Best Rock And Alternative Albums Of 2016

By Cindy Pasillas

2016 has been a great year for the music industry. With many artists such as Beyoncé, Zayn, Adele, and Bruno Mars releasing albums this year, not very much light was shined upon the rock and alternative music scene, but I mean it’s expected not very many people seem to listen to either genre. Which is a shame because many great artists that have dedicated their entire careers to either alternative or rock music and put out spectacular albums that deserved much more recognition by the general public. Despite that, many of the following albums did incredibly well on the music charts for their genres, some even being nominated for the 2016 Grammys Awards. Narrowing the list down to 10 albums was pretty tough but here they are the best rock and alternative albums of 2016 in no particular order.

Panic! At The Disco, ‘Death Of A Bachelor’ 

Released: January 15, 2016

Label: DCD2/Fueled By Ramen

Written and produced both by lead vocalist Brendon Urie before marrying his wife Sarah Urie hence the name Death Of A Bachelor. Brendon stated in an interview that his wife was inspiration for lyrics on the bands album. With the lead singles Hallelujah, Victorious, Emperors New Clothes and a mix of rock with pop and even hip hop influences Panic! At The Disco was able to debut #1 on the US Billboard 200 with their fifth album Death Of A Bachelor. It did so well that it’s currently nominated for Best Rock Album for the 2016 Grammy Award Show. I’m definitely rooting for them even if I did play their album way too many times to the point where I sick of listening to it.

Angel Olsen, ‘My Woman’ 

Released: September 2, 2016

Label: Jagjaguwar

Angel Olsen a very hands on singer song writer helped produce her third studio album alongside Justin Raisen and even co directed the music videos for her lead singles Inter, Shut Up Kiss Me, and Sister. Her music has quite a cathartic feel due to her soft, pained and kinda depressing tone. Some genres and even artists that influenced My Woman are Fleetwood Mac, Crazy Horse, grunge music, folk rock, and glam rock. In the U.K. My Woman was named album of the year by HMV and it even made the list of Billboard’s 50 Best Albums of 2016 coming in at # 28. Angel honestly has a really unique calming voice and I’d suggest her if you like artists such as Lana Del Rey.

The 1975, ‘I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’ 

Released: February 26, 2016

Label: Dirty Hit Records/Interscope Records

With that obnoxiously long album title The 1975 was able to create a musical masterpiece but before they cause an uproar on social media. In 2015 the band deleted their Twitters the next day the accounts were back and frontman Matty Healy tweeted a comic strip that said the band had gone on a hiatus which led to rumors that the band had probably broken up leaving fans devastated. Those were only allegations because later that day Matty posted on Instagram about their album that was to come, that album being I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it. Fans were ecstatic about the album and were even surprised when their lead single titled Love Me came out due to the fact that their sound had changed quite drastically. The album has bits of indie rock, pop, jazz, soul, and dance rock making it versatile perfection. Their songs cover topics such as love, loss, and growth with beautifully deep lyrics that fans clearly seemed to love due to the success of the album.  It was named NME’s #1 Album of 2016 and debuted #1 on Billboard 200, Canadian Albums (Billboard), Australian Albums (ARIA), and in a few other countries. This album was a musical masterpiece that deserves all the success and hype it received.

LANY, ‘kinda’

Released: June 24, 2016

Label: Polydor Records

There really isn’t much to say about the next band except for the fact that they’re amazing. You’ve probably never heard of them because they’re not super huge they have a small but dedicated following and their music is a beautiful mixture of alternative rock, electropop, indie pop, and even a bit of R&B influences. Kinda wasn’t technically an album it was an EP but it’ll be included none the less because it’s just that good and they have yet to release an album! They started on SoundCloud and soon gained the interest of people on the internet die to their artsy aesthetic and unique sound. Their following grew even more when they toured alongside artists such as Halsey, Troye Sivan, and X Ambassadors they even went to the popular music festival known as Lollapalooza. The band is currently on tour and hopefully they’re working on an album because they are musical geniuses and we want more out of them.

Issues, ‘Headspace’

Released: May 20,2016

Label: Rise Records

Issues is definitely one of those bands that aren’t afraid of taking risks with their music. With all members of the band having distinct music tastes it seems they try to incorporate as much of what they like as possible making for one heck of an album. Produced with the help ex member Tyler “Scout” Acord Headspace has a little bit of Metalcore which is the bands original genre, a little bit of R&B, and a bit of a pop punk feel making their sound very distinct from other bands within their music scene. Headspace charted #1 on the US Billboard Alternative Albums. Their sound takes a bit of getting use to but it’s definitely creative so props to them.

