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“Dolby’s Top 500 Indie Rock Tracks of All Time (250-1)”

The “Indie 500.”
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250 Grimes – “Flesh without Blood” (Art Angels) [4AD]
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I was first introduced to Grimes, noteworthily enough, concurrent with the release of her 2010 album, the extremely dark and experimental Halfaxa, which I discovered on the once venerable but now defunct site cokemachineglow.com. Now it seems like we’re at the other end of the spectrum — “Flesh without Blood” played in a T.G.I. Friday’s I was in recently and sounded not a note out of place either… but I heard she’s got some more experimental stuff she’s stockpiling, so hopefully we’ll get that soon.
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249 No Age – “Eraser” (Nouns) [Sub Pop]
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I have to say that this is one of those albums so surrounded by pitchfork buzz that it becomes hard divorce your own affinity for it from the general cultural craze — but few would deny that it was loud, dark and catchy, and this was one of the more infectious numbers on it for sure.
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248 Oxford Collapse – “The Birthday Wars” (Bits) [Sub Pop]
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Ok I probably put this next to No Age because this was another indie darling of 2008 and I think in the review they said this band was so sloppy that they made No Age sound tight — Oxford Collapse happen to be more melodic and way funnier, but this is one of their more “No Age”-ey efforts here, the wall of sound at a competitive price, or so I assume.
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247 Camera Obscura – “Dory Previn” (Let’s Get out of This Country) [Merge]
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Wow, what a difference a decade makes — in the late ‘90s the L.A. Times calls Live’s Secret Samadhi “relentlessly poppy,” and then this dainty little project out of Scotland firmly entrenched in the temporal epicenter of indie snobbery is bequeathing of this apparent “rocker,” as I heard one party dub it. The guitar solo is there, though — following the general formula for this album which seemed to lock in as some of the band’s best stuff, overall.
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246 Julia Holter – “Goddess Eyes I” (Ekstasis) [RVNG Intl.]
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It’s funny, I guess, when the best parts about what you’re doing amount to the simple fact that you’re just basically making an Annie Lennox album. Would it be the BEST Annie Lennox album? I don’t think there’s any question, but still, the rubric is there, undeniably.
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245 Wolf Parade – “You Are a Runner and I Am My Father’s Son” (Apologies to Queen Mary) [Sub Pop]
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This eerie, minimalist stomper kicks off what’s definitely one of my 100 favorite albums of all time (I know because I ranked them on this da** site one time), the type of thing that’s so marked for its simplicity that its anatomy itself disarms you, preventing you, in a sense, from every even forming a true opinion about it. For that, though, of course, there’s “Grounds for Divorce.”
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244 Sleater-Kinney – “Roller Coaster” (The Woods) [Sub Pop]
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Another rockin’ tune on this album courtesy of Flaming Lips producer Dave Friddman and a he** of a lot of reverb — I’m not even attempting to tell the two girls apart but I think it’s Tucker — and my favorite part is the laughing sound bite at the end, a tactic employed as well by another great sound man Brendan O’ Brien.
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243 The New Pornographers – “Star Bodies” (Twin Cinema) [Matador]
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This is one of those songs that just fits in really well on the album, sort of like Modest Mouse’s “Out of Gas” in that it essentially apes the general LP m.o., in this case referring to the bright, poppy numbers like “The Bleeding Heart Show” and “Sing Me Spanish Techno” and laying down a more direct plan with slightly more kinetic energy, for a concise near-end-of-album statement.
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242 Teenage Fanclub – “Cells” (Man-Made) [PeMa]
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Here the Scottish masters of melancholy couple a dark and deliberate chord progression with an infectious couple of hooks, all laid out over a refreshingly unorthodox group of phrasings all belied by the singer’s classic ’90s, slacker persona (which explains why this band wasn’t that popular, seeing as this album came out in the ‘00s).
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241 The Shins – “So Says I” (Chutes Too Narrow) [Sub Pop]
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The great thing about this key change in this impossibly gleeful album track on Chutes Too Narrow is that it showcases James Mercer’s ability to do what probably not even Carl Newman could — hit those high notes while still in chest voice. And as usual with this band, the lyrics are good enough (“We’ve got rules and maps / And guns in our backs / But we still can’t just behave ourselves / Even if to save our own lives / We are a brutal kind”) that you don’t really care TOO much if those are swung eighth notes or if it’s six/eight time, unless you’re my old jazz band instructor, maybe.
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240 Harlem Shakes – “Technicolor Health” (Technicolor Health) [Gigantic Music]
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Mick Jagger defined rock and roll as “Three chords and a lot of balls.” Harlem Shakes’ lead singer Lexy Benaim redefined it, you might say, as two chords and a lot of xanax. Luckily this excellent and supremely memorable album-closeur titled track brings in tow one of the most infectious basslines which is also, as you might have guessed from the anatomical rudiments leading up to this culminating analysis, simple.
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239 Pavement – “Perfume-V” (Slanted & Enchanted) [Matador]
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At a certain point you fuse all of Stephen Malkmus’ projects together as members of one overarching, cosmic thing an understand of which no part of you is capable of ever formulating — but this song fits in with the larger genus, with all of its fuzz (not too much) perfectly encapsulating of that elusive concept of “restraint,” why yes.
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238 Spoon – “Black Like Me” (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga) [Merge]
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Here we have another da** near unforgettable album closeur, which like “Technicolor Health” and like all closeurs should do takes the tempo and the volume down a notch and highlights, if only slightly, the vocals, which appears even more ballsy for the fact that these encompass among other lines “I spent the night in the map room / I humanized the vacuum”.
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237 The Arcade Fire – “Intervention” (Neon Bible) [Merge]
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Usually when I’m writing these bits I get the urge to try to be funny — because that’s what people want, usually, which I guess is understandable enough. It’s hard to imagine any song, though, being less “funny” than “Intervention,” and this especially makes it good when you think of the Bloodhound Gang’s and the Harvey Danger’s of the world. “Intervention” is Arcade Fire’s founding melodic achievement.
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236 Mudhoney – “Good Enough” (Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge) [Sub Pop]
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This is one of those classic pop/punk songs like Nirvana – “Sliver” or maybe Goldfinger – “Here in Your Bedroom,” but it’s probably better than either of these for one thing because it’s not psychotic, and for another the vocals seem to seep in to the chord progression to create one invincible statement of grunge slackerdom, which of course the whole style would then duly go to copy.
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235 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “Details of the War” (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) [Wichita]
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Something about a line as good as “You say I’m hurt / I will take your word” possesses the transcendent power to outweigh the cliched awfulness of “Hanging with your fashionable whores”. It doesn’t hurt, too, that the chord progression is this deliberate and purposeful, obviating an interpretation of the whole thing as a result of an artistic vision, not forced.
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234 Cat Power – “Free” (You Are Free) [Matador]
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Refusing to settle down into any phrasing scheme, this song just romps away with all joy and hopefulness (“Everybody come together / Free”), which you definitely need in the larger scope of this album, in all of its crack usage and prostitution themes.
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233 Band of Horses – “Weed Party” (Everything All the Time) [Sub Pop]
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Does “perfect” indie rock exist? If it did, it might sound something like this — drawing from founding folk rock and ‘90s lo-fi influences, all plangent in the wake of the Iraq war and a world still unwilling to change.
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232 Nirvana – “Swap Meet” (Bleach) [Sub Pop]
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This song is nestled between “Scoff” and “Mr. Moustache” on Bleach and is actually very similar to those two songs — it’s fast and tight (something Kurt Cobain was obsessed with for his band around this time, if not always), and features an incessant, relentless riff throughout the whole song, very much a minimalist, much-need answer to the bombast of hair metal.
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231 The Dismemberment Plan – “Memory Machine” (Emergency & I) [De Soto]
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I got thinking about this song recently because of all the facebook “sharing a memory” stuff people are doing nowadays, along with the fact that I sometimes feel weird, or think I’m being perceived as weird, when I ACTUALLY remember something under my own mental capacity. A raucous, almost annoying song, to be honest, but unique too, no one would doubt.
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230 Women – “Locust Valley” (Public Strain) [Flemish Eye]
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It’s funny… I’d never really thought of 2010 as an epoch in its own (actually I specifically remember a commercial that was like “It’s 2010, what happened to cloning ourselves?” But this song, if any from that year, was perfect for its place and time, evidenced if for no other reason that guitarist Chris Reimer’s life would come to a tragic end (albeit essentially of natural causes) just two short years later.
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229 Sonic Youth – “Total Trash” (Daydream Nation) [Enigma]
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“Total Trash” is a hazy, unforgettable number right smack in the middle of the very epitome of classic which is Daydream Nation, seeming all the time to veer in and out of tempo regulation, chord and pitch exactness and sense of reality “It started at the top / Now it’s spiraling down / It works best when it’s lost / Diggin’ under ground”.
