50 UK releases from 2016 to be proud of (Pt.2)

By Ben Tipple

It’s a difficult time to be British. Our prime minister has packed his bags as other leading politicians have dubiously called it time on their career. At the time of writing the strength of our currency continues to decline. Austerity measures relentlessly attack access to free healthcare, vital benefits and much, much more. If that wasn’t enough, a spate of xenophobia and racism has recently been unleashed, attacking the basic human rights of many. All in all, it’s a pretty gloomy time to be a UK citizen.

So here’s something positive. Despite facing equally uncertain times, the British music scene continues to churn out some of the most exciting, innovative and downright brilliant material. As we cross the half-way point of the year, the list of quality British releases is staggering, and that’s before some of the perceived heavy hitters drop over the coming months. If you’re looking for something to celebrate about being British, this is it. Our Editor Ben delves into the year, over five parts presenting fifty of the best home-grown EPs and LPs from the last six and a bit months. It’s in alphabetical order too. We’ve had enough competition for a lifetime.

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five

Coloured In – ‘Depress and Let Go’

Emerging from the bulging Kent scene, Coloured In deliver a hearty blend of grunge meets emo, influenced by their stateside counterparts. The record discuses themes of heartbreak, near death experiences and cathartic healing, dominated by an ominous downbeat overtone.

Creeper – ‘The Stranger’

Early in 2016, Creeper completed their journey from gritty punks to all out gothic superstars. ‘The Stranger’ jumps between catchy melodies and stadium sized hooks, continuing to their eventual debut full-length up as something to be revered. There are more than their fair share of huge singalong moments on this EP, a record which more than warrants the hype it has welcomed.

Donnie Willow – ‘Inhale. Exhale.’

From its expansively haunting opening to intricate technicality and ferocious screams, Donnie Willow keep the listener guessing the whole way through their debut mini-album, ‘Inhale. Exhale.’. Demonstrating the ability to deliver a multitude of styles, and to deliver them well, the Scottish trio have a bright future ahead.

Ducking Punches – ‘Fizzy Brain’

Signing to Xtra Mile Recordings to release ‘Fizzy Brain’, Ducking Punches have upped the ante of folk inspired UK rock, merging more cohesive sounds with their distinctive storytelling. The record sways from the uplifting and the celebratory to the introspective and mournful, modernising a classic style well and avoiding imitation.

Fatherson – ‘Open Book’

With its soaring British alternative rock vibe, Fatherson’s ‘Open Book’ is both euphoric and solemn, with the likes of the huge sounding ‘Always’ and album opener ‘Just Past The Point Of Breaking’ sitting against the stripped back ‘Joanna’. This is easily one of the best clean-cut alternative releases of the year so far.

Flowers – ‘Everybody’s Dying To Meet You’

Blending choral vocals with fuzzed out guitars, London based trio Flowers command a multitude of styles on ‘Everybody’s Dying To Meet You’. Flowers project a 90s vibe, sitting between the wall of noise offered by My Bloody Valentine and the saccharine style of Cocteau Twins and the hooks of Lush.

Grumble Bee – ‘Disconnect’

Either a three piece or a solo act, depending on where and when you witness Grumble Bee, ‘Disconnect’ provides a soulful exploration of British alternative-rock. Massive choruses are complimented by sporadic complex guitar work, often accompanied by a genuinely heartfelt live performance.

Gun Shy – ‘First Transmission’

Having parted ways with Milk Teeth at the turn of the year, John Bannister joined with likeminded musicians to form Gun Shy, an altogether more experimental nod to stateside counterparts. Too heavy for shoegaze, too complex for indie and too atmospheric for grunge, it marks a unique sound all their own.

Happy Accidents – ‘You Might Be Right’

The juxtaposition between the album’s title and opening track ‘But You’re Probably Wrong’ sums up the theme running throughout Happy Accidents’ ‘You Might Be Right’. It’s a consistent battle between the upbeat and everyday frustrations. Finding another album that tackles themes of despondency with a sound this fun is going to be tough.

HECK – ‘Instructions’

‘Instructions’, the debut full-length by HECK, captures their manic live performance in sound, carelessly bounding around in a style that could make Dillinger Escape Plan jealous. With the majority short, sharp and destructive, the final sixteen-minute opus cements their unrivalled progressive noise.

Check back for 3 more parts.