The annual round up of the year’s best tunes as decided by the Somethin' Else staff.
Alright folks, it’s the most important annual ritual in the company calendar – Somethin’ Else Records Of The Year 2016! Sate your senses with a delightful ensemble of the very most important, inspiring or ridiculous cultural tidbits we’ve absorbed this year. In 2015, Jamie XX and Kamasi Washington soaked up the plaudits, but which standout artists will command the adulation of the SE crew this time round?
Read on, and enjoy.
Carly Maile, Producer / Brighton Rock
Album Of The Year: Cult of Luna with Julie Christmas – ‘Mariner’
You know that feeling of wanting to scream into your pillow because; A. You need to sing-along to a track at the top of your lungs B. Scream out of sheer excitement C. Let out all your rage and anxieties.
Well ‘Mariner’ will make you want to do all of the above. If ever there was a match made in heaven it’s Cult of Luna and Julie Christmas. They’ve released the most guttural and intense album which I’ve gone back to every week since April. It’s just that good. And they topped my show of the year list, album of the year everything of the year! Now go scream in your pillow.
Song Of The Year: Mother Feather – ‘Mother Feather’
Who names a song after themselves? Mother Feather that’s who the greatest cock rock band to land on earth! Fronted by two fierce and sass-tastic females their debut album was an absolute smash! These New York rockers released my favourite song of the year that’s oozing with cool, righteous riffs and clever lyrics. Who ever uses the word BOOM-CHOC-CHICADEE in a song has me sold from the start. Could you find a better word? No you can’t! So if this song doesn’t get your strut on or those twinkle toes moving then get out of the coop BOOM-CHOC-CHICKADEES and pull yourselves together. It’s the jam of all jams and they will be your Mother Feather.
Emma Segal, Producer / Belieber
Album Of The Year: Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love
I changed my album last minute (previous choice was Ariana Grande – Dangerous Woman) because THIS IS ONE OF THE COOLEST THINGS I’VE HEARD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE FMDKSNKVBL. Way to throw a last minute curveball in there, Childish Gambino! Funk, Prog-Rock, Prince and Psychedelia references all combine to create something super special.
Song Of The Year: Banks – F*** with Myself
Two songs have been tied for me all year in the ‘most listened’ to tracks on iTunes. The first is E.X.O’s ‘Monster’, which is one of the most flawless K-Pop tracks of ALL TIME & well worth a listen. But as I picked a K-Pop track last year (‘Ice Cream Cake’ by the adorable Red Velvet), I’ve decided to go with Banks’ glorious comeback track. ‘F*** with Myself’ is an amazing ode to being your own best friend and worst enemy at the same time, and is accompanied by one of the creepiest but most brilliant videos released this year.
Film/Telly Of The Year: Hunt for the Wilderpeople
You know when you watch a film and can instantly tell that it will be in your top 10 of all time? THAT. This film has everything – off beat humour, stunning scenery, nuanced emotions and incredible acting (particularly from the amazing Julian Dennison as Ricky Baker). It’s just one of those gems you have to watch, and I’m pretty sure one of the only films to have scored 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. The plot centres around a juvenile delinquent who gets taken into care and ends up going on the adventure of a lifetime. Watch it!
Russell Finch, Executive Producer / Jazzhands
Album Of The Year: Knower – Life
Their videos involve horse shaped strap-on keytars, women with four arms and marauding space penises (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKS1XSiyGYQ). I really cannot understand how this band does not have more YouTube views.
Jazz graduates from LA’s Thornton School of Music, Louis Cole and Genevieve Artadi bring a deep musicality and creativity to the purest pop. Incidentally, their bass player Tim Lefebvfre played on another little album this year – David Bowie’s Blackstar – but this one is much more fun. Have a listen to his ridiculous playing on Hanging On (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLZJ-0IP9bY). Also worth checking Louis Cole’s solo single, especially for the trousers - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glgPZmSwC4M
Song Of The Year: Matthew Bourne – Somewhere I Have Never Travelled (for Coral Evans)
Probably the song I’ve played the most times this year. Mathew Bourne is a piano player championed on Jazz On 3 for years. His latest project is a set of solo improvisations on a 1982 moogmemory synthesiser. It’s just lovely. In the year that Jazz On 3 came to an end and SE legend OB engineer Pete Freshney sadly passed away, this brings back good memories.
