Enter Your Top 5 Favorites of 2016!


Music hounds! It’s that time of year once again, when we pore over the phenomenal releases or reissues of 2016 (and there were LOTS) to select le creme de la creme.

Enter your top five favorite records with some brief descriptions, and we’ll post your musings here. Let us know about your favorite tracks also for inclusion in what’s sure to be the Awesomist Playlist Of All Time. 2016 itself may not have felt like halcyon days, but the recordings have been undoubtedly wondrous.

Entrants will also be entered for a randomly selected drawing for a Pure Pop gift certificate, so get on that keyboard clackity clack! Submit to [email protected] to share your magic.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

-Your Friends at Pure Pop

Give the Gift of Music

So our annual holiday sale ends after this Sunday, January 8th.  Don’t miss the final days to get the following cds at the low price of $9.99.  After the list of cds, there is a separate list of vinyl at good discounts that will go back to their regularly scheduled price on Monday.

Band:                                                                         Album:

Anthrax For All Kings
St. Paul & The Broken Bones Sea Of Noise
J Dilla The Diary
DJ Shadow The Mountain Will fall
Run The Jewels Run The Jewels 1
Run The Jewels Run The Jewels 2
John Prine For Better, or Worse
Margo Price Midwest Farmer’s Daughter
Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool
Twenty One Pilots Blurryface
Sturgill Simpson A Sailor’s Guide To Earth
Green Day Revolution Radio
Red Hot Chili Peppers The Getaway
Panic! at the Disco Death of a Bachelor
Young The Giant Home Of The Strange
Head and the Heart Signs of Light
Mac Miller The Divine Feminine (Explicit)
Regina Spektor Remember Us To Life
Fitz and the Tantrums Fitz and the Tantrums
The Monkees Good Times!
Tegan and Sara Love You to Death
Lake Street Dive Side Pony
Weezer Weezer (White Album)
Eric Clapton I Still Do
Blood Orange Freetown Sound
The Kills Ash & Ice
Shovels & Rope Busted Jukebox: Volume 1
Lumineers Cleopatra
The Julie Ruin Hit Reset
Dawes We’re All Gonna Die
Nick Waterhouse Never Twice
Bon Iver 22, A Million
The Bangles Ladies & Gentlemen… The Bangles
Bonnie Raitt Dig In Deep
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down A Man Alive
Beach House Depression Cherry
Father John Misty I Love You Honey Bear
Goat Requiem
Dinosaur Jr. Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not
Angel Olsen My Woman
Explosions In The Sky The Wilderness
DIIV Is The Is Are
Bob Weir Blue Mountain
Willie Nelson For The Good Times: A Tribute To Ray Price
Roy Orbison The Ultimate Collection
David Bowie Legacy
Elvis Presley The Wonder Of You
Mike Watt Ring Spiel Tour ’95
Modern Baseball Holy Ghost
Cage The Elephant Tell Me I’m Pretty
Ray Lamontagne Ouroboros
Sia This Is Acting

