Smile Politely

Top Twenty C-U Songs of 2012

With there being so much local material that comes out all year, sometimes it’s difficult to sift through it all and figure out what sticks and what doesn’t. There were a handful of bands that made splashes on our albums list last year that had a highlight or two this year, and a ton of other musicians chimed in and gave us many songs to consider.

Here are twenty songs that stood out to us and our readers as well.

20. The Divide: “Colorado”

Folk and Americana through and throiugh is this one from The Divide, who made a little noise with their short but sweet EP from 2012. A downright country folk jam is always welcomed around these parts.

19. Kowabunga! Kid: “Earwax” 

Kowabunga! Kid songs are usually gone before you realize they even began because they’re usually around a minute long. This lead track from their new EP is definitely a fuzzed out mess in all the right ways. Well done, even if it sounds a lot like their other material. Who cares?

18. The 92’s: “Full of Tricks”

The 92’s put together one of the catchiest hooks from the whole year with this keyboard driven track. This one is seriously difficult to not get stuck in your head after listening to it a few times. “Full of Tricks” has some tricks instrumentally, but the best trick is the how catchy it is.

17. Witch In Her Tomb: “I”

An absolute massacre of the eardrums and a total brute force of sound from beginning to end, “I” is just a bloodbath, in all honesty. Making it through the entire recod is quite the accomplishment, but I thought that among all the brutality throughout, this track was by far the most powerful one. Just a completely unforgiving track full of thunderous chaos.

16. Sonny Stubble: “Dropped”

Although there wasn’t a lot of talk about this new Sonny Stubble record, there were some definite highlights to discuss, including this one right here. Sweet guitar lick that drives the verses along and forms into quite the jam towards the end. One of the best gritty rock songs of the year.

15. Coed Pageant: “All The Kids On Black Street”

This Coed Pageant track might sneak up on you. If you don’t listen long enough, you’ll miss out on the gorgous outro. Sorry to spoil it for you, but sometimes I have a short attention span myself. Luckily this one kept my attention for just the right amount of time to blossom into something very rewarding.

14. Megan Johns: “Hey, Lonely”

The raspy Megan Johns makes the cut with her excellent title track from her new record. The centerpiece of one of the best local singer-songwriter records of the year, the depth of her acoustic guitar is enough to whisp you away.

13. Dino Bravo: “Shockmaster”

In one of the more tame Dino Bravo tracks to ever be released (especially after last year’s s/t/d release), we get a taste of the 2012 Dino Bravo. Had a handful of reader votes for this one, and for good reason. It’s as crunchy and solid as we would have anticipated, chugging through and turning into one of the best Dino Bravo tracks to date.

12. Hank.: “That’s a Fact”

Many of Hank’s tracks are all over the place, but with “Tha’s a Fact,” they combine all of those wild portions of their songs and master it. You could consider a 7+ minute track from Hank long enough to confuse someone when combined with their 3–4 minute ringers, but the guitar tone on this track is just perfectly done to hold down to that amount of time. Stretch it out as long as possible and let it take over.

11. Anna Karenina/Anna Karina: “Springleft/Rightfall”

The leading track off of their Autobiographies EP from the Annas is by far the most rugged of the bunch. Steadily pulsating through the first section of the song gets you going, then a crushing guitar section twangs its way through your brain. Turn it up and yell when the “oh oh!”‘s come around. You wouldn’t be the only one to do so.

10. Shadows on a River: “Sun Sings Something”

On the latter half of Shadows on a River’s Drought EP appears this beauty of a track. It’s a really captivating mixture of textures and patience within David Henson’s own songwriting. We’re hoping there will be plenty more tracks like these to come in the near future, because this is one that is still circling around in my head.

9. Midstress: “I Don’t Go To Urbana”

A new twist to a familiar sound is the lead track from Midstress’ terrific The Graff Raid EP from earlier this year. Starts out crawling a bit, but it all starts to make more sense about a minute into the song, where it really takes off into a Midstress all-out assault. 

8. Horrible Things: “$20”

Just edging out fellow punks Midstress is this blistering track from Horrible Things. “Tell me, what’s so easy for you?” Well, you know, finding $20 on the ground is pretty damn easy. About the easiest thing that could happen in life.

7. Motes: “Should”

Motes sound more and more like Yo La Tengo every time I listen to them. “Should” is by far their most complete track, making all the pieces work in the best ways possible. Their Feel The Summer’s Heat EP chugged along like this track, but not as well as what they have going on with this closing track. It’s like they snowballed all their ideas into one to put a cap on things.

6. Enta: “Become”

One of the best emo/post-punk tracks from the entire year is from Enta, which had a pretty terrific year with their solid Hello World EP. “Become” wasn’t on that fine EP, and it’s not surprising because this is a song that can hold its own. It takes the best part of Enta’s post-punk sound and projects it into a really powerful track.

5. DeathTram: “Other Side”

The entire self-titled DeathTram record has a lot of dirt and grime all over it, but not quite like “Other Side.” It takes the creepiness of opener “Vulture” and pushes down on the gas. Haunting vocals mixed with that thudding distorted bassline just makes complete sense and really captures their whole sound in a single track.

4. Withershins: “Fire Flies”

This was one of the more difficult decisions to make because of how deep Silver Cities really is. I had trouble choosing between this track and some of the others to follow, but I feel that this was the best selection because it really encapsulates everything Withershins does in a whopping nine minutes. Pretty jarring track all around.

3. RVINS + Good Night & Good Morning: “The Struggle”

I was a bit late to the game when it comes to getting my head wrapped around this whole RVINS/Good Night & Good Morning collaboration, but I finally got it. It’s a colossal track that is an absolutely punishing song from the build up intro, which feels much more like GN&GM. Then, adding the thunder of RVINS in there to pulverize you for another 5–8 minutes. It’s incredible.

2. Psychic Twin: “Gonna Get Her”

Psychic Twin had an insanely good 2012, but if we had to guess, we’re not going to get a full length from them until next year. Regardless, they had this track released on Lefse Records a few months back, and it’s truly addicting. I think that’s just how all of their songs work. It’s in their genes to keep us hooked.

1. The Dirty Feathers: “If Your Love Is A Drug (Then I’m Feeling Sick)”

This was the only thing The Dirty Feathers put out this year, and by the sound of it, they put everything they had into it. This track has appeared in their live sets for quite a while now, so it was only a matter of time before they put it to tape. “If Your Love Is A Drug” is one of the band’s most wild songs yet, mashing together the best of what they have to offer into a racous three minutes. Last year’s Midnight Snakes was filled with certain parts of what make this song really stand out, but it feels like this is what The Dirty Feathers are ultimately shooting for as their own brand of garage rock. Also, if you haven’t done so by now, check out their music video for the song. It’s just about as wild as the song itself.

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