Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Anthemic Doctrine: The Top 30 songs of 2012

Hi folks,

Here is the final installment of list week, my top 30 songs and singles of 2012. It should be made clear right from the start that these are not necessarily songs that featured on any of the albums in the albums list that I posted over the past couple of days. Naturally some of them are, but those that are not are either singles from albums that are due out next year, or are just songs that I've heard individually and enjoyed very much over the past 12 months.

The rest is fairly self- explanatory, so without further ado, here are the top 30 songs that I have enjoyed listening to and sharing with you in 2012.

30. Everything Everything- Cough Cough (Available on: "Arc", due out January 14th 2013)

The first single to drop from the band's upcoming follow up to their enigmatically hyperactive debut "Man Alive", "Cough Cough" is much more immediate than anything on that record, and not so awkward to dance to. The pounding marching band- esque drums were met by glacial, quietly soaring guitar picking and a smooth keyboard backdrop, with vocal gang chanting providing a rugged sense of grandiosity.

29. Tame Impala- Mind Mischief (Available on "Lonerism", out now)

A choice cut of fuzzy, euphoric miserabilia from the Austrailian crew's stellar second full- length. It was perhaps one of the most simplistic moments on the record, but within those boundaries lay all of it's blissful charm.

28. The Walkmen- Line By Line (Available on "Heaven", out now)

For the most part on "Heaven" The Walkmen delivered on their promise of "classic American- style rock songs", and although this stunningly beautiful acoustic number didn't showcase the fist- pumping triumph of the other songs, it was an essential inclusion.

27. Actress- Shock therapy 101 (Available from twitter @ctress_)

As Darren Cunningham headed back towards his clubby roots on "R.I.P.", "Shock Therapy 101", this exclusive twitter release joined the throng and stood out as a moment of funky, glitchy repetitive bliss.

26. John Cale- I Wanna Talk 2 U (Available from "Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood", out now)

Cale's return to music world in 2012 was kicked in fantastic fashion in the form of this serene, funky and shuffling Bowie- esque bop.

25. The Gaslamp Killer- Nissim (with Amir Yangmai) (Available from "Breakthrough", out now)

A beautifully tuneful slice of smooth Middle Eastern funk, it sounds like Gaslamp Killer provided an oozingly gentle and stoned backdrop of bass, guitar and percussion and let Amir Yangmai improvise over the top on a sitar. If that was the case, it was the right decision.

24. Grizzly Bear- Sleeping Ute (Available on "Shields", out now)

To hear Grizzly Bear kick start things on their new album with something as electrifying and bombastic as "Sleeping Ute" after the orchestral sweeping of 2009's "Veckatimest" was certainly a surprise, but not at all an unwelcome one. This may be the most exciting thing they've ever written.

23. Ty Segall- Thank God For Sinners (Available on "Twins", out now)

Even though "Twins" was his third release of the year, Ty Segall continued to prove that he new how to bring an album kicking and screaming into this world, furiously and righteously.

22. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds- We No Who U R (Available on "Push Against The Sky", out February 2013)

Don't be fooled by Cave & Co.'s irksome endorsement of generic grammatical ignorance, this is a gorgeous and enchantingly sensitive precursor to what promises to be a mighty fine return next year.

21. Loma Prieta- Biography (Available on "I.V.", out now)

Although the exceedingly harsh vocals prevalent throughout "I.V." are present here, "Biography" is Loma Prieta's dabble in absolute musical beauty, with a chord progression which is absolutely to die for.

20. Hirsute Pursuit- Boys Keep Swinging (Available on "Tighten That Muscle Ring", out now)

Sexy, seductive, ridiculously funky, dark, unnerving and eerie... The Thin White Duke himself would be proud of the masterful transformation of David Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging" here.

19. Perfume Genius- Hood (Available on "Put Your Back N2 It", out now)

"Under this hood that you kiss/ I tick like a bomb..." The most tragic and intoxicating but endlessly moving moment on Mike Hadreas' stellar second album.

18. The Walkmen- Nightingales (Available on "Heaven", out now)

This song had easily the most uplifting and gravity defying ending on "Heaven", and quite possibly the best ending to a song this year.

17. Coloureds- Ted Nelson (Available on "Good Music for a Home, Vol. 2", out not)

The Oxford noise terrorists conjure up another dance floor banger, this time it seems with more emphasis on grooves and foot stomping rather than grinding synths, although all the ingredients that make up that Coloureds sound still present and correct.

16. Hot Chip- How Do You Do? (Available on "In Our Heads", out now)

Intricate, progressive and downright irresistible once it got going, Hot Chip don't need to take heed of the diversity argument presented by some when they're pushing out pieces of summery perfection like this.

