something more rough and punk to start with, followed by her trademark delicate minimalism.
31. Joey Purp
Given away for free but more than a mixtape, the Chicago rapper’s debut collection that has his vocal tone set to ‘Jay-Z’.
A Seat At The Table
The other Knowles sister’s delicate collection of not-quite-RnB tracks that are overtly political in representing the race issues of America and the world.
29. Jackie Lynn
A concept album from Haley Fohr (aka Circuit de Yeux), in the guise of country alter ego Jackie Lynn, currently ‘at large’ and hunting a man who fucked her.
28. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
(Bad Seed Ltd)
The sixteenth, less polished album from Cave’s main project, featuring a few amended lyrics following the sad death of the singer’s 15-year-old son.
The second album from a band previously known as Viet Cong, with a few added synth lines in their otherwise frantic-sounding post-punk.
26. Jenny Hval
The sixth album from the Norwegian artist and musician – an avant-garde concept record about female vampires and menstruation.
25. Cat’s Eyes
The third album from Horrors frontman Faris Badwan and Italian-Canadian soprano Rachel Zeffira, with added strings for a John Cale vibe.
24. Bat For Lashes
Natasha Khan’s ballad-heavy concept album about a wedding that never happens, because the groom dies on his way to the church.
23. Virginia Wing
Forward Constant Motion
The second album from a UK DIY duo who were a trio before, and have traded a guitar-led sound for ambient electronics reminiscent of Telepathe.
22. Cullen Omori
The debut solo album from the former Smith Westerns frontman, still in the Lennon-ish vein of the band of his adolescence.
The London band’s second album, where monochrome ’80s British punk meets the operatic range and theatrics of singer Jehnny Beth.
Splendor & Misery
A dystopian hip-hop space opera from the LA noise-rap trio whose Daveed Diggs found fame on Broadway this year in black history musical Hamilton.
19. Hamilton Leithauser & Rostam
I Had A Dream That You Were Mine
The first album-long collaboration between a couple of Washington-born US cult indie figures, from The Walkmen and Vampire Weekend, respectively.
18. Bon Iver
22, A Million
Justin Vernon’s less accessible/more experimental follow up to his hugely successful 2011 album ‘Bon Iver, Bon Iver’.
New Yorker Mitski Miyawaki’s fourth album and ode to that confusing, happy/sad time in all our lives, expressed through post-grunge, MTV2 rock.
16. Gold Panda
Good Luck And Do Your Best
Derwin Panda’s third (and possibly final) album of minimal techno, inspired by a trip to Japan that also spawned a photography book of the same name.
15. Car Seat Headrest
Teens of Denial
The prolific Will Toledo’s second album for Matador, taking its alt. rock cues from Pixies, Guided By Voices and The Strokes.
14. David Bowie
The 25th and, sadly, last album from a genius.
13. Let’s Eat Grandma
The debut album from the Norwich-based teenage duo of Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth, mixing pat-a-cake singsong with other music box obsessions.
The Toronto quartet’s fourth album of progressive jazz for a post-Kendrick age, with guests including Samuel T. Herring and Kaytranada.
11. Show Me The Body
The debut album from a New York hardcore trio disenfranchised by gentrification and inspired by drone rock as much as the Beastie Boys.
10. Swet Shop Boys
Pakistani and Indian-influenced hip-hop from London actor and rapper Riz Ahmed and New York’s former Das Racist member Heems.
9. Julia Jacklin
Don’t Let The Kids Win
A quarter life crisis turned into a country pop debut from an Australian musician playing with kitsch imagery.
Light Upon The Lake
That Neil Young ‘Harvest’ sound from Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek, formerly of Chicago’s the Smith Westerns.
7. Oliver Coates
The second minimalist dance record from the classical cellist and pirate radio enthusiast – a little two-step and a little Arthur Russell.
6. The Avalanches
The long awaited follow up to 2000’s cult classic ‘Since I Left You’. It can take a long time to clear Beatles samples.
The sobering collaboration between Anohni, Hudson Mohawke and Oneohtrix Point Never that takes on ecocide, war and government surveillance.
4. Kate Tempest
Let Them Eat Chaos
A very British hip-hop soap opera that follows seven different characters, all awake at 4:18am on the same stormy night.
3. Danny Brown
The Detroit rapper’s first record for Warp, named after a Joy Division song, prog in approach and nihilistic in feel to fit the mood of 2016.
Fender Rhodes-led 1970s lounge rock from Angel Olsen’s guitarist and drummer, Stewart Bronaugh and Joshua Jaeger.
1. Anna Meredith
The experimental electronic debut from a British composer usually found writing commissions for the BBC Proms.
Loud And Quiet needs your help
The COVID-19 crisis has cut off our advertising revenue stream, which is how we’ve always funded how we promoted new independent artists.
Now we must ask for your help.
If you enjoy our articles, photography and podcasts, please consider becoming a subscribing member. It works out to just £1 per week, to receive our next 6 issues, our 15-year anniversary zine, access to our digital editions, the L&Q brass pin, exclusive playlists, the L&Q bookmark and loads of other extras.