Kristen’s 2016 Music Mix

Not as much music reached my ears this year, but that doesn’t mean my 2016 wasn’t defined by it’s musical highlights.  Here are some of the songs and bands that meant the most to me in 2016.

Scroll to bottom to listen to Spotify playlist

  1. Lukas Graham – Better Than Yourself (Criminal Mind, Pt. 2)

    I knew going into SXSW that I was going to like Lukas Graham, but I didn’t realize at the end of the year they were going to be my #1 band discovery of 2016.  They first time I saw Lukas Graham, they opened with this song.  It was love at first note.

  1. Biffy Clyro – Wolves of Winter

    When your most beloved band releases a new album, you get excited. When this is the first single they drop, giddiness ensues.  2016’s Ellipsis wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but if it were, it wouldn’t be a Biffy Clyro album now would it?  My dearest wish for 2017 is that the band will return to Los Angeles and play.

  1. Badflower – Drop Dead

    My favorite release this year was Badflower’s Temper EP.  This band continues to improve and with new songs like “Drop Dead”, I don’t see this trajectory leveling off any time soon.

  1. Jamie N Commons – Not Gonna Break Me

    This was my theme song for much of 2016 as I continued to endure a myriad of setbacks in my journey towards a PhD.  I was not bested, however, and by the end of the year I finally (finally!) was able to defend my dissertation and graduate.  Thank you Mr. Commons!

  1. Dear Boy – Alluria

    I saw Dear Boy more than any other band live this year including a particularly memorable Halloween show.  In 2016 the band released more music (Parts of a Flower EP) and “Alluria” is my favorite song from the new offerings.

  1. The Hunna – You & Me

    This song makes me smile. It brings to mind all the best parts of 2016; backstage shenanigans, time spent with friends, discovering amazing new music, and ping pong!

  1. The Struts – Kiss This

    Let’s just dedicate this song to 2016.  It was a tough year for a variety of reasons, but as much as I look forward to putting the year behind me, I would also like to remember the good times…like that time I saw The Struts do a TV taping and the audience was so into it, they clapped through the entire set!

  1. Young Rising Sons – Simple Life

    Young Rising Sons always manage to be part of my most memorable concert experiences.  2016 brought some great shows, but one memory that is most vivid is a two-day extravagance at The Troubadour that included Young Rising Sons, The Moth & The Flame, Mainland, Dreamers, and Night Riots.  All I need are times like that…a Simple Life indeed!

  1. Dreamers – Sweet Disaster

    Dreamers only came into my life in 2016, but it feels like I’ve known this band for years.  Their debut full length, This Album Does Not Exist, was released this year and there is not a single song on it that couldn’t be a radio hit.  One of my favorites for dancing, singing, and general good times.

  2. The Wrecks – Favorite Liar

    At the beginning of the year, I interviewed The Wrecks when they opened for Nothing But Thieves at The Troubadour.  They were a new band, full of potential and seemingly boundless energy.  I loved them! By the end of the year, they had toured the country and signed a label deal.  I’d say 2016 was their year, but let’s just see where they go next!

  3. Walking On Cars – Flying High Falling Low

    In 2016, Walking On Cars released their album, Everything This Way, and came to play LA not once, but twice!  This band is an experience and their music elicits “all the feels” as a dear friend and fellow WOC fan would say.

  4. The Americans – I’ll Be Yours

    I caught this band a couple of times this year and each time, this song really stuck.  I tracked it down and put it on whenever I feel a little blue.  I find the song and it’s tempo changes quite hopeful.

  5. Joseph – Lifted Away

    This trio of sisters opened for James Bay at Humphrey’s, one of the most unexpected and amazing show adventures of my year down in San Diego.  When Noisetrade offered one of their EPs, I snatched it up and was swept away by the glorious vocal harmonies.

  6. BANNERS – Gold Dust

    I spent a lot of time in Starbucks this year, writing away.  I was very excited when I realized one of my SXSW faves was picked up for regular rotation at my store.  What speaks volumes about my love for this band is that after hearing this song over and over and over during some of the more trying times of my year, I still love it!

  7. Highly Suspect – My Name is Human

    One of my favorite bands from last year came back in 2016 with another album, another Grammy nomination, and a couple killlller shows at The Troubadour.  I don’t think it’s possible for this band to disappoint, especially in the live setting.

  8. The Virginmarys – Push the Pedal

    Highlights of my 2016 would not be complete without mentioning time spent with these gentlemen and their music.  They were one of the interviews I did for a video series with High Voltage and their 2016 album, Divides, spent a lot of time in my car stereo which probably wasn’t the best idea as songs like “Push the Pedal” don’t exactly encourage safe driving practices.

  9. Lapsley – Hurt Me

    This song just digs right in.  I tracked down everything I could from Lapsley after seeing her play a surprise set at SXSW and this is the track I ended up putting on repeat.  If you happened to see me driving around LA singing in my car, chances are it was this song.

  10. X Ambassadors f. Jamie N Commons – Low Life

    The X Ambassadors record came through for me big time this year with songs like this and their hit, “Unsteady”.  I had a particularly trying weekend where these songs were played on repeat.  You cannot underestimate the healing power of music, especially when one is feeling particularly alone.

  11. Mondo Cozmo – Shine

    If we had a category for best local discovery of 2016, Mondo Cozmo would win the prize.  To say I missed a chance to see Dear Boy in order to see this band again…well, that should say everything.  “Shine” is an anthem to take into 2017 reminding us that, “Everything will be alright if you let it go”.




~ Kristen