Bobby and I both agreed that Bowie unquestionably had best output of 2016, but having memorialized his unfortunate death earlier this year and giving “Lazarus” top honors for the best song of 2015. This year’s playlist has been curated to a different theme, mixing significant emerging talent with surprising comebacks from established rock / pop veterans. One pleasant common thread for 2016 is that we see a major dominance of talented female vocalists and musicians, featuring fantastic releases from The Kills, Warpaint, Bleached, Kino Kimono, GOAT, Sunflower Bean, Carla del Forno, etc. On a different note, being that this list is comprised of songs, versus albums, one notable ommission was the album, The Glowing Man, released by the reformed, eponymous group, Swans, led by Michael Gira. Given the controversy surrounding The Glowing Man and its conclusion of this particular iteration of the group, the expectations were high, but solely in terms of composition and songwriting the album is certainly worthy of acclaim, but its long-form structure is not really suitable for this list. However, condensing these songs to a narrower focus has resulted in an eclectic, high-energy mix to try inspire some semblance of hope in 2017, hopefully extinguishing the dumpster fire, 2016.
the jesus and mary chain
Primal Scream have released the first single and music video for their upcoming album, Chaosmosis. The dance-oriented pop track, “Where The Light Gets In”, features model and singer, Sky Ferreira, sharing vocal duties with frontman, Bobby Gillespie. The video, directed by Douglas Hart, original Bassist of The Jesus and Mary Chain, is a bit of throw-back to The Velvet Undergrounds collaborations with Warhol (Exploding Plastic Inevitable), but is presented with a high-fashion aesthetic, perhaps appealing to a bit of wider audience than Primal Scream’s previous album, More Light, which found the band returning to their psychedelic roots.
“Where The Light Gets In” is a strong showing from the band, who recently dealt with the tragic passing of one of their founding guitarists, Robert “Throb” Young”, a couple years ago, just around the same time that their bassist, Mani, decided to re-join The Stone Roses. With whatever personnel changes occurring in Primal Scream’s horizon, it’s a welcome shift to see the band continually changing ensembles and instrumentation, keeping themselves ahead of whatever genre they continually shape and dominate.