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Top 10 Films Of 2012

January 11, 2013

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2012 was a good year for film.  I ended up seeing 126 releases, and I have to admit that the majority of them were far from terrible.  This, of course, made crafting a Top 10 fairly difficult, but I gave it my best shot.  Just a heads up, below the main section of this article you’ll find some mini-lists.  Read on!

10) The Avengers

I feel like some people are afraid to put this movie on their year-end list.  It’s like the 1.5 billion dollars it made worldwide is now suddenly shameful.  I, however, still think of The Avengers as an amazing achievement.  The movie is an outright great time, and I have a feeling that it will be influencing comic book adaptations for years to come.  Way to be, Joss Whedon.

09) Beasts Of The Southern Wild

Much has been made of this little effort that plays big, and the hype is certainly warranted.  Quvenzhane Wallis, who is now the youngest person to ever be nominated for an Academy Award, is so good that you walk away from the movie wishing you could spend more time with her.

08) Life Of Pi

If I didn’t already think that Ang Lee was a talented director, his work on Life Of Pi would have quickly remedied that particular train of thought.  He really did craft a beautiful, inspiring film out a book that seemed nearly impossible to adapt.  I can’t wait to own it.

07) Silver Linings Playbook

David O. Russell should win an award just for landing Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook.  The manic chemistry between their characters made for one of the more fascinating things I saw in a theater in 2012.

06) Lincoln

I was not at all interested in seeing Lincoln.  I thought the trailers were boring, and despite my fondness for Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis, I just couldn’t get excited about the film.  And then, I saw it, and what I found was that it’s actually a superbly crafted effort.  To be honest, I’m still buzzing about it.

05) Argo

The best decision Ben Affleck ever made was to start directing films.  The guy is so very good at it, and with Argo, which is certainly his best effort to date, I think it’s time to consider him to be one of the best directors working.  This movie had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

04) Seven Psychopaths

I love In Bruges so much that I went into Martin McDonagh’s follow-up with expectations so high that I was sure I’d be disappointed.  But I wasn’t.  Seven Psychopaths is so very clever and hilarious, and I’m anxious to have it in my library for viewing whenever i please.  Side note, if Colin Farrell would exclusively work with McDonagh, the world would be a better place.

03) Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino is the most entertaining bastard on the face of this planet, and Django Unchained is proof of that.  The damn thing is just insanely fun.  When I wasn’t laughing, I was cheering, and when I was doing either of those things, it meant the credits were on and I wanted the movie to immediately start over.

02) Cabin In The Woods

Some would say that The Avengers is the nerd film of the year, but I think it’s actually Cabin In The Woods.  There are so many clever references to catch, and then there’s the fact that it’s filled with a slew of moments so gloriously geeky that you can’t help but loudly celebrate throughout the entire movie.

01) Zero Dark Thirty

I was blown away by Kathryn Bigelow’s follow up to The Hurt Locker.  The movie is just a mammoth effort that’s so very heavy and intense, but yet there isn’t a single moment where you want to bow out.  Like the driven CIA operative that Jessica Chastain plays, you feel determined (and maybe even obligated) to see how the hunt for Osama bin Laden ends.  And speaking of the end.  The way Zero Dark Thirty comes to a close will stick with me until the day I’m gone.  Just an all around brilliant film.

5 Honorable Mentions
Skyfall
Bernie
Looper
Holy Motors
The Grey

5 Solid Films That Were Almost Spectacular
The Dark Knight Rises
Prometheus
Cloud Atlas
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hunger Games

