10. A Tribe Called Quest - We Got it From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service
A sad year to lose Phife Dawg, but an incredible year to watch your idols from eons ago prove that they can still kick it.
9. PUP - The Dream is Over
Fuck yeah, Canadian punk is alive and kicking. Through trials and tribulations, PUP has survived against all odds and their sophomore album shows their struggle and growth.
8. White Denim - Stiff
Once again, the epic White Denim returns with another guitar tour-de-force. The incredible, frantic guitar work is only topped by the catchiness of these tracks.
7. Tax the Heat - Fed to the Lions
Fall slave to the riff and worship these new UK players as they march onto the scene. Watch for them to blow up in 2017.
6. Fantastic Negrito - The Last Days of Oakland
This album came out of nowhere for me but quickly became one of my most played of the year. It's depth, soul, and experimentation make it a full end-to-end listen at least a few times.
5. Chance the Rapper - Coloring Book
Third try was a charm for Chance - he showed growth leading up to this album but Coloring Book has become his opus, gaining both critical and popular success. He is redefining hip hop with heavy influences of gospel, soul, and R&B, but in a way that feels authentic.
4. Monster Truck - Sittin' Heavy
I don't know how the hell these guys keep producing album after album of wall-to-wall, riff-heavy hits, but Sittin' Heavy shows that they have no plans of slowing down. Once again, I'd have trouble identifying a weak track on this album and, while it definitely has that stereotypical Monster Truck sound, they continue to produce tunes that are fresh and engaging.
3. Public Animal - Palace Arms
What? Blurton and crew produced another album and Shane lost his shit? No one could possibly have seen that coming. The only reason this album didn't take spots 1 through 10 is that this is a band that is best experienced live - the albums are but a reminder of what you're missing.
2. The Temperance Movement - White Bear
This sat for nearly the entire year as my album of the year. It is without question one of the most solid, complete, and interesting rock albums I've heard in the past decade. TM proved that they well overcame the 'sophomore slump' by completely outdoing themselves and making an album that shows serious range across the whole of the sonic spectrum.
1. Childish Gambino - Awaken, My Love
However, my rock album of the year would not be my album of the year. In fact, I don't even know how to categorize this album. I'll level - I wasn't previously a fan of Gambino; liked a few tracks, but generally his style never really meshed with mine. Then Awaken dropped... and I lost my shit. I've listened to this album nearly every day since it was released and I keep finding things buried beneath this strange fusion of soul, R&B, hip hop, jazz, funk, and god knows what else he stuffed in here. This album didn't simply defy genres, it re-wrote them.