You’ve seen every music magazine, website and blog’s Albums Of 2016 list by now (The 1975 topped NME‘s list), but what did the people who actually sell you your records rate over the past 12 months? Loads of the UK’s best independent record shops also join in with the end of year reflections, publishing their own list of favourites on their websites.
Some stores opt not to put their lists in a numerical order, which is very diplomatic of them. The ten below, however, have gone through the painstaking process of ranking the records that made them tick this year.
The store with branches in Nottingham, New York and east and west London chose Iggy Pop’s ‘Post Pop Depression’ as their album of the year. The punk icon has hinted that it may be his last record – if that’s true, he definitely made the most of it, getting Josh Homme, Matt Helders and Dean Fertitia to form his backing band.
Manchester’s Piccadilly stayed local with their choice for the Number One spot, selecting Whyte Horses’ (aka Dom Thomas) debut. Dream-pop record ‘Pop Or Not’ was recorded in the Italian countryside and features contributions from members of Doves, The Go! Team and Belle & Sebastian.
Online-only indie store Norman opted for LA-based composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and her latest album ‘EARS’. It’s an experimental record that pairs woodwind and flute with analogue synths, but reins in Smith’s songs to more bitesize lengths than on previous sprawling efforts.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ ‘Skeleton Tree’ was one of the most emotionally-charged, beautiful records to be released this year. Brighton’s Resident Records put it right at the top of their list, paying tribute to one of the city’s most beloved inhabitants.
Drift Records provides the residents of Totnes with all kinds of musical goodness, including their own magazine Deluxe. In it, they published an extensive AOTY list, with prolific garage-rockers Thee Oh Sees’ ‘A Weird Exits’ coming out on top.
Leeds’ Crash Records went for a legend as the creator of their favourite record of 2016. Few would argue with giving Bowie props for his elegant, masterful final album ‘Blackstar’.
Conor Oberst’s ‘Ruminations’ was a late contender for AOTY lists, being released in October. Edinburgh’s Avalanche didn’t let that stop them from naming it the best, though, beating off competition from the likes of Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Mogwai.
Kingston-based shop Banquet Records are perennial champions of music from artists big and small, both in the store and via their club night New Slang. Their top album? Michael Kiwanuka’s soulful second ‘Love And Hate’.
Bristol, Cheltenham and Worcester’s Rise Records also selected Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ ‘Skeleton Tree’ as their album of the year. The Australian’s poetic lyricism was certainly hard to resist this year.
Truck Music Store
Like Piccadilly Records, Oxford’s Truck Music Store also went for a local option, but theirs was a little more famous. Yep, they voted Radiohead’s phenomenal ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ as their standout record from the last 12 months. Who can blame them?