Festive 50 2012

Festive 50 2012

Welcome to WithGuitars Festive 50 of 2012. We tasked ourselves to compile a list covering varying tastes to smash out a tasty seasonal feature. We all hope you like out Top 50 list of what we all think i worthy of making the list, pleased to say in 2012, we were spoilt for choice, next year we may have to list the 30 or so that just missed out ,,,,easy just to say sorry, but here are some fantastic single highlights that charmed everyone in 2012, enjoy. 


50. Watchers – ‘Cut The Ribbon’
Blues rhythms with a classic rock feel to it underplay some really great lyrics sung with feeling. The song has a very smooth and chilled out vibe that belies the scope and depth that the vocals give it. They have managed to tap into the original 80’s indie sound and brought it right up to date with their own style. Helen Todner


49. Trippy Wicked & The Cosmic Children Of The Knight – ‘Hillbilly Moonshine’
This is a rip roaring, floor stomping, drink guzzling, anthem of a song from the wonderfully named trippy Wicked & The Cosmic Children Of the Night. The chorus is a full rocking riot while the verses are full of bluesy chilled rhythms. Not huge on the lyrical side but you can really sing along to the chorus and all in all simply a good fun sing along song. Helen Todner


48. Slash – ‘Standing in the Sun’
A great single from Slash’s 2nd album, usual Slash sound, with Myles’ screaming vocals and fantastic rock licks spread throughout. Works for us. Jordan=Lee Jonson


47. The Lost Rivers – ‘Death Drive’
Northern Star Records
This is the second single off the The Lost Rivers’ debut album ‘Sin & Lostness’ which WithGuitars think you should look up. The band are a noise infused three-piece, hailing from the south west German state of Baden-Württemberg yet sound as if they might have been conceived next door to a JAMC rehearsal room, although the distortion that at times rules will draw many a comparisons, WG simply contest that they are something good, from somewhere else. Scott Causer

46. Squeeze – ‘Tommy’ (Digital Download)

Released as a free digital download release through their own website and as an extra EP with the Pop Up Shop Tour live CDs. Lead track ‘Tommy’ once again sees Squeeze on fine form and reaffirms the genius of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook’s writing partnership. WithGuitars already looking forward to more. Steve Janes

45. We Are Augustines –  ‘Book Of James’

Written by Bill for his brother who tragically committed suicide ‘Book Of James’ is the probably the most heartfelt song of the year. With its bittersweet vocals and rollercoaster instrumentals that swing from subdued to uplifting in an ever undulating wave of sound. This is a very confidant track with a real sense of purpose and, because of the content and the inspiration behind it, true emotion and depth. Helen Todner


44. DZ  Deathrays – ‘Dollar Chills’
Such a massive sound from only two young guys. Brisbane’s DZ Deathrays take a lot of inspiration from Mötley Crüe’s autobiography, but this doesn’t come across in their sound at all. Think Trash Talk meets The Black Keys, or The Computers, Damn Terrain and other such bands who come under the punk and ‘noise rock’ banner. MDS

43. The Winter Olympics – ‘Fags And Girls’

This is a superb blend of punk, rock ’n’ roll, pop, dance fusion mental noise and just really good fun. Blazing instruments and great vocals make this punk rock ’n’roll pop dance fusion really stand out. Its tongue in cheek video helps too. Helen Todner

42. Dot Hacker – ‘Inhibition’
ORG Music
Dot Hacker; serve up another tasty single offering of alternative music. No not spikey guitars or vocals, something different but equally noteworthy. Describes as an experimental rock band, their sound is way more laid back, dripping darkness, warm brooding moods and deliciously other worldly. The Los Angeles band are going from strength to strength. The single represents exhibit B, in the case for the defence for Dot Hacker, we claim the fast rising band will attract even more attention and deservedly so. Steve Janes


41. Melody’s Echo Chamber – ‘I Follow You’
After hooking up with Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, French-popster Melody Prochet has produced a debut album full of psych-pop sounds, with ‘I Follow You’ and it’s tangy twangy guitar intro just oozing her sweet, airy, reverbed French-pop vocal twists. MDS

40. Sonic Boom Six – ‘Virus’ (digital format only)
Xtra Mile
The Boom are back after what seems like an eternity with a new label Xtra Mile (Frank Turner, Against Me, Riverboat Gamblers) and a slick video to promote the single. The single is SB6 at their best, it’s the big bombastic sound that the band were experimenting with, single is superb, but sadly digital only, “what no vinyl you cry?” – yes really!  Rotten Johnny


