20) Jess Mills – “Pixelated People”
After collaborating with Breakage on last year’s most hypnotic dubstep anthem, “Fighting Fire,” politician’s daughter Jess Mills proved she could go it alone with a similarly classy blend of rain-soaked synths, sensual melodies and hip-hop samples that suggested Katy B’s reign as the Queen of dub-pop may be under threat.
19) B. Traits feat. Elisabeth Troy – “Fever”
Possessing the kind of sensual tones that could make a recital of the phone book sound sexy, Elisabeth Troy made a welcome return to the spotlight over a decade after she and MJ Cole perfected the sound of two-step garage. Teaming up with rising female DJ B. Traits, the old-skool drum n’ bass of “Fever” contained arguably the most euphoric piano riff of the year.
18) Twin Shadow – “Patient”
The most authentic of the 80s new-wave revivalists to have emerged this year, Twin Shadow ditched the Brat Pack anthems for once with a rare but equally convincing venture into synth-funk which with its staccato brass-led middle eight, sounded like classic era Prince had secured the services of latter-day Timbaland.
17) Ellie Goulding- “Anything Could Happen”
Her striking new cornrows and brief relationship with Skrillex suggested girl-next-door Ellie Goulding was going through something of a mid-20s crisis. But the lead single from her consistently strong sophomore proved that she was still the same ethereal synth-pop chanteuse that had charmed us with 2010 debut Lights, albeit one with a new-found fondness for high-pitched vocal samples.
16) Toddla T feat. Shola Ama – “Alive”
Responsible for one of the best garage throwbacks of last year, “Take It Back,” Radio 1 DJ Toddla T and forgotten 90s BRIT Award winner Shola Ama showed lightning can occasionally strike twice with another classy string-soaked two-step number that instantly transported you back to the glory days of Ayia Napa.
15) Tensnake – “Mainline”
Another inspired homage to the club culture of yesteryear, German DJ Tensnake ignored the more celebrated acid-house scene and instead revisited the Chicago house movement of the late 80s on an effortlessly joyous track which sounded like a mash-up between Inner City, The Adventures of Stevie V and Technotronic.
14) Miike Snow – “Paddling Out”
Venturing out from behind the production desk once again, the team behind many of Britney Spears’ hits struck gold with the lead single from their under-rated second album, Happy To You, an enchanting blend of dreamy Royksopp-esque melodies, chopped-up electro and bizarrely, a pack of howling dogs.
13) Elton John vs Pnau – “Good Morning To The Night”
The highlight from Australian duo Pnau’s inspired collection of reworkings of Sir Elton John’s more obscure back catalogue, “Good Morning To The Night” fused filtered synths and Balearic beats to produce an unexpected Ibiza sunrise anthem that echoed the glorious Gallic house of the early 00s.
12) Rudimental – “Feel The Love”
Virtual unknowns at the start of the year, London quartet Rudimental brought a rare touch of class to the top of the UK charts with this hugely uplifting mix of jazzy horns, bass wobbles and raspy soulful harmonies which on first listen, suggested Cee Lo Green had suddenly gone all drum n’ bass.
11) Delilah – “Never Be Another”
Unfairly overshadowed by the plethora of similar divas that emerged in 2012, Delilah released a string of beautiful dubby ballads this year, but the snake-like industrial synths and seductive percussion of final single “Never Be Another” proved she was just as elegant when aiming for the feet as she was the heart.