5 Smaller Films You Need To Seek Out
Sleepwalk With Me
The Sessions
Goon
Fat Kid Rules The World
Safety Not Guaranteed

5 Worst Films Of 2012
Not Fade Away
Snow White And The Huntsman
The Comedy
Wrong
Battleship

Unfairly Shit On Movie Of 2012
John Carter

Biggest Surprise Of 2012
21 Jump Street

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Noah’s Top 10 Films Of 2012

January 10, 2013

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It wasn’t my best year for film viewing. Where 2011 saw me watch somewhere near 110 films, I’m embarrassed to even count my paltry little number. Weeks, even months went by in 2012 where because of the cruel infringement of life, I was unable to watch a single movie in the Temple of Cinema. Thus, and I will freely admit it, my selections are culled from a pretty standard selection. And even as, of late, I’ve rallied against the generic selection of films that seem to populate every list this year, my list is very much the same (perhaps even more lacking). For those who might lash out as films like Lincoln and Holy Motors aren’t present here, it’s because December was a blur of 9-to-5 work, a blur that eliminated any chance of me seeing most the Oscar bait that populates the end of the year.

That said, I saw some good flicks this year and I thought you might want to know about ‘em.

10. Argo (d. Ben Affleck)

Possibly the most hyped film of the award season contenders, and shockingly, well worth it. Ben Affleck has now made three good-to-great films in a row and Argo is the crown jewel of a career revamped. Historical drama with it’s tendency towards hyperbole and over-indulgent bloat, can be tough boat to sail. Affleck takes the story of six soon-to-be-hostages in late 1970s Iran and the bizarre Hollywood solution to getting them out and turns it into a lean, mean, and at times hilarious bit of film making. You’ve heard this before, but there is something magical about a film that manages to tell a story with a well known ending, and still dredge a hefty amount of tension out of it.

9. Skyfall (d. Sam Mendes)

I am not a huge James Bond fan. Every few years I’ll assert that I’m going to watch all of them in order, but usually sometime after Dr. No, I get bored and move on. Bond fan or not, I’ve seen almost every modern day Bond (starting with Pierce the Fierce and Goldeneye) and it’s been a weighty slog. Though the first two films of the Daniel Craig era revitalized the cinematically inert franchise, the Bond films still seemed to lack direction. Sam Mendes has, with the flair of a great director, solved that. Skyfall introduces a modern London and paints Bond as an old school spy operating in a new school world. Craig’s punch-happy Bond is pitted against Silva, a former MI6 agent who’s realized that terrorism in the digital world isn’t just blowing things up. With Craig continuing to assert himself as the best Bond of all time, and Javier Bardem’s Silva clearly taking the prize for best Bond villain ever, and Mendes inserting the first signs of subtext into a 50 year old series, the film transcends its predecessors. It isn’t a perfect film and I think Mendes fails to stick the landing, but he manages to the right the course of the ship, somehow making the franchise feel fresh, while bringing it back to basics.

8. Seven Psychopaths (d. Martin McDonagh)

It wouldn’t be a “Best Of” list without the inclusion of one of the McDonagh brothers. Though Seven Psychopaths doesn’t scale the heights of In Bruges or The Guard, it is a clever, clever film that plays the notion of filmmaking and metatextual screenwriting in a subtle, subversive, brilliant way. Colin Farrell had a rough year and if I was feeling negative Total Recall would certainly end up on a Worst Of 2012 list, but here, under the direction of Martin McDonagh he shines as a screenwriter struggling to hit a deadline. Throw in an ever increasing group of, ahem, psychopaths, and a roadtrip from Hell, all tied together with an incredibly clever concept, and you’ve got another minor masterpiece from Martin McDonagh.

7. Love Free or Die (d. Macky Alston)

Hugging Bishop Gene Robinson after the screening of Love Free or Die at Sundance was one of the great moments of my year. It was my first time at Sundance and my girlfriend, as a birthday surprise, had coerced my parents in to joining as well. The list of films we’d set up for ourselves was diverse and by no means bland and my parents, both in their 60s, were troopers. Minutes before Love Free or Die (the story of the first gay Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson) my dad mentioned that he was feeling a little burnt out. We sat down for Love Free or Die, and after an hour and forty-five minutes of a film about love and humanity and one man’s quest just to be exactly who he wants to be, all of us were refreshed. This is a film about religion and love and how fucked up the foundational structures of our society are and how one man just wants to tell some people that he loves God (whatever that means). It’s brilliant and heart-warming without tugging the strings in a manipulative way. Hands down the best documentary I saw all year, and it’s a goddamn shame that the film still hasn’t been picked up yet.

