Tuesday, 18 December 2012

2012's ultimate post: The Culture Shock After Shock 2012 Celebration, the 100 for 2012 playlist and the Top 50 Albums of 2012

The Culture Shock After Shock 2012 Celebration
It's that time again. For this year's lists I've made a special edition of Culture Shock, celebrating some of the best tracks released in 2012, and counting down my ten favourite tracks of the whole year. Give it a listen below:

100 for 2012
Here's the complete playlist, my top 100 tracks of 2012. Firstly here's the Spotify version (note that a number of tracks are missing from the UK Spotify library):

And this is the list in full. I've provided links for the tracks missing from the Spotify version where appropriate:

1.    Death Grips - "Hacker"
2.    Matthew Dear - "Her Fantasy"
3.    CHVRCHES - "The Mother We Share"
4.    Torche - "Kicking"
5.    Angel Olsen - "Acrobat"
6.    Todd Terje - "Inspector Norse"
7.    El-P - "The Full Retard"
8.    Mac DeMarco - "My Kind of Woman"
9.    Hot Chip - "Flutes"
10.    Loma Prieta - "Fly By Night"
11.    Burial - "Kindred"
12.    Jai Paul - "Jasmine (Demo)"
13.    Sharon Van Etten - "Leonard"
14.    Cloud Nothings - "Wasted Days"
15.    Swans - "A Piece of the Sky"
16.    Icona Pop - "I Love It" (feat. Charli XCX)
17.    Amber London - "Low MF Key"
18.    Nicolas Jaar - "And I Say / With Just One Glance You" (feat. Scout Larue and Will Epstein)
19.    Perfume Genius - "Dark Parts"
20.    Andy Stott - "Sleepless"
21.    Aesop Rock - "Zero Dark Thirty"
22.    Frank Ocean - "Pyramids"
23.    Liars - "Brats"
24.    AlunaGeorge - "You Know You Like It"
25.    Kendrick Lamar - "Cartoon & Cereal" (feat. Gunplay)
26.    TNGHT - "Bugg'n"
27.    Bat For Lashes - "Laura"
28.    Lone - "The Animal Pattern"
29.    Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - "Only In My Dreams"
30.    Ab-Soul - "The Book of Soul"
31.    Grimes - "Genesis"
32.    Killer Mike - "Don't Die"
33.    Jessie Ware - "Running" (Disclosure Remix)
34.    War - "In Your Arms (Final Fantasy)"
35.    Spiritualized - "Hey Jane"
36.    Miguel - "Adorn"
37.    Evans The Death - "Telling Lies"
38.    Beach House - "Lazuli"
39.    Dinosaur Jr. - "Watch the Corners"
40.    Fiona Apple - "Regret"
41.    Wild Nothing - "Shadow"
42.    St. Vincent - "Krokodil"
43.    Big K.R.I.T. - "I Got This"
44.    Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000 - "DoYaThing"
45.    Tall Ships - "Murmurations"
46.    Chairlift - "Met Before"
47.    Jessie Ware - "Night Light"
48.    Foxygen - "Make it Known"
49.    Cassie – "King of Hearts" (Richard X Remix Edit)
50.    Arcade Fire - "Sprawl II" (Soulwax Remix)
51.    Jamie Lidell - "What a Shame"
52.    BADBADNOTGOOD - "Flashing Lights"
53.    alt-J - "Breezeblocks"
54.    Young Fathers - "Rumbling"
55.    Mosca - "What You Came For" (feat. Katy B)
56.    Animal Collective - "Honeycomb"
57.    King Krule - "Rock Bottom”
58.    The Walkmen - "Heaven"
59.    Solange - "Losing You"
60.    David Byrne & St. Vincent - "I Should Watch TV"
61.    The Men - "Open Your Heart"
62.    John Talabot - "So Will Be Now..." (feat. Pional)
63.    Laurel Halo - "Thaw"
64.    Dirty Projectors - "The Socialites"
65.    Kendrick Lamar - "Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"
66.    Flying Lotus - "me Yesterday//Corded"
67.    Toy - "Motoring"
68.    Ty Segall Band - "Wave Goodbye"
69.    Carly Rae Jepsen - "Call Me Maybe"
70.    Japandroids - "The House That Heaven Built"
71.    ScHoolboy Q - "Hands on the Wheel" (feat. A$AP Rocky)
72.    Grizzly Bear - "Sleeping Ute"
73.    Sleigh Bells - "Comeback Kid"
74.    How To Dress Well - "& It Was U"
75.    Chris Cohen - "Optimist High"
76.    Of Montreal - "Dour Percentage"
77.    King Felix - "SPRING01"
78.    Frankie Rose - "Know Me"
79.    Dave Aju - "Rise"
80.    M.I.A. - "Bad Girls"
81.    Tame Impala - "Apocalypse Dreams"
82.    Big Sean, Jay-Z and Kanye West – "Clique"
83.    Cat Power - "Ruin"
84.    Jens Lekman - "Become Someone Else’s"
85.    Zammuto - "The Shape of Things to Come"
86.    Egyptian Hip Hop - "SYH"
87.    Baroness - "Take My Bones Away"
88.    Flying Lotus - "Between Friends" (feat. Earl Sweatshirt and Captain Murphy)
89.    Usher - "Climax"
90.    Scott Walker - "Epizootics!"
91.    The Shins - "Simple Song"
92.    Mister Lies - "Dionysian"
93.    Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - "Same Love" (feat. Mary Lambert)
94.    The Gaslamp Killer - "Impulse" (feat. Daedalus)
95.    Passion Pit - "Take a Walk"
96.    The Antlers - "Zelda"
97.    Kanye West - "White Dress"
98.    Deerhoof - "Fete D'Adieu"
99.    The Flaming Lips and Nick Cave - "You, Man? Human???"
100.    Mouse On Mars - "Polaroyced"

