I listened to a lot of music in 2012, but these twelve songs most often and most obsessively. Play loud.
"More like suicide king / less like ace of hearts."
"Something's rattling my bones!"
"I'm about to / warn you"
Desert Lily by Make Do And Mend. I must have heard this guitar line somewhere before. Maybe in another life? One before, or one yet to come? I'd say this thing cuts, but it isn't meant to cut. It's meant to soothe and ameliorate. It does that. So it's a ballad about finally being home from tour and with your lover, and it might be the only one on this list. It's one song on the record that sounds the least like their guiding star, Hot Water Music. I want, desperately, to hear where they go after this.
"I've earned my share of home..."
"And drunk with pride / you hurt / you stole but I still carried you home / from the jungles to the deserts / to the trenches' reddened snow..."
"Singing oh sha la la..."
"I will fuck this up, I fucking know it..."
"with forgiveness as our torch and imagination our sword..."
Maple Boy-No Trigger. This song feels too good to be true. The rush of melody. The rush of speed. I'm sad the rest of Tycoon isn't as good, but between this and Checkmate, it was a brilliant, but not quite blinding ray of sunlight in the miserable winter.
"But now in its place / a legacy of full grown trees!"
Sunset On 32nd (live)-Strike Anywhere. Acoustic record. Live. It comes off of a record that has two parts, one part that's almost a BBC live session, it's clear and it's pretty. The other is from a benefit for the IWW and it's billed as more raucous, and it is, but there's almost no crowd singing, which is what you go to a raucous Strike Anywhere gig for. Except, of course, for one song and that one song is Sunset On 32nd. In this one song, you understand why this part of the record exists.
"and when they pinned you to the floor / did you say / 'officer I am not resisting you?'"
"Tune with no bite. Tune with no reach..."