Film/Telly Of The Year: Naomi Alderman – The Power
Can I suggest a book that at some point *will* be TV? We worked with the writer Naomi Alderman last year on her sequel to The Merchant of Venice for Radio 3 drama. Her new novel The Power released this autumn is amazing. It’s a sci fi morality tale in the tradition of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, about what happens when women spontaneously develop the power to electrocute men. What follows is a rollicking romp through the resulting global cataclysm, capturing the mood of our Trumpian dystopia. Has Netflix written all over it and has already been optioned.
Sean O’Daly, Content Producer / Beanie Wearer
Album Of The Year: Baby Father – BFF Hosted By DJ Escrow
Although 2016 has been a socio-political rollercoaster, we can safely say that these unstable times have resulted in an abundance of remarkable releases. Therefore, picking a single one to place on the ‘Best of the Year’ pedestal is a challenging task through which I found myself split between Trim on 1-800 Dinosaur, Anderson .Paak’s ‘Malibu’, Kaytranada’s ’99.9%’ and, most importantly, Babyfather’s ‘BBF Hosted by DJ Escrow’. I’ve chosen this not because it’s my favourite music or the most sonically pleasing record of the year (as the latter it is DEFINITELY not), but for what I believe it represents in modern-day Britain. Although, Dean Blunt’s ‘Babyfather’ project on Hyperdub Records sounds like it could have been entirely recorded on the built-in microphone of an iPhone 3, its pertinent comments on racial and class divide in inner-city life are unparalleled by any of its more Pop-focused contenders. Built around a jarringly repetitive yet intriguing sample from a young Craig David’s acceptance speech at the 2000 MOBO Awards (“This makes me proud to be British”), the album takes us on a powerful journey through the significance (or debatable existence) of British national identity through the excluded, marginalised voices of our society. Whilst it may be a very difficult listen, it highlights the intricacies of the urban working class experience and this has repeatedly led me to revisit the album and its powerful message.
Song Of The Year: Midland – Final Credits
I’m not going to try and be smart about this one. I love the Lee Alfred sample with its catchy hook and the way Midland has managed to convert it from dad-Rock anthem to nightclub floor filler. I heard this played out for the first time on a sunny beach in Croatia and it made my year. Midland closing his Essential Mix with this aptly-titled track months before it had actually been released was also a definite highlight!
Mark Rivers, Managing Partner / Nicest guy you’ll ever meet
Album Of The Year: Kanye West – Life Of Pablo
I loved the return of the Avalanches, David Holmes’ Late Night Tales comp and the Lemon Twigs but the album i listened to the most (probably because he kept adding to it) was Life of Pablo.
Song Of The Year: Donnie Fritts – Errol Flynn
Technically came out right at the end of 2015 but still…
Film/Telly Of The Year: Zootopia / Last Week Tonight/ I’m A Celebrity
I only see kids movies at the cinema now and my favourite one of them was Zootopia. My favourite TV programme of 2016 is Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – am important part of my echo chamber. And also I’m a Celebrity – a perfect escape from my echo chamber.
Tom Young, Executive Producer / Gorgeous Human Mannequin
Album Of The Year – Biffy Clyro – Ellipsis
Biffy Clyro are the best. They’re super nice, always smiling and play without their shirts on. That they craft wonderful albums is simply a bonus. Ellipsis is total joy and to see it come to life during their headline set at Reading Festival was a 2016 highlight. Up there with the time a stranger approached me in Morrisons’ frozen isle and uttered the words; ‘You look like a man who knows his pizza’.
Song Of The Year: The Heavy Entertainment Show – Robbie Williams
Come with me to karaoke and I’ll treat you to this. It’s my new Lucky Voice staple and will chill you right through.
Film/Telly Of The Year: Frasier
In 2016, Charis and I watched Frasier all the way through for the sixth time. There are ELEVEN series. It’s not new and shiny but comes with an ageless satisfaction that is bigger than an end of year list.