39. Devilish Presley – ‘The Devil Rock and Roll’
A bizarre and unique more of goth/glam/punk and horror Devilish Presley comprise just two members, the demonic looking Jacqui Vixen and the more genial Johnny Navarro, oh and let’s not forget the drum machine.
They’re a hard working band who are still well under the radar, probably because their music is so hard to pigeon-hole, but they’ve built a reputation as a great live band and achieved a deserved respectable cult status.
This single,‘The Devil Rock and Roll’ falls into their rock / glam mode which unexpectantly worked well for all of us. Paul Wright

   38. Bowling For Soup – ‘Lets go To The Pub’

Drunken antics are captured encouraged and lauded in this skater punk anthem from America’s favourite cheerful rockers Bowling For Soup. Ok so they’re a little silly but you can’t help but smile when you hear them and this one really sums them up to a t. Bouncy, fast and full of fun. Helen Todner


37. Electric Guest – ‘Awake’
Because Music
‘Awake’ was originally released back in 2011, the single being re-released on Because Music, earlier this year, July 16th to get all precise. Already a live favourite, ‘Awake’ followed the release of their debut album ‘Mondo’ in April. The Los Angeles duo Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton – collectively known as Electric Guest, were ever present on the WithGuitars office playlist, fair to say the ‘Awake’’s inclusion in the 50, is merely a system of over play, quite apart from being a well strutted, and realised pop meets rock indie,Asa’s match-winning vocals, backed by production from Danger Mouse, all which is very amicable. Steve Janes

36. IamCharlii – ‘Some Way Out’

Her voice is a real marvel and a much needed change from the ‘polished until it gleams ‘female vocals that seem so very popular at the moment. Backed by piano, violins, muted percussion, and soft guitars there is real depth and heartache in‘Some Way Out’ which is perfectly expressed in the throaty vocals.


35. Richard Hawley – ‘Leave Your Body Behind’
Former Pulp member Richard Hawley has a new album out this year called ‘At The Sky Edge’ and to get us all excited with the next brilliant single ‘Leave Your Body Behind’. The single was inspired by grief felt at the passing of friends, urging us to accept how tiny we are in the grand scheme of things and make the most of the time we have. The track is not Hawley’s usual style, it combines elements of psychedelic, space rock and ragas with heavy riffs and raw, visceral guitar solos. All this mixed with more familiar tender moments has produced a song that will surprise and impress Hawley’s fans and peers alike. Steve Janes

34. Gaz Coombes – ‘Simulator’
Gaz Coombes returns with an absolutely fantastic solo record since disbanding Supergrass in 2010, ‘Simulator’ is almost like a indie-spacey rock song which the music video making that seem even more likely. Jordan-Lee Jonson

33. The Pre New – ‘Cathedral City Comedown’
When your latest project is deeply connected with two great bands of yore; World of Twist & Earl Brutus, there’s a bit more to prove than most. Luckily Jamie Fry and his new band of unmerry men are playing the same kind of glorious glam racket, it’s sneery, bilious, middle aged and brilliant. This track is a rally against big corporation masked by a love song for cheap cheese. Foxtons deservedly get a blast with the brilliant lyric “When Foxtons burns down and all the estate agents have drowned, everything sells for a pound”. Bung a surely illegal Roxy Music sample and ‘Pretty Vacant’ guitar riffs and you’ve got a track that will never become dull…and this is before the gorgeous dreamy ambient breakdown which is the most World of Twist sounding thing ever. Chris Todd

32. Slam Cartel – ‘Handful Of Dreams’
This is a proper sleazy rock anthem with plenty of guitar slides and riffs to keep any one happy. With a definite American vibe to it which quite surprised me as these guys are cockneys through and through their sound is reminiscent of Velvet Revolver’s ‘Slither’. Hard and edgy without losing any of the fantastic guitar and back line rhythms that make this a very good song.  Helen Todner

31. Harbour – ‘Almost Home’

Probably the best from their debut EP is the epically emotional and defiant ‘Almost Home’ with its wistful lyrics sung with heat and the tiniest hint of anger whilst the guitars rip and cry along in the blistering chorus riffs before fading to the softly sung lines ‘I’ve got ghosts and I’ve got dreams….’. This is an absolutely stunning song and shows that Harbour are defiantly one to watch for the future. Helen Todner

30. Kate Nash – ‘Under Estimate the Girl’
Few could have anticipated Kate returning with a new Riot Girl sound, even less appreciated it. ‘Under Estimate The Girl’ was an enjoyable tune – all rumbling bass, screeching guitars and a vocal that could strip wallpaper (that’s good yeah?). Jamie Gambino