6. Cabin In The Woods (d. Drew Goddard)

No film was more fun this year than Cabin In The Woods. Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon are fine team, and this big meta pancake of a film shone with originality and the kind of world building horror doesn’t offer that much anymore. A bunch of kids go to a, ahem, cabin in the woods and very bad, very generic shit starts to go down. Somewhere else, a bunch of suits press buttons. The collision of these two worlds is amazing. Cabin In The Woods has all the fun of a great Buffy episode – snappy dialogue, cultural references, sharp-as-a-tack humor – but anchored by stars like Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford, this is one of the more refreshing bits of horror fare I’ve seen in years. If only we had ten pictures like this a year.

5. The Hobbit (d. Peter Jackson)

I am not a fan of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Yes, I don’t mind Fellowship of the Ring, and there are moments in The Two Towers that work beautifully, but Return of the King is an overlong slog that isn’t just hard to watch but clearly points out the flaws of the preceding films. That said, I walked in to The Hobbit ready for more of the doom-and-gloom self-serious fare that populated the first three films. Thank Martin Freeman for changing all those worries. Where Elijah Wood’s Frodo has one face that he uses to express every sentiment, Freeman’s Bilbo is a fully fleshed out character. This is one of the defining hero quests, and Freeman takes Bilbo from crotchety hermit to sword wielding bad-ass over the course of three hours. Jackson seems to have found the perfect tone for this film – sort of an Indiana Jones with hobbits, dwarves, dragons, and wizards – and after three hours of epic action scenes and the best Gollum-Hobbit match up yet, I was ready to throw this film on the top of the pile. Don’t let the three hour run time and the fact that it’s only the first of a trilogy send you away from this one, it’s a gem, a charming, classically entertaining film in the very best way.

4. Looper (d. Rian Johnson)

In any other year, Looper would have easily jumped to the very top of my list of films. It’s a testament to how good this year was in terms of film, that it sits at number 4. Rian Johnson creates a concept and a world and a new spin on time travel so original and interesting, I literally sat on the edge of my seat for the entire film. If you don’t already know the concept I won’t give it even an ounce of it away, but it’s the type of sci-fi film that when it beautifully trickles to a halt you want to run outside, smoke a cigarette and ask your friends “What just happened?” Months after seeing it, I still find myself searching the internet to find new theories on who is who and what is what in this brilliant bit of filmmaking. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blount (the most underrated of attractive, talented women) and the kid who plays Sol are all fantastic. Johnson’s direction is beautiful, stylistic and perfectly edited with almost no frame gone to waste. This is the type of film that deserves an Oscar nod, but because it features time travel and futuristic cowboys, it never will.

3. Moonrise Kingdom (d. Wes Anderson)

It’s been one of my great angers this year to see the wave of critics say things like “I’d given up on Wes Anderson after The Darjeeling Limited but …” Anderson, in my humble opinion, is a national treasure, a director with a visual style and thematic palate so specific, that the he should wear a robe that reads “Auteur” on the back. Moonrise Kingdom, the story of the search for two runaways on a small island, ratchets up the Anderson style and continues to play with the themes of family and just what that means, but somewhere amongst it all, Anderson tells a very nice story about two kids who fall in love, and how that love helps fix a few things. It is typically beautiful and full of the sort of short, sharp one-liners Anderson is so well known for. And I’ll say this to those who might say, “Just another Wes Anderson film” – you’re fucking right, this is another Wes Anderson film, and you should be happy that we still have a few directors that are following their artistic path instead of just taking bags of money and making whatever film the fucking suits tell them to. In an era of artistic vacuum, it’s nice to know that one director is still doing exactly what he wants.

