Our top 50 tracks of the year, with links for listening pleasure.
50. Antony and Bryce Dessner – “I Was Young When I Left Home”
49. Playboy Tre – “Liquor Store Mascot”
48. Tegan & Sara – “Alligator”
Short and sweet. Rattled yes, it’s true, alligator tears spilled over you. This song sums up the theme of Tegan and Sara’s entire album. What’s better than pretty Canadian ladies singing Alligator over some sweet keyboard parts?
47. Dan Deacon – “Snookered”
46. Antony and the Johnsons – “Daylight and the Sun”
45. The Avett Brothers – “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise”
The Avett Brothers have a knack for penning lines that hit straight to the core of things. Then they put those lines together to make songs that are completely amazing. This particular track is both heartbroken and hopeful; beautifully arranged with piano against Scott Avett’s voice (who is also a painter in addition to being a rock star). No less than an anthem.
44. The Wartime Blues – “Saul Whitewater”
The Wartime Blues take back the storytelling format for Saul Whitewater. The life of a simple man living simply. Beauty is seen as children walking in to church, your ever-aging wife and country hometowns. Bluegrass/Americana with banjos and cellos and sexy/rustic lead vocals.
43. Finn Riggins – “Wake”
Rockin, upbeat, kick ass rock. So rockin, fun and kick ass that it reaches the “rock out with your cock out level”. Finn Riggins does this with three members! Catchy “woah oah oah” and completely infectious “keep this town alive”. “Wake” will be stuck in your head for hours after your first listen. The video is almost as cool as the song. Maybe because it is filmed in Boise backyards and alleys? Probably just because of the balls going in and out of the band members mouths. Now you want to watch it don’t you?!
**note to all concert Finn Riggins concert goers: if you don’t dance, you will look like an idiot.
42. Lake – “Sing 99 & 90”
This is a traditional song from the 1300s called “The Devil’s Nine Questions” that these crazy kids redid for our listening pleasures. Golly, I love it when geeks make music. This song has a sort of retro feel with all the tambourine and guitar goodness you can handle.
41. Between the Buried and Me – “Obfuscation”
This along with ‘Mirrors’ was on the Great Misdirect album sampler that teased me for weeks until I got to hear the entire album. Nine epic minutes of BTBAM’s intense progressive spacey sound. The keyboards in this song along with the guitar work are utterly amazing. Every part is well played and really needs to be heard through headphones to really appreciate this song. It sounds like “For the simple idea of cheeseburgers!” at the beginning, doesn’t it? Ha.
40. Yo La Tengo – “More Stars Than There Are in Heaven”
39. Metric – “Collect Call”
Ever had a love that sorta lost its power to stay lit? The best solution is to lie, deny and cry. “I know it’s a lie/I want it to be true”. Plus who doesn’t love a good song analogy?
38. Blank Dogs – “Setting Fire to Your House”
37. Gallows – “London Is the Reason”
36. Kurt Vile – “My Sympathy”
35. Royce da 5’9” – “Gun Harmonizing”
34. Mountain Man – “Animal Tracks”
33. Yeasayer – “Tightrope”
32. Delorean – “Seasun”
31. Jay Reatard – “Hang Them All”
30. Wale – “Tito Santana”
29. Royksopp – “Miss It So Much”
28. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Higher Than the Stars”
27. Matt & Kim – “Daylight”
26. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – “Home”
I (un)officially dub “Home” 2009’s #1 cutest love song. Lots of whistling, lalalaing, and tambourine-banging brings the sun to your eardrums. Consider what your reaction might be if the following was sung to you: “Well, hot & heavy, pumpkin pie, chocolate candy, Jesus Christ/There ain’t nothin’ please me more than you.” Jade + Alexander = Love. And they must love us too, because they make us music like this.
25. Yarn Owl – “Single Cell”
Who is the cutest band in Pullman right now? Yarn Owl. The best part is they are each brilliant musicians and they are on their way…to places. Big places and cities and sold-out arenas. “Single Cell” is the catchy, sway-back-and-forth song that had all of the KZUU krew singing and dancing along at The Bell Tower, house parties on Maple Street and on our radios. My advice is to buy all the merchandise you can and have the boys sign it. Later you’ll have something special.
24. Closure in Moscow – “Kissing Cousins”
23. Elvis Perkins – “I Heard Your Voice in Dresden”
This fella’s voice is unmatched–it’s almost like he’s from another era. Take a good listen to the intricate guitar work and driving percussion while you get pumped to do something important.
