Songs of 2016: January – April


This is part one in a new series on Nowhere Bros looking at the songs that have caught my eye in 2016. Every three months I will pick twenty tracks released in that period which stood out to me. Starting us off is the period January through to March.
Ain’t It A Sin – Charles Bradley 

 The 67-year-old American retro-soul singer certainly impressed with this Stax-sounding single off his new album Changes. Those horns are storming. 
Am I Wrong – Anderson Paak featuring Schoolboy Q 
The other day a friend of mine called Malibu the Voodoo (D’Angelo) of the 2010s. And with banging tracks like this one, it is hard to argue against such a bold statement. 
Black Man In A White World – Michael Kiwanuka 
I have been waiting for new music from British soul singer Michael Kiwanuka for so long that it was such a joy when he returned with the first single off his upcoming album. The honest lyrics of this track and powerful accompanying video also show how there are still artists around willing to challenge existing power narratives. 
Blackstar – David Bowie 
This alt-jazz masterpiece was the sort of music Bowie was working on before he died. This emphasized not only what a musical genius he was, but also showcased how right up until the end, Bowie was willing to innovate, shock, and create art that was one step ahead of everything else in popular music. 
El Sol – Average Rap Band 
The chilled nature of the title track off Average Rap Band’s debut album is representative of the overall sound of this stunning record. Tom Scott calls it Balearic beat, not hip hop, and if this track is anything to go by, then I am the first to say I am a Balearic beat fan. 
Everything You’ve Come To Expect – The Last Shadow Puppets 
It has been a long time between records for the Last Shadow Puppets, so much that people seem to have forgotten they even existed. Well, they are still around and returned with a stunning album that bettered their debut due to songs like this one. 
Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 – Kanye West 
Kanye has made all the headlines in music this year with the release, or non-release of his latest album The Life Of Pablo. And with the hype and bizarre antics around it, you would hope the music would be good. Thankfully, booming bangers like Father Stretch My hands Part 1. delivered and made the other non-music stuff slightly more bearable. 
I Can Change – Primal Scream 
I haven’t really paid attention to anything Primal Scream has done recently and only know their early stuff. This track off their new album, however, is a nice chilled out soul track, showing at least that Bobby Gillespie can still bang a tune together. 
Lazarus – David Bowie 
This track is dope (one of the songs of the year so far) and David Bowie is dope. That is all that needs to be said really. 
No More Parties In LA – Kanye West featuring Kendrick Lamar 
Thank god Kanye left this one on the final tracklist for the album because without it the quality decreases. One of Kanye’s best tracks, with some of his best ever one-liners. I feel like Pablo some days as well Yee. 
Pool Side – Average Rap Band 
One of the most chilled tracks of the year with one of the best sax solos you will hear this year. I cannot wait to see them play this at their album launch. 
Put Me Thru – Anderson Paak
This is a sick track. The drumming is superb, the guitar playing excellent. This is what contemporary R&B should sound like and thankfully Anderson Paak is leading the way. 
Take It There – Massive Attack featuring Tricky 
Massive Attack are gonna be busy this year, with multiple releases expected. This great track harks back to Mezzanine-era Massive Attack with its dark gloomy feel and a guest appearance by Tricky. 
The Bird – Anderson Paak
      The opening track off Malibu sets the tone for the rest of this great record with its laid-back smooth feel. The added bonus of some Miles Davis-inspired trumpet seals the deal. 
The Element Of Surprise – The Last Shadow Puppets 
I am really digging the new Last Shadow Puppets album, and this track is one of the standouts. The shuffle Duran Duran-sounding rhythm of the song is a strong point in particular and ensures this one is very danceable. 
Untitled 5 – Kendrick Lamar 
Oh, Kendrick why you so good? If he couldn’t top TPAB well he pretty much equaled it with his new EP Unmastered Unreleased. Jazz/hip-hop fusion tracks such as this one would have slotted in fine on last year’s standout record.  
Untitled 6 – Kendrick Lamar 
Bossa nova beats with Outkast melodies is how I would describe this banging track. Already a candidate for song of the year in my opinion. 
Valdez Off Crenshaw – Terrace Martin 
It is so great to see jazz getting mainstream attention again with Kamasi Washington and now Terrace Martin, known mainly for his production work with the likes of Snoop and Kendrick. The opening track off his latest solo record is stunning jazz fusion and is one of those tracks that if it comes on shuffle is a must listen every time. 
Waves – Miguel (Tame Impala remix) 
If Tame Impala head down this direction on future releases I will be happy. With this remix, a silky smooth track has been turned into an even silkier track, perhaps representing a sign of what Kevin Parker intends to do on his rumored impending solo album. 
Wolves – Kanye West featuring Sia and Vic Mensa 
“Ima fix Wolves,” he said, and, thankfully he did by including the Vic Mensa and Sia versus which make the track for me. One of the standouts on Pablo and part of the strong stretch of songs during the middle of the record. 
– Sam

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