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228 Lower Dens – “Propagation” (Nootropics) [Ribbon Music]
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What is the haziest, laziest track on Nootropics? That would be like asking what’s the coldest icicle in Antarctica. Well, this one vies with the best of ‘em, and as is the case with all these songs, the vagueness of the lyrics is every bit appropriated by the rich, unquestionable timbre in Jana Hunter’s voice.
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227 Blitzen Trapper – “God + Suicide” (Furr) [Sub Pop]
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I once burned this album for this dude I worked with and he loved it, but he kept exclaiming, “I really didn’t like that song about suicide!” Maybe I’m thick-headed, but as many grunge singers as we lose, and as grim are the lyrical themes even elsewhere in this song where he’s not referencing the title, I will never think of this song as ABOUT SUICIDE — music is always to an extent an entity which transcends verbal discourse, and artistically speaking, this track buddies up with the rest of them on the album just fine in terms of energy, mood, and everything you could think of OTHER THAN lyrical theme.
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226 Animal Collective – “Chores” (Strawberry Jam) [Domino]
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If you’re like me and marijuana sometimes has the hazard of making you slightly paranoid, you appreciate songs like this to an increased extent which are ABOUT getting stoned and sound very much like they’re not the product of Puddle of Mudd or 3 Doors Down.
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225 Animal Collective – “Derek” (Strawberry Jam) [Domino]
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Ah, great album closeur. Can’t say enough about this album or track — a way better closeur than Merriweather Post Pavilion, for all that album’s merits and whatnot.
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224 Pavement – “Our Singer” (Slanted & Enchanted) [Matador]
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Ah, Pavement. Sometimes I think I don’t listen to enough Pavement, and then I realize that they just don’t constantly go on reunion tours and put out crappy new albums, unlike every other band on the planet. Great album closeur here.
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223 Pavement – “AT&T” (Wowee Zowee) [Matador]
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Ok, I’m doing this evil two-songs-in-a-row-by-the-same-band thing a lot here. I realize that. “AT&T” is one of the more straight-ahead rockers on my favorite Pavement album, sort of like a centerpiece, except this album no more has one single centerpiece than the movie Pulp Fiction does.
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222 Real Estate – “Talking Backwards” (Atlas) [Domino]
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You might almost call this the album centerpiece — to the the lugubrious, almost jazzy lamentation of “The Bend,” “Talking Backwards” marks the album’s sort of final wade through their replenished stream of late-‘80s harkening twee pop, which is ONE of the reasons we know and love them.
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221 Mudhoney/Jimmie Dale Gilmore – “Tonight I Think I’m Gonna Go Downtown” (Mudhoney/Jimmie Dale Gilmore) [HighTone Records]
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Ok… as far as I understand, this is Mudhoney somehow playing WITH Jimmie Dale Gilmore, who’s usually a vocalist but cedes mic duties here to Mark Arm, embedded somewhere within the track, singing a song, which was originally Gilmore’s own, on a “split EP” for Sub Pop WITH said singer, Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Hmmph. For what it’s worth, the song’s way simpler than it sounds, and that other cut “Blinding Sun” is awesome as well.
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220 The Dodos – “Joe’s Waltz” (Visiter) [Frenchkiss]
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I’m ranking this song on this list. Given my omnipotence as a righteous blogger, said ranking alone should imply some value on the part of this track. But really, I dunno why. It just makes an impression. Well, there is the frantic, uptempo clatter of the second half, the vivid San Franciscan imagery and the shredding on the slide guitar — but just as the primary human vice is boredom, the primary human virtue is flying into a fit of rage when somebody writes poetry and acts like they’re cooler than you. Ahem, maybe.
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219 The New Pornographers – “From Blown Speakers” (Electric Version) [Matador]
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This is sort of that rare New Pornographers song that actually has some sort of RHYTHM divorced from basic, least-common-denominator power pop: a certain funk is even hinted at, presaging Twin Cinema’s great rocker “Three or Four.”
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218 Camera Obscura – “This is Love (Feels Alright)” (Desire Lines) [4AD]
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Desire Lines was a shining effort through and through, I thought, in a year full of great albums by bands which had been doing it for a while, including as well Califone, the Dodos and The Dismemberment Plan.
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217 Grizzly Bear – “Ready, Able” (Veckatimest) [Warp]
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Whoo! This is one eerie song and the video is even eerier. Stylistically, we have basically a behemoth of originality — the tense bass close-strumming which the venerable if underexposed Aloha on “Building a Fire.” Word yet pending as to whether an actual fire started under my stereo.
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216 Grizzly Bear – “Fine for Now” (Veckatimest) [Warp]
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This is my classic Crosby, Stills and Nash reference point for this album, giving the whole project a penchant for really breathing with a certain ‘60s psychedelia, which ironically, also amounts to a certain charming, comforting simplicity.
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215 Wolf Parade – “Language City” (At Mount Zoomer) [Sub Pop]
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As you know, if you have like telepathic powers and stuff, I’m a sucker for really simple chord progressions (see Modest Mouse, Velvet Underground) and tempo and meter changes (see Dodos, Dodos and more Dodos), so naturally, so, naturally… also a cokemachineglow.com darling. Rest in peace cokemachineglow. Sorry you had to rip on Grizzly Bear – Shields… hope it was fun.
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214 Califone – “Trick Bird” (Heron King Blues) [Thrill Jockey]
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At some point on this Califone album, namely, this particular second track, you realize that the band has done the almost unthinkable in territory of the Caucasian: they’ve found a way to allot rhythm a sovereignty over melody, this luscious track working in tandem with the absolutely classic “Sawtooth Sung a Cheater’s Song” which rhythmically follows.
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213 Pavement – “Jackals, False Grails: The Lonesome Era” (Slanted & Enchanted) [Matador]
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All of Pavement’s albums are great, so in a way it’s sometimes hard to find anything to say about them, it’s just like, oh yeah, this song is great too: but I do notice one common thematic thread with it and maybe “Loretta’s Scars” and “Perfume-V,” two excellent other tracks on the album of approximately the same tempo and energy level.
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212 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “The High Party” (Hearts of Oak) [Lookout!]
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At this point within Hearts of Oak the project just becomes a salacious bath of energy, “The High Party” emerging as almost a sort of guilty pleasure, of sorts, an ironic position given its extreme position of human sympathy.
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211 Pavement – “Half a Canyon” (Wowee Zowee) [Matador]
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This is my sister’s girlfriend’s favorite Pavement song and she’s a huge fan: it’s a fearsome, intimidating project full of a tempo change and a crazy stylistic orgy which approximates impeccably the old, Cowboy West (right before “Western Homes” on the album appropriately enough).
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210 The Shins – “Fighting in a Sack” (Chutes Too Narrow) [Sub Pop]
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This song is now a proud (or of which I am proud) staple of Dolby Radio: we love these brief, raucous attacks and statements — music which exists physically as a little fluster, like the brief flight of a June bug, hopelessly unique.
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209 The New Pornographers – “The Mary Martin Show” (Mass Romantic) [Matador]
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Existing at what anybody with any sense would dub as a problematic time in popular music, when barbarism was not only encouraged but monetarily rewarded with copiousness and thoughtfulness and sensitivity were treated something like the plague, credit the Pornos for in songs like these infusing a precocious amount of sneaky energy and power, in these songs about old TV shows and stuff.
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208 Califone – “Mean Little Seed” (Quicksand/Cradlesnakes) [Thrill Jockey]
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Calling Quicksand/Cradlesnakes eclectic would be probably somewhat of an understatement: it ranges from straight-ahead indie rock in the vein of Wilco (“Vampiring Again”) to moments like these which seem to hark to some classic old-west hoe-down. And let’s not forget the great fiddle number “Million Dollar Funeral.”
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207 Oxford Collapse – “Back of the Yards” (Bits) [Sub Pop]
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True story: I actually struck up a Bandcamp/email interaction with Oxford Collapse’s Mike Pace and he actually got pi**ed at me when I told him I’d listened to Bits like 75 times… he was like, we have other albums, dude! Eh, sometimes I can tell when a person’s lying. “Back of the Yards” is an energetic, prototypical track very much ingratiating itself to the overall LP.
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206 Blitzen Trapper – “Saturday Nite” (Furr) [Sub Pop]
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I still remember I burned this album for this old dude I worked with who did nothing ever but (“watch TV and smoke cigarettes”) all the time… well, this gave him a lil’ somethin’ else to do at least, listening to it with his old lady on, you guessed it, a “Saturday Night.” Or I made that part up.
