Part two of the top tracks of 2012. This year I decided to go to my fellow musicians of DC, and ask some of my favorite bands in the city what they’ve been listening to in the past twelve months. Yesterday we heard from Ugly Purple Sweater, Silo Halo, Paperhaus, Screen Vinyl Image, and E.D. Sedgwick. Today Shark Week, The Torches, Foul Swoops, Coup Sauvage & the Snips, and Typefighter share what’s been in their ears, hearts & minds this year.
1. “Certain Kinds of Trash” by Chain & the Gang
Musings on the nature of the detritus of everyday life. Enjoy that discarded Twinkie wrapper while you still can. Great male/female vocals with a driving beat.
2. “Guillotine” by The Coup
The best type of song: catchy, danceable and insanely menacing. Hey rich guys, The Coup are coming to kill you, just so you know. Threatcore is my preferred genre and this is a stellar example.
3. “The Consequences of Jealousy” by Robert Glasper feat. Meshell Ndegeocello
Just listen to it. you’ll feel like a grown up.
4. “Rollin” by House of Ladosha
The Haus of Sauvage will give credit to other houses where credit is due, and the House of Ladosha certainly brought the heat (and the wit) on this track. HoL put on a series of electrifying performances at the Rock & Roll hotel and Ottobar earlier this year, delivering hardcore raps with the flair, sophistication and hostility of a true butch queen.
5. “I Love It” by Icona Pop (feat. Charli XCX)
6. “212” by Azealia Banks
2012 was the year that pop and dance finally stopped flirting with each other and entered into a loving and committed relationship. Icona Pop’s “I Love It” and Azealia Banks’ “212” are the best products of this union. If “I Love It” – with its Euro- style synths and sing-along vocals – is the flirty one who hangs out at the mall then the stripped-down “212” is the weird kid who ran off to art school in the big city. Either way, they both made their parents very proud this year.
7. “Ima Read” by Zebra Katz (feat. Njena Reddd Foxxx)
It is a known fact that Kristina Sauvage loves a good bitch track. Especially ones that threaten to not only read a bitch, but take her ass to college and give that bitch some knowledge.
8. “Thinking About You” by Frank Ocean
In true R&B tradition, we peek into Ocean’s vulnerabilities: bringing someone home and wondering about the future with his beloved. Frank ocean helps me believe in R&B
9. “Personal Planes” by Priests
If the Haus of Sauvage had a personal plane we’d know how to use it. We’d charter flights to Paris, Hamburg, and all these rest, taking all of our friends with us, including these up & coming DC children who created a swell racket on their debut 7″.
10. “QueenS” by Thee Satisfaction
Have you seen the video for this song? We wanna party with these ladies and their pomo boho raps. Thee Satisfaction are serving some serious brown girl femme realness. #werq
11. “Trife City” by Troll Tax
Probably the catchiest song about regrets and bad decisions you’ll ever hear. The drummer and lead singer are also really cute.
Yes, I count my own band as one of my favorites, I mean, I wouldn’t be in it if it weren’t… so my bandmates Stephen J.P. Guidry (vocals, banjo), Jocelyn Frank (oboe, vocals), Claire White (violin) and I (cello, lap-steel) came up with some of our favorite tunes from the past year.
(in no particular order)
Alexia: I think it’s pretty funny that two of my favorite songs this year are from bands I picked last year as well, before either had actually released a record. (Purity Ring & Electric Guest. I guess I like what I like…)
1. “Lofticries” by Purity Ring
Dark, electronic, a little creepy, and just weird enough, this is my favorite track off of one of my favorite albums of 2012, Shrines. I first heard/saw this young duo last fall at CMJ, and was captivated with their stage show/presence. Also, it’s been a long time since The Knife have put anything out, and Purity Ring fills a little bit of that weird/sexy electronic pop music w/female vox+gender-bending-vocoder-vocals void. Basically, I really dig it.
2. “Heartbeat” by Black Hills
I first heard this song when DC band Black Hills debuted it at the Rock & Roll Hotel in October. It blew me away- dark, dancey, sexy, bass-heavy- it makes your chest rumble and body move. I subsequently begged singer/producer Aaron Estes for a copy of the track, which was not (and still isn’t) released anywhere yet. To my sheer delight, he shared it with me. I will not admit how many times I’ve listened to it since then, but we’re in the triple digits at this point…
3. “Miss Underground” by These United States
Soulful and dreamy, this is my favorite song off of another one of my favorite albums of the year, the self-titled record by Americana-folk heroes These United States.
