It's been a while, so another bumper edition coming right up...
1. 'Too Many Creeps' - Bush Tetras
Yes, I admit it - ever since it appeared in January, I've repeatedly revisited the list of Thurston Moore's favourite 38 songs of all time. 'Too Many Creeps' has emerged as one of the absolute stand-outs - musically it was surely a significant influence on the likes of LCD Soundsystem, while Kim Gordon obviously lifted Cynthia Sley's "I don't wanna" line wholesale for 'Kool Thing'.
2. 'How To See Through Fog' - The Drones
The end-of-year album round-up isn't ready yet (no surprises there, then...), but it isn't giving much away to say that The Drones' I See Seaweed is one of a number of records that will be championed as unjustly overlooked - I've been evangelising about it for months. 'How To See Through Fog' is the first and, to date, only single, and a useful introduction to what they're all about.
3. 'Hello Stranger' - Julia Holter
A magical song from a magical album - the sort that can prompt YouTube commenters to declare things like: "When my little girl was born, I looked into her eyes and instantly recognized her soul, and our connection throughout time".
4. 'Singing Of The Bonesaws' - Future Of The Left
To anyone who dares to suggest that Andy Falkous might be losing his lyrical touch, I give you the monologue from 'Singing Of The Bonesaws'. Here's a snippet: "I cannot identify the bloodied bodies of my loved ones - they were killed whilst watching a new television show on the MTV network, one where Kim Kardashian is chased through woodland by a giant bear wearing a mask which carries the visage of recently deceased film director Michael Winner. The bear has apparently not qualified for a workplace pension and is angry with Daniel Day Lewis for what he perceives to be the relative lack of action in There Will Be Blood, which he otherwise enjoyed but found a little precious for his tastes"...
5. 'What Death Leaves Behind' - Los Campesinos!
"WE WILL FLOWER AGAIN", Gareth confidently promises towards the end of No Blues' first single. That's a relief - because the album finds them in full bloom.
6. 'Rend It' - Fugazi
In On The Kill Taker might just be the best album for air-drumming that I can think of - and 'Rend It' is particularly good in that respect. (NB Any music lover who claims not to air-drum is in denial.)
7. 'Hi-Five' - Angel Olsen
Olsen had already collaborated with Bonnie "Prince" Billy and put out an EP and an album, so wasn't exactly a complete unknown, but nevertheless credit to Jagjaguwar for giving wider exposure to another typically unique artist. 'Hi-Five', from the album Burn Your Fire For No Witness, is a classical country ballad (even down to the opening line: "I feel so lonesome I could cry") but scuzzed up with an indie-rock sensibility.
8. 'Walk Of Shame' - Deap Vally
In which Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards turn a sexist stereotype on its head.
9. 'Normal Person' - Arcade Fire
Remarkable chiefly for the lyrics, particularly Win Butler's whispered opening: "Do you like rock 'n' roll music? Cos I don't know if I do". Otherwise, like much of Reflektor, it sounds stodgy (no offence, Mr Murphy).
10. 'Little Monster' - Royal Blood
Believe it or not - and you probably won't - but Josh Homme had no involvement in the creation of 'Little Monster'. Ideal for someone who continues to regard ... Like Clockwork as a dud.
11. 'Shelter Song' - Temples
The debut single from a band I missed at Gathering in October (venue too busy) and again on Monday (guestlist cock-up). 'Shelter Song' is very good, conjuring up a world in which strawberry fields are indeed forever, but the rest of the album isn't that great - and for a bunch intent on reviving mid-'60s psychedelia, it's worryingly unimaginative.
12. 'Innocence Is Kinky' - Jenny Hval
Rather improbably, Hval is not the only musician I can think of who's written an academic study of Kate Bush (the other is Debbie Withers of Drunk Granny). 'Innocence Is Kinky' is the title track, complete with NSFW video, of the Norwegian's second album under her own name (previously she went under the moniker Rockettothesky), and promises much for her support slot for the Swans gig in Reading in May, for which I've already bought a ticket.
13. 'Chardonnay' - Mudhoney
"You're the grape that launched a thousand strippers / You're the soccer mom's favourite sipper / Well, I can't think of nothing sicker / Get the fuck out of my backstage / I hate you, chardonnay". It's like garage punk meets Sideways.
14. 'Here It Comes Again' - The Amazing Snakeheads
Glaswegian origins, the force of Domino's considerable clout behind them, a snarling and menacing rockabilly scuzz: The Amazing Snakeheads have a lot of things going in their favour. There is the faintest whiff of Glasvegas about them, though...
15. 'Erosion' - CYMBALS
A bittersweet marriage of '80s jangle, shoegaze, synth pop and The Cure. This is most definitely a good thing. Might have to invest in the album, The Age Of Fracture.