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205 Camera Obscura – “William’s Heart” (Desire Lines) [4AD]
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This here “William’s Heart” is a track of amazing delicateness for a band wedged relatively late within their own career — actually they haven’t put out an album since this, perhaps finding this effort and LP hard to top.
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204 The Twilight Sad – “That Summer, At Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy” (Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters) [FatCat]
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Very hypnotic music here… the type that really draws you in and casts an astonishing spell of melancholy over any occasion. I first discovered it at the Mass Ave. Indianapolis Luna Records, which is now defunct, a sad twilight, in other words.
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203 Big Star – “The Ballad of El Goodo” (#1 Record) [Ardent]
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Oh yeah, Big Star… sort of the big brother/bully of this list, haha. Hey guys, have fun competing with Big Star! One time I wrote a short story for creative writing at IU and had my favorite main character’s favorite LP be The Best of Big Star. Yeah, they cater to the narcissist in all of us, you might say… such as, you know, taking creative writing in the first place.
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202 Pavement – “Black out” (Wowee Zowee) [Matador]
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Here we have a beautiful and pristine track within the invincible album by an invincible band, very presaging of a couple other classics like “Father to a Sister of Thought” and “AT&T.”
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201 Califone – “Vampiring Again” (Quicksand/Cradlesnakes) [Thrill Jockey]
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Ah, a classic is just a classic. The absolute perfect song for putting on with a night cap late in a summer evening — doing the sort of Wilco thing, which a lot of bands such as Up the Chain do as well, nothin’ wrong with that, folks. Let ‘er rip.
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200 Grizzly Bear – “Dory” (Veckatimest) [Warp]
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This song, more than possibly any other in history, reaches the cosmic expanses of the potential artistic universe, with a spellbinding, indescribable wedged right at the most unlikely spot in a delicate chorus, sung in falsetto. A masterful album centerpiece.
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199 HEALTH – “Die Slow” (Get Color) [Lovepump United]
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I promise that, for being called “Die Slow” and issuing on a label known as Lovepump United, this song is every bit as intimidating and noxious as one would likely think.
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198 Annuals – “Carry around” (Be He Me) [Ace Fu]
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Wow, is the beginning of this song bizarre… after hearing Adam Baker sound off on this cut like some goofy camp counselor on acid I certainly found it hard to imagine self-consciousness again overtaking culture. Just shows ya, ya never know.
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197 Don Caballero – “Peter Criss Jazz” (American Don) [Touch & Go]
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Haha… this is the double whopper of “indie rock songs,” definitely not skimping on length, chops or feeling, and doing it all without vocals, but with much help from masterful drummer Damon Che.
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196 No Age – “Dusted” (Everything in Between) [Sub Pop]
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Whaddya know, it’s another instrumental here. I guess my electronic ranking tabulator got a little un-creative. He**, I got this think straight from Willy Wonka, what could have gone wrong?
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195 Wolf Parade – “Same Ghost Every Night” (Apologies to Queen Mary) [Sub Pop]
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An absolute juggernaut of feeling here, packed within a relatively slow number but boasting every bit of a haunting image: the presumable inability to sleep, a malady which interestingly Amanda Petrusich ascribes to the band in her review of At Mount Zoomer.
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194 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?” (Hearts of Oak) [Lookout!]
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This is typically held as a song that really, really rocks, even by pitchfork, which should certainly tell you something, theoretically. Plus I just love that name, Lynvall, haha. Where do they get these names from. Although sometimes I wish I were around a bit fewer “rude boys.” Can’t have your cake and eat it too, I guess.
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193 Ryan Adams – “Firecracker” (Gold) [Lost Highway]
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Gold generally bears the fortunate distinction of actually sounding like a full, coherent album: the songs ooze into each other nicely and the project settles upon a certain plateau of maximal emotion.
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192 Spoon – “Someone Something” (Kill the Moonlight) [Merge]
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Here’s basically just another number on Kill the Moonlight — not the best and not the worst — but you’ve gotta admit it’s perky and it gets the party restarted on the beginning of side b after the surreptitious and swarthy “Paper Tiger.”
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191 Califone – “Stepdaughter” (Quicksand/Cradlesnakes) [Thrill Jockey]
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Califone is known for their grittily andante and cutting closeurs and this one is surely the best of them all, with almost crippling haunting aspects and the spine-tingling lines “Bury me shallow and scratch out my name / I’ll make every mistake all over again”.
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190 The New Pornographers – “A Bite out of My Bed” (Together) [Matador]
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I wish I could say there were anything TOO special about this particular Pornos parade — it’s sort of just more bubble gummy levity from our favorite pop masters, especial of course in its knack for allowing me to use the term “bubble gummy.”
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189 Deerhunter – “Fountain Stairs” (Halcyon Digest) [4AD]
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Deerhunter is a veritable Evander Holyfield of indie rock (probably the best rock show I’ve ever seen live in my life) and this is one of their key knockout punches here — a song easy to forget too since it directly follows one of their key statements “Helicopter” on the album.
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188 The National – “Mistaken for Strangers” (Boxer) [4AD]
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Oh, here’s the charming little National caring about a menial but in a sense humanistically pertinent phenomenon of passing your friends on the street and thinking they’re just strangers — in a way it seems a trivial tidbit in light of all this Trayvon Martin and Donald Trump stuff… well, we’ll let The National ultimately decide, anyway. Or, I will.
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187 Dirty Projectors – “Useful Chamber” (Bitte Orca) [Domino]
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Here we have the album title stated in a non-titled track. And now, for something I say in pretty much every single blog post, here we have the album title stated in a non-titled track.
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186 Pavement – “Stare” (Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: LA’s Desert Origins) [Matador]
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Gag gift. Hope you like it. Actually, I once put “Stare,” an extremely, extremely stark, spare and lugubrious number, in the opening spot on a mix tape (tape), put it on Facebook and somehow didn’t get lynched. Nobody must have noticed.
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185 Fugazi – “Rend it” (In on the Kill Taker) [Dischord]
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Oh Fugazi, I always knew you guys had a soft side, ya big lugs! Yer just the dickens! This is Fugazi’s power ballad, lighters sold separately. Underrated album, by the way, with a great cover.
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184 The New Pornographers – “Use it” (Twin Cinema) [Matador]
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184? More like 18-awesome! In all seriousness, I did hear this song in a bar in probably March of ’06, approximately concurrent with the album’s commercial peak — it’s definitely a ubiquitously accepted fan favorite.
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183 St. Vincent – “Chloe in the Afternoon” (Strange Mercy) [4AD]
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Fine, powerful album opener on what actually is my favorite St. Vincent album — full of key climaxes and impressive musicianship (as showcased elsewhere especially on “Surgeon” and the the “Cheerleader” from the 4AD Session EP).
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182 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “2nd Ave., 11 A.M.” (Hearts of Oak) [Lookout!]
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I still remember Rob Mitchum of Pitchfork naming this song as specifically one of his key choice cuts on Hearts of Oak, for its expedited punk concision — I discovered a great song when he made that point and I also discovered something about music itself, that simplicity can be not only good but optimum when it manages to be especially microcosmic of a person’s true identity.
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181 Julia Holter – “Fur Felix” (Ekstasis) [RVNG Intl.]
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Wow… I’ve been dealing so much with Annie Lennox lately, putting together my huge music videos list… I never thought that she’d be the hub of discussion, and Holter would be the challenger, or whatever, with how obsessed I was with this album, and this centerpiece, in 2012. It was critically acclaimed across the board.
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180 Teenage Fanclub – “It’s All in My Mind” (Man-Made) [PeMa]
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I discovered Teenage Fanclub reading Everett True’s Nirvana: The Biography (I think Nirvana enlisted them as an opening act or something) and then for whatever reason, I think I found it in a library, but Man-Made was the first album by the I encountered. It was 10 years ago I first heard them, but their music has that timeless quality of making it seem like I am the same individual, both back then and now.
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179 Dinosaur Jr. – “Tiny” (Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not) [Jagjaguwar]
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When I was listening to this song again it just pi**ed me off, because it’s so great, but the first song on this album (whereas “Tiny” is the second) is so horrendous… is that there “giving a glimpse of what they’re not”? That’s a little theory I developed, friends.
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178 Oxford Collapse – “Vernon-Jackson” (Bits) [Sub Pop]
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I used to listen to this album on CD over, and over, and over, and over on my Discman out in lonely Colorado… looking at those mountains and all that barren land on solitary bus rides I found the twin vocal attack of Mike Pace and Adam Rizer provided just the companionship I needed. “Vernon-Jackson” lies as an interesting down-tempo track-three buffer zone between two more raucous paeans.
