AllMusic 2016 Year In Review

Favorite Indie Pop and Indie Rock Albums -

 Indie pop and indie rock made strong showings this year, highlighted by albums from Teenage Fanclub, Parquet Courts and Bon Iver.
Citizen of Glass

Agnes Obel

Citizen of Glass

The beguiling Berlin-based Dane's third album is her most ambitious to date.

Jumping the Shark

Alex Cameron

Jumping the Shark

Tinny synth pop and portraits of failure combine with striking, moving results on the Seekae member's fascinating solo debut.

Fading Lines

Amber Arcades

Fading Lines

Debut album by a talented Dutch Stereolab fan who started saving money to make it when she was just a kid.

My Woman

Angel Olsen

My Woman

The indie crooner premieres synths and a five-piece backing band on parts of LP four, which follows the emotional stages of an ill-fated relationship.

22, A Million

Bon Iver

22, A Million

The third Bon Iver album is a fractured, electronically altered future folk album that's beautiful and strange at once.

Teens of Denial

Car Seat Headrest

Teens of Denial

The 70-minute song cycle about one confused teenager is a bold, witty, affecting step forward for songwriter/frontman Will Toledo.

Treasure House

Cat's Eyes

Treasure House

The duo's vivid second album borrows from a wide range of influences, including their own evocative score for The Duke of Burgundy.

Around the House

Chook Race

Around the House

Strong second album of scrappy, but still melodic, jangle pop from the Australian trio.

Utopia Defeated

D.D Dumbo

Utopia Defeated

The Australian art-pop auteur introduces a unique vision on his vibrant and ambitious debut.

Turn to Gold

Diarrhea Planet

Turn to Gold

An exhilarating slacker rock masterpiece rife with skewed humor, hair metal bombast, and heartfelt passion.

It Calls on Me

Doug Tuttle

It Calls on Me

Less psychedelic trickery and more of a folk-rock jangle on Tuttle's second album, but the songs are just as good, maybe even better.

In Search of Harperfield

Emma Pollock

In Search of Harperfield

A lustrous and heartbreaking home movie of a record that makes aging, death, and melancholy feel positively vital.

Exploded View

Exploded View

Exploded View

Featuring Anika's enigmatic vocals, the band's largely improvised debut is a thrilling mix of dub, Krautrock, post-punk, and avant-garde electronics.

If You See Me, Say Yes

Flock of Dimes

If You See Me, Say Yes

Dreamy and intricate, Jenn Wasner delivers a warmly introspective and lovingly crafted debut.

Next Thing

Frankie Cosmos

Next Thing

As enchanting and candid as her debut, the prolific lo-fi songwriter's second studio LP finds her transitioning into her twenties.

The Peace & Truce of Future of the Left

Future of the Left

The Peace & Truce of Future of the Left

Despite its title, the band's fifth album is one of their most uncompromising.

I Had a Dream That You Were Mine

Hamilton Leithauser / Rostam

I Had a Dream That You Were Mine

Members from two celebrated indie rock bands use their nostalgic flair to create an album steeped in dreams and memories.

Patterns of Light

His Name Is Alive

Patterns of Light

Combining vintage metal and 21st century particle physics, these epic songs capture the visceral thrill of discovery.

Driving Excitement and the Pleasure of Ownership

JC Flowers

Driving Excitement and the Pleasure of Ownership

Excellent debut from the London sextet sounding like a lo-fi Free Design brought up on noisy, C-86-style indie pop.

Blood Bitch

Jenny Hval

Blood Bitch

Combining vampire and menstrual imagery with avant synth-pop, Hval's fourth album is equally scary, sexy, raw, and sophisticated.

Integrity Blues

Jimmy Eat World

Integrity Blues

The Arizona emo-rock stalwarts modernize their sound with shimmering production, indie rock flair, and refreshing experimental flourishes.

Out All Night

KATIEE

Out All Night

The former Young People singer's solo debut is a stunning blend of old and new, and sophistication and emotion.

Nonagon Infinity

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

Nonagon Infinity

The ever-evolving psychedelic tricksters deliver their fiercest album yet, influenced by early heavy metal and made to be played continuously.

