Yes, it’s already July, which means it’s time for AP’s annual mid-year report. We’re going to be breaking down the best songs and albums of the year thus far, as well as our most-anticipated releases for the rest of 2016. See below for the year’s 12 best songs so far.

 

Against The Current – ”Runaway”

New York-based Against The Current’s debut album, In Our Bones, features “Runaway,” which combines the band’s bubbly pop sound and a ready-to-dance-along beat. It’s a mix that proves this band are ready to make waves. —Maggie Dickman

 

Andy Black – “We Don’t Have To Dance”

During our MI Conversation Series event earlier this year, Andy Biersack called attention to his “fuck fun” tattoo. Our culture puts such an emphasis on cheap thrills, forced socializing and vacuous good times. The debut single from The Shadow Side—the Black Veil Brides singer’s full-length solo debut issued under the name Andy Black—takes aim at small talk and false sentiment (and that one dude at parties who insists on playing “The Joker” by Steve Miller Band). It’s an anthem offering steady, steely confidence for social Misfits (yes, with a capital “M”). “We Don’t Have To Dance” was co-written by Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, whose penchant for highly infectious melodic anthems is well-documented by Nielsen Soundscan. Quinn Allman, formerly of the Used, had a hand in the song as well, but this deliciously danceable and deceptively smart single belongs to Andy through and through. —Ryan J. Downey

 

Bear Hands – “2 AM”

On this sublime single, Bear Hands frontman Dylan Rau perfectly captures the essence of adult debauchery and the attendant, epiphanic rude awakening when the hangovers get harder and harder to recover from. One part loser hipster, the other panicked adult, the character in “2 AM” is someone we've known personally, whether it's at closing time at the local bar or in front of the bathroom mirror. That this life lesson is delivered with a steady pulsing groove and not with overwrought histrionics and decibels makes it all the more cooler. Tune in, turn on, grow up. Jason Pettigrew

 

Capsize – “Tear Me Apart”

If Capsize's latest single, “Tear Me Apart,” doesn't get you excited for their album, then you need to check your little post-hardcore heart to see if it's still beating. The track (which features Counterparts vocalist Brendan Murphy), is for anyone who has ever had their dreams doubted by someone they love. “Tear Me Apart” comes from the band's sophomore full-length, A Reintroduction: The Essence Of All That Surrounds Me, which will be released July 22 via Equal Vision Records. —Rabab Al-Sharif

 

Dan + Shay – “Road Trippin’”

May your summer jams be guilt-free, and if you're cool with that, you should be cool with Dan + Shay's “Road Trippin'.” This country-pop specimen is alien to AltPress, but it's universally catchy and radiates posi energy. (It doesn't hurt that Boys Like Girls frontman Martin Johnson produced, performed on and co-wrote the track.) Their live band also is rich in scene lineage: there's Brighten guitarist Justin Richards, ex-My American Heart bassist Dustin Hook and Andrew Cook, a former member of both A Rocket To The Moon and the Receiving End Of Sirens. Did we miss anyone? —Brian Kraus

 

Fallujah – “The Void Alone”

Fallujah’s breed of ambient death metal is unlike anything you’ve heard before. One spin of “The Void Alone”—the lead single from their new studio album, Dreamless—and you won’t know whether to be relaxed or overflowing with adrenaline. Not only is it jam-packed with instrumentals heavy enough to satisfy the most stubborn of metal fans, but its overlying atmospheric tendencies create an accessibility beyond that of the average death-metal formula. —Tyler Sharp