2. Django Unchained (d. Quentin Tarantino)

I hope Quentin Tarantino is sitting in a leather chair somewhere with a 900 dollar glass of scotch in one hand and his iPhone in the other just laughing at the shitstorm he’s stirred up by making a Western exploitation film about slavery. I’ve gotten bigger arguments about this film with my white, liberal-guilt nursing friends, and because of them I’m ready to give Tarantino a fucking Nobel Peace Prize. Amongst accusations of racism and levity in terms of the subject, Django Unchained stands as one of the most telling films about slavery ever made. And even more so, it’s probably the most entertaining three hours you’ll spend in a theater this year. I balk at the idea that a film about one man’s journey from slave to heroic badass could possibly hint at racism. Oh sure, there’s graphic depictions of what we, as Americans, did during the terrible terrible years of slavery, and Tarantino plays them to appropriately horrible effect. Yes, there is humor in this film, and yes, a lot of people die in graphic explosions of blood, but when the credits roll if you actually think that this film, this big beautiful over-indulgent humdinger of a film is racist or doesn’t appropriately address the subject matter, you’ve missed the point. Go watch This Is 40 and bitch about how big your house is.

1. Zero Dark Thirty (d. Kathryn Bigelow)

In a year of great cinema, no other film knocked me on my ass like Zero Dark Thirty. People expecting a patriotic dirge of flickering flags and terrorist killing, leave yourself at the door. A procedural about the hunt for Bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty smartly focuses on the character of Maya (Jessica Chastain finally proving just what everyone has been saying about her) a fresh-out-of-highschool recruit who’s thrust in to the search for the 9/11 ring-leader. It could’ve been such a bigger, more exploitative film, but Bigelow wisely plays it as realistically as possible, focusing on the intelligence search, you might say the intelligence obsession, in finding this man who tore the country apart. At the heart of the film is the sacrifices and dehumanization war forces upon us. Bigelow, so many steps away from Point Break now, paints the world of intelligence in as human a light as she can, each decision shaded with emotion and reason. When the final shot rolls, I’d be heard pressed to think that capable viewers are thinking about how awesome it was that Osama Bin Laden got his, there’s just so much more to this film.

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Top 25 Albums Of 2012: Part 3

December 5, 2012

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Because at least two of you asked for it, here’s the third part of my Top 25 Albums of 2012.  As I’ve said, I easily could have listed 50 releases, but I realized that half of those would have been albums that I only listen to when I’m in a particular mood.  In other words, they’re not immediately accessible, and that to me knocks them down a notch.  So, if you’re looking for 25 releases that you can immediately dive into and love, this is the place to be.  Enjoy.

15) Tennis – Young & Old

I didn’t expect to like this album as much as I did.  There are so many great songs on it, and I think that (for me, anyway) it establishes Tennis as one of the best pop acts currently working.

:Tennis – Petition:

14) The White Wires – WWIII

Even if I had wanted to, there was no escaping the garage rock glory of WWIII.  It’s loaded with so many hooks that the White Wires could cut a bunch out, and they’d still be providing an album that’s catchier than any of us deserve.

:The White Wires – Let’s Start Over Again:

13) Twin Shadow – Confess

To be honest, I figured I’d listen to Confess and just repeatedly skip to Five Seconds while ignoring the rest of the songs on the album.  But that didn’t happen.  In fact, the “skip” button never even came into play.

:Twin Shadow – Golden Light:

12) The Eastern Sea – Plague

Austin’s the Eastern Sea have been slowly assembling all the right pieces for years, and Plague is them (finally) putting everything together.  I can’t wait to see where they go from here.

:The Eastern Sea – A Lie:

11) Jack White – Blunderbuss

While Blunderbuss may sound exactly how you’d expect a Jack White solo album to sound, it’s still a pretty great effort.  If we’re lucky, we’ll get a follow-up sooner rather than later.

