Around this time every December, as the end-of-the-year articles begin to pop up, I peruse them all (most of them, anyways) and it reminds me of all the great songs this year brought with it. Sometimes I discover something I missed or rediscover tracks that came out early in the year, but mostly I just bask in these awesome collections of music.

For this Midwest Action Best of 2013, I zoned in on songs from local musicians that really just hit me, for whatever reason, and stuck with me through the year. Songs that had an awesome melody, a freeing energy, or took on a whole new life after I saw them performed live. To make really, really great music, you don’t have to be signed to a major label or play with the most established bands. What you need most is vision and talent, and I hope you enjoy each of these songs for exactly that.

Below, and in no particular order, are Midwest Action’s Top 10 Songs of 2013:

“Blackhole” by Secret Colours | Twitter | Bandcamp
Secret Colours proves that complexity isn’t necessary to craft an amazing song. A simple acoustic loop carries the song from beginning to end with occasional melodica and piano accents.

“Take Things As They Come” by Myles Coyne & the Rusty Nickel Band | Twitter | Bandcamp
The long-awaited title track off of a long-awaited album, “Take Things As They Come” begins as a delicate acoustic tune and explodes into one hell of a folky jam with harmonica, mandolin, and Myles’ distinctive voice. 

“Amanda in the Clouds” by Panda Riot | Twitter | Bandcamp

“Fatal Flaw” by Elsinore | Twitter | Bandcamp

“Alligator” by Sunjacket | Twitter | Bandcamp
I love this song by Sunjacket; a very mellow tune with delicate instrumentation and an understated climax.

“Demon” by Vamos! | Twitter | Bandcamp
Vamos put together a gritty punk song about demons. Those background vocals are so damn catchy. 

“Sitting by the Fire” by Soul Low | Twitter | Bandcamp
The gypsy-punk feel of “Sitting by the Fire” had my heart all fluttery from the very beginning. In an album filled with choice tracks, it was hard to pick a single one, but the energy elevates this song above the rest.

“Airsick” by The Fatty Acids | Twitter | Bandcamp
The Fatty Acids are damn good at writing a catchy song. Synth leads feel oddly nostalgic and totally fresh at the same time, and the tempo changes throughout “Airsick” are what pushed me over the edge from “like” to “love”.

“Mobius Strip” by Absofacto | Twitter | Bandcamp

“Slow Motion” by PHOX | Twitter | Bandcamp
In an album filled with great songs, “Slow Motion” is my obvious favorite. Phox’s delicate folk is accented through the hand claps and whistles which, coincidentally, help the song to feel more relatable. In addition to awesome instrumentation, Martin’s vocals are powerful and emotional. The end gets me every time, and that is no exaggeration. 

And of course, an honorable mention to MGM, because picking just 10 was far too difficult:

“Burn Like the Sun” by My Gold Mask | Twitter | Bandcamp

Think I missed out on some of your favorite tracks? Post them in the comments section below. If a song got your toes tapping, share it for everyone to check out!

As 2013 wraps up, I can’t help but to look forward to building off of the year’s positive vibes in 2014. Keep an eye out over the next day or two as we reflect on another great year of music and roll out our year-end lists.