Oh, 2016. What a year, huh? From the political side of things, what a horrible dog-shit-smelling past few months it’s been. On the musical side of things though, is there really much to complain about?
Yes, of course, we have had to endure heartbreak with the passing of legends like Lemmy, David Bowie, Prince, Glenn Frey and Architects’ Tom Searle (along with others). But as far as musical releases go, man oh man what a fantastic year.
To put it briefly, 2016 has seen albums from bands like: Blink-182, Green Day, Metallica, Pierce The Veil, A Day To Remember, Avenged Sevenfold, Of Mice & Men, Anthrax, Descendents, Jimmy Eat World, NOFX, Thrice, Saosin, Every Time I Die, Norma Jean, Touché Amore, Sum 41, Beartooth, Against Me!, Fit For A King, The Devil Wears Prada, Asking Alexandria, Modern Baseball, Dance Gavin Dance, Amon Amarth, Issues, Meshuggah, Real Friends, Attila, Stick To Your Guns, Periphery, Violent Soho, The Word Alive, Emarosa, Bayside, Ghost, Moose Blood, The Amity Affliction, Crown The Empire, Vanna, letlive., The Color Morale, Memphis May Fire, I See Stars, Whitechapel, Architects, PUP, Tiny Moving Parts, Chelsea Grin, and Killswitch Engage – to name a few.
The thing is, you probably already knew that, didn’t you? That’s why you’re here. You’re here because even though the music Gods granted you with all those fantastic records, you still aren’t satisfied – or you’re just an internet troll and wanted to leave some snarky-ass comment regarding our list. Either way, today we’re here to shine a light on 10 of our favorite “sleeper” albums of 2016 you maybe haven’t heard yet.
Instead of taking the time to acknowledge the records everybody will be discussing next month in their “Best Of” write-ups, we instead wanted to showcase a few LPs we think you need to lend an ear to ASAP. So, without much more to say, let’s go ahead and get this list started:
Frameworks - Smother
Sonically charged and dripping with emotion, Frameworks’ Smother is a genre-bending, cranium-melting release that unfortunately slipped through the cracks of some hardcore fans’ 2016 collection. Thanks to today’s list, however, we’re here to highlight the band’s Deathwish Inc. debut and open people’s eyes to certain sure-fire rippers like the ball of energy that is “Tangled” and the straight punch-to-the-gut also know as “Peculiar People.” While Frameworks might not be the band on everybody’s lips just yet, with releases like Smother under their belt, there’s no denying they’ll be there soon.
Notable Tracks: “Fear Of Missing Out” “Peculiar People” “Tangled”
Knocked Loose - Laugh Tracks
After making huge waves with their 2014 debut EP Pop Culture, Kentucky hardcore outfit Knocked Loose absolutely kicked down the door, lit it on fire and held a celebratory show on top of it with their latest release Laugh Tracks. From start to finish, the band’s new full-length is a collection of soul-crunching riffs and devastating breakdowns. Pretty much, if you’re able to get all the way through Laugh Tracks without smashing a window or punching an inanimate object, consider yourself clinically insane.
Notable Tracks: “Oblivions Peak” “Deadringer” “Counting Worms”
You Blew It! - Abendrot
As we pointed out earlier, 2016 hasn’t been the most pleasant year as far as politics go. Nonetheless, doing their best to calm the storm and keep listeners’ emotions under control, You Blew It!’s passionate LP Abendrot (which was released just two day’s after Trump was elected) is a chilled-out 36-minute escape from reality perfect for a rainy day and a cup of your grandmother’s best tea. With tracks like “Autotheology” and its lyrics “When God dies I’ll skip the funeral,” there’s a chance your brain might not function the same after getting through this entire album – but in a good way, of course.
Notable Tracks: “Autotheology” “Canary” “Arrowhead”
Balance And Composure - Light We Made
Potentially one of the bigger albums on this list, Balance And Composure’s Light We Made isn’t as much of a sleeper record as we might be alluding to. Instead, the Philly outfit made our list simply for the fact they fell victim to an overly crowded release day. Going up against the likes of Green Day, NOFX, The Devil Wears Prada, Meshuggah, Dance Gavin Dance, Joyce Manor and more all on the exact same day (yes, we realize Balance And Composure doesn’t fall into the same genre as all of those bands), it’s pretty easy for a few people to overlook this record. But with the band’s new heightened sense of sound and increased attraction to all things chill, we think it’s imperative you spend at least a couple days with it.
