Monday, 11 March 2013

The Best of 2012

Better late than never! In order to compensate for the shockingly late arrival of this selection, I've worked extra hard to make it as good as possible, and I think it may even be the best one I've done yet. You all know what to expect by now – download here, enjoy, and as ever, please comment! What's your favourite?

1. Isobel Ann Martin – "Làmh a’ Bhuachaille" ("The Herdsman’s Hand"), from the album "Duslach is Òr"
An exquisitely beautiful love song from one of Gaelic music's brightest young stars, who won the coveted gold medal at the Royal National Mòd on her very first attempt aged just 18, and whose voice is (whisper it) arguably as beautiful as Julie Fowlis's.

2. The Cranberries – "Tomorrow", from the album "Roses"
After more than a decade in the wilderness, the Irish indie-pop legends blast back with their best album in years and one of their greatest ever songs in the shape of this stunning slab of prime 90s-style college rock.

3. L’Âme Immortelle – "Absolution", from the album "Momente"
Austrian electro-industrial Vordenker Thomas Rainer returns to the cult band in which he made his name, bringing with him some of the club-ready darkness of his side-project Nachtmahr.

4. Shed – "I Come by Night", from the album "The Killer"
Awesome track from Berlin techno maven Rene Pawlowitz, which builds up slowly from a tribal shuffle to an out-and-out club smasher replete with blaring "foghorn" synth stabs. Play LOUD for maximum dancefloor devastation!

5. Piko – "Online", from the album "2Piko"
Stunningly gorgeous and romantic electro-pop from the lad with the astonishing three-and-a-half octave range (yes, that is a man singing, believe it or not).

6. TK – "Haze", from the album "Flowering"
This anthemic, tumbling rock number from Toru Kitajima, helium-voiced frontman of cult Japanese math-rockers Ling Tosite Sigure, is somehow simultaneously melancholic and uplifting.

7. Dolly – "Koushoku no Kanaria" ("Rainbow Canary"), from the album "Träumerei"
Dance your cares away under the disco ball to this fantastically catchy, propulsive oshare hit.

8. Delain – "Hit Me with Your Best Shot", from the album "We Are the Others"
From in front of 80s-inspired Dutch gothic metal band Delain, flame-haired siren Lotte Wessels calls out her haters with this sardonic missive.

9. The Ghost Inside – "White Light", from the album "Get What You Give"
Frontman Jonathan Vigil literally roars his heart out on this spine-chilling tribute to his fallen brother, which features one of hardcore’s most sing-along-able choruses ever.

10. Plastic Tree – "Joumyaku" ("Vein"), from the album "Ink"
Celebrating their 15th anniversary, the best band in the world whom you've never heard of turn in this staggering chunk of rough-hewn alt-rock goodness.

11. Grendel – "Timewave: Zero", from the album of the same name
Absolutely colossal, apocalyptic industro-trance from the Dutch dark electro soldiers, still filling dancefloors after nearly a decade in the game.

12. Cali Gari – "Anchuu Roman" ("Covert Romance"), from the album "11"
Crack out your dancing shoes for this superb homage to the 80s from the originators of "erotic grotesque".

13. Mix Speaker's, Inc. – "Promise", from the album "Hoshifuru Yuuenchi"
A beautiful, epic power ballad from the crazily costumed concept band, from their best and most serious album to date.

14. Heimataerde – "Allein" ("Alone"), from the album "Gottgleich"
Take a trip to the dark heart of mediaeval Europe with Ashlar von Megalon and his undead Templar knights, who here turn in the best thing they have committed to tape since their unsurpassable masterpiece "Vater".

15. Hans Zimmer – "Rise", from the album "The Dark Knight Rises"
Zimmer outdoes himself with this stunning musical conclusion to Christopher Nolan's brilliant Batman trilogy, simultaneously epic, awe-inspiring and profoundly moving.

16. Simone Dinnerstein – "Impromptu No.3 in G Flat Minor, Op.90" by Franz Schubert, from the album "Something Almost Being Said"
Its transcendent, aching beauty undimmed by almost two centuries, this late piece from the Austrian maestro is here lovingly unfurled by American Simone Dinnerstein, who launched herself to stardom with a self-financed album of Bach’s "Goldberg Variations".