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Best of 2016, Editor-in-Chief Edition

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2016 is (finally) coming to a close, ending a long, difficult year for us all. Throughout all the trials and tribulations this year has brought, 2016 proved to be a wonderful year for new music – offering a welcome respite to the outside world. On that note, the following are my top ten new albums of the year – in alphabetical order, of course.

Astronautalis – Cut The Body Loose
This album is so full of energy and anger it practically dares you not to make use of the oncoming storm of adrenaline.

The Brevet – Embers: Ch. 2
From my review: “Embers… is so in the moment it’s practically sitting right next to you. The EP’s all-too-short five-track playlist drop the listener right into the middle of the story with immediacy and impact. The band’s Americana roots work in perfect harmony with the music and lyrics to craft these incredible compositions – the balance of acoustic and electric instruments alone is enough for me to keep hitting repeat.”

Empty Houses – Daydream
From my review: “Ali Shea, where have you been all my life?… The Shea-led, Detroit-based, retro-pop trio never fall short on the soul or passion of their hometown throughout this 10-track effort. That’s not to say that this is simply a throwback to the Motown sound of the 50s or 60s – though the inspiration is clear – this album spends it’s fair share of time in 2016, deftly weaving back and forth.”

The Hamilton Mixtape
Two words: Kelly Clarkson. And Usher and Busta Rhymes and Ashanti and Andra Day. Need I go on? The musical that took the world by storm only got bigger (is that possible?)

Jukebox the Ghost – Long Way Home: Live
One of the best live bands I’ve seen in a long, long time, this album only gives the slightest of hints to the experience of seeing them live.

pronoun – there’s no one new around you
The debut EP from Alyse Vellturo is the perfect combination of Allison Weiss and The 1975. It’s lyrics are equal parts dark and emotive, with a truly stellar synth-pop backdrop. Vellturo is poised for a huge 2017, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

The Rocket Summer – Zoetic
From my review: “The Rocket Summer, are as strong as ever… Zoetic is a departure from the indie power pop/rock of the five studio albums and handful of EPs that preceded it – but don’t be fooled, it is 100% The Rocket Summer. When I first listened to the album I had a lot of trouble ‘figuring it out’. The problem was that I was trying to listen to it through the rose-colored headphones of my former self.”

Ron Pope & The Nighthawks – Ron Pope & The Nighthawks
Ron Pope’s latest effort, backed by a full – and incredible – band proves he still has more than a few tricks left up his sleeves; and makes me want to just pick up my guitar and hit the road at every listen.

Say Anything – I Don’t Think It Is
Max Bemis and Co’s surprise album from this past February gets in your face early and often. Listen to it. Listen loud.

SYKES – Younger Mind
This UK electro-pop trio absolutely blew me away at Warped Tour this Summer. They were also truly excellent gets on the podcast.

And speaking of the podcast, I want to give a very special thanks to all my guests this year: Bryce Avary of The Rocket Summer, Juliet Simms, SYKES, Against The Current, The Heirs, Young Guns, With Confidence, Can You Hear Me?, Phil Cohen of Blackout Balter, Dayna Ghiraldi-Travers of Big Picture Media, Zack Jones of Gravel Kings, Julia Nunes, Stephen Wells of Birthday Club, and Michael McCarron of Punk Out.

Dear 2016 – You were wonderful and terrible. Cheers. Love, Josh.

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Josh
Chief Of All The Things at Emo At Heart
Josh is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Emo At Heart.