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177 Cat Power – “He Turns Down” (Moon Pix) [Matador]
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To be honest, I’ve never heard Cat Power’s album BEFORE Moon Pix, What Would the Community Think — this is still some pretty primitive stuff here, exemplary for its penchant for highlighting Chan Marshall’s stark, stoic and haunting voice and inflections.
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176 Liz Phair – “Soap Star Joe” (Exile in Guyville) [Matador]
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Real catchy song on a real catchy album here… I’m analyzing it and I hope it’s not like about me…. (nervous chuckle here) but then Phair did have a tendency of just complaining about large chunks of humanity all the time (not too unlike Steve Albini in this regard, really).
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175 Grizzly Bear – “Sleeping Ute” (Shields) [Warp]
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Whoo, how ‘bout a hand for cokemachineglow.com! It takes a man to diss on Shields, give good reviews to that fagget Carly Rae Jepsen sh**, and then enter extinction later that very year! Way to go, guys. Fu**in’ clutch. Nobody does it (did it) like you guys.
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174 Heartless Bastards – “Could Be So Happy” (The Mountain) [Fat Possum]
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“Could Be So Happy” is the second track on what might be Heartless Bastards’ best album, issued in 2008, The Mountain — and it’s four minutes of just guitar and vocals, containing SORT OF the whole chorus/prechorus thing, although the structure is pretty loose… the whole thing ebbs and flows very nicely though, with even some memorable “Whoo!” noises thrown in.
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173 Modest Mouse – “Trucker’s Atlas” (The Lonesome Crowded West) [Up]
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Ah… sorry I’m reliving the glory days of this Modest Mouse list I put together a couple months ago, for the very reason that I was chugging down some Founders porters (the weather was still cold out) and it was just so da** FUN to do. I kept making fun of Jeremiah Green for belting out these beats that sound hilariously cheesy and dramatic — “Trucker’s Atlas” is possibly P.E. number one in this regard.
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172 Califone – “Burned by the Christians” (Roots & Crowns) [Thrill Jockey]
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A lot of things come together in beautiful fruition on this Califone track, certainly one of their best — the different orchestral textures from the omnipresent slide guitar to the thick synth/accordion haze work in tandem to create a beautiful contrast and the lyrics are as metaphoric and poetic as ever.
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171 St. Vincent – “Year of the Tiger” (Strange Mercy) [4AD]
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As I’ve said, this is my favorite St. Vincent album, and “Year of the Tiger” has the haunting quality of being the album closeur and very lyrically direct and memorable, but at the same time not slow — it’s like some preternatural force has propelled it into a fast pace in making it transcendently impossible to categorize.
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170 Grizzly Bear – “Gun-Shy” (Shields) [Warp]
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Also featured on “Dolby’s Top 100 Music Videos of All Time” (whereas the 10,000 Maniacs song “Gun Shy” is on “First Tier” of Dolby Radio… to be honest this song is pretty similar to “Yet Again” in tempo and mood — sort of like a brother/sister track.
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169 Lower Dens – “Alphabet Song” (Nootropics) [Ribbon Music]
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This song microcosmically kicks off the classic album Nootropics with Jana Hunter’s mellow, entrancing vocals and the overall slightly electro, slightly pop, but very hazy and ambient (oh he**, they’re COOL) m.o.
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168 Animal Collective – “Bluish” (Merriweather Post Pavilion) [Domino]
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Animal Collective, and Panda Bear as well, are definitely a divisive musical entity — I must confess to not really cottoning on to at least Panda Bear when I first heard them (to this day I happen to prefer the Collective)… well “Bluish” is as poppy as freakin’ New Kids on the Block. Everybody should be able to enjoy this song.
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167 Wolf Parade – “I’ll Believe in Anything” (Apologies to Queen Mary) [Sub Pop]
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I’ve had a very curious circumstance befall me where I was very surprised to have to move out to Colorado after college, I was very surprised to find this show in ’06 in Boulder, Colorado sold out, was very surprised to find it broadcast in audio and video on these TV’s outside the venue and now am very surprised to find the setlist unavailable on my main squeeze setlist.fm. Did I make the whole thing up? Do you believe me?
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166 The New Pornographers – “Three or Four” (Twin Cinema) [Matador]
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This was my go-to album for long road trips for a while (at this point I’d probably have to go with Surfer Blood – Astro Coast and Intelligence – Fake Surfers) and this song took me a while to get into, but the critical acclaim helped and it definitely stands out in a crowd (or yet, “All alone in a crowd like you said”).
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165 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “Gimme Some Salt” (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) [Wichita]
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Whadya know, here’s another funky number with another funky drummer right there there here. Some of these songs I just have to peep again to get to know ‘em again — the Strokes-like fast pace of New York, the fact that history is being made, the fact that “Sally hit the pavement / Wine glass in her hand / Sally’s rearrangements / I’ll never understand”.
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164 The Jesus and Mary Chain – “Inside Me” (Psychocandy) [Blanco & Negro]
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Essentially this album, from a production standpoint, is just a miasma of noise, but if anything is proven by both the preceding Clap Clap ditty and this one, it’s that fu** production… music is all about bizarre androgynous statements about something living inside you. Eh, close enough.
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163 Iron and Wine – “Boy with a Coin” (The Shepherd’s Dog) [Sub Pop]
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What I always miss about this album when I don’t listen to it (meaning overlook, forget about) is the percussion — sort of like Fleet Foxes’ instrumental in very ambient folk music, precociously present rhythmic bookends, thought pylons.
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162 Animal Collective – “Recycling” (Painting with Animal Collective) [Domino]
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As I said before, do not be at all surprised if one day (I’m thinking around 2019 or so) you hear “Recycling,” the excellent closeur from the album Painting with Animal Collective, in bars around the nation. Oh, you’re not an alcoholic like me? You must not have heard the music they play in bars, then.
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161 Sonic Youth – “Candle” (Daydream Nation) [Enigma]
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Trying to describe Daydream Nation is sort of like trying to describe a rolling iceberg, or something, sometimes — sometimes you’re best just getting out of its way.
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160 Guided by Voices – “Queen of Cans and Jars” (Bee Thousand) [Scat]
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Totally wanted to go as the “queen of cans and jars” for Halloween this one year… I think I ended up having to work, like a total bit**.
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159 Yo La Tengo – “Sugarcube” (I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One) [Matador]
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Ha I remember this one Pitchfork writer totally sounding off about this song — he was like “Only an a**hole wouldn’t like classic songs like ‘Sugarcube’ and ‘Autumn Sweater,’” or something like that. After that, it’s hard to find the song itself making too much of an impression, so cloaked is the occasion in critical bias, but I’ve definitely never found a gripe with this little swatch of basic power pop.
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158 Beach House – “All the Years” (Devotion) [Carpark]
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Here we got with the album title stated within a song that isn’t a titled track. Yes, I get money every time I say that on this blog, in case you were wondering.
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157 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Even Heroes Have to Die” (The Brutalist Bricks) [Matador]
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Wow… I have to say it’s a little disorienting trying to discuss anything even remotely punk-related after handling Iron and Wine and Beach House, but that’s just the nature of indie rock — constantly fresh, and that’s just the nature of Ted Leo — versatile, understanding of seemingly disparate musical entities and melding of them into one, upon which happenstance, yes, “The influences peel off like stickers on a notebook.”
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156 The Jesus Lizard – “The Art of Self-Defense” (Liar) [Sub Pop]
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Like all critically acclaimed rock should be, I do suppose, although I’m also wary of expecting too much from people for moral if not practical reasons, this band, album and song have a transcendent way of fusing discussion of a ready state of mind with music that just seems to ooze that requisite tension.
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155 The Shins – “Kissing the Lipless” (Chutes Too Narrow) [Sub Pop]
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I’m sure many of my readers are accustomed to this iconic album and this iconic, microcosmic opener at this point… notable for many brilliant, metaphoric lines like “Testing your metal / On dove skin and petals”.
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154 The Arcade Fire – “Neighborhood #2 (Laika)” (Funeral) [Merge]
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This is literally one of a total of two Arcade Fire songs I like, haha. Maybe I’m just insensitive or something, I dunno. Love the lines “If you want something / Don’t ask for nothing / If you want nothing / Don’t ask for something”.
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153 Surfer Blood – “Harmonix” (Astro Coast) [Kanine]
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I suppose if you actually learn how to play harmonics on your electric guitar you should be this proud of yourself… especially excused if your entire album is composed of catchy songs (so good it almost excuses the line “I fu**ed up some appetite”).
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152 The Jesus and Mary Chain – “The Hardest Walk” (Psychocandy) [Blanco y Negro]
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The fourth song on Psychocandy, but the first truly great song, in my opinion, “The Hardest Walk” would go on to influence much, much indie rock down the years with its seemingly contradictory combination of uncompromising noise and bubble gum pop.
