– It was back in April that I called Neon Indian a band to watch. Way before everyone and their mother started jamming out to them. Right there and then I connected with “Deadbeat Summer” which was a chill tune that could also serve well at a dance party. It has a retro appeal to it that almost sounds like it’s off of a cassette tape. It’s this quality that gives it a cool edge that you cannot help but dig. The song sounds chill and Neon Indian back it up with an irresistible song that is catchy, fun, and chill. It was everything that Neon Indian wanted it to be, and they hit it far out of the ballpark!
– I discovered The Coast through my blog emails, and I am ever thankful that I did. I would have never been graced with the reflective guitars, and irresistible chorus that deserves a spot on an epic indie soundtrack. The Coast deliver a great performance with this song, instantly grabbing you, and making you care about what they sing about. The Coast are one of Canada’s best kept secrets, delivering inspirational anthems that have kept me hooked all year long!
– Major Lazer delivered the best radio song that wasn’t played on the radio in 2009. “Keep It Goin’ Louder” would be a radio smash in a world where the radio actually played good music, but that isn’t where we live! Major Lazer drop a filthy beat and place a big chorus over it featuring Nina Sky & Ricky Blaze. The song works all too well. I would rather dance to this at a club than any horseshit Flo-Rida, Soulja Boy, or the Black Eyed Sellouts have to offer. Major Lazer know how to lay down a major dance anthem!!
– Florence + The Machine was 2009’s British sweetheart. However, she is not controversial, and has a major voice. She knows how to write a song too! This is the opening song to her great debut album Lungs, and what a perfect album title. Florence delivers a great vocal performance, creating a song that is just as fragile and beautiful as it is uplifting and urgent. This is the type of female British Rock that I crave, and she filled all of my desires with absolute ease. Florence + The Machine is my new British darling!
– More delicious female fronted indie rock with Metric’s epic “Help I’m Alive”. This song is 4 minutes and 46 seconds of pure pop genius. The song is just constructed in a perfect manner that demonstrates these Canadian genius’s ability to craft a stadium ready hit. The song is more than just an immediate ecstasy rush to the senses. It is actually quite lovely when you really step back to look at it!
– I saw Passion Pit last Sunday at Terminal 5, and my reassurance for picking this song in my top 50 was confirmed when they delivered an explosive performance of the (one of the many) Manners standout. It is no secret that Passion Pit are climbing “higher, higher, and higher) in the music world, and with electronic gem’s like “Little Secrets”, it won’t be too long until these guys make it really big. God bless you Passion Pit, you were our little secret for a good 2 years.
– One of the best moments from Girls album, Album (yes that was their album title!) It is a perfect 2 and a half minutes of poppy shoegaze. The song has a really heavenly nature that is created by the airy vocals and the shoegazy guitars. This song caught my attention right away, and it is a song I have been addicted too all year long. It did a lot more for me than “Lust For Life” because it was unexpected and had a lot more to offer at the end of the day (for me!).
– I still remember when this song was available to download. I read Atlas Sound featuring Panda Bear! My jaw dropped, and after listening to the song, there never was a reason to pick it up. The song is literally what you would expect from a song with these two. Bradford Cox lays down a bouncy tropical rhythm which allows Panda Bear to do his usual amazing work creating perfect pop chorus’s.
“What did you want to see, what did you want to be, when you, grew up?” – Yeah, I still don’t know !
– How could anyone say that nothing good came out of Tonight: Franz Ferdinand? “No You Girls” is everything great about Franz Ferdinand, rolled into a ball. Sexy vocals, crisp edgy guitars, and a Franz Ferdinand chorus. Alex sings about girls in boys in a fun manner, rather then going into the sad route. It features the catchiest chorus on the album, which would create a perfect drunk singalong at any bar, with taste. “No You Girls” is a fine Franz Ferdinand song, one of their finest yet!
