St. Vincent And John Congleton Conceive Greatness At No. 6.

Just as we have at the end of the last two years, the Central Track staff has once again spent the last week reminiscing and pouring pretty tirelessly over the best locally-tied songs of the year. By now, of course, most folks expect as much from their local culture publications. Unlike in previous years, though, we've decided to do things a little differently in 2014. For one, the influx of notable tunes this year prompted us to double the length of our list — from the Top 50 to the Top 100 local songs of the year. At the same time, we didn't want to overwhelm our readers with a huge list of 100 tracks to take in all once, either. To that end, we're going to roll the thing out in daily chunks, unveiling more songs every weekday through the end of the month. It should serve to make the thing a little easier to digest — and give you time to check out the embedded streams of anything you might have missed throughout the course of the year. Really, though, you should give each of these songs a spin. They all deserve at least that much.

Many times already this year, we've chronicled the sudden rise of St. Vincent that 2014 truly was. And make no mistake: Her fourth full-length solo LP was one of the very best records released anywhere in the country this year.

So, no, maybe it's not all that surprising that two St. Vincents tracks earned spots in the Top 12 of this list.

As meteoric as Ms. Clark's rise seemed this year, though, plenty of folks — and especially ones in her old Dallas stomping grounds — know that this has all been a long time coming. That same subset of the population, too, knows that a lot of St. Vincent's success is owed to Dallas-based studio ace, John Congleton, who has collaborated with the shredder four times now. (Congleton produced three of St. Vincent's solo records as well as her 2012 David Byrne collaboration.)

In the dozen interviews Congleton's done this year, he's been quick to point out that the thing that really clicked in place this fourth go-round was his insistence that Clark focus more on pre-production and songwriting than in the past. By comparison, 2011's Strange Mercy was written by the pair almost entirely in the studio. While St. Vincent came into the studio this time with more fleshed-out arrangements than in the past, Congleton insists that his biggest influence on the record is crafting St. Vincent's trademark guitar tones.

“She's not a guitar geek,” Congleton told Sonic Scoop earlier this year. “Some people might think she is, but she's not. You hand her a guitar and she's going to play it, whatever it is. She doesn't care. You just give her guitar she's going to destroy it, basically! It really doesn't matter.”

One of the biggest examples of this kind of tonal impact can be heard in “Birth in Reverse,” which features a dense layer of crunchy, fuzzed-out guitars intricately playing off one another.

Though the pair's relationship has continued to change over the course of four records, St. Vincent represents the duo's most cohesive effort to date. Lyrically, sonically, texturally and arrangement-wise, Clark and Congleton really put everything together this time around — like they never quite have before. The rest of the world seems to agree, too, judging from the number of year-end lists that their latest album has topped this month.

SEE ALSO:
THE TOP 50 LOCAL SONGS OF 2013. // The Official Central Track Staff List.
THE TOP 50 LOCAL SONGS OF 2012. // The Official Central Track Staff List.

But though St. Vincent's tremendous surge in popularity this year has managed to raise the producer's profile, too, Congleton's still not really closer to becoming a household name than he was in 2011 when NPR called him “indie rock's most unsung hero.”

By all accounts, that's just fine with him. Seeing Clark's career really begin to take off is reward enough for him.

“All I can say is I'm thrilled that people like it and, more specifically, Annie's happy with it,” Congleton told Radio.com earlier this year. “She's where she wants to be with her career. We together have worked very hard, but she's worked her ass off. When your friend's doing well, but also when you're part of that success, it's really fulfilling.”

The Full List: The Top 100 Local Songs of 2014.

