The 80 Best Tracks of 2016
#70 Poolclvb – Always
How nice it was of Sydney solo dude POOLCLVB to go and ring in the Australian summer a month and a bit ahead of schedule upon the release of this certified house-y scorcher, Always. Teaming up with vocalist Carl Fox – he of like minded feel-gooders Porsches – the pair mix up a very colourful cocktail that with each sip tastes of the beach, dolphins out the car window, and parties in the sunset. The crisp hi-hats race along and there’s this liquified squiggly synth that just makes this a total package of irrepressible energy. [Dave Ruby Howe]
#69 Lindstrøm – Closing Shot
Lindstrøm returned to the clubs this year with Closing Shot, keeping one foot in the psychedelic prog-rock sound he’s been exploring lately and coming out with a record that’s all the better because of it. He unleashes his arrangements one after the other over the course of eight and a half minutes, with the track’s early synth flourishes followed by a rubbery bassline, then a gorgeous chord progression, which in turn is followed by lush string arrangement, before it all peaks with a serotonin rush of a psychedelic synth swirl. Much musicality. [Angus Paterson]
#68 Indian Summer – Love Like This
There’s a cute story behind the making of this tune, which has the Indian Summer guys trying to track down Gold Coast duo Lastlings for a collab after hearing their track one time on the radio en route to the airport.
But hell, you don’t even need a bit of feel-good marketing to convince anyone that Love Like This is a hot one – the Melbourne producers thump you upside the head immediately with this uplifting, almost-gospel refrain and a thundering drum solo. It’s all offset by the ghostly vocals by Lastlings’ Amy Dowdle who brings her own style to a serendipitous collaboration. [Dave Ruby Howe]
#67 Christopher Port – My Love
Melbourne producer Christopher Port has made quite an entrance this year. His debut EP, Vetement, proved that garage and 2-step hasn’t run out of ideas, injecting the genre with moody atmospherics akin to Mark Pritchard, or even Boards Of Canada (both artists he strongly admires). With My Love – the lead track from his latest EP – he has left 2016 a bittersweet parting gift, and given DJs the perfect closing track to drop at sunrise. [Henry Johnstone]
#66 Martin Solveig & Tkay Maidza – Do It Right
2016 will go down as the year Tkay Maidza graduated from darling of the Australian industry to the rising star the rest of of the world is obsessed with. She’s scored a BET nomination – just like little known names Beyonce, Rihanna and Drake – dropped a killer debut album in TKAY and been tapped by French hitmaker Martin Solveig for a collaboration. Together, they make magic: Do It Right is pure dance-pop joy and the sort of tune you would have to be straight up dead inside not to enjoy. Keep killing it, Tkay. [Katie Cunningham]
#65 Kiiara – Feels (Jai Wolf)
Odesza might currently hold the title of dance music’s buzziest remixers, but Jai Wolf is certainly giving his Foreign Family Collective label heads a run for their money. Last year he turned in on-point edits for Skrillex, kitty and Mocki and in 2016, the New York native has kept the hot streak going with his flip of Feels. Luckily, this won’t be the last dance time dance producers fuck with Kiiara – she told BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe this month that tracks with Dillon Francis and Marshmello are on the way. [Katie Cunningham]
#64 Pnau – Chameleon
For anyone who misspent their youth dancing to Embrace or Wild Strawberries, new single Chameleon would have felt like a welcome return to form for Pnau. Gone were the tepid soft rock stylings of 2011 LP Soft Universe and back was Peter Mayes and Nick Littlemore at their bright, bonkers and ravey best.
It probably helps that this time around, they got Sam La More – the super producer who worked on hits like Peking Duk’s High and Parachute Youth’s Can’t Get Better Than This – on board as an official member of the brand. Cross your fingers there’s a whole new album on the way. [Katie Cunningham]
#63 Marie Davidson – Naive to the Bone
‘Producer and poet’ is a job title we’d like to hear more of in 2017 but for now, we’ll happily make do with Montreal’s Marie Davidson. Naive to the Bone is Davidson’s whip smart, spoken word track, and it’s one that oozes assurance. “Do you think I’m too soft? Is it that you feel superior behind a costume of indifference?… It’s 2016, get real,” she says so cooly you can practically hear the eye roll. “I’ve got nothing to prove.” Stellar stuff, and perfectly at home on Veronica Vasicka’s 80s-aesthetic label Minimal Wave. [Katie Cunningham]
#62 Flume – Pika
There’s plenty to love on Harley Streten’s long-awaited second album Skin but for our money, it’s the two-minute instrumental Pika that towers above the rest. It may be brief, but Pika is the perfect encapsulation of the direction we’re so glad Flume took on this LP: it’s icy, forward-thinking and a little bit experimental, but it retains the melody and emotion the Future Classic star built his name on. [Katie Cunningham]
#61 The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk – Starboy
The Weeknd’s new album, Starboy, is full of back-to-back bangers, but it’s the lead single that blew everyone away and defined his new sound. The Daft Punk-produced beat is predictably on point and even though their signature sound is there, it blends perfectly with Abel Tesfaye’s vocals, proving that French house and R&B pair surprisingly well together.
The track also just beats Desiigner’s Panda as 2016’s best ode to beautiful, fast cars. Daft Punk, Lamborghinis, a chorus dedicated to coke – what’s not to love? [Osman Faruqi]