So here we are. Fifty of our favourite tracks this year.
Note that - fifty of our favourites, not the fifty best or anything. This is not definitive or exhaustive, rather instructive, indicative and illustrative. Anyway, dig in.
Arab Strap - The First Big Weekend of 2016
Back for some reunion gigs and a remix by Miaoux Miaoux of their first big single kicks us off.
Sleaford Mods - TCR
The voice of modern Britain. Still.
De La Soul - Drawn ft. Little Dragon
Pick of the collaborations which hallmark the LP ...And The Anonymous Nobody.
Aesop Rock - Rings
Lyrically and rhythmically intelligent.
Andrew Weatherall - Confidence Man
Remix guru Weatherall released an album of his own tracks right at the start of the year. It's bloody genius.
Big Lee Dowell - What I Done Wrong (Cobbymix)
Cobby's been on fire this year, as this remix of a lost soul classic bears witness to.
Charles Bradley - Ain't It A Sin
The real thing in a sea of would-bes and imitators.
Smoove & Turrell - Fight On
Mix of classic soul-inspired tunes and social commentary.
Imarhan - Imarhan
From the album Imarhan, but the comparisons to Living In A Box end there. Delicious Touareg vibes with modern influences.
John Metcalfe - Wrapped ft Rosie Doonan
Former Crybabycry singer teams up with Oxford polymath.
The Avalanches - Frankie Sinatra
We had to wait 16 years for the follow-up to Since I Left You. Worth it? You bet.
Bauer - Made The Change
Superior synth-based indie-pop.
The Rifles - Wall Around Your Heart
Ticking all the indie-rock boxes.
Shame - The Lick
Hugely ambitious debut single, which is to be admired.
Fat White Family - Tinfoil Deathstar
Picking up their now-familiar brand of scuzzed up, dirty rock.
Klammer - Everything Depends On The King
Edgy, unorthodox, accessible.
Future Of The Left - If AT&T Drank Tea, What Would BP Do?
One of the greatest bands of the age.
This Becomes Us - Painter Man Is Coming ft. Black Francis
FotL bassist Julia Ruzicka sees embryonic ideas come to life.
Rendez-Vous - Workout
Hints of Sisters Of Mercy about this French post-punk. In a good way.
Cavern Of Anti-Matter - melody in high feedback tones
It could be Neu!, Can or early Kraftwerk. Praise indeed.
The Lucid Dream - Epitaph
The crowning glory from the LP Compulsion Songs from the Carlisle krautrockers, one of our top albums of the year
LA Salami - I Wear This Because Life Is War
If this guy isn't the next big thing... well we stake what's left of any reputation on it.
Psychic Ills - I Don't Mind ft. Hope Sandoval
An already chilled record is chilled further by the addition of Mazzy Star singer Sandoval's vocals.
Teenage Fanclub - I'm In Love
We're firmly in the Teenage Fanclub... err.. fanclub. Great to have them back.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Don't Get Lost
Ticks all the BJM boxes. Retro and yet utterly modish.
A Tribe Called Quest - We The People
Massively important state-of-things album. They've never been better.
Swet Shop Boys - T5
Trans-Atlantic, trans-cultural partnership on the travails of travelling while in possession of brown skin.
The Allergies - Blast Off ft. Andy Cooper
Late to this, but bloody hell. Very much in The Avalanches' bracket, as if that's ever a bad thing.
Oligarkh - Hallelujah
Russian electronica because why the hell not?
The Limiñanas - Garden Of Love ft. Peter Hook
Perpignan avant-gardians team up with Hooky for this slice of curiosity.
CTMF - A Song For Kylie Minogue
I hope this is true and Beck is a nob while Kylie is lovely.
The Wedding Present - Bear
Off the new album, their umpty-thrumpteenth, Going Going. Ticks all the Weddoes boxes.
The History Of Colour TV - Wreck
Berlin-based trio with some retro-sounding indie-pop.
Spawn - Redemption
Dutch ska. You can never have enough Dutch ska.
Repetitor - Suženi Snovi
TVAM - Total Immersion
Close your eyes, and this could be Can.
Vessels - Had A Love ft. Anna Of The North
In a year of great collaborations, this is among the very best.
Nathan Fake - Degreelessness ft. Prurient
Fake's first release since signing for Ninja Tune. And if it's on Ninja Tune, you know it's good.
808 State - In Yer Face (Bicep Remix)
A good year for remixes too and the Belfast boys from Bicep do over an acid house classic.
Solar Bears - Separate From The Arc (Andrew Weatherall remix 1)
Sadly, Solar Bears called it a day this year, but not before letting Weatherall - celebrating a rare second entry on the 50 - breathe all over this track. Twice.
Muslimgauze - Untitled 1985
Yeah, it wasn't made this year, but Bryn Jones's legacy keeps turning up brilliance. 17 years since his death and there's still loads more to come.
Howard Marks - And Death Shall Have No Dominion
Another theme this year is music and poetry combining. Two Welsh heavyweights here; Dylan Thomas and Marks, another victim of the curse of 2016.
Right Hand Left Hand - Seat 18c
Just a two-piece but a wall of sound built with loops and sequencers. Terrific.
Fold - Something Gives
The band's response to the global socio-political turmoil.
Teleman - Fall In Time
Standards have not slipped on the difficult second album.
Laurence Made Me Cry - Song For The Birds
Absolutely gorgeous. Inspired by bird watching, which should please the gaffer round here.
Simeon Smith - If I Can't Dance, I Don't Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution
Very much in the Boards Of Canada envelope, which is praise indeed.
Spaceheads - Laughing Water
Andy Diagram takes the lead on this intriguing acid-brass project.
Red Eye - Moroccan Fruit
Trevor Perfect's modern take on Strange Fruit.
David Bowie - Lazarus
Last word to the bloke whose death triggered this utter shitshow of a year. Blackstar was a stunning album anyway, then the bugger went and died and it took on several new dimensions.
Keep it IBWM in 2017 as we attempt to unearth more gems you might not find elsewhere.