Over the past year, we’ve had the privilege of covering a wide variety of releases. Some were highly anticipated, some rather surprising, but each of them represented an important facet of our ever-changing local scene. Initially we hadn’t planned on making a list of the best albums from the past year, but as outstanding records continued to pile up, we decided to select 25 records which emblemized our community over the past year. Some, like Warehouse’s Super Low and Abra’s Princess lived up to high expectations with ease. Others, like the Coathangers’ Nosebleed Weekend were more polarizing.

The following records are more representative than exhaustive, and as such aren’t in any particular order aside from alphabetical. In a region with such a diverse music scene, numerical album rankings are often lead to more confusion than clarity. Instead, the Immersive team scrutinized releases from the past year and compiled a unique list of LPs, EPs, and demos which represent brilliance and resiliency in community continually beset by development. Though musicians, practice spaces, house venues, and recording studios continue to be priced out of Atlanta, these records are proof that art will always thrive in the face of adversity. – Russell Rockwell

ABRA - Princess EP

Abra – Princess EP

[ True Panther ]

If you’re looking for a surprise from Abra’s new EP, Princess, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you’re looking for another killer batch of pastel-hued Miami freestyle, get ready to turn it up. From the sunset glow of “Vegas” to the 808 blast of “Crybaby,” this is the Darkwave Duchess at her zoned in, tripped-out best. – RR

[ Full Review ]

More Info
Facebook: @darkwaveduchess
Instagram: @darkwaveduchess
SoundCloud: @darkwaveduchess
Twitter: @darkwaveduchess

Arbor Labor Union - I Hear You

Arbor Labor Union – I Hear You

[ Sub Pop ]

From the very first driving chord to the final, lingering note, there is a bold insistence within I Hear You that wraps the listener up in Arbor Labor Union’s single-minded dedication to tone. It’s a dedication that rewards the audiophile and the stoner alike, but leaves precious little for the casual listener or soundbite consumer. This is a commitment built from passion rather than pretension, and may even come across as goofy unless you submit to the cascade of sound. But if you do, the realization of worth is immediate. – RR

[ Full Review ]

More Info
Bandcamp: arborlaborunion.bandcamp.com
Facebook: @Arbor-Labor-Union-1656683511216436
Instagram: @arborlaborunion
Twitter: @ArborLaborUnion

Big Jesus - Oneiric

Big Jesus – Oneiric

[ Mascot Records ]

Anticipation and expectation can be heavy burdens, and no one carried them as effortlessly or as convincingly as Big Jesus did in 2016. Their label debut, Oneiric, was a virtual treasure trove of mammoth riffs, spaced-out grooves, and ethereal vocals that offered long suffering hard rock fans something unique and compelling. Music careers are built on seizing the moment, and Big Jesus did so with vigor and a commanding sense of purpose. – Guillermo Castro

More Info
Web: bigjesus.net
Bandcamp: bigjesus.bandcamp.com
Facebook: @bigassjesus
Instagram: @bigassjesus
Twitter: @bigassjesus


Cinemechanica – Cinemechanica

[ Arrowhawk Records ]

A lot was made of the decade long gap between Cinemechanica’s heralded debut and this year’s sophomore follow-up, and for good reason. The band’s reputation was built on a particularly noisy and spastic brand of math rock and post-hardcore, and it was difficult to imagine them maintaining a similar level of intensity after such a lengthy layover. But fans hoping for the group to stay true to their uncompromising intricacy and incendiary punk vitality were rewarded generously as Cinemechanica proved to be a triumph of jaw-dropping skill, ingenuity, and explosive aggression. – GC

More Info
Web: cinemechanica.com
Bandcamp: cinemechanica.bandcamp.com
Facebook: @cinemechanica
Instagram: @cinemechanica

CLAVVS - halfblood

CLAVVS – halfblood

[ Self-released ]

Few groups worked as hard in 2016 as CLAVVS. The duo of vocalist Amber Renee and Grammy-winning producer Graham Marsh brought a DIY approach to their lush, atmospheric alt-pop, releasing a seemingly endless string of arresting videos and buzzworthy singles that reached its peak on the group’s darkly seductive LP, halfblood. Ambient electronica is well-known for combating heartache and gloom with irrepressible dance grooves (see Phantogram, Poliça, Cults) but CLAVVS’ ability to inject a sense of macabre darkness and the occult into their music gave it a fever-dream quality that was simply mesmerizing. – GC

More Info
Bandcamp: clavvs.bandcamp.com
Facebook: @clavvsatl
SoundCloud: @clavvsatl
Twitter: @clavvsatl
YouTube: @clawsatl

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