Club Fonograma's Best Songs of 2012 (25-01)

025. Piñata - “Llampec” ♫♫♫
Somewhere between Japandroids’ “The house that heaven built” and Rita Indiana’s “Da Pa Lo Do,” Spain’s most overlooked new act pretty much self-established as next year’s band to watch. “Bleeding teeth, I want to kill your faith away” shouts the full-of-urgency song, and you can’t help but to immerse yourself in this possessed tropical punk wave, not minding you’ll get a a soar throat and bleeding teeth out of it. - JEAN-STEPHANE BERIOT 

024. Coiffeur - “Mientras Tanto” ♫♫♫
Last time we heard of Coiffeur he was still pretty attached to his guitar. The Argentine songwriter turned his rumbling chords into disco deep cuts on his latest EP, Nada. Wearing nostalgia on his sleeve, Coiffeur croons “Mientras Tanto” with a tactile rumination that turns into rapture as the storyline comes to sunrise. “A la mínima señal de una leve mejoría / acudo a tu encuentro” sighs a Coiffeur that could easily be confused for Raphael or Sandro de América. Gorgeously restrained and wounded, a tremulous yet radiant centerpiece of the disco. - CARLOS REYES 

023. Los Punsetes - 
Alférez Provisional
Don’t let the pounding drums and insurgent guitar chords fool you, “Alférez Provisional” is all about murk and ambiguity. Who really did who wrong? Is the protagonist mad or just annoyed? Does Ariadna have to choke a bitch? Where much “great rock” relies on baring the lyricists’ vulnerabilities and prejudices out in the open, Los Punsetes present us with no clear answers—except that sound effects are a really kick ass way to finish your track. - ANDREW CASILLAS 

022. Los Claveles - “Estafas” ♫♫♫
As 2012 saw Spain going further into financial crisis, youth unemployment, public budget cuts and massive protests against austerity measures, Los Claveles asserted with audacious punk flair that it’s also the time when personal freedom gets mistaken for economical stability, and a shit with cables is considered a primary good. Although certainly not a politically overt song, “Estafas” defiantly succeeds as one in not falling for its own apparent obtrusiveness: marrying the prototypical dissenting post-punk mindset with the indignation of feeling cheated. - PIERRE LESTRUHAUT 

021. Extraperlo - “Ardiente Figura
It's dubious that I could ever outwrite Pierre Lestruhaut- wait, I mean- in his reaction to Extraperlo's "Ardiente Figura": "a riff that shudders your every bone, a hook that pervades your brain, and a bridge that melts your heart." However easy it is to approach this song from a laptop sitpoint, Extraperlo will just as easily pull you out of your chair by your heart strings, plus or minus your genitals. It is unassuminly forceful, perhaps violent, and just a proper forest fire of lust by Extraperlo in the year of our lord, 2012. Amen. - ADRIAN MATA-ANAYA 

020. Diosque - 
La dictadura de tu belleza” ♫♫♫
Falling in love through the eyes, being profoundly dazed by an exceptionally ravishing beauty, are emotions Diosque magnificently articulates in “La dictadura de tu belleza.” A gentle guitar riff sets the disconsolate tone over whirling and soothingly delightful landscapes. The songwriter emotionally conducts his powerful ballad. His lifting voice transmitting chills down the spine. By the time Diosque sings for the second time “Y me da la sensación de que te viii…” hitting, extending that entrancingly aching high note, the listener gets the sensation of briefly touching heaven. - ENRIQUE COYOTZI 

019. El mató a un policía motorizado 
Más o menos bien
It's fair to say Él Mató a have confected a generational anthem with “Más o menos bien”. A lovely and melancholic theme adequately released in worldwide very shitty times. The chorus is enormous—a touching, melodic passage that invites us to take a deep breath and loudly intone in fraternal union. “Ahora somos nuevos creadores del rock’n roll. Tranquilos, todo va a estar más o menos bien,” lead singer Santiago Motorizado declares at one point. Surely not referring to his band, but we can guarantee everything will be kind of better with Él Mató around. - ENRIQUE COYOTZI 

018. Granit - “Aresta” ♫♫♫
If we deconstructed the aesthetic elements in Granit's "Aresta," we might be surprised to see roots absorbing a steady flow of a Corporate Artificiality. It takes imagination, transgression, bravery of heart, and a lot of pain to digest and excrete the chemical. Yet, in the present time, our socioaucostic perceptors might taste this product to be purely organic; nutritious, as this enlightening raw green. Though Granit's trajectory has only recently come to light, I already look towards a future where Granit serves a sort of compost for future artistic endeavors.  - ADRIAN MATA-ANAYA 

017. Tony Gallardo II - 
Tormento” ♫♫♫
"Tormento" is a terrifying slow burner, set up like a massive tracking shot where the camera spends half the song's runtime looking for Gallardo. His appearance is a minor role, but his line has a lasting unsettling effect: "Es un tormento estar aquí. Eres veneno para mí." Where Robyn's "Dancing on My Own" purged its demons and insecurities on the dancefloor, "Tormento" finds no healing, but who needs healing when feeling bad sounds this good. - GIOVANNI GUILLÉN 

