Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top 50 Best Songs of 2012: #25-21

#25. "Unless You Speak From Your Heart" - Porcelain Raft
Taking a woozily romantic page out of The Flaming Lips or Moby's electro-rock handbook, Italian musician Mauro Remiddi (aka Porcelain Raft) let his own vocals and melodic touch shine front and centre on this uplifting anthem released in the early days of 2012. Chanting, "I don't want to listen, unless you speak from your heart" - Remiddi's sparkling stomp beat, buzzing guitars and pulsing piano keys are seamless touches in crafting a heartwarming but triumphant-sounding plea.

 


#24. "All I Can" - Sharon Van Etten
New York City-based singer/songwriter Van Etten had a stellar year with the help of her acclaimed indie rock and folk blended album Tramp - one that was co-assembled alongside The National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner and Zach Condon, otherwise known as Beirut. The obviously self-therapeutic swell of this standout song peaks when Van Etten's layered vocals have piled sky-high and the explosive guitar has nearly knocked the wind out of the speakers, while her melancholy howl climaxes with: "I do all I can/ We all make mistakes."

 


#23. "The House That Heaven Built" - Japandroids
Loud. Punchy. Young. Short and sweet. Canadian. Those are really the hot button words that come to mind when describing the breakout drums-guitar duo who took the charts, festivals and critic's hearts by storm in 2012 - in and outside of their native land. Nailing top spots on all of the year's "best of" lists, the Vancouver punk pals reverted back to tales of debauchery and youth, coupled with heart attack guitar chords and broken drum kits on their 35-minute Celebration Rock - proving that back-to-basics is often just what the community ordered.

 


#22. "Endless Ladder" - The Antlers
Nabbing the title of the most zen song of the year, The Antlers achieved sleepy boulevard perfection with this hauntingly dizzy collection of echoey percussion, The Album Leaf-style lonely synth and Peter Silberman's aching whisper. Oddly enough, even after 8 drowsy minutes of slinky instruments and the front man's metaphorical, hypnotic drone - it's total bliss. If you're not listening at a particularly lucid time, 8-minutes of submersion imagery easily turns into 16, 24 and 30 - making this so-called ladder just as endless as you want.



#21."Lord Knows" - Dum Dum Girls
Sub Pop Records' low-fi lady rockers have gradually been roping in the attention their brooding, early-90s-reminiscent ballads deserve - beginning with the release of a garage-infused Only In Dreams and continuing up until this highly-anticipated EP, End of Daze in 2012. On "Lord Knows," simple "Crimson and Clover"-sounding chords and haunting girl group harmonies - all led by the exquisite leading lady Dee Dee (yes, just Dee Dee) - are stunning and minimalistic, a balance that these talented chicks long-ago perfected. Dee Dee's swooping vibrato belting, "Oh boy, I can't hurt you anymore/ Lord knows I hurt my love," are downhearted and honest - but also painstakingly beautiful.

 


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