4. “This Head I Hold” by Electric Guest
Super catchy, dancey, fun, this track came out just in time for summer. It makes me smile and dance, and has a bit of a retro-soul-Motown feel to it. Love the piano intro.
5. “Hold On To Something” by Chris Staples
The hook is so catchy if you start listening as you set off on your day you almost move into a head -nodding, power -stroll -down- the- street- trance thereby forgetting the cleverness of the “glass is half full” take on a failed rommance until you’ve adopted it as a mantra for yourself. The simple, uncluttered music feels satisfying without anything extra dragging it down.
6. “Who” by David Byrne and St. Vincent
These two could make a paper airplane together and I’d probably think it was the best song ever. That’s not saying this song isn’t good – if you like sax-heavy jamz, you will like this.
7. “Apocalypse Dreams” by Tame Impala
I know “Apocalypse Dreams” sounds like it’s trying to be “Strawberry Fields” Beatles, but…I’m ok with that.
8. “No Parties” – Fergus and Geronimo
BEST FAKE BRITISH SONG OF THE YEAR. This Denton, Texas band’s 2012 release, Funky Was the State of Affairs, is a crazy mishmash of styles, but they somehow manage to pull off the kind of intense genre-jumping that usually makes me feel sick. With them, it’s some serious fun.
9. “You Lie” by Dr. John
Snaking, scalding saxophones that remind me of the best of RFTC bedding Dr. John chanting lyrics that might be political but also might just be about lying “No team ball no chick bout/ True sound better than what you bout”
10. “KOREA” by PSY & Gugak Center
The video currently has less than 9 million views on YouTube, but the chunky guitar and synth whirls make this probably the best cheer song from the 2012 Olympics, assuming there were any others. “Lift it and get up, right now lift it and get up/ Lift it and then get up, and that is Korea.”
Daniel Newhauser (drums):
1. “Size Meets the Sound” by Woods
When I saw these guys, they had a really long tuning song and then they launched out of it right into the sitar-ish guitar lead of this song and I was hooked. I love the general 60s vibe.
2. “Fold the Cloth” by Cate le Bon
Played drums for my friend opening for Cate and didn’t know much about her, so I was sitting downstairs having a beer when they started playing this song. I shit you not, I thought it was coming from the speakers so I tried to Shazam it. When I realized it was the band I ran upstairs to check the song. Awesome keyboard lead. Reminds me of Velvet Underground and Nico.
3. “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” by Father John Misty
A buddy turned me on to this and I was playing it for about a week straight afterward. Terrific drum sounds that just make the song. FJM has a great way of telling a story in his lyrics. Really, really cool video too, one of the best I’ve seen all year.
4. “Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart” by Ty Segall
I could pick any number of Ty songs, since he slayed 2012 with three albums. But Slaughterhouse is my favorite, and this song might be my favorite off that album. So full of energy, killer fuzzy guitar and rad reverby vocals.
5. “Apocalypse Dreams” by Tame Impala
I really wasn’t sure Tame Impala could outdo themselves after their first album, but the whole of Lonerism is masterfully written and recorded from front to back, with beautiful psych guitar tones and inventive song structure throughout. This song is emblematic of that. When the singer hits that high falsetto and the tambourine comes in, I get the chills.
Alberto Pacheco (guitar):
6. “Myth” by Beach House
Been a friend and fan for years now, but this is finally the beach house melody i think i was really waiting for: beautiful, heartwarming and timeless. well played, V & A!
7. “So Many Nights” by The Biters
My good guitarist buddy Matt Gabs and these Atlanta rockers make the perfect pop-rock foursome. This song screams Thin Lizzy, and these boys are still underground but really kicking it. Find their tour schedule and get to a show!
8. “Archimedes Plutonium” by Ramona Falls
I love what this guy does. Menomena blew me away when I first heard it, and Brent Knopf’s latest definitely does not disappoint. Many textures and beautiful layers to kick back with studio headphones.
9. “These Days” by Dr. Dog
What an awesome, upbeat track from one of my favorite regional bands. I recommend checking out their whole catalog.
10. “California” by Delta Spirit
The first time I felt this I felt like Kevin Shields had invaded one of nostalgic “reliving my 20s” dreams. More partial to this band’s earlier work, but this killer little tune totally jump started my 2012!
Danielle Vu (bass):
11. “Tell Me (What’s On Your Mind)” by Allah-Las
No matter how far away I live from my home state of California, a little piece of it will always remain in my heart. This song transports me those perfect summer moments when a swimming pool, a cold beer, and lush palms trees were everything you needed. Many bands these days are attempting to do the psych/surf rock thing but no one does it better than the Allah-Las. Also their bassist, Spencer Dunham, is amazing; he is definitely on my list of bassist-I-aspire-to-become.
