2016 was a horrible reason for a lot of reasons, but not music. I wish I had more time to play music for you. And yet, New Year's Eve couldn't get here fast enough. Here's my top seven. Apologies to five. I used to be so good with numbers.

Four-way tie for 4/5:

4/5. We Got It From Here ... Thank You 4 Your Service by A Tribe Called Quest (Epic) - Goddamn it, Phife. Why did you have to die. I wanted this to be a rebirth, not a swan song. Great stuff from the whole crew. Guest verses from Busta. It's like old times. A Tribe Called Quest - We The People

4/5. Atrocity Exhibition by Danny Brown (Warp) - If the Tribe album was comfortable like an old pair of sneakers, Danny Brown is the $500 loafers that you don't know if you'll ever break in. Guest verses by Kendrick Lamar & Earl Sweatshirt. This album is the fucking future. We are not ready. Danny Brown - Really Doe ft. Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Earl Sweatshirt

4/5. Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (Bad Seed Ltd.) - You thought that Push The Sky Away was dark & depressing. Then his son died. This album is a distillation of grief and reflection. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Jesus Alone

4/5. Preoccupations by Preoccupations (Secretly Canadian) Thank god Viet Cong decided they should do away with their old name. There's something else (probably synthesizers) that makes this feel like a whole new band. Post-punk as a starting point. Urgency as they move on. Slow burns. Preoccupations - Anxiety

Two-way tie for 2/3:

2/3. Science Nouvelles by Duchess Says (Slovenly) - French Canadian synth-pop with punk aesthetics. Duchess Says - Negative Thoughts

2/3. Marked For Death by Emma Ruth Rundle (Sargent House) - I really liked Angel Olson's album this year. Then I heard Marked For Death and that's all I listened to for a couple of months. Songs as sparse and emotionally bare as the high tundra where she wrote & recorded this album. If I say it's raw, you'll probably clown me. I don't care. It's raw. Emma Ruth Rundle - Real Big Sky

One-way tie for 1:

1. Heads Up by Warpaint (Rough Trade) - I love this band. Slinky vocals with great harmonies. Catchy melodies. Chunky basslines. I love this band. I played them a lot. Warpaint - New Song