28 Dec 2014

VAPOUR TRAIL'S SONGS OF THE YEAR (Top 30)

30. Zombie - Jamie T
The comeback king of 2014. When the news dropped that Jamie T was returning after a five year break, the indie world exploded. His comeback single Zombie is his way of breaking away from the junkie rapper stereotype and pretty much reinventing himself. It's catchy, quirky, painfully relatable and well deserving of a spot in our best songs of 2014. Jamie T is well and truly back in the game. 

29. Jealous Sun - The Horrors
The Horrors' electronica based Luminous is one of the year's most underplayed albums. It was acclaimed, but the band haven't been anywhere near the top of the albums of the year lists you'd expect. This track is adorned with Josh Hayward's MBV influence, a sort of apocalyptic pedal fest kicks the song off as the song kind of struts effortlessly along. Mind you, it's almost impossible for them to play it live because it's just too crazy. 



28. Pleasant Heart - Ought
Six minutes of post-punk anger, Ought are probably the best thing to emerge all year. Canadian art students that dabble in lots of genres, Pleasant Heart opens their album with an almost industrial influence - it has a crunchy, OTT riff and menacing vocals. Ought's Pleasant Heart is an incredible opener and the way it kicked into and out of life is just life affirming.

27. The Impasse - Hookworms
You hear a quick burst of buzzes, and then BAM! Hectic DeFreitas-style drumming and screeched vocals wrench Hookworms' The Hum into life. Hookworms' album is incredible, and this is the doorway. Hookworms' sound reaches the point at which it's most akin to their proto-punk influence; an uncompromising album opener that's completely tempestuous.  

26. Giant Peach - Wolf Alice
A fairly late addition to our list, Wolf Alice released a live version of this song as part of VEVO DSCVR and it's easily one of their strongest songs to date. They all sound confident in their ability and like their finally becoming aware of how stupidly talented they are. The song goes back to their rocky routes with some killer riffs and incredibly dark and dirty breakdown come 3:58s. Simply outstanding. 

25. On My Fingers - Iceage
Iceage's Plowing Into The Field Of Love record was almost a coming of age album; they've certainly matured, and this (the longest song on the album) is a sprawling, almost poetic ode to Iceage's newfound stance. Ronnenfelt's fiery voice is complimented by instrumentation that resembles the Bad Seeds where before it was Joy Division, and self-mythologising lyrics poise the frontman to be some kind of messiah figure. It's all very cool, and possibly the finest moment in Iceage's brilliant discography. It's even better than Morals.



24. Never Come Back Again - The Soft Walls
The motorik highlight of the Brighton psych band's second album is an escalating, hypnotic track that showcases their wonderful krautrock influence. Nonchalant vocals and a driving drum beat make this one of the single best psych songs of the year, and although a great centrepiece for No Time, it really comes into its own in a live environment, as it's closed a lot of their sets this year.

23. The Faker - Ty Segall
Ty Segall is a genius with his finger in many pies. He does everything, that man. This is off of the album Manipulator, and also the b-side to lead single Feel. The Faker, like all of Ty's newer material is almost polished, but it also has a swagger to it that instils a lot of life in it, making sure it still has the character Ty demonstrates in all of his other projects.

22. A Question Isn't Answered - Temples
Opening with a series of claps before Bagshaw's synth-laced voice floats in to draw you into the ethereal and glittery world of a Temples song. But the floaty dream-like sense does not last, the drums kick in and shortly after the ending of the first verse, a dark and dirty FX driven guitar riff kicks in to blow your expectations of this song out of the water. It's a 5 minute dream sequence soundtracked by whimsical vocals over a contrastingly gritty melody and my god does it work well.

21. Fuckers - Savages
Motorik, sprawling, brash. Savages' latest offering is 9 minutes of post-punk fury driven by an amazing rhythm section and a visceral, ballzy guitar hook. Even without Jehnny Beth's amazing vocal talents turning their hand to yelling the distinctive verse of "DON'T LET THE FUCKERS BRING YOU DOWN", this is one of the releases that stands out this year as being absolutely amazing.



20. Under The Pressure - The War On Drugs
If all of the War On Drugs latest album was like Under The Pressure, I feel like all of the accolades that it's garnered would be completely deserved. Under The Pressure sprawls over eight minutes, and has a very distinctive mood; it teeters and totters uncertainly, and Adam Granducial's crisp voice makes it the perfect song. 

