Best Albums of 2016
picked by 9 Greek music critics

Sarabante <BR>“Poisonous Legacy”

“Poisonous Legacy”

Their 2nd full-length “Poisonous Legacy” finds the Athenian band Sarabante on the prestigious label Southern Lord, still playing crust punk. The weight of their sound shifts more into hardcore and half of the lyrics are now written in Greek.

It’s an aggressive decision, designed for songs born into the darkest frustration of the current Greek crisis, which leave a powerfully bitter sensation it feels like you were just spat on the face by a Komodo dragon.

♪♫ Listen: “Παγιδευμένος” + album stream (Bandcamp)

Sarabante on Bandcamp, Facebook.

Κτίρια τη Νύχτα <BR>“Συγκεκριμένα Διαμερίσματα”

Κτίρια τη Νύχτα
“Συγκεκριμένα Διαμερίσματα”

Κτίρια τη Νύχτα (Buildings At Night) is a one-man band, an adventurous ride that takes place in Athens’ buildings.

With more than seven releases during the last decade and musical pieces composed for cinema and theater, in late 2016 he released his new album containing 30 songs/interludes/recordings.

His multi-instrumental ensemble is twisting among melodic songs, interesting folds and experimentalism. His controversial Greek lyrics draw a line between provocativeness and poetry.

♪♫ Listen: “Στο Λεωφορείο” + album stream (Bandcamp)

Κτίρια τη Νύχτα on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Sleepin Pillow <BR>“The Past Is Already Here”

Sleepin Pillow
“The Past Is Already Here”

Psychedelia meets East, the bagpipe plays heavy metal, philosopher Krishnamurti drinks booze with rebetiko musician Márkos Vamvakaris.

The repetitive nature of history cohabits with love’s euphoric “la la la la la”, the theremin and the accordion coexist with the flute and the tambour – while Sleepin Pillow remain the most sui generis band in Greece.

♪♫ Listen: “Skinny Puppy” + album stream (Soundcloud)

Sleepin Pillow on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Sotires <BR>“Sotires”


Sotires, or Σωτήρες (Saviors), is a Greek-Cyprus band formed by four acclaimed musicians: Fotis Siotas, Lefteris Moumtzis, Vasilis Bacharides, Kostas Pantelis. In 2016, they released their self-titled debut album.

Indefatigable blues, art rock, folk, traditional elements and sardonic humor are all blended smartly together, engaging the listeners who seek something different in the Greek songwriting. A pleasurable reedy delivery.

♪♫ Listen: “Panta Xenoi” + album stream (Spotify)

Sotires on Facebook.

Mechanimal <BR>“ΔΠΔ”


In their third record, Mechanimal and their new partner Etten (ex member of the band Film) depart from the claustrophobic urban space on purpose and explore the Nature as an unpolluted and unadulterated element from human presence.

Therefore on “ΔΠΔ”, their electro-kraut sound becomes brighter and more open, grafted with a more intense and perspicuous sensitivity.

♪♫ Listen: “Winter Mute” + album stream (Spotify)

Mechanimal on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

The 5th Galaxy Orchestra <BR>“The Land Of Forgotten Tales”

The 5th Galaxy Orchestra
“The Land Of Forgotten Tales”

Now this is indeed an album that comes from the Mediterranean area. A lush, warm and melodic suggestion that will remind you of Café del Mar’s best moments from the early ‘90s. Beautifully arranged lounge pop, balearic and trippy nu-disco with gentle melodies.

We had some harsh times this year in Greece and we surely need some sunny feelings and joyful electronic vibes like those on “The Land Of Forgotten Tales”.

♪♫ Listen: “Morning View” + album stream (Bandcamp)

The 5th Galaxy Orchestra on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Lefteris Moumtzis <BR>“Now Happiness”

Lefteris Moumtzis
“Now Happiness”

Previously known as “J.Christe, Master Of Disguise”, the Cypriot singer-songwriter released his new solo album “Now Happiness” under his real name, aiming for the simple pleasures of life and (consequently) the simple ways of crafting a song.

Guitar and piano-driven, the latter speak beautifully about spirituality and togetherness, with Moumtzis proving that he can be a master storyteller.

♪♫ Listen: “Now Happiness” + album stream (Spotify)

Lefteris Moumtzis on Facebook, Twitter, www.

