12 For '12: A Dozen Songs From This Year That You Should Hear Right Now

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Evans The Death.
In this week's Voice I offered up a midseason report of sorts, listing 12 particularly outstanding tracks from this year. Here, for your listening pleasure, are the 12 songs in streamable form (via a combination of YouTube and Soundcloud so as to not lock anyone—or any songs—out). Happy listening, and if you'd like to share a 2012 song that's particularly tickled your ears, by all means do so in the comments.

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Live: Charli XCX Punches Through The Haze At Santos

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@soundbitesnyc/Twitter
Charli XCX
Santos Party House
Monday, March 12

Better than: Writing in a diary.

The early Monday-night slot is by no means a prime gig; potential audience members are still shaking off the weekend cobwebs, counting the change from a couple of days of overindulgence and late-night taxi rides. But the British singer Charli XCX, first on a three-act bill at Santos last night, filled the downtown venue's main room and then electrified it with a performance that made it seem like she was trying to fight her way out of the heartbreak of which she sang in a physical way as much as a mental one.

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Underwhelmed And Overstimulated, Part II: PJ Harvey, Jessie J, And The Post-Pop Character Landscape

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Sound of the City's year-end roundtable, with contributions from Tom Ewing, Eric Harvey, Maura Johnston, Nick Murray, and Katherine St. Asaph, continues. Follow along here.

Thanks Maura! And hello Nick, Katherine and Eric.

Post-megasales megastars? Beyoncé and Gaga fit the bill, for certain. There are convincing post-rationalisations of why sales on those albums were soft—Beyoncé can do what she likes, and what she likes right now is old-school soul belters; and Gaga's mix of hi-NRG and stadium rock is a maximalist step too far. But nobody would dispute Beyoncé and Gaga's presence. If you look at the top celebs on Facebook, the appetite for musicians is endless: scattered athletes and actors cower in the shadow of pop stars living and dead, G and B among them. So perhaps pop music is becoming like comics—a minor artform, fiercely loved by enthusiasts but nugatory in revenue terms, whose real value lies in powering something else. What comics IP does for the film industry, pop does for the celebrity biz—provide a stream of garish, blockbuster characters and never mind the source material.


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Underwhelmed And Overstimulated, Part I: Was 2011 The Worst Year For Music Ever?

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A number one song from 2011. Not really helping the year's case, this.
Welcome to the 2011 edition of the Sound of the City Year-End Critic Roundtable, an epistolary back-and-forth about the year in music between five observers of the medium: Tom Ewing; Eric Harvey; Nick Murray; Katherine St. Asaph, also of Popdust; and me. We'll be discussing the year in pop over the course of the next few days, in hopes that a few healthy arguments (nothing too knock-down, drag-out) ensue, and that even if we don't figure out any answers, we'll pose a couple of new questions as the calendar flips to 2012. As was the case last year, when music editor emeritus Rob Harvilla launched this initiative, we are totally ripping off Slate's Music Club, which is currently ensuing with five different music smarties. (Read 'em all!)

To start things off, I'll pose the question in the title, which spins off the query Rob posed at the close of 2010. That is to say: Was 2011 the worst year for music ever?

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Listen To Charli XCX Ride The New Wave Chill With "Nuclear Seasons"

Categories: Charli XCX

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My favorite single of 2011 so far is Charli XCX's "Stay Away," a downer powerhouse with cavernous drums, lyrics that straddle the gap between brokenhearted and surly, and a storming chorus. Last month the British singer released the followup to "Stay," and it's a fine match for the first day of November and the temperature dips that are imminent; called "Nuclear Seasons," it has similarly grand ambitions, a blown-out FM radio speaker feel, some pretty excellent usage of synchronized "ahhh"-ing, and a pre-chorus that pays a very direct homage to Talk Talk's "It's My Life." Listen below.

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