Genre/Style: Indie Rock, Folk Rock, Psychadelic Rock
FFO: Local Natives, Langhorne Slim, The Head and The Heart
Summary: Michigan native Ben Schneider follows up 2015’s incredible Strange Trails with an album that builds on his signature sound with eerie and epic tales of a soul adrift. Schnierder has developed his sound from stripped down folk rock into elaborately orchestrated anthems of lost love and cosmic longing. Each new album brings deeper concepts and grander compositions.
Listen: Wait By The River
Joy as an act of resistance
Genre/Style: Punk, Rock, Post-Punk
FFO: Savages, Protomartyr, The Men
Summary: This English punk band made waves last year with their debut album Brutalism. This year they followed it up with their most accessible work yet, with songs that are hella catchy and rock hard AF. Frontman Joe Talbot gives visceral performances of socially relevant sentiments of defiance and positivity in the face of horrors. This album is a much needed venue for political catharsis and anger-coated optimism.
Genre/Style: Hip Hop, Trap
FFO: Young Thug, Drake, Migos
Summary: This album took me by surprise, I had greatly underestimated Mr. Scott as well as what can be done with trap music. He breathes new life into the genre with unexpected mid-song style switch ups, surprise cameos, and bold style choices. I’ve always said a good artist will make you like a style you didn’t like before and that’s what Travis does on this album.
Genre/Style: Synthpop, Dance-Pop
FFO: Tegan and Sara, Janelle Monae, Empress Of
Summary: This year Swedish synthpop shaman, Robyn returned with her follow up to her seminal 2010 album Body Talk. Once again she delivers danceable jams full of electronic innovation and heart-wrending lyrics about love, loss, nostalgia, and vice. This album feels very personal and vulnerable while remaining fun and catchy.