100. Blank-Men — “Mole-Man Therapy”
99. Snow tha Product — “1 Time”
98. Goodnight Ned — “50,000 Years”
97. Pageantry — “Spine”
96. Lou Charle$ — “RiCH KiD$”
95. iill — “Surface Friend”
94. Ghost Image — “The Way”
93. County Lines — “City Between Two Cities”
92. B. Anderson — “Peer Pressure”
91. Wesley Geiger — “As the Crow Flies”
90. Somebody's Darling — “Bad Bad”
89. Radioactivity — “Danger”
88. Bobby Sessions — “Buckle Up”
87. This Will Destroy You — “Invitation”
86. Final Club — “No Regrets (M.U.R.P.H.Y.)”
85. Vincent Neil Emerson — “Hesitation Blues”
84. Lecrae — “Say I Won't”
83. Luke Wade — “The Runaround”
82. Convoy & the Cattlemen — “My Window Faces South”
81. Centro-matic — “Salty Disciple”
80. Bad Mountain — “Union Hill”
79. Dorrough — “Beat Up The Block “
78. The Longshots — “Me or California”
77. The Paychecks — “Prison Bars”
76. Dead Flowers — “I'm Leaving”
75. Birdflower — “Bish at the Beach”
74. Bad Beats — “Floor of Love”
73. Rigor Mortis — “Flesh For Flies”
72. Yung Nation — “Molly on My Chest”
71. Black Milk — “What It's Worth”
70. Fishboy — “Bury My Body”
69. Sugarfoote & Co. — “Long Gone Daddy”
68. Sexual Jeremy — “Square Eyes”
67. Blessin' — “Green Song”
66. Mink Coats — “Another Notch in the Bible Belt”
65. -topic — “Pocket Dialed the Queen”
64. Unconscious Collective — “Kotsoteka”
63. Hot Coffins — “I H8 Black Magic”
62. Cashmir — “Numbers”
61. Fever Dreamer — “A Month of Sunshine”
60. The Fox & the Bird — “No Man's Land”
59. Street Arabs — “Maltese Falcon”
58. Power Trip — “This World (2014)”
57. Zach Witness — “Amen Love”
56. Terrence Spectacle — “Futon”
55. Nighty Nite — “Temporary Custodian”
54. Bethan — “Low Expectations”
53. Baring Teeth — “Mountain”
52. Sealion — “Heavy Fizz”
51. Various Artists — “Dallas vs. Everybody”
50. Bummer Vacation — “Aye Mas Tiempo Que Vida”
49. Moonbather — “Stars From Planes”
48. Kacey Musgraves — “The Trailer Song”
47. Catamaran — “Weekdays”
46. Buffalo Black — “Bad Seed”
45. Mountain of Smoke — “Wise Owl”
44. Chambers — “Inner Room”
43. The Phuss — “Straight Line Impala”
42.Dripping Wet — “Yearbook”
41. Sarah Jaffe — “Defense”
40.Madison King — “Saved By a Son of a Gun
39. Ish D — “Keep Moving”
38. Wild Party — “Chasin' Honey”
37. Gollay — “Fight or Flight”
36. Blue, the Misfit — “Trillionaire”
35. Old 97's — “Nashville”
34. Party Static — “Poor Baby”
33. TEAM* — “I Like It”
32. Nayah — “Let it Go”
31. Oil Boom — “The Sneak Tip”
30. Spooky Folk — “Disheveled”
29. Parquet Courts — “Instant Disassembly”
28. Blackstone Rangers — “Frozen Echo”
27. Cozy Hawks — “L.A. Girl”
26. Brandon Fxrd — “Everything On Me”
25. Daniel Markham – “Disconnected and Flying”
24. Mystery Skulls — “Magic”
23. Sudie — “Heartattack”
22. Leon Bridges — “Coming Home”
21. Analog Rebellion — “Hot Shit”
20. Eat Avery's Bones — “Proboner”
19. Lily Taylor — “Across the Hills”
18. Booty Fade — “It Goes Down
17. A.Dd+ — “INNISHO”
16. Old 97's — “Let's Get Drunk and Get It On”
15. Howler Jr. — “Oh Dear”
14. Son of Stan — “The Lady That's Around Me”
13. Natural Anthem — “Paranoid”
12. St. Vincent — “Digital Witness”
11. Lord Byron — “Posh”
10. Danny Diamonds — “Hot Summer”
9. The Cannabinoids ft. The Outfit, TX — “Spic & Span”
8. Sealion — “Automobile”
7. Alsace Carcione — “Juke Joint”
6. St. Vincent — “Birth in Reverse”
5. ?????
4. ?????
3. ?????
2. ?????
1. ?????

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