The end of the year is all about reflections, new beginnings and, naturally, listening to lots and lots of tunes. That’s why we’ve asked a cadre of bands to assemble a collection of kicka$$ playlists featuring their favorite jams of 2012. Next up, we have Rob Kolar’s — from He’s My Brother She’s My Sister — picks. Check them out after the jump.
1. “Radiator Sister” – The Mynabirds
Fun! Harks back to the sly sexy vocals of Marc Bolan (T. Rex). Has an ’80s retro quality featuring handclaps, ‘Oooohs’ and synths. It’s a simple pop song with a rock & roll sass that is much needed in today’s pop music. Good time party song.
2. “Lonesome” – Dr. Dog
This band continues to put out great records with solid songwriting. This song has a front porch looseness, full of shouts, snaking slide guitar and stomping rhythms. Not to mention the fun play on words with the main lyric. It’s an anthem for the lonely and that juxtaposition is really alluring to me.
3. “Love Is Luck” – The Walkmen
Hamilton Leithauser has lost some of the throaty scratch in his voice, but he makes up for it with the genuine yearning found on all great Walkmen releases. His lyrics have a way of dancing with irony and poetic imagery. Melodically this song catches you the first time around and beckons for another listen.
4. “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” – Tame Impala
I must admit I feel like this band has been a bit overhyped and have a lot of songs that seem to meander in progressive rock cliches and lackluster melodies. This song however keeps the prog-rock end of their sound at bay and focuses on lush psychedelia as well as an undeniable pop hook reminiscent of The Clientele. The video is fabulous as well. I imagine drifting down a river being baked by the hot sun.
5. “The Hours” – Beach House
Beach House can be a bit nauseating, but when they compose such a compelling pop number as this you forgive them for their self-aware superficial nuances. This melody will have you singing along after two listens. It’s infectious like a good OMD song from the early ’80s. Great dense production and strong warm vocal delivery.
6. “Every Single Night” – Fiona Apple
Genius. Fiona continues to take chances. Swirling melodies, teasing you with hooks that rope you in and spin your expectations. Innovation and timelessness merging as one. Her voice is one of the most compelling in the history of music.
7. “Straight Lines” – Tommy Santee Klaws
When I saw them perform this live I started shedding tears. I did my best to hold it back and looked around in the crowd to make sure no one was looking at the guy in a leather jacket welling up on the dance floor. I couldn’t help it. The emotive strings, Tommy’s fragile voice, the pulsing rhythms, and dynamic movements did me in. If you have had a recent heartbreak or you just can’t get a break and are particularly emotional this is the perfect song to get sad with. It will be your friend.
8. “Just a Kid” – Lucy Michelle & The Velvet Lapelles
We recently toured with them across the Midwest & East Coast. Lovely people, great musicians. This song has that classic shuffle beat that gets you off the bar stool. Lucy’s vocal performance is sweet yet wise. There is a romantic nature and playfulness to this song which complement each other nicely.
9. “Summertime Sadness” – Lana Del Rey
She is sultry, dark, superficial, glitzy and slightly gaudy. Both in image and music. This one has her gothic Americana quality that sucks you in. Summertime, a time we celebrate and equate with happiness, joy, hope. Yet she sings about it with despair. I think she is one of the most interesting mainstream artists right now. I’d take her over Gaga or some of the other pop queens any day.
10. “Marathon” – Heartless Bastards
‘Parted Ways’ might be the most infectious and memorable song from their 2012 release, but this song is probably the most cinematic. Erika’s vocals are worn and beautifully ragged. I hear this and immediately am brought back to that last stretch of highway across the Arizona desert before we reach home after touring America. This song really captures the feeling of traveling across this country and the wonder and longing attached to that experience.
Image courtesy of Facebook, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister