Staff Picks: The Best Tracks of 2016

 

Mark Royters
Content Coordinator

5. Chance The Rapper, ‘No Problem’

4. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, ‘Gamma Knife’

3. The Last Shadow Puppets, ‘Miracle Aligner’

2. A Tribe Called Quest, ‘We The People’

1. Radiohead, ‘Daydreaming’

Holy shit, this song is a thing of pure beauty. The progression of simple piano, into distorted, looped vocals into ominous orchestrations perfectly evokes a sense of ‘daydreaming’, and represents a band ageing like fine wine. Also, the Paul Thomas Anderson directed music video is amazing.

 

Peter Stevens 
Channel Manager

5. Beliefs ‘1992’

4. Frank Ocean ‘Nikes’

3. Anderson.Paak ‘The Season / Carry Me’

2. Jenny Hval ‘Conceptual Romance’

1. Nothing ‘The Dead Are Dumb’

I’ve found myself looping this song obsessively. The album that hosts this masterpiece, Tired of Tomorrow, is by all means one of the albums of the year, but I always find myself repeating ‘The Dead Are Dumb’ at least five times in a row before continuing on with the rest. Just listen to those fucking guitars, it’s like someone stripped back the best parts of Siamese Dream and condensed it into 4 minutes and 30 seconds of complete euphoria.

 

 

Jake Burkett
Digital and Editorial Manager

5. Active Bird Community, ‘QB Sneak’

4. Car Seat Headrest, ‘Fill In The Blank’

3. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, ‘Gamma Knife’

2. The Pretty Littles, ‘Pride’

1. Twin Peaks, ‘Walk To The One You Love’

Twin Peaks well and truly grew in 2016. Down In Heaven was the album release both fans and the band needed. The maturity is best displayed in single and opener, ‘Walk To The One You Love’. Chicago vibes amplified with twangy guitars and soothing vocals that will make any stroll all the sweeter. While lyrically they’ve transformed from stoner party-goers to heart break recipients. 

 

Josh Groom
Head of Video & Photography

5. David Bowie, ‘Lazarus’

4. Hilltop Hoods featuring Montaigne, ‘1955’

3. The Avalanches, ‘Frankie Sinatra’

2. Camp Cope, ‘Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams’

1. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, ‘Robot Stop’

So, I’m gonna cheat a little bit here.  By picking the opening track on a never-ending, looping album, Nonagon Infinity, I feel that the remainder of the album is included in this selection by definition.  Having seen the mighty Gizz perform live five times this year, not to mention having directed and edited a concert film of their show at the Metro – it’s definitely the song I have heard the most times – and as a testament to its excellence – I am not in the least bit tired of it.  I could put it on right now and listen to it.  Oops, I just did, and it is fucking awesome.  

 

Spencer Scott
Writer

5. Kanye West, ‘Ultralight Beam’

4. John K Samson, ‘Virtute At Rest’

3. Alex Lahey, ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’

2. Safe Hands, ‘The Great Affair’

1. Camp Cope – ‘Done’

I have said it before and I will say it again – Georgia Maq is one of the nation’s finest songwriters. Look no further than ‘Done’; the opening track on Camp Cope’s incredible debut album. It’s vulnerable and powerful at the same time.

 

Sofia Silvestrini
Writer

5. The Smith Street Band, ‘Death to the Lads’

4. PUP, ‘If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will’

3. Luca Brasi, ‘Anything Near Conviction’

2. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, ‘Gamma Knife’

1. Violent Soho, ‘Viceroy’

The Mansfield men brought the goods again with this rad tune. Sweet bass riff intro, many sing/yell-a-long parts, mosh-worthy chorus. My 2016 theme song.

 

Nathaniel Barlow
Writer

5. Drake, ‘Feel No Ways’

4. Young Thug & Travis Scott (feat. Quavo), ‘Pick Up The Phone’

3. Frank Ocean, ‘Ivy’

2. Kanye West, ‘Ultralight Beam’

1. Kendrick Lamar, ‘untitled 02 06.23.2014’

This is a low scale rap epic. The song builds and drives as Kendrick slowly grows more erratic, almost wheezing over a free jazz type beat. Also probably contains one of the greatest verses of all time, so yeah.

 

Riley Fitzgerald
Writer

5. Whitney, ‘No Woman’

4. Angel Olsen, ‘Intern’

3. Lower Plenty, ‘Bondi’s Dead’

2. DAG, ‘Staying Up At Night’

1. Massive Attack (feat. Hope Sandoval), ‘The Spoils’

The heartbreak and detached longing of The Spoils lures the listener into bleak yet spectacular sonic fantasia. A conceptual follow up from Teardrop eight years onward, the track stands as a reminder of the mutating textures, throbbing rhythmic pulses and timelessly resonant emotive elements which provided the initial impetus of the trip hop movement. While no doubt a creative risk for Massive Attack to revisit this ambrosial and symphonic formula, the end result attests that the Bristol duo’s enrapturing sonic artifice continues to make strides.

 

James Nice
Writer

5. DMA’S, ‘Too Soon’

4. Panic! At The Disco, ‘Death of a Bachelor’

3. Suede, ‘Outsiders’

2. Kings of Leon, ‘Waste A Moment’

1. The Jezabels, ‘Pleasure Drive’

Amid a throbbing bass line and Hayley Mary’s alluring vocal delivery, ‘Pleasure Drive’ oozes undeniable sex appeal before climaxing with a sudden and unexpected sonic eruption in its chorus.  A certain highlight not only on the Australian alt-rocker’s third studio album SYNTHIA, but also in their critically acclaimed, budding discography.

 

 

About Mark Royters

Many years ago I was given an Arctic Monkeys EP. Everything changed from that moment onwards. I'm a Sydney-based music writer, reviewer and interviewer.

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