  29. Patrick Wolf– The Libertine
Patrick’s voice has matured like a fine whiskey to become rich, deep, and vibrant with the ability to express a wide range of emotions, he has a voice you really do want to listen to. ‘Libertine’ is a dark tale with the violins adding a delightfully ‘gypsy’ flavour to the song. Storytelling is what this singer songwriter does best and this is a fantastic tale of escapism filled with the traumas that life throws at you but that they are a price worth paying for the freedom to make your own choices and dealing with the consequences of those choices. Steve Janes


28.  R.Ring –‘Fall Out & Fire’
Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery make up R.Ring and together they make brittle, bruised, beautiful music – usually all at the same time and of course it is brilliant too.’Fall Out & Fire’ the duos first single is achingly lovely, with just stripped back acoustic guitar and Kelley’s gorgeous vocal the only instruments used. Jamie Gambino

27. King Charles – ’Lady Percy’
Start to think words such as ‘quaff’ or ‘pummel’, indeed ‘uplifting rabble-rousing will not, I am afraid get much of an airing from this juncture. Although this review is painted in several broad strokes. Not that is has any manufactured trademarks. it works on most levels, i a wonderful slab of popular music at last with a swagger. Steve Janes

26. Walking Papers – Your secrets safe With Me
From their self-titled debut album this band has an incredible rock pedigree and has started as they mean to go on. The single starts out with a throbbing base line and drums which the lead guitar slithers over. The vocals are deep, dark, and hot. The sound is edgy and just a little sleazy and gives the overall impression of a bunch of very bad boys. Helen Todner

25. The Vaccines – Teenage Icon’

Released at the start of September, the A great return by a promising indie band whose first album contained song after song of punchy, punky indie rock tunes. ‘Teenage Icon’ was the second single and the best from ‘Coming Of Age’ proving that the London band were no one album wonders, but you all know that right?.Jordan-Lee Jonson

24. Beak  – ‘Yatton’

Geoff Barrow, Kevin Shield’s biggest rival when it comes to sluggishness, has been positively flat out of late, a Portishead album four years ago, a main producer on The Horrors’ second album ‘Primary Colours’, two projects; Quakers & Drokk and as of this Summer, a second Beak album which yielded this propulsive gem. Murky, lo-fi krautrock it may be but Barrow’s production expertise makes this a warm and welcoming. Chris Todd

23. Valentiine – ‘Animal’
Australian grunge goddeses Valentiine hit Europe hard this Autumn on a joint tour with Maltese rockers Cable35. ‘Chucky’ may have been the distinctly tongue in cheek single they were promoting at the time but it’s predecessor is much more atypical of their sound. Rhythmic drumming builds into slamming guitars as bass and those sweet harmonies join into the mix you’re pretty much won over. Jamie Gambino

22. Savages – ‘I Am Here’ EP
For most bands, releasing a live record is a bold brave step to take when they are an established act several albums into their career. Savages however followed up their debut single with a live EP! But when you sound as great as this live why not? ‘City’s Full’ led the way but anyone who has witnessed them live can attest to every song in their repertoire being superb, the album is going to be a blast. Jamie Gambino

21. Skints – ‘Ratatat’
Bomber Music

London-based reggae & dub upstarts The Skints latest single ‘Ratatat’, brings a not unfamiliar mix of Jamaican styles with “pop hooks, grimey raps, filthy basslines and a punk rock work ethic to create a sound familiar to newcomers” stated the press release, which I totally agree. if you have ‘got’ their soundclash influences, then skip this review , press play on the accompanying video and relax. If not, put simply, their is a strong undercurrent of Ska, always a good thing, but ultimately what marks this single out, is the originality of The Skints, effortlessly they delivered a classic single. Steve Janes

20. Cast Of Cheers – ’Family’
School Boy Error / Cooperative Music
Not the first most have heard of the Cast Of Cheers, but this was technically their first debut single proper, which was rightly championed by the who’s who in radio land online and regular press, but the t ‘Family’ is tight, focused and snappy, I am even start thinking of XTC. But the single has played what seemed like virtually all of the time, each play met with a smile, no surprise for its inclusion here. An impressive debut single. 7.75/10
Steve Janes

19. Electric Guest – ‘Electric Guest’ EP
Los Angeles gives us, Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton collectively known as Electric Guest. The four tracks on this EP do exactly what they were designed to do increase anticipation works ever so well, with producer Danger Mouse The Self titled Ep is stacked with the odd past and present singles; ‘American Daydream’, ‘This Head Hold’, equally ‘Troubleman’, all go down very well, with most. There is such an array of instruments, moods and styles, wrestling with phrase like diverse song-writing, any comparisons drawn, then seem somehow unreasonable. Promise I have not been at the happy juice, the Electric Guest EP is that good. Steve James

