Infinite Shuffle

January 30, 2011

61 – Ra Ra Riot

Filed under: R, Syracuse NY — assman41 @ 12:01 am

Just like The Helio Sequence, I first discovered Ra Ra Riot a few years ago through  the XMU station on my XM player (man, I miss that little goldmine).

For the most part, RRR sounds like a lot of other indie bands that play catchy pop songs. But the major difference — and it’s pretty noticeable — is the incorporation of a cello and violin on all of their songs.

The two instruments give RRR’s tune an added dimension, something of an orchestral feel. Because of that, the band has actually earned the labels of baroque pop and chamber pop.

You can hear the first plucking of the cello strings a few seconds into the first track of their debut album, 2008’s The Rhumb Line.

Ra Ra Riot – Ghost Under Rocks

The above song is probably the band’s most popular and accessible single to date. It’s also the tune I compared Beach House‘s “Norway” to about a year ago. After having listened that great song countless times in the 12 months, I’m not so sure that was an apt comparison.

But I digress.

Ra Ra Riot, is a six-piece group hailing from Syracuse, N.Y. In addition to the cellist and violinist, they have all the rock group staples — vocalist, bassist, lead guitar and drummer.

They formed in January 2006 and in June of the next year, their drummer died from an apparent drowning.

The band churned on, gradually gaining a solid following through its energetic live shows, touring with such bands as Editors and Tokyo Police Club.

Ra Ra Riot released a self-titled EP in 2007 before dropping their first full-length in August of the next year. In addition to the previously mentioned opening track other strong offerings include “Each Year” and “Dying Is Fine”.

They put out a remix EP, Can You Tell, in 2009 and another EP, Boy, the next year before releasing their second full-length album, The Orchard, in August 2010.

It doesn’t have anything quite as awesome as “Ghost Under Rocks”, but it may have a higher percentage of quality tracks, including “Too Dramatic”, “Boy”, “Massachusetts” and “Do You Remember”.

Ra Ra Riot – Too Dramatic

You can hear nine tracks, including a few special ones, at their MySpace page. While there, you might notice they label their genre as “Healing & EasyListening.”

Much more information can be gleaned from their official website. It looks like they’re currently on tour through March. They apparently came through Chicago in October, and I failed to attend. There’s no telling when I might get to see them.

Don’t be as stupid as Todd. Go see them if you have the chance.


January 23, 2011

60 – The Helio Sequence

Filed under: H, Portland — assman41 @ 12:01 am

Bands alter their sound all the time, whether it be to gain a bigger audience, because of personnel changes or simply the natural evolution of their music.

The Helio Sequence didn’t really have any say in the matter. The need to make a transition was thrust upon them when lead singer Brandon Summers lost his voice and was forced to learn how to sing again.

Following the 2004 release of their third full-length album, Love and Distance, the band embarked on a six-month tour of the United States and Europe during which Summers’ vocal chords became severely shredded, forcing him into long stretches of silence.

Upon returning to Portland, Summers’ doctor forbade him from singing for almost two months. The result was a person newly dedicated to his health and an artist more intensely focused on his craft.

That passion came out in the band’s next release, 2008’s Keep Your Eyes Ahead. Where the group’s arsenal had previously been filled with long, trippy songs coated in equal parts pop, psychedelia and electronica, a new sound emerged with tighter, more radio-friendly tracks.

The Helio Sequence – Can’t Say No

The Helio Sequence is one of those bands that are hard to pigeon-hole, but the best label currently for their ever-evolving sound might be indie electro-pop with a slight tinge of folk.

The band’s shift actually began on Love and Distance. On its first two albums, Com Plex (2000) and Young Effectuals (2001), the duo relied more on shoegaze and twee pop and some of the fuzz rock of My Bloody Valentine.

But on the third album, the boys from Beaverton (it’s a suburb of Portland), started to rein things in and even incorporated a harmonica on several tracks, including the aptly titled opener, “Harmonica Song”. With that song, and a few others, they add a new bluesy dimension to their sound that is reminiscent of My Morning Jacket.

The Helio Sequence – Harmonica Song

On the latest album, they crank up the beats and take everything to the next level. The disc opens strong with “Lately”, followed by their best track to date, the above-posted “Can’t Say No”.

