TOP SONGS OF 2012: THE TOP 10, FINALLY

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:

50-41
40-31
30-21
20-11

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.

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TOP SONGS OF 2012: 30-21

I just got brutalized by the hardest exam I’ve ever taken in my life. Holy shit, it was a terrible, terrible experience.

Here’s the middle of the top 50. The list is starting to get really good.

If you missed the rest check them out here: 50-41 and 40-31.

30. Saint Etienne “Heading for the Fair”
From an album that’s both reflective and melancholy comes a song that’s both, and in classic Saint Etienne style, they’ve buried one of their better songs on the album. While many will say that they had their heyday in the ’90s, I’d argue that they’re in the midst of a late career renaissance. This is easily one of their best songs since Good Humor.

29. Niki & the Dove “The Drummer”
This year’s indie dancefloor filler. If someone did a 20-minute remix of this track, I probably wouldn’t complain all too much.

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28. Blood Red Shoes “Lost Kids”

This is the first of three songs from them on this list, and one of their most linear moments. But the thing to remember with this duo – even when ordinary, they’re still miles more interesting than almost any other band on the planet.

27. Lone Wolf “The Swan of Meander”
His new album – and this song in particular – has the influence of Wild Beasts all over it. It’s a brooding, dark, and expansive mess, but it’s also the lead single from Paul Marhsall’s best album yet.

Bloc Party, Berlin, June 2012
26. Bloc Party “Octopus”

A band that returns from a hiatus, even a short one, is almost always past its due date. Whether it’s money or whatever, their heart is usually not in, but Bloc Party bucked the trend. “Octopus” brought back the guitars, and more importantly, the life to the band. This is one of their best moments since Silent Alarm.

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25. Runaround Kids “The Narcissist”

I was a little hesitant to put a cover on this list, but this song is too good not to include. Taken from a split tour EP with Irish group We Are Losers, this redo contains everything I love about these guys – the vocal acrobatics, the guitars that fall somewhere between post-hardcore and pop, and the manic energy.

24. Jessie Ware “Night Light”
Hype can be a huge turnoff. I bought into it with Katy B, but I was sorely disappointed. Many of the same folks were all over this record, but I’m glad I gave it a try. Tracks like “Night Light” are an absolute gem.

23. FOE “Mother May I?”

No exaggeration here, but I’ve probably listened to this record once a day this year since its release. Album track “Mother May I?” is one of the reasons why, a grunge-washed rocker that would have made band frontwoman Hannah Clark a star in ’90s.

22. The Cribs “Anna”
Perhaps the Cribs have seen their moment pass in America, but they remain massive in their home country, and for good reason. Each album is anchored by singles, and filled out with indie/garage rockers that are anything but filler. “Anna” may show a more sensitive side of the band, but it’s anything but restrained.

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21. Johnny Foreigner “Maybe Daniel’s All the Push I Need”

Every end of year list I’ve made for the past seven years or whatever has featured these guys. And with good reason. They never stop releasing music – albums and singles and EPs and splits and cassettes. You’d think that they’d run out of ideas soon, but as evidenced by this latest single, they’re still going strong.


LOOKING AHEAD: RUNAROUND KIDS

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(Photo by the genius Sean Conroy)

Before we look back at the music of 2012, I’m going to drop a few of these jawns to look ahead at some of the music I’m anticipating in the year ahead. This may not be the best way to prioritize, but fuck it, it’s my blog.

The year is 2012, it’s now.

I do a lot of driving each week. It’s roughly 45 miles between my apartment and school. It’s about half that to work. On the high end, I probably do about 400 miles of driving per week.

A positive byproduct of these hours behind the wheel is that I have a lot of time with my iPod and its 100+ mixes. While on my 2012 mix last week, a few Runaround Kids tracks popped up, so I switched over and listened to a few tracks on shuffle before playing Linked Arms from start to finish.

When that record came out late last year I missed the boat on it, deciding to give it a pass because of my lukewarm response to the band’s first two EPs. While they had their moments, the songs never struck a nerve with me, and furthermore, both releases sounded like they were recorded in a tin can.

It was until after I heard “Can’t Lose Lover” on an Audio Antihero compilation that I decided to give Linked Arms a try. And I was blown the fuck away. It seems that the band now had a proper recording budget, but importantly, their songwriting had taken a massive step forward. I may skip a track here and there at times, but this is an amazing album from top to bottom.

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