With 2013 1/3 over, it's list time. The title of this post is a tad misleading; if this list comprised all of my favorite songs from this year, it would have more GbV / Thermals / Hendrix / The Men / etc. songs. Instead it's more like "one good song from each of the albums / EPs I've enjoyed most this year, plus the Roomrunner single." So, presented in no particular order, here's that.
[Apologies for the formatting on this post - Typepad is a fucking joke.]
Bad Religion - True North
If you've heard anything by Bad Religion over the past, oh, I don't know, 25 years or so, you probably have a decent idea of what this album sounds like; these guys have a formula of fast, melodic punk that has served them well throughout their career. As such, the band frequently gets accused of "putting the same album out over and over again," which isn't exactly the case. Although all Bad Religion albums sound alike at first listen, the quality of the songwriting and the energy of the performances do certainly vary from release to release.
It's those qualities which set True North apart from its predecessor, 2010's relatively tepid The Dissent of Man. In fact, it's probably my favorite Bad Religion album since 2004's vitriolic The Empire Strikes First tore the Bush administration a new one. Stay pissed off, ye punk denizens!
Best song: the harmonies on "In Their Hearts Is Right" are irresistable.
Tomahawk - Oddfellows
If you were turned off by the incoherence of Tomahawk's last album, 2007's barely-listenable set of Native American tunes (entitled Anonymous), fret not; that album sucked. Oddfellows is probably he most straightforward Tomahawk release ever, but it's not like we're talking about a Kings of Leon record here or something. The album is largely divided between hooky metallic raveups and lugubrious, noirish filler, the likes of which contaminated much of late-period Faith No More's work. But don't worry, there's *just* enough good stuff on here to make it worthwhile.
Best songs: "Southpaw" and "Typhoon"
Various Artists - Man Chest Hair
I've had spotty luck with compilations such as these throughout the years; Distortions Records' Biet Het series notwithstanding (they're excellent). But that's kinda how it's supposed to be, isn't it? Even so much as buying one of these is comparable to dumpster diving (or a box of chocolates, I guess) in that ya really never know what you're gonna get. Well, this compilation, which draws from little-known acts from Manchester's fertile 1970s rock and roll scene, sucks donkey balls and really has nothing memorable on it.
Best song: If you like washing your misogyny down with a funky bassline, Oscar's "Good Lovin' Woman" is for you.