My Chemical Romance, ‘The Black Parade / Living With Ghosts (The 10th Anniversary Edition)

Released: September 23, 2016

Label: Reprise

Although the original The Black Parade album came out in 2006 and this is just a reissues version I wouldn’t allow myself to not include this in the list. Especially considering My Chemical Romance is a rock band I hold near and dear to my heart and I know many others love them as well. On March 22, 2013 the band posted a statement to their website that they’d broken up which left many fans devastate (including myself) so when the band posted a clip on their social medias earlier this year with the iconic piano intro from their song Welcome To The Black Parade with the date 9/23/16 at the end fans were ecstatic (again including myself). Many believed this meant they were going to have a reunion tour or maybe get back together for good but that wasn’t the case sadly. It was just to announce the 10th anniversary reissued version of The Black Parade which includes all the original songs and around ten unreleased demos. Even if we’re all a little (very) disappointed that My Chemical Romance have no intentions on getting back together anytime soon at least we have their music to listened to and even some demos we didn’t even know existed.

Moose Blood, ‘Blush’

Released: August 5, 2016

Label: Hopeless Records/No Sleep

This is actually a band I don’t know much about I discovered them about a week ago and pretty much fell in love with their sound, lyrics and aesthetic. The first thing that attracted me to them was their pretty album cover and then I actually gave them a chance and they reminded me of one of my favorite bands called Mayday Parade. They had the same depressing and moody sound and lyrics which I actually really adore about them but I mean it isn’t for everyone. It makes sense that they’re music is a lot more sentimental since they’re considered a British emo band so if you’re into that give them a listen. They have a small following that seems to be growing steadily and they’re lyrics are so beautiful almost poetic. Definitely give them a listen if you want to be sad or even if you just enjoy sad slow music like myself.

Banks, ‘The Altar’ 

Released: September 30, 2016

Label: Harvest

This was one of the albums I waited for with much anticipation and the wait was certainly worth it because this album is beautiful and eloquently produced and written. A beautiful blend of alternative, R&B, and even some dark pop influences make this more than just another alternative record. I’ve been in love with Banks ever since her debut album Godess I wasn’t sure if she’d be able to top that but she did it. She’s a very under the radar musician but gained some notoriety after touring with R&B singer The Weeknd twice. The Altar debuted at #17 in the Billboard 200 which isn’t too shabby for a woman in the alternative music scene if I do say so myself.

Catfish and the Bottlemen, ‘The Ride’

Released: May 27, 2016

Label: Capitol Records

Catfish and the Bottlemen are another one of those really underground bands that no ones really heard about. My first encounter with them was while scrolling through Tumblr and finding a snippet of their song Kathleen from their debut album The Balcony and I was instantly drawn in. Their sound is very much alternative rock and indie rock and it’s just so pleasant to listen to with all the drum and guitar action happening while lead singer Van McCann sings in a very rambley manner that works so well with their sound. It meshes really well in a way you wouldn’t think would work but it really works! Their lead single Soundcheck was really cute almost pop like which only made fans more excited to see what the album would sound like as a whole. The Ride charted #1 in U.K. Albums (OCC) and landed #28 in the Billboard 200. The Ride is probably my favorite album of 2016 it’s just so good and I like it more and more with every listen.

Pierce The Veil, ‘Misadventures’ 

Released: May 13, 2016

Label: Fearless Records

Fans of Pierce the Veil waited four years for this album. The record prior to this one was called Collide With The Sky which released in 2012 and it was fantastic but we were all desperate for them to return and give us something new. The band decided to randomly drop The Divine Zero which was their leading single on June 18th which made fans go crazy and want an album ASAP. Once it finally dropped many were scared that their sound would have changed drastically seeing as most heavier bands tend to evolutionize their sound as the years go by and they release new records but nope Pierce The Veil remained true to self. Misadventures is still very post hardcore and emo which is exactly what we wanted. Frontman Vic Fuentes said the album was titled Misadventures because it represented their lives over the past few years. This album actually did incredibly well landing at #1 in U.K. Rock & Metal Albums (OCC), US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard), US Top Hard Rock Albums (Billboard), US Independent Albums (Billboard), US Top Rock Albums (Billboard). It also charted #4 on the US Billboard 200, #5 on the US Digital Albums (Billboard), and finally #3 for US Vinyl Albums (Billboard). The wait was long but definitely worth it and it’s nice to see that they did so well.

I guess it’s safe to say 2016 was filled with great innovative music and I discovered many new artists that I’m completely in love with now. It’s really excited to see what these artists are going to put out next or to think of all the other artists and bands I’ll discover in 2017. Did you discover anyone new artists, bands, or albums that you’re totally obsessed with this year? If so share because sharing is caring especially when it comes to music!


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