John Book’s Best Music Videos Of 2016

Best Music Videos 2016 photo BestVideos2016_pics2bSML_zps9ufemw0h.jpg
As promised or better late than never, here’s my list of what I feel are the best music videos of 2016. As with my albums list, I have not seen every single music video that came out this year, that would be impossible or at least I would not have time to do anything else. This list is a mixture of things I like/enjoy, along with a number of videos that surprised me in some fashion. As in previous years. what attracts me to these videos is the direction, the cinematography, the editing, and how it feels with the music. While humor isn’t a full factor, I do like it when an artist isn’t afraid to share their sense of humor, especially when it’s unexpected. Are videos becoming more exciting, or are albums becoming less powerful? Maybe on the former and I really hope not on the latter, I still want albums to be very strong but the means of promoting a song becomes stronger, even though we no longer consider MTV as a factor to get noticed. Here’s my list, a selection of 20 different music videos, a selection that is much more than Best Albums I came up with this year.

Brain Tentacles’ “Fruitcake”
Ciphurphace’s “Elbow Space”
Clipping. “Air ‘Em Out”
The Coathangers’ “Perfume”
The Evaporators’ “I Can Be Shaved”
Ill Poetic featuring Reggie B’s “Silhouette”
Kosha Dillz featuring MURS’ “We Are Different”
Jake Kost’s “Northwet”
The Lemons’ Ice Cream Shop
Lovely Bad Things’ “Teenage Grownups”
MoSS featuring Eternia’s “Day & Night”
Mother Feather’s “Mirror”
Open Mike Eagle & Paul White’s “Smiling (Quirky Race Doc)”
Phèdre’s “Zastroszy”
Risley’s “Time Was Slow”
Selector Dub Narcotic’s “Hotter Than Hott
Summer Cannibals’ “Say My Name”
Tanya Morgan’s “Stoops”
White Night’s “AI”
Rachael Yamagata’s “Over”

VIDEO: OptiMystic featuring Onyx & JR’s “Madd Rush”

OptiMystic has a new cut called “Madd Rush” and this one brings him together with Onyx (as in the group) and JR (as in the man). The song is from his new album, “Day Of The Guiding Light/Followed By The Shadow. As for the video, it was shot in OptiMystic’s home country of Australia so yes, hip-hop continues to be more worldwide than Pitbull.

AUDIO: Intelligenz’s “Welcome To The Grind”

There are a lot of people who are hoping to find the next hot female MC and when I say “hot”, I do mean lyrics and flow. Sadly, the mainstream only focuses on one despite the fact there are hundreds (if not thousands) of other women who do well on the mic. Case in point: Intelligenz. She wants to welcome you into her realm with a song called “Welcome To The Grind”. If you’re in the UK, get ready for she will be opening for Slick Rick on his forthcoming tour. Everyone else: Intelligenz awaits in the forthcoming new year.

John Book’s Best Albums Of 2016

If you’re looking at the covers for hints or anything, there is one major hint: there is no hip-hop that I considered something worthy of being “my best”. That’s sad, considering all of the music that came out in 2016, especially Moka Only, who came out with an album a month throughout the year.

Another thing that is of interest, perhaps only to me: there’s a lot less albums in my “top” list. In the past, I’ve had everything from 40 to 50 albums a year, I’m sure I had a year where I had a lot more. Then it went down to 20 and now it’s down to ten. Trust me, there is no lack of music out there but a part of me almost wants to say there’s way too much. Then again, some of my favorite artists didn’t release music in 2016. Then again, Neil Young released an album this year and one of my all time favorite bands, Melvins, came out with two albums this year and neither are on this last so have I entered an alternate universe of sorts?

To be honest, I don’t know. I will say this: the following ten albums are those that stood out incredibly for me, getting repeat listens long after I played them for review, did a review, and casually put them on the side. These albums didn’t get a casual push to the side. They are albums that I feel are worth my time, worth the time of the artists, producers, and engineers and it is something I feel you should check out, for they could be worthy of your time. Check a few out or be faithful and buy them all. I did reviews of each one, so click the links and see what I originally thought of each release:

Berlin Soundpainting Orchestra’s “Holothuria” (Aut)
Bloody Knives’ “I Will Cut Your Heart Out For This” (Saint Marie)
Great Lakes’ “Wild Vision” (Loose Trucks)
halfsour’s “Tuesday Night Live” (Jigsaw)
The High Violets’ “Heroes And Halos” (Saint Marie)
Eloisa Manera Ensemble’s “Invisible Cities” (Aut)
Scary Little Friends’ “Silent Revolution” (Randm)
Silent People-s/t (Aut)
Steel Cranes’ “Tango” (Mister White Tights)
VA – Typical Girls (Emotional Rescue)

Does this mean this will be the end of my Best Of lists? No, not yet. Are these choices not enough for you? I’m so used to having an overwhelming amount of albums on my lists that it’s not enough even for me. I want a deeper and arguably better 2016.