22. Freddie Gibbs – “Boxframe Cadillac”
21. Akron/Family – “River”
20. Raekwon – “House of Flying Daggers”
19. Woods – “Rain On”
Simplicity is key. Woods proves that dark rock can still put a spell on you. In the radio days of pop like Passion Pit and Neon Indian, isn’t it refreshing to imagine a band in a dark garage smoking cigarettes and drinking whisky? This band was under-rated at KZUU this year, but “Rain On” is sure to get you to relax and stop listening to your Deadbeat Summer/Sleepyhead playlist.
18. DOOM – “Cellz”
17. Converge – “Dark Horse”
16. Atlas Sound – “Quick Canal”
Normally I feel that songs over five or six minutes just get repetitive, but Atlas Sound really makes this eight minute gem work. Laetitia Sadier of Steroelab lends her voice on this one. I recommend listening to the song at least twice with your second listen being the actual music video. Try watching the video with the song playing four seconds behind the video audio. Enjoy.
15. Los Campesinos! – “The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future”
I understand Chelan getting teary eyed when listening to music this moving. This song is just too great. Gareth’s vocals sound just as amazing confidently alone as they do alongside group vocals. From the slow intro guitar to the strings layering just beneath those sweet vocals this song is gold. Los Campesinos! Can do no wrong, I cannot wait to hear the rest of Romance Is Boring when it’s released in January.
14. Girls – “Hellhole Ratrace”
13. Animal Collective – “Brother Sport”
This song reminds me a lot of Cursive’s Rise Up! That’s the point though. Life is too short. The real shine of this track comes from the last two minutes. Usually songs towards the end of albums don’t get much radio play but this song really should. Better than My Girls. for cereal. Everything you’ve come to expect and love from An Co.
Won’t help to hold inside… Keep it real keep it real shout out.
12. Wavves – “No Hope Kids”
Lo-fi beauty. I really enjoy Singer Nathan Williams’s vocals on this song. Got no car, got no money, I got nothin’ nothin nothin’ not at all. I feel that we can all relate to that at times. Short and sweet this song is sure to have you humming along over and over and over again.
11. Baroness – “A Horse Called Golgotha”
Of all the songs of Baroness’s Blue Record this is my favorite. The guitar work from 3:10 onward is just awesome. Maybe this track would have been better as an instrumental track but Baizley’s lyrics fit the song well anyhow. 2:20-2:40 lather, rinse, repeat.
10. Pill – “Trap Goin’ Ham”
9. Neon Indian – “Should Have Taken Acid with You”
Pretty straight forward track. Should have taken acid with you. Nice loops and space like vibe going on with this. Great for car drives or late night walks. The first 4 seconds of the song are probably my favorite though. Fun Fun Fun.
8. Grizzly Bear – “Ready, Able”
So many layers, kids. So many layers… And half the song is one cryptic line repeated! These guys take standard music no-no’s (like stunted lyricism and overthought musicianship) and turn them around to smash our brains out with sheer awesomeness. Like many songs off Veckatimest, “Ready, Able” starts low and builds to a fever pitch of musical joys. Then just as easy, the guys set us down gentle and walk away, as if they were never here to begin with.
7. The King Khan & BBQ Show – “I’ll Be Loving You”
Really enjoy the guitar effects on this song. This entire album is a nice change from the layered programming that seems to be taking over a good portion of the Indie scene today. With a sound going back to 1950’s rock n roll history I could imagine this song being played at my very own Back to the Future-esque prom. Cut loose. These guys are rock stars.
6. Best Coast – “Sun Was High (So Was I)”
5. Sunset Rubdown – “Silver Moons”
4. Atlas Sound – “Shelia”
1:50-2:02 is just simplicity. Such a sweet love song delivered perfectly from your headphones to your heart. ‘die alone together’ such devotion. I (un)officially dub “Sheila” 2009’s #1 cutest love song. Ha. 4<26 Rachel. Listen to this song every morning.
3. Animal Collective – “My Girls”
You guessed it. Animal Collective’s January release took the KZUU charts by storm and landed its psychedelic trance samples with a podium finish. The cool thing about this song Is that it was written about Lennox’s wife and daughter. With the coming of the apocalypse in 2012 and our chronic addiction towards the use of fossil fuels I feel it’s only appropriate that we take a step back from our iPods and Mac books to realize and say to ourselves, There isn’t much that I feel I need.
2. Japandroids – “Young Hearts Spark Fire”
There is just something about two piece bands that kicks ass. Take Death From Above for instance. Japandroids fill their debut album with the garage rock intensity and sound of four musicians. You can really tell that these guys are having fun and that is exactly what this song is about. I don’t wanna worry about dying. I just want to dance.
1. Girls – “Lust for Life”