Exclaim!'s Top 10 Folk & Country Albums Best of 2016

10. Weyes Blood
Front Row Seat to Earth
(Mexican Summer)
Natalie Mering is a modern producer trapped in the body of a classic songwriter. For her second album, Front Row Seat to Earth, she splits the difference, delivering nine Laurel Canyon-indebted broken heart piano jams that, in the wrong hands, could have fallen into an embarrassing renaissance-fair balladry. Mering's know-how behind the boards — gleaned from years as a collaborator with musicians like Ariel Pink and aided here by Chris Cohen —gives her music an otherworldly quality that no doubt helped to inspire the album's title.
Stacks of vocals, synths and even old movie clips underscore her heart-baring lyrics. Just as she creates tension in her music by mixing the classic and the modern, Mering's lyrics convincingly captures the frightening sense of loneliness that comes with the dissolution of any relationship. Front Row Seat to Earth is a fraught yet thrilling view of a personal apocalypse.
Ian Gormely