The Top 50 Albums of 2012
Now we're onto serious business. Unlike last year I've combined albums and EP's onto one list. Most of the albums here featured on the "2012 Recommended Albums" post; others did not. Here are a few honourable mentions:
Laurel Halo - Quarantine, King Felix - Spring EP, Frankie Rose - Interstellar, The Walkmen - Heaven: Great albums, all of which were on the "2012 Recommnded Albums" post, but there can only be 50 on the list! Unfortunately these were the ones that drew the short straws. I own all of these too, so maybe I'm just bored with them right now.
BADBADNOTGOOD - BBNG2: Mostly instrumental jazz reinterpretations of tracks by Odd Future, James Blake and My Bloody Valentine, balanced out with a healthy number of original compositions and improvisations, moreso than the first BBNG tape. Used as Culture Shock background music on more than one occasion. Pick it up for free at BBNG's Bandcamp.
Clams Casino - Instrumental Mixtape 2: If you picked up the first Clams Casino Instrumental Mixtape (which featured on last year's Albums list), you'll know the score. All those great LIVELOVEA$AP instrumentals and more. Another free download.
Nicolas Jaar - The Essential Mix: Without a doubt my favourite extended mix of the whole year, Nicolas Jaar recorded his Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1 back in May and takes us from Twin Peaks to Chilean classical pieces, Feist, Ricardo Villalobos and even N*SYNC. Along with The Seer it's been an indispensable part of my long train journeys this year. Here's the uninterrupted version you'll want to download. If you want more try the Don't Break My Love compilation.
Todd Terje - It's The Arps EP: Mostly here for the incredible "Inspector Norse" track.
Scott Walker - Bish Bosch: I wanted to like this but after listening to it a couple of times it's doing absolutely nothing for me right now. As I loved Scott's previous album The Drift and not having much time with this one (it was released late into the year) I'm giving it an honourable mention as I may change my mind about it. Recommended if you find The Seer too easy-going for your tastes.

Now for the top 50. The entries for the bottom half of the list are unnumbered and presented in alphabetical order. I didn't really feel the need to put these ones into a specific order, as they're all more or less of the same quality to me:

Ab-Soul - Control System (click for review)
Ab-Soul - Control System
Dave Aju - Heirlooms
alt-J - An Awesome Wave
AlunaGeorge - You Know You Like It (EP)
Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra - Theatre Is Evil
The Antlers - Undersea (EP)
Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man
Beach House - Bloom
Big K.R.I.T. - 4Eva N A Day (mixtape)
Chairlift - Something
Cloud Nothings - Attack On Memory
Grimes - Visions

