Immaculate Noise's Top 40 Best Songs of 2012: Miguel, Icona Pop, Grimes

Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, Ellie Goulding and... High On Fire

It's a list of songs from 2012, kids. Let's just have fun.

The crossover between my best songs and best albums list includes Miguel, Japandroids, Emeli Sande, Frank Ocean, Killer Mike and... that's it.

To check out my 30 best albums of 2012 list, head here: it includes top distinctions to Fiona Apple, Swans, Matthew Dear, Kendrick Lamar, Swans and more.

Here is a list of 40 of my favorite songs from this year. Listen to the Spotify list of them here.

  1. Miguel, "Adorn"
  2. Icona Pop, "I Love It"
  3. Frank Ocean, "Sweet Life"
  4. Cold Specks, "Blank Maps"
  5. Shovels & Rope, "Birmingham"
  6. Nicki Minaj, "The Boys
  7. Taylor Swift, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"
  8. Le1f, "Wut"
  9. Burial, "Kindred"
  10. David Byrne + St. Vincent, "Who"
  11. Grimes, "Oblivion"
  12. R. Kelly, "Share My Love"
  13. Holy Other, "Held"
  14. OneRepublic, "Feel Again"
  15. Nas - "Daughters"
  16. High on Fire, "Bloody Knuckles"
  17. Mumford & Sons, "I Will Wait"
  18. Emeli Sande, "Where I Sleep"
  19. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, "Thrift Shop"
  20. Justin Townes Earle, "Am I That Lonely"
  21. Ke$ha - "Die Young"
  22. Maps & Atlases, "Old & Gray"
  23. Pallbearer, "Devoid of Redemption"
  24. Dope Body, "Road Dog"
  25. Miranda Lambert, "Fastest Girl In Town"
  26. Killer Mike, "Reagan"
  27. Dr. John, "Locked Down"
  28. Ellie Goulding, "Anything Can Happen"
  29. Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, 2 Chainz, "Mercy"
  30. Walk the Moon, "Anna Sun"
  31. First Aid Kit, "Emmylou"
  32. Japandroids, "The House That Heaven Built"
  33. Father John Misty, "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings"
  34. Hospitality, "Eighth Avenue"
  35. Mynabirds, "Generals"
  36. Alabama Shakes, "Hold On"
  37. Santigold, "The Keepers"
  38. Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe"
  39. A$AP Rocky, "Goldie"
  40. Charli XCX, "You're the One"

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<p>Pulp's Jarvis Cocker</p>

Pulp's Jarvis Cocker

Listen: Pulp and James Murphy combine for new song 'After You'

LCD Soundsystem frontman reportedly helping on Arcade Fire's next album

Pulp gave you what you really wanted on Christmas Day. The British rockers released a new song, "After You," a collaboration with former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy at midnight on Dec. 25 this week.

It's not a stretch to say the tune may remind you of Franz Ferdinand -- Pulp were influential in that Scottish band's output, and the rhythm section now has a modern spin on the classic Pulp sound. "After You," in fact, is an old Pulp demo, re-done as of last month with Murphy's thumbprint very obviously on the beat.

The band and Murphy combined just this fall for the S.S. Coachella, the music festival's foray into a floating event via cruise. According to Pitchfork, the decade-old song never had a finished version until everybody hit the studio in November.

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<p>Ivan &amp; Alyosha let it snow</p>

Ivan & Alyosha let it snow

Credit: Kyle Dean Reinford

Premiere: Ivan & Alyosha trot out 'Rebel Jesus' for the holidays

Roots-pop crew debut a live performance ahead of 'All the Times We Had'

Ivan & Alyosha have partnered with a couple auspicious sources this fall, first with the Missing Pieces and Dualtone labels, and next with "Rebel Jesus."

The first, aforementioned joint venture marks them as labelmates with Immaculate Noise favorites Shovels & Rope and recent Grammy nominees The Lumineers. The band will now be releasing its full-length debut, "All the Times We Had," on Feb. 26, led by the single "Running for Cover."

Rootsy "Rebel Jesus," on the other hand, is a highlight for a different reason: the season. This holiday-inspired Jackson Browne cover is yet another firm sample of the band's refined vocals and ageless pop affinities, plus a perfectly level-headed excuse to bust out the jingle bells. As implied by its title, this "heathen and a pagan" have more than garland and red-nosed reindeer on their minds as the the rip into the mildest guitar solo of all time.

The live performance was filmed at Seattle studio Avast!, where "All the Times We Had" was recorded. It was also mixed by Jesse Lauter, who did the same duties last year for The Low Anthem. So there's that.

After Christmas cheer, look forward to this solid album.

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Top 10 Best Albums Of 2012: Fiona Apple, Kendrick Lamar, Swans, Miguel

Top 10 Best Albums Of 2012: Fiona Apple, Kendrick Lamar, Swans, Miguel

Where do Death Grips, Grizzly Bear and Frank Ocean land on Immaculate Noise's list?

If there had to be any trend from my top 10 albums from 2012, the word of the year would be "lean." I admire the understated displays of self-editing. Fiona Apple's album didn't have a note or breath wasted; Miguel's tracklist was tidy, whereas Frank Ocean could learn to trim; Kendrick Lamar and Killer Mike ably balanced comedy and drama with carefully selected words; and mostly-instrumentals like Swans, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and the Dirty Three sequenced those excesses into something tangible and rare.

