Top 10 Kansas City/Lawrence LPs of 2016

In 2015, Kansas City saw the Royals take the crown. In 2016, it saw some more than its fair share of amazing full-length records. A teenage rapper signed a major label deal, a jazz saxophonist put out an album with Blue Note, and several local labels continued streaks of excellent releases. The list below includes our 10 favorite local albums of the year, followed by a score of honorable mentions. Look out next week for our list of top EPs.

Logan Richardson - "Shift"
Kansas City-born jazz saxophonist Logan Richardson released his new album "Shift" this year. The album is his third release bearing his name, but his first release on the legendary Blue Note Records. "Shift" is a challenging and immersive journey into post-bop, featuring some of Richardson's most compelling compositions yet, as well as a Bruno Mars cover.

- Rory Fresco - "Mad World"
In another case of a Kansas Citian going global, rapper Rory Fresco released his first full-length project after signing to Epic Records early in the year. "Mad World" is almost entirely made up of beats crafted by the 19 year old himself and functions as an hourlong, pop-friendly toast to hard work paying off.

Your Friend - "Gumption"
"Gumption" is undoubtedly the most gorgeous album on our top list this year. Winfield, Kansas native Taryn Miller crafted eight haunting tracks of avant-garde indie that never seem to stop shifting and evolving.  Domino Recording Company really lucked out with this one.

- The Conquerors - "Wyld Time"
High Dive Records already possessed a strong catalog heading into this year, but what it emerged with is remarkable. One of its landmark releases this year was the debut full-length from The Conquerors, "Wyld Time." Kansas City is privileged to have a band that can write a pop song like The Conquerors.

- The Xtraordinair$ - "X Essential"
"X Essential" is an overwhelmingly smooth and soulful hip-hop album from Kansas City production duo The Xtraordinair$. Leonard Dstroy and Dominique Sanders amassed a small army of talented rappers, singers, and jazz musicians for a spawling release brimming with grooves and moods.

- Psychic Heat - "Sunshower"
Another High Dive highlight was the vinyl debut of Lawrence psych rock band Psychic Heat. The group's wild solos and other face-melting antics were out in full force on this untamed rock-n-roll adventure.

West Peaks - "Nardis"
Intelligent Sound released several albums in 2016, but "Nardis" is arguably the most impressive. Kansas City beatmaker Wesley Peak melded together 20th century jazz sounds and instrumental hip-hop, along with other forms of experimental music. While these genres have certainly been fused before, the output isn't often like "Nardis."

Jorge Arana Trio - "Mammoth"
The metro's favorite avant-garde jazz trio gave listeners their moodiest work yet on "Mammoth." Jorge Arana, Jason Nash, and Josh Enyart have proven countless their technical prowess time and time again, yet still manage to amaze their faithful fans.

Wet Ones - "Wet Ones"
If "Sunshower" isn't quite in-your-face enough, the self-titled record from Wet Ones should be up your alley. Wet Ones don't exactly play hardcore punk, but their sound is as confrontational as a garage-leaning band can be. "I Live Life Reckless" and "Waaah Waaah Waaah" play like swift punches to the gut.

- Keef Mountain - "Keef Mountain"
If Kansas City truly wants to go green in 2017, it needs to start jamming to a lot more of this Keef Mountain record. The stoner metal duo lays down heavy riff after heavy riff on its first outing since 2012. "Keef Mountain" is also an important moment for homegrown label The Company, a new purveyor of heavy guitar music in the midwest.


Honorable Mentions:

Fullbloods - "Mild West,"  BLKFLANL - "BLKFLANL II," The Philistines - "The Backbone Of Night," Rooftop Vigilantes - "Let It Be," Berwanger - "Exorcism Rock," Wretched Excess - "Anxiety Suite For Broken Speakers," Eddie Moore & The Outer Circle - "Kings & Queens," The Leisure Boys - "The Leisure Boys," Tidecruz - "American Teen," Donnell - "Nudepink," Dame - "Young Goat," Domineko x Arkutec - "Ppl Watching," Chris Hazelton's Boogaloo 7 - "Soul Jazz Fridays," Rich The Factor - "Whale Mafi," Phantom Head - "Phantom Head"

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