Mandy’s Top 5 Albums Of 2016

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5. A/B by Kaleo

Icelandic band Kaleo really pulled out all the stops for their debut album. JJ’s vocals can go from raw and intense to silky and sweet at the snap of a finger, never lacking emotion. The guitar work on this album is nothing short of spectacular. These songs can go from giving you chills to making you want to get up and dance. From the soft ballad “All The Pretty Girls” to the foot-stomping “No Good,” A/B will have you hooked from start to finish.

Top 5 Tracks:

  • “No Good”
  • “All The Pretty Girls”
  • “Glass House”
  • “Automobile”
  • “Broken Bones”

4. Disappear Here by Bad Suns

Bad Suns’ sophomore album went in a different direction than their debut, Language & Perspective. It took me by surprise, but in a good way. On the whole, the album has a melancholy feeling to it. Even in the more upbeat tracks, such as “Patience” and “Violet,” have hints of sadness in them. But to me, that just makes the album better. It isn’t superficial like a lot of music is now.

Top 5 Tracks:

  • “Even In My Dreams, I Can’t Win”
  • “Daft Pretty Boys”
  • “Patience” 
  • “Violet”
  • “Heartbreaker”

3. Viola Beach by Viola Beach

Following the tragic deaths of Viola Beach and their manager in a horrific accident in Sweden earlier this year, an album comprised of their mostly unheard music was released. The fact that this album is so incredibly amazing really hits me hard. These boys would have gone places. They were well on their way to a successful career. This album is a testament to that. From the well-known “Swings And Waterslides” to the heartbreaking ballad “Call You Up,” their music has the power to make you laugh and make you cry. Rest in peace, boys that sing.

Top 5 Tracks

  • “Swings And Waterslides”
  • “Call You Up”
  • “Really Wanna Call”
  • “Drunk”
  • “Boys That Sing”

2.  100 by The Hunna

UK rockers The Hunna really made an impact with their debut album. They’ve seemingly blown up since its release. I even heard one of their songs in a restaurant recently. I think this is due to the fact that this album is rock. Not pop-rock, but real rock. It’s becoming increasingly harder to find a true rock band, so the Hunna were a welcome surprise when I listened to “You & Me” at the recommendation of a friend. From “Bonfire” to “Alive” to “Bad For You,” the Hunna define rock. Definitely a must-listen in the age of Top 40 worshippers.

Top 5 Tracks

  • “You & Me”
  • “Alive”
  • “Piece By Piece”
  • “Bad For You”
  • “Bonfire”

1. Coasts by Coasts

The long-awaited debut album from Coasts was finally released this year. Fans have heard many of these songs in their older forms on EPs and as singles, so it was amazing to finally have a Coasts album. Five years in the making, Coasts is a musical journey from start to finish. Beginning with the well-known “Oceans,” Coasts start us off with the message they chose to convey with their music, positivity. “Modern Love” is a synth lover’s dream, while “Your Soul” is for the percussionist at heart. Some of the best songs lie in the bonus tracks. The bold “Wallow” and the emotional “See How” are two of my personal favorites. This album is just fantastic. Heck, I have lyrics from “Tonight” and “Lions” tattooed on my legs and they aren’t even in my top 5 tracks from this album. It’s just that good, and to me it is the best album of 2016.

Top 5 Tracks

  • “Wallow”
  • “See How”
  • “You”
  • “Modern Love”
  • “Stay”

Danielle’s Top 5 Albums of 2016

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5. Wild World – Bastille

Life, death, politics and everything in between. ‘Wild World’ Bastille’s second album has seen a growing confidence in their own music with dark lyrics that are peppered with obscure samples and quotes in a ‘mix-tape’ fashion.

Unease and anxiety are overriding themes of ‘Wild World’ as we embark on a journey of trying to fit in and yearning for a safe haven.

4. After The Rain – Benjamin Francis Leftwich

The hushed an hymnal sound of ‘After The Rain’ is perfect for a chilled Sunday afternoon. The gorgeously poetic style with simple and stripped back instrumentals gives the songs a fragile, precious and heartwarming style.

Since releasing his first album ‘Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm’ back in 2011 Benjamin lost his father to a battle with cancer and ‘After The Rain’ is a humbling tribute to his late father with an optimistic look to the future.

3. Isn’t It Strange – Lauren Aquilina

Lauren Aquilina said that one of her greatest achievements was releasing her first album (and being proud of it) She has very good reason for being proud of it and girl you did good! Unfortunately Lauren will not be releasing anymore music under her own name due to mental health reasons but she’s bowing out with grace and plenty of ‘kicks.’

