Tuesday, January 17, 2012

STL's Top Songs Of 2012:: Part Three - 20 - 1

>>> Part One: 60 - 41

>>> Part Two: 40 - 21

And now...le finalé.

20) Patrick Kelleher – ‘Broken Up Now’

Patrick Kelleher followed up his stunning debut with Golden Syrup, an album which took him and his Cold Dead Hands in even stranger and more intriguing directions. Some of these new ventures worked and some didn’t. Surprisingly however, the one which made the most lasting impression on me was the most simple one; a short and sweet little concoction that's fuelled by anxiety and unsurity.

05 Patrick Kelleher and his Cold Dead Hands - Broken Up Now by Patrick Kelleher

19) Austra – ‘Lose It'

Flourishing in the wake of last year's SXSW festival, Austra's vocal pirouettes captivated many, including myself. Just listen to that voice.

Austra - Lose It by Annie Mac Presents

18) Dog And Panther – ‘Giant Hands’

This song came out of nowhere, gripped me by the heartstrings and never really let go. A stirring, emotive little ballad full to the brim with romantic grandeur.

Dog And Panther - Giant Hands by French Kiss

17) Tandem Felix – ‘Canyons’

Another of my favourite home-grown bands to emerge this year and one deserving of much greater exposure. Taken from their Tweedledee collection, ‘Canyons’ is the pinnacle of a band whose hushed, sweeping sound came to dominate many of my late nights in 2011.

Canyons by Tandem Felix

16) Outfit – ‘Two Islands’

The debut single from this Liverpudlian lot is a dense, enthralling affair, laden with gothic touches and an absolute belter of a refrain. More please.

DD007 A1: Outfit // Two Islands by Double Denim Records

15) Tara Masterson Hally – ‘Down We Lay'

One of my favourite finds of the year. A fledgling Irish songstress whose minimal acoustic laments were lined with cathartic rumblings and a beautiful, soul-stirring voice. On first hearing I described it asmusic for the late night walk home, with only shadows for company” and nearly a full year on I still feel this sums it up best. 

  Down We Lay by Tara Masterson Hally

14) Hush War Cry – ‘Lily’

With nods to both the brooding work of Echo and the Bunnymen and the playful duo-vocals of Wild Beasts, the first track from this Cork outfit is incredibly accomplished. A tantalising debut effort.

  Hush War Cry - Lily by echoparade

13) James Blake – ‘The Wilhelm Scream’

Blake’s debut album and I never fully meshed, and only certain tracks did I truly get what all the fuss was about. None more so than on the spectral and haunting ‘Wilhelm’s Scream’. As it transpired this track was in fact a re-working of James Litherland's 'Where To Turn', which Blake's own Father produced back in the day.

  James Litherland - Where To Turn by abeano 

12) - The Gorgeous Colours – ‘Chopped Heart’ / 'It's OK To Be Normal'

With two fantastic singles this year it was a difficult choice of which Gorgeous Colours’ track to include...so much so that I decided to join them at the hip. ‘Chopped Heart’ is sprightly and warming, while ‘It’s OK To Be Normal' is mournfully beautiful. Enjoy them both, according to your current mood. Needless to say - I'm looking forward to that new album immensely.

  Chopped Heart by The Gorgeous Colours

It's Ok To Be Normal by The Gorgeous Colours

11) M83 – ‘Midnight City’

Euphoric and intoxicating; this is music made for the late night dash into town, the city lights luring substance-lined veins closer into its jaws. 
    Midnight City by M83 

 10) Tieranniesaur – ‘Sketch!’

If there was an award for the funnest album of the year (and there should be) then Tieranniesaur’s debut effort would snap it up easily. Bursting at the seams with super vibes of the funk, pop and disco variety, it bounced out of the speakers with a strut and a swagger and on ‘Sketch'  head honcho Annie Tierney delivers the sassiest of put-downs. God help that person in question.

  Sketch! by fihyde

9) We Cut Corners – ‘Go Easy’

'Go Easy' arrived in a year which saw We Cut Corners finally deliver their debut album, winning over many with their melodic and powerful tones in the process. Not bad for a pair of school teachers. 

  We Cut Corners 'Go Easy' by The Delphi Label

8) Lana Del Ray - ‘Video Games’

Hard as it may be, if we ignore the hype (and the subsequent backlash) then what we are left with is a beautiful track from a beautiful singer. That's good enough for me.

  Lana Del Ray - Video Games by editradio

7) The Drums – ‘Money’

Effortlessly simple indie-pop that sticks to your synapses. Not every track on this list is going to alter your perspective on life; some – like this one - just make it a lot better for a few minutes.

  The Drums - Money by orchardmktg 

6) Spies - ‘Barricade’ 

Following up on last year’s top notch debut EP, new single ‘Barricade’ (and its accompanying B-Side ‘Weaker Body’) brought more of the same compelling tightness, gushing riffs and startlingly mature lyrical capacity from the Spies lads. New to the fore on this occasion however, was a far greater appreciation for an anthemic chorus - an attribute that should hold them in good stead for a prosperous 2012 and beyond.

  Barricade by spiesdublin

5) Moths – ‘<3’

There’s not much else to say about 18-year-old Jack Colleran, that hasn’t already been said. His homespun electronic beats have been written about and digested the world over and if recent developments are anything to go by, big things lie ahead. 'Blisters' is among my most played tracks of the year but '<3' and it’s chilled, summery vibes are the standout. Exciting times.

  <3 by MMOTHS

4) Clock Opera – 'Belongings'

This delicate, piano-led lullaby surges, morphs and blossoms into a mesmerising  rhythmic flurry…and then you realise you haven’t blinked in 3 minutes. Such a beautiful track.

Belongings by clockopera

3) The Horrors – ‘Still Life’

The sound of a million epiphanies played out by way of a warped, yet euphoric beat. A seminal and life affirming piece of music.

The Horrors - Still Life by The Recommender

2) Wild Beasts – ‘Reach A Bit Further'

The pinnacle of an album where Wild Beasts confirmed their status as one of the most interesting, unique and quite simply best bands in the world. The manner in which the twin vocals tease and toy with each other is simply magnificent. For full effect savour the acoustic version from Paris, c’est magnifique.

Wild Beasts / Reach A Bit Further by Constellations Festival

Wild Beasts, garage session from Télérama on Vimeo.

1) Jape – ‘The Oldest Mind’

The most pertinent example yet as to why Richie Egan is among our most talented and treasured artists. Lyrically it is astute and cerebral, musically it is inventive and challenging. I ached over how to do an album like Ocean Of Frequency justice; re-writing and re-formatting the review numerous times before leaving it in a regretfully growing 'to-do' pile. In short OoF is incredible. It is a bold piece of work that stretches the Jape modus operandi in captivating new ways and rewards the earnest listener with an array of intriguing and absorbing sounds and textures. This track, and this record, mark a magnificent pinnacle in Jape's evolution, and you get the feeling that yet more exciting experimentation and barrier breaking work lies ahead. When you consider the group's humble, acoustic-centred beginnings such an evolution is all the more commendable. In saying that, they can still do the simple thing well – check out the superb 'Lying On A Deathbed’ as reference.

  Jape - The Oldest Mind by theyounglion

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