Other solid offerings include the title track, “Hallelujah” and “You Can Come To Me”.

The Helio Sequence – Keep Your Eyes Ahead

The Helio Sequence channels several influences into this album, including Bob Dylan (on “Shed Your Love” and “Broken Afternoon”) and Modest Mouse (on “Back To This” and “The Captive Mind”). The latter is not surprising considering Weikel did double duty a few years ago, playing drums and keyboards for Modest Mouse for a brief stint in 2003-2004.

For a band that is composed of just two guys and their laptop, they can really bring it in a live setting. I was lucky enough to see them open the five-day “Tomorrow Never Knows” festival at Lincoln Hall in Chicago earlier this month.

They actually opened the set with their biggest hit, “Can’t Say No”, which I thought was quite uncommon. But it definitely helped invigorate those in attendance — many of whom had been there for several hours and were forced to sit/stand through a couple of dreamy bands that were doing their darndest to lull us to sleep (that excludes the awesome first opener California Wives).

From the opening song all the way until the end, I don’t think my toe ever stopped tapping. Much of that can be attributed to Weikel, who certainly was into the music himself.

Plenty of drummers do some weird things while behind their kits, but Weikel’s facial contortions might’ve been the most jarring I’ve ever witnessed. An apt comparison I read online was to that of Animal from Muppet Babies.

A couple other things I noted from their concert was that they had just a one-song encore, which is rare in my experience — it seems like two songs is the agreed-upon minimum.

Also, the festival was called “Tomorrow Never Knows” and The Helio Sequence have a song on its first album with the same title. However, I don’t remember them ever actually acknowledging that fact. Then again, they may have played it and I never would’ve noticed.

But I digress.

It’s been nearly three years since the group’s last full-length release, and judging from their track record, it could still be another year before we get anything more substantive than the split 7-inch it put out with Menomena for Record Store Day last year.

In the meantime, check out The Helio Sequence on MySpace or on their page at Sub Pup Records.

January 16, 2011

59 – California Wives

Filed under: C, Chicago — assman41 @ 12:01 am

As I prepared to see The Helio Sequence in concert earlier this week, I made sure to check out the various opening acts to find out what was in store for me and to figure out how early I wanted to arrive.

After listening to all the bands, it quickly became apparent that I needed to get to the venue as soon as the doors opened. Not because the bill was packed full of awesome bands, but because the best act of the night would be the first one to hit the stage.

The five songs on California Wives’ website absolutely blew my socks off. So much so that I immediately headed over to iTunes and downloaded their debut EP, Affair.

California Wives – Blood Red Youth

(Note: For some reason, all of these songs are taking 15-20 seconds before they start to play. So, just be patient.)

This four-piece group from Chicago combines all the best elements of the post-punk, shoegazer and indie-pop genres into one awesome force.

California Wives – Twenty Three

Because of a special promotion at the concert, there were more people than usual in attendance for the opening acts. So, after a somewhat quiet response to start the show, the Wives received a solid ovation following their 30-minute set. They played six songs — four songs from their album and two new ones — all of which were solid.

One of the things I found most interesting seeing them live was how they divvied up the lead vocals. Standing front and center with his keyboard — and occasionally a guitar — was Jayson Kramer. He did most of the talking between songs and, I assumed, was the lead singer.

But with my view from the upper level somewhat obstructed by the band’s family, I didn’t realize initially that a lot of the singing was actually coming from the far right side of the stage, where unassuming bassist Dan Zima was perched.

Any time a band has more than one real vocalist, I consider that a plus in my book.

California Wives – Guilt

This band is ready to blow up on the national scene. The group is currently unsigned, but I doubt that’ll be the case for long, especially after the boys strut their stuff at the South By Southwest Festival in March.

To keep tabs on the band, check out its MySpace page.

January 9, 2011

58 – Cotton Jones

Filed under: C, Cumberland Md. — assman41 @ 3:30 am

While scouring the internet and iTunes for reviews of Cotton Jones, I stumbled upon a simple, one-sentence summation that perfectly captured the band’s sound …

Still the man who musically helps you come down from your bad trip.