– Grizzly Bear crafted the perfect opening song for an album like Veckatimest. It showed off their fine skills as musicians, delivering a masterful track. Dan Rossen’s vocals soar in the air, backed up by by the band’s reliable players. Chris Bear’s drumming and Chris Taylor’s bass playing remain the hidden key’s to Grizzly Bear’s success alongside their unmatched vocal performances from both Ed & Dan, and the unique guitar tone that Dan Rossen uses. These 4 guys create a really unique sound on Southern Point, it almost sound like something that an orchestra helped create. Now that is a true band.
– When I found out the Weezer’s new album was titled Raditude, I immediately lost all hope for the album. They posted their first single “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” and I was shocked at how Weezer it was. It had crunch, signature Rivers singing, a catchy chorus, and most importantly, it sounded like old, classic, Weezer! It is fun to listen to this song! I think we forget to have fun when listening to music these days because we are so obsessed with pitchfork approved bands, or stuff that is considered “hip”. Maybe that’s why I still love Weezer, and I always will. Fuck the haters!
– The YYY’s came out with a bang with It’s Blitz and one of the reasons I loved the album was the 1-2 punch of “Zero” & “Heads Will Roll”. What a 1-2 that is! “Heads Will Roll” starts as a dance song with it’s sinister synths, and the bouncy dance rhythm created by Brian Chase, but ten Nick Zinner comes in and brings the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s back to their routes. Karen O is a magician, and finds a way to make the chorus sound beautiful. How can one song be part dance/part rock/part beautiful? Come on, we are talking about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs!
– Most people would argue that “Walkabout” is the best song on Logos, but I would have to respectfully disagree with them! Shelia is the finest moment on Logos, and it is the one that I have gone back to the most. The chorus is very poppy for a Bradford Cox song, and I think that is what made it stand out to me!
– The Dodos are masters at creating songs with a strong sense of melody. “Fables” succeeds so well because it is a straightforward Dodos song that benefits from the shinier production that they received on their new album.
– Morrissey sounds like a youngster again on this song. He sounds really great, crooning out one of the best songs of his entire career. The song is infectious and uplifting! I want the Smiths to come back just as much as the next guy, but that aint happening. If Morrissey keeps creating masterful pop songs like “Paris”, then I will live!
– It’s all in the keyboard! That riff gives the song such an uplifting/happy sound, it really does sound like you are driving one of those tour boats straight under Niagra Falls. Harlem Shakes know how to write a joyous tune!
I don’t know if I could write it any better than I already did, so read my post on Best Coast
– At Vampire Weekend’s Contra Release Party, Rostam put this song on and me and all my friends danced to it in a circle like a bunch of idiots, having the time of our life. Random strangers joined in, a camera that was filming the event started filming us. I don’t think there is a better way to describe how much fun this song is, and how good it can make people feel. It truly sounds like it’s from a different part of the world, channeling a Tropical vibe.
– I really got into jj a few weeks ago, and it was because of this song. This sounds like nothing else out there today. Just unreal how ethereal and mystical this song is. This song sounds like a fresh slice straight from the heavens above. Is there anyone else out there who is making music that sounds like what jj is doing?
– Micachu (& The Shapes) created an album full of unique indie rock, and that came together on their own through multiple listens. It took a while for me to get into most of her music. However, Golden Phone was an instant hit in my mind. It was bizarre, awkward, and funny at the same time, but something about it was just GOOD! I don’t know how she created her sound, but hey, it works!
– Ready, Able sounded like Grizzly Bear went into the studio and produced the best song that they could have with full production and orchestration. The song is pretty flawless in every aspect. Ed Droste’s vocals don’t sound human. The band comes together and creates a full sound that takes off in flight with electronic effects, and professional playing from all of Grizzly Bear’s players. Grizzly Bear just hit the nail on the head with Ready, Able.
– Edward Sharpe and his magnetic set of zeros are able to perfectly convey the feelings of “home”. The song is lead by a incredibly catchy whistle that sounds like it’s coming from a place not too far from one’s home. The song is sweet, romantic, fun, and most importantly, easy to connect with. This Edward Sharpe song makes you realize that there are many definitions of home, and that you should not take it for granted.
Man I love that whistling!
