SONGS of the YEAR / 2012


50.  I Don’t Know / Lantern

49.  You Will Be Here, Mine / Will Johnson

48.  On the Radio / Mind Spiders

47.  Get Me in a Room / Hallelujah the Hills

46.  I Want More / French Kissing

45.  Am I Wrong / Mikal Cronin

44.  Gone Tomorrow / Lambchop

43.  She’s Like Dracula / John Wesley Coleman III

42.  Always Forever / Hunx

41.  Brains / Lower Dens

40.  Bite My Tongue / King Khan & the Shrines

39.  Master of my Craft / Parquet Courts

38.  Headin’ for the Top Now / Spiritualized

37.  Moonlight Mile / The Babies

36.  Wind and Walls / The Tallest Man on Earth

35.  Monoliths / Lotus Plaza

34.  Wrecking Ball / Bruce Springsteen

33.  Song for a Warrior (ft. Karen O.) / Swans

32.  Become What You Are / Merchandise

31.  Wildest Moments / Jessie Ware

30.  Ekki Múkk/ Sigur Ros

29.  Sledding / No Kill

28.  Susannah / Woollen Kits

27.  Numb / Andy Stott

26.  I -80 / Apache Dropout

25.  Do It For You / Plateaus

24.  Myth / Beach House

23.  Vacation / Howls

22.  Lupine Dominus / Thee Oh Sees

21.  Goodtime Blues / TRMRS

20.  Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings / Father John Misty

19.  Whispering and Singing / Boomgates

18.  Kill for Love / Chromatics

17.  Cats & Dogs / The Tough Shits

16.  Adult / Ceremony


15.  The Weight of the Sea / Great Elk  (photo cred)

The lead track on Autogeography, Brooklyn indie/folk band Great Elk’s full length debut, can stand up to any mid-00s indie rock anthem and then some.

Dirty Projectors

14.  Impregnable Question / Dirty Projectors

Dirty Projectors turn in the year’s most disarming love song. 


13.  No Idea Why / TV Torso

Just got into this band’s Spoon-meets-new wave sound over the past few weeks after hearing their EPs from earlier this year.  Here’s to hoping for a full length before long.


12.  Thinkin’ About You / Frank Ocean

No doubt Ocean took the world by storm this year.  The falsetto chorus on this song is genius.  Soul music that truly bears the soul.


11.  Oblivion / Grimes

Visions, as a whole, didn’t do much for me. But “Oblivion” and “Genesis” are undeniably thrilling and inventive singles.

Royal Headache

10.  Never Again / Royal Headache

I don’t think there is a band on this list whose future I am more excited about than Australia’s Royal Headache.  From Shogun’s soul/punk vocals to the band’s blazing backing tracks, Royal Headache’s self-titled debut is full of brawlers and psychotic episodes so visceral they could be playing in your garage.

Spider Bags

9.  Friday Night / Spider Bags

Spider Bags’ drunken, take-no-prisoners rock & roll is best captured on this beer-soaked anthem.


8.  Museum of Flight / Damian Jurado

Jurado has managed some gorgeous folk melodies in his 15 years of recording, but perhaps nothing he’s ever recorded is as purely celestial as this.


7.  Heaven / The Walkmen

“Little House of Savages”, “The Rat”, “Louisiana”, “In the New Year”, “Angela/Surf City”.  The Walkmen have penned some of indie rock’s most memorable songs of the past ten years.  Heaven has a handful of songs that could sit alongside those classics, but none more so than the title track.


6.  (tie) Thank God for the Sinners / Ty Segall (from Twins)


The Tongue / Ty Segall Band (from Slaughterhouse)

I guess I’m skirting around my self-imposed “one song per artist” rule with this one.  But without that rule about 50% of this list might belong to Segall.   


5.  Is It Honest / Woods

For Woods, this is about as close as they come to some sort of indie-rock anthem.  Bend Beyond is full of memorable songs and wondrous melodies – “Is It Honest” wins this spot by a nose over all the other gems.


4.  Land I Love / Slow Country

For most of the year this song made me think of what Neil Young might sound like if he were still 24.  Echoes of Buffalo Tom and Sun Kil Moon as well.


3.  Oscillation / The Men

There were a bunch of contenders for this list from Open Your Heart – the muscular hard rock of “Turn It Around”, the Stonesy-romp of “Candy”, the art-punk brilliance of the title track and “Please Don’t Go Away”.  But in the end its “Oscillation”, an extended, kraut-like scorcher, that most made me come back to this one.


2.  Wild Desire / King Tuff

King Tuff released a handful of outstanding songs this year, a few on his self-titled Sub Pop debut, and a few on a scattering of 7”’s.  “Wild Desire” is from a Suicide Squeeze single, and pretty much any other year this would be my runaway #1.  It’s just such beautiful rock & roll poetry on top of a near infallible jam.


1.  The House That Heaven Built / Japandroids

I wanted King Tuff to be #1 so bad, but when I heard this song for the first time sometime last spring I knew that nothing else would stand a chance.  This song is just so complete, so Herculean in its every sound and movement that even a track as perfect as “Wild Desire” gets TKO’d by that first chorus.



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