Nick Cvijovic’s Top 15 of 2016

Holy hell, was
2016 pretty lame, right? Between the awful time that some of us probably had
some pretty killer tunes came out. Anyway, here are the ones that I enjoyed the
most- some local, most from Canada. To be entirely honest, this needed to be a
top 50 because of how many bands I left out. Let’s do the honorable mentions
here first so you can decide whether you should keep reading.

Honorable Mentions
That Should Have Made This List: Davey Dynamite, Tiny Moving Parts, Weezer,
Modest Mouse, Radiohead, Chance the Rapper, Direct Hit!, Jeff Rosenstock, Every
Time I Die, Red Fang, and like thousands more.

 *the order of
these albums doesn’t really matter except for 1 and 12*

 1. TIE: PUP The Dream is Over AND Oathbreaker Rheia

Let’s Begin with
PUP; easily my most listened to album and definitely my most sang-along-to
record of 2016. The Toronto 4 piece specializes in their own brand of punk rock
that mixes weird time signatures, ripping guitar playing, and catchy choruses
about love, loss, and masturbation.

Favorite Tracks:
“Doubts” and “My Life is Over and I Couldn’t Be Happier”

Oathbreaker have been my favorite metal band outside of Slayer and Motorhead
for a few years now. Their first two records were total bangers and Rheia totally competes with them. The
band typically lays down heavy hardcore-influenced post-black metal (what?)
that is as atmospheric as it is punishing. The songs are absolutely stunning
and never leave you bored and also will piss your neighbors off when blasted in
your tiny apartment.

Favorite Tracks:
“Second Son of R.” and “Immortals”

2. The Dirty Nil Higher Power

The Dirty Nil is
one of the best bands that I discovered this year. A great blend of punk rock
and classic, loud, and brazen rock and roll that punches you in your stupid
little face and then takes your drink. Also Canadian.

Favorite Tracks:
“Zombie Eyed” and “Bury Me at the Rodeo”

3. White Lung Paradise

I don’t know
categorically where this band falls, but that is usually a good sign that i’ll
enjoy it. White Lung put out one of the coolest records this year from the
crazy guitar lines to singer Mish Way’s hypnotic vocals. The record stays
consistent all the way through, not really giving the listener any time to
relax. Also Canadian.

Favorite Tracks:
“Dead Weight” and “Narcoleptic”

4. A Tribe Called
Quest We Got it From Here…Thank You 4
Your Service

If you didn’t
listen to this record yet you’re a moron. You’ll stay hooked throughout the
whole record due to ATCQ having some of the best flow, but also being
ridiculous songwriters. The album has some of the best beats and samples
including a spot from Busta Rhymes.

Favorite Tracks:
“The Space Program” and “Ego” 

5. Action Boy Aging Like Milk

Northern Illinois
Suburbs natives Action Boy do pop punk right. By far the best “local” record of
2016. The trio blend a few different styles of pop punk, clearly showing their
influences on their sleeves, but it is never repetitive as pop punk tends to

Favorite Tracks:
“Powerball” and “Limon Pepino”

6. Arms Aloft What a Time to be Barely Alive

Eau Claire’s
finest make sad socio-political songs about the failings of our country from a
working-class perspective. Raspy vocals and catchy melodies make every song off
this record stay stuck in your head from the first listen. I wish I wrote this

Favorite Tracks:
“What a Time to be Barely Alive” and “Hollowlujah!” 

7. Munch Postpornum Depression EP

Hilarious local
dudes make catchy rock and roll that really should be your cool sister’s
favorite band but she really cannot get over how sweet that California group of
rich boys with Instagram pictures with Ty Segall are. Also wonderfully drunk

Favorite Track:
“Over My Head”

8. Ribbonhead Racing to the Bottom EP

This record is the
musical equivalent of breaking glass with your forehead, and that is a great
thing. Scathing hard-noise-fuckyou-core from Chicago reminiscent that time you
fought the cops and got away.

Favorite Track:
“Honey Pot”

9. Plague Vendor BLOODSWEAT

There’s equal
parts butt-shaking and smashing that beer bottle over that annoying guy at the
bar. This record has that groovy Queens of the Stone Age plus Jack White plus
SoCal punk vibe which is one of the most original sounds of 2016.

Favorite Tracks:
“Credentials” and “No Bounty”

10. The Dillinger
Escape Plan Dissociation

The final kick to
the face from one of the craziest bands to ever have existed. They will be
missed, but this record is definitely a hell of way to say goodbye. It’s hard
to put into words what tDEP does, so just think if a jazz band took meth and
played metal? That doesn’t even cut it though.

Favorite Tracks:
“Not Wanting so Much to as To” and Limerent Death”

11. Drones Take It Easy EP

Catchy Minneapolis
pop punk whom my band had the opportunity to play with a few times this year.
This EP is no holds barred pop punk a la The Copyrights, et al. Every song is a
sing along for basement ragers and cold walks home from the bar.

Favorite Track:
“Told Ya”

 12. Sioux Falls Rot Forever

If I’m being
honest with myself, which I never am, this album should be like number 3 or 4
but I enjoyed the Canadian theme. Anyway, Sioux Falls (now known as Strange
Ranger) made the album that Modest Mouse should have. It harks back to 1996
Olympia and K Records and is seriously perfect all of the way through its 16
tracks(!). Built to Spill for the modern era, even though Built to Spill still

Favorite Tracks:
“3fast” and “Your Name’s Not Ned”

13. Nancy With Child

This the most fun
record that I heard all year. I love these boys so much. True, unabashed power
pop from Chicago’s Eat the Life Records, even though these boys aren’t from
here. The strongest two-piece band out there right now.

Favorite Tracks:
“(My Old Friend) TV” and “(Get the) ReVVup”

14. Cold Wrecks Breaking

I probably
listened to this album more times than any other while riding the Metra. Like
PUP, this record has tons of cool-ass guitar, great lyrics, and even better
sing alongs. The songwriting alone puts this ahead of so many other releases
this year. It vaguely reminds me of Et Tu Brute.

Favorite Tracks:
“Drawbridge” and “Broken”

15. G.L.O.S.S. Trans Day of Revenge

Why do all the
best bands have to break up? This album is the first album that everyone should
be listening to heading into that expected shit show that is to be 2017. The
album opens with lead singer Sadie screaming, “When peace is just another word
for death, it’s our time to give violence a chance!” which is the single
greatest call to arms of any political hardcore or punk record. The best
hardcore record of 2016, no doubt. Give it a chance.

Favorite Track:
“Give Violence a Chance”