– The song starts off as to separate entities. The first the slashing of a guitar, the slashing of another guitar to another rhythm, the drum setting the pace, the heavy bass guiding them, then Spencer Krugs unmistakable vocals and all off the parts soon seamlessly come together to form a monster of a song. Spencer Krug (who is also in Wolf Parade, Swan Lake, Wolf Eyes, Moonface) proves once again that he can write some of the most creative indie rock around.
– Why the hell does everyone go nuts over Dominoes when The Big Pink produced such an epic song like “Velvet”? To me, there is no comparison. This song is just epic. It sounds big, dark, and powerful. What isn’t there to like about it? That guitar is just raw, sounding epic by the minute with those dramatic background vocals. I wouldn’t mind fighting alongside this song.
– This was one of the true highlights of my summer. Driving around with my girlfriend, blasting this song. Or dancing like idiots to it with my friends at parties. There are tons of good memories attached to this song from this summer, there is no denying that it was one of my favorite songs of 2009. The song is modern disco done right with style!
– When I first heard Humbug I loved every song, except this one. It just seemed flat and extraordinary to me. Nothing about it stood out. After a dozen listens it started to grow on me, little by little. I noticed that sick Dr. Dre/hip hop influenced drum beat and started to groove to it. Then the piano, bass, and dark minimal guitar started to click. I didn’t know where it stood compared to the rest of the songs, but I realized I liked it more and more. It is now January 2010, and it is my 2nd favorite song on the album. The song grew on me to the point where I see it in an entirely different light. It has matured like fine wine, and now I look forward to listening to this even more than the great Crying Lightning. The Arctic Monkeys showed distinctive growth and maturity on Humbug, and I think that “The Jeweller’s Hands” is a hint towards the amazing things that we can expect from them in the future.
– The Horrors new that they had something special with their masterful album closer, “Sea Within A Sea”. They posted it for free download along with a dark video that perfectly complimented the song. The song was a re-introduction to the Gothic garage rockers, showing an entirely different side to them. I was floored at how creative they had become with the use of synths and electronic instruments. “Sea Within A Sea” remains just as fresh as it did when it first hit my soul. The song builds and builds to a really clean climax that is both epic and subdued. If you told me that The Horrors would make a 8 minute epic synth rock song back in 2007, I would have never believed it. This is song is a future cult classic in the making.
– Animal Collective are pretty good an conveying emotions and themes. So when listening to Summertime Clothes, it is easy to agree that they hit the nail on the head. They were able to perfectly create an atmosphere of pounding sunlight causing your clothes to uncomfortable stick to your skin thanks to your sweat. Summertime Clothes is undeniably a fantastic single that will never wear out its welcome. There are so many cool effects and sounds, it is impossible to take them all in at first. Over time you grow fonder to the clicks and the high pitch noises that sound oddly too perfect behind Avey Tare and Panda Bear’s glowing vocals. How do you describe a song like Summertime Clothes? You really can’t, but, I tried!
– The National are one of my favorite modern bands of all time, so it was no surprise that their offering to the Dark Was The Night charity compilation was my favorite. It has all the qualities of a classic National song. Down to earth lyrics from Matt, beautiful sounds, clean and precise guitar playing, and smart complementary rhythm. The National are masters of their craft and this was a teaser for the great things that they will bring in 2010, and the rest of this new decade.
– I remember the first time hearing this song and how floored I was. These guys basically created the 2009 version of The Walkmen’s “The Rat”. The song had so much energy and emotion, created by the drumming. Then everything kicks in just as it should. Thre lead singer really does channel The Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser. And the background vocals are just oh too perfect!!!! Their amazing live performance on Letterman sealed the deal for me : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3H9TVk8M60 This is music is raw, and real!!
– I won’t lie. I am still having trouble getting into Bat For Lashes albums. I am aware that she is a good artist, and I can tell that her albums are well made. However I can’t really connect with it. With that said, I had no problem connecting with “Daniel” the irresistible first single from her latest album Two Suns. The song sounds mystical, like a hazy dream on the beach. Natasha’s voice takes you away to another place. The song is able to transport you to many different places through its enchantments, that you never realize the song may just have a connection with The Karate Kid himself.
