J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

J's Indie/Rock Mayhem - 12th December 2012
The Top Singles of 2012

(Tomasz Sienicki, Wikimedia Commons, 2004)

[Well, it's that time of year again - and we came back just in time. The annual year-end shows kicked off this week with the Top 15 Singles of 2012. I know the number of singles I put on this list varies from year to year, but I guess it just depends on how many things I got really into in a given year. In addition to those 15, the rest of the show was dedicated to the 'best of the rest' singles and songs of 2012. This podcast is extra long - three hours! I know that's a lot to ask you guys to absorb, but unlike other podcasts, you can turn it on, listen for awhile, turn it off and come back later without any issue - just like listening to the radio. Imagine that.

Next week will be the 11th annual Top 25 Albums of the Year show. This year has been a pretty solid year for music, but we'll talk more about that next week, clearly. Now, onward.]

J's Indie/Rock Podcast: Top Singles of 2012 show

Theme Song - Peaches - "Rock Show"
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Royal Baths - "Darling Divine" [from better luck next life. a pretty blistering album as well. love this song.]
Hospitality - "Friends of Friends" [from their self-titled record. merge had a hot streak this year and this album was definitely part of that.]
Corin Tucker Band - "Groundhog Day" [from kill my blues. it's good to hear corin properly rock again.]
Dare Dukes and the Blackstock Collection - "Crooked Mouth" [from thugs and china dolls. i love the fractured sing-along of this track and that's what landed it here.]
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Frankie Rose - "Know Me" [from interstellar. a pretty solid record. might hear it next week as well.]
Titus Andronicus - "In a Big City" [from local business. there's something almost delta spirit-esque about this song. obviously a compliment.]
Alabama Shakes - "Hold On" [from boys and girls. they've grown beyond college radio confines, and good for them. great album.]
Cloud Nothings - "Stay Useless" [from attack on memory. can i please see these guys live at some point just to hear this song and pump my fist?]
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Delta Spirit - "Empty House" [from their self-titled album. this is the first year delta spirit has released an album and no single ended up in my ranked singles list. that's okay though because this album is still stellar.]
Bat for Lashes - "All Your Gold" [from the haunted man. this record is definitely more than the sum of its parts, so singles wise, it has some great tracks. album wise..much better.]
Caleb Caudle - "Little Reminders" [from tobacco town. the only person to appear on the show twice tonight - first here as a solo act. this is a really great song that everyone i've played it for has immediately responded to. usually a good sign.]
Chromatics - "Kill for Love" [the title track from this year's release. a record that hasn't grabbed me as a whole this year, but the title track has.]
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Nada Surf - "Waiting for Something" [from the stars are indifferent to astronomy. i wasn't totally sold on this album as a whole, but this song is magnificent.]
Sun Kil Moon - "Sunshine in Chicago" [from among the leaves. missed the editing on this song - that's what i get for not playing it for so long. but a great and funny song.]
T0W3RS - "Bounty" [from the wyatt EP. north carolina music. can't beat it.]
Afghan Whigs - "Lovecrimes" [their cover of the frank ocean song. weird to put them on here and not frank himself, but their version of that song is just so good.]
Screaming Females - "It All Means Nothing" [from ugly. rock. that's all you can really say. it's all you need to say.]
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the Henry Clay People - "25 For the Rest of Our Lives" [the title track from their latest. one of the best live shows i saw this year, too, but also a great barnstormer of a song.]
Lotus Plaza - "Monoliths" [from spooky action at a distance. man, i still dig this song quite a bit. it's just one of those soaring, big songs.]
Sharon Van Etten - "Serpents" [from tramp. another example of an album being more than its parts - get ready for next week.]
Smashing Pumpkins - "Panopticon" [from oceania. is this record really this good, or is it the soft bigotry of low expectations? i'm going with that it's actually this good. i'm really enjoying it.]
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Redd Kross - "Stay Away from Downtown" [from researching the blues. honestly this might should have been in the top 15. or any number of songs on this record. again, sum of its parts.]
the Bayonets - "She's Not Failed Me Yet" [from driver. caleb caudle's other song from the bayonets' album from earlier this year. he's on a hot streak of writing.]
Woods - "Cali in a Cup" [from bend beyond. a gorgeous little bouncing folk song. i've enjoyed it all year.]
Polica - "Violent Games" [from give you the ghost. more minnesota music. i need to actually go there someday.]
Pistol Crash - "Loveable Rogue" [from free fallin. adam thorn finds a way into my best singles show any year he makes a record, i've noticed. love this song.]

[Here's where the top 15 singles of the year kick off. Enjoy!]