The man, in this case, would be Michael Nau, the former lead singer and creator of the band Page France, who joined forces with Whitney McGraw in 2005 to comprise The Cotton Jones Basket Ride. Since shortening its name a couple of years ago, the band has put out a pair of solid full-length albums, including 2009’s Paranoid Cocoon and last year’s Tall Hours in the Glowstream.

As you can probably tell from the above quote, the duo’s sound is heavy on the psychedelia, but it also has a strong folk influence.

The debut album opens with Nau channeling his inner Jim Morrison on “Up a Tree (Went This Heart I Have)” and “Gotta Cheer Up”. From there, his and McGraw’s voices grow more soothing as the songs meld together into a never-ending trance.

Another strong track on that disc is “Blood Red Sentimental Blues”

On the more recent album, Nau’s voice dominates as McGraw is resigned to more of a backing role. While that certainly affects the harmony, all is not lost. The group doesn’t stray too far from its earlier sound, except that the songs are slightly reined-in and little poppier. Additionally, several of the songs have a familiar, almost oldies-like vibe to them.

The best track on the album is the one that originally introduced me to the group — “Somehow To Keep It Going” — but there are also several other solid tunes, including “Sail of the Silver Morning”, “More Songs For Margaret” and “Glorylight and Christie”.

Cotton Jones – Somehow To Keep It Going

(Note: For some reason, there is a delay of nearly a minute before this track starts playing. So, you should just open it in a separate tab and continue reading. Trust me, it’s a good song.)

I had never heard of the group until seeing Tall Hours in the Glowstream listed as No. 4 on Urban Outfitters’ Best of 2010 list. The group, which seemingly came out of nowhere as far as I was concerned, has put out several EPs and a few other assorted releases since 2007. The members developed their sound while living in the Appalachian hamlet of Cumberland, Md., but they have supposedly since relocated to Georgia.

To hear several more of their songs, visit their MySpace page. While there, take note of their current tour schedule. They make a quick pass through the Midwest for a few days in early February before heading back this way at the end of the month.

January 5, 2011

Best of the ’80s

Filed under: Best of — assman41 @ 6:01 am

As I drove home from a recent night out, I was enjoying a local radio station’s weekly ’80s Weekend playlist. And in the span of a few songs, I heard my two most favorite ’80s songs.

It made me think of a conversation I had with my brother a few days earlier regarding this very matter — what would be on your list of favorite ’80s songs?

So, I decided I should actually compile said list. I figured I would come up with my top 10 tracks of the decade. But I quickly breezed past that and was already into the mid-30s when I decided I should just limit myself to 25. Needless to say, there were some great songs that didn’t make the cut.

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While thinking of all the various songs I wanted to include, I couldn’t help but also picture many of the corresponding videos. Back then, songs and videos were so linked, it’s hard to separate them in your mind.

So, in addition to putting together an audio playlist, I thought it would be cool to post a video playlist.