– Handsome Furs released one of my favorites songs of the year with their album close, Radio Kaliningrad. Sadly, I don’t think anyone else in the world even knows about this songs existence. If you do, then I love you! Something about this song grabs me every time. I don’t know what it is, but there is just a sense of urgency and meaning to the song. It is just a powerful song that in my mind, is one of the most incredible things to come out of any of the Wolf Parade members many side projects. The guitar leads the way for a heart spilled chorus filled with a purpose.
– 11th Dimension immediately sold my trust in Julian Casablancas as a solo artist. The song was a perfect piece of synth pop rock that had the flare of The Strokes, and the soul of Julians voice. The song was edgy, flashy, and catchy. Julian added catchy synths and a tropical drum beat and everything came together quite perfect. He still has a knack for writing a catchy, memorable chorus. Deep within this song is a glimmer of hope that the Strokes will return!
– Here is another song that I got via blogger email. I didn’t know anything about these guys, and truth be told, I still don’t really know all that much. However, their recent album was pretty enjoyable, and they wrote one of the best songs of the year with “The Mountain”. The guitar packs so much punch, but it is one of the many bright spots in the song. Erika Wennerstrom sings with everything that her passionate soul has to offer, proving that real songwriting is still alive.
– Sure this may be a 2008 song, but this masterpiece is a 2009 song in my eyes. Girls album got everyone crazed in 2009, and with a song like Hellhole Ratrace, you realize it is for a very good reason. The song finds a way to climax on its own without forcing it down your throat. “Hellhole Ratrace” is a very sentimental song that takes flight from Chris Owens depressing lyrics and real “sad” vocals to go along with it. He keeps repeating the same lyrics, but the song finds a way to build and build on its own without forcing this change around your throat. When the song finally hits it’s climax around the halfway marl, it almost represents Chris Owens coming to a realization, as he is re-born again. The song really speaks for itself, it is a touching piece.
– Freelance Whales came out of no where, and surprised me with one of the most pleasant surprises in all of 2009. My interest for these true indie rockers was started by an introduction from PMA’s Luis. He told me to start with Generator ^ First Floor, so I did. I was floored at how good it was. I hit repeat all night. The song takes a while to kick in from the machine like sounds that start it, but once it kicks in, it sounds like heaven. From the gentle guitars to the welcoming vocals, the song is magical in pretty much everywhere. My only fault with the song is that it is way too short! I don’t think I will ever re-experience the joy and happiness I felt when I first heard this song. It was such a touching moment for me, it has been a long time since a song came out of left field and blew me away like “Generator ^ First Floor” did.
– I was a little hesitant about the new Yeah Yeah Yeah’s dance/synth influenced sound, but “Zero” cleared all of my concers in a heartbeat. I realized that this was still very much the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s I grew up loving, just with a little more flare and energy (in new found areas). They use the dance elements to their advantage crafting an entirely different type of song. The song is a catchy piece of adrenaline pumping music that was one of the most memorable songs of 2009. When they played this at All Points West the entire crowd went ape-shit, confirming that I wasn’t the only one who loved “Zero”. They won’t ever make another song like “Maps”, but I don’t think they will ever make another song as good as “Zero” either!
– I won’t lie, it was tough for me to pick just one song off of the xx’s excellent debut. Was it too predictable picking “Crystalized”? Well no more than picking any Animal Collective song! “Crystalised” is the finest moment on the album, hands down. The vocals are sexy as they channel in all of their favorite R&B influences to create a smooth sound. They keep the music minimalistic until the chorus comes pushing it through with a vengeance. When listening to a song so finly crafted like this, it is hard to believe that this is the bands first album. Where were they in a decade where shitty r&b had been overpopulating the radio waves?
– I first discovered this masterpiece thanks to the 500 Days Of Summer trailer (god, I love that film!). Soon after I went scowling on the internet to find out who made it. Once I did, I listened to the song nonstop for days. The singers voice was just so different, and it was scary how perfect he was to sing on this song. “Sweet Disposition” is practically the definition of ethereal, sounding too good for words. The song just sounds so pure, so heavenly. You are hooked right away from his voice, and then once the chorus hits, it’s all too late. Your already sucked in for good!