Jez Nelson, CEO / Pirate
Album Of The Year: A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here, Thank You 4 Your Service
I’m expected to go for a jazz album and I easily could but I just have to vote A Tribe Called Quest’s We got it from here …
Tribe were a massively important act for me and this return in full form makes me quite emotional. Little known fact – I was one of the first people to bring ATCQ to the UK. A weekend event in Camber Sands with Gilles where we also had Roy Ayers, Pharoah Sanders, Galiiano and The Brand New Heavies. That was Acid Jazz! I bloody love A Tribe Called Quest.
Song Of The Year: David Bowie – Lazarus
Film/Telly Of The Year: Victoria
Heist / club / trip movie – a single shot through a crazy night in Berlin. Amazing. Notable TV mentions – Pablo Escobar vs The Queen. Narcos vs The Crown.
Dan Moss, Executive Producer / Lover Of Lists
Album Of The Year: Moderat – III
Remember a time in 2016 before the national mood took a bit of a euphemistic tumble? I can picture it now; back in April, Moderat had just released their brilliant and imaginatively titled third album, once again confirming the band as the best trio since Harry, Ron and Hermione. And just as The Prisoner Of Azkaban saw Rowling hit new literary heights in her series’ tertiary novel, so too this collaborative act honed their blend of Modeselektor’s dancefloor sensibilities and Apparat’s vocal wizardry to perfection. While this was a massive year for jazz and hip hop, Moderat refracted loose elements of jungle, garage and more through their dark experimental lens and I loved it.
Song Of The Year: Mac Miller & Kendrick Lamar – God Is Fair, Sexy, Nasty
There are too many notables that I’ve gone back to this year time and time again – Derrick Hodge’s ‘From Me To You’, The Bug’s ‘Iceman’ and Hubie Davison’s ‘Sanctified’ were all just super. ‘God Is Fair…’ takes the crown for me with an undeniable chorus, an easy hazy vibe and cute, spoken outro… here’s hoping this hip hop movement, incorporating – but not limited to – BadBadNotGood, Anderson.Paak, Childish Gambino, Katranada and Mick Jenkins, continues into 2017.
Film/Telly Of The Year: Luke Cage
Yeah, it’s Marvel I know… but this one’s all about the music! Composed and curated by Adrian Younge and ATCQ’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad, each episode was thrilling, featuring live performances from Raphael Saadiq, the late Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley, Faith Evans… the list goes on. The storyline itself was decent too!
Jon Bartley, Video Editor / Emojis
Album Of The Year: Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love
Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino is the same age as me, we like the same things, have the same sense of humour and in another life I reckon we’d be best friends, at least that’s what I tell myself each night before I go to bed.
I had the pleasure of meeting him once and the encounter left me inspired, he’s one of those people who likes to do their own thing and somehow everyone still digs it. He writes, raps, sings, acts and directs and is good friends with Tina Fey, WTF, he’s a different kind of cool. I dunno, I guess I just hope to have a similar influence one day.
Anyways, even though it has just just been released my album of the year is his latest, ‘Awaken, My Love’…a funk odyssey so smooth I damn near fell off my chair. In a world where everyone seems to be shouting at each other, his voice seems like one really worth listening to ^___^™
Song Of The Year: Nadia Nair – Something Something Something
Ask my buddy Emma Segal, I have the most chill taste in music. If I can’t fall asleep to it, it’s not much good to me. I like my music how I I like my camomile team, mellow as fuck! Nadia Nair’s ‘Something Something Something’ from her aptly named album ‘Beautiful Poetry’ sounds like something that might come to you in a dream, it barely moves but when it does, it takes your soul along with it. Her ghostly vocals stay with you long after the song has finished…but it’s a beautiful haunt.
