I have a fairly pretentious music taste, and I am one of those wankers that professes to hold contempt for “chart music” (with exceptions). With the year drawing to close, I thought I would give a long-winded round up of the songs that have kept me sane in 2012.
Gotye, Somebody that I used to know– This is breaking my first rule of “no chart music”. It was very fitting for the first few months of 2012 as the then relationship was on the rock, then hit a very tearful demise. Gotye hit a nerve with anyone who has ever gone through a break-up so my story is no different. I am still listening today, but not because I am mournful, I just love the song.
This is around about the time I started revisiting music from times gone by. Bombay Bicycle Club, Miike Snow and Delphic gave me the uplifting beats I needed to get through a depressing Cold-War with my Berliner landlady. To wind down, Passion Pit‘s acoustic “Sleepyhead” was the perfect accompaniment to my fascination with the full collection of Sherlock Holmes novels.
March– The month that I took the time to try out some covers. Walk off the Earth, Boyce Avenue, Orto Pilot. I did however go to see the Jezabels in concert at the beginning. Watching “A little piece” and “mace spray” live was one of my musical highlights of 2012.
April- – On April 16th, I moved back out to Germany to start my adventures in Heidelberg. I got my comfort music on as I made another journey into the unknown, just to “keep things real”, ya know. April was for my “go to” bands like Explosions in the Sky, Those Dancing Days, Death Cab for Cutie and Frightened Rabbit
May– I got into House M.D. during May. Probably a terrible idea when you’re on the year abroad and supposed to be socialising. I know the theme tune “Tear drop” (Massive Attack) a bit too well now. This was a time when I was generally trying to find German-produced music which I would actually listen to, but my efforts were fairly futile, and I am not ashamed to admit that there are few German musicians which have made it onto my MP3 player. I can recommend the following to discerning wannabe Germans though: Moonbootica, Tomte and the usual Deichkind/ other terrible German party music, which gets strangely addictive.
June– I can’t quite pinpoint when I decided Alex Clare was the next big thing for me, but I decided I liked his “edgy take” on sounding a lot like Maroon 5. The novelty wore off by September and I haven’t choice-fully played it since. I was also heavily stuck into the Decemberists’ “June Hymn” which was the perfect sound track to the summer landscape in which I was living.
July– was a time of tying bonds and making promises to see all the friends I’d made in Germany again. Katie hooked me up to Neutral Milk Hotel and in return I gave her Ben Howard, particularly The Wolves, which we listened to on a boat trip to Neckarsteinach whilst getting illegally tipsy and opening bottles of beer on whatever we could suitably lay our hands on.
August– Of Monsters and Men captured my imagination in August. I am very open to music from other destinations and always admire artists that write songs and music in a tongue which is not their own. I’m not sure how well “Little Talks” fared in the charts, but I know they have made a couple of guest appearances on BBC Radio 1. Something about the choice of trumpets, a female voice (they feature little in my playlists, usually because a lot of female singers make some really annoying sort of sighing noises which I cannot stand) and the sort of faraway fairytale type lyrics pumped me with energy and imagination. At the same time, August is always a time of year when it never hurts to listen to the charts, as often there are uplifting beats, which I really needed as motivation for my cycle rides to the Gym and however annoying “Wiley” is, he made for lots of amusing house mate jokes in September.
September– wasn’t all that interesting musically as months go, however I should definitely use this paragraph to give a bit of love to all those bands which have shaped my taste in music for the better.
Quick run-down 1) Death Cab- the most comforting, if a little emo, music produced. 2) The Shins- masters of indie, catchy and addictive but such good quality, New Slang has been one of my favourite songs since I was 17. 3) All Time Low– tacky, I know, but Remembering Sunday is a song which should be on EVERY MP3 and it’s really good for exercising to. 4) Kishi Bashi– a recent discovery, but so addictive. Songs: Bright Whites and Manchester could soon be reaching the “most played” list. 5) Yann Tiersen– the guy who composed the really beautiful score for Goodbye Lenin! and la vie fabuleux d’Amelie Poulain, some perfect melodies.
October– My house mates all seem to have a big thing for “Florence and the Machine”. I am personally not a fan, mostly because I don’t actually like the sound of her voice which sounds a bit off-key to me. In an effort to drown out this noise I would turn up The Naked and the Famous really loud on the CD player. A band I will never tire of due to punchy beats and brilliant lyrics and energy. Other remedies to das Florencewelchproblem included: Young Rebel Set (“If I Was” had me hooked instantly), Anberlin and of course Placebo
November was all about Ben Howard. The day finally rolled around when I saw him live and it was amazing. I immediately downloaded his latest EP and listened to “Oats in the Water” on repeat. Something about it kind of reminded me of previous trips to Scotland and cold but peaceful places where I desperately wanted to be as the “Rabb-ture” (a pun on the name of one of my tutors, ignore this) doom of immigration essay deadline loomed. The first tings and bings of Christmas musak started to seep in gradually. Ears burned.
December I should probably dedicate December to Mike, a friend of top musical guidance who has led me into the realms of things I may not have known about otherwise. I see my friend Mike once every year or so, and when we do see each other, he never fails to find music which I will inevitably love. After about 12 months of trying, he FINALLY managed to get me into Taking Back Sunday, and now I cannot stop listening to. Everything must go, Live From Orensanz has taken the Number 1 spot in my “most played” on my Creative Zen in the space of a week and “What’s it feel like to be a Ghost?” is blasting out at an almost intolerable number of decibels from my laptop. My other favourite recommendations which I have not yet downloaded (legally) are Lakes of Canada and Ramona Falls.
Songs which are very much worthy of a mention:
Johnny Foreigner– Salt, pepper and Spindarella.
Jordan Klassen– Go to me
Saint Motel– Puzzle Pieces
The Cinematic Orchestra– To build a home
Descent– The Album Leaf