12. “Baby” by The Babies
The opening riff instantly got stuck in my head for days and the lyrics are a good “pining-for-him” song without appearing too vulnerable or needy. <Self-promotion alert> Shark Week will be opening for The Babies on December 21st at Comet Ping Pong so catch these Brooklyn cool cats then!
13. “Dance in the Shadows” by Fantasmes
We played two shows with these psych-loving Puerto Ricans and we ended up discussing their stage presence and musicianship for days afterwards. So many great layers and interesting uses of instruments on their first full-length Redness Moon. This song is probably the most accessible song on their album with great introspective lyrics and delivery.
14. “Into the Black” by Chromatics
I didn’t think anyone could make this more haunting than the Neil Young original [My My, Hey Hey], but this cover blew me away. It’s got soothing synth undertones perfect for that drive home when you’re alone at night.
15. “Astral Projection” by Strip Steve, feat. Puro Instinct
I am not a big fan of Strip Steve, but I am a huge fan of Puro Instinct, who didn’t release anything other than this collaboration in 2012. Great, catchy disco dance beat that is the perfect song to start your Friday night because really, “what’s your destination?”
Ryan Mitchell (vocals/guitar):
I’ll go with the 40th anniversary reissue of Ziggy Stardust – “Rock and Roll Suicide”
Oh fuck, I forgot : “Tomorrow” by future islands
Singer/guitarist Sean Connell gives his picks for the year, in no particular order:
1. “Waiting On The Streetcar” by Can
2. “Radiation” by Priests
3. “Middle Class Drags” by Times New Viking
4. “Nixon’s Mess” (side 1 and 2) by The Plums
5. “Godbless Her, I Love Her” by Sic Alps
6. “Dream Baby, Dream” by Neneh Cherry and The Thing
7. “Rock Races” by Sic Alps
8. “Endless Shore” by Melody’s Echo Chamber
9. “All The Clocks” by Dan Melchior
10. “Good Looks” by Foul Swoops
“I barely listened to any new music this year. I mostly listened to Roxy Music and Sandy Denny.” -Sean
Ryan McLaughlin, singer/guitarist of Typefighter (also in The Joy Buttons) shares what he’s been listening to these past 12 months.
So, my top 10 songs of 2012 were not necessarily released in 2012.
Rather, these are the top songs of which i have discovered, or has had significant influence on me (in one way or another) in 2012.
In no particular order:
10. “Living in Colour” by Frightened Rabbit (Winter of Mixed Drinks)
Really, this whole record would be on this list. I only just discovered this band this year and have since worn this album the fuck out. I chose this particular song because it is the most immediately grabbing song of the bunch.
9. “Brilliant Colors” by Laughing Man (Rainbow Arcade)
Laughing Man is one of my favorite bands around (and solid dudes to boot) so it’s no surprise that they nailed this song. This is on Hays Holladay’s Rainbow Arcade comp. The entire record is glowing with some of the DMV’s best talent but this one really stuck out with me.
8. “773 Love” by Jeremih (Single)
This song is just awesome. My roommate made me sit down and listen to it wearing his gnarly headphones and it just made me feel sexy. Any song that isn’t by R. Kelly that makes you feel this sexy belongs on any top 10 list.
7. “Crumble” by Dinosaur Jr. (Beyond)
I mean, it’s Dinosaur Jr. and this song (like many) is great. So, yea.
6. “Bring it on Home to Me” by Sam Cooke
This, and just about everything else he ever put out, is some of my favorite music ever. I seemed to listen to a lot of it this year.
5. “Last Leaf” by Tom Waits (Bad as Me)
Tom Waits is always high on any list for me. I tend to be especially fond of his slower ballads. And this one is a beaut.
4. “‘Stars” by Ugly Purple Sweater (Conventions)
UPS is another one of my favorites all around. Typefighter released a split with them earlier this year where we covered this song and they covered one of ours called ‘Good Cop’. They made our song better than we could ever play it, the bastards.
3. “Across the Sea” by Weezer (Pinkerton)
I listened to this record a hell of a lot over the year. You know you did, too. So, shut up. It’s still awesome.
2. Any Nick Drake. It was one of those years.
1. “The House That Heaven Built” by Japandroids (Celebration Rock)
Officially, this is my favorite record of the year. Every song is great and it scratches many itches that haven’t been scratched in a long time. I wore this mf’er out.