Profound emotion meets honey- glazed tones in this beautiful album which takes you on a empowering journey from ‘Midnight Mouths’ to ‘ Kicks’ and will have you reaching for the repeat button.

2. 100 – The Hunna

I first stumbled across The Hunna when they played support for Coasts last year and was instantly taken wit their (at the time) latest single ‘Bonfire.’

 The Hunna have, in my opinion, dominated the ‘indie alt rock’ scene with hit after hit and this resonates in their killer album. Personal highlights include ‘You and Me’ and ‘Alive.’

1. Coasts – Coasts

Coasts self titled debut album has been eagerly anticipated by many, me included and for me 22nd January 2016 couldn’t come soon enough. I had of course preordered the album but when the day finally arrived I couldn’t resist a cheeky trip to HMV to se the Coasts album in the ‘new releases’ section. *Insert fangirling moment here*

The album includes many fan favourites such as the feel good and all-consuming ‘Oceans’ which featured on Made In Chelsea as well as ‘Tonight’ on the FIFA 16 soundtrack.

Lesser known tracks such as ‘Stone’ and ‘See How’ showcase Coasts’ colourful and evocative lyrics.

Mandy’s Top 20 Tracks Of 2016

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20. “Nothing Personal” by Night Riots

This song is quite literally a banger. It’s impossible not to bob your head along as Travis Hawley belts out the empowered lyrics.

19. “Beggars” by Mainland

This single dropped back in June, a time when I definitely needed the message it gives. “Don’t stop, don’t give up.” 

18. “Really Wanna Call” by Viola Beach
This song is very fun, despite the fact that it was released posthumously. This song is one of many that give the world a glimpse of how far Viola Beach could have gone. Rest in peace.

17. “Daft Pretty Boys” by Bad Suns

“Got no time to waste on another pretty face.” Bad Suns deliver a message of personality over looks with this catchy tune.

16. “Piece By Piece” by The Hunna

This song is always one of my favorites when it comes around on shuffle. It’s one of those songs that sounds bright and happy but has a deeper meaning if you listen closely to the lyrics.

15. “Out Of My Head” by the Griswolds

This song was a bit of an anthem for me in 2016. Sometimes a relationship just goes wrong, so wrong that you don’t even want to think about it or that person ever again. This song embodies that feeling perfectly, and it’s something I think everyone can relate to. 

14. “You & I” by Colony House

I’m new to the Colony House fandom thanks to this song. It’s sure to make any day brighter.

13. “Addicted To You” by Joe Dolman

Folk music isn’t usually in my wheelhouse, but Joe Dolman is one obvious exception to that rule. His newest single, “Addicted To You” details a relationship gone wrong but still one that will be missed. 

12. “Even In My Dreams, I Can’t Win” by Bad Suns 

The title says it all. If you’ve ever felt like no matter what you do nothing ever goes your way, this is the song for you. 

11. “Call You Up” by Viola Beach

Another posthumous release from British band Viola Beach, “Call You Up” is certainly a sad one. It’s impossible for me to listen to it without tearing up.

10. “No Good” by Kaleo

This single from Icelandic band Kaleo is one of my favorites of theirs to see live. It’s full of killer guitar riffs and foot-stomping beats.

9. “Alive” by The Hunna

This track has it all. Amazing vocals, relatable lyrics and a stellar guitar solo.

8. “Talk Too Much” by COIN

This song is nothing short of an earworm. With just one listen it’ll get stuck in your head. But who said that’s a bad thing? 

7. “See How” by Coasts

This song is an emotional one for me. I’ve only ever seen it live once, thanks to an electrical mishap during Coasts’ set one night during which they filled the awkward silence with a stripped down version of this track. The lyrics paint a beautiful yet saddening picture, accompanied by tropical percussion and even an organ. 

6. “Night” by Mulàn 

Mulàn made their mysterious debut back in September with this intriguing track. The intro alone is enough to pull you in. It might be their only song as of yet, but it certainly shows the potential for a bright future. Let’s hope they don’t remain shrouded in mystery for too much longer.

5. “Swings And Waterslides” by Viola Beach

This is probably Viola Beach’s most well-known song, and for good reason. This is the perfect song to blast while you’re driving around with the windows down. It never fails to put a smile on my face.

4. “You & Me” by The Hunna 

One night on a tour bus far away from home, I heard some of the lyrics to this song belted out very badly by a drummer who loves them. I got curious and looked it up, and it made me fall in love with them, too. It’s infectious. 

3. “Washed Up Together” by Knox Hamilton

There’s nothing quite like finally getting your hands on a studio version of a song that you’ve heard live countless times. This song used to get stuck in my head all the time, and I wanted nothing more than to be able to listen to it. I was so excited when it was finally released. It’s still my ringtone to this day. 

