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Best of 2012: Our Favorite Songs of the Year (K-Z)

Posted by January 18th, 2013 No Comments »

By Matt Ashworth & Nada Staff

In case you missed part one of our favorite songs from 2012, here’s how the list came together.

1) Everyone sent me a list of their favorite songs
2) I compiled them in a handy Spotify playlist
3) I listened the ones I wasn’t familiar wth incessantly for a few weeks.

Here are my thoughts on the songs by artists in the “K” through “Z” sections of your local independent record store.

Kanye West & Jay-Z – “Clique” / “Ni**as in Paris” / “No Church in the Wild”

I’m not a fan of “Ni**as in Paris” but I just adore “No Church in the Wild.” The story and the characters are great, that hook is killer and both dudes come with catchy snaps. Plus, I love how it sounds fuzzy and confused as they contemplate spirituality or whatever. And the line “Jesus was a carpenter / Yeezy lay beats” is one of my favorites of the year.

Kelly Hogan – “We Can’t Have Nice Things”

I’ve loved this gal ever since Bloodshot sent us her 2000 album Beneath the Country Underdog with her cover of Magnetic Fields’ “Papa Was a Rodeo” right as I was discovering that band. She’s continued to put out cool records, perform with her mate Neko Case, and collaborate with alt-country elite like The Waco Brothers, The Minus 5, Silkworm, Drive-By Truckers and others. This one sounds a little bluesier, almost Mountain-ready. Check Kelly out on Twitter too. She’s funny and adorable.

Kendrick Lamar – “Swimming Pools (Drank)” 

This cat made all of the year’s “best albums” lists so I guess I should check him out. This song is solid – classic hip-hop with a chorus about drinking a lot.

King Tuff – “Bad Thing” / “Stranger”


The Lumineers – “Ho Hey” 

I love watching 90.3 KEXP discover great bands like the Lumineers and accelerate their ascension. This Denver band was a surprise hit at the 2011 Capitol Hill Block Party festival and it was pretty much a done deal from there.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – “Can’t Hold Us” / “Same Love” / Thrift Shop 

Macklemore is a true talent and a wonderful success story, having gotten sober and worked his butt off for years before getting noticed. Unfortunately, if Mack recognizes my name it’s probably as “that guy who set up the Mars Bar show where no one came and no one got paid.” Sorry Mack, we never could get anyone to come to Eastlake for hip-hop. I loved that first demo you sent and everything you’ve done since. I’m glad everyone’s finally taking notice.

Mat Zo and Porter Robinson – “Eas”


Of Monster’s & Men – “Little Talks”   

Another band catapulted to national acclaim by KEXP. “Little Talks” is a wonderful song with great male/female vocals. If anyone tells me they don’t like it, I won’t believe them. Impossible.

Perfume Genius – “Hood”

I was absolutely enchanted by the debut from this 18 year old kid from Everett. So was everyone else; influential Indie label Matador Records signed him and released his 2012 follow up, from which this track is taken.

Polica – “Amongster”

I got to meet this band and watch them perform at a SXSW event my company managed for a client last year. They are nice people who make lovely, atmospheric music with soulful vocals. It comes off a bit dull at times, but I like listeing to their songs in sets of three.

Poor Moon – “Anyplace”

Another Fleet Foxes side project signed to Sub Pop (the other being J Tillman’s Father John Misty), Poor Moon put out a nice little EP in 2012 that featured this track.


Porcelain Raft – “Drifting In And Out” /
“Shapeless & Gone”

What would we call this? Hipster disco? Electro-shoegaze? Regardless, I love all three of these songs. Sometimetimes Pitchfork nails it.

PS I Love You – “Don’t Go” / “Sentimental Dishes”

If Japandroids were more talented and less robotic they would be PS I Love You. And I like the Japandroids; these guys are just that much better.

PSY – “Gangham Style”

The first truly “global” number one hit, “Gangham Style” was chosen by the people for the people without the influence of the industry, making it a fascinating cultural and technological milestone. As a pop song, however, it is almost exactly as good as SNAP’s “Everybody Dance Now.”

R Kelly – “Feelin’ Single”

“Hell yeah girl. Daddy dumped that last lady and is back on the prowl for some action. He’s “feelin’ single” and ready to pee on a new bitch now.” – R Kelly

Radiation City – “Hide From the Night”

Radiation City are a Portland band Dan and I saw at SXSW a couple years ago and have been in love with ever since.


