top songs of 2016 - #20 - #11

As we wave goodbye to the madness of 2016 and look toward a future more in doubt than an Oasis reunion, it's good to remind ourselves of some of the quality local music released over the last 12 frantic months.

Here at Encore NI we've arranged these tunes into a top 20 list of our absoloute favourites to come from these shores. We start with...

#20. The Autocratic ~ Revelations

A young four-piece growing in confidence with each release, 'Revelations' has been the most danceable single of theirs to date. Channeling the jangly guitar work of Johnny Marr and a chorus Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones would be proud of, Belfast looks the most likely destination to find this band next year, having cut their teeth in Portrush's Atlantic Bar for most of this year. With a new line-up, new tunes and a new base in the capital city, this could be a big year for them.

#19 Natures -'Lighting Rollies Off Toasters'

As the energetic frontman of 'Attack of the Day', Dáithí Murphy is more used to watching his crowds injuring themselves in mosh-pits than getting nostalgic to sad acoustic songs about, literally lighting rollies off toasters. Though in the strange year of 2016 anything was truly possible, and in 'Seagreen', his debut solo EP under the name 'Natures', Murphy channeled these emotions into something truly meaningful. Currently making an impression on the Dublin emo-scene, 2017 will see the release of 'Half-Hearted', a follow up single long in the works.

#18 Sea Above - 'Going Away'

 It's been a year of quiet growth for Sea Above, a Belfast three piece with their roots in the US grunge scene of the early 90's. Their latest demo release 'In The Scoop' showed their more delicate side, with this gentle solo effort leaving a lasting impression.

#17. Sleeping Outside ~ 'Inhaler'

"my mind is overflowing
your agenda's really showing
and i can't catch my breath"

Another band breaking out of the North Coast's newly emerging emo-scene is Sleeping Outside, who blew away the crowd at Stendhal Festival with one of the performances of the summer. Despite a set filled with bangers, it was their emotionally charged version of 'Inhaler' that summed up the sound of a very memorable summer. Next year will important for them.

#16. Saint Sapphire ~ 'Supersonic Pulse'

2016 proved a wonderful year for Saint Sapphire and their charismatic frontman Sam GR Morgan. Buoyed by the addition of two new members and a new EP due for release in February, the bands trademark optimism shone through on this Manic Street Preachers inspired single.

#15. Brash Isaac ~ 'Only Ghost'

Former 1930's drummer Andrew Cameron has had quite a remarkable year since exchanging his drumsticks for a microphone. The young songwriter topped off a year of heart-wrenchingly beautiful releases with a slot at the Emerald Armada's Christmas Show, setting up another wonderful year ahead. This string accompanied track is a favourite.

#14. R51 ~ 'Elephant' 

Since this websites creation back in 2013 we've praised the intoxicatingly brilliant R51 more times than we can remember, and having already chosen 'A Perfect Life' as our track of the year through Chordblossom (read our thoughts here) toyed with the idea of leaving them off this list. In the end we couldn't, this track is just too good.

#13. Fox Colony ~ 'Patterns'

Due for release next year in full blown 'banger' form alongside a brand new EP, 'Patterns' is the synth-driven emotional jewel in Fox Colony's ever growing arsenal of tunes. A song about 'Every boy and girl on Tumblr, over-romanticising every situation', we predict there'll be alot of people singing the words back to frontman Darren Hill in 2017. We'll be right at the front with them!

#12. Oh Boland ~ 'Take Me Back To Mutton Island'

As Galway's number one indie-slop-pop-slacker-rock band of the last few years, Oh Boland have carried a city's hopes on their backs for a while now; thankfully debut album 'Spilt Milk' delivered, with this Pavement-y single standing out for that ferocious chorus hook.

#11. Life Goals ~ 'Wreck Less Nature'

"I don't wanna die! But I don't wanna live like this anymore..."

For many Decky McBride's latest project were the sound of the summer, as Life Goals stormed every gig they played in their busy 2016. Their debut split release of 'Wreck Less Nature' and 'Between The Lines' had a distinctly American feel, evoking the likes of PUP and Modern Baseball in the process. It's proved a winning formula so far and in 2017 there's no signs of Life Goals slowing down.

Taylor Johnson

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