Local musicians share their favorite records, songs of 2016

Authored By pitulah

Over the past decade (even longer than that, really), Chattanooga’s music scene has grown both in size and vision. And for all the specific history contained within its geography, there’s no single musical thread that sustains these rhythmic movements. The sounds of rock, country, pop, folk and hip-hop flood our streets and fill the ears of everyone with even a passing interest in music. And that is the magic and spirit of Chattanooga-that wonderful sense of community, growth and collaboration within the arts scene.

I’ve closely witnessed this development since I began writing for Nooga.com and started covering the work of local musicians back in 2013. From the expansive and incredibly inclusive hip-hop scene to the piercing electronic bursts of harsh noise artists and the gravitational pull of its rock inclinations, the Scenic City accepts all aesthetics and provides a platform for artists to explore and present their visions for all to see and hear.

It’s easy to look back over the year and see a dramatic evolution fully sustained just within those 12 months. It’s the kind of development that eschews end-of-year lists and forces you to embrace the scene in all its complexity and amazing density. So in that spirit, I am not going to cull together a top 10 list of local releases this year. In its place, I decided to approach various local musicians and ask them about their personal favorite records and songs of this year. They responded with lists of wide-ranging sounds and disciplines, exactly the kind of variety that informs Chattanooga’s own eclectic river noise. Enjoy their lists below.

Heather Leigh Holt (of Heatherly):

  • Glass Animals, “How to Be a Human Being”
  • Randy Steele, “Songs From the Suck”
  • Bon Iver, “22, a Million”
  • Frank Ocean, “Blonde”

Cinematic Tha Nganeer:

  • Cinematic featuring Blake Hise, “Broccoli”
  • Cuatro Cinco, “Come Holla”
  • Charlie Woods, “Backside”
  • Kindora, “Love You”
  • Swayyvo, “Don’t Tell Me”

Jared Jones (of EMERGE):

  • Tremonti, “Dust”
  • Alter Bridge, “The Last Hero”
  • Korn, “The Serenity of Suffering”
  • Metallica, “Hardwired … to Self-Destruct”
  • The Veer Union, “Decade”

Will Stubblefield (of EMERGE):

  • Obscura, “Akroasis”
  • Every Time I Die, “Low Teens”
  • Black Crown Initiate, “Selves We Cannot Forgive”
  • Zao, “The Well-Intentioned Virus”
  • Meshuggah, “The Violent Sleep of Reason”

Abe Houck (of Elk Milk):

  • Haley Bonar, “Impossible Dream”
  • Kacy & Clayton, “Strange Country”
  • Exploded View, “Exploded View”
  • Preoccupations, “Preoccupations”
  • Leonard Cohen, “You Want It Darker”

Red Boyer:

  • J. Cole, “Everybody Dies”
  • Kodak Black, “Too Many Years”
  • Levi Carter, “XXL”
  • D.R.A.M., “Cash Machine”
  • Zeu$ the Psychedelic, “Talking 2 Lucy”


  • Isaiah Rashad, “Suns Tirade”
  • Kendrick Lamar, “Untitled Unmastered”
  • Drake, “Views”
  • Kanye West, “The Life of Pablo”
  • Chance the Rapper, “Coloring Book”

Luna Mitchell (of Torschlusspanik):

  • Big Ups, “Before a Million Universes”
  • Black Marble, “It’s Immaterial”
  • Jute Gyte, “Perdurance”
  • Radiator Greys, “Denying the Other”
  • Various Artists, “Cut Up America”

Robbie Manus (of Sickness in the System):

  • Zao, “The Well-Intentioned Virus”
  • The Funeral Portrait, “A Moment of Silence”
  • Leonard Cohen, “You Want It Darker”
  • David Bowie, “Blackstar”
  • Kendrick Lamar, “Untitled Unmastered”


  • Kanye West, “The Life of Pablo”
  • My Chemical Romance, “The Black Parade” (2016 reissue)
  • Drake, “Views”
  • Isaiah Rashad, “The Sun’s Tirade”
  • Childish Gambino, “Awaken My Love”

Coogi Doogi:

  • Kanye West, “Real Friends”
  • Bankroll Fresh, “Dirty Game”
  • Master P, “Can’t Count Us Out”
  • Gucci Mane, “Selling Heroin”
  • Drake, “Fake Love”
  • The Weeknd, “Starboy”

Jarrod Gee (of Kerchief, Okinawa):

  • Music Band, “Wake Up Laughing”
  • Ty Segall, “Emotional Mugger”
  • Drugdealer, “The End of Comedy”
  • The Lemon Twigs, “Do Hollywood”
  • Radiohead, “A Moon Shaped Pool”

Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.