Raveonettes – “Young and Cold”

I was lukewarm on this Danish duo until I saw them play “Young and Cold” and a bunch of other lovely songs on a lazy Saturday afternoon at the Triple Door earlier this year. It just slays me the way they harmonize on lead on so many of the songs. God Bless you KEXP.

Ryan Bingham – “Western Shore” 

Lots of criticam acclaim for this Americana singer from L.A. this year. “Western Shore” is a solid Americana song but Ryan’s affected, bite-your-bottom-lip style of vocals just don’t do it for me.

Santigold – “Disparate Youth”

Great song. I can’t believe I haven’t listened to Santigold’s 2012 album. I loved her debut, and the song with the Beastie Boys is like a wonderful parting gift to MCA (RIP).

The Shins – “For a Fool” 

A kind soul brought me to the Shins’ secrect afternoon show for Starbucks employees last April. A long time fan of the band, I was a bit skeptical; main Shin James Mercer had recruited a whole new band and I hadn’t heard 2012 release Port of Morrow. But the show was wonderful. They played most of my favorite songs from the three excellent Shins albums I’m familiar with, and the new songs sounded great.

Shy Girls – “Gonna Get My Name Back” 


Six Organs of Admittance – “Waswasa” 

Instrumental neo-prog isn’t typically my cup of tea, but this song from Comets on Fire guitarist Ben Chasny’s Six Organs of Admittance kind of tears ass.

Sleeping Bag – “Soda You” 

A nice little Indie pop ditty here from Bloomington, Indiana’s Sleeping Bag.

Sunny Lax – “Isla Margarita” 

Sunny Lax is a Hungarian trance producer.  This track has bright, warm beats and keyboard sounds and seems like it would be perfect for laying on a beach in Portugal watching a ton of cute gals dance in bikinis and stuff.

Swans – “The Seer” 

I must be getting “patient” and “mature” in my old age, because it only took me two separate occassions to make it all the way through this 32-minute song from reformed New York art-rock band Swans. It’s dark and evil and has some cool parts.

Theophilus London – “Big Spender (feat. A$AP Rocky)” 

Cut from the same cloth as Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life,” this Theophilus London jjam is built around a sample from the original “Big Spender,” a song in the 1956 musical “Sweet Charity.” Fun song.

The Tallest Man on Earth – “1904” 


Tim Barry – “40 Miler”

Nice to see some straight country on this list. Tim Barry is a former punk rocker from a band called Avail with a voice that sounds like Roger Alan Wade. And “40 Miler” is a great song with fantastic lines like “music should sound like escape not rent.”

The Soundtrack of our Lives – “Throw it to the Universe”  

How’s about some good old fashioned mid-tempo British alt-rock!?

Taylor Swift – “I Knew Your Were Trouble” / “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

Taylor Swift is talented and pretty. Sometimes boys do mean stuff to her, though, which makes her angry and sad.

Thee Oh Sees – “Lupine Dominus”

I was bummed they switched the running order (to time with a live broadcast for Carson Daley’s show) at SXSW last year and I ended up seeing tennis Tennis instead of Thee Oh Sees, because everyone says they are rad live and I haven’t really connected with ’em on record yet. But “Lupine Dominus” is a terrific mess of psychedelic noise, so I’m going to try again.

The Twilight Sad – “Alphabet”


Ty Segall – “Ceasar”

My six year old and I saw Ty Segall and his band at Bumbershoot and we both totally dug it. I also like a good percentage of the 45 or so songs they put out in 2012 too. This one’s a fuzzy rocker with piano.

Tyvek – “Scaling” / “Wayne County Roads”

Nice to see some kick-ass rock coming out of Detroit again. I haven’t lived there since 1977 but I’m still routing for anything to do with my hometown. (We’ll get ’em next year, Tigers.)

– “Sod in the Seed”

“Stream of consciousness flows over genre-defying beds of musical accompaniment,” says Nada Contributor Ben Allen about this one.

Willis Earl Beal – “Evening’s Kiss” / “Monotony”

Haunting and simple, the first time I heard “Monotony” it demanded that I drop everything and listen attentively. Rarely does an artist come around who is doing something completely new. Willis is such an artist.

Yellow Ostrich – “Daughter” / “Marathon Runner”

Amazing talent this kid from Brooklyn who calls himself Yellow Ostrich! He’s got a great band together on this second album, Strange Land, which is one of my favorites of the year.

Yuri Kane – “Love Comes”


More of our 2012 favorites:

Best of 2012: Colin’s Top Tracks

Best of 2012: TBASA’s Durgey Dozen

Best of 2012: Our Favorite Songs (A-J)

Best of 2012: Our Favorite Movies

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