  1. Belinda Carlisle – “Heaven Is a Place On Earth” … I have no idea why I love this so much. I just do. I love her voice, and when I play this, I think back to listening to it all the time on my older sister’s cassette player.
  2. Culture Club – “Karma Chameleon” … If my brother had his way, this would be No. 1. Growing up in the same household with someone who used — and still does — idolize Boy George, it’s no wonder this song is so ingrained in my head.
  3. Big Country – “In a Big Country” … I love everything about this song — the opening guitar riff, instrumental breakdown in the middle, the whiny Scottish vocals. I’ve had this as a ringtone on multiple phones.
  4. USA For Africa – “We Are the World” … When you put that many amazing singers in one room together, you can’t help but make magic. And hearing the dreadful 25th anniversary cover for Haiti relief just shows how great the original was.
  5. Go-Go’s – “Vacation” … Again, I can’t get enough of Belinda Carlisle’s vocals. I especially love the chorus when she’s backed by her bandmates.
  6. Pat Benatar – “Shadows of the Night” … She’s got a lot of great songs, but this is the one I’ve always loved the most. Perhaps it’s that powerful, authoritative chorus.
  7. Queen and David Bowie – “Under Pressure” … Two legendary voices combining to make pure gold. And nowadays, thanks to the movie Grosse Point Blank, whenever I hear this song, I can’t help but think of the scene where John Cusack is holding the baby at the reunion.
  8. A Flock of Seagulls – “I Ran (So Far Away)” … This song just reeks of the ’80s and early MTV. Lead singer Mike Score has yet to be topped in the annals of awesome hairstyles, and, as for the song itself, those killer synth riffs are hard to beat.
  9. A-ha – “Take On Me” … Go ahead, listen to this song and try not to picture the video. … See, you couldn’t, could ya? By the way, the Family Guy parody was amazing.
  10. Cyndi Lauper – “Time After Time” … This isn’t necessarily the first song that people think about when her name comes up, but what can I say, I’m a sucker for ballads.
  11. Nena – “99 Luftballoons” … Has their ever been a catchier song about the Cold War and Mutually Assured Destruction? The best part is that both the German and English versions mention Captain Kirk, but in totally different spots.
  12. The Buggles – “Video Killed the Radio Star” … If this hadn’t been the very first video played on MTV, do you think anyone would remember it? I guess we’ll never know. But it’s so awesome that it doesn’t really matter.
  13. Alphaville – “Forever Young” … I doubt many people realize this song is about a nuclear holocaust — especially the car company that used it in a commercial a few years ago. But hey, if you want to slow-dance to this song, I won’t judge you. It’s a great tune.
  14. The Bangles – “Walk Like an Egyptian” … I know I’m not the only one who, when this song reaches its apex, stops everything and tries to whistle along in perfect sync Susanna Hoffs and the gals.
  15. The Cure – “Pictures of You” … It seems almost dirty, but the first time I remember hearing this song was on a photo printer commercial or something like that. It quickly became my favorite song in a truly hefty catalog by these goth forefathers.
  16. U2 – “Pride (In the Name of Love)” … Speaking of a band with an endless supply of amazing songs, it’s hard to narrow my top five faves, let alone one. But this song has always revved me up whenever I hear it, and the fact that it’s all about Martin Luther King just adds to its mystique.
  17. Madonna – “Like a Prayer” … The video’s probably a bit over the top, but I have to give her props for losing a Pepsi endorsement deal because of it. Looking back, this song probably doesn’t really sound like many, if any, of the other songs in her vast arsenal. Maybe that’s why I like it so much.
  18. Berlin – “Take My Breath Away” … Seriously, how can you not love this song? It’s the ballads to top all ballads. Also, I’m pretty sure it was my homecoming or prom song during my junior or senior year — which just goes to show how unoriginal my peers were.
  19. Real Life – “Send Me An Angel” … I first heard this song in the ultimate BMX movie, RAD, and I was instantly hooked. I can’t help but hear this song and picture Cru Jones doing the bicycle boogie with Christian Hollings.
  20. Madonna – “Crazy For You” … It’s from the movie Vision Quest, but I’ve never actually seen it. I’ve only heard the song, and, let’s just put it this way: If I ever actually get married, this song will be played at my wedding.
  21. Outfield – “Your Love” … I was only a toddler in the mid-’80s, so I have no idea if this is true, but whenever I hear this song, I just assume that’s the whole vibe that permeated the years 1984-87.
  22. Scandal – “The Warrior” … If I paid attention to the lyrics, I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to take this song seriously. Thankfully, I never have. Whenever I hear this tune, I’m reminded of my junior high days when I used to help out my older sister with her newspaper route and we had this song blaring from a compilation disc.
  23. Huey Lewis & The News – “Power of Love” … Michael J. Fox, riding his skateboard and getting pulled behind a moving Jeep … ’nuff said.
  24. Talking Heads – “Road To Nowhere” … I absolutely love the intro to this song and I probably let it overcompensate for a tune that is otherwise simply above average. Also, I can’t hear this song and not think about the final scene from the classic Fred Savage movie, Little Monsters.
  25. Michael Jackson – “Man in the Mirror” … I figured I had to include at least one song of his on this list, considering he was the biggest star of the decade. While this wasn’t among his biggest hits, it’s the one I’ve always enjoyed the most.

By the way, I included a bonus video at the end of the playlist. The song is technically from the ’60s, but it re-entered the charts a couple of decades later. It just so happens to be my favorite song and movie of all-time.

January 2, 2011

Best of 2010 – Everyone else

Filed under: Best of — assman41 @ 12:01 am

Just as I did last year, here is an aggregation of as many end-of-the-year lists as I could find from all the sources out there. And, in case you missed it, here is my own Best of 2010 list.

