(PART 3) Safety In Sounds Top 50 Tracks of the Year 30-21

by - Wednesday, January 02, 2013

30) Local Natives – Breakers

Having only encountered Local Natives 2009 debut Gorilla Manor when I moved to university in 2011, the wait for their second album hasn't been as hard as it has for some. Breakers, ahem, broke the silence in November, promising more of the same frantic double drumming and sun soaked harmonies that made their album such a thrill ride. At the position in their career where they can begin to properly build a mainstream fan base, will they make a crossover? I've always been a little confused that more people aren't aware of them, so maybe 2013 will be their chance.

Key Lyric: ‘Breathing out/Hoping to breathe in/I know nothing's wrong, but I'm not convinced’ 

29)Kindness – Gee Up

It’s short, but it’s very very sweet. At 1 minute 57 seconds long, Gee Up is the shortest song on this countdown but packs a punch with it’s funky groove and 70’s reverbed vocal. Putting the phrase ‘slap the bass’ into true fruition, the artist known as Adam Bainbridge to his mother may have made more misses than hits on his debut record, but he has still earnt his way into hipster heaven. After all, not everyone can pull off a cover of the Eastenders theme. Next time Adam, make your best tunes a little longer.

Key Lyric: ‘Get up/Get down’ is about the gist of it. But nobody is judging. 

28)Jack Penate – No One Lied

Who remembers Jack Penate? Cheery faced troubadour who soundtracked the summer of 2007 with his technicolour pop, yeah? Well. Jack has feelings too. With no warning, no premise, he released the video to No One Lied in early 2012, a stark, simple black and white shot of him performing the song live, nothing but a guitar backing him. What resulted was truly haunting, evocative of Jack’s hero Jeff Buckley in it’s honesty. With no details about a formal release or even an album, nobody knows whether this is a sign of a proper return or just an experiment, but the results are no less touching.

Key Lyric: 'Heaven is a place/no one lied/it’s written in your face/ flooding your eyes’

27)Canterbury – Gloria

From the rest of the list, you can probably see that my friends were right and my pop-punk phase has mostly passed. Canterbury became the exception to this rule with their debut album proper Heavy In The Day, and the revamped version of their old single Gloria. In formula, it is nothing complicated, a verse and chorus structure that builds to a genre-typical singalong, but something about it’s earnestness seems so much more authentic than many of their contemporaries.

Key Lyric: ‘You’ve got this thing in your mind that it’s all for the best/I’ve got this thing in mind that starts from the chest/Breathing forced, reading lines thinking I’m out of touch’ 

26)Icona Pop – I Love It

In 2012, Icona Pop are to pop what FIDLAR are to rock – cool, independent and very adept at the big ‘screw you’ chorus. A jubilant celebration of being young, carefree and stupid, ‘I Love It’ it’s perfectly made montage music to a summer gone wild. Not really surprising considering that they come from Sweden, the land of the pop masterpiece. Fresh off the back of a tour with Marina And The Diamonds, I imagine Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt have been having a damn good time on the road, taking themselves a lot less seriously than their tourmate.

Key Lyric: ‘You're so damn hard to please/we gotta kill this switch/you're from the 70s/ but I'm a 90s bitch/I love it!’ 

25)Dog Is Dead – Two Devils

Having seen them live about a million and 1 times between 2011 and 2012, I have seen Nottingham quintet Dog Is Dead grow, both as musicians and as leader of a quite frankly rabid audience. Two Devils is my first glimpse of a band who know their way around a lyrical field, dark as the song is in comparison to their earlier work. Not a saxophone solo in sight, its now the jewel of their live crown, their 5 ways harmonies lending some light to the dark.

Key Lyric: ‘Now I'm trapped between two devils/shiny teeth and shiny hair/There's an honest love to find somewhere/If we don't stop now we'll be dead by summer’ 

24)Mystery Jets – Someone Purer

With a pretty successful back catalogue to their name, Mystery Jets’s choice to decamp to America to write and record their fifth album Radlands came as something of a surprise considering their loyalty to London. It was a trick that came good, spawning a record that had Texas written through it, without changing the ramshackle charm of the band. Someone Purer was Radlands highlight, all click drums and Blaine Harrison's lamenting voice building to a typical jets anthem that is as many parts sad as it hopeful.

Key Lyric: 'I was gripped with a bit of fear/worried the one thing that I loved/back when I was just a kid/might now never be enough’

23)Jack White – Sixteen Saltines

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Jack White, or indeed the white stripes. I can accept their influence, but have always found his choice of blues rock a little rudimental, a ‘heard one, hear them all’ situation. Sixteen Saltines is the exception, a no nonsense riff driving a rock romp that would have easily made it onto an itunes advert back in the day. Taken from Blunderbuss, his first solo album, it indicates a slighter freer direction one that judgemental me might be more willing to try.

Key Lyric: She's got stickers on her locker /And the boy's number's there in magic marker’ 

22)Lianne La Havas – Au Cinema

In a world where being a female soloist seems to equate to taking your clothes off, cavorting on stage and erm, singing duets with your abusive ex-boyfriend (stay classy Rihanna), 22 year old Lianne La Havas arrived like a breath of fresh, very talented air. Au Cinema is one of many elegant moments on her debut album Is Your Love Big Enough, her playful guitar blending seamlessly with her pure voice that delivers tales of falling in love. Perfectly Parisian and elegant, its Sunday morning soundtracking just as easily as it is a cultured evening out, showing that a age and maturity do not necessarily influence one another in the way you might expect.

Key Lyric: 'I wish that we/Could somehow freeze the frame/But this isn't the silver screen/There's no pause/No rewind'

21)Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Garden

Another of 2012’s Lord Of The Dance, the fantastically named Orlando Higgenbottom, aka Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs seeped into the public consciousness via Garden, the soundtrack to Nokia Lumia’s advertising campaign. Featuring vocals from Orlando himself and Luisa of Lulu and the Lampshades, it’s laid back vibe sits at odds with his party boy headdress, but adds a new dimension to his sampleboard, lending more authority to suggestions of his longevity as something other than a novelty character.

Key Lyric: 'Walking in my silver blues/I tracked the dust for you/I believe in something too/One more life with you’

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