Here we are again, the earth is soon to complete another orbit of the sun and return to occupy the same position in the cosmos that it did one year ago. Of course this is not strictly true, rather it is returning to a previous position relative to the sun. ish.

Before we add one to the year bit of the calendar, many will take this opportunity to take stock of the previous 12 months, and many will make lists of their favourite things of the last year. Here’s my favourite music; The 20 standout tracks that sum up the new music I’ve enjoyed this year. Hopefully I’ve curated into something greater than the sum of their parts.

I’ve seen a lot of this…

So here is this year’s compilation tape, which I’ve entitled “Haven’t Slept In Several Nights” which kind’ve sums up large passages of the year for me.

1. Back of your Neck – Howler

We return to the start of the year and a little catchy hook that was getting plenty of airplay on 6music at the time.

2. Default – Django Django

Another great tune getting lots of 6music airplay at the start of the year. I have to say though, that the album was a bit of a disappointment to me after the strength of this single.

3. Camp Cappuccino – Future of The Left

No such disappointment from Welsh noise-mongers FotL who’s “The Plot Against Common Sense” picked up this year’s 2nd Welsh Music Prize.

4.  Sixteen – The Indelicates

First of two selections from my album of the year “American Demo” which I’m very late to the party on since it was released in 2008, but definitely my find of the year. Love this track and how it reminds me of certain friends of mine who are trying desperately not to grow up.

5. I’m Always Going To Love You – Dexys

6. Incapable of Love – Dexys

Speaking of not growing up. Kevin Rowland lays his emotional immaturity on a platter for all to see in the semi-autobiographical semi-concept album “One Day I’m Going To Soar”. This pair of songs see Rowland duet with the actress Madeleine Hyland who gives a fantastic performance that gives these songs a little bit of a musical theater feel, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and it’s certainly not here.   

7. Greatest Hits – Mystery Jets

Another break up, and this time the couple in question are divvying up their record collection.

8. We Were Kids – Turtle Giant

Turtle Giant don’t sound like they hail from Brasil, but that’s what their bio says. Can’t remember where I heard this, but it’s a great single and was well worth delving back into their debut album too.

9. Our Daughters Will Never Be Free – The Indelicates

Second Offering from “American Demo” which was The Indelicates debut album. 

10. Lillibulero – Bellowhead

The hardest working band in folk returned with their 4th studio album “Broadside”. The intense touring schedule has paid off as this album entered the UK album charts at #16, unprecidented for an independently released folk about. “Broadside” like Bellowhead’s previous albums is  largely energetic arrangements of traditional folk songs, and ought to be listened to by anyone who thinks they don’t like folk music.

11. Far From Portland – Lau

Lau are something of a Scottish folk super group and although “Race The Loser” is their third album, I will admit this is the first to cross my radar. More sedate than Bellowhead, but their use of electronic samples certainly gives their original compositions a very contemporary feel.

12. Last Hours Of Being Young – Larcenist

Hailing from Boston, Larcenist describe themselves as perveyors of Doom Folk. Which is a little harsh as while the subject matter may be gloomy, some of the tunes are almost upbeat. This is from their 2011 EP “We Become The Hunted” and I eagerly await their debut album “Eager City Patient Country” which is released on 22nd January.

13. Dresden – The Cornshed Sisters

Absolutely gorgeous 4-part female harmonies from The Tyne.

14. Wisely & Slow – The Staves

You wait a lifetime for a decent female folk harmony from the UK then you get two in a year. 3-part harmonies this time from the Staveley-Taylor sisters. I’m insanely proud of the fact that these girls are from Watford, my hometown, and are a product of what goes for a music scene there.

15. Midnight Blues – Liz Green

Another stunning debut album “O, Devotion!” full of folksy-blues minimalism from Manchester singer-songwriter Liz Green. 

16. Conduit – Ben Caplan

17. Southbound – Ben Caplan

Decided to go with two tracks from Ben Caplan’s album “In The Time of The Great Remembering”. Which would be my album of 2012, if it weren’t released at the end of 2011. Great spot and tip-off from Dan after he saw Ben supporting Katzenjammer on tour. Great songwriting, great voice, awesome beard and fantastic name for his backing band; The Casual Smokers.

18. Going Home – Leonard Cohen

Cohen spends much of “Old Ideas” at virtually spoken voice, but it’s pretty powerful stuff.

19. Don’t Buy The Sun – Billy Bragg

Hadn’t spotted until very recently that Billy had released “Fight Songs” in 2011 between “Mermaid Avenue” albums with Wilco. It opens with this diatribe at The Sun, which given The Leveson Enquiry and further revelations from Hillsborough released this year, it is a very apt inclusion of this best of 2012.

20. Phrasing – Scott Walker

Fitting anything from Scott Walkers challenging album “Bish Bosch” on to a compilation album was always going to be difficult, so consider this a track included after 2 minutes of silence. I just want to bring this fantastic work to your attention. The track, like the whole album requires your full attention, and then some really strange things will reveal themselves to you. Give it a go.