And the Grammy Goes To...
2016 was a great year for music as reflected in this year's Grammy Awards nominees. These are some of the artists that I'll be rooting for during the upcoming ceremony:
A Sailor's Guide to the Earth, Sturgill Simpson
I've never had an ear for country music; perhaps Simpson's third album could mark the point of my conversion? A Sailor's Guide to the Earth is Simpson's letter of love to his son, expressed in a lush, modern, and soulful way. To label this album as only country would be limiting. A Sailor's Guide is rife with influences from Blues and Motown, and fun and thoughtful from start to finish. Check the album out on Hoopla.
Best Dance Recording
Tearing Me Up, Bob Moses
Bob Moses successfully blended the likes of rock and deep electro-pop in their 2015 release Days Gone By, especially evidenced in album favourite "Tearing Me Up". The track brings listeners to a packed and dimly-lit nightclub as you navigate your way to the bar, or the exit if that's not your thing. "Tearing Me Up" is dark and funky, and will have you tapping your toes (in the very least).
Best Dance/Electronic Album
It's an interesting time for dance music; the cross-pollination of so many genres and sub-genres, as well as releases and collaborations from big names has seen it thrust into the mainstream spotlight. In Skin, Australia's Harley Edward Streten (aka Flume) incorporates elements of pop, hip-hop, trap, and garage into an atmospheric and progressive album. The album's bests include "Never Be Like You", and "Smoke & Retribution" featuring Vince Staples and Kučka.
Best Alternative Music Album
What the heck is "alternative" music anyway? The term originates from the 80's and was ascribed to bands at the time that broke away from pop and hair metal. Today it refers to music that doesn't fit in to a specific genre. Under this guise, 22, A Million is certainly alternative. Justin Vernon's (bka Bon Iver) third album is quite a departure from his last release Bon Iver, Bon Iver. Where Bon Iver was colourful and gentle, 22, A Million is bold and weird, yet still beautifully melodic. The album is intimate as it pulls listeners in, and is Bon Iver at his best.
Best Rock Performance
Joe, Alabama Shakes (Live from Austin City Limits)
"Joe" is a gorgeous and stunning ballad, but wasn't included in Alabama Shakes' 2015 release Sound & Color. Thank goodness for the internet. The band's performance of "Joe" at Austin City Limits is breathtaking and will give you chills. Front woman Brittany Howard brings dominance and desperation to such a powerful performance. Check out Sound & Color on Hoopla.