MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER, music writer, The Phoenix

1. Seeker Lover Keeper "Even Though I'm a Woman" (from Seeker Lover Keeper)

2. The Afghan Whigs "Lovecrimes" (digital single)

3. Muse "Madness" (from The 2nd Law)

4. Japandroids "Younger Us" (from Celebration Rock)

5. The Walkmen "Heartbreaker" (from Heaven)

6. King Tuff "Bad Thing" (from King Tuff)

7. The Soft Moon "Insides" (from Zeros)

8. Daughter "Smother" (single)

9. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour "Ghost in My Head" (from Out of Frequency)

10. Metric "Artificial Nocturne" (from Synthetica)

The world could be done with by the time this is scheduled to run, but hey – at least we went out with some exceptional tunes. Fittingly, some of it was somber and dark; check out the stirring "Smother" by Daughter, the returning Afghan Whigs, still covering artists like no other, this time taking on Frank Ocean's "Lovecrimes," or The Soft Moon going straight Joy Division on "Insides." That's not to say there wasn't some more upbeat throwing down; Japandroids blew everyone away with Celebration Rock, King Tuff made a "Bad Thing" sound good and the Asteroids Galaxy Tour brought out the brass section for what should've been a dancefloor anthem. The Walkmen did their best lounge act work on "Heartbreaker," and an otherwise disjointed Muse release was salvaged by the sexiest track the trio has ever done in "Madness." By the time Matthew Bellamy's guitar solo drops after the second chorus, pants have dropped and bed sheets have been pulled back. Australia's Seeker Lover Keeper takes the crown though, with Holly Throsby messing around the gender roles, admitting to feeling like a traveling salesman because, "I think I'm in love with missing you/More than I'm in love with you." Damn.

122812_spotify-logo GET THE SPOTIFY PLAYLIST: Phoenix/WFNX.com's Top Tracks of 2012

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