Real Gone’s best albums of 2016

2016 has been an interesting year. We’ve heard hundreds of albums and we’ve heard lots of good ones, but in comparison to the previous couple of years there has been a paucity of great ones. Nevertheless, there’s always gold to be mined and here are Real Gone’s top ten albums of the year.
[As always, in the interest of fairness, the choices are limited to those actually reviewed on the website]

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A Million Ways To Change Your Life (A Real Gone Sampler)

In 2016, Real Gone celebrated it’s seventh full year online. This year also marked the sixth year we’ve given away new music at the end of the year. Now a staple of the RG catalogue, the free album-length download is looked forward to by a core of our supporters and in turn helps bring new readers and listeners to our site.

2016 hasn’t been quite as notable for new music compared with a couple of years previously, but that’s not to say it hasn’t thrown up some great stuff. On the first of Real Gone’s free compilations for 2016, we take a look at a broad selection of tunes from punk, country, singer-songwriter fare and more… [a selection of metal oriented artists can be found over here]. If you’ve been paying attention to our website over the past twelve months, a few of these names will be familiar. If not, it’s time to say hello to new music. If you find a couple of things to love, our work here is done!

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STUART MASTERS – Mystic Blue & The Black Balloon

mystic blue and the black balloonA virtuoso of the acoustic guitar, Stuart Masters creates a sound that’s been likened to Nick Drake and Syd Barrett. It seems odd that so many artistes would be compared to Barrett, given that his rather scant post-Floyd output borders on the disturbing. Aside from just about managing to string a few chords together, Barrett could all too often be heard mumbling through nonsensical lyrics he seems to only barely remember. This fourth release from Masters, the wonderful ‘Mystic Blue & The Black Balloon’, is nothing like Syd. It’s sometimes possible to hear why comparisons have been made to Drake, however, for Stuart is very fond of a finger picked style and almost pastoral moods – but the combination of his dexterous playing, loops and layered approach to most things is sometimes closer in spirit to another guitarist…and one from more recent times. It might be fair to say that fans of Matt Stevens will find an instant kinship with Masters and his complex soundscapes.

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