Sticking to last year’s guns we’re not going to be so trite as to rehearse the old argument about iTunes having killed the album, but we can’t ignore the fact that the way we listen to music today is almost unidentifiable to the way in which we listened but just a few years ago. Single sales might be collapsing but with mp3 blogs going from strength to strength, the cult of the DJ enjoying a continued resurgence and the endless stock of individual remixes that have dominated our pages, the stock of the individual track is as strong as ever.
Whilst some of the greatest albums of the year have struggled to hold our collective attention, some of our favourite artists have been honing the art of the discrete track to perfection, whilst a whole handful of newcomers have offered up the most addictive, moreish songs we’ve ever heard. And whether you believe the cult of the new has turned us all into consumers with the attention span of a goldfish or not, quite frankly, makes no difference, because for us this is what 2012 was made of, in all its ephemeral and enduring beauty.
Check out the full list of tracks via the Soundcloud player below – all grouped together into one handy playlist.
Wolf Alice – Leaving You
London based newcomers Wolf Alice more than deliver with ‘Leaving You’. A track that possesses that rare but oh so perfect blend of elation and forlorn sentiments: wrapping up melancholic lyrics in warm, breathy vocals and Americana inspired sonics with a twist.
- Lauren Down
The Magnetic Fields – Quick!
Taken from this years Love At The Bottom of the Sea, ‘Quick!’ is another example of Stephen Merritt’s sharp lyricism, the uplifting bass-heavy synths and talk of sarcastic sharks saving phrases like “you better think of something quick! / Before I don’t love you know more” from crushing you emotionally.
- Lauren Down
Taken By Trees – Dreams
A stand-out moment from one of the year’s most beautiful records, Taken By Trees’ third album Other Worlds immersed itself in full on tropicalia: heaven sent melodies, soothing pedal steel guitar and oceanic waves of synth flirting gently over a dub backdrop – all blending effortlessly to recount Bergsman’s time in Hawaii.
- Rich Thane
Dinosaur Jr. – Rude
Lifted from this year’s excellent I Bet On Sky album, ‘Rude’ was perhaps the surprise stand-out on a release that elsewhere (reassuringly) lacked innovation from the indie-rock veterans. Infectious, warm-toned and almost wholly lacking in bluster, this was as close to a “perky folk tune” as we are likely to ever hear from Dinosaur Jr. An upbeat, short and to-the-point, delight.
- Jude Clarke
John Talabot – Destiny
An album with its origins aimed directly towards the dancefloor, John Talabot’s fin was undoubtedly one of the most satisfying electro releases of the year. ‘Destiny’ – a song co-produced with fellow Spanish DJ Pional – is just one of many highlights on a record that hits hard at the jugular and never lets up. Irresistible and captivating from the off, a future club classic if ever there was one.
- Rich Thane