elizabethWe’re midway through the year in music and liking what we’ve heard so far. We’re excited for what’s to come, but here at the midpoint, we’re taking pause to talk about our favorite releases of the first half of 2016.

Here’s Elizabeth’s picks:

1. ChairliftMoth
2. Parker MillsapThe Very Last Day
3. Quaker City Night HawksEl Astronauta
4. PorchesPool
5. BeyonceLemonade

1. Chairlift: Although I’ve loved this album since it came out in January, turns out it’s a perfect representation of my 2016 so far. Along with visually intoxicating videos and a stunning performance at Treefort, Chairlift stole the No. 1 spot in my heart and my top albums list. Consistent, pulsing energy that peaks at manageable dance-pop heights and dips into smooth grooves that are just as enticing. You could put this album on in the background while sending a million emails, and maybe the time will go by faster as you softly bob your head along. However, you could also put this album on just after the climax of a party: The hardcore are ready to pass out, but those of us with better pacing want to keep feeling the music, moving with a little less intensity to save the last of our energy for someone else, maybe someone who appreciates Chairlift right now as much as we do.

2. Parker Millsap: A lyrical masterpiece perfectly delivered by Millsap’s gritty tenor, indie Americana that might convert the most adamant country music hater. Gorgeous heart-wrenching storytelling and vocals take the traditional slide and harmonica-studded blues-rock riffs to another plane of emotion and meaning, skyrocketing this album to the top of its genre. Apparently he was binge-watching The Walking Dead while writing this album, but you’ll be tapping your foot despite the dire situations.

3. Quaker City Night Hawks: A strange one that I came across by accident, this album caught me during my recent “southern-rock revival” crush. The band claims to be massive ZZ Top fans, and I hear a bit of Boston in here, too. I find it perfect for road trip rocking out – loud guitars and bluesy rock vibes can get you through the Southern Idaho desert in no time. I appreciate the fun silliness of the concept, too, which the band pulls off by not taking themselves too seriously, despite seriously rocking.

4. Porches: I listened to this album hesitantly, because I knew if I loved it, I’d kick myself so hard for missing their set at Treefort. And yes, I did kick myself, and I am again right now. This album is perfect for a dark room, intense listening, intense feeling and intense moving. Indie dance is one of my favorite genres, and Porches will fill the indie-dance shaped hole in my heart all year long.

5. Beyonce: What can I say, I love it. I can’t relate to the cheater-hating drama, but I can certainly appreciate belting out a perfectly crafted pop tune in my car while pretending I’m maybe slightly as badass as Queen Bey.

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