Hot Chip - In Our Heads (click for review)
Grizzly Bear - Shields
Himanshu - Nehru Jackets (mixtape)
Hot Chip - In Our Heads
Japandroids - Celebration Rock
Jens Lekman - I Know What Love Isn't
Melody's Echo Chamber - Melody's Echo Chamber
The Men - Open Your Heart
Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream
Daniel Rossen - Silent Hour / Golden Mile (EP)
Tall Ships - Everything Touching
Tame Impala - Lonerism
Ty Segall Band - Slaughterhouse
Wild Nothing - Nocturne

Deerhoof - Breakup Song (click for review)
25. Evans The Death - Evans The Death
24. Death Grips - NO LOVE DEEP WEB
23. Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It
22. Zammuto - Zammuto
21. Andy Stott - Luxury Problems
20. Torche - Harmonicraft
19. Deerhoof - Breakup Song
18. Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes

Angel Olsen - Half Way Home (click for review)

17. Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music
16. Loma Prieta - I.V.
15. Lone - Galaxy Garden
14. Angel Olsen - Half Way Home
13. Burial - Kindred (EP)
12. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
11. Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

10. Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
Tramp was an album I liked at first but grew on me immensely as the year continued. The opening three songs can demonstrate why. "Warsaw" is a short but great leading electric waltz. "Give Out" is drastically different; a solemn acoustic-led track, with Sharon's shaking confidence being fully cemented by "Serpents", a bitterly angry emotional assault on a lover. The central theme of Tramp is Sharon's desire to bury her past, to release herself from her previous burdens, even whilst suffering the pain of severing them. Produced by the National's Aaron Dessner the album has more than enough variety of moods and textures; at times dreamy, melancholic and potent, Tramp is a triumphant blend of modern folk and indie rock.
Essential track: "Leonard"
Built around a few mandolin chords, "Leonard" (named after Leonard Cohen) is the most gorgeous track Tramp has to offer. The way Sharon's voice wistfully hoversover the verses, unwrapping her story bit by bit during the choruses, is absolutely breathtaking. Seeing Sharon performing this song with a full band on a rainy Saturday morning at Latitude this year was one of this year's unforgettable moments.

If the idea behind Hudson Mohawke and Lunice's EP as TNGHT was to make the most unnecessarily sound-smashing, joyously addictive set of hip hop instrumentals, they most certainly succeeded. I don't think any other release made me smile as much per minute as the first time I put this EP on. Ridiculous levels of bass and pitched vocals offset the sounds of dogs barking, glass breaking and marching bands. Its brevity only makes me want to play it again and again. And we can see already that these guys are moving onto bigger and better things. Whatever the future holds for TNGHT, at least their influence is already being reverberated.
Essential track: "Bugg'n"
There's nothing on TNGHT that doesn't feel like a highlight, and "Bugg'n" doesn't represent the EP as well as "Higher Ground", but nevertheless it's the year's best instrumental. The opening "Are You That Somebody?" coo gives way to a clapping hi-hat rhythm, steady tempo and growling bass. The whole track feels like it's dripping across its unconventional rhythm, and above all else sounds like classic Timbaland updated for 2012.

8. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
Poetry in album titles isn't Fiona Apple's only skill. The Idler Wheel... is her most intimate album, and despite its stripped-down approach has plenty of interesting choices of field recordings and instrumentation from Fiona and her collaborator Charley Drayton. A children's playground, a factory and glass bottles all feature, making The Idler Wheel... resemble Fiona's version of Swordfishtrombones; but it's the singer/pianist that truly shines. Many a songwriter would chew off a limb for writing credits for "Every Single Night", "Jonathan", "Werewolf" or "Anything We Want", and the balance of longing and obsession was never more clearly demonstrated.
Essential track: "Regret"
Again, difficult to choose, for all the right reasons. "Regret" only just scrapes ahead of the pack. It's those strained choruses that help it along, and what a line - "I ran out of white horse feathers/To soak up the hot piss that comes from your mouth every time you address me". Towards the end Fiona mumbles into the phrase "leave me alone"; only after listening to The Idler Wheel... repeatedly does this stand out as an important moment.

