After a full twelve months of sifting through submission emails, IMs and tweets from artists, and pages upon pages of SoundCloud, BandCamp, and Spotify, I’m finally ready to sum up 2016 with my absolute favorite tracks. Some I wrote about, others I simply enjoyed. But, none the less, these 16 tracks filled my headphones, car speakers, and SONOS system over and over again throughout this past year.
Ranging from alternative, to indie dance, to outright dance floor heaters, this year stayed true to my typical tastes. I’m all over the board, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Viola Beach’s debut album was one of my favorite collections of music in a long time, and I wholeheartedly believed that this budding young act was on their way to be the next big thing. As many of you know, all of these young musicians passed away in a tragic car accident on their way to a gig. But, the silver lining in all of this is that their music will live on forever. Throw on “Boys That Sing” and get ready to belt out the chorus.
Boys that Sing
If you’re not onto these cats just yet, it’s about time you start paying attention. Their inventive, quirky, and highly addictive style is spreading quick. They don’t take themselves too seriously, which is evident in the playfulness of “The Sneeze.” Definitely one of my favs in 2016.
I’m a huge fan of the gritty, heavy, and weird. Unfortunately, I don’t typically write up tracks that fit in that wheelhouse, just because it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense here on TMN. However, Hidden Charms were a fringe act for me, allowing you to get a glimpse of some of my other musical tastes, while still fitting what we’re all about. It’s dark and hazy, with just a hint of pop, and to be perfectly honest, I still can’t get enough of it.
Ethan Burns is truly an old soul, as evidenced through his smokey, iconic, and downright dreamy voice. I’m usually a fan of artists who call on styles and influences from earlier decades, and this selection definitely has a 60’s soul feel that I just can’t shake.
Coming in on the calmer side of the equation, this emotive offering from Minnesota-based Morly caught my attention earlier this year. Blending together some future bass elements and traditional singer/songwriter/pop styling, it’s a creative offering that should have you quickly engaged. I know it did for me.
I can’t help but smile when “Butter” comes on. It’s weird and wacky, yet still maintains perfect pop sensibilities, giving listeners an unexpected thrill ride throughout. If you’re into quirky indie pop, look no further than WEIRDO.
I couldn’t have a “Best of 2016” recap without giving an emphatic nod to Gallant. Excuse me, I meant the GRAMMY nominated Gallant. He’s spread across the globe faster than one of Donald Trump’s poorly crafted tweets, and it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. He’s the new voice of R&B and there’s nothing else to really say.
To be perfectly blunt, I just really fucking love Tycho. His spaced-out, indie-infused, electronica comes through my headphones quite regularly, whether I’m working, writing, or just hanging around the house. His albums never get old, and this year’s release certainly showcases that once again.
I was a bit thrown off when I first listened to this track. Could this really be Pierce Fulton? The same guy that put out “Kuaga?” It is. It seems like Fulton has had a change of heart, chasing after music he’s truly passionate about. The end result? Definitely one of my favorite tracks and EPs this year. As an added bonus, this particular track features one of my artists to watch in 2017, NVDES.
If one track encapsulates an entire year, it’s this one. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to it, or how many people I’ve introduced to it, or how many Moments I’ve experienced to it. It’s absolutely amazing and deserves the highest of praise.
To be perfectly honest, I could list a few tracks from Fantastic Voyage, but since I’m trying to spread the love to some other artists, I’ll just go with my fav. “What Do You Want” has had a heavy place in my regular rotation since the day it came out. I can’t wait to see what Justin Jay does in 2017.
This one flew under the radar a bit, coming in at just over 50k plays on SoundCloud, but it was fantastic, none-the-less. Silky, smooth, tropical, and perfect for a lazy day by the pool. I definitely blasted this out my windows throughout the last few warm-weather days here in Denver. And, I’ll be holding onto it for future summer playlists.
I’m in love with Goldwash, and everyone who’s around me knows it. “U Won’t” showcases everything I adore about this up-and-coming act, highlighted by his piano work, funk-laden beats, and gorgeous falsettos. I’m expecting great things out of him in 2017.
I first caught onto The Magician at UMF in 2015, and I haven’t looked back since. From his captivating sets, to his legendary Magic Tapes, to his curated artists on Potion, to his remixes and originals, I just love everything he’s got going on. “Shy” definitely had it’s place in my heart this year, often getting me revved up for a wild night on the town.
Being the huge classic rock nerd that I am, Bobby Nourmand always impresses me with his reinterpretations of iconic songs. It takes a confident artist to remix acts like The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkle, and Billy Idol. There’s a lot that can go wrong. Fortunately for this LA-based artist, it always comes out right. Tastefully done and quite memorable.
This song is so subtle. So delicate. So sensuous. The vocal samples are so meticulously and creatively crafted and placed, creating an otherworldly experience. I could listen to it over and over again. And, I have.
Waterfalls (Dear David Remix)