"Me Gusta La Noche" - Adrianigual (from Éxito Mundial)
Everything I know about Chile I learned from Adrianigual and this video. And Pablo Neruda. ...And Diamela Eltit. Ok, so I know some things about Chile, but this song/video opened a Whole New World for me. They pose a cross-cultural question: are these guys heroes of the uncool or just coolyears ahead of everyone? I always sensed that there was more behind the Latin music curtain, but never something so fresh and perfectly odd. Song and video of the year on a disappointing album.
Atlas Sound - "Mona Lisa" (from Parallax)
Expectations were high after Bradford Cox's excellent Logos (2009), and Deerhunter's stellar Halcyon Digest (2010). Parallax didn't resonate with me as strongly, but a couple songs stand among my favorites from his catalogue. "Mona Lisa" putters along sweetly for three minutes. The weightlessness of the acoustic verse and chorus folds nicely over a middle section of warm electric strums. Hits me right in that indie rock sweet spot.
Battles - "Ice Cream" (from Gloss Drop)
I'm overwhelmed by this band. Even at low volume, the sheer intensity of every sound coming out of the speakers threatens to deafen. At higher volumes, you're just bringing new epileptics into the world. With this in mind, it hardly seems fit to call "Ice Cream" a "song." It's more of an experience. As rough as the first 50 seconds are, they appropriately introduce the onslaught of noise waiting on the other side. This is aural caffeine.
Neon Indian - "Polish Girl" (from Era Extraña)
Alan Palomo apparently isn't the best of singers, but he's found a place for himself in the world of electropop. The futuristic video pairs well with this robotic jam, whose unfolding synthesized layers grow in warmth from an icy intro - aided by Palomo's breathy, falling melody. I like. The rest of the album's actually pretty durn good, too.
Young Galaxy - "Peripheral Visionaries" (from Shapeshifting)
I heard this song on a blog and found its infectious groove hard to shake. The soft pull of bongos, wavy synth, bouncing bass and some delicate riffage sets you drifting past a verse/chorus before soaring vocals and newer, moodier riffage takes over. Then a stadium-sized coda?? The rest of album failed to live up to this single, but Young Galaxy nailed this song.