TOP SONGS OF 2012: 40-31

It’s finals week, so I probably won’t get the next installment of this up until Friday. Gotta get A’s or else.

If you missed 50-41 on Monday (I don’t blame you), then here’s a link so you can catch up before you read below.

40. Pulled Apart By Horses “Some Mothers”

A brutalizing, two-minute post-hardcore jam should not be this melodic, and should not get lodged in your head all day. But it does. Each and every time.

39. Niki & the Dove “Mother Protect”
I initially avoided this duo because of the massive hype – and also because one of the guys doing PR for them is a massive, self-centered douche. But in a way, I suppose I lost out. The band’s debut one is one of the more enjoyable listens of the year, pulling in elements of electronica that would make Bjork proud. “Mother Protect” is the album’s most inventive moment.

38. The Kabeedies “Eyes”
“Eyes,” the lead single off of the band’s second album,” saw a shift in sound, away from saccharine pop to an expansiveness that sees more focus on rhythm. Surprisingly it works, and the new music has had a much longer shelf life.

37. Let’s Buy Happiness “Works Better on Paper”

My love for this band has nothing to do with the fact that I’d like to go on a kissing date with their lead singer. Brilliant indie pop.

36. Cheers Elephant “Doin’ It, Right”
Good music with a ’60s rock feel, “Doin’ It, Right” recalls some of the best moments of the Kinks. Best thing of all? They’re from Philly.

35. The Spills “Atomic Arabian Facebuster”
The Spills were relatively quiet this year, but of the songs they released, this is my clear favorite. It emits hyperactive energy through every note, making it the musical equivalent of Coke and Pop Rocks.

34. I Concur “Your Chair”
When a band releases their finest moment as their latest single, you hate to hear that it’s also their swan song. Their knack for storytelling over fuzz-drenched indie noise is going to be missed, as “Your Chair” continues their trend of brilliant lyricism backed by memorable instrumentation.

The Megaphonic Thrift
33. The Megaphonic Thrift “Fire Walk With Everyone”

At times this Norwegian group sounds like Guided By Voices raised exclusively on a diet of T. Rex and Ride – and that’s nowhere more apparent than on this track.

32. Egyptian Hip Hop “Yoro Diallo”

After this London group’s string of brilliant singles a few years back, I was sure that their debut album was going to be life-changing. When it finally came out this year, I can’t say it was the tour de force I was expecting, but the more time I devote to it, the more I really start to understand it. And “Yoro Diallo” was the first track to grab me. It’s a lo-fi electronic masterpiece that rewards those who are willing to devote the time to really break it down.

31. Alt-J “Tessellate”

Alt-J probably never meant to be a pop band, and this tune for sure was never meant to be a pop song. But alas, “Tessellate” is pop music for 2012, a song that pushes all of the right buttons and at times can be quite uncomfortable to listen to while home alone.



As a fan of bands from all over, Filter’s Culture Collide fest seems like an event tailored to me. Over four days, a diverse selection of international up-and-comers play gigs throughout venues in the neighborhoods of Echo Park and Silver Lake. Some of the acts are big enough to anchor their own tours – like The Wombats and Of Montreal, and others have barely been noticed outside of their home countries, like Coldair (Poland) and The Moog (Hungary).

But that’s why fests like these are great. You drop a nominal amount of money (in this case it’s $20) and get to see as much music as you like, with well-known acts sandwiched together with obscure names.

In years past Culture Collide has brought some of my favorite international bands to the west coast, including Hello Saferide (Sweden), Harrys Gym (Norway), Casiokids (Norway), De Staat (the Netherlands), and For a Minor Reflection (Iceland). This year’s lineup (the third one, I think) is the probably the best one yet, featuring Moss (the Netherlands), Go Back to the Zoo (the Netherlands), Niki & the Dove (Sweden), The Wombats (UK), and Blood Red Shoes (UK).

Here’s the full schedule.

While the fest has gotten better over the years, it could use some improvement, namely with the amount of bands playing from Mexico and other Latin American countries. With the glut of quality indie bands coming from south of the border, as well as the city’s high Latino population, this would seem like a no-brainer. Oh, and also the fact that Filter has a Mexican-focused site.

Today’s (err, um, tonight’s, since this post is really, really late) 5 are those bands that I’m most excited to see, one of which was amazing just last night in Santa Ana.

Blood Red Shoes play Thursday at 10:30pm (Taix Champagne Room).

Read the rest of this entry »