Usher – Climax

The most productive year of Diplo’s career peaked with ‘Climax’, by some margin the most impressive track in either his own or Usher’s catalogue. The crux of ‘Climax’ is in its details: the hats, panned so far left that they sound almost on the boundary of your peripheral hearing; the moments during which vocal harmonies fall over one another into occasional, fleeting triplet patterns; the sheer lustre of the production, an icy plushness in which the track luxuriates. Genuinely very close to the perfect song.
- Josh Hall

Elliphant – Ciant Hear It

One of the most captivating artists to emerge from Sweden in 2012 is one Elliphant (aka Ellinor Olovsdotter), a foul mouthed Stockholm resident whose music is so addictive it should carry a public health warning. ‘Ciant Hear It’ Olovsdotter’s tour de force; her ’212′, if you will. The NSFW lyrics climax with the vocal refrain “I’m like a finger up your ass, why not give it to me?” whilst a raucous dancehall beat does its very best to destroy the bass cones on your speakers. Outrageously good.
- Rich Thane

Haim – Don’t Save Me

Haim’s second single sounded like the soundtrack to an imaginary teen movie starring John Cusack and Molly Ringwald. We think that would be the best film of all time, and this song would more than compete with it too.
- Luke Morgan Britton

Tamaryn – I’m Gone

The shoegaze indebted San Franciscan duo’s woozy theatrics are very much centred around the vocals of New Zealand born Tamaryn, while Rex John Shelverton’s production provides the hypnotic sounds that make the pair’s output so intoxicating. Taken from this years Tender New Signs, the swirling heady number that is ‘I’m Gone’ is undoubtedly one of their best. It sounds just like a Mexican Summer signed band should, all psychedelic riffs and romantic sighs, with just enough distinguished elements standing out of the reverb filled, krautrock indebted landscape. Finding yourself somewhere in between The Cocteau Twins and Beach House is really not a bad thing.
- Lauren Down

Echo Lake – Even The Blind

Taken from their long awaited debut Wild Peace, Echo Lake’s ‘Even The Blind’ is a beautiful, timeless piece of jangly guitar pop that sees 80s synths and elements of 90s shoegaze cozy up to the modern predilection for lo-fi production. Cautiously beginning its journey with rattling snare drums the wonderfully textured number is emboldened by cascading guitar strums whilst Linda Jarvis’ whispery vocals help retain its delicate intimacy. With a strong percussive back bone keeping the warm, hazy, ambient atmospherics in line their stunning effort feels as floaty as it does focussed, not only preventing it from washing over you without impact but propelling it to the front of your mind for days. As subtle as it is forceful, as smooth as it is awkward ‘Even The Blind’ is a track deserving of your highest attention and your highest volume settings.
- Lauren Down