18. Josh Homme – ‘Nobody To Love’
Is this a good indication of how the new QOTSA album is progressing? Probably not actually, but who cares it’s bloody Josh Homme! Popping up quietly on the soundtrack for Cop thriller ‘End Of Watch’ and credited to Joshua Homme this wasn’t the balls to the wall Rock Fest you may have wanted but instead a guitar fuelled, dark synth romp that took notes from his wife’s band Spinnerette. Jamie Gambino 

17. A Place To Bury Strangers – ‘I Lost You’
From their ‘Onwards To The Wall’ E.P, this single from the NYC noise-rockers typifies their sound – noisy, and monotone. Full of wails, feedback, heavy bass and fast-paced drumming the single would you believe is a love song. MDS

16. My Jerusalem– ‘Devoe’

Darkly seductive and filled with wonderfully graphic lyrics sung in a voice that slithers over your skin like crushed velvet and razor blades. There is an unrepentant yearning to this song’s chorus as love and joy turns to obsession and other blacker thoughts and feelings. A contrast beautifully expressed by the instrumental variance between verse and chorus with the soft gently verse versus the explosive and powerful chorus. Helen Todner

15. The Datsuns – ‘Gods Are Bored’
Packed with typical melodic rock expected from The Datsuns, a hooky chorus and drum beat, this isn’t the strongest track on their new album, but it’s driving rhythm and wah-wah riffs are totally glam-tastic and so reminiscent of the band’s ‘Harmonic Generator’ days it makes itself a favourite. MDS

14. Blood Red Shoes ‘In Time To Voices’
When Blood Red Shoes released their 3rd album this year, one track immediately stood out as a marked change from previous outings. Title track ‘In Time To Voices’ demonstrated more power and restraint in one song than their peers managed in an entire record, by showcasing the duos ability to mesh melody and harmonies to a rock sound. Starting off with Laura Mary Carter’s sweet, vulnerable vocal before building into something powerful as Steven Ansell added a harder dynamic to the songs chorus. That the band were able to perform acoustic versions of this track without losing any of the songs edge proved that their writing skills had evolved. Jamie Gambino


13. Jim Jones Revue – It’s Gotta be About Me

Taken from their third album the single ‘It’s Gotta Be About Me’ is assertive and self-assured with more attitude than you can shake a stick at. The sound is funky edgy rock‘n’ roll which is gritty and a little rough around the edges just like it should be with dark and brooding lyrics oozing with passion and attitude. The use of keyboards gives an underlying Jazz feel to their sound and it is fantastic layered under, over, and through the insistent bass lines and rippling guitars. This band are phenomenal in the studio and even better live with one the most high energy live shows going. Helen Todner


12. Valentiine ‘Chucky’
Tongue in cheek? Sure but ‘Chucky’ is still a lot of fun. “oh please don’t touch me I’ll be sick in your face” “go easy, I’m queasy” the girls may have written it as a joke but not enough rock songs deal with being drunk to the point of vomiting. And although Valentiine claim it is a pop song it still rocks, admittedly lighter than other material by the Aussie grunge ladies but the exploding guitars, powerhouse drums and filthy bass hooks buoyed along by Erica’s sweet harmonies are all present and correct. Jamie Gambino

11. Pond – ‘Moth Wings’
Tame Impala spin-off act Pond psyched-out yet again with their 4th album ‘Beards Wives Denim’. Single ‘Moth Wings’ is another head-nodder, full of rock-out jams and sexy basslines, with overlaid harmonic vocals throughout and wah-wah guitar. MDS



10. Total Control – Carpet Rash
For all the praise hurtled towards Tame Impala, Total Control, a significantly better Australian band received none. A supposed supergroup containing members of Eddy Current’s Supression Ring and some other dudes, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young can probably continue to sleep soundly. Their debut album came out in 2011 but this track recently came out in demo form, it’s an astonishing seven minutes of krauty, angsty, Joy Divisiony f*ck the world hate-rock. Chris Todd


9. Pulled Apart By Horses  – ‘V.E.N.O.M.’
The opening track from the Leeds’ 4-piece’s second album hits you like a slap in the face from it’s opening note. It’s all about the tempo changes, the drops, the layers of sounds and vocals, and lack of anything other than pure guitar, drums and bass. Intense. MDS

8. Todd Terje – Inspector Norse

Norwegian space disco god Todd Terje has a knack of performing at a level higher than everyone else; ‘Inspector Norse’ is just one of many examples of this. Crisp 4/4 beats, a jiggling cheeky bassline’, a subtle house synth stab, eventually the whole thing explodes into a technicolour rush of pure, unadulterated joy. Chris Todd


