"Smokin From Shootin" - My Morning Jacket (Evil Urges)
Hard to choose just one awesome song from a record chock-full of them. Smokin From Shootin epitimizes everything epic and wonderful about MMJ. It begins with the faint pulse of a far-off and ominous bass drum, resonating like an approaching helicopter. Layers are added and the song builds til the inevitable napalm explosion during the thrilling climax. Jim James' scream is so fucking rock & roll baby!
"I Still Care For You" - Ray LaMontagne (Gossip in the Grain)
Trippy as shit. "I Still Care For You" finds LaMontagne exploring new musical territory. He still delievers his prose in that familiar mournfully hopeful tenor. In this song his voice trudges through a howling Nor'easter of soft guitars and cymbal-laden drums; all the while drenched by rainbuckets of ghostly reverb. Similar vibe to Radiohead's "How to Disappear Completely." It's so depressing, but soo good.
"Hometown Glory" - Adele (19)
The 20 year old from Enfield rocketed to international stardom this year, powered by a soulful debut album and pipes that bely her years. "Hometown Glory" is an instant classic; a simmering piano-ballad with spiraling Etta James vocals. Perhaps it's the simplicity, or maybe the conviction in her voice, that draws you in.
"The Rat" - Dead Confederate (Wrecking Ball)
Five Georgia boys find their inner-Cobain and craft a beautiful record. "The Rat", their first single, is a great place to start if you haven't heard them. Very strong debut.
"Writer's Minor Holiday" - Calexico (Carried to Dust)
Frontman Joey Burns channels Dylan for this low-key indie-folk feast, served over a chilled platter of choirs and acoustic guitars. The echo effects conjure images of a winter sleigh ride across cold snowfields.
"Viola" - This is Ivy League (S/T)
Duo strikes gold with this lovely acoustic Bohemian love song, told from the perspective of an audience member enthralled with a girl singing onstage. I love the simplicity and chilled out vibe. For Kings of Convenience fans.
"Lost Coastlines" - Okkervil River (The Stand Ins)
Will Sheff & co. take us along for an epic 5 minute voyage. Our vehicle? Rich lyrical imagery, chugging guitar and plenty of tambourine. Picture Arcade Fire covering The Strokes.
"Graveyard Girl" - M83 (Saturdays = Youth)
Pure bliss at times. "Graveyard Girl" sparkles with bright energy like the E-Street band on steroids. Complete with enough synths and over-dubbed guitar to do any shoegazer proud.
"Love Me For Nothing" - The Alternate Routes (The Watershed Ep)
"Everybody needs a thrill," croons vocalist Tim Warren, and the first new AR material released in three years is certainly no let-down. This song is the sequel to "Ordinary" I've been waiting for. Up-beat, folk-tinged and hopeful; it's perfect for those long summer drives with the windows down.
"Human" - The Killers (Day & Age)
I'm not a huge fan of the Killers. This song contains all the elements I usually despise: '80s vibe, Brandon Flowers and Brandon flower's retarded lyrics. However, inexplicably, I became obsessed with this song for a period after it was released. I guess it's one of those "stars align properly" kind of deals.
"Blank Slate" - The National
"Can You Tell" - Ra Ra Riot
"Walcott" - Vampire Weekend
"Halo3" - +/-
"Biko" - Bloc Party
"In the New Year" - The Walkmen
"In My Room" - Albert Hammond Jr.
"Magick" - Ryan Adams & the Cardinals