Other trends: I fell in love with very few country and Americana albums this year, though there will be plenty of those artists that dominate my songs lists. I did, however, fall in love with Emeli Sande, who is clearly the Real Deal. So is How to Dress Well, who broke my heart 10 different ways. I don't think Tallest Man on Earth or Grizzly Bear can make a bad album. Hundred Waters -- who were the first signees to Skrillex's label -- surprised the hell out of me and I hope the hype index of the IDM poster-child won't have a negative impact on their future successes. Matthew Dear, Goat, Burial and Diiv make dark-rooms music.

You can hear samples of most of these albums -- if not just most all of the artists -- on Immaculate Noise's 2012 Top Albums Spotify list.

Some people make great collections of songs, and some artists make albums. Here are 30 of my favorite albums from 2012, with their artists, because 30 is a nice round number...

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<p>The xx</p>

The xx

Listen: The xx cover Wham!'s 'Last Christmas'

Watch a documentary on the British troupe

This Christmas just got a little bit colder. The xx recorded a chilly take of Wham!'s mega-holiday hit "Last Christmas" for BBC 1, with all its vocalists taking turns.

Romy Madley Croft has always had a "ballpark" singing voice, where she doesn't always hit the ascribed note, but it's in the ballpark and it's ever on-base. It works here, a more sultry style than the matter-of-fact as the original had been. Would love to see their take on feathered hair.

Meanwhile, the xx continue to promote their latest album "Coexist" with latest single "Chained" and with a new short film series. The "Coexist Series" can be seen via YouTube, and features an intimate version of "Fiction." Check some of that out below.

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs to release new album in Spring 2013

Yeah Yeah Yeahs to release new album in Spring 2013

Wait's over: New songs in concert?

This Spring, the Yeah Yeah Yeah will be releasing their first album in four years, the follow-up to "It's Blitz!"

The band made the announcement via Twitter, posting an Instagram of a mysterious figure in neon colors.

“DNA upgrades, spontaneous evolution and NEW YEAH YEAH YEAHS RECORD ARRIVING SPRING 2013! finally," read the post.

DNA upgrades may mean the band members just got better at what they do. Or paid a scientist to allow them to glow in the dark. Spontaneous evolution may have to do with what collaborations or combinations happened in the studio, or that Karen O learned to fly, as humans always intended. No other details are known.

However, it IS known that the YYYs played a new song called "Despair" during a Hurricane Sandy benefit concert at a tiny venue in Brooklyn earlier this month.

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Watch: Winona Ryder and 'Submarine' actor star in Tim Burton-directed Killers video

Watch: Winona Ryder and 'Submarine' actor star in Tim Burton-directed Killers video

Band cancels some dates due to laryngitis

When the Killers have Tim Burton on hand to direct their new music video, you have to expect at least a little star power (and some black and white stripes). "Here With Me" has both, with Winona Ryder starring as the companion and obsession of Craig Roberts, who you may recognize as the lead of "Submarine."

You didn't see "Submarine?" Well, watch it right after watching this.

The Killers are house band to Roberts' character's waltz with a wax figure-slash-mannequin, as he imagines that a very famous woman is his sweetheart. It's a beautiful short, in addition to being kind of funny and disturbed.

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<p>Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl at the 12-12-12 relief concert</p>

Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl at the 12-12-12 relief concert

Credit: AP Photo

Dave Grohl's 'Sound City' soundtrack revealed: Trent Reznor, Josh Homme, McCartney

'Real to Reel' out in March

It's officially revealed that more than just the surviving members of Nirvana and Paul McCartney will be on the forthcoming soundtrack to Dave Grohl's documentary "Sound City." Stevie Nicks, Trent Reznor, Josh Homme and more will be on "Sound City - Real to Reel," due on March 12.

iTunes posted the tracklist to the album, which includes songs performed in the documentary and those "inspired" by the gatherings therein. I'm personally looking forward to hearing that final track, with just Grohl, Queens of the Stone Age frontman Homme and Reznor, a track called "Mantra." The rhythm section for Rage Against the Machine -- Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford -- is also in the house, on top of the reunion of Pat Smear, Grohl and Krist Novoselic (Nirvana) with Paul McCartney for the now-released "Cut Me Some Slack." The latter tune was performed at the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief earlier this week.

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<p>Paul Epworth at the 2012 Grammy Awards</p>

Paul Epworth at the 2012 Grammy Awards

Credit: AP Photo

Adele collaborator Paul Epworth talks Golden Globes nomination and the Oscars

'Skyfall' earns a nod, can it grab an Academy Award?

Producer Paul Epworth walked away with four Grammys earlier this year, mostly for his work with Adele on tracks like mega-hit “Rolling in the Deep” and her album “21.” His combo with Adele, again, has set him on the path for even more accolades, this time in the film world. This morning, Epworth became a Golden Globe nominee as the producer of “Skyfall,” Adele’s epic James Bond theme up for Best Original Song.

Listen during “Django Unchained, and you’ll hear Epworth’s mark on critical favorite Quentin Tarantino’s latest: Epworth produced John Legend’s new track “Who Did That To You?”.
Paul Epworth, only naturally, has been thinking about movies lately.
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<p>Jessie Ware</p>

Jessie Ware

Watch: Jessie Ware's 'Sweet Talk' video is child's play

U.K. dance artist on tour in the U.S.

U.K. singer Jessie Ware's full-length "Devotion" was enough to propel her hot song "110%" onto the radar in the U.S., earning her a deal with Cherrytree, who's prepped her new EP for a re-introduction.

"110%" is getting renamed "If You're Never Gonna Move" (due to clearance issues) but "Sweet Talk" from "Devotion" is keeping its name as it's dropped as the new single. The vieo to it gets an equally sweet video release, below, as children play the part of Ware, her producer and her backers. Just watch out for the 360-deals, kiddo.

Ware's playing in Los Angeles tonight and will be touring the U.S. again in January.

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