And we have some excellent vinyl titles on sale as well

John Prine For Better, or Worse $17.46

John Prine In Spite of Ourselves $17.46

The Strokes Is This It $17.46

Michael Jackson Thriller $17.46

Wu-Tang Clan Enter The Wu-Tang $17.46

A Tribe Called Quest Midnight Marauders $17.46

Bob Weir Blue Mountain $9.99

Willie Nelson For The Good Times: A Tribute To Ray Price $17.46

Roy Orbison The Ultimate Collection $20.96

Elvis Presley The Wonder Of You $20.96

Mike Watt Ring Spiel Tour ’95 $20.96

Modern Baseball Holy Ghost $17.46

Weezer Weezer (White Album) $17.46

Panic! at the Disco Death Of A Bachelor $17.46

Sturgill Simpson A Sailor’s Guide To Earth $17.46

The Head and The Heart Signs of Light $17.46

Green Day Revolution Radio $17.46

Twenty One Pilots Blurryface $20.96

Conor Oberst Ruminations $17.46

Margo Price Midwest Farmer’s Daughter $14.96

Eric Clapton I Still Do $20.96

Shovels & Rope Busted Jukebox: Volume 1 $17.46

Lumineers Cleopatra $20.96

The Julie Ruin Hit Reset $14.96

Tacocat Lost Time $14.96

Nick Waterhouse Never Twice $17.46


Holy Fuck Congrats $17.46

Bon Iver 22, A Million $17.46

Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago $17.46

Bon Iver Bon Iver $17.46

Beach House Depression Cherry $17.46

Father John Misty I Love You, Honey Bear $17.46

Goat Requiem $17.46

Dinosaur Jr. Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not $14.96

Angel Olsen My Woman $14.96

John Carpenter Lost Themes II $14.96

Wild Nothing Life of Pause $17.46

Cymbals Eat Guitars Pretty Years $17.46

Explosions In The Sky The Wilderness $17.46

Miles Davis Kind Of Blue $20.96


Featured Release-Blood Orange

Freetown Sound
CD $12.49
LP $24.96

“In a press release, Hynes explained that the record was influenced by his mother and father moving to London from Guyana and Sierra Leone, respectively, at the same age he moved from London to New York. It’s an album about ‘being black in England, being black in America,’ as Hynes puts it, thematically focusing on the multitudes that contains…”Read more at Consequence of Sound

Recommended New Releases – Dinosaur Jr., Wye Oak, Gov’t Mule

Dinosaur Jr – Give a Glimpse of What Your Not
The album’s first half gets back to Beyond’s limber, conventionally riff-based fare, albeit with a greater pop sensibility than we’ve ever known from the band. Generally high-quality Dinosaur Jr-by-numbers, Mascis’ lightning bolt soloing counterpointing his introverted drawls, one gets the feeling they could churn this stuff out eternally. Lyrically, Mascis is his usual lovably directionless self throughout, positing “what went wrong?”, singing of “crawling around” and being “lost all day”, yet he never met a dead end that couldn’t be cracked with a guitar solo. Read the full review on The Line of Best Fit

Why Oak – Tween
The sonic rapture of “If You Should See” clouds an acceptance of romantic stability (“It doesn’t take me by the throat/but it’s an outcome I’ll never have to run from”) and throughout Tween, Wasner maintains the composure she’s shown in remarkable duets with Patrick Stickles and Samuel Herring, her spangly pop project Dungeonesse and the shoegaze-indebted Flock of Dimes. The flipside of hearing Wasner comfortably fit into so many contexts is that it starts to feel like Wye Oak is in a no-win competition with everyone’s personal Best of Jenn Wasner mixtape. Read the full review on Pitchfork

Gov’t Mule – Telstar Sessions
The album consists of 10 tracks that formed the band’s very first, and never-before-released, demos made in June 1994 at Tel-Star Studios in Florida. They have been mixed and mastered anew however the rawness and energy of those early days are still clearly heard and, if anything, enhanced.

This was the original line-up of Warren Haynes, Allen Woody & Matt Abts. It was the line-up for the first three studio albums and is still considered by many to be the definitive line-up. Allen Woody tragically passed away in 2000 at the age of 44, and his place was eventually taken for a while by former Black Crowes bassist Andy Hess. Read the full review on Maximum Volume Music

Violet Ultraviolet – Pop City Vinyl onsale Now

“Violet Ultraviolet is the recording project of Burlington-based singer-songwriter Jake Brennan, who pulled stints in local indie-jangle bands Paper Castles and Shelly Shredder. VU typically features a rotating lineup of other local folkies and indie rockers such as Wren Kitz and Rob Voland. But for his latest release, Brennan struck out solo, recording Pop City over a two-year period with Ryan Power of Stu Stu Studio.