15. The Babies - "Baby" : This record has a couple of flat songs on it, but "Baby" is the most pristine example of how thoroughly amazing this record can be. Like a crystalline distillation of the Vivian Girls and Woods influences that the main songwriters bring to the band. Too good. From Our House on the Hill.

14. Japandroids - "Fire's Highway" : This will sound strange, but every song on this record is so good, it's actually hard to discern the best song. (This will be born out by where this record lands on the list next week.) Meanwhile, I had to struggle between several songs for their place on this list and "Fire's Highway" got the nod just because of his relentless it is. "Restless nights to restless years" is just such a beautiful line, too. From Celebration Rock.

13. Young Prisms - "Floating in Blue" : There's some 4AD floating around in here - His Name Is Alive and This Mortal Coil, for instance - but there's so much more to the sound of this band and this song has not left me alone since I first heard this record. From In Between.

12. A.C. Newman - "I'm Not Talking" : I was a little underwhelmed by this record, which is a shame considering how this first single had me drooling for its release. This is probably still my favorite song - touches of melancholy and sincere love reverberate throughout. It's an autumn song, for sure. From Shut Down the Streets.

11. First Aid Kit - "Emmylou" : This record blindsided me and while it's pretty solid on the whole, this song was a winner from note one. Yes, I'm a sucker for allusions and, well, there you go. From The Lion's Roar.

10. M.I.A. - "Bad Girls" : The oldest single on the list - dating back to January of this year - and I heard it the other night for the first time in awhile, remembering just what a bangin' song it is. I've been a sucker for M.I.A. since Kala was on my albums list the year it came out, but she still makes great songs. From her still to be released fourth album.

9. Nude Beach - "Keep It Cool" : If you can listen to "Keep It Cool" and not love it, you and I probably have very different tastes in music. It's the kind of classic rock and roll song that carries a laid-back tempo and vibe while still making you understand that the band just flat out rocks. From II.

8. Dinosaur Jr. - "Watch the Corners" : In many ways, this is the model Dinosaur Jr. song, but it also goes well beyond that basic structure into something truly mesmerizing. The five minutes fly by and before you know it, you're lost in the hazy world of Mascis' voice and electrifying guitar. I'm not always a big fan of guitar heroics, but J. Mascis makes me reconsider that every time. From I Bet On Sky.

7. The Roots - "Tip the Scale" : It's hard to talk about how complex and layered I think this song is, so maybe I'll just let my Aquarium Drunkard piece speak for me. From Undun. (I just realized, as I sometimes do, that this was actually released in late 2011, but since it was too late to make my list last year, there it is.)

6. Lightships - "Silver and Gold" : Gerard Love wrote my favorite Teenage Fanclub song of all time - "Sparky's Dream." So is it any wonder that I love his side project immensely? So good to hear a record of nothing but his work. This song is just one of many great parts of it. From Electric Cables.

5. Bobby Womack - "Dayglo Reflection" : Bobby Womack gets the hard, grizzled veteran push that a lot of late-period artists do when they team up with someone especially gifted, in this case Damon Albarn, and put a record together. This track with Lana Del Ray is just the icing on the cake of a superb album. From The Bravest Man in the Universe.

4. The Raveonettes - "The Enemy" : I was sold on this band from the beginning, then drifted away from them, then came back in force a couple of albums ago. Their latest is one of their finest and this song is part of why my enjoyment of them has grown a lot in recent years. From Observator.

3. Heartless Bastards - "Parted Ways" : There's something about the bridge and guitar solo in this song that lifts me every single time I hear it. It's an out and out rock and roll song with swagger and it's hard to hear that kind of stuff without it being over the top, cheesy or just plain wrong sounded. God bless this band. From Arrow.

2. Patterson Hood - "Disappears" : I had a tough time choosing between this song and my number one. Both got in my head and wouldn't leave for long periods of time. "Disappears" is one of Hood's finest songs in how heartbreaking it is - how it takes the survival skills of childhood and traces them to the destructive behaviors of adulthood and how it all gets wrapped up a little too neatly sometimes. It's a devastating song and I love it all the more for that reason. From Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance.

1. Killer Mike - "Untitled" : There are parts of this song, lyrically, I thoroughly disagree with. And that's what's beautiful about it. The fact that this song makes me want to engage it in a discussion - to talk about the thoughts and theories it develops - makes it a vital piece of art. That, and it's the hookiest damn thing I have heard all year. And when I feel completely comfortable singing along with the opening line of "you are witnessing elegance in the form of a black elephant," well, you've won me over. This is high art pop music that is playing low and high denominators and it's mesmerizing. From R.A.P. Music.

That'll do it for this week. Tune in next week for the 11th Annual Top 25 Albums of the Year. Until then, take care.

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