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By Jason Thomas

Here we are, another year down, and another batch of the “best tunes.” I put that in quotation marks because there’s really no formula here, it’s just one DJ playing 26 tracks that feel like they belong here. Most of these songs received several spins on THE BIG BEAT in 2016, and while a lot of the artists are slam dunk, obvious picks (The xx, Bon Iver, Japandroids), there are a few names that might surprise someone that doesn’t listen to the show religiously (which would be 99.913% of the greater Chicago metropolitan area). So, without any ado, really, here’s THE BIG BEAT’s Best of 2016 list.


Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam – “A 1000 Times” (Glassnote)

Angel Olsen – “Shut Up, Kiss Me” (Jagjaguwar)

Lost Under Heaven – “Beneath the Concrete” (Mute)


Bon Iver – “10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄” (Jagjaguwar)

Nothing – “ACD (Abcessive Compulsive Disorder)” (Relapse)

Blood Orange – “Best to You” (Domino)

Underworld – “I Exhale” (Caroline International)

Savages – “T.I.W.Y.G.” (Matador)

DIIV – “Under the Sun” (Captured Tracks)


How to Dress Well – “Lost Youth/Lost You” (Weird World/Domino)

Beach Slang – “Punks in a Disco Bar” (Polyvinyl)

Tegan and Sara – “Boyfriend” (Warner Bros.)

Whitney – “No Matter Where We Go” (Secretly Canadian)

The Lemon Twigs – “These Words” (4AD)


Japandroids – “Near to the Wild Heart of Life” (ANTI-)

Ra Ra Riot – “Water” (Barsuk)

Mitski – “Your Best American Girl” (Dead Oceans)


Iggy Pop – “Sunday” (Loma Vista/Concord)

The xx – “On Hold” (Young Turks)

Leonard Cohen – “You Want It Darker” (Columbia)

American Wrestlers – “Give Up” (Fat Possum)

Balance and Composure – “Spinning” (Vagrant)

Radiohead – “True Love Waits” (XL)


Kate Tempest – “Don’t Fall In” (Lex)

Roosevelt – “Fever” (City Slang)

Car Seat Headrest – “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” (Matador)


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