The best local music of 2016: KEXP's DJs give us their lists
As we close out 2016, Crosscut has asked members of the local community to present their thoughts on the year. Below, the team at KEXP present their favorite local music of 2016.
Kevin Cole - KEXP Chief Content Officer/Host of the Afternoon Show (Mondays-Fridays, 2-6pm)
Local music continued to thrive in 2016. We saw three great debut albums from NAVVI, Acapulco Lips, and Crater, plus excellent new albums from Car Seat Headrest (breakout artist of 2016), Deep Sea Diver, Manatee Commune, Tacocat, Fly Moon Royalty, and veterans David Bazan, Damien Jurado, The Cave Singers, and genius Erik Blood.
And it was another great year for local music at KEXP. Highlights included the April 16 grand opening celebration of our new headquarters at the Seattle Center, with exceptional live performances from Grace Love, Sera Cahoone, Mark Pickerel, DoNormaal, David Bazan, Hey Marseilles, Deep Sea Diver, and Car Seat Headrest. The grand opening bash also saw the release of two very limited KEXP Record Store Day albums, The Sonics Live at Easy Street Records, and Raw Power KEXP.
The Sonics Live at Easy Street: Legendary garage rockers the Sonics tore through their set with local luminaries hopping on stage to pay their respects, including Van Conner (Screaming Trees), Chris Ballew (Presidents of the United States of America), Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Calvin Johnson (Beat Happening), Matt Lukin (Mudhoney/Melvins), Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Emily Nokes (Tacocat), and Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden).
Raw Power KEXP: Seattle supergroup Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Duff McKagan (Guns & Roses), Mark Arm (Mudhoney), and Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees/Mad Season) pay tribute to Iggy & the Stooges playing their favorite Stooges songs live on the roof of Pike Place Market while 10,000 KEXP music lovers witnessed from the street below. Raw power indeed!
Kevin's Top 2016 Albums from New(ish) Local Bands:
- Deep Sea Diver – Secrets (my most played album of 2016)
- Car Seat Headrest — Teens of Denial
- Manatee Commune — Manatee Commune
- NAVVI — Omni
- Crater — Talk To Me So I Can Fall Asleep
- Acapulco Lips — Acapulco Lips
Kevin’s Top 5 Local Songs of 2016:
- Tacocat – “I Love Seattle”
- Naked Giants – “Ya Ya”
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – “Downtown”
- Ever So Android – “Pretty Teeth”
- Draze – “Irony on 23rd”
Eyes Ahead: Look for big things in 2017 from up-and-comers Thunderpussy, Bread & Butter, and Naked Giants.
Stas THEE Boss, Host of Street Sounds, KEXP’s Hip Hop Show (Sundays, 6-9pm)
Porter Ray – Electric Rain: This project is full of slaps and engaging poetry that stays on your mind. Porter's flow melts.
Tay Sean – Leavings: Very poignant and very ahead of time with roots in the past. Tay is a producer's producer and a writer's fantasy.
Bruce Leroy - Home: Album feels, like a thug hug. Very hard and comforting at the same time. He's gunning for the lames and I've needed this for a very long time.
Noo x 10-4Rog – Inner G: Love his voice paired with 10-Rog musicality. Match made in heaven. Deep heady bars. Plus I'm extremely partial to Renton and Tacoma affiliations.
Gifted Gab - Gab The Most High: Undeniably one of the best rappers from Seattle. I'm always loving her 90's nostalgia, head nod g-funkdafied vibes.
DJ Sharlese, Host of Audioasis, KEXP’s Local Music Show (Saturdays, 6-9pm)
Nail Polish – Authentic Living: Nail Polish is so exciting! I love them so much! They always create hits, one after another! This album is full of party! It’s like the punk party that you want to attend, but you can do it in your headphones! It has this fun lo-fi feeling and the recording captures just how great this band is! It’s perfect! The lyrics on the album are very aware of its surroundings, the band lives on Capitol Hill and the album captures all the thoughts and feelings of the world and the neighborhood. It’s great and it’s necessary!
CC DUST – CC DUST: CC DUST is so f***ing bomb! I don’t even know what to say about this release! It makes me so happy and it’s just everything! MaryJane the lead singer has this voice that’s super sexy and the way she sings and the synths and the beat make me want to crawl into a hole and hold myself. It’s so f***ing good! It is one of my most prized vinyl additions.
Y La Bamba – Ojos del Sol: I feel in love with this album. It’s so pretty and beautiful! There’s something about the production of the album and the way it sounds. It’s so romantic and super fun, it is one of the loveliest albums to come out this year! I love that the way the album bounces between the Spanish language and English. There are so many great hooks that capture you and it’s just the best listen!
NAVVI – Omni: This album was one of my most anticipated records of the year! Alex Ruder (DJ at KEXP and owner of Hush Hush Records) gave me an early listen of it and I just wanted to burst! The beats are out of control, the vibe is out of control, the feeling that it gives to you is out of control! Brad and Kristen work beautifully together to create a masterpiece called ‘Omni’. From start to finish, this is feel good headphone music.
L I T H I C S – Borrowed Floors: L I T H I C S is super cool punk band from Portland. I first discovered them last year online through a show they were playing in Seattle. I listened to their Bandcamp. In 2015 they released a teaser of three tracks that pleasantly showed up on their full-length "Borrowed Floors" that came out this year! The songs have a great flow and they're fun to listen to, the guitars provide ear pleasure, displaying itself throughout the entire album. Cool lyrics and start to finish listen.
DJ Morgan (Saturdays, 12-3pm)
David Bazan – Blanco
Naked Giants – RIP EP
Sloucher – Certainty
NAVVI – Omni
CRATER – Talk To Me So I Can Fall Asleep
Troy Nelson (Saturdays, 3-6pm)
Golden Gardens — Reign
NAVVI — Omni
Acapulco Lips – Acapulco Lips
Crater — Talk To Me So I Can Fall Asleep
DoNormaal – Jump or Die
Larry Rose, Host of Larry's Lounge (Tuesdays, 9pm-1am)
Tacocat — Lost Time
Navvi — Omni
Kyle Craft — Dolls of Highland
Deep Sea Diver — Secrets
Golden Gardens — Reign
Naked Giants — R.I.P. EP
Sloucher — Certainty EP
Tres Leches — Tres Leches EP