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151 Spoon – “Back to the Life” (Kill the Moonlight) [Merge]
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There are chord PROGRESSIONS, and then there are chord MEXICAN JUMPING BEANS… for some reason I really like this song late at night when I’m wasted. But then, I was never really the best at making decisions.
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150 Grizzly Bear – “While You Wait for the Others” (Veckatimest) [Warp]
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It would be hard (for me, that is) to top what I said about THIS PARTICULAR SONG in my “Dolby’s Top 214 Albums of All Time” list (I still get griped every time I see Willie Nelson on somebody’s Facebook favorite music).
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149 Beach House – “Home Again” (Devotion) [Carpark]
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I have to admit, it’s hard for me to think about Beach House, especially in this late-‘00s/early-‘10s era, and not remember the time I actually SAW Victoria Legrand outside the pitchfork fest. You might not believe me, but all I saw was her aura, which was like the aura of a black lady, a black female musician vocalist like Billie Holiday or Tracy Chapman.
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148 Fleet Foxes – “He Doesn’t Know Why” (Fleet Foxes) [Sub Pop]
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Here we are at this point basically moving from classic song to classic song — I’ve recently on my review professed that this tune is my absolute favorite by the band. There’s simply no other band that gets this into friendship. It’s nice.
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147 Wolf Parade – “Soldier’s Grin” (At Mount Zoomer) [Sub Pop]
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Interestingly, just like the opener on Apologies to Queen Mary, this song opens with a musical pattern wherein one riff is played three times, to give way to another one played just once, ad repetitum.
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146 Aloha – “Brace Your Face” (Some Echoes) [Polyvinyl]
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Excellent opener here on an excellent album… and I’m feeling all nostalgic for Pittsburgh, one of my favorite places (from which Aloha hails)… just read this thing about how you can indeed swim in the “three rivers,” and there’s even a marathon swimmer who does it all the time.
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145 Mudhoney – “Shoot the Moon” (Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge) [Sub Pop]
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As far as abrupt power pop or pop/punk go, this is about as good as you get, right up there with Nirvana – “Scoff.”
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144 Yo La Tengo – “Little Eyes” (Summer Sun) [Matador]
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This is the music lover’s Yo La Tengo song and album — on the surface it might seem torpid, but it’s just narcotic, mellow, and the textures and guitar waves are undeniably layered and beautiful, soundtracking a commendable chord progression.
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143 Camera Obscura – “Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken” (Let’s Get out of This Country) [Merge]
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I sort of reluctantly come around to this song, because it’s not really what you’d think it would be, nor is this album (it’s not even about America or by Americans, after all), but this is another one of my favorite CD’s to play on road trips and I don’t skip any songs.
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142 Pavement – “Fight This Generation” (Wowee Zowee) [Matador]
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I remember cokemachineglow.com being all about this song… good enough, I suppose the build part at the end is pretty climactic… and listen to those guitar riffs! Those aren’t riffs, those are solar flares.
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141 The Dodos – “Fools” (Visiter) [Frenchkiss]
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Interestingly, given that this is an acoustic rock album (wow, that sounds about as cool as Barry Manilow), the percussion steals the show here and is the most significant, irreplaceable element.
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140 Heartless Bastards – “Had to Go” (The Mountain) [Fat Possum]
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This one of the Bastards’ most country efforts, which curiously, for that reason makes it one of their best — the vocals are at their most indulgent and undeniably genuine, and the instrumentation is at its most eclectic, banjo in tow and all. Also note how fiddle takes the primary riff in a rock song, not guitar.
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139 Broken Social Scene – “Almost Crimes” (You Forgot it in People) [Arts & Crafts]
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Oh yeah, cokemachineglow.com, you the man now! Whoa, it’s so cool how you dissed on Forgiveness Rock Record and now you’re as dead as Joseph fu**in’ Stalin! Yeah, really bringin’ the noise now, aint’cha motor meter.
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138 Deerhunter – “Cryptograms” (Cryptograms) [Kranky]
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Much like its successor Microcastle, Cryptograms is undeniably disconcerting for its very amount of variation, not so much stylistic variation as mere VOLUMINOSITY variation — I mean in a way it almost seems pointless to try to even analyze how these songs are even made. Just sitting back and enjoying them is an epic enough task in and of itself.
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137 Slow Moses – “Run, Run away” (Charity Binge) [Jealous Butcher]
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I’m pretty sure they stole the bass riff from Jimi Hendrix – “Angel” for this song… eh, someone’s gotta do it. Great band… toured with my beloved Califone, made disarmingly complex and riffy-spiffy indie pop.
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136 The Dodos – “Fables” (Time to Die) [Frenchkiss]
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Just an iconic, catchy and hummable pop tune here — classic post-punk in that it features lyrics dark and foreboding over bright, Beach Boys pop runs (think “Wave of Mutilation”).
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135 Burning Airlines – “Scissoring” (Mission: Control) [De Soto]
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Burning Airlines is the De Soto Washington, DC indie rock spawn of what had been the major-label Jawbox: going from mainstream back to niche much like the Dandy Warhols, each to tremendous results, in this way belting out riffy power pop so catchy it’s almost emo, except it doesn’t suck.
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134 Real Estate – “Had to Hear” (Atlas) [Domino]
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It is wholly impossible to adequately describe the beauty of this album or this album opener… I personally have a really fond memory of it being really temperate and cool in the summer of 2014, offering a perfect backdrop for this reflective life soundtrack (catering to the suburbs, what’s more).
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133 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “The Crane Takes Flight” (Hearts of Oak) [Lookout!]
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This album makes for an interesting foil of its predecessor The Tyranny of Distance for many reasons: one of which is that while the latter ends with a slow, poignant and deliberate guitar/vox track (electric guitar, as it were, in each case), this album places such a song penultimately, before steamrolling into this epic six/eight rocker to send things off into the night.
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132 No Age – “Things I Did When I Was Dead” (Nouns) [Sub Pop]
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Now, THIS song makes me think of The Dirty Nil’s excellent “Hate is a Stone” (a veritable Dolby darling for sure) because it’s placed fourth on the album, marks a decline in tempo and stands as essentially the LP’s best song up to this point. Also, each band is often labeled “punk” but in fact has poppier (and so better) influences than most simple mohawked moshers.
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131 Cate Le Bon – “No God” (Mug Museum) [Wichita]
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You have to love this music for the sheer combination of approachability and complexity — all the convoluted guitar riffs, all the wide, existential lyrics, have a way of crumbling in your hands for a little taste of cosmology.
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130 Fleet Foxes – “Ragged Wood” (Fleet Foxes) [Sub Pop]
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For a while I would name this as my favorite song on the album — love the slow-down part at the end and all the background vocals. Beautiful stuff.
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129 U-Men – “Dig it a Hole” (Solid Action) [Chuckie-Boy]
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It’s rare that music actually approaches the realm of being “scary,” when it does usually coming in the form of something by the band Liars, but these early grunge spawners from Seattle could certainly get fearsome if they put their strapping young minds to it.
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128 The New Pornographers – “Brill Bruisers” (Brill Bruisers) [Matador]
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Right away I was enamored with this powerful, direct titled track opener on 2014’s Brill Bruisers… really the rest of the album does relatively little to ruin the proceedings, but its leadoff hitter is undeniably a cut above.
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127 Beirut – “In the Mausoleum” (The Flying Club Cup) [Ba Da Bing!]
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Some absolute near-perfect, pristine pop bubbling to the surface on The Flying Club Cup — the songs carry a certain tension and baroque influence which would dissipate in favor of the more radio-appropriate leanings of their later album The Rip Tide.
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126 Califone – “Sawtooth Sung a Cheater’s Song” (Heron King Blues) [Thrill Jockey]
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In tandem with “Trick Bird,” this here is a great conceptual and eclectic album track on the rife and haunting Heron King Blues — the best part of which of course is the 116-bar percussion outro. Ben Massarella is dearly departed from the band.
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125 The National – “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” (High Violet) [4AD]
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Ah, this is just the absolute perfect album closeur… mellow and reflective, suggestive and bizarre, catchy and unforgettable (which of course makes it that much more inexcusable when they add those stupid bonus tracks like “Violet City”).
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124 Neutral Milk Hotel – “The King of Carrot Flowers pt. One” (In the Aeroplane over the Sea) [Merge]
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Great song… heard it for the first time of all places during a set interlude over the PA at this death metal show in Bloomington, Indiana. I love the repeated tonic vocal over the subdominant major chord… great stuff from a music theory standpoint.
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123 Grizzly Bear – “Yet Again” (Shields) [Warp]
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Very surprised and pleased was I to hear this song in a Whole Foods, approximately four years after I’d at one time heard “Two Weeks”… definitely cementing Grizzly Bear as the best band on the planet, for their dark, haunting aspects meshed with radio playability.