15. Frank Ocean- Bad Religion (Available on "Channel Orange", out now)

"Bad Religion" was one of the shortest songs on "Channel Orange" but it was undeniably the sweetest. It finds Ocean at his most self- deprecating and lovelorn whilst slightly poking a satirical finger at religion to a stunning soundtrack. Genius.

14. Foals- Inhaler (Available on "Holy Fire", released on February 11th 2013)

Foals' sonic return took many by surprise, but for many others (myself included) "Inhaler" was an astounding statement of intent, a new embodiment of identity whilst still remaining distinctly Foals. I think it was NME who said it sounded like "Pulled Apart By Horses dosed up on Prince", which is very accurate indeed.

13. Kendrick Lamar- Swimming Pools (Drank) (Available on "Good Kid, M.A.A.D City", out now)

Every song on Lamar's impeccable second full- length tugged at the heartstrings, but it was almost impossible not to feel a lump in the back of your throat as he rapped "All I have left is my new appetite for failure" over this beautifully twinkling and deep cut beat.

12. Black Breath- Home of the Grave (Available on "Sentenced to Life", out now)

The most filthily sludgy and groove laden song on Black Breath's highly commended "Sentenced To Life" album, and it also manages to be the catchiest Metal song I've heard all year.

11. Liars- No.1 Against the Rush (Available on "WIXIW", out now)

The first thing that I latched on to when Liars released "No.1 against the rush" a couple of months prior to "WIXIW" was how electronic it was. The second was just how amazingly beautiful and tuneful it was.

10. Portico Quartet- Spinner (Available on "Portico Quartet", out now)

This London Electronica/ Jazz four piece created one of the most innovative and moving albums of the year musically this year with their self- titled, and "Spinner" in it's layered, shimmering sadness was the pinnacle of all the emotional heights reached by the band.

9. THEEsatisfaction- QueenS (Available on "awE naturalE", out now)

You know those albums that just have one incredibly good song and you for ages you don't listen to the rest of the record because you've just got that song on repeat? Step forward "QueenS", the incredibly seductive song of such manner from THEEsatisfaction.

8. Tame Impala- Feels Like We Only Go Backwards (Available on "Lonerism", out now)

With just a baked drum beat, a slightly funky and forward bass line and a mesmeric, whispy synth melody to power it, "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" was turned into something that was very almost the perfect three minute pop tune.

7. John Talabot- Depak Ine (Available on "Fin", out now)

Creepy, dark, paranoid, sexy, ampidextrous and unfathomably detailed, the opener to Spanish producer John Talabot's full length debut set not only the tone for the rest of "Fin", but also the standard for House music in 2012.

6. Death Grips- The Fever (Aye Aye) (Available on "The Money Store", out now)

Bombastic and brutal, refined and euphoric, this was the song where Death Grips true talent became apparent. Tied in together are the group's unrivaled appetite and talent in chaos, but also a previously unprecedented skill in song craft and structure. A masterpiece I tell thee.

5. Dope Body- Lazy Slave (Available on "Natural History", out now)

Perhaps the most absolutely incendiary ROCK track of the year. Ugly, pummeling and almost Neanderthal- esque in terms of the vocals, but one of the most brilliant understandings of intensity and ragged structure in rock song writing all year. Dope Body are masters of weaving in hundreds of elements and making them actually work together, and "Lazy Slave" is a fine, fine example of this.

4. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis- Same Love (Featuring Mary Herbert) (Available on "The Heist", out now)

The best song ever written about same sex marriage and acceptance, and an enormous occasion in Hip Hop. Let's hope people start to take heed.

3. Foals- My Number (Available from "Holy Fire", out February 11th 2013)

Why is the latest single from Foals' upcoming third album so good? After all, it's a lot simpler and immediate than anything they've ever done before, isn't it? It's just straight up '80s inflected funk- pop? Done with an incredible amount of talent and an absolutely enormous hook? Oh, that'll be it then...

2. Carly Rae Jepson- Call me Maybe (Available from "Kiss", out now)

I've listened to this song well over 100 times. It's still absolutely irresistible to me. I'm sorry. 

1. Swans- The Seer

Where do you even start with this? The fact that it's 32 minutes long is alone enough to spark a conversation that could last for hours. It's just the kind of thing that needs to be heard to be believed. I recently saw a video on youtube of a guy talking about an album that is a "musical landscape" to him. Pretty much all of "The Seer" (the album) is a musical landscape as far as I'm concerned, but the title track is the absolute epitome of both setting a scene and telling a story through a piece of instrumental music. Enjoy. 

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