2. “Wallow” by Coasts 

When think of this song, the word “anticipation” comes to mind. Every time I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Coasts live, they’ve opened with this song, using the fade-in to build anticipation for their set. When the song would hit full force, Chris Caines would finally take the stage, and you knew that Coasts had arrived. There’s nothing quite like that moment for me. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. I hope they never open with anything else.

1. “You Settle Me” by Pixel Fix

This song is very bittersweet for me. Released back in January, it instantly became my favorite song. Little did I know it was going to be the last release from Pixel Fix. I was completely gutted when they announced their breakup in July. One of my biggest regrets in life is never getting to see this song live. Marcus Yates is my favorite vocalist, and his sultry vocals shine on this track. Despite my sadness at their breakup, “You Settle Me” will always be my favorite song, and to me it is the best track of 2016.

Danielle’s Top 20 Tracks Of 2016

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20. ‘Better Love’ Hozier

The title track of The Legend Of Tarzan is also Hozier’s Hollywood debut and kicks off my top 20 tracks of the year.

19. ‘Dancing On My Own’ Calum Scott

I loved this song when it was originally released by Robyn but this slowed down, emotional version is just the ticket.

 18. ‘See How’ Coasts

This is the first Coasts track on my list and I love the vivid imagery that the lyrics evoke and the strong presence of percussion.

17. ‘Don’t Wait For Me’ Flawes

Ok so this is the first of many songs on this list that takes me right back to the live shows. Flawes signed a record deal in September with Red Bull and I was at the first ever headliner.

16. ‘Swings And Waterslides’ Viola Beach

R.I.P.

So technically this track was first released for download in August of last year but after that tragic accident this song and Viola Beach’s musical presence soared in popularity. Swings and Waterslides is my go to feel good song.

 15. ‘Rome’ Prides

Another uplifting tune that has me punching the air. Indie rock with a The 1975 vibe what’s not to love?

14. ‘Washed Up Together’ Knox Hamilton

After a chance meeting on Spotify and hearing Mandy talking about these guys I gave Washed Up Together a listen and I’m love.

13. ‘The Middle’ Benjamin Francis Leftwich

Singer/songwriters with a folky vibe are my weakness and I love love love the gorgeous vocals of Benjamin Francis Leftwich. 

12. ‘Lullaby Love’ Roo Panes

Getting his name from the Winnie The Pooh character; Roo knocked my socks off with his last album so to speak so I was super excited to hear what he had coming up next. Lullaby Love is the perfect marriage of Roo’s deep, velvety smooth vocals and cello accompaniment.

11. ‘Call Off The Search’ Heir

This is what Spotify radio was made for. With beautiful harmonies and climatic instrumentals Call Off The Search is a beautiful offering from Heir’s debut EP.

10. ‘So Close’ King No One

Ever since I first saw King No One at Live At Leeds (its kind of like a music festival but inside) back in April I have been obsessed with this song and was super excited to see them again this month as a birthday present to myself so come dance with me…

9. ‘Kicks’ Lauren Aquilina

Lauren Aquilina has quite literally been kicking butt this year with the release of her debut album and featuring on Buzzfeed’s 40 Underrated Pop Songs of 2016.

8. ‘She Said’ Sundara Karma

Talking of tracks that will get you feet tapping. Sundara Karma were making it big in 2016 and She Said is the perfect floor filler

7. ‘Swimming’ Marsicans

Feel good and very very summery, even when you listen to this track in the bleak mid winter you’ll be transported to the pool side, cocktail optional.

6. ‘Headlines’ Flawes

Flawes make their second offering to my top tracks list with Headlines. I mean that intro deserves a round of applause.

5.’Glitter and Gold’ Barns Courtney

In February I took my friend Becky to a small bar in Leeds ‘The Oporto’ to see Barns Courtney and whilst being totally hilarious we were mesmerised by his gravelly, rich voice.

4. ‘Run’ Tiggs Da Author

Live At Leeds is to blame for introducing me to the fell good music of Tiggs Da Author and I can’t help but smile whenever I hear this track.

3.’ Love’ Tom Speight

Love at first sight or should I say listen. Tom Speight stole my heart and this gorgeous duet is the perfect for the hopeless romantic in me.

2.’ You and Me’ The Hunna

The perfect mix of positivity and pure energy; The Hunna are seizing the day with this uplifting, fast – paced track.

1.’ Wallow’ Coasts

So I may have mentioned that a number of songs on this list remind me of seeing the bands live and Wallow is no exception except with this one I’m travelling hundreds of miles and boarding planes just to wallow in Coasts.