The album’s warm, spacious sound recalls the modern minimalism of Kurt Vile and Real Estate — though Brennan’s nasally vocals reach back several decades earlier to the likes of Neil Young. Accordingly, a cozy 1970s rock vibe washes over the album, bathing the listener in a steady rhythm that evokes a brooding beach drive at twilight.” – Via Seven Days

On the title track “Pop City”:

“When I wrote this song on an acoustic guitar I thought it was a really poppy sounding song,” he says. “I just thought it had pop hooks and I was almost embarrassed when I was going to play it for the band at the time. I was like, this song … is a little bit much. And so I named it “Pop City” as a joke, like a jab at the song.”

“I was listening to these Steely Dan tapes I borrowed from Ryan [Power]. I was listening to the Carpenters, I was listening to Hall & Oates, like this weird, cheesy seventies music,” Brennan says. “Then it sort of felt like it was an odd collection of songs when we started the sessions and it kind of felt like Ryan and I were building this place for these songs to live.” – Via Vermont Public Radio

Special Gray Vinyl


Recommended New Releases – The Avalanches, Car Seat Headrest, Jeff Beck

The Avalanches – Wildflower
On the whole, the indie pop songs are more successful than the tracks featuring rappers. “Colours,” the first Jonathan Donahue feature, sounds like a lost classic of psychedelic pop from a forgotten Elephant 6 offshoot, a lysergic mix of backward beats, warbly guitar, and wide-eyed vocals awed by the overpowering beauty of the world. Read the full review on Pitchfork

Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial
The distortion-laden songs on Teens Of Denial build and soar, often repeatedly within a few minutes. This isn’t entirely new for the band; Toledo previously released 11 rock records as Car Seat Headrest’s sole, overdubbed performer (including last year’s excellent Teens Of Style). Teens Of Denial’s full lineup only adds to those albums’ intensity. From the first notes of album opener “Fill In The Blank,” in which a chiming, distorted electric guitar is joined by a clockwork kick drum—only to periodically stop on a dime—it’s clear that Teens Of Denial is going to be an exciting burst of fits and starts that add up to an electrifying whole. Read the full review on AV club

Jeff Beck – Loud Hailer
Here is an album which is enjoyable, fun and also delivering a personal statement of observations about the time we are living in. Jeff Beck innovates and continues to add different essences to guitar playing. He once said his aim was to make people forget he was a guitar player and, while you may understand what he means, there is little chance of that. But he is a guitar player who keeps delivering, bringing new sounds to the instrument, finding new doors to break through and never for an instant hitting inertia. Read the full review on Something Else

Recommended New Releases – Avett Brothers, DJ Shadow, Neil Young

Avett Brothers-True Sadness
Avett Brothers’ music has proven to follow a predictable formula: riveting Americana ballads, lyrics that weave intricate stories, and old-timey harmonies and instrumentation that lend themselves to a time that has long passed and been reborn from the ashes. On True Sadness, the familial duo of Seth and Scott Avett hold steadfast to that identity they’ve deliberately constructed, yet augment their sound with new twists and turns. These shifts are more than welcome. Although the album’s cadence glides from genre to genre, the continuity remains within poetic lyrics and tales that can be returned to for years to come. Read the full review on Consequence of Sound

Neil Young – Earth
The first thing to clear up is that Earth is no Pet Sounds, and it doesn’t sound like The Beatles’ “Good Morning” complete with roosters and barnyard animals thrown in for sonic effect. It’s not a pastiche or remix of Young’s music with animals playing leads and singing backups as some have feared. And, finally, don’t fear, this is not a Deep Forest type of new age record with pleasing hanging keyboard washes decorated with the sounds of birds and waterfalls. Rather, Earth is a ferocious call out, a love song to the earth and its inhabitants. Other than on a few tracks like “Seed Justice” in which the nature sounds make perfect thematic sense and are heavily featured, the animal sounds are subtly integrated, with the effect that hearing Neil sing against this backdrop doesn’t sound that much different than listening to him outdoors at Red Rocks, The Gorge or at the end of a pier in Duncan, British Columbia. read the full review on Paste