– Sure, this song was technically released in 2008. However, it’s beauty wasn’t really appreciated by the world until 2009, therefore, it is in my 2009 list. I don’t think I can really say much about this song that hasn’t alrady been said. It is a masterful use of sampling to create a deadly song full of electronic vocals, and unique high pitched vocals. I think their show at Terminal 5 confirmed how ape-shit people are for this song. People were chanting Sleepyhead every time the band took a break. This is going to define Passion Pit. When they get bigger than anyone expects, this song will be treasured as “their” song.
– This was the year of Phoenix! I have two songs in my top 10, and for good reason! This song is just beyond anything the band has ever done before. The band sounds confident, fully aware of what they have created. A pop rock masterpiece that bursts through your speakers with triumphant energy. The sound sounds so clean and pure, it is hard to believe that we are currently in a lo-fi phase! Thomas Mars sings with confidence and swagger, reminding us all that they have been doing this for years. This song is so much fun to listen to, and I think that’s what matters.
– Pains Of Being Pure At Heart were one of the most under-appreciated bands of 2009. How could you not get into this pop centerpiece? The beat is started by a simple yet ridiculously catchy drum beat that propels the band into full swing. Shoegazy guitars, hazy vocals, and smart lyrics. “Young Adult Friction” was one of my most listened to songs of the year and the reason I put it in my top 10 is because it has not lost any of its initial shine over the course of a year. It still remains great in my mind, and there is no reason for me not to put this gem in my top 10.
– Whew. We start with Dan Rossen and his guitar at the forefront. The rest of the band is quietly tagging along, not straying too far from their shadows. They let Dan do his thing, slowly setting up for one of the most powerful chorus’s you are bound to hear from any band. They all come to the forefront for the chorus, adding their harmonies in beautiful unison. Then Dan goes back to doing his thing. We dig it, but are anxiously waiting for the band to strike up a bigger chord. Then it comes, and we are left without words. Ed Droste finally gets his own chance to shine and blows us away with his unearthly haunting vocals. Grizzly Bear are master’s of their craft, there is no denying that!
– Local Natives will blow up in 2010, trust me on that. When you have a song as good as “Airplanes”, there is no way that you are going to stay small. The opening piano gives the song a passionate reflective nature that is pure and real. Immediately you get the sense that these guys have more passion than any band in indie rock. They are out to write a good song, and nothing more. The song has the same state of mind. It’s about missing that special someone, and missing the simple things in life!
Don’t be surprised to see “Airplanes” on movie soundtracks, trailers, and TV Shows. Hell, it was already on Chuck!
– Phoenix absolutely knocked “1901″ out of the park. When they announced a free song for download on their website, I expected it to be one of filler tracks from their new album (there are no filler tracks!), and expected to be moderately pleased. I didn’t expect to be handed one of Phoenix’s best songs of their career. “1901″ see’s the band at the peak of their career delivering a powerful pop rock song that takes all of their elements to the finest degree! The synth’s hang over the song guiding every other instrument along for the ride. The band is in full focus, sounding confident, and tighter than they ever have. The song’s chorus was good enough to use in a car commercial, and it was good enough to get acclaim from practically everyone in the world.
“1901″ is jaw-droppingly good, and it only got better from listening to it in the context of the album!
– Most of the world was let down by their initial listen of “Crying Lightning”, but most agree that it got much better over time. I didn’t immediately love this song either, and I will agree that it grows on you a lot! I was judging “Crying Lightning” purely on the live performances, and if the song found a way to grow on me live, I was pretty sure I’d love the studio recording. I was right. I loved Alex Turner’s new found voice, his fast paced tone, the haunting guitar. It all made sense to me. This was the Arctic Monkeys that they always wanted to be. Dark, mysterious, but still sounding like the boys from Sheffield. The guitar solo in Crying Lighting is short but sweet. It’s hinting at a band ready to break out of its shell, and soon they will. But for now we have incredible songs like “Crying Lightning”. It is one of the bands finest songs yet, and I don’t care what anyone says. This is the Arctic Monkeys sounding smarter, heavier, and more confident then ever.
