So much shit has happened this year that even the most scientific of human beings have started blaming the actual year itself. Yet this arbitrary period of time can claim very little responsibility for old folks dying, or the rise of idiocy and fascism, that's just the human condition folks. We can be manipulated and we will die. Happy Holidays.

You could be forgiven for missing a lot of the music that came out this year, we've been busy indulging in the fresh horror of each new day after all, but the perfectly good coping mechanism that is music never stopped getting thrown into the ether. God bless those musicians. Here's a cool thing that might also help, all that music they released, it's still there to discover when you need it. There's still time to find it, fall in love, and support those artists to make even more of the things you like. In dark times it's important to fund people and organisations that bring light. Anyway, it's time for the disclaimer.

This is a list of albums that came out this year. Albums that I think deserve more love than they got from the writers and content farms that informed us, as fans of music, in 2016. I purposely didn't try to pick out the most obscure bands in the world - I just picked albums that I really love listening to that didn't get the attention I felt they deserved. No agenda, just a filter that is based on artistic merit and my own humble opinion.

Katie Gately - Color

You need to understand what happens when you hit play. When you choose to listen to Color, you are inviting a new world to descend upon you. The first couple of minutes of 'Lift' are everything, everything I search for when I hunt through endless internet's of new music, I am always searching for this exact way this makes me feel. It's so very close to being perfect (Insert 5,000 words of breathless rhetoric). Show me a club that plays songs from this and I'll show you a montage of memories so full of exuberance and joy that the party scene from the Matrix sequel will look like five guys getting stoned in a studio flat. There are normal levels of expectation, then there are the moments that are created here, and where they lead you. Amongst the promise, and cleansing nature, of newness. Color is Katie Gately's first album on Tri Angle and it's a fucking treat.

Skeletons - Am I Home?

Am I Home? isn't just a super smart guitar album made by a band that has left permutations across this century, it's an entirely immersive experience. It grips your brain and transports it to a better place, which given the year we've had, is wholly fucking welcome. It's cerebral and transcendent, complex but entirely accessible, in a "if we are honestly constantly searching for the new and the good how can this go unnoticed?" kind of way. An utterly mind blowing suite of songs that deserves your attention.

Czarface - A Fistful Of Peril

A Fistful Of Peril is the third album by Wu Tang's Inspectah Deck and the hip-hop duo 7L & Esoteric. It feels like a throwback because honestly it's nostalgic to hear a boom bap record filled with dexterous wordplay and moments of real life lol. It's the sound of three master craftsmen having fun at work whilst trying break your neck which unfortunately didn't make the content farm circle jerk.

Fog - For Good

TL:DR - Andrew Broder is a talented guy. His music deserves waaay more attention than it gets. It's been nine years since the last Fog album and honestly, For Good feels so much better for Broder's separation of the rock guitar itch, which he scratches as The Cloak Ox with a bunch of Anticon alumni. Without the weight of trying to achieve everything at once this album really flies, reaching a level of intimacy that most musicians can't even comprehend, it's sparsity invites you to lean closer and it's such a rewarding listen when you do.

Frøkedal - Hold On Dreamer

Albums like this are why I sit and write this list every year. Frøkedal have 6 thousand listeners on Spotify at present, Daughter have 2 million, the two bands are not an entirely apt comparison but there is no reason why that audience wouldn't love the emotive pop of Hold On Dreamer. Anne Lise Frøkedal used to front Harry's Gym, this is her debut album and oh my lord above, it deserves more love than it received this year.

EOLA - Dang

The charm of Dang, an album of looped and distorted voices that all emerge from Edwin White, is the playfulness of its delivery. At times transcendent, wholly gratifying in others, in places it sounds like the isolated vocal track of your favourite indie band from ten years ago. For the most part you don't even notice that you're missing some instruments, all the instruments, it's full enough and interesting enough without them. You don't miss anything when you are lost in these songs.

MJ Guider - Precious Systems

In my utopia, everyone would have good headphones and they'd be encouraged to experience and rediscover familiar environments whilst listening to music like Precious Systems. Don't worry, they'll never vote me in. Melissa Guion's debut album for Kranky slipped under most radars but it really shouldn't have, it's sweeping and intense; insular and airless. Ultimately it's a rewarding listen that deserves a lot more love.

Bracken - High Passes

Chris Adams has been making music longer than I've been buying it. Yet on High Passes he has managed to create something so refreshingly vital, something so very alive, that it shadows everything he has done thus far. High praise from a Hood fanboy. There is nobody else on this planet that can make electronic music sound so full of humanity, warmth, and creativity. It's bursting with contradicting urges and allows you time to breath and take them all in. I hate talking "albums of the year" because it feels so fucking arbitrary, which is why I make this list instead, but High Passes is one of the best albums I've heard in a long time. Honestly, the guy is a phenomenon and should probably be studied by future generations.

Bayonne - Primatives

On first listen, this album felt like a solid 6/10, largely filled with entirely competent electronica, but I was very wrong. The truth is that Primatives will burrow into your deepest thoughts and you'll be refused access to parts of your brain as the songs loop and loop forever. Roger Sellers allows complexity to go unnoticed which is an incredible talent, nostalgic flourishes are subtly hidden, everything is built around the drums until you've listened a few times and the big reveal happens. That's when the album opens you up into another world, you notice things you hadn't before and it all feels so fucking great.

Katie Dey - Flood Network

Flood Network sounds like the album that so many people have been trying to make for the last few years. It should be lauded as something to aspire to for single minded artists the world over. Hyper-aware, hyper-everything, bursting with ideas, everything at once, every memory, every dream for the future. All wrapped into songs which somehow leave you with a resounding melancholy, bereft, like you're burnt out from expending all of your endorphins. Basically, simply, etc. It's my favourite pop record from this year.

Florist - The Birds Outside Sang

This album doesn't reinvent the wheel because it doesn't have to. There is enough beauty, enough empathy, enough colourful isolating paths to redemption that can be travelled with the wheel exactly how it is. So much time and energy is spent hunting out the new that it's easy to forget just how affecting simplicity can be, the reason it was the thing to begin with, before we became dissatisfied. The Birds Outside Sang is a raw nerve being jabbed until it no longer hurts. I'm so thankful that I heard it and it no longer hurts.

Hieroglyphic Being - The Disco's Of Imhotep

The Disco's Of Imhotep is all encompassing, long story short, it fucking thumps you in the face as it picks your brains. Around the edges of it's constant palette cleansing percussion it drifts through mesmerising spirals, equal parts trip and dance, fluid in spirit as well as delivery so enjoyable as either. Jamal Moss is a name in Chicago, he is a unique creative entity, his music is an anomaly in 2016 and that is to be cherished.

Ian William Craig - Centres

Even during the course of writing this list I've bandied around words like transcendent and immersive, and whilst I think their use is justified, there is nothing that can come close to fully encapsulating them like Centres. You could close your eyes whilst listening to this and wake up in another country. There are other ambient artists, making music that is moving and beautiful, but I've never heard anything quite like this. Centres almost intuitively guides you towards its heart, changes in tone and texture occur alongside the natural movement of your thoughts, it becomes existential. It becomes essential to your experience of the world around you. This is why music exists, why so many of us dedicate our life to sound, why we dedicate our lives to finding new sounds. Within it's songs is the magic of our resonating particles vibrating as one.

Here's an expanded Spotify playlist of songs that went under the radar in 2016 if you're into that kind of thing: