After a week+ of putting this list together, I’ve finally reached the end. Not surprisingly, I’ve come across a few songs that should probably be included, but it’s impossible to be 100% thorough with these things. If you want to see the rest:


Next week I’ll work on the albums and my 2013 list, and maybe get around to some of the stuff I missed (but probably not).

Either way, this will be a good way to not think about how bad the Sixers are without Bynum and Jrue.

10. Everything Everything “Cough Cough”
At times when this quartet do the whole “art for art’s sake,” it can hinder the music, but on their debut you heard the potential for something great. Tunes like “MY KZ YR BF” and “Suffragette Suffragette” hinted at this, and with “Cough Cough” – the first single from their sophomore album, that potential has been fully realized. It’s an anthemic, percussion-heavy romp that shows the band at their darkest, but also most triumphant.

9. Runaround Kids “Blush”
There’s nothing minor about my obsession with this band any longer – it’s a full blown love that’s absolutely craving the next album. The smattering of singles and comp appearances from the band this year showed that the massive growth on Linked Arms was no joke – they were still looking above and beyond their current subject matter of “GIRLS DON’T LIKE ME DRINKING DRINKING DRINKING BAND BAND WAKEFIELD WAKEFIELD GIRLS.” With “Blush” – the sole new add-on to the Teeth Blue, Lips Red EP, we’re getting a potential sneak peak of 2013, a year that could very well feature this trio running things in West Yorkshire, London, and beyond.

8. Pulled Apart By Horses “Everything Dipped in Gold”
I gave up on most “heavy” music years ago – it just really wasn’t my thing any longer, but Pulled Apart By Horses are one of those rare, once-in-a-decade bands who are truly next level. What’s most important is that they know how to write songs – catchy as all fuck songs – that rarely leave your head and make their gigs truly memorable events. “Everything Dipped in Gold” is one of those moments that remind you that anyone can write a timeless song.

7. Pins “LuvU4Lyf”
Some bands are downright annoying with their marketing – like WU LYF, but others take a more understated approached, like Pins. And in reality all the band did was remain under the radar, release minimal information, and play utterly brilliant gigs – or at least that’s what I heard from scores of locals. The band’s first single stoked the flames a bit, but the release of their first EP, of which “LuvU4Lyf” is drawn from – lit a massive fire. Clocking in at just 2:30, it’s pulsating bass-led rhythm section and explosive chorus are accented by lead singer Faith Holgate’s proclamation, “I would die for you, and I love you for life.”

This is the type of song that makes a career.

6. FOE “A Handsome Stranger Called Death”
FOE aka Hannah Clark has a defined and well-executed purpose in her songs, and the video for this track may be the best exhibition of those sensibilities. Delving into the sinister side of fairy tales while driving down a deserted road in the countryside, the imagery in Clark’s head comes to life to spectacular results. At 2:13 when the minimal instrumentation wraps around each other before exploding to the conclusion, Clark parts her hair in front of a volcanic eruption, reminding us all that you don’t need much money to write a brilliant tune or film the perfect video.

5. Alt-J “Dissolve Me”
I’m not being pedantic by ranking an album track so high on this list. On an album filled with high notes, this is the highest note of all. On “Dissolve Me,” all of the bands artier moments are perfectly filed down to properly fit within the greater context of the album. For a band who has already styled themselves experts at each layer of their multimedia package, this is the track that reminds that we’re listening to a truly special talent.

4. Blood Red Shoes “In Time to Voices”
If these guys aren’t the best band on the planet, then I’m not even sure if I want to live here anymore. Three albums into a career that’s careening quite close to a European version of Trail of Dead (stunning music, has yet to get their deserved fanbase), this Brighton, England duo reached the critical juncture that is the third album and made every right decision, including leading off with this brooding/bombastic screed that would have Kurt Cobain rattled if he were alive.

3. The Crookes “Afterglow”
While the Crookes may be an indie act with mainstream aspirations – something of which is hinted at all over their sophomore album Hold Fast, perhaps it’s all for the best that they stick to their ethos of DIY – which was perfectly exhibited by their successful Pledge Music campaign. Upon the release of “Afterglow” as a single, it was apparent that the band was finally in their element, drawing on a myriad of influences like Motown, Northern soul, and more traditional indie in the vein of the Smiths.

2. FOE “The Black Lodge”
I suppose if Twin Peaks were being filmed today, Clark’s music would be featured all over the series, with the roadhouse being perfect for “The Black Lodge” from about 2:32 to 2:45. The track is catchy – an undeniable pop song – but its dark and sinister sides are what ultimately make this one of the best musical moments of the year.

And word is that we’ll get to hear some more new music from FOE in 2013.

1. Blood Red Shoes “Stop Kicking”
Steven Ansell and Laura-Mary Carter’s musical partnership has been responsible for more than their fair share of gems over the years, but no song hints at the potential of this duo more than “Stop Kicking.” Not release as a single (and probably for the best), the track features shimmering riffs and soaring vocals that showcase a band that will always stay firmly entrenched in the punk rock scene of their youth, but will make sure they continue to push forward and grow that genre in any way they can.


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