2L8 <BR>“The Answer”

“The Answer”

With more than fifteen years as a band, 2L8 consistently deliver great records. “The Answer” is their latest attempt to produce a profoundly political album that scratches the wounds of the anthropological crisis of the last years.

The end of the world as we know it, the need of change, the hope for a better future and the foundations of new relationships are some of the main ingredients of “The Answer”, accompanied by their trademark guitars, inherent lyricism and theatricality, their to-the-point political attitude.

With this release 2L8 establish themselves as a band that is always at the forefront of the Greek alt-scene. Add to the above that all income from the album’s sales will be donated to causes that support the refugee crisis in Greece.

♪♫ Listen: “Underwater” + album stream (Bandcamp)

2L8 on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

No Clear Mind <BR>“Makena”

No Clear Mind

Although released in December of 2016, “Makena” managed to climb at this year’s top list having unfortunately few hearings.

Recorded between Greece and England, No Clear Mind’s new effort is a lovely, confident collection of fragile songs, with stunning at times results (for instance “Saint John”).

Guitars, drums, electronic arrangements and sensitive vocals are all combined together in balance into a fine indie record.

♪♫ Listen: “Saint John” + album stream (Bandcamp)

No Clear Mind on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Vagina Lips <BR>“Athanasia”

Vagina Lips

“I don’t have the patience to collaborate with people who are not focused in music,” said Jimmy Polioudis some months ago in an interview, and probably that’s why he decided to go on with his one-man band called Vagina Lips.

Jimmy comes from Giannitsa, lives in Thessaloniki, but most of his live performances this year took place in Athens. His album “Athanasia” is an honest, aptly stripped-down beauty, with eight emotional compositions.

A mardy, fuzzy and nostalgic trip for those who love The Cure, Slowdive or The Lemonheads.

♪♫ Listen: “New Wave Girl” + album stream (Bandcamp)

Vagina Lips on Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram.

Xylouris White <BR>“Black Peak”

Xylouris White
“Black Peak”

Two years ago “Goats”, Xylouris White’s impressive debut album, climbed onto the top of beehype’s Best of 2014 list for Greece. This year they return with their second effort “Black Peak”, released by Bella Union.

The album includes seven compositions with the same dark avant-gardish elegance, but this time with fewer instrumental tracks and more spoken words to accompany their stormy music.

The baritone Greek vocals of George Xylouris rise on the surface, the chaotic improvisation switches with low tempo harmonies. A Greek must, although the one-half (Jim White) of the band comes from Australia.

♪♫ Listen: “Forging” + album stream (Spotify)

Xylouris White on Facebook, Instagram, www.

Odos 55 <BR>“Odos 55”

Odos 55
“Odos 55”

If you are a fan of the “Black Mirror” TV series, then this is your ultimate soundtrack, in Greek.

Οδός 55 (in English, Street 55) is a historical underground synth-punk band from Athens, bloomed/doomed in darkness and despair. Suffocating atmosphere, noise, frenzied intensity, addictive darkwave, sci-fi nightmares, future dystopia.

You should press the play button, but on your own responsibility.

♪♫ Listen: “Ισταμπούλ” + album stream (Bandcamp)

Odos 55 on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook.

Op3 <BR>“Hope”


Op3 is a five piece band from Argos and their debut album was probably one of the most overlooked ones of 2016.

“Hope” is a delicate – instrumental – concept record that explores the story of Melanie, a girl who wakes up in a room in an unkown futuristic city, trying to find her way out of this strange dreamworld. The 10 songs of the record construct a neoclassical pianistic melodrama in the likes of Nils Frahm with an undercurrent electronic reminiscent of Burial’s urban night atmosphere, accompanying Melanie to her strange, symbolic journey.

Full of emotional urgency and fragile romanticism, “Hope” is a record of rare elegance and authentic beauty by a much promising new band.

♪♫ Listen: “Melanie’s Theme” + album stream (Bandcamp)

Op3 on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

We Sink <BR>“Flame Princess”

We Sink
“Flame Princess”

If we hadn’t read that We Sink come from Athens, we would definitely believe that their base is somewhere in Los Angeles, London or Sydney. Their sound is totally futuristic, their beats are wonderfully fresh, their nu-soul and hip-hop approach is really enjoyable.

