Top 20 Best Noise/Post-Punk & Goth Albums Of 2016

Our main non-genre-specific albums of the year list is coming soon, we need some time to process the whole thing and be fair. Just for the record, our end/best of the year lists were not made in October or even November, it’s called the end of the year lists for a reason!!! So, in the meantime, here’s something a little more specific: our Top 20 (no specific order whatsoever) noise/post-punk & goth albums of 2016 and what we said about those albums over the year. More lists are going to be unveiled in the following days… Enjoy!

Savages – Adore Life (Matador)

There’s an entire incisive nature and approach to Adore Life that can’t be possibly overlooked or diminished. It’s a revolution that makes use of words and music, never allowing an unevenness, between the two, to occur. Almost in the middle of its way two of the most important questions emerge, “Is it human to ask for more? / Is it human to adore life?” (“Adore”), creating the most nauseating and revolting feeling. In the light of the social injustices that have been so openly displayed and constantly perpetrated, Adore Life reveals more concern in providing answers than to simply point the finger – even their questions sound like answers. And to achieve its purpose shakes, and sometimes breaks, emotionally the listener with a strong unwillingness to soften their hard hitting nature.
Adore Life is an indispensable compass in this life clouded by fear, pain, and confusion, and Savages are probably the leanest and meanest band around these days.

(Tiago Moreira) // Listen at Spotify.

Marching Church – Telling It Like It Is (Sacred Bones)

sbr162-marchingchurch-300_1_1024x1024There seems to exist a couple of pivotal facts surrounding Elias Bender Rønnenfel’s creative output (Iceage, Vår, and Marching Church). The first is the ability that Elias has in surrounding himself with amazing musicians that never fail to deliver beautiful, challenging, and awe-inspiring compositions. The other one is how he uses his limited voice – both first MC album and Iceage’s Plowing Into the Field of Love suffered from Elias’ bad approach. Telling It Like It Is is a very anticipated return to form from the Danish singer that once again found his place in an absolutely amazing, daring and complex rock album that thrives in soulful, sometimes ethereal, and always energetic moments.

(Tiago Moreira) // Listen at Bandcamp.

Vomitface – Hooray For Me (Help Yourself Records)

vomitfaceVomitface may sound filthy, noisy and possibly crazy. But like all true expressions of artistic insanity and erratic wildness there’s a genius at work here. Hooray For Me, their debut full-length was recorded by the always awesome Steve Albini, sounds crazy good and infectiously addictive. Somewhere between Nirvana’s punk attitude and Shellac’s noisy cathartic experience, Vomitface like many other bands were raised with punk ideals and that slacker grunge pedigree. They dare and take chances, everything sounds so damn immediate, full of heavy doses of sarcasm and intelligent punchy lines. Hooray For Me is an frenetic and dynamic standout, deeply moody and unfashionable sexy, for sure one of the most ambitious and original releases of this year. The one and only Steve Albini said at the end of the recording sessions that the songs “sounded fine”, you can’t have best approval than that.

(Fausto Casais) // Listen at Bandcamp.

Whores. – Gold (Eone)

whores-gold-album-coverAtlanta-based power-trio Whores. made a name for themselves with two EPs, one split, and by delivering intense live experiences. With their debut album, Whores. go frantically at it with a much more incisive set of songs that for the most part are unwilling to take the foot from the gas pedal. The feedback and noise wrap around a gift that is brave enough to mention the current state of affairs at the same time it is vulnerable with Christian Lembach’s lack of insterest to hold back his involvement in the conversation. More than just a sonically ripping rock album, Gold is of extreme relevance on a social level with its imposing, gut-wrenching, and extremely gritty lyrics.

(Tiago Moreira) // Listen at Spotify.

Exploded View – Exploded View (Sacred Bones)

exploded-viewExploded View is a new collaborative project helmed by German/UK political-journalist-turned-musician/singer Anika along with Crocodiles producer Martin Thulin, Hugo Quezada of Robota and Hector Melgarejo of Jessy Bulbo. Fresh and experimental textured, elegant and full of fuzzy edges, perhaps too minimal for mainstream, but too rich to keep in the underground. Exploded View are impressively defying expectations, this is an album that rings with the honed precision, unpolished and loudly sharp, set on experimentalism and somehow working like a mind blowing political challenge. From krautrock to dub, from punk to the Neubaten esque, Anika’s voice is the leading light and voice of this revolutionary art and political manifesto.

