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Jake Varrone - 2016 Top 10 Albums

Hook writer, Jake Varrone, is here to present his top 10 for 2016! A list full of some of the best music for Jake's year! Check out the list below!

1. Travis Scott - The Birds In the Trap Sing Mcknight
Whenever I’m in a good mood, I’ll put this record on in the car, roll down the windows and belt at traffic. It’s catchy as hell and a very beautiful trap/hip-hop album in its own edgy way.

2. Anderson Paak - Malibu
I got hipped to Anderson Paak after a buddy told me to check out the single “Am I Wrong.” Right away, I realized this dude not only a gifted musician, but brings this palpable charisma to everything he touches. Every song this dude comes out with sounds like gold, and I’m really excited to see where his creativity takes him in the upcoming years.

3. NxWorries - Yes Lawd!
This album is a collaboration between producer Knxwledge and Anderson Paak that will change the hip-hop/r&b game in 2017. Relying on Knxwledge’s sample based beat making genius and Paak’s unmistakably smooth yet edgy vocal timbre, you can expect to hear these guys’ names a lot in 2017.

4. the Weeknd - Starboy
I was really skeptical about this album because I wasn’t a huge fan of the single. I thought it was stagnant, boring, and unable to stand on its own. However, when I heard it complimented by the rest of the album, my perspective flipped. The album is teaming with hits, and is easily one of the best produced records of the year. I’ve never been more excited about the Weeknd.

5. Kaytranada - 99.9%
Kaytranada is a rhythmic genius. His music is soulful, smooth, and dynamic. Whenever I listen to his music I usually end up with a sore neck. This record is incredible – especially “GLOWED UP,” and “YOU’RE THE ONE.”

6. Chance the Rapper - Coloring Book
What is there to say that has not been already said about this one-of-a-kind album. I’m so happy to see an independent artist find as much success as Chance not only for his talent and style, but by staying true to his roots. Chance For President #2020.

7. James Blake - The Colour in Anything
I’ve always been a HUGE fan of James Blake. I think he has been changing the electronic music and r&b game for a long time, and is finally gaining the recognition he deserves. Side note, this album dropped on my birthday, making it that much more special for me!

8. PARTYNEXTDOOR - PARTYNEXTDOOR 3 (P3)
I love the vibe of this album. PARTYNEXTDOOR says so much without saying much at all. I’ve always been a fan of minimalism and I never knew minimalist hip hop/r&b could evoke so much emotion and still be catchy as hell.

9. StarRo - Monday
StarRo is an electronic artist I discovered after watching him do a mixmag set alongside Sweater Beats. After checking out his original music I was immediately hooked. As I said earlier, I’m a huge fan of minimalism, and have a huge admiration for artists who compose minimalist tracks with taste and creativity.

10. ZHU - GENERATIONWHY
ZHU is another artist I got into this year. He has a really unique sound that can be a little difficult to pin down to any singular genre since he includes components of electronic music as well as indie rock and dance. He’s a young producer with a lot of potential, and I’m excited to see what he has in store for 2017.

NJ Band To Follow - Halogens

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Straight out of Absury Park, NJ, Halogens makes there way on to The Hook's featured locals, and with good reason!

The four piece pop punk outfit consists of Zach Henry (lead vocals and guitar), Charlie Throckmorton (guitar), Tim Wuestneck (bass and vocals), and George Saives (drums). You should be taking notes, as the emo and punk scene gains momentum, Halogens has spent their time cultivating and crafting their own special and individualized space in the movement.

A "semi-serious" effort, you can see also bands like The Front Bottoms, or Sorority Noise. Halogens employs techniques similar to popular and thriving pop-punk and emo bands. However, the members of Halogens are way more fun - we'd say. Maybe I'm just over this sad-boy version of music, or maybe it's just exciting to hear something new, either way Halogens is most definitely getting me there.

The band spent around 5 years as an independent group, self-recording and releasing their music, up until recently! Halogens worked in tandem with Adam Cichocki of Timber Studios to produce their new, self-titled EP! The EP was released via Mayflower Collective and Why Bother Records back in January!

Halogens - EP is most definitely a collection you should be checking out. Made up of 5-tracks, the entire album skillfully employs half-screamed, half-sung lyrics, and an intricate mosaic structure with rhythms - while the members of Halogens then twist that to create a genre bending collection that utilizes and warps punk, alternative and indie into 5 equally creative, fun, and fitting tracks.

Not to mention, we had an opportunity to scope out Halogens recently in NYC - and they're amazing live, too. They bring a ton of energy to the stage, and their years of self-production shows most definitely in their performance.

Halogens is one of the most exciting groups I've had the opportunity to not only write about, but to see play live as well, and I've low-key been recommending them to everyone that I talk about music with because I care about nothing besides good jams and their song "Kitchen Sink," from the EP.

Bottom line, check Halogens out. Their social media is below so you have no reason not to say hey, or tell them a fun story. 

Halogens: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram