Words: Saam Das
December is always characterised by the battle for Christmas #1, although the dominance of the Military Wives Choir put paid to any real interest in the 2011 "battle" against whatever the 'X-Factor' song was. It'd be nice to actually have a Christmas #1 that somewhow relates to Christmas at some point though. Anyway, here are the top ten singles of December 2011.
Akira The Don ft Envy - 'Nothing Lasts Forever' (5th)
FREE DOWNLOAD: Akira The Don - Nothing Lasts Forever (Radio Edit) by Akira The Don
I warmed a great deal to Akira The Don over 2011. Indeed, I particularly enjoyed his collaboration with Envy on their 'I Am Not A Robot' cover. The duo combine again on this superbly melancholic examination of the end of a relationship. Download the radio edit below for free, and purchase the real deal at akirathedon.com. SINGLE OF THE MONTH. (And perhaps a fitting end to this monthly singles column - unless I change my mind.)
Alex Day - 'Forever Yours' (18th)
A surprise contender in the race for the Christmas #1, "YouTube sensation" Alex Day eventually slotted in at a very respectable/quite incredible #4 in the UK singles chart. And well deserved to boot, not just that it was raising money for charity but also that it was actually a good, bouncy pop song - and even generated a decent remix.
The Japanese Popstars ft James Vincent McMorrow - 'Shells Of Silver' (18th)
I've never quite got into James Vincent McMorrow nor have I evenheard of The Japanese Popstars so it was an extremely pleasant surprise to discover that 'Shells Of Silver' happens to be one of the best singles of 2011. McMorrow's fragile vocals lie atop atmospheric electro-pop, creating a magical mix of styles.
Famy - 'Dogg Dogg' (5th)
You may have heard of FAMY in their previous guise of FAMILY. As I said last month, I'm more a fan of the b-side to this debut release, 'Mother Benita', and its sweeping "I'll try, I'll try, I'll try, I'll try" refrain.
Spector - 'Grey Shirt & Tie' (5th)
The backlash for Spector is already in full flow, thanks to their "hipster look" and frontman's Fred Macpherson's dubious interview responses. Relative success has come early, with the band now on a major label and appearing on Later With Jools Holland and the BBC Sound Of 2012 etc. Maybe you'll love their melodramatic indie romanticism, maybe you won't.
Woman's Hour - 'Jenni' (5th)
They are beginning to light up the blogosphere and now Woman's Hour have put out their debut single. The band originate from Kendal, the same part of Cumbria as Wild Beasts came from - and the two share similarities in their wistful, intricate music.
Theme Park - 'Milk' (12th)
Coming in at #2 on our collated bloggers' version of the Sound Of 2012 suggests good things await. 'Milk' is pleasant enough, an updated take on Talking Heads.
Hook & The Twin - 'We’re So Light' (12th)
It's apt that I just mentioned Wild Beasts as 'We're So Light' has elements of that band while also combining dream-pop and disco. The debut Hook & The Twin album comes out this year and I'm infinitely more excited about it after hearing this excellent single.
The Collectable Few - 'Model Behaviour' (12th)
Almost a year ago, we featured The Collectable Few in our January 2011 singles column and while we'd thought they'd gone off the boil a bit, this latest single is a nice surprise. Hardly revolutionary but an enjoyable slice of indie regardless.
Little Comets - 'Worry' (12th)
Their debut album is still one of my favourite records of the year, and 'Worry' is the lead track of a new EP, which suggests they haven't dropped their pace. Good old jangly, melodic indie-pop.
ALSO WORTH CHECKING OUT:
5th: First Aid Kit - 'The Lion's Roar' // Post War Years - 'All Eyes' // We Were Promised Jetpacks - 'Human Error' // Big Deal - 'Distant Neighbourhood' // Gabriel Bruce - 'Sleep Paralysis'
12th: Miracle Fortress - 'Everything Works' // DJ Shadow ft. Little Dragon - 'Scale It Back' Little Racer - 'Split For The Coast' // Mike Doughty feat. Rosanne Cash - 'Holiday (What Do You Want?)'
19th: Nero - 'Reaching Out' // Futures - 'Start A Fire' // Cast - 'See That Girl'
Click to read previous monthly singles review round-ups.