016. Leidi Li - “Maté a mi novio” ♫♫♫
In this ode to gangsta rap, Li Saumet of Bomba Estereo slips her boyfriend some poison in his dessert, sleeps peacefully with his corpse in the house, chops him up in the morning, buries him in the yard next to the dog, and in the process wins my heart. Dedicated to all the "chicas aburridas," "Maté a mi novio" very casually recounts Leidi Li's frustration with the societal pressures to marry that led her take matters into her own hands and shut everyone (especially her mother) up already because she's never getting married, okay? Killing her boyfriend might have been an extreme measure, but it worked. Best episode of Snapped ever. - BLANCA MÉNDEZ 

015. John Talabot - 
When the past was the present
The elusive producer trope has become such a Thing that it's boring, but I wouldn't want it any other way with John Talabot. When I saw him at Smart Bar in Chicago earlier this year, I can't even be sure that I saw him because there were like three dudes on stage and he could have been any one of them or all of them or none of them, but it didn't matter. Whether you were there specifically for Talabot or you were a bar regular or a pack of bros that wandered in from the madness of Wrigleyville, songs like "When The Past Was Present" with disco delirium in combo with lasers a la "Waiting for Tonight" just take you there (you know where).  - BLANCA MÉNDEZ 

014. Protistas - “Granada” ♫♫♫
Chilean indie music chatter frequently tends toward the pop spectrum, and rightfully so, but it'd be all sorts of wrong to ignore the important contributions being made in the realm of rock. Protistas and "Granada" would be trending topics in that convo because, well, have you not been listening to Las Cruces since May like us? Guitar riffs, introspective lyrics, passionate delivery, and just the right amount of '90s nostalgia make for this song that is as "fragile and beautiful" as its subject. - CLAIRE FRISBIE  

013. Pegasvs - “Brillar” ♫♫♫
Club Fonograma favs for some time now, Pegasvs cause palpable ripples of glee to be felt the internet over with the release of their self-titled debut earlier this year. Leading that excitement and kicking off the album is “Brillar”, a blissful prog-pop track that does absolutely everything right: driving beat, airy vocals, gorgeous synthiness. Supremely satisfying in its simplicity, yet also not simple at all, this is the kind of song where you sigh “Damn, that felt good” after every listen. - CLAIRE FRISBIE 

012. Installed - “Siempre” ♫♫♫
An outstanding achievement gracefully conformed by heart wrenching lyrics, suggesting an inconceivable reconciliation; tons of whispered, ethereal and affectingly executed vocals, layered to generate a haunting atmosphere, and a steaming base of relaxing beats evoking Installed’s endemic chillwave-y vibe. The unforgettable hook is pure pop perfection. “Fue tu culpa que yo te dijera/‘Nunca voy a rescatar ese amor” he repeats unceasingly as a sweet complaint, until the song suddenly fades out, leaving no other option but to repeat it again and again. - ENRIQUE COYOTZI 

011. Ases Falsos - “Venir es Fácil
If somewhere in that epically spirited journey of “Tren al Sur,” Los Prisioneros had stumbled upon an African man, “Venir es Fácil” would’ve happened. “Dime africano, ¿qué estás haciendo por acá?” asks a South American native. “Toma mi mano,” sighs the local –a gesture that’s not only filled with inclusive warmth, but also demolishes racial and masculinity perceptions. Like Café Tacvba’s “La Negrita” and Rita Indiana’s “La Hora de Volve,” this is a tale that questions unlikely journeys for survival. But as Briceño cleverly points out, a shared smoke will lead to understanding. - CARLOS REYES 

010. Daniel Melero - “Tantas Cosas
Argentine intellectual/oracle Daniel Melero once again shows he has trascended his role of music theorist to become an active participant of the musical sphere. “Tantas Cosas,” off his latest album Supernatural, shows Melero doing what he does best: utilize space as emotional discourse. His deconstruction of the broken, gorgeous things that sustain life is devastating and terrifying. Wounding riffs and a speech that nails into one’s emotional intellect. It’s a flashing mantra –so noisy and expressively disturbing, and it breaks your heart. - CARLOS REYES 

009. Nueva Orleáns - 
“Mediterráneo” ♫♫♫
In Nueva Orleáns’ artist profile picture, Milton Mahan stands alone in a graveyard wearing a Mickey Mouse sweater; without being aesthetically pleasing, the vintage warmth it conveys beautifully collides with the scenery’s inherent melancholy. It’s an image that speaks volumes about “Mediterráneo,” the sole track released by Nueva Orleáns in 2012. Unlike what Milton has accustomed us to with Dënver, it’s a song that, refusing to please us with ear-candiness, takes pop cues but produces dense textures; in doing so it's a song that feels both unsettling and enticing. - PIERRE LESTRUHAUT 

