It’s December and the year we’ve all been getting pretty fed up with is coming to a close. 2016 is almost over, but anyone who says it’s been all doom and gloom hasn’t had their ears pressed lovingly to the ground.
In the coming weeks we’ll be tackling the best songs 2016 has given us, and in addition to Happy’s personal favourites we’ve hand picked a selection of Aussie artists to share their top 10. First off the rink Alastair Cairns, frontman of Sydney’s Wells.
With New Years Eve in sight, it’s time to start sorting you party playlist. Fans of rock, folk and Australiana – you’ll eat up Wells’ top 10 songs of 2016.
Mike Noga – All My Friends Are Alcoholics
I heard a live version of this song many years ago and have never quite been able to shake it. This version from Mike Noga’s 2016 album King is stunning. It simultaneously makes me crave a drink and wish I’d never tasted the stuff. But mostly it makes me miss a lot of people.
The Tambourine Girls – Townes Van Zandt
There has never been a better country songwriter than the late great Townes Van Zandt. I would probably never have found this song if I didn’t believe that and that would have been a horrible shame. This song from The Tambourine Girls has a beautiful, slightly mournful tone that makes me feel at peace. You’ve got to take advantage of that.
Spookyland – Prophet
Prophet from Spookyland is stream of conciousness lyrical perfection. I don’t know how you can fit a Donald Bradman reference into a song about a fraudulent prophet/artist. If I did I would have done it already.
DMA’s – Step Up The Morphine
Both Johnny and Mason from the DMA’s are really accomplished folk musicians and there is something about this song that reminds me of that. It’s got less pop dynamite than some of their other songs but I think that allows other facets of their music to come to the fore.
Tiny Little Houses – Milo Tin
This is a cute song about the nasty realisation that you are getting left behind. I love the mix of Caleb’s lazy Australian vocal delivery and the slacker rock vibe from the rest of Tiny Little Houses. There are some really nice, clever and unexpected lyrics too.
Olympia – Smoke Signals
Steady momentum. A sexy guitar solo. Abstract lyrics. A melody I can’t sing or forget. Olympia’s shifting, ethereal, graceful voice. No other song had such an immediate effect on me in 2016. It just slapped me and made me take notice.
Shining Bird – I Can Run
Super lush and mystical.
Alex Cameron – The Comeback
Alex Cameron is the premier storytelling songwriter in the country. The fact that he tells his stories over a backdrop of 80’s flavoured synthesisers makes him all the more intriguing. Also: give the guy his damn show back.
Gang of Youths – Still Unbeaten Life
This song feels like a fitting bookend to what has been one of the most memorable narratives in Australian music over the last few years. The catharsis is undeniable.
Brightness – Oblivion
This song is so damn good and no one knows it… yet. Do yourself a favour and get on its level.