7. Aesop Rock - Skelethon
One of the most important things I was looking for in albums this year was longevity; albums that could take me far past 2012 to unpack their meanings entirely. With Aesop Rock's Skelethon, I might never be able to unwrap all the lyrics. It's so dense yet adventurous; Aes is one of the most lyrical rappers there is, and with this album he brings not only a number of genuinely varied themes - late night trips to Bob's Donuts, haircuts, canine baby rescues and how to make a homemade mummy to name a few - but for the first time he handles all of the album's production, making equally strange and unconventional beats that fit together so perfectly. The recurring motifs of death and emptiness run so deep into the lyrics that it's a delight whenever I unearth a new one. More than Cancer For Cure, this is the lyricist rap fan's album of the year.
Essential track: "Zero Dark Thirty"
Another clear rap single favourite of mine this year. "Zero Dark Thirty" is essentially a warning to Aes's opponents, isolating himself as "down from a huntable surplus to one", but it's so much more complicated than that it takes ages to work it out. It also has Skelethon's best instrumental, mixing a crunchy bass riff and sombre violins seamlessly together.

6. Matthew Dear - Beams
Although not everyone may see it this way, Matthew Dear took a huge risk with Beams, abandoning large qualities of his trademark industrial disco-noir that culminated with 2010's Black City in favour of something poppier, bouncier and much more colourful. The album cover says it all; this is a portrait of Matthew with a full spectrum of sounds to present, and is also his strongest work yet. There's touches of Talking Heads' rubber-funk in "Earthforms", a palpable tenderness in "Ahead Of Myself", and a menacing humanity in "Shake Me". Matthew's baritone is also stronger than ever and lends itself to many an addictive vocal hook: proving that Beams is still overtly sexual, but encompasses love, loss, desire and uncertainty into Matthew's world.
Essential track: "Her Fantasy"
I seriously considered making this track my #1 of the year, I really did. "Her Fantasy" is Matthew Dear's finest hour (or six minutes), built around a delightful shoegazey synth riff. Matthew contemplates the effects of love on the human mind and body when he questions "Am I one heartbeat away from receiving a damaging shock to my life?" The huge sugary rise that proceeds seems to either know the answer, or celebrates the uncertainties that lie ahead in such a way that it no longer matters. Headphones necessary.

5. El-P - Cancer For Cure
From the very first beat of "Request Denied", Cancer For Cure feels like an occasion. El-P has always been a hip hop head's hip hop producer (which is probably why Killer Mike was so insistent on recruiting him to produce the entirety of his album R.A.P. Music, another of the year's strongest releases), and this album sees yet another progression of his underground skronk-rap style. It has a tight concept, a number of classic instrumentals, brilliantly written and delivered lines from El and all of his collaborators (Killer Mike, Danny Brown, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire and Despot all show up), and it flows as a momentous whole. I've given it more plays than any other album this year.
Essential track: "The Full Retard"
At first I was uncertain about "The Full Retard" as a lead single. But after a few listens I think it's one of the best rap singles in years. "So you should pump this shit/Like they do in the future" is as good as a mantra as any, and indeed I will be pumping this shit for a long time to come. It's also one of two great musical tributes to the late Camu Tao (the other being Aesop Rock's "Racing Stripes"). Kirk Lazarus was wrong. Always go Full Retard.

4. Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city
Apologies for drawing the inevitable comparison, but Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city rivals Frank Ocean's Channel Orange for critic's choice of album of the year, and both have made leaps from their 2011 efforts above and beyond what anyone could have hoped for with their major label debuts. Last year's Section.80 was easily one of my favourite hip hop albums but this one is something else entirely. Every one of good kid, m.A.A.d city's tracks is an essential component in the narrative Kendrick weaves. Whereas the other rap albums in this top 10 are mostly for fans of the genre, good kid, m.A.A.d city is everyone's rap album; the number of styles on display means no two tracks sound alike. As Kendrick said in a post-album celebratory track: "real people want real music, the jig is up".
Essential track: "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst"
This late album centrepiece returns to the most sobering track of Section.80, "Keisha's Song". In its first half Kendrick singles himself out for one-dimensionalising its subject, and by doing so readdresses his own fears of remorselessness. It's tragic, soulful and raises a lot of questions, reaching the conclusion that he's "dying of thirst", turning the whole album towards the path of redemption. This along with the non-album "Cartoon & Cereal" were high points of hip hop as a whole for 2012. For that reason I've had to include both in my "100 for 2012" playlist.