Notable Tracks: “Midnight Zone” “Postcard” “For A Walk”
The Fall Of Troy - OK
Yes, for those keeping track at home, The Fall Of Troy’s new comeback record OK did indeed make our list of The 26 Best Albums Of 2016 So Far. However, since a few months have passed, the praises towards the band’s riff-heavy release have seemingly softened. Now by no means are we saying listeners are suddenly turning the record off out of boredom, it just appears that more and more albums have come out since then, taking people’s interest elsewhere. Because of that, we’re here to remind you of the powerful performance guitarist/vocalist Thomas Erak lays down on this jam-packed LP – oh, and the fact that the album is completely free. Yeah, better go score yourself a copy now.
Notable Tracks: “Savior” “Inside/Out” “Love Sick”
Joyce Manor - Cody
Coming in at a surprising 24-minutes long (which in Joyce Manor time is practically Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers), Cody is much more than just the band’s longest LP – it’s also their most mature. Yes, we realize we just busted out the “M” word, but it’s true. While 2014′s Never Hungover Again screams freshman year singing about heart tattoos and summertime, Cody’s mood feels much more grown up – dare we say, adult. Obviously getting older sucks, but it should feel a lot less painful knowing bands like Joyce Manor are growing up just as quickly right beside you.
Notable Tracks: “Fake I.D.” “Last You Heard Of Me” “Stairs”
Microwave - Much Love
When you suddenly become the apple of everybody’s eye and the poster child (in this case, children) of everyone’s “Ones To Watch” list, sometimes the pressure to perform can become pretty insurmountable. For Atlanta’s vibe-heavy outfit Microwave, this wasn’t the case with their SideOneDummy debut Much Love. After blowing the socks off every music critic around who heard their 2014 LP Stovall, Microwave’s latest is a big middle finger to anybody doubting the band’s sudden success.
Notable Tracks: “Vomit” “Whimper” “Busy”
Hail The Sun - Culture Scars
Taking a stab at exposing different, sometimes taboo subject matters like the adult film industry, authority abuse, and more, Hail The Sun’s Culture Scars is an eye-opening examination into some of our nation’s imperfections. Lyrically, vocalist/drummer Donovan Melero has never been better. Musically, well, Hail The Sun continue to prove why they are constantly compared to some of our scenes biggest like Circa Survive and Dance Gavin Dance.
Notable Tracks: “Paranoia” “Entertainment Lies” “The People That Protect Us”
Capsize - A Reintroduction: The Essence of All That Surrounds Me
When it comes to the Warped Tour community, very rarely does it happen that a band changes their sound for the better. Usually (and unfortunately) musical shake-ups come as a selfish, radio-friendly cash grab or a desperate last-ditch effort. But in the case of the young and talented So-Cal outfit Capsize, their less-hardcore-more-Underoath-sounding approach is nothing short of refreshing. Combining the pissed off elements of 2014′s The Angst In My Veins and adding a higher focus on melody and clean vocals, The Essence Of All That Surrounds Me is one helluva way to make a reintroduction – one that fans will be talking about for years on end.
Notable Tracks: “XX (Sew My Eyes)” “Tear Me Apart” “Favorite Secret”
Taking Back Sunday - Tidal Wave
Okay, okay, we know – honestly, we do. “How in the hell does a band like Taking Back Sunday make a list of 2016 sleeper records?” Well, let’s put it this way: Besides “Tidal Wave,” how many tracks can you name off the scene staples’ latest record (also named Tidal Wave)? Yeah, we thought so. Now of course, there were a few of you out there viciously yelling at your screen “What about ‘Death Wolf,’ you idiots?! Or ‘You Can’t Look Back’?!” Okay, cool. You can name the singles. Way to go. Honestly, all we’re trying to point out is that in a year where we’ve seen releases from bands like Blink-182, Avenged Sevenfold and A Day To Remember, it’s pretty easy to overlook Taking Back Sunday putting out one of the more interesting records of their career.
Notable Tracks: “Fences” “Holy Water” “We Don’t Go In There”