1. “Zona,” Young Scum Zona (Citrus City Records)
This blissful dream-pop jaunt is an endless joy as Young Scum beautifully weaves enchanting songs that channel the spirit of Sarah Records. I’m inclined to consider this the best Richmond release of 2016.
2. “The Wimps,” The Wimps (Bad Grrrl Records)
The Wimps are one of the beloved secrets within the Richmond music scene. On their impressive debut, they take their lucid pop approach and deliver on every whimsical twist and turn.
3. “F*** the Sun,” Atta Girl (Bad Grrrl Records)
Blending elements of twee pop and ’90s indie rock, Atta Girl became one of the strongest outfits to emerge from the underground scene in town. “F*** the Sun” is a brutally honest and compelling argument for one of the top local albums of the year.
4. “Veery,” Veery (Bad Grrrl Records)
Veery popped up out of nowhere and no one was prepared for how pulverizing its debut release would be. It never lets up and becomes one of the strongest post-hardcore releases of the year.
5. “Polliwog,” Doll Baby (Crystal Pistol Records)
Julie Storey has been a strong presence in the Richmond scene for years. With Doll Baby, she took her penchant for writing compelling alt-rock songs and leveled up with the instant classic “The Great Divide.”
Watch list: Five Richmond artists to look out for in 2017 are Blush Face, Sammi Lanzetta and Friends, Big Baby, Saw Black and Antiphons.