– I remember when this song leaked and I got a nice take down notice from that Web Sheriff fella. Nice guy (eh?). At the time I only listened to My Girls a dozen times, but it was enough to know that we had something special on our hands. The song doesn’t go nuts and try to blow you away at first. Panda Bear slowly builds the song with his familiar croon over delicate electronic sounds that only Animal Collective could conceive. Then the song starts to pick up, all it takes is some pounding from a drum stick, and a little extra umph in the bass. Animal Collective come together to deliver a powerful chorus that is smart yet catchy. Accessible, yet still not accessible to most minds.
When talking about this song to my best friend Chris, he mentioned how the song really doesn’t have a HUGE peak. They really never do leave that repeating electronic noise, or really break away with a BIG chorus. It’s almost as if Animal Collective found a way to create a chorus without going into a true chorus. That is the true beauty of this song, it is like nothing else that any of us have ever heard, and that is why it stands alone.
– It was the summer of 2008 when I caught Grizzly Bear’s fantastic performance/debut of “Two Weeks” on Letterman. I was a fan of Yellow House, but I wasn’t as big of a Grizzly Bear fan as I am today. I remember the performance clear as day, and how jaw dropping it was. There was something special about “Two Weeks” that radiated from that performance. Ed Droste’s vocals were majestic, and the keyboard melody is so basic but it is such a big part of the song. Just like the infectious “oh oooh ooooooh ooooooooo” is. The song is constructed to the finest degree creating a beautiful pop song that Grizzly Bear will never re-create. The crazy part about this song is that they found a way to make it even better than it was on Letterman by adding Victoria Legrands to the song. Her vocals were a perfect fit to the song, and it almost felt like they were made for this song! I could go on and on about this song, but there isn’t too much to add that hasn’t already been said. Grizzly Bear may have made their masterpiece!
Arctic Monkeys teased all of their fans with clips on their youtube channel led by Matt Helders. I remember them playing a guitar riff that sounding too good for words. I couldn’t wait to hear what this mysterious song was. I didn’t know its name, but I knew that it was going to be a fantastic song. Then the album came out and there it was, “Cornerstone”. It was literally everything that I hoped it to be. Wonderfully written lyrics, a beautiful clean melody, and wonderful singing from Alex Turners warm mature voice. The song is by far the best thing that the Arctic Monkeys have done, and it is amazing to compare this song to their earlier work. At 2:42 the final verse kicks in, and this is by far the most memorable part of the song. The band put so much of themselves in the song, and it payed off.
I got to see them play this song for the first time ever live at All Points West, and me and my friends already knew every single word. I hope they noticed!
– Not one of you guys could have predicted this as my #1 song of the year. I contemplated My Girls, Cornerstone, and Two Weeks but something just pushed me towards Bluish. There is nothing else out there that moved me like “Bluish” did. It was so different in style, and in sound. Animal Collective have never sounding like this before. It is almost like they ripped away a shield and became vulnerable for us. “Bluish” is the closest that Animal Collective will probably ever go to making a ballad.
The lyrics are beautiful and sentimental, reaching an emotional level that I don’t think the band even knew they were reaching. The culmination of this song is not built by a certain lyrics, a certain part, or a climax. Rather, the song as a whole is the best part. It is a beautiful masterpiece that got overshadowed by all of Merriweather Post Pavilion’s big guns. I thought long and hard about why this was my favorite song. The answer is pretty clear however. “Bluish” is a breathtaking achievement that has more value at the end of the day than any other songs on MPP or 2009 in my eyes. The way the band sings the chorus is so magical, there is nothing that beats it.
Many of you will not approve of this pick, and some of you may have not even heard it yet. That’s ok, I stand behind this pick. That’s ok with me. I have many memories of listening to this song with my friend Alex for weeks, or keeping warm with it during winter. Memories and moments like these are what stand out in my mind when listening to Bluish, and make it my favorite song of the entire year.