With the halfway mark of the year just passed, a few colleagues have been asking me what’s stood out so far in 2012. There has been a lot of great music to choose from, so I thought I’d share.
Even with 33 songs, by no means is this list exhaustive. In fact, I had a little trouble stopping. Needless to say, picking a top 10 at year’s end is going to be pretty difficult. Without further ado, here’s a good sampling of my favourite songs of 2012 to date:
45 – The Gaslight Anthem: A quintessential Gaslight song on an album that will likely make my year-end list as well. Brian says turn the record over. I say turn it up to 11.
Ace – The Big Sleep: The first of five New York bands on my list, The Big Sleep alternate between male and female lead vocals, and there’s plenty of love for each.
Amongster – Poliça: Justin Vernon says they’re the best band he’s ever heard. Like I care. Full of trippy synths and haunting lyrics, and I’m in love with Channy Leaneagh’s voice.
Beam Of Light – D A W N S: A song with a sound as big as the Montana sky where he’s from.
Blood For Poppies – Garbage: Happy to see them back, and this song is getting the airplay it deserves. Crunchy guitar hooks and a catchy chorus.
Buriedfed – Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson: From 2007, but never heard it till earlier this year. Very happy to have found it.
Clay Pigeons – Blaze Foley: Yeah, the song is over 20 years old, but I didn’t discover Blaze Foley until a few months ago. He was covered by Haggard and Prine, and friends with Lucinda and Townes. Almost cried when I found out he was murdered in ’89… what a loss. This is what country music was meant to sound like.
Damned – The White Buffalo: This video has been viewed 32,477 times on YouTube, and I’ve watched it 1,834 times myself. Err, make that 1,835. On my bucket list to have him perform this in my backyard.
Division Street – Ravens & Chimes: New York’s best answer to Arcade Fire… I’m enjoying this album more than I did Suburbs.
Emmylou – First Aid Kit: Jack White loves ‘em and it’s easy to see why. A homerun on a knockout album that’ll be on everyone’s best-of lists this year.
Eyes Open – Taylor Swift: I’m pretty sure this is only the second song I’ve heard by her. A catchy melody… despite what John Mayer thinks.
Halfway Home – Tribes: Likely to be my BritPop entry on my “Favourite LPs of 2012″. Felt vindicated last week when Brian Fallon said it was also one of his favourites. Too many great tunes to pick just one, but this seems to be getting the most play from me lately.
Here We Go – The Spring Standards: With an intro eerily similar to The Car’s Just What I Needed, how can this go wrong? Not just another folk-rock band with male-female lead vocals that’s so popular these days. Their double EP is a solid listen.
Hey… What? – Wave Sleep Wave: A noticeable standout on their new-wave shoegazing post-punk psychedelic indie rock album.
Ho Hey – The Lumineers: I’m hearing this in supermarkets and Jays’ commercials, so why the hell am I not hearing it on the radio? Can’t wait to see them at CFMF next year.
I Am The Light – The White Buffalo: Seems I’ve been listening to Jake Smith for a couple of years now, as his songs get featured on TV shows I watch. But it wasn’t until this latest LP release that I finally started to pay attention and WAS. BLOWN. AWAY. My favourite song on my favourite album in 2012. (Oh, and Brian Fallon loves this one too…)
If It Ain’t Me – Hollis Brown: A tender roots-rock ballad with just the right amount of wist. Their EP is outstanding, and this tune is currently duking it out with Damned as my favourite of the year.
Let Me Go – Hacienda: Produced by Dan Auerbach so you know it’s good. If The Strokes were from Texas, this is what they’d sound like.
Loveless – Said The Whale: A little disappointed in the album overall, but loving this single. Has the standard catchy chorus that they do so well.
North Side Gal – JD McPherson: A throwback to 1950s rockabilly. Buddy Holly would approve.
Not Your Fault – AWOLNATION: Predictable blather you say? Well, whatever. Best enjoyed while stuck waiting for the train to pass on 50th Street with the volume on bust.
On The Water – Great Lake Swimmers: Definitely deserving of their Polaris long list nomination… I wonder if The Eagles will show up if they win?
Port Song – Adam Arcuragi: His Twitter bio says his music is death Gospel, but I prefer to think of it as soul-folk. Regardless, I’ve been loving this song.
Pull You Through – John Taylor: No, not that John Taylor. This one’s a fantastic singer-songwriter from Ireland. And this is best enjoyed with a nice Irish whiskey. Just wish it didn’t end so abruptly.
Resuscitate – Wintersleep: Been a fan for years and their latest album doesn’t disappoint. Loving this since its release.
Rusted Hearts – Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts: Up-and-coming singer songwriter from Chicago. Been digging his album and particularly this tune.
Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine: Easily my favourite on their sophomore LP. Now if only radio would stop playing it.
Soul And Body – The Parlotones: I don’t listen to much music from South Africa, but that’ll likely change after hearing these guys. On a solid album full of great tunes, this stands out.
The Paper Trench – Admiral Fallow: Lots to like from this Scottish folk-pop act with Killers’ overtones, although I hear more Frightened Rabbit in this single (which is probably why I play it so much).
The Sheriff – The Strumbellas: As with The Barr Brothers’ album last year, I have a lot of difficulty picking a favourite from so many standouts. But I love the video for this, and it gives a tiny glimpse into how good these guys are live.
You Know Me – Air Traffic Controller: The latest and greatest from Boston. On an album full of catchy pop rhythms, this song has been on repeat a few times.
Your Woods – Two Trees: They started following me on Twitter, and recommended I listen to their first song. What a find. A simple, stripped down melody with beautiful harmony.
And there you have it. Hopefully something in there for everyone.
So, what have you been listening to this year that I should be as well? Leave me a comment or tweet at me what’s been spinning regularly in your world lately.