2016 has been a year of highs and lows and while we lost some greats (Bowie, Cohen, Prince), musically 2016 has been exceptional. Below is part one of a two-part series for what Fred Perry Subculture has crowned 2016's best musical moments. In no specific order.
Estrons - Drop (Single)
A top pick from our Sound Of Cardiff blog, and one of our favourites from the SubcultureLive stage at this year's Dot To Dot Festival, their second single 'Drop' was released in May. Watch our exclusive live video below.
David Bowie - ★ Blackstar (Album)
We mourned the loss of an icon this year. At the time of death, a heartfelt tribute from one of Bowie's long-time collaborators Tony Visconti perfectly stated:
"He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life - a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift."
Blossoms - Blossoms (Album)
Long-time Subculture favourites Blossoms, who first appeared on our Manchester Sound blog back in January 2015, released their self-titled debut album this year to critical acclaim and topped the UK Albums Chart.
Primal Scream - Chaosmosis (Album)
Renowned for colliding the worlds of rock, blues and acid house in the 90s, Primal Scream have never rested on their laurels, they've continued to evolve, adapt and stay current. Chaosmosis was their 11th studio album released over a 30-year career that doesn't look like it'll slow down anytime soon.
Vant - Karma Seeker (EP)
Politically charged garage rockers, who we eyed up on our New Noise 2016 blog at the start of the year have gone from strength to strength. Receiving lots of radio play and gaining a big following whilst touring and getting huge crowds at their festival slots. This 11 minute, 4 track EP packs a punch and is a perfect mission statement.
Pixies - Head Carrier (Album)
Pixies returned with their (post-reunion) sophomore release following 2014's 'Indie Cindy'. With Head Carrier, the American alt-rockers have produced a fully accomplished album that perfectly blends their beautifully awkward signature sound of surf, punk, pop & psychedelia.
Richard Ashcroft - These People (Album)
These People was the prodigious songwriter's first new album in six years and was made with Chris Potter and Wil Malone, both of whom worked with him on the classic Verve Albums 'A Northern Soul' and 'Urban Hymns'.
The Sherlocks - Last Night (Single)
Indie rockers The Sherlocks started the year out supporting The Libertines on their arena tour and then released this anthemic hit in March. Check out our exclusive videos, photos and interview from them at this year's Dot To Dot Festival here.
Honeyblood - Babes Never Die (Album)
The Glaswegian punk duo smashed the 'difficult second album' out the park with this one. Talking of the album's title frontwoman Stina said in a press release: "I guess you could call it a war cry; to have the faith to never let yourself be defeated." Read our interview & playlist with her here.
PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project (Album)
Recording and producing PJ Harvey's follow-up to the 2011 Mercury Prize winning album 'Let England Shake' was done as a performance piece titled 'Recording in Progress'. The exhibition saw Harvey and her team in a recording studio behind one-way glass at Somerset House, so public audiences could observe them.
Crosa Rosa - Candy Eyes (EP)
Nottingham psych-grunge trio opened the SubcultureLive stage at Dot To Dot Festival this year and blew us away - watch 'Like A Lady' below, which features on their incredible 6-track EP Candy Eyes. Check out more exclusive videos, photos and interview here.
Fat White Family - Breaking Into Aldi (Single)
A song about "a post-apocalyptic vision of a barely united United Kingdom bereft of quality German supermarkets". Showing that they are one of the most important bands in Britain right now - with something to say and saying it in style. Check out our exclusive videos of their performance at Dot To Dot Festival in 2015 here.
Nimmo - My Only Friend (Single)
Dark electro pop banger from the London based 5-piece outfit who spent the winter touring with the likes of Clean Bandit, MØ and doing their own headline tour. See our interview & playlist with singer Reva here.
Pumerosa - Cecile (Single)
A splendid mix of psychedelia, pop and new wave from the London quintet. The incredible placement of a saxophone solo tips this track ahead of 'Honey' which was also released this year.
Andersoon .Paak - Malibu (Album)
A firm favourite who appeared across numerous playlists we ran this year, Anderson .Paak's modern soul album managed to be innovative and push the genre's boundaries whilst keeping itself grounded in classic RnB and Soul.
Check out Part Two of The Sound of Subculture: 2016's Best Music Moments here.