A good part of the reason I started blogging was because I went to a history conference at a UT branch up between Dallas and Fort Worth and found that, contrary to belief, many well known academic historians have found community history projects to be invaluable because of their focus and details. Photos rated high. Photos with details rate high. Interviews with participants in events rated high. Interviews with older people rated high if you cover their experience and perspective.
- Prairie Weather

“Protest works. Just look at the proof”

Free MP3 sites

Be your own program director. Venture off the beaten path. Live a little.

2dopeboyz: Hip hop. (RSS)

3hive: Sharing the sharing. Free and legal MP3s from over 600 underground and undiscovered artists — new ones added daily. (RSS)

Amazon MP3 Download - Frequency: Weekly. Get the latest on Amazon MP3 music downloads - new releases, freshly ripped hits, and special deals.

Audio Drums - A blog for rare, possibly overlooked, maybe forgotten gems of music with a slight emphasis on electronic and indie genres. (RSS)

Common Folk Music - A blog about music, not just folk music, but all music ranging from indie to alt-country to bluegrass, because music is for the “Common Folk”. (RSS)

Discobelle.net (RSS)

Fiddlefreak Folk Music Blog - Folk, bluegrass, Celtic, and other music of the people. (RSS)

Fingertips Music - Free and legal music. (RSS)

Gorilla Vs Bear (RSS)

Hillydilly: Simply Good Music. (RSS)

I Rock Cleveland: Indie Rock, College Rock, Alt Rock, Modern Rock, Cleveland Rock, and Rock. (RSS)

KEXP Song of the Day: KEXP 90.3 FM - where the music matters (RSS)

Kick Kick Snare (RSS)

Line Of Best Fit - TLOBF.COM | Music Reviews, News, Interviews & Downloads (RSS)

Lipstick Disco - Deep House & Disco music blog fronted by Females (RSS)

Minnesota Public Radio Song of the Day: Music lovers from 89.3 The Current share songs with you each weekday. (RSS)

Muruch (RSS)

Music Like Dirt: Music in all its many forms, mp3’s, live reviews and photography. (RSS)

My Old Kentucky Blog - a music blog that parties with unicorns. (RSS)

Nah Right. (RSS)

ninebullets.net. (RSS)

Rollo & Grady: Los Angeles Music Blog, LA Music Blog (RSS)

Said the Gramophone: a music weblog (RSS)

She Makes Music: She Makes Music focuses on the most exciting and impressive new music created by brilliant and talented female musicians. (RSS)


Sounds Better With Reverb (RSS)

Stereogum: All the MP3s on Stereogum.com (RSS)

their bated breath (RSS)

Women of Hip Hop (RSS)

YouKnowIGotSoul (RSS)

Mourn ya till I join ya

The Wheel’s Still In Spin: Focusing on new music releases and reviews of individual albums as original, fictional short stories (RSS)

A Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz - This site is just a way for me to have a little fun and share a little music. I’ll highlight some of my favorite artists that I play on the radio and try to expound upon their music in ways I can’t always do on the air. (RSS)

Aminal Sound

Audiofile: Music Blog, Music Articles - Salon.com

Crossfade: The CNET music blog

Direct Current New Music - Adult pop, rock, singer/songwriters, folk, Americana, alt-country, adult alternative, soul, world music, crossover jazz and simply those artists that make us go “hmmm.”(RSS)

GarageBand.com Folk top tracks (RSS)

GarageBand.com Hip Hop top tracks (RSS)

Flawless Hustle: Urban culture blog featuring artist interviews, music reviews, legal music downloads, street art, graffiti and more! (RSS)



The Jon Swift principle: “I will add anyone to my blogroll who adds me to theirs.” Email or leave a comment to let me know.


The Hunting of the Snark

Sites participating in blogroll amnesty day

Jon Swift aka Al Weisel, may he rest in peace. Co-originator of Blogroll Amnesty Day

skippy the bush kangaroo (Co-originator of Blogroll Amnesty Day) (2012)

Vagabond Scholar (2012)
Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety. Keeper of the Jon Swift Memorial Roundup (The Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves)

Notes From Underground (2012)

Redeye’s Front Page (2012)

Wisdom of the West (2012)

Zen Comix (2012)

pygalgia (2012)

Mikeb302000 (2012)

The Agonist (2012)

Brilliant At Breakfast (2012)

Bacon and Eggs (2012)

« Testing water and building community | Main | Gun violence, public health and the missing piece »

Best Music of 2012


If you dig these songs please consider buying them. Most can be had for less than a buck.

