• The cover of Katie Gately’s self-titled album

A feeling of dread washes over me annually at this time, when the professional hazard known as the year-end list falls upon me. I have a tendency to take the task too seriously, and as November rolls around I try to cram in as many records that I haven’t heard yet as I can into my listening regime. Many of those records have been sitting on my shelves, waiting for some free time, but then I also go on the lookout for things I’ve missed. Happily, this latter activity can often be fruitful and rewarding—I wouldn’t have been able to share today’s 12 O’Clock Track without it. Last week I checked out a year-end list on the British online site the Quietus, and there were plenty of records I hadn’t heard there, but the descriptions made me feel like I wasn’t missing much in most cases. But the blurb for an eponymous six-track EP by Katie Gately pulled me in, especially when writer Rory Gibb cited Holly Herndon, who made one of my favorite records in 2012. On these six mind-rattling tracks, Gately creates a dense, hard-hitting strain of experimental electronic pop music. Actually, pop songs seem to be lurking beneath all of the cold atmospherics, crushing noise, and haunted voices, but they never really manage to burst through, a situation that provides an irresistible tension. Since coming upon the record last week, I’ve been revisiting it regularly, discovering new details each time. It definitely ranks as one of the year’s best surprises for me. After the jump you can check out the part-angelic, part-primitive “Last Day.”