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122 Teenage Fanclub – “Slow Fade” (Man-Made) [PeMa]
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This song is just absolute power pop perfection — with the catchiness and concision of Oasis and the expedited quickness of the Minutemen. It’s very playable, gone before you know it, but easily to replay and digest, all the way.
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121 Modest Mouse – “Trailer Trash” (The Lonesome Crowded West) [Up]
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Another high placer on my recent Modest Mouse list (by the way this was the band’s last “indie” album, hence my lack of too many other songs by them), this song is widely popular, often covered and featuring of probably the most hilariously simple but awesome bass riff of all time (in the outro).
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120 The Black Keys – “All Hands against His Own” (Rubber Factory) [Fat Possum]
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I remember everyone pretty much agreeing that this album was dope as fu** when I was in college in 2004 and 5… sometimes a lot of the songs seem to blend in together as one, but on this one for some reason that band just seems tighter, and the riffs like they just cover more ground — the musical turns more exciting, as well.
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119 Glasser – “T” (Ring) [True Panther Sounds]
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This whole album is pure ethereal pop greatness… and “T” is the unbelievable centerpiece, of show-stopping, swampy slowness and deep, orchestral and unforgettable feeling.
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118 Liz Phair – “Go West” (Whip-Smart) [Matador]
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I was sort of surprised and sort of pleased to see Whip-Smart on Rolling Stone’s like “Most Underrated Albums of 1994” list or something like that… in a way I’m not sure if it’s deserving (“Supernova” kinda sucks), but this song is definitely one of the standouts, refreshingly simple, and of course, sexual.
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117 Hot Hot Heat – “This Town” (Make up the Breakdown) [Sub Pop]
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Ah, great mainstream-sounding-but-actually-indie (and so quintessentially early-‘00s-ish effort from our favorite Victorians (that must be the “lonely city,” hmm, interesting)… an album centerpiece which is as acid-touched as it is expedited and poppy. Niiiiiice.
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116 Band of Horses – “Our Swords” (Everything All the Time) [Sub Pop]
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Great classic song here to presage obviously the iconic “Funeral” — “Our Swords” takes a slightly brisker pace and maybe a lower-stakes subject matter, but then, anything would be.
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115 The Dismemberment Plan – “8 1/2 Minutes” (Emergency & I) [De Soto]
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Here we have one more proud member of Emergency & I’s frantic and inimitable side b — rapid guitar strumming, lyrics of panic, mayhem and dead ends and “gyroscopes” plague this whole da** thing… personally I like the “8 1/2 minutes” reference for its grappling with scientific measurements along with subjective matters of the heart.
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114 Heartless Bastards – “Witchy Poo” (The Mountain) [Fat Possum]
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Here we notice the band’s effortless penchant for toggling immediately between bona fide folk music and equally commendable and authentic 12-bar blues: must be something about living in Cincinnati, an arguable sort of crossroads of America.
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113 Dumpster Babies – “Gimme What I Want” (Lost and Found) [Tall Pat]
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Oh gosh, I have no idea why I put this song on this list. It’s a decent little punk number, I suppose. Well, maybe I’ll make up for it by offering this life advice: DON’T EVER GOOGLE THIS BAND.
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112 Dinosaur Jr. – “This is All I Came to Do” (Beyond) [Fat Possum]
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A great song to listen to stoned, definitely, although it’s not really SPACEY, and it’s not about something slacker-ish, but rather romantic. The best moments in life are the most ironic, perhaps.
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111 Big Star – “Give Me Another Chance” (#1 Record) [Ardent]
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Here we have veritably an astonishingly slow and affected little ballad — for me personally it appears penultimately on my The Best of Big Star CD and always makes an impression as capping the whole project off appropriately before the more anticlimactic “I’m in Love with a Girl.” And here I see it’s not even on the latest “The Best of Big Star” issue. This is a problem.
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110 Mr. Little Jeans – “Waking up” [Waking up (single)] [Mr. Little Jeans]
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Mr. Little Jeans. Waking up. Waking up. Mr. Little Jeans. You might not believe me, but this is one of the greatest songs of all time.
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109 Oxford Collapse – “Young Love Delivers” (Bits) [Sub Pop]
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On this song the quintessential Oxford Collapse lyrical cheekiness is alive in full force: “My love came back from Sweden / Brought me some bathroom reading”; “We’re doing fine / For our steady slow decline”… it takes the energy level up a notch from the equally commendable and also listen “Vernon-Jackson.”
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108 Beirut – “Santa Fe” (The Rip Tide) [Pompeii]
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It would be easy, and sensible, to view that is Beirut’s radio breakthrough, but indeed, oddly, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it on the radio in my life. Perhaps I just missed it.
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107 Califone – “The Orchids” (Roots & Crowns) [Thrill Jockey]
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It’s important to note (I guess) that this song is a cover, of a band Psychic TV from the ‘80s, part of which importance emanates from the arguably little-known fact that music this trippy actually existed in the ‘80s, and was even legal.
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106 Spoon – “Vittorio E” (Kill the Moonlight) [Merge]
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I’m sure all would agree that this is a contemplative and awe-inspiring closeur on a classic staple of the indie rock canon — the point at which style in music becomes irrelevant, and the muse of the artist is portrayed in ravishing melodic mimesis.
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105 Enon – “Spanish Boots” (Hocus-Pocus) [Touch & Go]
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For a while this was probably my favorite song, and it’s still right up there — it’s especially great for some reason for taking the midday train ride (which I’m ashamed to say is over two hours) from South Bend, Indiana to Chicago, Illinois, even if your purpose for going there is… to buy some more CD’s.
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104 Ryan Adams – “Answering Bell” (Gold) [Lost Highway]
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Sure, I know Ryan Adams is an odd selection for an “indie” list, but upon my cursory glance his publication methods seemed to fit my criteria (I’m too far into this thing to second guess myself at this point)… interestingly I just met like a 60-something year old dude in a bar a couple weeks ago who liked Ryan Adams.
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103 Nirvana – “Mr. Moustache” (Bleach) [Sub Pop]
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Really, this is a pretty universally enjoyable song, as catchy and memorable as it is abrasive… they were accomplishing it all on Bleach with their old drummer, Chad Channing, and I think had a pretty good groove going.
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102 Grizzly Bear – “All We Ask” (Veckatimest) [Warp]
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Oh yeah, this is haunting music… this is like music for getting abducted by aliens to.
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101 A.C. Newman – “Secretarial” (The Slow Wonder) [Matador]
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Easy, breezy, beautiful… Newman takes the energy up a notch here on this album centerpiece, but also avoids making things TOO bombastic and dramatic to the point where spite has the potential to trickle in.
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100 Cat Power – “Speak to Me” (You Are Free) [Matador]
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Some great, humanistic and sympathetic music here by Miss Chan Marshall also known as Cat Power with what I think is a rather curious little vial of androgyny, which, sure, is another term for “rock and roll.”
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99 The Dismemberment Plan – “Girl O’ Clock” (Emergency & I) [De Soto]
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Here we have another usual suspect of the ENI side-b madness — an absolute preternatural freak of nature, stylistically, dealing with, ahem, horniness. Yup, horniness.
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98 Iron and Wine – “Resurrection Fern” (The Shepherd’s Dog) [Sub Pop]
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This song has a nice way of capping off the album, even though it’s not actually the last song on it (it’s probably the last really good song on it) — the slide guitar having a way of acting as a sort of de facto percussion instrument, in its own right.
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97 Lower Dens – “Lion in Winter pt. II” (Nootropics) [Ribbon Music]
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I ranked this song #2 on Dolby Radio for a reason and I also did a separate post about it entirely, wherein I listed my favorite 10 things about it. Interestingly, I’m pretty sure it was in “winter” when I did this.
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96 Sufjan Stevens – “Kasimir Pulaski Day” (Illinois) [Asthmatic Kitty]
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I still remember I heard this broad listening to this song on headphones one time out in Colorado. It’s a popular favorite — possibly not my personal absolute favorite (it’s lyrically poignant but arguably lacking in MUSICAL climax), but it’s certainly pretty close to the top.
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95 Kevin Morby – “I Have Been to the Mountain” (Singing Saw) [Dead Oceans]
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Boy does this guy have a knack for percussion… the guitar sounds likens very much to PJ Harvey’s on the underrated To Bring You My Love and the band is playing together as tight as a rubber band. Great music off Bloomington, Indiana’s Dead Oceans label.
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94 The Dodos – “Paint the Rust” (Visiter) [Frenchkiss]
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I sort of toggle between this and “Joe’s Waltz” for favorite song on the album (in reality they both have certain “waltz” phases to them)… this one might be slightly more commendable for its mind-bending slide guitar histrionics.