We Sink is a young duo who in 2016 relased a delicious – mainly downtempo – electronic album, probably the most cheerful one of this year’s top list. We are sure that their future will be even brighter.

♪♫ Listen: “Son of a Bleep Blop” + album stream (Soundcloud)

We Sink on: Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter.

Chickn <BR>“Chickn”


Plain and simple: Chickn is the hottest band around and their eponymous debut is one hell of a rock record.

Having started as a personal project of Angelos Krallis, tending towards more motorik sonic patterns, they now have turned their game into a melting pot in that first effort: less kraut rock, more psychedelia, a bit of prog rock philosophy and a twist of turkish music culture.

At the end of the day, what we got is a timeless beast that brings elements of the past into the present, in order to show the way to the future of the rock genre, in a unique and personal way.

♪♫ Listen: “Shifting Time Blues / Akhedia” + album stream (Bandcamp)

Chickn on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook.

Sundayman <BR>“Scene Missing”

“Scene Missing”

Probably the top of the pop records for 2016 in Greece, “Scene Missing” recalls the best synth pop of the ‘80s and ’90s electronica, but without sounding neither very nostalgic nor anachronistic.

Sundayman’s wonderful pallet of melodies and dreamy compositions are combined successfully with his English spoken words and – mostly – upbeat rhythms. A tasteful suggestion for those who are into Talk Talk, Depeche Mode or Röyksopp’s beauty.

♪♫ Listen: “Alive” + album stream (Spotify)

Sundayman on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Jay Glass Dubs <BR>“New Teeth For An Old Country”

Jay Glass Dubs
“New Teeth For An Old Country”

Dimitris Papadatos is one of the most active and interesting musicians/sound engineers in the indie/alternative/electronic/whatever music scene of Greece. He was born in the USA, but he lives in Athens.

Last year, he released an euphoric blend of abstract sounds and dub electronica through London’s Bokeh Versions. Formerly known for his projects KU and The Hydra, he dips into darkness offering six hypnotic compositions. Strange and enchanting.

♪♫ Listen: “Compound Dub” + album stream (Soundcloud)

Jay Glass Dubs on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Gioumourtzina <BR>“Blakk Metall”

“Blakk Metall”

One of the best kept secrets of the previous year finally emerged with the release of “Blakk Metall”. Gioumourtzina unfold their dark, electronic soundscapes to create a bold album that refuses to file itself under specific or known genres.

From ‘80s synth to industrial and from electronica to Greek songs of the ‘40s, “Blakk Metall” is a great melting pot of sounds, from a band that comes from North Greece and is considered one of the biggest hopes of the country’s alternative music scene.

♪♫ Listen: “Chrysostomou Smyrnis” + album stream (Bandcamp)

Gioumourtzina on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Gravity Says I <BR>“Quantum Unknown”

Gravity Says I
“Quantum Unknown”

“Quantum Unknown” consists of multi-layered compositions, equally influenced by artists like Vangelis Papathanasiou and Pink Floyd, with the zither and the Cretan lyre framing the noise/experimental elements and the reciting performances as well, in a unique way.

A concept according to which the small revolutions in our little worlds will eventually lead sometime in the future to the big revolution of our world.

♪♫ Listen: “More Than A Matter Of Instinct” + album stream (Spotify)

Gravity Says I on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook.

Bazooka <BR>“Άχρηστη Γενιά”

“Άχρηστη Γενιά”

“Anger is an energy”, John Lydon once said, and these four young kids surely embrace it. Originating from Volos, a city located in central Greece, singing in Greek and playing raw punk rock music, Bazooka released their 2nd album “Άχρηστη Γενιά” (“Useless Generation”) through the American label Slovenly Recordings and blew our mind instantly.

Imagine a less polished The Strokes, without all the glamor and strass, steeped in the brutality of an extensive economic crisis and the ruins that remained in Greek society. Imagine 11 missiles which breathlessly attack and brilliantly celebrate garage punk and psychedelic rock. Anthemic and terrifically attractive, the LP externalizes the youth’s angst with political lyrics and surreal humor as well.

Praise Zeus almighty to watch them soon live in a theater near you.

♪♫ Listen: “Oθόνη” (The Screen) + album stream (Spotify)

Bazooka on Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram.