Each December, Seven Days polls area musicians, club owners, talent buyers and others to find out which records rocked their ears over the preceding year. We ask for their favorite local and nonlocal albums. (See our own top 10 Vermont albums) As a bonus, we also ask for predictions of what might come to pass in the New Year. Spoiler: The local scene is feelin' the Bern. Here's what they said:
Reuben Jackson, Host, "Friday Night Jazz," Vermont Public Radio
Best Local Album: Audrey Bernstein, Alright, Okay, You Win Best Nonlocal Album: Kamasi Washington, The Epic Prediction for 2016: That someone records The Better Angels of Our Nature, saxophonist Brian McCarthy's wonderful suite of Civil War-era material. As James Brown would say, "Please, please, please."
Kelly Ravin, Waylon Speed
L: Reverend Ben Donovan & the Congregation, Reverend Ben Donovan & the Congregation NL: Futurebirds, Hotel Parties 2016: Nikki Sixx turns Jehovah's Witness and shows up at my doorstep.
"Mr. Charlie" Frazier, WIZN, Blues for Breakfast
L: Lucid, Dirt NL: James Harman, Bonetime 2016: Blues finds a home in the Burlington market somewhere!
Sarah Stickle, arts manager, Radio Bean, First Night Burlington
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Madaila's The Dance
L: Madaila, The Dance NL: Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, Medicine 2016: Jer Coons will have an early midlife crisis, begin wearing acid-washed jeans, produce and play on several hair-metal albums, and stand in front of Nectar's every night but Mondays asking people, "Where did the good go, man?!"
Justin Boland, Wombaticus Rex, Seven Days contributor
L: Kelly Ravin, County Tracks NL: Vince Staples, Summertime '06 2016: Signal Kitchen transitions from venue to boutique hedge fund.
Zach DuPont, the DuPont Brothers
L: Maryse Smith, The Way It Is NL: Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell 2016: Donald Trump loses the election, gets severely depressed, gains tons of weight and releases an album under his hip-hop alias, MC Donald Plump.
Alex Crothers, co-owner, Higher Ground
L: Madaila, The Dance (though Maryse Smith is a tight runner-up) NL: Wilco, Star Wars (though Courtney Barnett got just as many spins for me) 2016: Donald Trump ditches politics for a career in hip-hop management.
Jeff Thomson, Lake Superior, July 26 Movement, Mystery Points, State & Main Records
L: Pistol Fist, Wrist Soup NL: King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Quarters! 2016: The Burlington Record Plant will be hugely successful and need to run night and day to keep up with demand!
Matt Rogers, talent buyer, Higher Ground Presents, Waking Windows, the Monkey House
L: Madaila, The Dance NL: Dr. Dog, Live at a Flamingo Hotel 2016: Disco Phantom will somehow deejay 646 shows in 365 days. Also, the sixth annual Waking Windows festival is gonna be dope.
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Jason Cooley, Blue Button
L: Rough Francis, MSP2 7-inch (I'm a 45 guy lately.) NL: Pile, You're Better Than This; Floating Points, Elaenia 2016: One day I walk into City Market and don't hear Urian Hackney yell, "Hey, Coolayyy!"
Bryan Parmelee, Pours, Seven Days' digital dude
L: Urian Hackney, The Box NL: Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly 2016: Bernie Sanders will drop a surprise LP with Killer Mike called Run the 1%. It will sell considerably more copies than his folk record, securing the presidency. Killer Mike will earn a cabinet position for all his support and will amend the White House's smoking policy to allow blunts to be smoked in designated "fuckboy-free zones."
Brian Nagle, DJ Disco Phantom, Waking Windows
L: Maryse Smith, The Way It Is NL: Hot Chip, Why Make Sense?; Damaged Bug, Cold Hot Plumbs 2016: Bernie Sanders and Killer Mike will drop the hottest mixtape of 2016 with features from Lil B and Bun B.
Ali Fogel, manager, the Monkey House, Waking Windows
L: Maryse Smith, The Way It Is NL: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Multi-Love 2016: Off of Disco Phantom's prediction: Killer Mike and Bernie debut their hit single at the Monkey!
Sean Hood, Eastern Mountain Time
L: Maryse Smith, The Way It Is NL: Sam Outlaw, Angeleno 2016: I predict that Brian Nagle (aka DJ Disco Phantom, aka DJDP), while attempting to break his personal record for longest DJ set, will accidentally play a Kanye West song.
Milton Busker, Milton Busker and the Grim Work
L: Francesca Blanchard, deux visions NL: Chvrches, Every Open Eye 2016: Three words: Kat Wright explodes!