With a “Best Of” list involving ten albums, what is my favorite pick of the year? I honestly don’t have one. All of the albums were good but none of them were mindblowing to the point I would be telling anyone and everyone what was incredible. I did not get a chance to listen to every albums released nor did I listen to everything I wanted to so it’s hard to say what went wrong, if anything went wrong. It just seems so… brief? Then again, as always, when the new year comes around, I’ll end up making discoveries I didn’t the year before and come up with things like “well damn, now THAT was a good album.”

This is also something I’ve been waiting for since I began making my Best Of lists years ago but there are no major label releases on here. It’s an all-indie list, it’s major free and this wasn’t intentional, I don’t fear anyone but as I began putting the list together, I realized there was nothing on any Universal, Sony, or Warner Bros. labels. By next year, there may be only two majors for all I know.

This is my list and it does represent my musical interests. I’m honestly saddened there aren’t any hip-hop on this and I don’t want that to be the future, nor is that an indication of the state of hip-hop in 2016, far from it. Nonetheless, my Best Of 2016 list is a Top 10, I present it to you.

AUDIO: Ran Christian’s “Conceited”

What does it mean to be coiceited? Is it okay to call yourself this or is their bitterness, if not guilt involved? Singer Ran Christian wants to let you know what he thinks in his new track. A producer who is part of the Beatz family, Jay Anthony Beatz, put this together for Christian and the song will be on his forthcoming project due out in 2017.

REVIEW: Matt Bennett’s “Terminal Cases”

Matt Bennett photo MattBennett_cover_zpskoywrwho.jpg Upon first hearing this album earlier in the year, I wasn’t quite sure what I was listening to because Matt Bennett seemed comfortable in going anywhere and everywhere. Yet I’m someone who comes off as unpredictable within making statements that establishes slight predictability, so I wanted to be sure what exactly it meant to be within those Terminal Cases (Fanatic). He begins in a way where things may sound gentle like a folk song, trying to create a storyline and seeing where it takes him. Then the guitars turn off and I wondered if I should be thinking Weezer or am I claiming Weezer because I see Bennett on the cover with glasses and am I prejudging what I’m hearing based on what I see first? Yet with songs like “Birdrage”, “What Dreams May Come” and the opening track “Fisher King”, Bennett comes off like someone from Schoolhouse Rock willing to break out of his comfort zone and show off who he is and not what people think he is or should be. Imagine Marshall Crenshaw or John Mellencamp bringing in a small hint of punk within his pop and not being afraid to go psycho in his execution. It’s a style of pop and rock that isn’t meant to be predicitable and expected but once you get comfortable within his zone, you’ll want to find out more of his stories.

REVIEW: Eloisa Manera Ensemble’s “Invisible Cities”

Eloisa Manera Ensemble photo EloisaManera_cover_zpsl2xhmgto.jpg For some odd reason, parts of hearing Invisible Cities (Aut) reminds mE of parts of the 1970’s film Midnight Express where some elements sound foreign yet very close by. Some of it sounds very classical and jazzy, then it gets locked into a nice funk that forces me to go “well damn, I want to stay in this place” before it drifts off into a place I’ve never been to before. If I am to judge the music based on the credits alone, it does go everywhere: double bass, electric bass, cumbus bouzuki, recorders, ewi: one is still unsure of where the music goes but you want to stay in and see where it takes you. It has that incidental feel where it is just music with the right visuals missing or perhaps this is what it is meant to be, a soundtrack to a mental eyeful.

Even after reading the liner notes which explain the theme of the songs (i.e. a series of cities, each with female names), you’ll want to hear it once more and see if you can sense what Manera tried to do with this concept, or simply listen to it based on the song titles alone. Either way, Invisible Cities is a journey to places that you’d like to see but can only imagine if you wish to do so.