This is not a “best of” for 2012. It’s just a compilation of songs released this year that inspired me to hit the “repeat” button on my car stereo more than a few times. There are tunes here that are from albums that I loved and a few from albums I never heard. In putting this playlist together, I resisted the rock snob in me and went for what gave me simple pleasure as I cruised the streets of Austin in my jet-black Fiat with the volume knob turned up to 11. There are songs in this mix that will probably lose me the respect of some of my musician friends and critics. Ask me if I care.
She Brings The Sunlight- an awe-inspiring slab of psychedelia from Richard Hawley’s latest and best album, the unexpectedly lysergic Standing At The Sky’s Edge.
Be Above It - trippiness from Australia’s Tame Impala, a band I thought had aspirations they couldn’t meet. I was wrong. Their sophomore album, Lonerism, is undeniably brilliant - a headphone record best listened to with eyes closed and mind wide open.
Stay Away From Downtown - from out of the past, Redd Kross emerge from the L.A. ‘burbs with one of the best pop anthems of this or any year. Layer upon layer of sonic goodness. Hey guys, please don’t wait another 15 years to release an album. Rock ‘n’ roll needs your energy.
Go Right Ahead - punchy garage rocker from The Hives sounds like a classic to me…or at least a very good ELO track.
Hold On - Alabama Shakes deliver something so close to the r&b bone that when I first heard it I thought it was a decades-old soul rarity.
I’m Shakin - hard to believe that Little Willie John’s much-covered classic could be given new life, but Jack White gives “Shakin” some fresh sizzle (with a squeal that would do Ned Beatty proud).
Down To The Bottom - Baby Woodrose makes music that sounds like a darker version of Love’s “Forever Changes” or “Surrealistic Pillow” as performed by demonic Hobbits.
Stay Useless - Cloud Nothings prove that there is life after punk: more punk!
Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings - Father John Misty’s crusty hippisms are shroomtastic and spookily hooky.
Just Me - Diamond Rings aka Boy Division.
Call Me Maybe - or crazy. I don’t care. Bubble-gum has always been high on my list of guilty pleasures and Carly Rae Jepsen delivers a really good sugar rush.
How To Be A Heartbreaker - Marina And The Diamonds. See Carly Rae Jepsen.
Survival - Bloated, bombastic and pretentious arena rock that shamelessly revels in its excesses. Muse, I don’t give a shit what anybody says, I think you’re cool.
Ode To Sad Disco - Mark Lanegan writes songs that make me weep with envy. His new record Blues Funeral is my favorite of 2012 and one of the most emotionally resonant albums I’ve heard in ages, heartfelt and gloriously gloomy.
Fitzpleasure - At first, I thought getting into Alt-J would be harder than shoving my 185 lb. body into a pair of Ben Sherman jeans. Turns out these British basement-dwellers create hugely like-able pop tunes that sound like some strange indigenous music from another planet. This is world music. The question is: which world?
Mature Themes - If Frank Zappa and Capt. Beefheart popped onto the scene today, critics would dismiss them as hipster bullshit - kind of like they’re doing with Ariel Pink. Fuck em all and let The Godz sort em out!
Cellophane - Like it’s title, Ladyhawke’s Beatleesque confection is all sparkly and shiny. Plastic fantastic, lover.
The Healing Day - Bill Fay can miraculously play his piano and lay his hands on you at the same time. The doctor is in the house.
Twisted Road - Neil Young’s acid flashbacks are more interesting than most peoples’ entire fucking lives. The history of rock ‘n’ roll in one battered suitcase.
Desert Raven - Jonathan Wilson plays the kind of Southern California hippie music I used to hate. What happened? Is the acid finally kicking in?
This Year - The revolution will not be televised, but nobody told Boots Riley of The Coup. Oakland’s radical funksters re-define the meaning of “political party.”
The video contains a bunch of clips from experimental films, both new and old, as well as some soft-core stag loops and found video footage. I hope you dig it. Not suitable for work.