  • A.V. Club … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • Amazon. comNo. 1 album: Mumford & Sons, “Sigh No More” … No. 1 song: Cee Lo Green, “Fuck You” … No. 1 alt/indie album: Arcade Fire, “The Suburbs” … No. 1 alt/indie song: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, “Round and Round”
  • American Songwirter … No. 1 album: The Black Keys, “Brothers”
  • Billboard … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • Clash … No. 1 album: Arcade Fire, “The Suburbs”
  • DIY … No. 1 album: The National, “High Violet”
  • Drowned in Sound … No. 1 album: Emeralds, “Does It Look Like I’m Here?”
  • Entertainment Weekly … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • Exclaim! … No. 1 Pop/Rock album: Arcade Fire, “The Suburbs”
  • Fact … No. 1 album: Forest Swords, “Dagger Paths”
  • Filter … No. 1 album: LCD Soundsystem, “This Is Happening”
  • The Guardian … No. 1 album: Janelle Monae, “The ArchAndroid”
  • Gigwise … No. 1 album: Arcade Fire, “The Suburbs” … No. 1 song: Kanye West, “Monster” (ft. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Bon Iver and Nicki Minaj)
  • Gorilla Vs. Bear … No. 1 album: Beach House, “Teen Dream”
  • The Guardian … No. 1 album: Janelle Monae, “The ArchAndroid”
  • A Heart Is a Spade … No. 1 album: Beach House, “Teen Dream”
  • Magnet … No. 1 album: Beach House, “Teen Dream”
  • Metacritic … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • Mojo … No. 1 album: John Grant, “Queen of Denmark”
  • MTV … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • MySpace … No. 1 album: Yeasayer, “Odd Blood” … I’d like to note the neat posters that were created for each album on the list.
  • NMENo. 1 album: These New Puritans, “Hidden” … No. 1 song: Foals, “Spanish Sahara”
  • Paste … No. 1 album: LCD Soundsystem, “This Is Happening”
  • Pitchfork.comNo. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” … No. 1 song: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, “Round and Round” … It should be noted that this listing needs to be taken with a grain of salt as P4K only gave Mumford & Sons a 2.1 rating out of 10. As a friend astutely pointed out, Marcus Mumford must have banged the reviewer’s girlfriend or something.
  • PrefixNo. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • … No. 1 album: Arcade Fire, “The Suburbs”
  • Rolling Stone … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • Spin … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • Spinner … No. 1 album: Beach House, “Teen Dream”
  • Stereogum … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” … No. 1 EP: Zola Jesus, “Stridulum”
  • Time … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
  • Uncut … No. 1 album: Joanna Newsom, “Have One On Me”
  • Under the Radar … No. 1 album: Sufjan Stevens, “The Age of Adz”
  • Urban OutfittersNo. 1 album: Beach House, “Teen Dream” … the peeps at UO did something very cool, not only listing their top 20 albums, but also getting each of those bands to submit a top-5 list of their own.
  • WNRN … No. 1 album: Mumford & Sons, “Sigh No More”
  • You Ain’t No Picasso … No. 1 album: Portugal. The Man, “American Ghetto”

January 1, 2011

Best of 2010 – My list

Filed under: Best of — assman41 @ 12:01 am

Last year, I waited until mid-January to unleash my end-of-the-year and end-of-the-decade lists. But this year, I figured I’d do it at a more reasonable time — one minute into the new year.

So, without further ado, I give you my favorite music from the past 12 months. Enjoy.

By the way, rather than bogging down this post with a bunch of links and embedded videos, I just created a playlist with as many of the top songs as I could find. If, for some reason, the player doesn’t work on your computer, just open this link in a separate tab/window and listen to the goodness as you read about it.