19. Wire Frame Mattress - The Wytches
"You sit there and laugh/while my dignity collapses." Kristen Bell's gritty vocals intertwine perfectly with the feedback-laden riffs of this stunning single. It's chaotic yet rhythmic, messy yet it's one of the most organised rock songs released this year. It channels all the elements that make The Wytches one of the best grunge bands around right now. 

18. Hollow Visions - Eagulls
It has the best and probably most controversial video of the whole year to accompany it, but even without gruesome visuals, Hollow Visions is a fantastic bit of post-punk brilliance. It's Eagulls at their most dystopian, and darkest - it has the same sort of atmosphere Unknown Pleasures does, in that it's dark and gloomy, but much more accessible with it's two-word chorus that is quintessentially Eagulls. Live, it was always one of the few tracks that prompted a singalong, but recently it's even greater, as Mitchell and co. add a sinister, cold, middle bit that makes this gloomy dystopian anthem even gloomier. 



17. Circles - Kate Tempest
Kate Tempest's strong London accent and fantastic self-styled poetry was what owned 2014. Her debut album was Mercury nominated, and whilst not the lead single, Circles was a standout rap moment. Her neurotic lyrical prowess is demonstrated here; "I go round in circles/Not graceful, not like dancers/Not neatly, not like compass and pencil/More like a dog on a lead, going mental" is probably the best lyric to come out this year.

16. Lazaretto - Jack White
Jack White, the 21st century's leading proponent of blues rock, hammered out his latest album this year, and the title track was one of the punchiest, raunchiest songs that the Nashville man has ever released. A daring, jumpy riff over the almost rapped vocals showed the world that Jack White still has it; this track features the guitar solo to end all guitar solos.

15. Bubbles - Superfood
Easily up there with the best of the best Superfood tracks, yet Bubbles is absent from their stunning debut album. It's punchy, angsty and oh-so-90’s. The lyrics are catchy, clever and a manic crowd pleaser. The song centres around the memorable riffs which hold the song together under the weight of the unsurprisingly obscure lyrics, this is a Superfood song after all. "The bubbles inside/they follow the light/where you are" Whatever these guys are smoking is certainly working for them because this song, this EP and their debut album are all fucking fantastic.


14. Fossils - Piano Wire
Piano Wire have only played about 6 gigs together, but already they've stuck out like a sore thumb as a special band to keep your eye on; a phoenix rising from the ashes of the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, Andy Huxley and Sym Gharial's new band's second track is a tight, memorable pop song that shines with influence from the likes of the US' eighties indie rock scene.

13. Moaning Lisa's Smile - Wolf Alice
With a video that sees 3/4 members of the band sporting drag and entering a dance competition, this song made quite the impression this year. The opening track from Creature Songs EP, the song begins with a quiet yet dirty guitar riff before progressing into a manic rock track with Joel’s drumming crashing through and hitting you like a ton of bricks at about 7 seconds in. Theo and Joff on guitar and bass wack up the depth levels of this indie masterpiece and with Ellie’s usually whimsical vocals sounding stronger than ever, this song is an absolute work of art.



12. Pea Green Coat - The Wave Pictures
Indie rock's most underrated band teamed up with garage rock legend Wild Billy Childish for their newest album, and this is the first offering from it. The Wave Pictures are favourites of Marc Riley's 6music show, and this masterpiece has graced the airwaves for months. A huge Subway Sect/Bunnymen influence, this closes their forthcoming album in style and implies that 2015 will be a great year for the trio.

11. Today More Than Any Other Day - Ought
Ought's near-title track from their debut juxtaposes the big decisions with small petty concerns. Tim Beeler's artsy vocals cry thus over the top of some Husker Du-esque guitars; 'Today! More than any other day, I'm excited to taste the milk of human kindness' slots beautifully against 'Today! More than any other day, I am excited to go grocery shopping' in his artsy Mark Smith tones. 

