O'Toole's Top 16 Albums of 2016 ➕ 2 EPs

Even though they're not in this list, Bowie and Cohen put out remarkably relevant and poignant albums in their final year. There is something to be said for that kind of resolve in an industry where so many falter from fame. May they rest in peace along with the other great artists who passed this year. ☔️ Entire playlist here: http://sptfy.com/Wue
  1. 1.
    Michael Kiwanuka 🎶 Love & Hate
    This album oozes cool. It's like a sixties spy movie soundtrack. Social commentary is on point. Gets better with every listen. Ripe for vinyl. http://sptfy.com/Wuf
  2. 2.
    Woods 🎶 City Sun Eater in the River of Light
    Summer album of the year. This is Southern California music (from Brooklyn). Something you might play at your late night beach bonfire pool trampoline party (in your tiny apartment). Does not pair well with alkaline. http://sptfy.com/Wug
  3. 3.
    Big Thief 🎶 Masterpiece
    Not only is this my most listened to album of the year, but the second track Masterpiece is my pick for song of the year. 🏆 "Old stars filling up my throat. You gave em to me when I was born now they’re coming out. Laying there on the hospital bed your eyes were narrow, blue and red. You took a draw of breath and said to me. You saw the masterpiece, she looks a lot like me. Wrapping my left arm round your right. Ready to walk you through the night." http://sptfy.com/Wuh
  4. 4.
    St. Paul & The Broken Bones 🎶 Sea of Noise
    Some tasty funk in tracks two and three, and after that it's all soul. Deep beautiful soul. Like Al Green soul. Instant classics on the first listen. http://sptfy.com/Wui
  5. 5.
    Noname 🎶 Telefone
    I like Chance's Coloring Book, but Fatimah nudged him out for the most heartfelt, inclusive, honest, poetic, and inspiring mixtape. Even with all of the great guest choruses, her words standout and flow consistently from track to track. "Don't fear the light that dwells deep within. You are powerful beyond what you imagine. Just let your light glow." http://sptfy.com/Wun
  6. 6.
    Hiss Golden Messenger 🎶 Heart Like a Levee
    M.C. Taylor has buffed another gem, a follow-up to 2014's stunning Lateness of Dancers. Is he an american Van Morrison? Sure, why not. http://sptfy.com/Wuk
  7. 7.
    Bob Weir 🎶 Blue Mountain
    This is a man who has performed more live music, and for more people, than any other person in human history. I mean, stop and think about that. And now in his winter season, he has put forth a vade mecum of passionate wisdom. Songs inspired by his time working as a ranch hand in Wyoming over fifty years ago. "And the daylight is leaving, the work is nearly done. In the quiet of the evening, there is a song." http://sptfy.com/Wul
  8. 8.
    Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop 🎶 Love Letter for Fire
    Super sultry duets. Sounds like your sitting right between them, as they passionately spit beautiful love poems in your ear canals. I would not expect a side project to be the best thing Iron & Wine has done since Our Endless Numbered Days. Yet, this is that. http://sptfy.com/Wuj
  9. 9.
    Caveman 🎶 Otero War
    This album picks up where the eighties left off. It's fun. It's catchy. I love it. http://sptfy.com/wts
  10. 10.
    Patrick O'Toole 🎶 Friend Love
    Sure he's my brother, but I can honestly say that if I had somehow otherwise discovered this album I would be equally enthralled. The songs are dark and light, personal and universal, plentiful and sparse, serious and fun. He's a great storyteller and generous with his soul. This is the kind of music that gets passed around like a cherished family recipe. http://sptfy.com/Wup
  11. 11.
    Karl Blau 🎶 Introducing Karl Blau
    Every now and again, a renowned Portland record producer, the son of a Nashville Hall of Fame songwriter, composes a quintessential Nashville covers album. To sing lead, he chooses a pacific northwest indie rock legend. And it all works out beautifully. This is comforting, like chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven served with ice cold milk. http://sptfy.com/Wuq
  12. 12.
    Gjermund Larsen Trio 🎶 Salmeklang
    Gjermund makes the most beautiful string music ad nauseam. If I wasn't such a sucker for lyrics, this would be my number one. http://sptfy.com/Wur
  13. 13.
    Margo Price 🎶 Midwest Farmer's Daughter
    Nashville is reclaiming their roots led by Margo and Sturgill. She stays true to the songwriting and vocal delivery of the likes of Loretta Lynn while updating the sound for this decade. http://sptfy.com/Wus
  14. 14.
    A Tribe Called Quest 🎶 We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service
    It's rare that a group can help define a new subgenre and still command it twenty years later. This is a testament. It's akin to a bunch of forty year old ballers showing up at the court one day and taking all the kids to school. The passion, the energy, the honest truth, this is not your dad's hip hop. R.I.P. Phife, we'll take it from here. http://sptfy.com/Wut
  15. 15.
    The Lawsuits 🎶 Moon Son
    Long time listener. First time caller. This group is under appreciated. If greatest hits albums were still a thing, they'd have a great one. And they've only just begun. This album however, stands on it's own. Pop rock just got sued for not being as good as they make it. http://sptfy.com/Wuu
  16. 16.
    Lisa Hannigan 🎶 At Swim
    A hauntingly beautiful album. A sprinkle of Joanna Newsom, a dash of Bat for Lashes. Lisa's ethereal vocals infuse the songs with true magic. Side note, Produced by the National's Aaron Dessner who also contributed to Bob Weir's album. http://sptfy.com/Wuv
  17. 17.
    EP: Sean Rowe 🎶 All We Can Do
    Deep baritone folk songs. I can't get enough of him lately. http://sptfy.com/Wuw
  18. 18.
    EP: Phil Cook 🎶 Old Hwy D
    Instrumental roots guitar at it's best. Phil takes an old familiar sound and polishes it up like brass. http://sptfy.com/Wux