Consider these hand-picked 2016 tracks your Aural Wes Christmas present.
Mndsgn - "Alluptoyou"
Mndgsn’s Alluptoyou is the kind of bass-slapping, soft synth tune that makes you feel like you’re trekking across a dark ocean floor, or swimming in a pool of honey, or hovering above the surface of Mars. Staying quiet since 2014, this mellow song is from Los Angeles based Mndgsn’s newest album, Body Wash. Mesmerizingly gentle and flowing, skillfully mashing together glittering keyboard, whispery gospel-like vocals and space-age sound effects, this is one of the best three minute vacations you’ll find in a while. - Ezra Kohn
Joyce Manor - "Angel in the Snow"
Joyce Manor released their fourth record, Cody, last week and it is already being considered as one of the best albums of the year in the California pop punk/emo scene. Cody, as a whole, has a more cohesive sound than previous Joyce Manor records and a darker lyrical focus on self-identification. While nothing can quite compare to songs like Catalina Fight Song and Heart Tattoo from Joyce Manor's 2014 album Never Hungover Again, Cody transitions away from pure pop punk to indie rock - Allison Hsu
Bruno Mars - "24K"
I've been digging this new track by Bruno Mars (who??). If there was any question as to whether the 80's are back, this confirms it. The production sounds straight out of an early 80's rap song; that signature synth bass, minimal disco drums and synth chords - it's all a total throwback, and it reminds me of "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash. Of course he's shamelessly trying to recreate his success of "Uptown Funk," but it's a super fun pop song. One major caveat: be prepared to hate this song after it's been out a few weeks and you can't escape it - Adam Manson
Moses Sumney - "Lonely World"
With amazing new music out from so many artists, it could be hard for a particular song to stands apart as my favorite. However, Moses Sumney's "Lonely World", off of his new EP "Lamentations", is one of the best songs I have heard in a long time. It begins beautifully slow and contemplative, builds with an addictive drum beat and layered vocals, comes to a climax with a fast tempo segment that could make anyone dance, and cuts back to the sorrowful stripped down vocals of the beginning just before ending. Its instrumental and vocal complexity paired with the straight forward, yet poignant, lyrics, makes for a truly unique song that really deserves a listen - Manny Unger
Solange - "Weary"
The latest album from the woman who beat up Jay-Z in an elevator has opened to rave reviews, and understandably so. Beyonce’s younger sister has finally found her sound on A Seat at the Table, mixing old school soul with driving beats and swelling synths, which is what “Weary” does perfectly. Her voice is lighter than Bey’s, which is echoed by the subtle instrumentation, but it floats effortlessly over the beat. In fact, it may be more in line with the direction of pop music today, given the recent upsurge in the popularity of neo-soul. See for yourself how she has finally came into her own. - Will Jacobsen
Yves Tumor - "Broke In feat. Oxhy"
so the human race has expired. grown moldy in our packages. 2016 anno Domini may have irreparably ruined my faith in human decency; fresh apocalypse rains down perpetually, reality trumps invention on a daily and i constantly discover previously unimaginable depths of frustration and despair. and as the bloody edge of reality cuts deeper and more carelessly, i've had the debut proper of one Sean Bowie, a former james ferraro collaborator turned Janus, NON and PAN affiliate, on near constant rotation. it's a fragmented portrait of the artist that channel surfs between genres with an inscrutable sort of internal logic. this Actress-indebted track best exemplifies what i love about the thing: ruinous club beats, blistering footwork drums, unplaceable vocals. it beckons to me, "eat your prismatic heart out, david." "feed me more" i intone. - David Whitehouse
The Governor - "Nicolas Jaar"
Off 26-year-old Jaar's second LP Sirens, 'The Governor' features a combination of horns, echoey vocals, dramatic synths, and sharp drumming that all-in-all work together to create the dramatic and tension-filled six-minute dance journey that Jaar takes us on. Other songs on the album feature a variety of vibes and sounds. From the melancholic tones of 'Killing Time' to the Spanish conversational piece 'No' (featuring Jaar in conversation with his father as a child), the album further exemplifies the young artist's talent and is definitely worth checking out sometime soon. - Nadine Ng
Jenny Hval - "Conceptual Romance"
Despite Norwegian songwriter Jenny Hval's categorization as an experimental musician, the track "Conceptual Romance" taps into universal feelings of insecurity in a way that is far from abstract. The surging bass at beginning of the track provides forward momentum which breaks down into vulnerable self-examination: "I dont know who I am/But I'm working on it." - Meg West
Gaika - "Roadside"
The six minute expanse of “Roadside” at the end of Gaika’s new EP SPAGHETTO builds from low synth pulses and plaintive vocals into an urgent industrial pop-smasher, both inviting and ominous. It is one of the most accessible moments in Gaika’s discography, and an immediate highlight from the new EP. Quick thanks to Toph for pointing me towards this track(!) - Ryan Breen