3. Liars - WIXIW
WIXIW got under my skin like nothing else this year. Liars' first attempt at making an "electronic" album certainly doesn't sound like much else in the genre, but instead stands as the band's most mature record. Starting with "The Exact Colour of Doubt", the palindromic WIXIW explores the space between wanting and not wanting, being and not being; a perfect balance of contradictions. Angus Andrew remains one of modern music's most tactile vocal presences, whose lyrics and delivery on the glowing looped drones of "WIXIW" and the post-kraut-glam-whatever of "Flood to Flood" capture the essence of this doubt.
Essential track: "Brats"
"Brats" is the most immediate of WIXIW's tracks, where the tension of what's come before is lifted out through a post-punk dance groove. It sounds strangely 90s, especially with the distorted effect on Angus's voice, and it's hard to make out what he's singing. I considered other tracks from this album, such as the magnificent centre "WIXIW", but "Brats" is the most fun by a distance, like a shot of vodka in a morning cup of bitter coffee.

2. Swans - The Seer
It's tough to say anything about this album that hasn't already been said. Not many people can make such life-affirming creations (destructions?) at this stage of their career, but at 58 Michael Gira (and his collaborators) prove that it's possible to release a two-hour gargantuan record with absolutely no wasted moments. It's easy to think of The Seer's longest tracks, (the 32-minute title track especially) as the result of off-handed improv sessions, but every piece is so meticulously crafted that once it clicks it becomes clear that this is some of the most exhilarating rock music you're ever likely to come across, and given you're in the right mood, is beaten by nothing else.
Essential track: "A Piece of the Sky"
Whereas much of The Seer (and much of Swans' output, for that matter) focuses on draining beauty out of its violence, "A Piece of the Sky" is purely beautiful. Beginning with the sounds of fire and ending in an almost doo-wop ballad where "the sun fucks the dawn", it doesn't even have to coerce you through its 19 effortless minutes. It's almost the album's reward, a stunning path of light leading through to the Somme of "The Apostate". I love this record.

1. Death Grips - The Money Store

Whether they'll be remembered as attention-whoreing dramatists or misunderstood musical free spirits spreading the gospel of true punk for this generation's finger-smearing Appleites (or both), 2012's most talked about band made for many one of its most interesting tales. In the space of ten months Death Grips evolved from beloved cult act (see Albums 2011) to arguably the most leftfield major label act back to simply a fan favourite (albeit with a much larger fan base than with what they began with). They released 28 songs (19 of which were free downloads), two officially commissioned Björk remixes, an instrumental album (also for free) and a handful of self-directed music videos; undertook a bizarre alternate reality game on 4chan's /mu/ board; collaborated with MTV for an (admittedly terrible) interactive music video; booked a tour, cancelled a tour; and of course sparked off one of the most notorious label fuck-you's of recent times, giving away their own album for free in the process. With a penis on the cover.

Strangely however, it was none of these acts that first bought them notable attention. For any fan of the group the meat and bones of this year came from the two albums Death Grips promised (and delivered). It was the release of the first of these, The Money Store, which brought exposure to the insular, disorientating world of Stefan "MC Ride" Burnett, Flatlander and Zach Hill. The group's first album/mixtape Exmilitary presented a glitchy, sample-heavy spatter of mp3s from the then-five member collective. Too abrasive for DatPiff-centric hip hop circles, and too obscure for noise fans, Exmilitary went largely ignored save for a few critical praises, and perhaps more importantly the vice president of marketing for Sony-owned Epic, Angelica Cob-Baehler, who got caught up in the group's impressive video creations; and after a reportedly awkward visit to the office of L.A. Reid Death Grips had signed a two-album deal.