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93 Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts – “White Lightning” (Blaster) [Softdrive]
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Ok. This album is fu**ing called Blaster. It features a like 12-foot-tall boom box on the cover. Anybody still unconvinced of its greatness is a fu**ing commie, if you ask me.
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92 A Place to Bury Strangers – “To Fix the Gash in Your Head” (A Place to Bury Strangers) [Killer Pimp]
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Important hard indie rock here with industrial leanings from the mid-to-late-‘00s, New York Style — high and mighty, stealthy and speedy. Off they go.
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91 Mike Pace & The Child Actors – “Summer Lawns” (Best Boy) [The Self-Starter Foundation]
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He’s that guy from that thing! Yup, Mike Pace is definitely one of my musical heroes, a very friendly guy in real life, having lodged himself into indie rock’s canon in his former band Oxford Collapse, now continuing here to belt out Beach Boys fun in the New York sun.
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90 Mudhoney – “Mudride” (Superfuzz Bigmuff/Early Singles) [Sub Pop]
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I put this song on facebook on December 31, 2012 and devoted it to the Chicago Bears front office, right after they fired Lovie Smith. I have not been a fan of their since this happened and their combined record in the past four years is 22-42.
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89 Dirty Projectors – “Fluorescent Half Dome” (Bitte Orca) [Domino]
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Pitchfork kind of dissed this album closeur… I’m not really sure why (it could be that they’re a bunch of a**holes)… it’s a great, reflective way to send off a great album of which mind you David Byrne was a fan, as I gathered.
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88 Califone – “Rose Petal Ear” (Roots & Crowns) [Thrill Jockey]
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In a way, I’m surprised in myself for ranking this song ahead of “Burned by the Christians” and “The Orchids,” but it is slightly conceptual, and very deliberate and eerie — very much a necessary album buffer between the rhythmic “Black Metal Valentine” and the poppy, approachable “3Legged Animals.”
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87 Spoon – “The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine” (Gimme Fiction) [Merge]
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Dang, did the broads love this song when it came out… well, it is about two dudes making love to each other. Oh Spoon, you androgynous indie radio vanguards, you.
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86 A.C. Newman – “Most of Us Prizefighters” (The Slow Wonder) [Matador]
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This song could easily vie for not only best song in A.C. Newman’s solo catalogue but also for premiere stature within anything he’s written, inside or outside his band The New Pornographers. Perfect and poppy, it moves like a melodic and rolling metal ball of feeling, guts and sacrifice.
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85 Beach House – “D.A.R.L.I.N.G.” (Devotion) [Carpark]
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THIS ALBUM! Awesome album here, very underrated (I know I went Devotion-crazy on this list)… very commendable for like Cat Power brandishing bona fide human sympathy a la “In this harbor of a room / You’ll find your anchor soon”.
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84 No Age – “Here Should Be My Home” (Nouns) [Sub Pop]
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Here I must have been veering away from “Things I Did When I Was Dead” toward the more archetypal, indicative m.o. the band would yield in the way of sweaty, abrasive rock. Or maybe I’m just getting sweaty making this list. It’s hard to tell sometimes.
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83 The Jesus and Mary Chain – “Taste of Cindy” (Psychocandy) [Blanco y Negro]
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Great song… if you ask me I suck for not putting the acoustic version somewhere on this list too, which features on Barbed Wire Kisses, one of the greatest b-sides albums of all time.
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82 Enon – “The Power of Yawning” (Hocus-Pocus) [Touch & Go]
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I remember I played this song for my music snob/drummer friend and he remarked that they were “TIGHT”… whereas then I played Brainiac for him and he just sat there all uncomfortable. Enon is definitely more approachable.
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81 Aloha – “Boys in the Bathtub” (Here Comes Everyone) [Polyvinyl]
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Great Beatles-hearkening acid-pop here, no one would deny, with perhaps best of all, some interesting shifts in meter, or concept of what the one-beat is, sort of like a form of vertigo all your own, the listener’s.
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80 The Shins – “Gone for Good” (Chutes Too Narrow) [Sub Pop]
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I literally have a friend who’s so utterly obsessed with this song that sometimes it’s hard to discern my OWN opinion of it, also it’s sort of off-kilter for featuring the 12-bar format without operating within the blues scale… definitely some repeatedly playable stuff though.
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79 The Dismemberment Plan – “Invisible” (Uncanney Valley) [Partisan]
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If this isn’t one of the most underrated albums of all time, I’ll jump into a bath of liquid nitrogen. Or New York City, for that matter, which is approximately the same thing.
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78 Sufjan Stevens – “The Man from the Metropolis Steals Our Hearts” (Illinois) [Asthmatic Kitty]
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And now here we come to one of my very favorite Sufjan Stevens songs — undeniably energetic, but indicative all the same of that age-old adage (even if it’s just on this site that I keep repeating it) that rock and roll, at its core, IS sadness.
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77 The New Pornographers – “Falling through Your Clothes” (Twin Cinema) [Matador]
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Nobody else on earth could write this sort of delicate, crumbling ballad, and what’s more, it’s even more disarming for its ability to deal with the theme of sexual promiscuity and do so in a way that frames it as a letting go of something, rather than as a gaining of something. I’m not saying you have to look at it this way all the time, but it is sort of refreshing for a change, and indeed very quintessentially indie.
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76 Pavement – “Pueblo” (Wowee Zowee) [Matador]
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I remember on my “Dolby’s Top 100 Albums of the 1990s” list I ranked Wowee Zowee second and I specifically championed this song… that was in fall and this is sort of a fall song, slow, contemplative, haunting and faintly rustic.
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75 Yo La Tengo – “Barnaby, Hardly Working” (President Yo La Tengo) [Coyote]
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I played this song for my friend one time and he said, “This is some euphoric sh**.” Indeed, it’s pretty hard to find a better descriptor than that, so I won’t even try.
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74 The Jesus Lizard – “Perk” (Liar) [Touch & Go]
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Ah, nothing warms the heart like the line “Take off your shoes if you’re going to dance on me”. Or moving up to a big city in the North from Texas, for that matter.
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73 Grizzly Bear – “Southern Point” (Veckatimest) [Warp]
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Typically I name this song as my favorite song on this album, which would then in turn place it atop my list of songs by this band at large, and here I see this list is no exception to this rule. I especially love its dichotomous structure which finds an entire half engulfed in an entirely entrancing guitar arpeggio.
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72 Beirut – “Sunday Smile” (The Flying Club Cup) [Ba Da Bing!]
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More sadness, sadness galore… I happen to be writing this on a Sunday… a cloudy Father’s Day… no idea what it means… oh yeah, whatever you want it to mean.
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71 Sonic Youth – “Eric’s Trip” (Daydream Nation) [Enigma]
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The genius of Lee Ronaldo can hardly be described with words and “Eric’s Trip” is sort of that dark horse side-a song on this album you’re likely to forget about when it’s not on, but not to skip over when it is on.
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70 Women – “Narrow with the Hall” (Public Strain) [Flemish Eye]
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If you can wedge a phrasing unorthodoxy into a song as pliable and concise as this one, that’s sort of like John Elway fitting the ball into a secondary hole in the end zone “the size of the drive-thru window at Wendy’s,” as Rick Reilly in a great article once said.
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69 Black Mountain – “No Hits” (Black Mountain) [Jagjaguwar]
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Dang, now this is a trippy and entrancing track here, justifying the album’s short length by spurring it into epic territory with the means of extreme stylistic variation, in this case dabbling slightly into electro.
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68 The Shins – “Pink Bullets” (Chutes Too Narrow) [Sub Pop]
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A simple song here (“Simple Song”), and even more so than you’d think because it is just two chords on which the initial part of the chorus turns… and I don’t think that’s a key change, just a switch from minor to major, which is just as good.
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67 Band of Horses – “The Funeral” (Everything All the Time) [Sub Pop]
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Now here is a classic track… I once saw it memorably performed at Lollapalooza and once wrote an entire short story about it (more proud of one of those things than I am of the other, needless to say).
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66 Pavement – “Heaven is a Truck” (Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain) [Matador]
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Fine, crystalline and perfectly revolving pop tune here — although in a way I’m still glad that “Fillmore Jive” is there to cap the album off, because it just seems more distant and weirder to the radio playability of “Heaven is a Truck,” which is indeed featured prominently on Dolby Radio.
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65 Sufjan Stevens – “Jacksonville” (Illinois) [Asthmatic Kitty]
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Admittedly when I first heard this album I found it like sickeningly “indie,” so to speak, but this was sort of the dark horse song I forgot about for a while ’til I revisited it a few years later, only to fall in love with it thoroughly, this track in particular.
