The Record Stache


Take a listen to and a look at The Record Stache writer Jen Dan’s glance back at some of the most ear-catching pop songs of 2016.

1.  Lush – Out Of Control

Beloved dream-pop band Lush reunited in 2015, almost 2 decades after its split, only to break up once again this year after releasing its captivating Blind Spot EP and running through a string of mesmerizing live performance dates.  The EP and those shows recaptured the spirit and sound of the band, including the dreamily pensive tune Out Of Control, which is about the unbreakable bond between parent and child (a rare subject in a world filled to the brim with romantic love songs):

2.  Luna Shadows – Hallelujah California

Electronic pop songstress Luna Shadows is shining brightly in the spotlight with her pop-based, electronics/synths-embellished sound on her debut Summertime EP.  Her sweet and airy vocals are reminiscent of Lana Del Rey and Madison (check that artist out by searching for “noiseofmadison”), and on the very LDR-like Hallelujah California, her vaporous vocal tone is set against a hypnotic, noir sonic atmosphere:

3.  Puro Instinct – Tell Me

Sisters Piper and Sky have released a dreamy ‘80s New Wave treat with the enchanting Tell Me.  The tune floats by like a glimmering, shimmering mist filled with chiming guitar lines and the duo’s diaphanous vocals that also, at times, hark back to Madonna’s rich, throaty tone:

4.  Rainsford – S.I.D. (Sunshine In December)

Rainsford is the musical moniker of Rainey Qualley (daughter of actress Andie MacDowell) who shines like a radiant, ascendant star on this slowly unfolding electronic pop number.  Qualley starts off quietly and introspectively on the verses, but then lets loose with high register, rapturous cooing on the chorus.  A delicately alluring debut:

5.  Ramsey – 2am

LA-based electronic noir artist Ramsey stuns with her riveting, emotionally raw and expressive vocals on the run of songs that she’s recently released via SoundCloud.   Ramsey is readying her debut EP due on February 24th, but deep cut 2am won’t feature on it.  So get wrapped up tight in the stalking, dramatic, intimate, and electrifying ambience of the track, and Ramsey’s winding and wild vocals, while it’s still available online:

6.  Mint Julep – White Hot Heart

Indie pop husband and wife duo Keith Kenniff (AKA ambient/electronic act Helios) and Hollie Kenniff record as Mint Julep and they released a lovely electronic/synth-pop album, Broken Devotion, earlier last year.  White Hot Heart shimmers with a lushly sublime synths-based luminescence and Hollie’s sweetly despondent, lofty sighs:

7.  Djustin – Stars

The enthralling Swedish-American, electronic pop duo Djustin, made up of Johan Angergård (Acid House Kings, Club 8, owner of Labrador Records) and Rose Suau, delivered its debut EP titled Tryst in May.  Stars is one of its sparkling dancefloor numbers that flies high on driving scintillation, a gleaming noir vibe, and Suau’s sweetly soaring vocals:

8.  Audreytina – I Don’t Believe In Mysteries

LA-based, multi-platform artist Audreytina (singer, songwriter, musician, director, actress, more!) dropped a cheerfully bittersweet and cheekily bright tune and video with I Don’t Believe In Mysteries.  The song structure may be pure bubblegum pop, but the lyrical sentiments balance between positivity and melancholy.  Audreytina chimes in with melodic wistfulness, while the entertaining video features her as a Goth Girl in love with a Surfer Dude.  Is true love within reach on the California beach?

9.  COTE – Golden Hour

NYC-located songstress COTE is a bit of a mystery online; at least so far, but what is known is that she’s  recently delivered her third single, Golden Hour, a subtly smoldering folk/electronic-pop hymn driven by COTE’s slowly lilting and drifting vocals, glistening guitar strings, and an emphatic, but measured beat:

10.  Pentatonix – Jolene feat. Dolly Parton (Dolly Parton cover)

…and for the more mainstream music lover, a pop take from ultra-tight a cappella/beatboxing band Pentatonix on the country noir classic originally composed and recorded by Dolly Parton:

…capped off with the pretty faithful, haunting, (and not really pop – sorry!), Pentatonix cover of the late Leonard Cohen’s classic Hallelujah:

Written by: Jen Dan

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