:Jack White – Missing Pieces:

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Top 25 Albums Of 2012: Part 2

December 4, 2012

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And just like that, we’ve arrived at the second part of my Top 25 Albums of 2012.  As I’ve said, I easily could have listed 50 releases, but I realized that half of those would have been albums that I only listen to when I’m in a particular mood.  In other words, they’re not immediately accessible, and that to me knocks them down a notch.  So, if you’re looking for 25 releases that you can immediately dive into and love, this is the place to be.  Enjoy.

20) Why? – Mumps, etc

There are few things better than listening to Yoni Wolf as he unloads a lyrical collage of images right onto your brain.  Oh, you don’t want to pay attention?  That’s OK.  There’s also plenty to sing-a-long with.

:Why? – White English:

19) Thee Oh Sees – Putrifiers II

Whenever I hear anything off this album, I immediately want to be in a sweaty club somewhere watching Thee Oh Sees play.  Putrifiers II is a fantastically fuzzed-out blast.

:Thee Oh Sees – Flood’s New Light:

18) Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky

I love that Dinosaur Jr. are still cranking out quality albums.  Those guys definitely have the right to just sit on a couch somewhere, and yet they’re out and about rocking harder than most of us ever will.

:Dinosaur Jr. – Pierce The Morning Rain:

17) Yellow Ostrich – Strange Land

Strange Land didn’t hit me like last year’s The Mistress did, but it does feature a nice step forward sound-wise for the band, and there are some really fantastic tracks on it.

:Yellow Ostrich – The Shakedown:

16) The Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

I’m not sure the Dirty Projectors will ever really be easily accessible, but I do think that Swing Lo Magellan is them actually giving it a shot.  The album is loud, oddly hooky, and just so very interesting to listen to.

:The Dirty Projectors – Offspring Are Blank:

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Top 25 Albums Of 2012: Part 1

December 3, 2012

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Now that I’ve run down my 50 favorite songs of the year, it’s time to move onto my Top 25 Albums of 2012.  I easily could have listed 50 here, too, but I realized that half of those would have been albums that I only listen to when I’m in a particular mood.  In other words, they’re not immediately accessible, and that to me knocks them down a notch.  So, if you’re looking for 25 releases that you can immediately dive into and love, this is the place to be.  Enjoy.

25) Tim Fite – Ain’t Ain’t Ain’t

Tim Fite is a man with a million neat things floating around in his head, and I love listening to him try to bring some of those ideas into the real world.  You’ll dig Ain’t Ain’t Ain’t if you like your albums to be full of songs that each have their own sound.

:Tim Fite – Joyriding:

24) Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

I really thought this much-hyped album was going to have a couple of great singles, and then a lot of filler.  Nope.  It’s an effortlessly inspired modern soul/southern rock effort that’s a great listen from start to finish.  Alabama Shakes are the real deal.

:Alabama Shakes – I Found You:

23) Pujol – United States Of Being

I don’t know how many times this year that I sang along with this effort from Pujol.  It’s a raucous album that’s also surprisingly smart, so while you’ve got the volume cranked, be sure to pay some attention to the lyrics.

:Pujol – Providence:

22) Santigold – Master Of My Make Believe

What a fun album this turned out to be.  I’ll admit that the eternity it took Santigold to put together a sophomore effort had me doubting that it would be a good release, but she pulled it off.  Kudos to her.

:Santigold – Disparate Youth:

21) Chairlift – Something

Just when you think a band is about to only be remembered for an iPod commercial, they come out with an album that features a sizeable jump in quality.  Something has made Chairlift into an act that I will now always pay attention to.

:Chairlift – Sidewalk Safari:

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Top 50 Songs Of 2012: Part 5

November 30, 2012

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It’s Friday, which means we have arrived at the end of my Top 50 Songs Of 2012 list!  I hope you’ve had a good time perusing the previous 40.  In case you somehow missed this little bit of info, I chose the songs from the 400+ tracks that I shared around here throughout the last 11 months.  Enjoy.

10)  :Icona Pop – I Love It:  Much of my 2012 was spent looking to this electropop number for a burst of fun.  I just kind of adore how obnoxious it is.  From the Nights Like This EP.