(Fausto Casais) // Listen at Bandcamp.

September Girls – Age Of Indignation (Fortune Pop!)

september-girlsIf there’s irony in the title of Edith Wharton’s novel The Age of Innocence then it also should be said that there’s none in the title of September Girls’ sophomore album, Age of Indignation. We wouldn’t like you to be unduly dismissive towards it, right? Damn right, because what better way to portray our current times where tones of indignation surfer every day from people who’ve had enough, although somewhat insufficiently. September Girls talk about things that cause indignation – you’ll be fooled to think that is unidimensional and/or retrained – while sharpened and precise guitar lines are thrown one after the other and memorable vocal lines shine through. This is noisy pop ravishment from a band that is fueled by the same rage and dissatisfaction of some of the most aggressive and politically/socially aware hardcore bands.

(Tiago Moreira) // Listen at Bandcamp.

Parquet Courts – Human Performance (Rough Trade)

parquet-courtsRaw, dramatic, ambitious, intense, complex, emotional, claustrophobic and yet melodically heavy. Recorded over the course of a year against a backdrop of personal instability, Human Performance is a cathartic experience, full of frantic energy in their most diverse and struggling effort ever. Tackling several issues, such as anxiety and physical or mental or social exhaustion, Human Performance lyrics are so easy to relate, everything seems so immediate and close, as if suddenly we are drawn into their world, where easily we are almost obligated to question our humanity. From Pavement’s classic esque to Wire meets Rancid’s punk insane fest, Parquet Courts are bringing college indie rock weirdness back and tackling some serious issues along the way. Exactly what we’ve waiting since 2013’s debut Light Up Gold, one of the best albums of this year, with high levels of addictedness and undeniable intoxicating.

(Fausto Casais) // Listen at Spotify.

Culture Abuse – Peach (6131 Records)

culture-abuseTheir blend of power pop sticky melodies with the slickness of punk and the fuzzy-slacker shoegaze matches in perfection with their pedigree hardcore aggression. David Kelling’s outstanding vocal performance is the key to Peach’s countless and seamless transitions between songs. Don’t get me wrong when I say that after you listen to Peach, something will grow on you, and yes, you’re going to be too busy singing along to their anthems. “Do Whatever” is their motto and even when they tackle subjects like anxiety and depression, nothing seems to get weird or anything. They handle everything with the same ballzy attitude, quite inspiring I must say. They don’t give a single fuck about what you think of them and you will easily learn that these dudes are the real deal, no bullshit attached. Fresh and strangely addictive, Culture Abuse are a huge contender to the best new band around and Peach is an eclectic, dreamy and a heavy artistic statement, full of hooks and top notch songwriting.

(Fausto Casais) // Listen at Bandcamp.

Street Sects – End Position (The Flenser)

street-sectsTexas duo Street Sects (Leo Ashline and Shaun Ringsmuth) have created, with End Position, an environment of unceasing industrial chaos. Building a base with samples and frenzied noise, they present lyrical images of suicide, flawed humanity and mental anguish that are neither trivialized nor exploited. Layer after layer of sounds work together, though often pleasantly against one another, to construct the backdrop; it’s an ideal companion to the verbal content of each song. Sects’ greatest achievement, apart from being completely singular and in a category of their own, is the ability to barrage and disorient the senses with confessional punk poetry. There is a sincere beauty that coincides in the discordant universe of End Position; “I’m not suffering, I am blossoming.”

(Teddie Taylor) // Listen at Bandcamp.

Okkultokrati – Raspberry Dawn (Southern Lord)

okkultoFrom word Go on this sparse fuzzed-up fever-dream of grumble voiced garage rock you are pulled into a deep well of uncomfortable and dense darkness. The album screams at you like an angry radio stuck fuzzy between stations, the production a barely finished growl of loose bass strings and muted drums, cymbals and guitars sounding like they are being heard through four or five rooms away. The vocals are a fearsome spit and sizzle, crawling over the music like a creature stalking the Serengeti. It’s garage rock, but not as we know it, darker, edgier, more miserable. A goth tinged nightmare sound that is utterly unique and utterly gripping. Pretty mind-blowing in its almost mockingly under-produced own way.

(Andi Chamberlain) // Listen at Bandcamp.

