Best Albums of 2016
selected by Jort Laagland

Black Oak <BR>“Equinox”

Black Oak

Black Oak is the “super group” formed by The Black Atlantic’s Geert van der Velde and I Am Oak’s Thijs Kuijken. Plans for a collaborative release apparently existed for years, but this year their debut finally became reality.

Filled with beautiful harmonies and sweeping guitar lines, “Equinox” is a truly striking folk record.

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

Black Oak on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, www.

SMIB <BR>“Bakuhatsu”


The young hip hop collective SMIB from Amsterdam gained a lot of national and international fans with their energetic debut “Bakuhatsu” (Japanese for “explosion”).

GRGY, Ray Fuego and KC released solo material before, but finally joined forces for what is definitely one of the most exciting Dutch hip hop records of the year.

♪♫ Listen: “Gangland (ft. Ray Fuego)” + album stream (Spotify)

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

Sofie Letitre <BR>“Take To Heels”

Sofie Letitre
“Take To Heels”

Originally born in Groningen, Sofie Letitre joined the creative community Knalland in Utrecht a couple of years ago which helped her broaden her music influences. Collecting a band around her, Sofie’s music became more and more infused with electronics.

This year saw the release of her impressive second EP “Take to Heels“, which she describes herself as “the optimistic twin sister” of debut EP “Uncanny Valley”.

♪♫ Listen: “Not Helping” + album stream (Soundcloud)

Sofie Letitre on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

Bombay <BR>“Show Your Teeth”

“Show Your Teeth”

While hitting many end of year lists of Dutch tastemakers, the band Bombay (which had already a long history of changing band members and band names) unexpectedly announced a couple of weeks that after this year they will call it a day.

Luckily, they gave us the amazing record “Show Your Teeth” full of nifty lo-fi pop songs.

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

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

Weval <BR>“Weval”


In the past couple of years they released some amazing EPs, but this year Weval finally released their long-awaited self-titled debut record on the acclaimed German label Kompakt.

While the 12 pieces comprising the LP show a multitude of inspirations from past and present, all of them follow the chief paradigm of “finding the beauty in imperfection”.

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

Weval on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Crying Boys Cafe <BR>“The Keys Not The People”

Crying Boys Cafe
“The Keys Not The People”

Releasing a great debut EP at cutting edge label Final 500 Records didn’t stop the Rotterdam based collective Crying Boys Cafe from putting out a solid full length only a few months later.

On “The Keys Not The People”, their crafty mixture of blues, country and art pop is as puzzling as addictive.

♪♫ Listen: “I Was A Singer” + album stream (Spotify)

Crying Boys Cafe on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Pitou <BR>“Pitou”


In the past year Pitou already build up a steady live reputation before releasing this stunning 10”.

Her self-titled debut consists of seven songs that are an intimate yet powerful insight into the mind of this talented singer-songwriter.

♪♫ Listen: “Lay This Woman” + album stream (Spotify)

Pitou on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Klangstof <BR>“Close Eyes To Exit”

“Close Eyes To Exit”

After a bunch of promising singles, Klangstof’s debut record even managed to exceed expectations.

“Close Eyes To Exit” is a consistent collection of eleven layered, gloomy indie pop cleverly produced but with touching song writing at heart.

♪♫ Listen: “We Are Your Receiver” + album stream (Spotify)

Klangstof on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Amber Arcades <BR>“Fading Lines”

Amber Arcades
“Fading Lines”

Apparently Annelotte “Amber Arcades” de Graaf had been saving money for quite some time without exactly knowing what for. A couple of years ago she decided she would spend the savings on making a record. Obviously, we could not have been more glad with her choice.

“Fading Lines” is a dazzling record full of clever indie pop tunes that keep on evolving the more you listen to it. With its catchy guitar lines, haunting melodies and bright production, this debut firmly puts Amber on the map.

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

Amber Arcades on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Eefje De Visser <BR>“Nachtlicht”

Eefje De Visser

Eefje De Visser reinvented herself on her magical third release “Nachtlicht” (meaning “Night Light”). For the first time she wrote the songs with her full band and to get out of her comfort zone she went to Barcelona to record the music.

The album is filled with beautiful melodies and shimmering electronics, but it is Eefje De Visser’s fragile voice and lyrics that truly steal the show.

And we were clearly not the only ones to fall in love with the album. Last year Eefje managed to sell out multiple venues in The Netherlands and Belgium including the legendary Amsterdam theatre Carré.

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

Eefje De Visser on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.