09)  :Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built:  I think it’s safe to say that with this song, Japandroids are now officially the band everyone looks to when they’re in need of an anthem.  From Celebration Rock.

08)  :David Byrne And St. Vincent – Who:  This track is focused pop madness, and to be honest, that’s exactly what I was hoping the David Byrne/St. Vincent collaboration would unleash onto the world.  From Love This Giant.

07)  :Ellie Goulding – High For This (The Weeknd Cover):  Every year there’s a cover that I can’t get enough of, and in 2012 it was Ellie’s sensual take on this Weeknd track.  I highly recommend headphones.  And booze.

06)  :TV Girl – I Wonder Who She’s Kissing Now:  There’s going to come a year where I don’t get an incredibly catchy and charming retro pop track from TV Girl, and then I’ll immediately become cranky and constantly reference the “good old days.”  From The Wild, The Innocent, The TV Shuffle.

05)  :Tame Impala – Elephant:  Of the 50 songs on this list, this is my favorite to try and ruin my speakers with.  It’s actually flaunting some attitude, which is something I didn’t think Tame Impala had in them.  From Lonerism.

04)  :MS MR – Hurricane:  2012 featured a ton of good music that was 90s-enthused, so you know it means something when I say that I found this MS MR song to be the best of the bunch.  From the Candy Bar Creep Show EP.

03)  :Dum Dum Girls – Lord Knows:  This band is so very good, and it’s all because Dee Dee continues to be one of the best songwriters around.  Just listen to the lyrics in this incredible song for proof.  From the End Of Daze EP.

02)  :Twin Shadow – Five Seconds:  I wanted to not use the word “infectious” anywhere in this list, but that’s just exactly what this 80s throwback is.  Good luck trying to ever escape its grasp.  From Confess.

01)  :Purity Ring – Fineshrine:  When I sat down to map out this year’s 50 songs, I already knew what would be in this spot.  That’s actually never happened before, and I give all the credit to Purity Ring, who created a song that’s as fantastic as can be on all fronts.  I will love this track forever.  From Shrines.

PS – You can check out the entire list on one page here, or the majority of the songs here on Spotify.

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Top 50 Songs Of 2012: Part 4

November 29, 2012

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At least if the world ends in a few weeks, you’ll have some good music to go out to.  That’s sort of comforting, yeah?  Anyhow, below you’ll find the fourth part of my Top 50 Songs Of 2012.  In case you’re curious, I chose the songs from the 400+ tracks that I shared around here throughout the last 11 months.  Enjoy.

20)  :MIA – Bad Girls:  This single was supposed to be from a new album, but that has yet to materialize.  Oh well.  For now it simply serves as a nice reminder of how great MIA is when she’s having fun and not taking herself too seriously.

19)  :Action Bronson – A Simple Man:  I had a long list of Action Bronson songs to choose from for this spot, but I went with this one-off single because it’s what originally made me want to champion the guy.  It’s just stellar stuff.

18)  :Sky Ferreira – Everything Is Embarrassing:  I don’t know how many times I listened to this in 2012.  I just couldn’t seem to get it out of the part of my soul that wants to dance in a dark corner somewhere.  From the Ghost EP.

17)  :The Eastern Sea – Wasn’t For Love:  With this song, The Eastern Sea went from just being an Austin favorite of mine to being something much bigger and better.  Glad I hopped on the bandwagon early.  From Plague.

16)  :Dan Friel – Valedictorian:  For those that don’t know, Dan is the former frontman of Parts & Labor.  This song sees him being as noisy and wild as can be, and I’m not sure I’ll ever tire of it.  From Total Folklore (due in 2013).

15)  :Chvrches – The Mother We Share:  I’ve yet to come across anything else from this band, and that’s OK because I’m far from being done with this Purity Ring meets Cults combo of a single.

