7" singles. Double LPs. Gatefold sleeves. Cassettes. Cassingles. Compact discs. 3" CDs. CD singles. Double packs. Box sets. My life was once ruled by these and other formats.
But, as time has gone on, both the hardware and the software have changed. My stubbornly all-consuming urge to scour New York City for records and compact discs is now considered by many a quaint, antiquated ritual of a vanished age.
More to the point, as I've gotten older and my time has become more consumed with my responsibilities as a parent, a husband, a professional, and, well, an adult, I've had less time to invest -- financially, intellectually or otherwise -- in my passion for music, regardless of its manifestation. I've become largely distracted with more important things and simultaneously disinterested in the overarching trajectory of modern music (or at least of the more mainstream variety). That isn't at all to say that I've given up on proceedings entirely, but the instances wherein my imagination is actively fired by new music seem to happen with discouragingly decreasing frequency. Moreover, so much of what is currently championed as this era's greatest music just leaves me cold, clammy and filled with palpable contempt. Hello, middle-age!
As such, while I'm still virulently passionate about the music I hold dear, perhaps I'm not the best person to be submitting yet another hackneyed, needless and strenuously unsolicited "end-of-the-year" roundup. But once a music geek, always a music geek. We can't stop ourselves.
So, if you were really fired up this year about PSY, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Adele, Carly Rae Jepsen, Justin Bieber (fucking God have mercy on your soul, `cos I'll show you none), Mumford & Sons, Usher, One Direction, Dangermau5, Skrillex, and/ or Ke$ha, you should probably stop reading right now, as you probably won't dig the stuff below. By the same token, maybe you're more open-minded than I am these days and you will check some of it out. Either way, these were my favorite songs of the year. Like anyone cares.
In many instances, there were more than one song by a single band I wanted to cite, but in the interest of diversity, I've limited this list to a single track per artist.
1. "The Seer Returns" by SWANS
2. "Lord Knows" by Dum Dum Girls
3. "In Cythera" by Killing Joke
3. "Nowhere to Be Found" by Firewater
4. "The House that Heaven Built" by Japandroids
5. "I Am Here" by Savages
6. "Autobahn" by Call of the Wild
7. "Gravity is the Enemy" by Skeleton Key
8. "15 Steps" by The Stranglers
9. "King Dick II" by The Way We Live*
10. "Left Myself Behind" by TOY
*Technically, this song dates back to 1971, but it was released this year on the excellent compilation, Man Chest Hair: 10 Outbursts of Unreleased Testosterone from the 1970s Mancunian Rock Underground.
Favorite re-release of the year: It's tempting to cite both Loveless by My Bloody Valentine and Blue Lines by Massive Atack (both excellent, if not entirely necessary), but I gotta go with the luscious Japanese edition of It'll End in Tears by ye olde This Mortal Coil.
Best live show of the year: SWANS at the Bowery Ballroom 10/28/12 (the hurricane show)