Kyle Forester

Kyle Forester

Kyle Forester

A warmly crafted guitar pop gem with beguiling hooks and an unshowy appeal.

Puberty 2

Mitski

Puberty 2

On her gutsy and affecting fourth LP and Dead Oceans debut, the indie rocker addresses a crisis of belonging.

Precious Systems

MJ Guider

Precious Systems

Melissa Guion's Kranky debut is an impressive, wide-ranging collection of spacious yet propulsive dream pop tunes.

Phase Zero

Morgan Delt

Phase Zero

Sun-filled second album, and first for Sub Pop, from the bedroom psych wizard.

Deluxe

Omni

Deluxe

Brainy, hooky, and energetic blend of Postcard pop, angular post-punk, and scrappy D.I.Y. punk by ex-members of Deerhunter and Carnivores.

Human Performance

Parquet Courts

Human Performance

The band's third album is its cleanest, most focused yet, without skimping on art rock hooks and off-kilter melodies.

Green Star

Pears

Green Star

Wild and frenetic sophomore release from the New Orleans hardcore punk quartet that adds heft to their breakneck aggression.

Grandfeathered

Pinkshinyultrablast

Grandfeathered

On their second album, the Russian shoegazers further expand the sound established on their impressive 2015 debut.

Collective Sigh

Pinkwash

Collective Sigh

A massive dose of articulate rage from this Philadelphia-based prog-punk duo; loud, hard, and brutally intelligent.

Preoccupations

Preoccupations

Preoccupations

The Canadian indie rockers adopt a new name and a more accessible sound that's still full of rough, oddly moving beauty.

Plaza

Quilt

Plaza

Equally sharp-edged and wistful, the group's psych-pop sounds more confident than ever.

Wordless Wonder

Real Numbers

Wordless Wonder

Jangling indie pop done in the classic C-86 style by energetic young Minnesota-based band.

Adore Life

Savages

Adore Life

The band brings nuance to its fiery sound with striking, affecting results.

SVIIB

School of Seven Bells

SVIIB

The electronic dream pop duo's fourth and final album is a wrenching conclusion and vital tribute at once.

Jet Plane and Oxbow

Shearwater

Jet Plane and Oxbow

The band's politically charged, '80s-inspired ninth studio album invokes names like Tears for Fears, Talk Talk, and Peter Gabriel.

Jessica Rabbit

Sleigh Bells

Jessica Rabbit

The duo borrow some Top 40 gloss, delivering some of their most pointedly catchy music in the process.

Nostalgia for Infinity

Sound of Ceres

Nostalgia for Infinity

Ex-Candy Claws members collaborate with Drums and Apples in Stereo members on their peacefully majestic dream pop debut.

Here

Teenage Fanclub

Here

The Scottish guitar pop outfit return with an album of warm, poetic beauty and folk-inflected lyricism.

A Man Alive

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down

A Man Alive

With Merrill Garbus producing, the band's fourth LP leaves behind any remnants of quirky indie folk for passion- and flare-invigorated indie rock.

Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confessional

The Dear Hunter

Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confessional

The stunning, penultimate installment in Casey Crescenzo's genre-blurring orchestral indie-prog saga.

Home on Native Land

The Hidden Cameras

Home on Native Land

Simultaneously homey and fabulous, Home on Native Land introduces country, folk, and pedal steel-driven Canadiana into the band's lexicon.

A  Weird Exits

Thee Oh Sees

A Weird Exits

Another raging album, their 16th, laced as usual with lacerating solos, but now with two drummers and a spot of Krautrock jamming.

Graphic

Troller

Graphic

The Austin-based darkwave trio take their sound in a heavier direction, resulting in their best and most ambitious work yet.

Origin of What

Tyvek

Origin of What

Detroit garage punks Tyvek return to In the Red Records with their most socially conscious album yet, Origin of What.

Paradise

White Lung

Paradise

The Vancouver outfit finds a perfect balance of pop hooks and defiant, feminist punk rage on its fourth album.

Home of the Strange

Young the Giant

Home of the Strange

Polished production and exciting new directions mark the California indie rock band's third effort as their most exciting and fun album to date.

Instant Evening

Zoos of Berlin

Instant Evening

Detroit's art-pop enigmas deliver another stunner with their beautifully honed third album.