As already highlighted in the Best of 2016 Mixtape, it’s been an outstanding year for new, independent, and emerging artists. So as it draws to a close we reveal our Alternative Friday Awards, which cover an eclectic array of flavours, from the rousing to the mellow. So who are the winners?
Best Independent Album: Albert Man – Cheap Suit
This album has some stunning piano led pop tunes, from the percussion assisted Skimming Stones below, to a few more mellow numbers, but it’s the consistently high quality of song writing and vocals throughout that mean this is the standout independently released album of 2016. You can find out more about the album and artist in the Q&A from earlier in the year.
Best Debut EP: The Assist – Trouble
Love was the lead from this 5-track EP, however the standard of songs is so strong throughout that Things Get Good was the track that made the recent Best of 2016 Mixtape. You can find out more about their baggy brilliance here.
[Sorry – EP removed from soundcloud]
Best Vocals (& production): SOULS – Release
Release is a quite fascinating album, which took vintage vocals from rare Alan Lomax field recordings in the deep south of America in the early 20th century, and was then combined with some soulful and brass rich contemporary music, from the lively If I Got My Ticket to the haunting I Wait For You. The man behind it all, from writing the music, to the production and engineering, is David Gledhill, and he has created a truly impressive album.
Best Psych Euphoria Track: Super Best Friends Club – Humans
If there’s a better song from 2016 that makes you want to shake your stuff then please let us know, as Humans is an infections yet crazy masterpiece, full of energy. Energetic psychedelia at its best.
Best Maximum Volume Track: Coquin Migale – Grindie
Being raucous is one thing, but to give it a tune too is harder to achieve, however the alternative rock band Coquin Migale have got it just right with the dynamic Grindie (which also has an excellent video). They also put on one hell of a live show too. Mosh pit & earplugs please!
The Hottest Latin Track: Magnus P.I feat Penya – Search It Out
The energetic percussion grabs you first, then the exotic vocals, as the London based collective bring their experiences of the Latin and wider world to create a fusion of wonderful floor-filling sounds. Bringing hot balmy nights to the UK, all year round!
Most Contagious Song: The Lulu Raes – Never Leave
When a song becomes an earworm, with a chorus so melodic you find yourself singing it day and night, it can be dangerous… especially when wearing headphones on public transport (I’ve been caught singing it more than once!). You have been warned.
Best Rock ‘n’ Roll Number: Of Empires – Baby Darlin’ Sugar
This is a humdinger of a rock ‘n’ roll tune, which is stuffed with catchy riffs and a wonderful chorus. There’s a great video too, while you can find out more about them in their recent Q&A. What happened to you…
Most Poignant Track: Richard Walters – U
The first thing that hits you are the stunning vocals from Lui Bei singer Richard Walters. They are added to as the story and instrumentation build, with lush arrangements and polished production too. An enchanting song.
Best Troubadour Tune: Lewis Bootle – All I Know
Is it urban folk or acoustic rap? Either way, this is a gem of a song with captivating vocals and poetic lyrics. The Provençal region would be proud, however he’s from Hertfordshire. Minimalist, but inspiring.
[Sorry – track removed from soundcloud]
A fine set of winners, I hope you agree? Sadly 2016 has robbed us of numerous legends, but thankfully new ones are emerging.