Links will be live for one week. If you hold the copyright on one and would like it removed, please let me know and I’ll comply. You heartless, small-minded, ungenerous b******.

Here are my favorite songs this year from my RSS feeds. I use Sharp Reader as my aggregator but it requires the .NET framework, which older computers may not have. Feed Reader doesn’t need it and is good too. See the “Free MP3 sites” part of my blogroll for my current feed list.

Most weeks I burn as many new songs as I can fit onto a rewritable CD and give it a thorough listen (usually five times), so in that spirit I keep the list under the same limit. In a way 80 minutes is arbitrary, but it’s also respectful of listeners to show some restraint. If you fall in love with my taste in music drop me a line and I’ll get you the rest of the songs I considered but didn’t have room for.

On the reckoning of time

I age songs by release date, not recording date. Until I get my grubby little hands on it, it doesn’t exist as far as I’m concerned. When it first makes it out to the public it is new, no matter how long it may have been gathering dust somewhere.

Recommended albums

In addition to the ones mentioned in the list here are the albums in 2012 I enjoyed front to back:

Tender Trap - Ten Songs About Girls

Howl Griff - Fragile Diamond. Both this and Ten Songs will probably get pigeonholed as some kind of neo-Twee revival or something. What they really are, though, is first rate pop albums. I can always make room for one of those in my collection.

Rush1 - Clockwork Angels. After Roll the Bones I basically gave up hope for Rush, though I kept buying their albums. (They provided the soundtrack for my youth, and the pull of nostalgia is strong.) Clockwork Angels is a pretty amazing return to form, though. It has a few Spinal Tap moments, but they are mercifully brief; aside from those missteps the music is stronger than it’s been for a long time. And “Headlong Flight” has Alex Lifeson’s best guitar solo in about thirty years.

Teen - In Limbo. A little slice of lo-fi heaven.

The Finks. I don’t know if they offer their music for sale anywhere, or if they just periodically throw songs onto Soundcloud. Whatever, it’s great stuff and definitely worth a listen.

Best Reissue

James Yorkston & the Athletes - Moving Up Country (10th Anniversary Edition). I know Dreamin’ Wild by Donnie And Joe Emerson is the sentimental choice for many due to its remarkable journey (and earnest rawness), but Moving Up Country sounds like the work of a fully formed artist. Adding “The Lang Toun” to the first disc (it was originally left off for space) and the various demos on the second are a real treat as well. Also: “Cheating The Game” is the best song ever written.

Honorable Mention

I usually reserve an Honorable Mention spot for a longer song. Most years there’s at least one 7+ minute song that I like quite a bit, but since I try to get lots of different artists on the list I don’t want a single tune to crowd out several other candidates. When a longer song really blows me away (like “Bushels” by Frog Eyes in 2007) I’ll make room, but overall I prefer to keep my selections under five minutes or so. This year there was no such song, so instead I went with:

22. “Borrowed Skin” - The Grates (Buy)
From Secret Rituals (highly recommended). I don’t trust this pick because it’s too squarely in my wheelhouse. I absolutely love pop rock. Lound guitars and good hooks are catnip to me, so the thought that I might be overrating it made me keep it off the list. Wow do I love it though.

The List

(And yes as proof of concept I burned them on to a CD using Winamp.)

21. “Let It Go” - Cherri Bomb (Buy)
The latest reincarnation of The Runaways, and a fine one.

20. “Don’t Save Me” - Haim (Buy)
Haim seemed to get quite a bit of buzz at the end of the year, and it’s easy to see why. The synth pop vibe and cool delivery make a nice contrast with the urgency of the lyrics.

19. “Who You Waiting On” - Lucero (Buy)
From Women & Work (recommended). “Give me a chance instead, baby” is a timeless theme in music, and Lucero does it justice here.

18. “Throughout This Night” - Cara Mitchell (Twitter)
Mitchell has a striking voice, and she does a nice job of letting simple, unadorned melodies show it off. Hear more on her Have You Ever Wondered EP.

17. “Killing Time is Murder” - Whitehorse (Buy)
A good, stomping beat and colorful stream of consciousness lyrics.

