THE COOST TEAM
“Fuck You, 2016” has become the theme of this past year. But trust us, some good stuff came out of the last 12 months. These are our favourites of 2016; the pieces of art that made us think, feel, laugh, dance, and love. This is/was Coostin’ 2016.
Goat – Requiem
Devotees of my regular Coost Cuts column (hi, both of you) will attest that almost all of my favourite music at present fits somewhere on the electronic music spectrum. Goat’s Requiem is an outlier in my record purchases this year, and the best psychedelic guitar album of the 21st century. If you ever get a chance to see a Goat live show, dear reader, make it a priority. It’s modern-day voodoo music that gets in your bones.
– BRENDAN PARK
Kaytranada – 99.9%
2016 was a huge year for albums. Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool stands up against any of their others. Beyonce’s Lemonade is probably her most important work (not probably, is). The second-half of Kanye’s The Life of Pablo is the good half and it’s better than a huge percentage of 2016’s whole albums. Frank Ocean annihilated already hefty expectations with Blond (or Blonde depending on who you read/believe). A Tribe Called Quest redefined ubiquity with We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service, an album that wasn’t just played everywhere, it was played everywhere (clubs, bars, record shops, cafes, laundromats) from start-to-finish.
David Bowie and Leonard Cohen had curtain calls on their careers and lives that stuck the landing beyond the wildest dreams of even the most ardent devotee. Well, as is my understanding. My love for Bowie rests between 1967-1987 and my knowledge of Cohen isn’t as strong as it should be. Sorry for being honest.
Louis Kevin Celestin, better known as Kaytranada, released his debut album amongst all that hype and walked away with album of the year. Quite a feat for the 24-year-old Haitian-Canadian. Kaytranada’s star has been on the rise for years, culminating in this classic.
99.9% has it all. “Got It Good” is the Craig David comeback we never knew we wanted. “Lite Spots” is the year’s best sing-a-long track to lyrics no-one understands. The house bent of “You’re The One” manages to belong in 1993, 2002, and 2016 all at the same time. “Bullets” is another example why this is Little Dragon’s world and we’re just living in it.
The record also boasts appearances from BADBADNOTGOOD, Anderson .Paak (album highlight “Glowed Up” features the hands-down sexiest jazz-breakdown outro in memory), and Vic Mensa, as if it was recorded during a “coolest kids on the block right now” party. To top it all off, 2016 was the year Kaytranada came out publicly.
What. A. Year. “Not just another name/Not just some wannabe.”
– ZAC STREVENS
Parquet Courts – Human Performance
De fault. The two sweetest words in the English language. By virtue of being the only album I listened to properly this year that was actually released in 2016, this is the winner. Luckily, it’s a good one.
Probably nothing Parquet Courts release is going to make the immediate impact on me that Light Up Gold did, but each subsequent album has been a good mix of instant earworms and gradual growers. It’s a similar story here, but I’d say this is probably a little more accessible than some of their more recent output, with a bunch of singles I think my old man could listen to without ever wondering “what is this shit” aloud.
Opening with “Dust“, a cruisy toe tapper about dust with Jeff Tweedy contributing on guitar, there isn’t anything particularly challenging here with the exception of maybe “I Was Just Here,” which I guess is there to fill some kind of quota.
The personal highlight is probably the title track, but I’m pretty certain in another few months that honour will have been passed around half a dozen other songs.
– NICK STEVENS
David Bowie – Blackstar
It took me months to fully listen to David Bowie’s Blackstar, released on his birthday and two days before his death. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that he was gone and had the foresight to write an album about his own death. It just seemed too dark and bleak, an end to one of my favorite artists, so I avoided it. I don’t remember what it was that actually got me to sit down and finally listen to it; maybe this snobbish attitude that I can’t be a “real” fan unless I sit through what has been called his final masterpiece.
On one hand, it was exactly what I’d expected: a dark and gloomy track list that made me feel somber. However, ever so subtly, the fusion of electronic sounds, jazz and Bowie’s vocal arrangements began to bring a religious-like comfort to my grieving soul. It’s the same experimental Bowie that I grew up loving and each track is fantastic, lively, and new. It’s obvious how conscious he was of his ultimate demise (like in “Lazarus”) but follows these moments not with self-pity but with a carefree attitude (“Tis a Pity She Was a Whore”). The album is not a tribute to his career, like I’d assumed, nor is it a goodbye. Rather, Blackstar is a farewell for now.
– NAT YORSKI