22 Songs I Loved in 2012 by Lucy Cage
Plan B – Ill Manors
Song of the year. So, it didn’t stomp over the country like Godzilla in the way it shoulda done, upsetting applecarts and stirring up shit but still… it is perfect rage-pop. You think there aren’t any protest songs outside the crusty folk-singer at student demos? You need to listen to this. Its darkness and sharpness and violence and clattery messes and satisfyingly meaty hooks. This sounds like now, not like some simultaneously over-optimistic and under-ambitious conjuring up of the spirit of long-dead 60s rebellion. Course, it’s uncomfortable to be that middle-class Guardian-reading oldie who loves a call-to-arms for youth which is out on Megacorps Records and is whole-heartedly feted by the meeja establishment, but there you go; it’s what there is.
I wish there were more songs like this. I wish that the music world would respond with an almighty roar to the creeping horror of reactionary rule, which is flicking out the switches on civil liberties and extinguishing the life of our best national institutions like a kid throwing stones at light bulbs. They are scum. They are all scum, whichever country you’re reading this in. There should be a FLOOD of noise about it. A deluge.
SoKo – We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow
A fragile thing, this, with its flickers of strings and faraway keening, minimal percussion and a guitar motif you wouldn’t notice in a crowd… but it’s the perfect wrapping for SoKo’s aching plea for her lover to give in and give it up. Echoes of Marvell’s time’s winged chariot; life’s too short, love’s too desperate: “Let’s love fully and let’s love loud, let’s love now; cos soon enough we’ll die, cos soon enough we’ll die… “
Metric – Youth Without Youth
A big red synthy sneer, Emily Haines sounding fierce and righteous, a almighty glam racket beneath her breathy drawl. Shiny shiny.
Santigold – Big Mouth
I wasn’t sure if I was gonna fall for Santigold’s new stuff as hard as I did for about a third of her bright and beautiful debut but ‘Big Mouth’ is a rousing chaotic triumph, a rattlingly sharp collage of sounds, styles, samples that manages to cram more inventiveness and verve into its three minutes that most albums do over 45.
AK/DK – Lost: Eric
This track came out last year and I missed it. But then I saw AK/DK twice in a week, once backing Damo Suzuki (along with Add N to X’s Ann Shenton on rock’n’roll theramin) for an hour and a half of unrehearsed awesome, and once at an impro-avant free all-dayer where they got the nodding floor-sitters up and bouncing. Two men both playing drum kits and keyboards (a nicely symmetrical band!) they’ve got the driving clank, the electronic hit, the shit hot tumble of Holy Fuck or Three Trapped Tigers. Live you get a pinch of LCD Soundsystem to add to the mix but on this track it’s all about the rush. It kinda makes you want to do maths and lick scientist’s faces. Kinda.
Shrag – Show Us Your Canines
I saw Shrag a couple of times on their crazy double-headed tour with Tunabunny and loved this song at first chorus. It’s a nicely judged combination of desperation and threat, with Helen’s spidery vocals creeping all over the indie-funk guitar chuntering. Plus there’s that killer hookline. Feral is the way to go. RAH!