Film/Telly Of The Year: Captain Fantastic
This was very hard for me to do as I’m a big fan of film/ TV and as I have a free pass to the cinema, I watch A LOT of films each year. I’ve decided to go with my heart on this one and even though there have been superior films this year, my pick is Matt Ross’s ‘Captain Fantastic’ starring Viggo Mortensen. It’s a film about family and explores the notion that no two are the same. There are no real rules on how to nurture one apart from those constructed by society. It’s about a father having to come to terms with reality and the need for change. It’s a gem in every sense of the word, has amazing performances, a sweet soundtrack and a message that is ever more apt at this time of year.
Heather Campbell – Content Producer / Kittens
Album Of The Year: Kaytranada – 99%
There have been too many great, notable albums this year- Skepta, Beyonce (which probably would have been my #1 if I wasn’t too cheap to pay for Tidal), her sister Solange. I feel Jack Garrat’s debut Phase should also get a mention, but swooping that first place has to be Kaytranada- 99% which came out in May. This album is just glorious. It is so fitting to so many surroundings- cruising through a long train journey, cycling in the sunshine, running in the rain- it even has the ability to soften the most draining commutes (Metropolitan line I’m talking to you right there!) The collaborations are so effortless, they don’t even get a name check in the track listing, but Anderson. Paak, AlunaGeorge, Craig David and Goldlink all weave into the songs, with no fuss or drama, just glorious, silky vocals.
Song Of The Year: Nadia Rose – Sqwad
Again, so many to choose from! I’m sorely tempted to go with Kanye’s Fade, just for the video and it’s ability to inspire me to go to the gym at even the thought of it, but alas, I feel I have to give this lady some love.
Nadia Rose’s ‘Skwod’ is the ultimate counter culture to Taylor Swift’s ridiculously unachievable Squad Goals. The song itself just shows what a great MC Nadia is- she’s fierce, she’s funny and her flow makes rapping look substantially easier than it is (maybe just for me, I most definitely can’t rap.) From her earlier pieces to this, there’s such a strong development- I can’t wait to hear what she brings to the table next.
Film/Telly Of The Year: Rick And Morty
I’ve only just discovered a cartoon called Rick and Morty. I think it aired originally on the ol’ telly box back in 2013, but it only came to Netflix this year so… I think that means that it can just about count as this a favourite TV Show of this year… right?
It’s bloody weird, but once you get over that, it’s absolutely hilarious. It’s pretty dark at times, with the basic premise being that an alcoholic grandad takes his teenage grandson on adventures in space… but if you’re a fan of American Dad and Bob’s Burgers, I can’t recommend it enough.
Jamie Rowland, Assistant Producer, Film Whizz
Album Of The Year: Angel Olsen – My Woman
Angel Olsen’s Burn Your Fire For No Reason was hands-down the best album of 2014, and she’s followed it up with easily the best album of 2016 – My Woman. She’s a brilliant writer – both musically and lyrically – and has one of the most versatile and engaging voices out there. In November I saw her team up with post-punk legends, The Raincoats for a special, one-off, live collaboration as part of Rough Trade’s 40th birthday festivities. It was a brilliant celebration of music, women and the independent spirit, and undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable gigs I’ve ever attended.
Song Of The Year: Angel Olsen – Sister
It would have to be one of the songs from My Woman, but picking one is incredibly tricky. This one just edges it though; it’s seven minutes of epic, blissful musical majesty. If I weren’t such a big tough guy it would probably make me feel emotions.
Film/Telly Of The Year: Green Room
Despite the summer box office being a stinking u-bend bunged up with wet turds (hi, Suicide Squad!), there have actually been some great films out this year – Arrival, Sing Street, American Honey, Midnight Special, Kubo and the Two Strings, Nocturnal Animals and The Witch all spring to mind. But the absolute stand-out for me is Green Room, Jeremy Saulnier’s follow-up to the equally excellent Blue Ruin. It’s endlessly tense, visceral, violent, fast-paced, funny and has Captain Jean-Luc Piccard as a neo-Nazi club owner. What more could you ask for? Additionally – if you didn’t see the brilliant Flowers on Channel 4 earlier this year, do yourself a favour and catch up. with it ASAP.