16. “Valentine” - Charli XCX (Home page)
Releasing a song called “Valentine” on February 14th has gimmick written all over it. But what do you know - it’s a straight up excellent song.

15. “Wake Up (Saxaphone By Willie B)” - Big K.R.I.T. (Home page)
From 4Eva N A Day (2012 Album of the Year). A hypnotic groove.

14. “Homerun” - 1-O.A.K. (Twitter)
Includes some nice reflections on not always getting what you want.

13. “If You Were Mine” - The Cornshed Sisters (Twitter)
From Tell Tales, which does not appear to be available digitally but is recommended if you can find it. Some of the loveliest vocals you will hear this year.

12. “Word Vomit” - Angel Haze (Twitter)
Takes a sample from “Meet the Frownies” by Twin Sister (possible inspiration) and uses it as the jumping off point for some absolutely crazy rhymes.

11. (2012 Guiltiest Pleasure) “Waste My Body” - Tesla Boy (Twitter)
They sound about one step up from boy band status, but I couldn’t get enough of this one. The keyboard transition that starts at 2:53 is 2012’s Best Second in Music.

10. “Peter Sellers” - Stella Ella Ola (Twitter)
A good old fashioned garage band romp.

09. “Shorty (prod. Jazzy Joyce)” - Nina B (Twitter)
From the Titles Are Played Out mixtape (recommended). Raw desire, laid bare.

08. “Rainin’ Inside” - The Trishas (Buy)
The guitar in this song is absolutely killer.

07. “Marathon” - The Ready Stance (Buy)
From Damndest (recommended), this year’s proof that rock and roll is not dead.

06. “New Bodies” - Bernice (Buy)
Murky and weird and strange, and alluring.

05. “King Kong” - Luu Breeze (Download mixtape) (Twitter)
The best beats in hip hop are the best beats in music. Also has possibly my favorite line of lyrics in 2012: “Growing up I wasn’t put together right / couple screws loose.”

04. “orion’s belt (feat. riff raff)” - kitty pryde (Twitter)
Off of haha im sorry (recommended). At the EP link she writes “oh btw heres a mediafire link if u wanna do it the FREE WAY idk lol i hate payin for thngs 2,” which is funny, generous and self-consciously teenager-y. It’s also a good idea of what you can expect from “orion’s belt.” There’s already been a lot of chatter about her over what she means for rap of feminism or God knows what else. (No links; Google it if you want.)

All that has tended to obscure something about her EP: it contains absolutely phenomenal hooks. The last song is a bit of a novelty, but the other four are crazy catchy. Sure those four are short - just over ten minutes combined. Who knows if her vibe will wear well over an entire album, or if she’s even got another listenable song in her. Here’s what I can say though: She’s produced ten phenomenal minutes of music, which is roughly ten minutes more than the vast majority of artists. Even if we never hear from her again she’ll deserve to be remembered for that.

03. “Choice Notes” - Alex Winston (Buy)
From King Con (recommended). This is probably the most straightforward pop song on her album (and her best hook). King Con is worth checking out because in addition to her tasty hooks she also has a slightly twisted sensibility. Songs like “Run Rumspringa” and “Sister Wife” are slightly off-kilter in the good way.

02. “Refill” - Elle Varner (Buy)
It’s funny: this was on both her official release Perfectly Imperfect (recommended) and her mixtape Conversational Lush from earlier in the year, but I think the mixtape is a lot better than the for sale CD. Of the songs not on both, Conversational Lush has quite a few more high quality songs (“WTF,” “Do You Want To,” “Runaway,” “Go,” “Ghosts,” “EV,” “32 Flavors”) than the CD does (“Sound Proof Room,” “Damn Good Friends”). But buy the CD to support the artist, OK? Just put the mix tape plus those other two on the playlist.

Anyway, “Refill” is the best song on either album. Do you want to know what makes subtext work? When it isn’t obvious. You have to be able to fully enjoy the text without the subtext intruding and causing dissonance. The raunchy subtext on “Refill” works, and works well.

01. “Never Again” - Nook & Cranny (Buy)
I think it’s the jaunty fiddle that puts this one over the top.


1. Fuck you.

Reader Comments (1)

hi dan,

again you missed us, but maybe some of your readers will still like the full cd's worth of our music which they can listen to at untravelledpath.com. it's profoundly different from anything else out there, slow beyond belief, it'll take you to another world.

December 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteruntravelledpath

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>