Heavy Rotation: Public Radio's Top Songs Of 2012 : Best Music Of 2012 The DJs and music directors at public radio stations have some of the best ears in the business. So we asked them to create a 24/7 channel collecting their favorite music of the year.

Heavy Rotation: Public Radio's Top Songs Of 2012

Listen To A Continuous Mix Of The Year's Best Music

Few artists were played as much on public radio this year as the Mercury Prize winners in Alt-J. Jory Cordy hide caption

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Jory Cordy

Few artists were played as much on public radio this year as the Mercury Prize winners in Alt-J.

Jory Cordy

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If there's one thing public radio DJs know how to do, it's spot a great song. They spend the entire year combing through every album that shows up at their station and endlessly surfing the web, looking the world over for overlooked gems. It's nice work if you can get it.

So, as part of our look back at the year that was, we asked some of our colleagues across the country to share their 10 favorite songs of 2012. Then, we took those picks and created this continuous mix of the best the year had to offer: indie, roots, jazz, classical and even, courtesy of our friends at Q2 Music in New York, a little avant garde.

Heavy Rotation: Public Radio's Songs Of 2012

  • World Cafe, Philadelphia

    Michael Kiwanuka

    David Dye's 10 Favorite Songs Of 2012

    • The Lumineers, "Ho Hey"
    • Polica, "Dark Star"
    • Divine Fits, "Would That Not Be Nice"
    • Alabama Shakes, "Hold On"
    • JD McPherson, "North Side Gal"
    • Alt-J, "Breezeblocks"
    • John Fullbright, "Gawd Above"
    • Father John Misty, "I'm Writing A Novel"
    • Tim Maia, "Que Beleza"
    • Michael Kiwanuka, "Tell Me A Tale"

  • Soundcheck, New York

    Regina Spektor

    John Schaefer's 10 Favorite Songs of 2012

    • Regina Spektor, "All The Rowboats"
    • Silversun Pickups, "Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)"
    • Janka Nabay, "Feba"
    • Tiny Victories, "Get Lost"
    • Matthew Dear, "Her Fantasy"
    • Alex Winston, "Run Rumspringa"
    • Amanda Palmer, "The Killing"
    • Dan Romer, "Once There Was A Hush Puppy"
    • Roomful Of Teeth, "Passacaglia"
    • Max Richter, "The Four Season: Spring"

  • The Jazz Bee, Newark

    Robert Glasper Experiment

    • Aruan Ortiz, "Alone Together"
    • Isaac Darche, "Beautiful"
    • Lionel Loueke, "Farafina"
    • Gregoire Maret with Toots Thielemans, "O Amor e Meu Pais"
    • Johnathan Blake, "Of Things To Come"
    • Alfredo Rodriguez, "Qbafrica"
    • Edmar Castañeda, "Quitapesares"
    • Billy Hart, "Song For Balkis"
    • Robert Glasper Experiment, "The Consequences Of Jealousy"
    • Christian Scott, "The Red Rooster"
    • Linda Oh, "Ultimate Persona"

  • KCRW, Los Angeles

    Lianne La Havas

    Jason Bentley's 10 Favorite Songs of 2012

    • Gary Clark Jr., "Bright Lights"
    • Alabama Shakes, "Hold On"
    • The Shins, "It's Only Life"
    • Quantic & Alice Russell, "Look Around The Corner"
    • Jack White, "Love Interruption"
    • Lianne La Havas, "No Room For Doubt"
    • Toro Y Moi, "So Many Details"
    • Ben Gibbard, "Something's Rattling (Cowpoke)"
    • Michael Kiwanuka, "Tell Me A Tale"
    • Deadmau5, "The Veldt"

  • Classical New England, Boston

    Avi Avital

    • Avi Avital, Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052: (I) Allegro (Bach)
    • Handel and Haydn Society, Coronation Mass in C Major, K. 317: Gloria (Mozart)
    • Ensemble Caprice, Fugue, Op. 87 No. 7 / Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major, BWV 1046: (I) Allegro (Shostakovich/Bach)
    • Do.gma Chamber Orchestra, Rounds for String Orchestra (Diamond)
    • East Coast Chamber Orchestra, Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48: (II) Waltz (Tchaikovsky)
    • BBC Concert Orchestra, Sinfonietta in D Major: (III) Scherzino (Chadwick)
    • Tai Murray, Sonata No. 2 for Solo Violin, Op. 27: (I) Obsession (Ysaÿe)
    • Pieter Wispelwey, Suite No. 3 in C Major for Solo Cello, BWV 1009: (V) Bouree I & II; (VI) Gigue (Bach)
    • London Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36: (IV) Finale - Allegro con fuoco (Tchaikovsky)
    • Maya, The Book of Goddesses: (III) Aphrodite; (IV) Brigit; (IX) The Muses (Paterson)

  • KEXP, Seattle


    • Alt-J, "Fitzpleasure"
    • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, "Same Love"
    • Grimes, "Genesis"
    • Of Monsters And Men, "Mountain Sound"
    • THEESatisfaction, "Queens"
    • The Lumineers, "Ho Hey"
    • Shovels & Rope, "Birmingham"
    • Beach House, "Myth"
    • First Aid Kit, "Emmylou"
    • Japandroids, "The House That Heaven Built"

