Over the past few weeks, a succession of time and brain-space constraints did their utmost to put the kibosh on my attempts to pull together a 2016 end of year round-up. As a consequence, the LP re-evaluation process was a lot less thorough than I would've liked and some worthwhile stuff will have no doubt slipped through the cracks. Before moving on to my albums of the year though, I'll kick off with ten individual tunes (11 actually) that I've returned to time and again in 2016 - these are either stand alones or (spoiler alert) taken from albums that finished just outside of my Top 20 of the year. In reverse order, natch.
10) Slow Club - In Waves
A well thought of band that I've never really got to grips with until now. 'One Day All of This Won't Matter Anymore' is a very good LP and 'In Waves' is irresistible.
9) Ultimate Painting - Bills
Low key, yet insistant lead track from the band's third LP, 'Dusk'.
8) William Tyler - Highway Anxiety
The lead track from his third solo album, Tyler has also played with Silver Jews and Lambchop. A marvellous tune that stretches out like a wide open, erm, highway. If it isn't picked up for a major motion picture one of these days, then someone is seriously missing a trick.
7) Vanishing Twin - The Conservation of Energy
Formed in 2015 by members of Fanfarlo, Neon Neon, Broadcast and Floating Points, Vanishing Twin make a warm and inviting pop noise, tweaked with a gentle hint of esoteric psychedelia. Their videos are very cool too.
6) Meatraffle - One Track Mind
It's been a year of consolidation for Meatraffle following 2015's fantastic 'HiFi Classics' LP. In 2016 they put out just two tunes (that I'm aware of), 'The Bird Song', a limited edition Speedy Wunderground 7" and 'One Track Mind', which appeared on a various artist Trashmouth Records EP for record store day. One of my favourite bands out there right now.
5) The Blackeyed Susans - The Good Life Never Ends
'The Good Life Never Ends' was written by the late great David McComb of The Triffids for his final band Costar, though his recording has never received an official release. The song clearly means a lot to The Blackeyed Susans, as they previously recorded an intense live reading of it in 2008, for a David McComb tribute album.
4) Teenage Fanclub - I'm in Love
The album is good, but 'I'm in Love' is a song right up there with their very best.
3) Sleaford Mods - TCR
Along with Meatraffle, Sleaford Mods are my favourite British band of recent years. As serious as your life and funny as hell.
2) Palms on Fire - Sword and Shield
A cracking tune, recommended to me by more than one of my blogging chums. An absolute standout from 'Where Are The Grey Clouds Going?', released back at the start of 2016. Pop perfection.
1) Girl Ray - Trouble
Very possibly the best pop song about 'apathy and hating yourself'.....ever! If the bassline doesn't move you, you seriously need to get your ears syringed. I'm expecting big things from this lot in 2017.
My most played track of 2016 was actually a reissue, so not technically eligible for this rundown. I've enjoyed the song so much this year though, that my review wouldn't be complete without it. My sincere thanks go out to blogging chum Brian for introducing me to this absolute nugget.
Hipflasks - A Lovely Scar
(The Hipflasks album is available to order here)