Last Saturday night I played the above, some of my favourite tunes from this year representing some of the bands who've been the most prolific, impressive and exciting to watch. You can hear the countdown and the show in full here.

  1. Sam Airey - The Blackout
  2. Houdini Dax - OLL
  3. Los Campesinos! - By Your Hand
  4. Among Brothers - Loved
  5. Y Niwl - Undegpedwar
  6. Town - Teenage Sky
  7. Kutosis - Devo
  8. Man Without Country - King Complex
  9. Friends Electric - Something You Should Know
  10. Manics Street Preachers - This Is The Day

Sam Airey might be a new name for you and at number one, you might be wondering who he is, but from a track that came in to us via the Introducing Uploader, where all new bands send us their music, to playing live at the Swn festival, he was a wonder: a real treasure of a discovery, a genuine and heartbreaking voice, and an incredibly mature songwriter deserving of the top spot.

At number two is another young act. Houdini Dax are a joy to behold live, a pleasure to be in their company, and write some urgent, raw and exciting music. By Your Hand, from Los Campesinos!'s album Hello Sadness, is one of my favourite tracks from them period, the multitude of chorus, the melancholy of the song, and all the usual charm of the multilayered sounds of the band.

The rest of the bands have entertained, toured, released, and worked tirelessly throughout the year, and their names have cropped up time and time again - especially Manic Street Preachers, who finished off the year in style at the O2 last weekend, what a year they've had!

However, there are lots and lots of tracks missing - Gruff Rhys, winner of Welsh album of the year with Hotel Shampoo, Sweet Baboo, The Joy Formidable, The Gentle Good, Lleuwen, and indeed all the nominees of album of the year prize back in October.

There's the host of rock bands Kids, The Blackout, Cuba Cuba, Tiger Please and more, who have all released incredible albums this year. There's also a whole host of bands who came, recorded sessions, performed festival stages, and came through the BBC doors over the last 12 months.

Thankfully, some of these will be featured in the Best in Show programme, which airs this Christmas Eve at 6.30pm. The rest, I hope, will feature in Adam Walton's 50 track special best-of-the-year show on Christmas night. There will still be those we've missed out completely, but these lists aren't comprehensive - they are a snapshot of the year that's been, and what a joyful, wide ranging year it's been for Welsh music. Here's to 2012.

More of my Like Lists:

New discoveries

Albums of the year

Favourite interviews

  • Michael Sheen at Laugharne Festival, April
  • Manic Street Preachers session and studio interview, November
  • The Blackout vs GLC pop quiz at Merthyr Rocks Festival, September
  • Kids In Glass Houses BBC Studio Session and pop quiz, July
  • Howard Marks at Green Man Festival, August
  • Wynne Evans, tenor, November
  • Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine, November

Gigs of the year

  • Public Enemy and Ice Cube at Cardiff University Sept 2011
  • Manics at Motorpoint Arena May 2011
  • The Keys, Colorama and Zervas & Pepper at BBC Social Club, Llandaf, Dec 2011
  • Future of the Left, Saturday's Kids at Clwb Ifor Bach Dec 2011

Festivals of the year

  • Machynlleth Festival, May
  • Greenman Festival, August
  • Reading Festival, August
  • Big Chill Festival, August
  • Maes B, Eisteddfod, August
  • Swn Festival, October

Non-musical highlight

The rugby world cup and Wales football team wins!


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