With another fruitful year for the South Florida music scene coming to a close, we compiled a list of our favorite 50 songs released in 2012. We’ll be posting them in installments on this page until we hit numero uno. Until then, hit play and follow #2012songsMIA. — William Alton, editor of the Miami Music Guide
50. “Murphy’s Law” by Those Fine Lads
The 2012 version of the Anthropologists of Nosy Mangabe, Those Fine Lads is an out-of-nowhere outfit seemingly consisting of proud band geeks. Influenced by ska, jazz, and pop punk, Those Fine Lads released their first demo in 2012, featuring “Murphy’s Law”, three other originals, and a cover of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl”. The clarinet and trombone interplay on “Murphy’s Law” is honeyed and incredibly infectious, while the characteristic call-and-response ska vocals are still fun despite the genre’s saturation point in the 2000s (perhaps because they worked in an entire verse dedicated to pie, including rhubarb). And, yes, the five-minute song length is worth the wait as the quintet brings it all home with an impromptu a capella rendition of Radiohead’s “Creep”.
49. “Why Won’t You Die?” by Blood in the Bathroom
Dominated by unique vocal pacing and clarity, Blood in the Bathroom’s “Why Won’t You Die?” is a straight-to-the-point punch to the gut. Equipped with a severely catchy, simple melody, a ripping metallic solo, and a plea for someone’s imminent demise, “Why Won’t You Die?” is the standout track from Blood in the Bathroom’s 2012 self-titled 7-track release.
48. “Lotion Squeeze” by the Gun Hoes
Garage rock bands are like sperm. There are millions of slightly different, mostly the same units unwittingly battling each other for a shot at survival. The Gun Hoes are a couple of sperm that have earned its South Florida relevancy with consistent scuzzy, surf-inflected, sneering songs like “Lotion Squeeze”.
47. “Universe and Chorus” by the Anthropologists of Nosy Mangabe
The Anthropologists returned in 2012 with a few more adorably upbeat, well-arranged singles, including “Universe and Chorus”, which introduces a modern bend to the seven-piece band’s cabaret pop stylings. Compliments to producer Rodrigo Delgado for giving traditional vaudevillian pop and Kaitlin Freemont Pelkey’s anachronistically beautiful pipes a fresher frame with small injections of electronica.
46. “U.S. Military: Accelerating Lives” by Baker Acted
From Baker Acted’s Hours That Never Add Up to Comfort 7” release, “U.S. Military” is basic, angry, loud, incoherent, and devastatingly good punk. With a sound that hints at L.A. punk legends Fear, Baker Acted hits the nail on the head here with shrieking, alternating vocals, a thick rhythm section, and just enough fringe movement to keep an active foundation.
45. “Love Away” by the Bum Hips
This unheralded Opa Locka foursome understands how to create and ride great rock and roll melodies. “Love Away”, a cross between a Wallflowers and Fastball tune, is one of just three solid high-energy rock songs from their 2012 self-titled EP.
44. “Hi Luv” by Kodiak Fur
Including three members of the Mr. Familiar production team and singer-songwriter Albert Vargas, Kodiak Fur could not have released a debut song further from expectations. Pulled off with authenticity and intrigue, the decidedly lo-fi “Hi Luv” stands in stark opposition to Mr. Familiar’s typically glossy productions and Vargas’s tamed acoustic style. “Hi Luv” indulges in cheap drum machines and a murky sheen but successfully combines it with perky synths and old school hip-hop beats that Hot Chip fans will enjoy. The resulting song, off of Kodiak Fur’s self-titled debut EP, strikes hard with sex appeal and ennui, embodied in the coquettish brunette star of “Hi Luv”‘s fittingly low-budget video.
43. “Seek to Deceive” by Wake Up
Wake Up, the Lake Worth foursome featuring Guy Harvey’s Evan Mui, released its debut song, “Seek to Deceive”, back in June. The jangly, Stephen Malkmus-inflected tune is an excellent teaser for a band just a dozen months old. The sunny-day slacker rock gets a well-timed kick in the pants around the 1:54 mark.
42. “Say Nothing” by Jag
A departure from her long-standing “Shake-a-billy” style, Jag is Rachel Goodrich’s scuzz rock outlet, falling in line with the Vivian Girls, La Sera, and Crocodiles (all California bands). Goodrich’s versatility is commendable, but her ability to soak in the influence of new surroundings — Los Angeles since she moved from Miami about two years ago — is invaluable.
41. “The Hand of” by Bad Dreams
A collaborative project between Ketchy Shuby frontman Jason Joshua Rodriguez-Hernandez and producer Michael Cupino, Bad Dreams’ debut single is a soultronic blast of a man scorned. The collaboration displaces Rodriguez-Hernandez from his classic soul habitat and challenges him to adapt to something unfamiliar, which he does seamlessly.