Submissions are presented in the order they were received. Click here to see last year’s songs.
Nakhane – “Do You Well” (feat. Perfume Genius)
Panda Bear & Sonic Boom – “Go On”
Vv Pete – “Bussit”
Erica Eso – “Y.L.M.E.”
Justice only means one thing / your life means everything
Joyful Joyful – “Sebaldus”
Do you know who your enemies are?
Show Me The Body – “Loose Talk”
I don’t regret the violence / but I try to remember the plan
Shin’ichi Tanabe – “Hell’s Gate Island”
Miles Davis – “Moja (Part 2)”
Sonny Rollins – “And Then My Love I Found You”
Arash Badie – “Taare Tanha”
From the album Hejar
Arijit Singh – “Gulon Mein Rang Bhare”
Written by Faiz Ahmad Faiz, from the Hindi language movie Haider
Kishore Kumar – “Chookar Mere Man Ko”
Ekkehard Ehlers – “Plays John Cassavetes 2”
Perhaps the single greatest argument for why being able to sample existing art to create new art is vital, as Ehlers turns the concentrated brilliance of The Beatles’ “Good Night” into a deeply touching drone piece, a melody into a rhythm.
PUP – “Robot Writes A Love Song”
The stilted sunshine of PUP’s shouted pleas lifted me on many a dark day. Shouting along with them live was a life-affirming highlight of my year.
Sam Regan – “Tendrils”
I first heard this album opener when it was released in August, and in a few short months it climbed the ranks of my mind with its hypnotic allure. Around Thanksgiving I held an intimate screening in Austin of my latest Super 8 and 16mm works scored by Sam’s selections from his own discography. Hearing “Tendrils” set to the final film in the program was akin to hearing it for the first time—although the intensity of the bass through his monitors at high volume were certainly a factor as well.
Billy Nomates – “Petrol Fumes”
Billy Nomates gets on stage with nothing but a pair of dungarees and a laptop and can dance so infectiously the whole crowd goes berserk! I had the pleasure of seeing her twice over the past 15 months in Belfast, firstly supporting Sleaford Mods in The Empire and then in Ulster Sports Club in 2022. This is one of her slower songs: an unconventional love song of head-dizzying lyricism and beauty. It’s been on loop forever in my head this year.
Sprints – “The Cheek”
Dublin punks, Sprints are riotously funny and full of spittle and satirical vitriol on stage. I saw them at Women’s Work festival showcase in June of this year in Belfast’s Oh Yeah centre and was blown away by their energy! ‘The Cheek’ is a hilarious rebuttal of a song. My favourite line has to be:
He said, “baby are you straight?”
I said, “Bi. Bye, bye.”
Mo Kenney – “Ahead of Myself”
I spent a chunk of the summer in New Brunswick, Canada working and a friend I made there introduced me to Nova Scotia’s own Mo Kenney. I loved this song in particular. It brings back nostalgic country twangs, reminiscent of listening to Eagle-Eye Cherry in the car as a child, combined with an understated sexiness that is very moreish. A searching summer song that makes me think of sunnier times.
Madurai Mani Iyer’s rendition of Thukkiya Thiruvadi
Picking a carnatic composition for this list is a rather tricky task, as they are characterized by the renditions, improvisations and elaborations made by different musicians who lend their personality to their compositions. But this one is incredibly special as it showed me what Carnatic music really is through Mani Iyer’s singular improvisation of one word, as opposed to 1-2 lines in a composition by other musicians. Ultimately, it showed that everything folds into the raga.
Stereolab – “Metronomic Underground”
You would think that the song would collapse as it keeps stacking extraordinarily intricate musical layers, but as the lyrics go, it is indeed “crazy, sturdy, a torpedo.”
Erik Satie, played by Jean-Ives Thibaudet: Gnossiennes: No.1 – Lent
I could include the entire composition, but the Lent is something I keep returning to, its seductive airs and gorgeously weighted ambience are irresistible.
Samsimar – “Indang Pariaman”
Operating Theatre – “Spring Is Coming With A Strawberry In The Mouth”
Low – “In Metal”
Redcar (Christine and the Queens) – “rien dire”
Maggie Rogers – “Horses”
Cher – “Dov’è l’amore”
Pharoah Sanders – “Spiritual Blessing (Live)”
Siavash – “Sahneh”
Joe Bataan – “I Wish You Love, Pt. 1”