Cub Sport outside WXPN Studios with a giant pizza from Allegro | photo via

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2013 awesome. In this installment, our contributing concert reviewer Maureen Walsh runs down some lesser-heard jams.

These are 5 songs I have been listening to this year that are missing from many a year end list:

1. “Glitterbombed” by Charlotte Church – Yes, that Charlotte Church. The “voice of an angel” that stole our hearts on many a PBS special has returned with a set of EPs that feature epic soundscapes and Church’s amazing voice. Think Explosions in the Sky meets Sinead O’Connor. This year Church also had the honor of delivering the 2013 John Peel Lecture taking on the theme of Women’s Place in Music.

2. “Lay Down in Swimming Pools” Mutya Keisha and Siobhan – A pleasant surprise greeted me when I pulled up my Guardian app over the summer and saw that the original Sugababes line up was back under a new name and that they were working with Dev Haines (aka Blood Orange, one of Eric Schuman’s musical visionaries of the year). Mutya Keisha and Siobhan have not disappointed on their new tracks. “Lay Down…” is an R&B take on Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools”

3. “Goldenheart” by Dawn Richard Dawn Richard is a member of the group Danity Kane, best known for being apart of Diddy’s reality show Making the Band. Richard has also recorded a few surprisingly intense solo works, including this year’s album “Goldenheart.” The album was sorely underappreciated in the States and is a piece to be listened to as a whole. If you like your R&B by way of George RR Martin, this is for you.

4. “Shuffle” by Cub Sport– Brisbane synth-pop band Cub Sport put out its second EP, Paradise, this year and have begun getting the attention of US alternative radio. The song “Shuffle” is reminiscent of 80’s synth ballads such as “If You Were Here” by the Thompson Twins and “Only You” by Yaz.

5. “Check My Heart” by The Pastels – The high priests/priestesses of Glasgow indie rock have returned after a 10 year absence. The Pastels are in fine form on this ridiculously catchy single from their album “Slow Summits.”