10. What You Isn't - The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Hypnotic, swirling, and a complete embodiment of all the drugs that go into the BJM's music, What You Isn't comes from their amazing Revelation album. Anton Newcombe shows that he doesn't really give a fuck with some incredibly laid-back but assertive vocals make it the album's highlight. This track shows that the Brian Jonestown Massacre will never lose it, and that a million albums in they show no signs of faltering.

9. Rule Number One - Telegram
Psych punk prodigies Rule Number One hits you straight away - five seconds of explosive You Made Me Realise-style guitars and you're into Telegram's best 2014 release. It feels as though they've been around forever now, but here Telegram have this year released their finest song. Visceral, uncompromising and loud, this gives the hint that Telegram are going to be the band of 2015, if they can land a record deal.



8. Killer Bangs - Honeyblood
Easily best track off Honeyblood's stunning debut album. It's short, punchy and seriously badass. "I don't wanna have to go/go on without you/but I have to" is the centre of the chorus which somehow gets you dancing despite the chaotic melodies behind it. It's basically the perfect rock-pop song and it's only two and a half minutes long. 

7. Stitches - Bloody Knees
Bloody Knees’ Stitches EP was up there with the finest EP releases of this year and the title track is nothing short of genius. .”And I'm covered in blood/but at least I'm having fun/I'm having fun." It's one of the catchiest most sing-a-long-worthy rock tracks in a long time. The gravelly vocals over the smashing up of a drum kit and the thrashing and crashing of the guitars make for a phenomenal sound and well deserving of our #7 spot.  



6. Retreat - Hookworms
Sonically cleaner than anything from Pearl Mystic, Retreat wraps up an incredible album with it's Modern Lovers-esque drive and it's triumphant feel. Atop some sharp feedback, it's kicked into life by a driving guitar motif that reminds you of See No Evil whilst the organ sounds of MJ's keys hurry the track along. It'd be the perfect closer to any album, and the way it closes up The Hum is something else.

5. Tough Luck - Eagulls
Fast and angry, Eagulls' brash debut album has enough highlights to monopolise this list. The most arguably upbeat song, Tough Luck is yet another track driven by Eagulls' distinctive, omnipotent, downstroke only basslines and it's an absolute belter. George Mitchell's cries of "ter-flook, ter-flook, ter-flook" make this almost anthemic, and it probably should have been released as a single.

4. Possessed - Eagulls
Another Eagulls classic, Possessed is the outright pop song from their self titled debut. By their standards, it's a soppy, messy love song that sees George Mitchell's rough voice completely unintelligible - you've just got to assume it's a love song from his intonation patterns. The fact that it's a perfect, perfect pop song with that Eagulls touch makes it the most memorable moment of their amazing album.

3. Psykick Espionage - Joanna Gruesome
When I first heard this offering on the radio from the Welsh noise-pop group, I thought it was the Buzzcocks for about three listens. Psykick Espionage is part of a split single with Perfect Pussy and it's completely peerless. 120 seconds of bright energetic punk rock, cloaked but shouty vocals and an energy that no one else can quite muster, Joanna Gruesome's latest single is an incredible pop song that never fails to please.



2. The New Calm Pt 2 - Ought
The Canadian art-punks' latest single (well, it's lead song from their new EP) features the band encorporate all of their influences into a fresh sounding 7 minute long artistic manifesto. Deliberately out of time vocals in the verses combined with witty lyrics ("Who invited Paul Simon? I didn't invite him") channel the obvious Mark E Smith influence, but as the song escalates the shoegazing tones of Ride and Galaxie 500 surface to make the song one of the most complex and perfect releases of the year.




1. Darker - The Wytches
Not two seconds pass and you're thrown into the massively chaotic and dark yet melodic world of The Wytches. Despite being the B-side to Burn Out The Bruise, Darker is pretty much the best song this band have ever recorded. It sees The Wytches not only at their darkest and grimiest, but it also sees Kristian Bell's lyrical talents reach their zenith. Possibly the lyric of the year; "I wanna dig your grave and be the reason you are in it/I know it's not a game but I'm in it to win it" is howled over dishevled riffs in the grittiest tone known to man. It may only be a B-side, but Wytches fans have taken this song and ran with it, with the lyrics being screamed along at their live shows and the song itself being loved possibly more than the A-side single. It's both satirical and morbid, and it's a great gothic singalong. Truly deserving of our #1 spot, it's a work of total genius.