We are voracious readers of year-end best of lists, but to make our own, we couldn't leave it the task to just ourselves. We reached out to local music tastemakers and polled our editors to compile CultureMap's picks for the year's best songs.
Check out the top picks here, then listen to the full playlist on Spotify.
Ross Bennett, Booking for Emo's/Beauty Ballroom:
Fang Island, “Seek It Out”
This band of party-rockers shred so hard and have an unmatchable energy on stage. Their previous release blew my mind and so did their latest, Major. More good things need to come to them.
Also: Band of Skulls, “Sweet Sour;” Boyfrndz, “All Day Pass;” The Hives, “Wait A Minute”
Jonathan Gill, Owner of End Sounds:
Propaghandi, “Things I Like”
If you believe Scotty Fitzgerald was right (I am paraphrasing here), and intelligence is the ability to hold two conflicting ideas in your mind at the same time and still function, then this song and band may be right up your alley. In this one song they manage to profess their like for emergent competing histories, Captain Ron, low cut shirts and yoga pants, hockey and even include a bit of spoken word in the Anishinaabemowin or Ojibwe language.
Also: Block Party, “Kettling;” Japandroids, “Adrenaline Nighshift;” J. Charles & The Trainrobbers, "Ain't So Blue;” Riverboat Gamblers, “Heart Conditions;” Sigur Rós, “Varú
Matt Mandrella, Do512.com:
Twin Shadow, “Five Seconds”
“Five Seconds” always seems to just get me motivated... whether it's at work, in the car or on my headphones during a workout.
Also: alt-J, "An Awesome Wave;" Japandroids, "Celebration Rock"
Aleksander Chan, CultureMap Listings Editor:
Father John Misty, “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
“Jeeeeeeeeeeeesusssss Chriiiiiiiiiiist giiiiiiirl...” Never has a melismatic phrasing of the Good Lord’s name been more of a head banger. Who said moody indie bands with their lyrics of indiscernible meaning can’t make a roof-raiser? Plus, the Aubrey Plaza-starring video is a trip.
Also: Dirty Projectors, “Impregnable Question;” Japandroids, “The House That Heaven Built;” Taylor Swift, “22”
Arden Ward, CultureMap Managing Editor:
Radney Foster covers Guy Clark, "LA Freeway"
No, this isn't a new song — it's not even close. Master songwriter Guy Clark penned "LA Freeway" in the late '60s, but most associate it with the Jerry Jeff Walker cover from 1972. 40 years later, a host of Texas and nationally recognized musicians paid homage to Clark's legacy with a double disc tribute album, 2012's This One's For Him. The Grammy-nominated album features plenty of standout songs — Lyle Lovett, John Prine and Emmylou Harris — but Foster's rendition of "LA Freeway" is a smooth, sweet tribute to the "dirt road back street," and a necessary addition to any Texas music catalogue.
Also: Shovels & Rope, "Keeper;" Crooks, "The Rain Will Come;" Justin Jones, "My Father's Gun;" Whitehorse, "Emerald Isle"
Give CultureMap's top songs of 2012 a listen. Check out our playlist on Spotify.