As major label debuts go, The Money Store is right up there with the strangest. The musique concrète-style quality of the web of recognisable samples Exmilitary provided is gone for obvious logistical purposes, as well as a degree of Death Grips' (and particularly MC Ride's) anonymic intrigue. But the elements that remained were just as vital to The Money Store as they were its predecessor. The powerhouse of Zach Hill's drum patterns, inherited from his days in the math-rock duo Hella provides schizophrenic clatter, working through a multitude of time signatures. Producer Flatlander, a.k.a Andy Morin fills the void with huge, off-kilter synth patches and hefty low end. Nothing these two do is subtle; rather they provide an overwhelming, confusing display of fireworks for each instrumental, ensuring the requirement for multiple listens to comprehend, let alone enjoy. Between them they make up a wildly innovative production team that have almost nothing in common with modern hip hop, which in turn defines and expands the Death Grips sound beyond Exmilitary, and arguably to its fullest realization so far. "Blackjack", the album's first single builds its beat around a psychedelic guitar riff and Ride's barks are played in reverse beneath their forward selves. "System Blower" and "Bitch Please" bring brighter yet noisier tones to the front. Yet these moments are relatively unsurprising when sat alongside left hooks like the Indian chipmunk-folk intro to "Punk Weight", or the Salt-N-Pepa via Nine Inch Nails of album centrepiece "I've Seen Footage", a.k.a "the Death Grips song that even people who don't like Death Grips like". The siren-like cycles that nauseously stir "The Fever (Aye Aye)" into focus make for as thrilling a building exercise on any Death Grips release, and the whole track bears possibly the strongest consistent elements across projects.

But Hill and Flatlander, as taut and off-kilter as they are, aren't the most compelling force on The Money Store; clearly MC Ride can boast that achievement, or rather scream it out at full force. For Ride is something of a living myth in himself at this stage: a phenomenal vocalist whose performance and lyrics provide the essential piece of the puzzle. Naysayers will tell you he's nothing but flash, but taken as a rapper on his own terms he stands proudly as the ultimate anti-hero: his overbearing vocals at first distract from his terrifyingly sharp lyricism, but after a few repeats envelop it completely, and become inseparable. Opener "Get Got" may start the album from a quieter approach, but is used to perfectly demonstrate Burnett's abilities, his rage building through the vile imagery - "drilled a hole into my head / pierced the bone and felt the breeze" - and unique, pliable wordplay (who uses phrases like "lycanthropic manic cycles"?), like Chuck D on his very worst days. Yet the abundant detail is only there if you want it: The Money Store is as immediate as any major-label album, once the abrasive nature of the songs sinks into your skull. Ride's ear for hooks is almost as strong; the number of vocal earworms being too many to mention, but you'll probably know what I'm getting at. His voice would take on all new characteristics in NO LOVE DEEP WEB, but Ride's performance on this album is no less, well, gripping.

The Money Store may not have been the album Death Grips wanted to make, and who knows what cuts were made to keep it onside with Epic, but it's still their most essential record. No other group in recent memory has been able to produce such a polarising sound that doesn't feel temporary. In a recent Pitckfork interview Zach Hill talked of Death Grips as a separate entity, as though he, Burnett and Morin merely channelled their energy from elsewhere. "We never really once talked about what kind of sounds we'd make, or instruments we'd use" was one sentence that stood out from the occultisms and various philosophies that construed his explanations (entertaining reads in their own right). Which is maybe why it isn't hard to understand why they signed that contract in L.A. Reid's office. They're a group that no matter what may be thought of them musically (God knows I haven't done them justice) certainly have a lot to say, and for a short while, a substantial platform to say it on. The Money Store is a great testament to a moment of a band who seem to live permanently in the moment, but more importantly it's a great record, the most indispensable of 2012.

Essential track: "Hacker"
"Hacker" is hidden away at the back of The Money Store, but if there's one Death Grips track that needs to be heard, it's this one. It's first few seconds resemble Daft Punk's "Revolution 909", but enters a stutter-funk groove closer to LCD Soundsystem, with MC Ride as its very own James Murphy. Ride's lyrics reference everything and anything, echoing the trio's obsession (and to an extent control over) internet culture. If you've heard it you'll probably have your own favourite lines (there are so many!), but its indisputable apex (and by extension, 2012's apex) is the chorus scream "I'M IN YOUR AREAAAAAAAAA", letting loose Ride, Hill and Flatlander all at once. It doesn't stop being exciting after the tenth, hundredth or two hundredth time. "Hacker"'s message is one of physicality bursting through the hymen of the digital age, from the opening "Goin' back to Tangier" to the threatening "I know the first three numbers". Lyrically and sonically uncompromising, everything Death Grips promise in a single four minute track. Whenever I need to think about the alienating processes of modern culture, or just need to let off some steam, I reach straight for "Hacker", and press play.

That's all from me this year. What were your favourites? Did I miss anything? What do you think 2013 will bring?