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  • Arcade Fire – The Suburbs … This band has yet to put out an average album. While I don’t yet consider it as strong as its predecessors, it’s still better than just about everything else that came out this year. It also includes one of my two most favorite songs of the year. … Favorite song: “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”
  • Beach HouseTeen Dream … I really didn’t think this album would live up to all the hype it was receiving before its release, but it actually may have surpassed it. … Favorite song: “Norway”
  • Frightened RabbitThe Winter of Mixed Drinks … While this band seems to fill every album with the same handful of songs, over and over again, I just can’t help loving them anyway. … Favorite song: “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”
  • Mumford & SonsSigh No More … This was, hands down, my favorite album of the year. Go read last week’s post for more in-depth thoughts. … Favorite song: “Little Lion Man”
  • The NationalHigh Violet … These guys are slowly becoming one of all-time favorite bands. This album didn’t grab me right away, but after plenty of listens, it definitely stood out as one of the year’s best. … Favorite song: “Bloodbuzz Ohio”
  • The OrbansWhen We Were Wild … This is my hidden gem of the year. If you haven’t heard these alt-country boys from Austin — and I doubt you have — check them out immediately. … Favorite song: “Like a Liar”
  • Shout Out LoudsWork … Three albums into their career, these guys from Sweden are on the verge of really breaking out in the States. … Favorite song: “Walls”
  • Two Door Cinema ClubTourist History … If it wasn’t for a couple-sentences-long review on the wall of a record store in Indianapolis, I may never have discovered this ’80s-infused, electro-pop group from Scotland. … Favorite song: “Undercover Martyn”
  • Vampire WeekendContra … With easily the most-hyped album at the beginning of the year, the NYC crew managed to deliver and avoid a sophomore slump. … Favorite song: “Cousins”
  • Wild NothingBored Games … This is an album that totally caught me by surprise. A soft, dreamy, electro disc from some dudes in Roanoke? Sure, why not? … Favorite song: “Live In Dreams”


  • Hey MarseillesTo Travels and Trunks (first dropped 2008, re-released this year) … Favorite song: “Rio”
  • JaillThat’s How We Burn … Favorite song: “Snake Shakes”
  • JunipFields … Favorite song: “Always”
  • Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown … Favorite song: “Pyro”
  • The Kissaway TrailSleep Mountain … Favorite song: “SDP”
  • Kopecky Family BandThe Disaster (seven-song EP) … Favorite song: “Disaster”
  • Let’s WrestleIn the Court of the Wrestling Let’s … Favorite song: “We Are the Men You’ll Grow To Love Soon”
  • Miniature TigersFortress … Favorite song: “Rock & Roll Mountain Troll”

THE YEAR’S BEST TRACKS (that weren’t on any of the above listed albums)

  • B.o.B. ft. Eminem and Hayley Williams – “Airplanes, Part II” … I seem to fall for one rap song per year. This one is it.
  • The Band Perry – “If I Die Young” … A friend suggested I listen to this song a couple of months ago. Now I am forever in her debt.
  • Cold War Kids – “Audience” … These guys snuck in an EP this year, and it included this gem.
  • Diamond Rings – “Something Else” … I’m pretty sure this song was produced in 1985, put in a time capsule and finally released in 2010.
  • The Drums – “I Felt Stupid” and “Let’s Go Surfing” … These are some fun songs from a band that’s developing a nice following.
  • Local Natives – “Airplanes” … I’ve had this song stuck in my head on multiple occasions throughout the year.
  • Loney, Dear – “Airport Surroundings” … Half of my brain doesn’t think this song belongs on this list. Unfortunately, the other half is bobbing along too much to pay it any heed.
  • Neon Trees – “Animal” … I was hesitant to include this song after hearing it constantly in the Las Vegas commercials. Alas, it’s too good not to mention.
  • School of Seven Bells – “Windstorm” … This song might be an acquired taste, but I can’t get enough of it.
  • The Soft Pack – “Answer To Yourself” … Just a good, solid pop/rock song.
  • Stornoway – “Zorbing” … This is my other most favorite track of the year. There’s nothing else to say — I just absolutely love it.
  • Yeasayer – “Ambling Alp” and “O.N.E.” … These two songs are so good, I almost included the whole album on here — and I didn’t even like the album.
  • Zola Jesus – “I Can’t Stand” and “Sea Talk” … I’m constantly trying to decide which song I like the most from this Siouxsie & The Banshees descendent, but I can never choose between the two.



  • The Black Keys – Brothers
  • John Grant – Queen of Denmark
  • Menomena – Minds
  • These New Puritans – Hidden
  • Titus Andronicus – The Monitor

Check back tomorrow when I provide a massive compilation of all the end-of-the-year lists I could find.

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