20 Best Albums Of 2016 So Far

The finest releases of January, February and March as picked by MOJO’s experts.

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IT’S BEEN A brisk, creative start to 2016, right across the music spectrum. And that’s reflected in the span covered by our favourite albums of the year thus far.

Chosen by the MOJO team from all the new records released in January, February and March, our top 20 mixes reflective, life-spanning works from David Bowie and Iggy Pop with more renaissance-man hip-hop from Kendrick Lamar and a flying debut album from Heron Oblivion. There are welcome returns to form by The Cult and Nada Surf, plus sophisticated pop adventures from the likes of Nicholas Krgovich, Field Music, and much more besides.

Do note that the list is in alphabetical order, not ranked by fantastic-ness (that we reserve for our final, end of year countdown). But please do contact us on Facebook or via Twitter (@MOJOmagazine) about anything we’ve missed out that you feel would enrich the listening lives of fellow MOJO readers.

David Bowie★

David Bowie

ISO/COLUMBIA
“A smoking group of New York jazz musicians, under the direction of Bowie and co-producer Tony Visconti drive ★ to almighty levels of intensity.” Keith Cameron

Cavern Of Anti-Matter  Void Beats/Invocation Trex

Cavern Of Anti-Matter
Void Beats/Invocation Trex

DUOPHONIC
“Shimmering avant-garde electronica from Stereolab founder Tim Gane’s dynamic Berlin trio.” Andy Cowan

The Coral Distance Inbetween

The Coral
Distance Inbetween

IGNITION
“It sounds like they went through a kind of hell to bring it to us, but there’s little here that doesn’t argue the effort was worth it.” Stevie Chick

The Cult Hidden City

The Cult
Hidden City

COOKING VINYL
“Recent world events demand some kind of visceral response, and sonically, musically and emotionally, Hidden City’s primal, from-the-heart worldview represents just that.” Pat Gilbert

Field Music  Commontime

Field Music
Commontime

MEMPHIS INDUSTRIES
“When ‘maturing’ sounds as satisfying as this, it can be welcomed without reservation.” Kieron Tyler

Eleanor Friedberger  New View

Eleanor Friedberger
New View

FRENCHKISS
“Moments of precious, unforced joy.” Stevie Chick

Heron Oblivion Heron Oblivion

Heron Oblivion
Heron Oblivion

SUB POP
“These San Franciscans are that rarest of beasts: a supergroup that delivers more than the sum of its parts.” Stevie Chick

Iggy Pop  Post Pop Depression

Iggy Pop
Post Pop Depression

IGHO
“Clearly informed by Berlin-era Iggy, but never resembling a lame remake." Andrew Perry

Kano Made In The Manor

Kano
Made In The Manor

PLG UK FRONTLINE
“The consummate grime all-rounder.” Andy Cowan

Kendrick Lamar Untitled Unmastered

Kendrick Lamar
Untitled Unmastered

POLYDOR
“The rapper’s prolific talent and his illustrious gallery of jazz and funk musicians make Untitled Unmastered feel anything but incomplete.” Ian Crichton

Nicholas Krgovich The Hills

Nicholas Krgovich
The Hills

TIN ANGEL
“The final release in his Hollywood trilogy… a zoom-lens close up on the gauzy widescreen R&B and melancholy ’80s soul of 2014's On Sunset.” Andrew Male

Ray LaMontagne Ouroboros

Ray LaMontagne
Ouroboros

COLUMBIA
“With these songs, LaMontagne draws his own dreamy circles in the sand.” Victoria Segal

Bob Mould Patch The Sky

Bob Mould
Patch The Sky

MERGE
“Remarkably, the alt-rock pioneer still sounds inspired.” Keith Cameron

Nada Surf You Know Who You Are

Nada Surf
You Know Who You Are

CITY SLANG
“This reconfigured band are clearly once again enjoying the fruits of the unfathomable confluence of life and art.” Keith Cameron

Emma Pollock In Search Of Harperfield

Emma Pollock
In Search Of Harperfield

CHEMIKAL UNDERGROUND
“She’s telling stories about family and childhood and getting older, stories to make sense of it all, as stories are supposed to do.” Victoria Segal

School Of Seven Bells SVIIB

School Of Seven Bells
SVIIB

FULL TIME HOBBY
“When Benjamin Curtis died in 2013 aged 35, completion of School Of Seven Bells’ fourth and final album fell to the duo’s other half, Alejandra Deheza. She describes it as 'a love letter from start to finish'.” James McNair

SuedeNight Thoughts

Suede
Night Thoughts

RHINO
“Still something else, still something wonderful.” Victoria Segal

Rokia Traore Né So

Rokia Traore
Né So

NONESUCH
“A thing of delicacy.” David Sheppard

Underworld Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future

Underworld
Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future

CAROLINE INTERNATIONAL / HYDE SMITH PRODUCTIONS
“Their most generous work in years.” Ian Crichton

White Denim Stiff

White Denim
Stiff

RED UK
“You wonder if there's anything White Denim can't do.” Stevie Chick

Now consider the 10 Best Reissues of 2016’s first three months.