2016 you really have been a mixed bag of a year. Four of my friends died this year, along with some very famous and beloved artists including David Bowie and Leonard Cohen. But as with so many bad years in terms of personal suffering, there seems to never be a better time for good music and thankfully 2016 was an amazing year for music, both personally in my world and in the world at large. With that in mind and prompted by Everett True asking people on facebook what their favourite tracks of the year were, I am compiling a list of my top ten tracks of 2016, in no particular order, because music is not a competition.
2016 will always be the year I supported Skating Polly live in Cardiff. Skating Polly are my favourite band so simply getting to see them in a small venue (unlike when they supported Babes In Toyland in 2015) was a real treat. You can only imagine my pure excitement to be opening for them at the Moon Club. Promoter Liz Hunt gave me a tshirt that says WRITING SONGS IS FOR GIRLS. Pals for life now. ha ha I gave Peyton and Kelli new handmade Hannah Golightly tshirts and Kelli wore hers on stage in Glasgow. I love them.
Globelamp’s ‘Artist/ Traveller’ captured my heart when I was listening to The Orange Glow round at my mate Nala’s house. I fell in love with the story of the song. Picturing the liberated freedom of the central character as I found myself vaguely house-bound. The Sixties hippie Queens who sprang to life in my imagination as I listened. The painted grief of losing a best friend, which I had too, a few years ago. But most of all, the music sounds utterly beautiful. (See video above.)
2016 is the year I discovered and fell for Angel Olsen. Her song ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’ captures something truly special in the vocal. The sarcasm and attitude as well as the earnestness. There’s something in the effects on the vocals too that I can’t quite put a finger on but it’s truly divinely satisfying. I wanted to be the Angel Olsen in the video skating about in a glittery wig not giving a fuck and simultaneously being melodramatic as hell. I explored her back catalogue but most of it wasn’t for me. It seems that this year Angel Olsen has really blossomed in terms of her musical style and I am so happy to be along for the ride.
Although Dilly Dally’s track ‘Desire’ came out in October 2015, rather than in this year, 2016 is the year I saw them live for the first time. It was at Soup Kitchen in Manchester. I bumped into Katie Monks in the crowd while Weaves were on stage and I told her I loved her band. She replied “I love your outfit.” I was wearing a pale pink vintage 60s mini dress with a big collar and cuffs and had my turquoise hair in pigtails. After signing my ticket, Katie Monks went back stage and put her hair into pigtails too. She wore her hair like that for the rest of the UK tour. Suited her. I listened to ‘Desire’ so many times this year that it had to be on the list somewhere.
Speaking of Weaves, who I saw supporting Dilly Dally- when I saw them live I was surprised to recognise a track: Coo Coo. It’s so happy and so distinctive. I sent it to my cousin to cheer her up the morning after the gig. I met Jasmyn Burke, singer of Weaves in the crowd as well. She was lovely and friendly. When she was on stage before that she came into the crowd and walked around, wrapping up clusters of people with her mic cable as she went, forming the audience into several group hugs, whilst delivering and incredible performance vocally.
2016 was the year I discovered Honeyblood due to my new friend Suzy who invited me to see them for her birthday in Liverpool. I wasn’t well enough to go in the end, so was daunted by the train and had an interview early the next morning in my hometown, so I didn’t make it. But thanks to Suzy, I started listening to them and they’re amazing. I just reviewed their latest release Babes Never Die for Vulture Hound. ‘Ready For The Magic’ is my favourite song from that album.
This list wouldn’t be complete without possibly my track of the year if I had to pick one (DON’T MAKE ME PLEASE!!!!) I first heard this song right at the very end of last year when Peter Darrington played my song ‘You Can Tell A Lot’ on the radio for the first time. In the same show he played ‘Master of Lonely’ by Globelamp and I googled the lyrics. I fell so in love with this song that I even ended up covering it in my own Grungy style and adding it to my set list for live shows with my Imaginary Band. I felt some inexplicable affinity with this song and I love it to bits.
It was the year that I discovered The Hyena Kill thanks to Jason Butcher of UCan Studios. We were talking about booking them and then I ended up interviewing and reviewing them for Vulture Hound. I also kinda became friends with Steve Dobb and Lorna Blundell. It was a good year for them too because they supported Max and Igor Cavalera in London.
2016 was the year I discovered Mr Heart. I was putting on a gig- the now infamous GRRRLS WITH GUITARS Party (where this blog got it’s name)- and my friend Russ recommended them. They are from Salford where Russ studied music. He’s in Megadeth UK, in case you wanted to know. When promoter Jordan Stead was looking for riot grrrl acts to play the Fox & Newt he picked my band Hannah Golightly’s Imaginary Band to support Mr Heart, with local support coming from the Floating Light. I fell in love with this song ‘Body Is Mine’ while they were playing and it got stuck in my head for days afterwards. That’s my Orange TH30 amp in the video above. I let Tamsin Middleton borrow it for Mr Heart’s set.
2016 was the year that I finally got my feelings about my best friend Joanne dying out into song… via Lady Gaga that is. It’s been a few years sing I lost Joanne, my best friend of 26 years and I usually write about the things that hurt or inspire me. But Joanne’s death was something way too big to put into words for me. I remember when Lady Gaga first arrived on the scene I LOVED her and Joanne HATED her ha ha… I think she grew to favour her more as time went on, so I hope she’s cool with the way the Universe played this one out channelled through Lady Gaga’s song ‘Joanne.’
Hannah Golightly founded GrrrlsWithGuitars in 2016. She is a riot grrrl musician, singer, guitarist and drummer from the UK. She has been a music critic and rock writer for over eight years and has previously written for collapseboard.com for six years, godisinthetvzine.co.uk, mother's pride zine and vulturehound.com. She has a passion for guitars and amps and owns a lot of them! She is passionate about promoting and helping grrrls and women play guitar and form bands. She loves female rock musicians' music and he favourite band is Skating Polly. She believes that a grrrl with a guitar can change the world!