All Your Sisters – Uncomfortable Skin (The Flenser)

FR68_12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007]The beautiful thing about post-punk, or whatever you want to call it, is its ability to make the sad ones dance. Play the right tune and even the biggest train-wreck of a man will creep its way to the dance floor. After putting out the amazing new Muscle & Marrow record, The Flenser keeps playing the right cards with yet another solid release, the sophomore full-length by the San Francisco, California, duo All Your Sisters. An obsessive-compulsive drum-machine and guitars that lie, and you know they do – like that sweet girl wearing red lipstick. Forget about crying in the gutter, stop daydreaming for a minute, grab a huge beer, dance and laugh at the odds. Not just another genre revival, All Your Sisters grace us with a very decent take on 2016’s incarnation of post-punk music, or darkwave or whatever.

(Ricardo Almeida) // Listen at Spotify.

Creative Adult – Fear Of Life (Run For Cover)

creative-adultFear Of Life is an riveting experience. Raw and full of twists, this was an album built on tension over the recording process between members and everything was about to break. Fortunately, the band was able to put aside their differences and realize that the record was “a house we’re all living in”. So, with that in mind the Bay Are five piece joined forces with Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Comadre, Punch) to create this fuzzy and explosive post-punk standout. Fear Of Life is sharp and heavy, brooding intensity and where creativity match experimentation in perfection. In all their weirdness and ability to fuck up the basic rules of rock they show that intelligent and inventive doesn’t have to mean difficult. An album that challenges the listener from the start to finish.

(Fausto Casais) // Listen at Bandcamp.

Pill – Convenience (Mexican Summer)

pillConvenience is Pill’s debut album. Expressive, intoxicating, visceral and, above all, exciting. Pill are here to get you out of your comfort zone, mess you up and they sound like nothing you have heard before. Aggressive and in your face, Convenience is damn sexy, ballzy and brightly detailed. Lyrically straightforward and politically sharp, Pill’s sound is like a roller coaster of noise with post-punk, perfectly blending free jazz and improvisation, where everything sounds cinematic, new and trashy. With Ben’s sax leading the path into chaos and Veronica’s incendiary vocal manifesto, the Brooklyn quartet show their incredible ability to capture a moment in time is artfully strong; emotionally, culturally and sonically. Full of tension and creative freedom, Convenience is perhaps one of the most weirdly awesome and empowering experience you might have this year. The perfect artist statement for this troubled times.

(Fausto Casais) // Listen at Bandcamp.

King Dude – Sex (Ván)

king-dudeKing Dude returns with his latest spiritual meditation or invocation, entitled Sex. Brutally honest and refreshingly detailed, Sex is dark humored, undeniable sexy and the perfect “whiskey soaked joyride”. TJ Cowgill is again not applying genres to his music, we can say that his music is neo-folk, country, punk, metal or rock n’ roll, but they all seem to be in constant conflict and apart from each other, which makes everything even more interesting, the whole bullshit of labeling an artist is always an exercise of pure laziness. Elegantly build, TJ Cowgill works best when he sticks to his own style and guts, exploring society’s constriction of our minds and personalities through this simplistic way of story-detailing life, thoughts and whatever. Straight forward and real, this is just another King Dude’s artistic manifestation or statement.

(Fausto Casais) // Listen at Bandcamp.

Greys – Outer Heaven (Carpark Records)

greysGreys, the Toronto-based noise makers are back with their sophomore effort, the follow up to 2015’s Repulsion EP and 2014’s If Anything, their promising debut album. This time around they changed their own game, their sound, their dynamics and let’s say that noise rock goes indie and gains a whole new sense of perspective. Outer Heaven represents Greys’ own sound. Nothing sounds similar to this and that, this new direction is more in depth, raw and mature. Their distinct blend of perfect melody where order meets chaos is way more expansive, bringing tension, energy and new ways of expanding their own noisy palette of sounds.
Each song deals with different subjects, from teen cruelty in “Cruelty” to “Blown Out” where frontman Shehzaad Jiwani confronts his own mental health, and there are some inspirational references to William Friedkin in “Sorcerer” and Adam Curtis documentary, Century Of The Self on the track “In For A Penny”.
Outer Heaven is a challenging effort, from a band pushing their own boundaries to create something different, and the result is impressive and courageous all the way.

(Fausto Casais) // Listen at Bandcamp.

