Top 10 Tracks of 2016: Part 1

10. CANDY - "Hysterie"

Since the genre's inception in the late 70s, post-punk and the timbral tinker toys that compose its brutalist architecture have yet to go out of style. No matter what the decade, a chugging bassline and convincing impersonation of Robert Smith or Ian Curtis will prove timely and somehow fresh. 2016's most successful resuscitation of Thatcher-era gloom comes courtesy of South Korean quartet CANDY, whose latest single "Hysterie" constructs a wall of militant percussion between gales of shoegaze turbulence and the guttural proto-goth snarls of frontman Byun Sungjae.

9. Noname - "Freedom Interlude"

Branching from the same Chicagoan gospel-rap sapling that begat Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book, Noname's Telefone mixtape is an unlikely blossom that clawed its way through the sidewalk's faultline, a harmonic meeting of vinyl-crackled boom bap rhythms and the synthetic exhales of meandering future-jazz riffs. "Freedom Interlude", released 4 months prior to Telefone's midsummer's drop, seems to faintly materialize and fade into obscurity before Noname can capture a well-focused snapshot of her psyche on digital tape. Atop bouyant tides of Rhodes piano, she shuffles through themes and lyrical motifs like a newly-dealt hand of potentially playable cards, considering and discarding abstract forays into social media infatuation, spiritual redemption and breakfast cereal before artfully opting to fold.

8. Crying - "Premonitory Dream"

Shouting stadium-sized hooks at whispered stanzas of neo-romantic observation on the other end of the receiver, Elaiza Santos sends a time-travelling voicemail to her former self in the form of a "Premonitory Dream". Her New York-based indiepop trio Crying reports back to the past with a newfound sense of confidence, supplementing the chiptune bleeps of 2014's Get Olde // Second Wind with explosive power-ballad arrangements and a charmingly self-aware lack of self-awareness on the opening cut of their sophomore LP, Beyond the Fleeting Gales. 

"spit in the water / not sure why"
"deep in the heart of this lone bridge / a sudden terror overtook me / continue blindly or turn back?"

"Premonitory Dream" places listeners in the swaying center of a proverbial bridge, providing a quick, pad-synth scored chance to retreat to the cozy twee tunes of Crying's back catalogue before urging them to make a sprint towards point B, a propulsive tailwind of muted rhythm guitar and bouyant 16-bit bass giddily racing them across the divide. Though equally introspective as past highlights like "ES" and "Batang Killjoy", tinged with their Bandcamp emo melancholia, Crying's latest incarnation comes armed with positivity, combating indecision with the uplifting kitsch of early 80s arena rock. 

Flick your Bic lighter, activate your phone's flashlight, or raise the brightness of your 3DS' display. Whatever means of luminescence you have on hand, put it to use and raise it proudly in the air. 

Check your sense of irony at the door.