A bumper edition to kick off 2014 - though, as will be evident from what follows, I'm still neck-deep in 2013 releases, trying to work towards a considered assessment of last year's best (and most disappointing). Songs from Thurston Moore's list not included, as I've already written about that (though admittedly I've been earworming plenty of them since coming across the article).
1. 'Titanium Expose' - Sonic Youth
This throwback to Daydream Nation is far too good to be tucked away at the very end of Goo.
2. 'Preservation' - Hookworms
The most explosive moment on debut Pearl Mystic. 3:06 is proper hair-standing-up-on-the-back-of-your-neck stuff - plus it's got loads of lovely feedback at the end.
3. 'Who Have I Become?' - Best Coast
Once again Best Coast manage to have one foot in cool and the other in catchy.
4. 'Nights In Venice' - The Saints
The incredible climax to the Aussie punks' 1977 debut album (I'm) Stranded. They should be so much better known than they are.
5. 'Maxim's I' - Julia Holter
Not sure that I (or anyone else, for that matter) truly understands what Loud City Song is all about, but this woozy slow dance is pretty astonishing.
6. 'The Ghost That Sleeps In Me' - Lanterns On The Lake
Intimate and delicate - until, that is, the spectacular symphonic explosion at 2:45. Gets me right *here* everytime.
7. 'Future Child Embarrassment Matrix' - Future Of The Left
Hmm, how to grab the attention? Well, reasons Andy Falkous correctly, how's about an opening line of "Her cock is so hard"? That should do it. Here's a great review of new album How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident from the Quietus, which notes the fact that it was funded through donations to PledgeMusic: "So yes, the idiots are winning, but this kindness undoubtedly confirms
that not everyone currently alive is the human equivalent of pork pie
8. 'I Will' - Sebadoh
The solidly reassuring opener to a solid if unspectacular comeback for the partnership of Lou Barlow and Jason Loewenstein.
9. 'Waiting For A Sign' - Savages
For me, Savages are a classic case of "I wonder what all the hype's about" becoming "Ah, I see what all the hype's about". 'Waiting For A Sign' is the sort of thing that helps the Mercury nomination make sense.
10. 'X Ray' - White Manna
The lyrics to which appear to be "The truth is in our heart and in your mind". You've got to admire the unashamed hippy-dippiness of it all. Perhaps they actually wrote the marketing copy for Dune Worship themselves.
11. 'What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?' - Mogwai
If you didn't know otherwise, this cover of an old Washington Phillips standard from the soundtrack to French TV series Les Revenants - soft-voiced, gently swelling gospel - could easily pass as a Spiritualized song.
12. 'Colder' - Six By Seven
One of several impeccable slow-burners from the Nottingham outfit's unexpected (and unexpectedly brilliant) return, Love And Peace And Sympathy.
13. 'Toe Cutter / Thumb Buster' - Thee Oh Sees
Not too many garage thrills here - just a lovely big bloody riff and an equally bloody video. What a way to go - bludgeoned to death with a can of oxtail soup you've just bought yourself.
14. 'Ships' - September Girls
Piccadilly Records-endorsed all-girl band who - on this evidence, at least - take Warpaint's atmospheric post-punk as a starting point and import some of the Jesus & Mary Chain's menace.
15. 'Driver' - Perfect Pussy
Googling this lot is inadvisable. Still, any band who can help me miss Sonic Youth that bit less deserve to be cut a bit of slack.