008. Los Macuanos - “☠ / ⚑ / ✞
(Sangre, Bandera, Cruz)” ♫♫♫
Can music take part in social resistance? An evocative title can raise awareness and create discussion among listeners. The music itself can stir rebellion and provide courage to those who are directly involved, a sign that the response must be global. “☠ / ⚑ / ✞”, a weave of dismal sounds, violent tribal percussions and rare but oh so relevant words, succeeds in all aspects. In the face of a corrupt political system and a failed war on drugs, Tijuana’s ruidosón forerunners, Los Macuanos have created an immediate anthem. - SOUAD MARTIN-SAOUDI 

007. Capullo ft. Lido Pimienta - “A 
quien amas en realidad es a mi” ♫♫♫
Though I need not state the obvious, I'm going to do it anyway: Lido Pimienta makes everything better. Not that Capullo's always resplendent keyboard melodies aren't enough, on this song especially they shine and buoy the vocals with their brass, but with Lido singing the "You Belong With Me"-style tune better than Taylor Swift could ever dream of doing, "A quien amas..." becomes a monster of a song, as cheerful as it is hopeful, as joyous as it is persistent. This "you might not know it yet, but you love me" sentiment may seem a bit bold and forward, but young love is always the most sure of itself. - BLANCA MENDEZ

006. Ases Falsos - 
“La Sinceridad del Cosmos
The closing track in Juventud Americana assembles the album’s themes (youth solidarity, social tragedy, reform), as well as its motifs (canines, divine forces, overall cleansing) in the year’s meant-to-be-barked anthem. The president of RN (Chile’s ruling party) called the student protesters a “gang of useless subversives.” And so, Ases Falsos respond in a colossal anthem sure to transcend for years to come. This is Cristobal Briceno’s poignant call-to-action, the street (anarchy) dogs are already on our side. - CARLOS REYES 

005. Arca - “Spira” ♫♫♫
Can the fundamental premise of electronic music be pinned down to a kind of Dostoevskian nihilism? Has the advent of the DAW (rather than, say, the death of God), rendered the world of music a place where “everything is permitted”? How else does one explain Arca’s genre-defying work? Or any other half-decent, contemporary producer for that matter. Has the discourse around genre itself become moot at a time when altering the position of a snare or drum kick merits updated nomenclature? Should we all just shut up and listen? - REUBEN TORRES 

004. Tony Gallardo II - 
“Líder Juvenil” ♫♫♫
I mean, really—how many melodies can you juxtapose on top of each other before you defy physics and turn audio waves into caldo? Hell, “Bands a Make Her Dance” is more nuanced than this song. But that’s the spark: if you’re gonna throw in that Chicago house piano, might as well lump in those unhinged strings, those Donald Duck synths can also go, and sure make the drums sound like firecrackers. No one else thinks like this. And no one else should go chasing this dude’s windmill. Tony Gallardo, you are a Goddamn genius. Fuck a movement. - ANDREW CASILLAS 

003. Linda Mirada - “Secundario” ♫♫♫
Not since “Toxic” have I heard a bass line in a pop song this transcendent. That alone makes this a top twenty track. But once Linda lets loose a little “ahhhh” out of the corner of her mouth, everything else just melts away from there. On first listen, “Secundario” may come off like a new Kylie/Pet Shop Boys collaboration, but not even Kylie moved with those damn synths as well as Linda does. The world didn’t end in 2012, but even if the Mayans had been right, at least we would have gone out dancing in style. - ANDREW CASILLAS 

002. Gepe ft. Pedro Piedra- 
“En la naturaleza (4-3-2-1-0)
When best-of-year lists are published here at CF, one of the recurring topics is the radical disapproval some readers have of our own praise of reggaetón songs. Gepe’s head-turning addition of reggaetón to his palette in “En la naturaleza” won’t cause many people to reconsider their stance on Alexis y Fido singles, but this so-called experimental conquest, is one that sparks the romanticism of why we keep this blog going in the first place: a song that substantiates on Latin music’s capacity to integrate popular, avant-garde, traditional, and foreign mindsets into its own whirlpool of creativity. - PIERRE LESTRUHAUT  

001. Mañaneros - “Baby Tropical” ♫♫♫
“Baby Tropical” starts as an ill-equipped meta-song (virtual windows, testerone-fueled shouts, cowbells) that seems too superflous for its own good. The disorienting intro is only a warm up –because once the Andean shamans start to chant “Mañaneros, Mañaneros!” they sanctify the Chilean DJs to craft a song of endless possibilities. Mañaneros go on to structure labyrinths and unveil mysteries, immersing themselves in the narrative beyond the spectacle (beyond the drugs). And thus “Baby Tropical” proves that tropical music (in its popular nature) can be in fact, cacophonic. “Desde los trópicos a lo más allá, este ritmo lo vas a gozar,” shouts the act as they deflower anything that gets on their way. Nothing’s concrete on here, we just know that stuff is happening and as distressing as it is, we fold into the fabric celebrating its hybrid nature. But is it saying something beyond the vision? Bulks of Tumblr data come to mind –it’s not the intersection of bytes that makes this thrilling, it’s the intertext of the new media presented that makes this piece anarchic and self-referential. - CARLOS REYES