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

7. Marissa Nadler
(Sacred Bones)

Marissa Nadler's vocals on her newest record are as dreamy and ethereal as ever. They hang in the foreground, never quite being the sole focus but always grabbing the listener's attention, working in tandem with crystal-clear guitar chords and gorgeous backing instruments to provide a dark experience not found in mainstream singer/songwriter music. So downbeat and ominous is Strangers that metal band Ghost chose her as an opening act for their latest tour, fully confident in her ability to sway crowds of discerning rock fans with her sombre, hypnotic performances.

This is Nadler's seventh studio album, following up the success of her 2014 release July, and the two records' similar cover art illustrates a Gothic link between them that may possibly continue. Time will tell if Strangers will be indicative of her legacy as a songwriter, but even if, god forbid, she were to stop tomorrow, it would be a legacy worth leaving.
Adam Nizam