14)  :Yeasayer – Longevity:  My love for Yeasayer has always been in regards to their live show, so I was a little surprised to find myself so attached to one of their studio tracks.  I greatly dig the off-balance mix here.  From Fragrant World.

13)  :Fiona Apple – Every Single Night:  You have to appreciate that Fiona keeps coming up with ways to stay interesting.  This pop effort pulls no punches.  From The Idler Wheel.

12)  :POS – Fuck Your Stuff:  This is exactly what I always expect POS to deliver – it’s aggressive, playful, and smart.  From We Don’t Even Live Here.

11)  :San Cisco – Awkward:  I love this indie pop tune, but I do have to admit that I’m not so sure a song about stalking should be this enjoyable.  From the Awkward EP.

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Top 50 Songs Of 2012: Part 3

November 28, 2012

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On the off-chance that you weren’t paying attention throughout any part of 2012, then know that I have you covered.  Below you’ll find the third part of my Top 50 Songs Of 2012.  In case you’re curious, I chose the songs from the 400+ tracks that I shared around here throughout the last 11 months.  Enjoy.

30)  :Lace Curtains – Bedroom Honesty:  For a song that sounds so wonderfully casual and inviting, it’s brutally upfront about quite a few things.  I love it.  From The Garden Of Joy And The Well Of Loneliness.

29)  :Three Mile Pilot – Long Way Up:  It doesn’t seem plausible for a band to take a decade-long break and then come back as good as ever, but 3MP are currently in the middle of doing just that.  For proof, give this indie rock effort a listen.  From the Maps EP.

28)  :Ceremony – Hysteria:  There isn’t anything about this punch to the soul that doesn’t make me want to set something on fire, and I appreciate that greatly.  From Zoo.

27)  :FIDLAR – Got No Money:  These guys have so many rad songs that make me want to thrash around, and yet it was this catchy little pop number that I couldn’t escape all year.  Variety is good, friends.  From the Don’t Try EP.

26)  :Yellow Ostrich – Marathon Runner:  Vocal loops, a good chorus, and just the right amount of rock – that’s the Yellow Ostrich formula, and in songs like this one, it works very well.  From Strange Land.

25)  :Rubblebucket – Oooh Wa:  This band’s name makes them sound like some sort of wild punk outfit, but as you’ll see in this shimmering track, they’re actually a really good indie pop act.  From the Oversaturated EP.

24)  :Felix – Oh Thee 73:  Listening to this duo snark their way through this intricate number has been one of my favorite parts of 2012.  From Oh Holy Motar.

23)  :How To Dress Well – & It Was U:  90s R&B isn’t something I can claim as my thing, but if it’s coming from How To Dress Well?  Well, then that is entirely me.  I wish I had a good dance move for whenever this comes on.  From Total Loss.

22)  :Reptar – Sebastian:  Reptar are a bizarre ray of sunshine for me.  The vocals live out in left field, but the music is gloriously upbeat.  I’ve been singing this one all year.  From Body Faucet.

21)  :Dan Deacon – Lots:  My favorite thing about Dan Deacon is that even if you can’t figure out what the hell he’s trying to do, he has songs like this one that you get into simply because they’re so kinetic.  If I ran, I’d totally run to this.  From America.

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Top 50 Songs Of 2012: Part 2

November 27, 2012

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You know who loves a good list?  Every single one of you.  Now get on with checking out the second part of my Top 50 Songs Of 2012.  In case you’re curious, I chose the songs from the 400+ tracks that I shared around here throughout the last 11 months.  Enjoy.

40)  :Passion Pit – I’ll Be Alright:  I’m still not sure what Passion Pit were aiming for on their sophomore effort, but I dig this track a lot.  I think it shows how adventurous their sound can be.  From Gossamer.

39)  :Why? – Sod In The Seed:  Just when I thought that Yoni Wolf was done with his collage-like rambles, he provided nearly five minutes of lyric-heavy joy via this song.  That guy has a wonderful brain.  From the Sod In The Seed EP.

