Top 20 Releases of 2016: Afterword

If you’ve read through all of my 2016 top 20, congratulations. If not and/or it would be handy for you to have them all listed in one place, here is the full rundown with links. I’ll do my best to get a selection of these discs in stock in the distribution section of the Call And Response online store over the coming weeks, just in case anyone wants them shipped overseas.

20. V/A – Provoke
19. Asuna + Fumihito Taguchi – 100 Keyboards x 100 Record Players with 100 Sea Wave Records
18. Code – Code
17. Soloist Apartment – untitled
16. Transkam – Blueshade of the Omegasound
15. tepPohseen – Some Speedy Kisses
14. Masami Akita & Eiko Ishibashi – Kouen Kyodai
13. macmanaman – New Wave Of British BASEBALL Heavy Metal
12. V/A – Drriill Session
11. Foodman – EZ Minzoku
10. Hijokaidan x Jun Togawa – Togawa Kaidan
9. Sonotanotanpenz – Conga
8. Kuruucrew – Kuruucrew
7. Sea Level – Invisible Cities
6. Limited Express (Has Gone?) – All Ages
5. Masami Takashima – Fake Night
4. Convex Level – Inverse Mapped Tiger Moth
3. Narcolepsin – Mojo
2. Kafka’s Ibiki – Nemutte
1. NOISECONCRETEx3CHI5 ‎– Sandglass/Suna-Ji-Kei

As I said in the intro, there’s a lot of good stuff I didn’t talk about in this top 20 rundown, either because of the inherent art-rock biases of my selection process, because I didn’t hear it, or that it just wasn’t in my mind at the time. I mentioned some of the same artists, along with a few others, in my Japan Times year-end indie review. I’m also not the only person coming up with these lists, and some other less tardy commentators have had their own rundowns available for months now.

If your taste leans more pop and electronic, Make Believe Melodies has a top 30 that will be rich in delights for you.

PART 1 (30-21)

PART 2 (20-11)

PART 3 (10-1)

Meanwhile, international music site Beehype produced their own Japanese music rundown, with more of an mainline J-indie tilt.


Finally, if you’re the sort of person who hates reading and prefers to have their music reviews read to them by an American man with a beard, music vlogger Zach Reinhardt made a series of punk/noise-edged year-end review posts, which cover some of the same ground as mine, with the additional inclusion of basically all my own Call And Response label’s releases of last year (which I ban myself from including in this site’s year-end lists).

TOP 10 EPs OF 2016

TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2016 (20-11)

TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2016 (10-1)


Filed under Features

3 responses to “Top 20 Releases of 2016: Afterword

  1. Hi Ian, I just discovered this blog today – blimey, there’s a lot of great stuff I need to catch up on. I was in Tokyo in the late 90s for a few years and have been back every few years since to visit. Do you know/remember the magazine JUICE? I was one of the founding writers, and used to do the monthly gig guide. Back then I used to go to Club Que in Shimokitazawa, Club Heaven at Bar Drop in Kichijoji, Snoozer in Shibuya, among many others. Supercar were easily the best Japanese indie band, though I do remember seeing TMGE a couple of times – kind of predated the Hives, I think. I’m sure I can find some good gigs, but I was wondering what, if any, half-decent DJ nights still exist in Tokyo? You know, the kind that cost 2k + 2 drinks and you can have a dance to a good mix of Japanese and western indie. I’ll be in Tokyo this October, prob around 20th to 28th give or take a few days. Any ideas welcome! Thanks and all the best – Darren

    • Hi there, and sorry for not spotting this sooner. I hung out at Bar Drop’s indie nights sometimes back in the day. It’s rebranded itself as Ichibee now, and it still has some indie DJ parties, but they don’t seem to happen as regularly. Club Snoozer really only seems to happen when there’s something in particular they want to promote. I honestly don’t really know what parties like that exist nowadays. There’s an alement of that kind of thing to Shimokitazawa Three’s Block Party events — usually free entry all-nighters with a fairly eclectic but indie-skewed mix of live music and DJs. I’m a bit out of the loop with those sorts of DJ parties now, but if I think of anything else, I’ll let you know.

  2. davvve

    Kinda dissapointed not seeing Hanzo Hasashi – “Bomei” album, unless you only count albums strictly released in Japan.

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