20. Lanie Lane – Oh Well, That’s What You Get Falling In Love With A Cowboy
This was released in some places last year, but is listed on Wikipedia as 2012 so I’ll claim it as one of this year’s best. Lanie’s Australian, but this is America as a Wild West theme park, as curated by David Lynch.
19. Katy Carr – Kommander’s Car
I can hear you switch off the minute I mention “contemporary classical” and “jazz”, but this is easy on the ear. F***, it’s Radio Two level of easy on the ear! It’s hard to think of any ear being offended by this breezy, poppy offering, though the true-story nature of its concentration camp escape tale give it plenty of grit.
18. The Bastards of Fate – Huge Magic
I think the key is to not try to listen to the whole album at once. It’s too weird; too punishing. It’s like eating a whole bag of sweets and jumping on a rollercoaster. This song, though, is just plain fun.
17. Grimes – Genesis
Never has Alvin & The Chipmunks squeaking over the Keyboard Cat tune sounded quite so alluring.
16. Dan Deacon – USA I: Is A Monster
The moment in which Dan Deacon’s concept album changes tack is a stunning one. Though the final arc never quite delivers on its promise, Deacon evokes in broad brushstrokes the sheer overwhelming scale of the grand American landscape.
15. Micachu – OK
The Youtube fan comment of “it sounds like The Beatles meets Battles” hits the the rusty nail on the head with lots of gratuitous clanking. You know that disturbingly surreal bit in A Boy And His Dog where they go to the underground city? That, as music.
14. Carter Tutti Void – V2
Chris Carter, Cosi Fanni Tutti and Nik Void boggle the mind with this semi-live recording. This minimalist electronica will take you to places you didn’t know existed.
13. Lana Del Rey feat Azealia Banks – Blue Jeans (Smims & Belle remix)
Lana’s studied woobie sulk plays against Azealia’s one-off foray into a world without profanity – all bounding over a ferocious Front 242-style four-to-the-floor thump.
12. Firefly Burning – We Are Leaves
It’s warbly-vocalled folky experimentalism with the emphasis very much on voice and percussion, overlaid with strings and all sorts of noises. It reminds me of a cross between Steelye Span and In The Nursery via Pram.
11. Pussy Riot – Punk Prayer
I’ve ummed and ahhed over this one: it’s not a great song – not even a good one – but it has particular importance. Would I just be including it because it’s fashionable to support their cause? No. It’s because they made us believe – just for a moment – that music really could change the world.