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Kat Wright & the Indomitable Soul Band
Llu Mulvaney-Stanak, DJ Llu, WBTV-LP & WRUV-FM, and Pop-Up! Queer Dance Party
L: The Leatherbound Books, Tender My Hopes NL: Andra Day, Cheers to the Fall 2016: The internet — aka angry DJs and music producers — will revolt against SoundCloud (finally) and they will buckle under the pressure, abandoning their looming ad inserts and backing off their fascist copyright drones.
Ben Maddox, the Mountain Says No
L: Black Rabbit, Red Flannel Hash NL: Wilco, Star Wars 2016: Grateful Dead cover bands will finally gain traction in Vermont and be able to get gigs and stuff.
Alex Budney, talent buyer, Nectar's
L: Francesca Blanchard, deux visions NL: Vulfpeck, Thrill of the Arts 2016: Memorial Auditorium will get the revamp that every music lover wishes for, and we'll see a whole new slew of music acts that previously couldn't fit in any room in Burlington.
DJ Craig Mitchell
L: Harder They Come, The Freak EP NL: Tuxedo, Tuxedo 2016: That Janet Jackson doesn't cancel her February date in Boston, and that I can fulfill my dream of seeing U2.
Urian Hackney, Rough Francis
L: Heavy Plains, Heavy Plains NL: Ghostface Killah, Sour Soul 2016: A new Rough Francis album.
Braden Lalancette, Squimley and the Woolens
L: Tar Iguana, Tympanum NL: Dustbowl Revival, With a Lampshade On 2016: Kevin Bloom (Bloom Machine Photography, Kevin Bloom and the Static Circus, Radio Bean) is gonna be doing something crazy for the Burlington music community. What that is, maybe only his cat Felix knows!
Mark Daly, Madaila
L: Kelly Ravin, County Tracks NL: Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly 2016: Father John Misty will play at my wedding.
Eric George, songwriter, Honky Tonk Tuesday host
L: Francesca Blanchard, deux visions NL: The Deslondes, The Deslondes 2016: The Light Club Lamp Shop has grown so fond in the heart of Burlington, we'll soon be wed.
Tim Lewis, Tim's Triangle Tribune, WBKM
L: Black Rabbit, Red Flannel Hash; The Mountain Says No, JV NL: Iron Maiden, The Book of Souls 2016: With Maryse Smith moving on to Philadelphia and Kat Wright & the Indomitable Soul Band playing more and more out-of-town shows, Miriam Bernardo will release a stunning album and grab the title of queen of the Queen City.
Brian Mital, Talent Buyer, Nectar's
L: Madaila, The Dance NL: Leon Bridges, Coming Home 2016: All of my predictions would make me sound more bitter than I usually am, but I think and hope vinyl sales will continue to grow exponentially.
Eric Olsen, Swale, Blue Button, James Kochalka Superstar
L: Michael Chorney & Hollar General, Shameless Light — man, I wish I had my vinyl copy. (Hint hint, Chorney.) NL: Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly — man, I wish I had the vinyl for this. (Hint hint, family.) 2016: I predict that all my vinyl wishes will come true.
Eric Maier, Madaila, Future Fields
L: And the Kids, Turn to Each Other NL: Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly 2016: Human beings will decide that artistic expression is best valued in a non-transactional setting and will passionately choose to supplement marketplace musical expenses with other forms of support.
Knayte Lander, owner, Buch Spieler Records, State & Main Records
L: Anxiety Doktor, Demo 2015 NL: Downtown Boys, Full Communism 2016: Vermont will become the "cabin-writing" getaway for a wide range of many excellent artists. I'm crossing my fingers that Springsteen at least drives through for some reason. Or flies over. Or flies near Vermont.
Caroline O'Connor, Vedora, Steady Betty
L: Michael Chorney & Hollar General, Shameless Light NL: Kurt Vile, b'lieve i'm goin down 2016: More Vermont bands will start incorporating backup dancers during their shows.
Taylor Smith, Cricket Blue
L: And the Kids, Turn to Each Other NL:Hamilton: Original Broadway Cast Recording (Go on. Fight me on this.) 2016: Chris Dorman wins the Grammy he so soundly deserves. Caroline Rose and Abbie Morin team up for a badass collection of country-rock duets. Eric George's machine surrounds environmentally irresponsible corporations and forces them to surrender. The DuPont Brothers create the Oscar-winning soundtrack for a smart, melancholy indie film. Francesca Blanchard becomes huge in Europe. Robert Resnik, Mark Sustic and Pete Sutherland join forces to become Suthstnik, the wisest, kindest folk trio in history.
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Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly
Willoughby Morse, Madaila, Little Slugger
L: Maryse Smith, The Way It Is NL: Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly 2016: Frank Ocean will still not release new music.
The original print version of this article was headlined "Best of the Best"