The Music Editor's 2016 Honor Roll

Austin's A Giant Dog are ready to help you break some rules.
Photo by Sean Daigle/Courtesy of Merge Records


It’s hard to describe the feeling when one of your all-time favorite bands makes not just a great album 11 throws into the game, but one that reminds the world that not all white Southerners are irredeemable racists. That is the Truckers’ American Band, which confronts their homeland’s considerable cultural decay and political divisions with ringing guitars and rare insight born of sympathy, not suspicion.

In 2008, Tom Petty re-formed his pre-Heartbreakers band Mudcrutch, made an album, and had so much fun they never quite dissolved. The group’s second LP, 2, reintroduces them as the Heartbreakers’ Gram Parsons/Burrito Brothers-loving doppelgangers, with just a dose of Hypnotic Eye’s psych-pop fun.

For purely personal reasons, I’m really into survivors right now. Leathery yet supple, Post Pop Depression suggests that the 69-year-old human id really is too tough to die. We lost so many near-deities this year, and it’s at least a little reassuring that Iggy gets to stick around a while longer.

No one has said it explicitly, but if Blue & Lonesome does close the book on the Stones’ studio discography, what a way to go. Reinterpreting the songs of blues inspirations like Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf and Eddie Taylor with wisdom and heart, the Stones spin pure gold.

There’s something very inspiring about Chuck Berry. Not even that he turned 90 in October with a new album due next year, but that his wonderful anthology The Great Twenty-Eight (which I bought this year, at last) still has the power to spur all sorts of teenage mischief, in thought if not in deed. Hail, hail rock and roll!

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