7. Chromatics – ‘The Page’

Johnny Jewell’s Chromatics project returned this year after a five year break with their lengthy second album and instantly melted the minds and broke the hearts of all who heard it. Continuing with their peculiar brand of tear stained disco and forgotten 80s film scores, ‘Kill For Love’ or at least part of it began life as the original soundtrack to the Ryan Gosling film ‘Drive’ (see also Symmetry’s music for an imaginary film, rumoured to be the actual full score for the film, also by Jewell).
‘The Page’ casts aside the cinematic stuff and goes for a more direct approach, containing a glam guitar riff and further guitar fuzz used in the same way Kevin Shields did before he became a professional layabout, this is topped off perfectly with the terminally sad vocals of Ruth Radelet who sounds like Julee Cruise on a really, really bad day. Chris Todd

6. Django Django – ‘Default’
Ah I remember it well, a scorching hot day at Summer Sundae. So hot that I’d had several refreshing (lethal) ciders before I got the call to say I was interviewing Django Django in 30 minutes!
After a very entertaining chat with the lads I consumed a few more before they took to the stage, and what a gig that turned out to be! Default’ is all fizzes and bleeps, tribal drumming and a beat that I defy you not to dance to. Full of scrumpy or not, this is a bona fide dance floor smash. Jamie Gambino

5. Blood Red Shoes Cold
Brighton duo Blood Red Shoes surprised us earlier this year with 3rd album ‘In Time To Voices’. First single ‘Cold’ was more melodic than previous outings. Featuring an insanely fast drum beat coupled with passionately screamed vocals, this was the sound of a band maturing and filled with confidence.

4. Frank Turner – ‘I Still Believe’
Xtra Mile recordings
Not strictly a 2012 single, it was one of the songs of the summer, no matter where you turned, if playing ‘I Still Believe’ at the Olympic Opening Ceremony at London 2012 to having the he even had a beer created – Frank Turner Believe, also the song was our and many another highlights from his headline show at Wembley. His recent support to The Pogues excellent tour. Even stronger than usual, the collective media buzz surrounding the impressive anthem of a single, had not eased; this could even be viewed as overkill – that is if you did not think ‘I Still Believe’ is a classic, even by Frank Turner’s standards. One of many reasons why 2012 was a good year for music. Steve Janes


3. Grimes – Genesis
Grimes scored a big hit for 4ad with album ‘Visions’ and deservedly so, there isn’t anybody else making music quite like this at the moment. ‘Genesis’ sounds like Cocteau Twins. On ecstasy. In outer space. Beautiful haunting vocals, lyrics dealing with loneliness and despair all set to a catchy electro beat this is practically Goth Rave. Dance music for people who don’t like dance music is how I’d describe this highlight from an excellent album. Jamie Gambino

2. Savages Husbands
I first stumbled upon Savages during an interview with Death In Vegas. When Richard Fearless recommended them to me i immediately checked out the YouTube video for ‘City’s Full’ Obviously I was blown away, most bands do not sound like that anymore. I caught them live in July at Leeds Cockpit in a room not much bigger than my living room, filled with about 50 die hard fans/people in the know. Obviously I was blown away, most bands are not that good anymore. ‘Husbands’ is so bloody fantastic it had to be reissued due to popular demand when everyone caught up & realised how amazing Savages really are.
Revolving around a bass line tight enough to garrotte you, ‘Husbands’ also features a guitar blast so brutal you could probably get bruises from it, as well as those heavy drum’s & cymbals. By the time of vocalist Jehn’s breathy chant of husbands as the song fades out, you are practically on the floor, hair ruffled a bit delirious, it’s almost post coital…. pass me a cigarette. Jamie Gambino


1.TOY – Dead & gone
When TOY dropped their first single back in December 2011, it was pretty devastating, ‘Left myself behind’ is a indie classic laced with shoegaze bedlam, the closing four minutes is a crescendo of white noise thrashing which has to be heard to be believed. They followed this with a near perfect song; ‘Motoring’ which even has a dumb pop couplet ‘If you want to ride….we’ll take you for a ride” and throws in an indiefied steal of the ‘Daytripper’ riff.
This is the track that stood out among an album full of killers, live too, it’s a dirty lysergic laced psychedelic headfu*k of a trip. Eight minutes, it’s overbearing, edgy and suspicious; a vaguely Middle Eastern guitar riff breaks down into cutting swathes of obtrusive delicious dream-pop. Chris Todd

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Festive 50 2012