Kate Cooper Owen, Executive Producer / Novelty Calendars
Album Of The Year: Beyonce – Lemonade
OK, I get it. I am totally basic for picking this. There are loads of reasons to hate on this album. The Jay Z cheating narrative is just a PR stunt; about 1,000 writers contributed to the rendering of “Beyoncé’s” heartbreak; it occasionally veers towards the syrupy and clichéd. Sure. The country interlude in the form of ‘Daddy Lessons’ is a total skipper. Yes, I hear you. But even so, despite all this, Lemonade is still the album of the year for me. Eight months later and I am still almost as obsessed by it as I was when it came out. I still feel so moved every time I listen - I still follow every emotional twist and turn of it, track by track (…except ‘Daddy Lessons’… *skip*), as if it was speaking directly to me. And don’t even get me started on the visual album. If you haven’t seen it yet, you basically haven’t lived. Worth the Apple Music subscription just for that.
Song Of The Year: Beyoncé – Formation
See above about me acknowledging that I am so f-cking basic for picking this. This is a Starbucks red cup-holding, Ugg-wearing, pumpkin spice latte-drinking basic bitch choice of song of the year. Even taken at the most basic level, I love this song. I love it. I cannot hear it without wanting to sing and dance; I can listen to it on repeat for hours and hours and never get bored, never lose that feeling of wanting to sing and dance along. That, surely, is the sign of a bloody good song.
I should add that as a passionate lover of hot sauce, it is just really great to hear it getting the shout out it deserves in musical form. That alone probs makes this song of the year for me tbh.
Film/Telly Of The Year: Fleabag
For about two hours after I finished binging on all 6 episodes of this back2back, I just sat on my sofa staring into space and feeling sad. Which might seem like a weird reaction to have to a comedy, but the truth of it is that Fleabag is absolutely devastating. The story unfolds in such an ingeniously well-paced way, you don’t even realise that your heart is being absolutely broken to pieces until it’s too late. The central character is aggressive and unpleasant, largely unlikeable in a cast of utterly unlikeable people. And yet the series is so brilliantly written than you are on her side, even if you don’t really know why. The to-camera breaking of the fourth wall is a bit weird at first and takes some getting used to, but once you do, you can relax and appreciate Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s amazingly expressive face (she wrote it and stars in it and as such is basically a genius in my eyes)… Her scenes with Olivia Coleman are dynamite, best viewed through your fingers as the horror unfolds.
Simon Needle, Content Producer / Hotel Connoisseur
Album Of The Year: King Of Leon – Walls
It’s pretty typical of KOL. Jingly-jangly guitars, chorus in the first 60 seconds and sing-a-long words which I can slur after 6 or 7 ciders next summer. Waste A Moment is the usual fast-moving tune for the band and you should expect similar KOL-esque songs in Find Me. Around the World is basically going to be the music bed for many a TV show/advert in the coming months. WALLS is the band going down the slow and touching love ballad route. It’s probably just a shame the album came too late for 2016’s summer and festival season.
Song Of The Year: JP Cooper – September Song
I went to school with JP so it’s brilliant to see one of the good guys in life end up on top. This year he’s smashed it, first with SG Lewis on Shivers and then the hit single on Perfect Strangers with Jonas Blue which has 120 million views on YouTube alone and was number one in 19 countries. Now JP has followed up with this single which gives a taste of what’s still to come from his solo work. September Song is a flashback to teenage years: pining over someone, creating a playlist of songs for them and the golden summers of yesteryear… as well as capturing young love.
If you like September Song then check out a song called ‘Oh Brother’ which will hopefully come out next year as a single.
Film/Telly Of The Year: The Crown
The Crown – Sometimes with period drama you can see where they’ve had to cut their cloth to fit the budget or filming locations which they’ve had to try to make look like they are of the time. With The Crown it’s a story you know (it’s The Queen’s early years) but showing areas of Elizabeth II’s life you might not know about. All of which is done with a budget of 20 gazillion pounds* as it’s the most expensive drama ever made for television. You can see the money on screen time and again. Their cloth is never cut and it shows. The story is gripping and there’s intriguing developments which move at a comfortable pace similar to Downton Abbey. If none of that really does it for you watch it just for the spot on clipped english way of The Queen saying ‘PHILLLLLLIPPPPPPPPP”.