12. "Time To Dance" - The Shoes
The Shoes are a electro-funk duo from France, not to be confused with the 70's group Shoes that came out of Zion, Illinois. This duo is a pair of music producers who have worked with the likes of Ladyhawke, Shakira and The Golden Slivers. "Time To Dance" lives up to it's name. A relentless hip-shaking, pulse pounder that includes a tinge of old arena rock infused piano. I'm a sucker for spelling out words in a song as well. One the best music videos of the year (This list features a few candidates). Jake Gyllenhal slaughtering hipsters? Works for me.
11. "Wolves" - Big Wreck
Ian Thornley is back where he belongs, knocking out inspired and rejuvinated tunes with the Boston boys in Big Wreck. Their first album in 10 years is the summer's Albatross which is a reminder of why Big Wreck were so successful in Thornley's native Canada in the late 90's. "Wolves" has a feel like it's an old classic right off the bat and it holds up being performed live as well. Another sign of a great song.
10. "Ill Mind Of Hopsin 5" - Hopsin
Hopsin is a rapper from LA who has been releasing a series of videos on Youtube and in the fifth installment he expresses his frustration with today's culture and obsession on unrelatable fame. A feeling that many of us have but don't express with such style and cadence. It's interesting that he feels remorse that he's part of the very scene that he's riffing on. Can't wait for his album, which is to be released in 2013.
9. "Madness" - Muse
Sometimes the greatest songs come out of terrible moments. While the moment that inspired Muse's "Madness" isn't as terrible as it could be, it's one I'm sure most of us can relate to. After fighting with his girlfriend frontman Matt Bellamy thought about it and realized he was in the wrong and had to go to his mother-in law's place to admit he was wrong. Who's house was that? Goldie Hawn's as Bellamy is dating actress Kate Hudson.
8. "Some Nights" - Fun.
This was definitely a year for Fun. And yes their official name has that period on the end of the word. Fun. are from New York and have been making music together since 2008. Their song "We Are Young" exploded on the scene this year and catapulted them into the world's collective ear. I found the song sort of forgettable to be honest, but their follow up single "Some Nights" is what I call a fun song. It's got great vocals, a great flow and message that the heavy percussion hammers home.
7. "Oblivion" - Grimes
Claire Boucher, who performs under Grimes, is a Canadian artist located in Montreal. She started turning heads when she opened for Lykke Li on her 2011 tour and released her album Visions earlier this year which received rave reviews from both fans and critics. "Oblivion" is such an enchanting song, dreamlike and Grimes' shy almost lisped singing style is a welcome change to the usual.
6. "This Head I Hold" - Electric Guest
Another group from LA is Electric Guest who's debut album Mondo came out early 2012. "This Head I Hold" has a fun and very catchy hook. Almost daring you to not attempt a dance move or 2 while you listen. Mondo was produced by DangerMouse after him and Electric Guest singer Asa Taccone met through a family friend and became friends.
5. "Emmylou" - First Aid Kit
From the first steel guitar swells of "Emmylou" by Sweden's First Aid Kit you can tell that you're in for a treat with song. It's sounds are suitable for a back drop of memories of times spent laying around with someone and enjoying watching the minutes click by. First Aid Kit, who took their name randomly from an English dictionary (love it!) are sisters who have been writing music together since 2007. The Lion's Roar their second album together. This song gets extra points because it's one of the first that i've heard that includes my name in it's lyrics....no not that name...
4. "Breeze Blocks" - Alt-J
Hailing from Britain, Alt-J also began their musical career in 2007. Though they've had a few EPs released 2012's An Awesome Wave is their official debut. Littered with references to many other works, novels and films it's quickly gaining momentum. "Breeze Blocks" may take some time to warm up to, but once you do it burrows into your head and you'll find yourself humming it I guarantee. Another great video which doesn't hurt either.
3. "The Afterman" - Coheed & Cambria
I'll admit I was slipping. Coheed & Cambria, one of my current favourite bands, released a new album in October and I was unaware of it until I saw it on the shelf in a music store. After picking it up and giving it a few listens, I realized that this one could be their best. The Afterman: Acsension is part one of a double disc with part two being released in 2013. The title track is a mind-blowing song, so delicate and devastating. Powerful and simple. Told from the perspective of a woman losing someone close to her and not having the proper forum to say goodbye. I've never doubted Coheed's abilities and I never will.
2. "California" - Delta Spirit
I had this one as the candidate for the number one spot for most of the year. From Delta Spirit's self titled album "California" is one of those melancholy songs disguised under a happy beat and care free presentation. The realization of doing what you need to is the one thing that will destroy your perfect little world in a heartbeat.
1. "Song For Zula" - Phosphorescent
I was about a minute and twenty-seven seconds into this song when I realized how incredible it was. So effortless, why hasn't this song been written before? It feels like being the first one to step on to a new planet. Matthew Houck is the man behind the music in Phosphorescent. His latest album Muchacho will be released in the new year, but "Song For Zula" was an early Christmas gift to all of us. Almost the opposite of the last song. "Song For Zula" celebrates life and love under an almost introspective haze. His voice hit's the right notes at the right moment and it's just the right length. Damn near perfect. A soundtrack for life's perfect moments for years to come.
Thanks for reading everyone!
Enjoy the Holidays and ol's Johnny will see you in 2013