DJ Shadow – Mountain will fall
“Hi.” This simple utterance kicks off “The Mountain Will Fall,” the leadoff track from DJ Shadow’s new album of the same name, right before a swell of operatic sound (reminiscent of the theme accompanying the THX logo prior to a movie screening) rises from the silence. This coupling, of the slight and unobtrusive with the bombastic, is a fitting reintroduction for an artist who has made a career of fusing unlikely and disparate components into a unique musical whole. The Mountain Will Fall is the first proper album in half a decade from the artist, and it showcases a confident new direction, largely moving beyond the sample-driven work that first earned him fame. Read the full review on AV Club

Recommended New Releases – Radiohead, Swans, Mitski

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
In some ways, A Moon Shaped Pool plays like a Thom Yorke solo album for that reason, akin to a Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes successor, with personalized invitations mailed to both Greenwoods: “Jonny, I was hoping you could pen some of those monstrous There Will Be Blood strings here. And, Colin, perhaps some lines too subdued for the spotlight that are still rather thick? What do you say? xxx.” But there’s communal pain in Yorke’s words, in everyone’s playing. When he uses an acoustic guitar on “Desert Island Disk” for pastoral finger-plucking, it could easily stop there as rework of live solo material, but whirring electronic waves and light drumming turn it into Radiohead’s version of full-blown English countryside folk, their own “Hazey Jane I”. Perhaps they realized Yorke’s pain could speak for the band as a whole. Read the Full Review on Consequence of Sound

Swans – Glowing Man
The aforementioned sense that every note and word on this record is building toward something truly colossal is fulfilled in the record’s title track. “The Glowing Man” is nothing short of a storm, every musician in lockstep as if creating one giant note that bears all the force of a Category 5 hurricane. While there are some moments of calm, nearly all of the song’s 29 minutes are explosive. Read the full review on Treble Magazine
Mitski – Puberty 2

From overdriven punk to the gentlest of ballads, Puberty 2 is a multifaceted venture through what it means to be strong. Out of luck? Lost in love? Unsure and insecure? The songs on this album are all of those things, and in admitting it, showcase an unparalleled grace that can only come from accepting all of who you are. With “Happy” Mitski spins a lyrical tale of being fulfilled and then forsaken by a significant desire. Whether it’s about a relationship or a sense of contentment is up to the listener, but portrayed through the narrative of cleaning up to feel good again the notion is universal. Read the full review on Line of Best Fit

Recommended New Releases: Band of Horses, Allen Toussaint, Fitz + The Tantrums

Allen Toussaint – American Tunes
American Tunes, released posthumously following his death last November, isn’t designed to capture or simulate a live concert experience. But it does present a side of Toussaint he seemed to emphasize at those shows — an almost retrospective, autumnal focus on the ideas which made him and his music. This is a program of largely all-time-classic songs from jazz and pop history, emphasizing his hometown and personal hero Professor Longhair. Read the full review on NPR

Band of Horses – Why Are You OK
Opening track Dull Times/The Moon actually opens with a faint synthesiser, an unexpected tack for the band, and proceeds through 5 minutes of tense blues, before exploding into a joyous climax in its final minutes. It feels well-paced and thoughtful, nostalgic without being saccharine. Lead single Casual Party is a fast-paced, rollicking track, and details the awkward smalltalk of a party – “talking television at a casual party”. The sardonic subject matter is welcome, given the band’s propensity for navel-gazing. Read the full Review on Renowned for sound

Fitz and the Tantrums – Self Titled
Led by founder and frontman Michael Fitzpatrick, Fitz and the Tantrums burst onto the national scene in 2011 with their breakout hit, “MoneyGrabber,” from their debut album, Pickin’ Up the Pieces. Featuring a throwback, soulful sound build around keyboards, sax and the exuberant vocals of Fitzpatrick and co-lead vocalist Noelle Scaggs, the band became unlikely fixtures on radio, continuing to pump out hits with their 2013 sophomore album, More Than Just a Dream, which featured the tracks “Out of My League” and “The Walker.” Read the full review on LA Weekly