  • Q2 Music, New York

    Michael Gordon

    • Arvo Part, Beatus Petronius
    • Caroline Shaw, "Courante"
    • Michael Gordon, For Madeline
    • Tristan Perich, Formations
    • Evan Ziporyn, Mumbai
    • Esa-Pekka Salonen, Nyx
    • Anna Clyne, "Roulette"
    • Donnacha Dennehy, "Stainless Staining"
    • Valgeir Sigurosson, "The Crumbling"
    • Michael Harrison, "Just Ancient Loops"

  • KUT, Austin

    Divine Fits

    • Divine Fits, "Would That Not Be Nice"
    • Robert Glasper Experiment (feat. Erykah Badu), "Afro Blue"
    • Tame Impala, "Elephant"
    • Alt-J, "Fitzpleasure"
    • Amy Cook, "It's Gonna Rain"
    • Campo, "La Marcha Tropical"
    • Shovels & Rope, "O' Be Joyful"
    • Catherine Irwin, "Sinner Saves A Saint"
    • Dinosaur Jr, "Watch The Corners"
    • Jimmy Cliff, "World Upside Down"

  • Jazz24

    Catherine Russell

    • Chick Corea/Gary Burton, "Can't We Be Friends"
    • Brad Mehldau Trio, "Got Me Wrong"
    • Gregory Porter, "On My Way To Harlem"
    • Catherine Russell, "Romance In The Dark"
    • Marcus Miller, "Slippin' Into Darkness"
    • Jack DeJohnette, "Sonny Light"
    • Nick Moran Trio, "Strange Brew"
    • Jazz Soul Seven, "Superfly"
    • George Benson, "Tequila"
    • Diana Krall, "We Just Couldn't Say Goodbye"

  • opbmusic, Portland

    Grizzly Bear

    • The Helio Sequence, "Downward Spiral"
    • Dr. John, "Getaway"
    • The Walkmen, "Heaven"
    • Black Prairie, "How Do You Ruin Me?"
    • Boy Eats Drum Machine, "Royal Countess"
    • Moonface, "Teary Eyes And Bloody Lips"
    • Alt-J, "Tesselate"
    • First Aid Kit, "The Lion's Roar"
    • Grizzly Bear, "Yet Again"
    • Deep Sea Diver, "You Go Running"

  • WBGO, Newark

    Chano Dominguez

    • Pat Metheny Unity Band, "Breakdealer"
    • Ulysses Owens Jr., "Good And Terrible"
    • Chick Corea & Gary Burton, "Hot House"
    • Mark Masters Ensemble, "Lawrence Brown Blues"
    • Gary Smulyan, "Little Miss Half Steps"
    • Jazz Soul Seven, "Move On Up"
    • Branford Marsalis Quartet, "My Ideal"
    Chano Dominguez, "Nardis"
    • Ryan Truesdell, "The Maids Of Cadiz"
    • Brad Mehldau Trio, "Time Has Told Me"

  • The Alternate Side, New York

    Tame Impala

    • Alt-J, "Fitzpleasure"
    • Twin Shadow, "Five Seconds"
    • Django Django, "Default"
    • Hot Chip, "Night And Day"
    • Icky Blossoms, "Babes"
    • Divine Fits, "Baby Get Worse"
    • Dinosaur Jr, "Watch The Corners"
    • Polica, "Dark Star"
    • Lost In The Trees, "Red"
    • Tame Impala, "Elephant"

  • Folk Alley

    Anaïs Mitchell

    • Iris DeMent, "Sing The Delta"
    • The Tallest Man On Earth, "Wind And Walls"
    • Rosanne Cash, "Sister Oh Sister"
    • Anais Mitchell, "Dying Day"
    • The Lumineers, "Ho Hey"
    • Black Prairie, "Rock Of Ages"
    • Rose Cousins, "The Darkness"
    • Carolina Chocolate Drops, "Leaving Eden"
    • Mary Jane Lamond & Wendy MacIsaac, "If You Were Mine"
    • The Stray Birds, "Dream In Blue"

  • The Current, Twin Cities

    Alabama Shakes

    • Trampled By Turtles, "Alone"
    • Zeus, "Are You Gonna Waste My Time?"
    • First Aid Kit, "Emmylou"
    • Alabama Shakes, "Hold On"
    • Justin Townes Earle, "Look The Other Way"
    • Solid Gold, "Nice Flight"
    • Brother Ali, "Stop The Press"
    • Now, Now, "Thread"
    • Divine Fits, "Would That Not Be Nice"
    • Metric, "Youth Without Youth"

  • WFUV, New York

    Bruce Springsteen

    Rita Houston's 10 Favorite Songs of 2012

    • Citizen Cope, "One Lovely Day"
    • Rufus Wainwright, "Jericho"
    • Bonnie Raitt, "You Can't Fail Me Now"
    • Willie Nelson, "Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die"
    • Dayna Kurtz, "Don't F--- Around With Love"
    • Cory Chisel, "I've Been Accused"
    • Mumford & Sons, "Lover Of The Light"
    • Bhi Bhiman, "Time Heals"
    • Bruce Springsteen, "Wrecking Ball"
    • Emeli Sande, "My Kind Of Love (Live At FUV)"

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