Mourn – Ha, Ha, He. (Captured Tracks)

mournMourn, the Catalonian teenage wunderkinds are back with Ha, Ha, He. their sophomore effort. Their debut album was unfashionable great. Their classic guitar-driven sound sounded fresh and different, so for this new effort our expectations were high, but conscious that they’re a very young band – their ages are between 17-20 years – they don’t need this kind of criticism and pressure in their lives. Ha, Ha, He. is powerful, sophisticated, eclectic heavy and deep, their talent and creativity seems to have no limits and no boundaries attached.
Undeniably catchy and so immediate, their teen-angst blend of noisy power pop anthems with the basic foundations of alternative rock are outstanding. It’s cool to see a band naming Throwing Muses as an influence nowadays, even the reference in “Irrational Friend” to William Blake’s “The Laughing Song,” a poem from his Songs of Innocence and Experience is priceless.Full of twists and genre clashes, Ha, Ha, He. is a mature effort. Mourn have now their own identity and their own sound, this is another impressive yet simplistic artistic statement. By the way, our expectations were totally fulfilled, that’s always a plus. Cheers for that!

(Fausto Casais) Listen at Bandcamp.

Wire – Nocturnal Koreans (PinkFlag)

wireEarly 21st century Wire vintage is a streamlined, turbo-boosted power-pop proposition which steamrollers forward with razor sharp intelligence and precision. Following on from last year’s self-titled rebooted consolidation, Nocturnal Koreans finds Wire playing to their strengths across a 25-minute mini-album, which crams in more detail and texture to its eight songs than many groups manage in a career defining magnus opuses. The opening title track, “Internal Exile” and “Dead Weight” barrel along atop bass-driven propulsion while guitars buzz and shimmer around the song like swarms of chrome-plated insects. Then, you get a track like “Forward Position” which looms through a fug of nocturnal disillusion, hissing regret and broken promises to some still-present betrayer of trusts. After nearly forty years together, off and on, it becomes questionable why any group of grown men still persist in playing together. Wire continue to prove that not only can the rock group, itself a wildly outdated proposition, remain relevant and vital, but also that there are tiny new frontiers to be carved out of the three-minute pop song.

(Tiago Moreira) // Listen at Spotify.

Death Index – Death Index (Deathwish Inc.)

death-indexHarking back sonically to the days of The Birthday Party, Death Index are a cacophonous art-noise band who have created music that is a hybrid bridge of synth heavy, fuzzed up art-punk and avant-garde rock. It is difficult to pigeonhole, has a heavy 80’s influence – stealing notes and tricks from the industrial sound of Gary Numan and The Cure’s dark corners, and also sounding somewhat like a Stooges band dipped in menace. As an album, it has some remarkable turns and shades. Captivating and intriguing, it builds upon heavy – if sonically muted – drums, hidden under the mix, staccato machine gun guitars and ten tons of bass. Pretty ironclad in its delivery, it’s a stunning little album which I did not expect to dig as much as I did. For fans of Nick Cave’s earliest work and the Cures darkest moments… It’s a band who demands further attention.

(Andi Chamberlain) // Listen at Bandcamp.

Fat White Family – Songs For Our Mothers (Fat Possum Records)

fwfFat White Family are at it again, and this time they’re not holding back – not that they ever did. If their debut album taught us anything, it’s that they are on a mission to provoke, enrage, seduce and disgust, all at once. Their second album Songs For Our Mothers conveys the same sense of dark, twisted claustrophobia you simply can’t look away from. Sonically, it is as cinematic as it is harrowing, mixing Nazis (“Lebensraum”, “Goodbye Goebbels”), serial killers (“When Shipman Decides”), abusive relationships (“Hits Hits Hits”) and heroin use (“Tinfoil Deathstar”). In a world of political correctness, FWF is easily one of the only bands consistently testing the boundaries of what is considered appropriate, with two fingers decidedly held up for everyone to see.

(Antigoni Pitta) // Listen at Spotify.

A Dead Forest Index – In All That Drifts From Summit Down (Sargent House)

a-dead-forest-indexWhile their earlier EPs showed the ability of Adam and Sam Sherry to create memorable, strikingly minimalist songs akin to a less white-knuckle Swans, their eventual full-length strips the core of their sound back even further, the locus of attention fully resting on Sam Sherry’s angelic vocal turns and the sparse strums and chamber orchestrals that thrust them out like a musical magic-eye picture. Remnants of earlier forms still reside in its haunted frame, the charred post-punk of “Myth Retraced” and “No Paths” jangling refrain touching on the most musical elements of their past, but “Summit Down” excels in its sense of stasis, the sound of a folk record being stripped down to its bones yet belonging to no particular time or place.

(Dave Bowes) // Listen at Bandcamp.
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