Following up Jack's top ten tracks of 2011, here my top eleven songs of last year - featuring the likes of Low, The Dirtbombs, and Esben And The Witch. Along with eight others. YouTube playlist below.
11) Dan Mangan – 'About As Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All'
Apart from having the longest title of any song ever, this opener from 'Oh Fortune' is a genuinely beautiful song from an album that didn’t get the attention it should have done. In the plethora of singer songwriter efforts, it’s one of the very best.
10) Battles – 'Ice Cream'
Guest vocalist Matias Aguayo spices up this lead-off single from 'Gloss Drop'. It is certainly the funkiest tune they’ve produced and has a great video to boot. 99’s all round.
9) Beastie Boys – 'Make Some Noise'
The theme tune to the greatest pop video ever made and a welcome return for the Beastie Boys, whose 'Hot Sauce Committee' was maybe their finest ever record.
8) Esben And The Witch – ‘Marching Song’
The highlight of 'Violet Cries' – the debut album from Esben And The Witch. In truth the rest of the album fell some way short of this tune, but this is a great off-kilter anthem full of tension and drama.
7) The Dirtbombs – 'Alleys Of Your Mind'
A terrific groove from an underrated album. The Dirtbombs tribute to Detroit’s Techno roots, 'Party Store', is as bold and challenging a covers album as you’ll ever find and this is pure soul.
6) PS I Love You – 'Meet Me At The Muster Station'
Strangely topical song from one of the very best Black Keys/White Stripes influenced two man bands. Snappy lyrics, crunchy guitars, it’s two minutes of pugnacious punk pop, from the album of the same name.
5) Low – 'Witches'
Marking Alan Sparhawk’s recovery from a pretty serious illness, 'C’mon' has some brilliant moments and this is my favourite. A life affirming song about tackling Witches with a baseball bat – how to cast out your demons you might say. Faintly reminiscent of 'Bittersweet Symphony', which is a very good thing of course.
4) Down I Go – 'Atlas'
Madder than a crazed soothsayer, this chaotic tune from the 'Gods' EP is as glorious a swansong as you could wish for. Motown chorus girls interrupt hardcore metal mythical storytelling that then breaks into Nirvana like festival anthem. Cue the feedback. A band that will be sorely missed.
3) Ghostpoet – 'Survive It'
A real talent breaks it with this tremendous single. Gentle despair, with a painfully true to life account of impending middle age. Trust me on that one. Maybe not high on the uplifting stakes, but supremely well done.
2) Richmond Fontaine – 'Lost In The Trees'
Naked drug taking in remote woods to the strains of a Judas Priest mixtape. You just have to be drawn into the sticky web of this bizarre story, a huge part of 'The High Country'’s unique appeal is its concept but the music is pretty good too. “I screamed her name until my voice broke...”
1) CSS – 'City Grrrl'
Music is supposed to be fun after all, so top spot goes to this uplifting pop song from the return to form that was 'La Liberacion'. CSS are sexy, sassy, brilliant live and this should have been the Christmas number one after several unbroken weeks at the top of the charts. But if we all got what we deserve I’d be living in Rio hooked up with their guitarist, and that’s not happening any time soon either.
Listen to the playlist (minus the unavailable Down I Go track) in the embed above or on YouTube.