38)  :Beach House – Myth:  I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to this song just to listen to it.  Not much else in 2012 was as well crafted as this.  From Bloom.

37)  :Dana Falconberry – Lake Charlevoix:  I’ve long supported Austin’s Dana Falconberry, but this song put her on a different level for me.  Folk music is often not overly accessible, but it is when she does it.  From Leelanau.

36)  :Alabama Shakes – Hold On:  The year began with nothing but buzz for this band, and somehow it all actually ended up being warranted.  Way to go, taste-makers.  This song is an outright jam.  From Boys & Girls.

35)  :Dirty Projectors – Gun Has No Trigger:  I love that the Dirty Projectors just do whatever they please.  How many other bands could release such a challenging single and actually have it go well for them?  From Swing Lo Magellan.

34)  :Bobby Womack – Please Forgive Me Heart:  Bobby’s soulful voice thrown over a modern electronic arrangement?  Such a thing seems like it should be all wrong, but then there’s this gem screaming otherwise.  From The Bravest Man In The Universe.

33)  :Jack White – Love Interruption:  It was nice of Jack to finally go solo, and it was even nicer of him to make his first single such a quality piece of modern rock.  From Blunderbuss.

32)  :Social Studies – Terracur:  Social Studies was always one of those acts that I knew about and liked, but didn’t love.  This inspired tune changed that.  Forever.  From Developer.

31)  :The Tallest Man On Earth – 1904:  Kristian Matsson is a fantastic songwriter, and this inviting number is just further proof of that.  It’s only a matter of time before I just hang out with him all the time on a mountain.  From There’s No Leaving Now.

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Top 50 Songs Of 2012: Part 1

November 26, 2012

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The end of 2012 is drawing close, and that means it’s time to start making “best of” lists.  Below you’ll find the first part of my Top 50 Songs Of 2012.  In case you’re curious, I chose the songs from the 400+ tracks that I shared around here throughout the last 11 months.  Enjoy.

50)  :White Wires – All Night Long:  Every time I hear this pop punk gem I have to listen to the rest of their album, which is full of songs that are just as catchy.  From WWIII.

49)  :The Corin Tucker Band – Groundhog Day:  You could try to find a better voice than Corin’s, but you’d just fail miserably.  The girl can wail like no other, and I’m happy she’s been staying busy post-Sleater Kinney.  From Kill My Blues.

48)  :Bryan Scary – Ziegfield Station:  This band has long been a wonder when it comes to one-off singles that I can’t get out my head, and they kept that streak rolling in 2012 with this retro-rock track.  From Daffy’s Elixir.

47)  :Dirty Ghosts – Ropes That Way:  There was a span of about two months where I couldn’t escape this song from Dirty Ghosts.  It has such a high level of energy that it just sucks up all your attention.  From Metal Moon.

46)  :Desaparecidos – MariKKKopa:  I love that this band was able to come roaring back.  Who would have thought that Conor Oberst still had some ferocity in him?  From the MariKKKopa/Backsell 7″.

45)  :Yuck – Chew:  I may not have gotten a new album from the awesome Yuck in 2012, but I did get this fantastic one-off single.  Toss on headphones to catch all of the rather nice guitar work.

44)  :Deep Time – Clouds:  This Austin-based act (formerly known as Yellow Fever) really caught my attention with this quirky pop tune.  Not sure they’ve ever done anything catchier.  From Deep Time.

43)  :Black Bananas – Rad Times:  There’s far too much going on in this track, but I dig it anyway since it’s one of those efforts that’s just endlessly entertaining.  From Rad Times Express IV.

42)  :Maps And Atlases – Fever:  This song always manages to slap a smile on my face.  I love how upbeat and fresh it sounds.  From Beware And Be Grateful.

41)  :Miike Snow – Paddling Out:  I’ve never been much of a Miike Snow fan, but I’ve been overly attached to this track since sharing it back in January.  Watch out, as it’ll instantly make you want to dance.  From Happy To You.

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