Dylan Baskind (Winter People)
Susanne Sondfor – ‘White Foxes’ 
This song is so many things at once, yet succeeds at all of them. It’s acoustic-electronic, dark-but-hook-almost-pop, super dramatic but still strangely personal, and addictive.
Jess Higgs (Singer-songwriter, Flight Facilities femme fatale #2)
Lianne La Havas – ‘Lost and Found’ 
‘Lost and Found’ has captivated me from the first listen. I am a complete sucker when it comes to a big emotional ballad. For me, the whole song is perfect; the lyrics are honest, raw and filled with despair. Her vocal delivery is so vulnerable and I really love the way they have left some imperfections in the vocal take. I think it adds depth and intimacy. She really plays a symphony with my heart strings.
Elizabeth Rose (Singer-songwriter)
Gotye – ‘State Of The Art’ 
I went to see Gotye the other week at the Entertainment Centre (thanks to free tix from ol’ buddy ol’ mate Tim Shiel) and I was actually blown away by the show. It was incredible to watch the 10 piece band just be so comfortable onstage and really have fun with each other – I hadn’t heard ‘State of the Art’ before that evening and they brought out Barry Morgan (that comedian who plays the organ and wears a red velvet suit) to play one of the organs alongside Wally for the song. It was so fun to watch!
I really love the groove of this song, awesome bass groove + sample and piano stabs on the off beat – especially that vocoder Wally uses! I also love that this song is all about his Cotillion organ – need I give more reason as to why this song is epic!?
Todd Terje – ‘Inspector Norse’ 
It’s been a year since that song leaked into YouTube and I’m no less in love with that song than I was 12 months ago. It’s like listening to The Swiss on happy gas. The day I stop appreciating that song is the day I don’t find farts hilarious. Shoot me if that happens
Tame Impala – ‘Mind Mischief’ 
As hard as you try you just couldn’t go past ‘Lonerism’ this year. In “Mind Mischief”, the main hook and harmonys are held back for the perfect amount of time. I love how you can even hear the sticks hitting the rim of the drums. Effortlessly brilliant.
Jordan Millar (Singer-songwriter)
Ben Howard – ‘Only Love’ 
Song of the year is a tough one, but for me it has to be Ben Howard’s ‘Only Love’. It’s got everything I really love in a song. From the rad little riff to the beautiful lyrics, not to mention the the production, which blew me away when I first heard it. So simple yet so perfect, with a whole stack of vibe, it’s exactly how good tunes should be.
Dan Williams (Drummer, Art Vs Science)
Ben Folds Five – ‘Draw A Crowd’ [LISTEN]
Whenever a well loved band returns from a lengthy hiatus with the promise of new material, fans are inevitably filled with a steamy cocktail of the following ingredients: Joy and Anxiety. Will it be as magical as what they’ve done before? Are they just cashing in? Without the warm hug of nostalgia that necessarily informs their love of the old stuff, will the new stuff be as resonant?
I remember Ben Folds Five fondly for their cheekiness. Their self-proclaimed “punk rock for sissies” was a pretty fresh sound in an often earnest 1990s. We laughed and sympathised with our friend Ben as he recounted high school bullying and stints in the army. He was as razor sharp and as self-deprecating as a comic like Woody Allen ever was , all the while bouncing away at the Steinway backed by Robert Sledge on the bass guitar and Darren Jessee on the drums.
So when the band announced that Ben had rejoined his former band mates for a new album… well, Joy and Anxiety. So thank Jebus that “Draw A Crowd” was all that I had hoped for and a sprinkling of sugar more. Vintage Ben Folds Five without sounding like a lazy rehash. Nostalgic and fresh all at once. It has all the hallmarks of a classic Ben Folds Five single. Bouncing piano line, harmonised BVs in a call response, lyrics like “feel the beard”, “my face vibrated”, “dicks”… And of course the best rhyming couplet of the year: “I only wanted to be Stevie Wonder, but I got to settle for this vanilla thunder”. If I ever buy a row boat in my retirement it will be called Vanilla Thunder…
So believe all you’ve heard! They’re back! Still sharp as a compass poked in the leg of the high school jock! While Quan Yeomans may still be right with his adage “I like your old stuff better than your new stuff”, Ben Folds Five has perhaps been the only band that I liked from the ’90s that has come close to defying that premise with their new material. Now lets see if new rumoured Rage Against The Machine material can surpass such impossible expectations…
Colin Ho (The Liberators, One A Day contributor)
Something For Kate – ‘Private Rain’ 
My song of the year would have to be ‘Private Rain’. I’ve always loved SFK; they were the first band I heard on Triple J that set me down the righteous path of Australian, alternative rock music fandom. They’ve had the same core line-up (guitars, bass and drums) from 1998 (save the occasional extra musician for touring or recording) – and in some ways, they’ve been a constant in my life as a music tragic.
‘Private Rain’ is pretty much just one giant build-up to this huge, swaggering electric waltz that just rocks out like crazy – especially when they play it live. It sounds like something out of a movie and it kind of took me on this rollercoaster ride. Did I mention it has a double guitar solo? Yep. That’s what you call ballsy. You don’t see that in many songs nowadays. It might have been a while between albums for Something For Kate (the album was recorded in Dallas, Texas after an extended stay in the New York), but it sounds like they’re just picking up where they left off. They still sound as solid as ever – the songs are powerful and elegantly crafted with a lot of attention to structure, simplicity and feeling.
2012 may have been a great year for Australian music, with the likes of Tame Impala or Haitus Kaiyote (who you should really check out by the way – they’re rocking some serious accolades from soul-heavies like Erykah Badu and ?uestlove from The Roots), but for me, the veterans Something For Kate definitely win my vote for song and Australian album of the year. You can call me sentimental, but I call it double guitar solo and piledriver fucking waltz.
Andrew Rose (Devola)
Foals – ‘Inhaler’ [LISTEN]
I was gonna choose Tears by HEALTH for this, as it had been the industrial weapon I’ve gone back to all year, but the first single on Foals upcoming album is something very special to me. Channeling The Cure at their greatest, Foals combine their trademark funk verses with a monster of a riff in the chorus. If this track is anything to go by, next years’ album is already the Record of 2013 for me.
See also: The One Song 2011 – The Musicians