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64 Belle and Sebastian – “We Are the Sleepyheads” (The Life Pursuit) [Rough Trade]
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I remember rocking out to this song on a mix CD at work one time and having one of the cooks start doing a bizarre dance to it. Heck, that hadn’t happened since “Safety Dance.” Good sh**.
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63 Melvins – “Echo Head/Don’t Piece Me” (Gluey Porch Treatments) [Boner]
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This is dark music for dark times in your life. Anybody who tells you different is probably trying to sell you something. And… no, I’m not gonna say it.
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62 Sebadoh – “Sister” (Bubble and Scrape) [Sub Pop]
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Wow, what a weird song… is it about incest? Why doesn’t Eric Gaffney write more of these songs? This sh**’s way better than that “Soul and Fire” crap that starts out the album.
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61 Yo La Tengo – “You Can Have it All” (And Then Nothing Turned itself inside-out) [Matador]
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Great, contemplative and soulful number from the band’s extremely mellow, down album And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside out… commendable for a background vocal acting as an integral instrument the whole way through.
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60 Swell Maps – “Dresden Style” (Wastrels and Whippersnappers) [Plastic Head Distribution]
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Arguably some founding punk and also noise rock here of the late-‘70s from Britain… “Dresden Style” kicks off an album which is composed largely of various musique concrete techniques including tape loops.
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59 Man or Astroman? – “Curious Constructs of Stemlike Structures Which Will Now Prepare Themselves to Be Thought of as Fingers” (A Spectrum of Infinite Scale) [Touch & Go]
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This was my great pizza-delivering music in high school, officially dubbed “alien surf music,” he** aliens do it better anyway. This whole album is composed of instrumentals, as are more of theirs, save for the occasional mechanically fu**ed voice-over at the end of an album here or there or something like that.
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58 Pavement – “Loretta’s Scars” (Slanted & Enchanted) [Matador]
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For some reason I just gravitate to this song in particular — it carries all the power of the album’s emotional peaks, but possesses also a certain bouncy quality, completely content in its own groove and statements.
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57 Sonic Youth – “Cotton Crown” (Sister) [Squeaky Squawk]
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I’m not really sure if Sonic Youth writes “ballads,” per se, but “Cotton Crown” was definitely indicative of their emotional versatility, all the more commendable for coming in their early days.
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56 Tilly and the Wall – “You and I Misbehaving” (Wild Like Children) [Team Love]
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For a band that can be definitely kind of goofy (see the video for “Bottoms of Barrels”), it’s equally disarming when they buckle down and unveil a whole new layer of genuine feeling, “Kianna”’s vocals seeming to hug the melody preternaturally.
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55 The New Pornographers – “The Bleeding Heart Show” (Twin Cinema) [Matador]
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A song so good it made it onto a University of Phoenix commercial (oh, how meaningful)… and actually this dude I was riding with while playing this album recognized it from the commercial too — the beautiful Neko Case “Hey-La” part toward the end.
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54 The Jesus Lizard – “Rope” (Liar) [Touch & Go]
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Great indie-punk 100-meter dash here from our Chicago specialists in such things, singing about, as usual, something I don’t really want to know about. Good thing the lyrics are exclaimed so boorishly and under so much guitar feedback, I suppose.
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53 Melvins – “Dead Dressed” (Ozma) [Boner]
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Here we have the Melvins, Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover, showing off their penchants for starts and stops and also metric unorthodoxies, two staples of great metal music rendered in expedited, intensive form in proto-grunge.
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52 Iron and Wine – “House by the Sea” (The Shepherd’s Dog) [Sub Pop]
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From ballads, to these more interactive slide-guitar escapades, The Shepherd’s Dog does laps around your concept of music, this song in particular indicative of such constant transformation with the lyrical repetition of the phrase “I’ve been…”, always followed by something different.
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51 The Jesus and Mary Chain – “In a Hole” (Psychocandy) [Blanco y Negro]
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Once again here we have bubble gum pop on this album played over deafening white noise… a very “white” brand of music indeed, but an influential one, no one would argue.
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50 Aloha – “Waterwheel” (Home Acres) [Polyvinyl]
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Darn the heck near the perfect indie rock song here, by any account — and I love when riffs take shape by way of an instrument other than guitar, as on Heartless Bastards’ “Had to Go” with the fiddle and this one with the synth.
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49 Black Mountain – “Set Us Free” (Black Mountain) [Jagjaguwar]
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This was some of my favorite stoner anti-Bush music of the whole ‘00s decade… why couldn’t there have been more of this stuff? I’d probably have more hair on my head. Eh, maybe I shouldn’t go THAT far.
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48 Sonic Youth – “Teenage Riot” (Daydream Nation) [Enigma]
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This was Eddie Vedder’s pick for Sonic Youth’s Hits are for Squares greatest hits album, an album which also featured the song “Kool Thing” and a couple cuts from Dirty, thereby annihilating any fleeting value it would otherwise have of course. But the Vedder thing isn’t a total disqualifier, though ironic for appearing on an indie list, I suppose.
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47 Wolf Parade – “Dinner Bells” (Apologies to Queen Mary) [Sub Pop]
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A sad song for the end of the world… so should we watch how much we listen to it, for fear that the world will really end? Eh, there’s only so many times you’ll be able to take it, anyway, it’s so poignant and undeniably genuine (not to mention full of completely crazy guitar effects).
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46 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “Satan Said Dance” (Some Loud Thunder) [CYHSY Inc.]
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I’m pretty sure this is the only song I like on Some Loud Thunder, but I’ll always appreciate it for making me think of this one part of Chicago’s downtown South Loop where everybody seems to have had plastic surgery and stuff. Just a funny sort of ulterior dimension thing, I guess.
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45 The Black Keys – “10 A.M. Automatic” (Rubber Factory) [Fat Possum]
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Da** near the only ROCK song on this album, and it makes every bit of use of its time in the spotlight — vocals barking out great, personal but also metaphoric lyrics with a simple, infectious chord progress. Pure volume, great summer music.
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44 Califone – “Our Kitten Sees Ghosts” (Roots & Crowns) [Thrill Jockey]
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So delicate it seems like you’ll crush it if you step across the room, “Our Kitten Sees Ghosts” is an accomplishment only Califone could have owned, painting these swarthy, swampy pictures in territory that’s so far from Wilco it should essentially kill the comparisons once and for all, if not for the fact that they actually do help Califone’s notoriety, for what it’s worth.
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43 Sebadoh – “Black-Haired Gurl” (III) [Homestead]
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I was so glad when I rediscovered the name to the other “bluegrass” number on III, because it’s got the same slangish spelling of “girl” as the Big Star tune I put ahead of it. Hard song not to sink into, even for how bad it stylistically clashes with the rest of the album.
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42 Beirut – “The Rip Tide” (The Rip Tide) [Pompeii Records]
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Great titled track here with some nice poignant, and soothing trumpet — it seems like indie pop was sort of dead here, like everything that came out was sort of zany like tUnE-yArDs and stuff, which makes this project extra cool in a sense.
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41 St. Vincent – “Cheerleader” (Strange Mercy/4AD Session EP) [4AD]
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I still remember I shared this track, this exact version (the 4AD Session) on Facebook one time and I just wrote “metal” under it — indeed St. Vincent does have a knack for some serious sonic crests and valleys, fully on display here in tandem with some memorably uninhibited lyrics.
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40 Sleater-Kinney – “The Size of Our Love” (The Hot Rock) [Kill Rock Stars]
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In truth, for how celebrated the band’s raucous early days are, this was fans’ first glimpse into their true knack for the pop tune, the kind of song which would stay in your head all day, not just leave your ears ringing all day.
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39 Deerhoof – “Desaparecere” (Milk Man) [Kill Rock Stars]
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Here we have what in MY opinion is the closest thing to an “American Radiohead” possible: all these songs seem to be dissonant somehow in their own way, eschewing every kind of musical normalcy imaginable with minor intervals and harsh noise.
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38 Aloha – “If I Lie Down” (Some Echoes) [Polyvinyl]
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This is one of those songs which is great for its disarming simplicity, appearing on an album many people, including me, consider a step up from their former effort Here Comes Everyone, also for that very simplicity — indicating an undeniable artistic vision surrounding the project.
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37 Black Mountain – “No Satisfaction” (Black Mountain) [Jagjaguwar]
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It’s rare that I find a song very retro and also very effective, but I must say this cut takes me back to my Rolling Stones days, and has a way of highlighting in the listener’s mind all the best of times, even during the political worst of times.
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36 The Black Keys – “The Lengths” (Rubber Factory) [Fat Possum]
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Whoo! Sort of a depressing song here for this high on the list, I apologize, and another thing depressing is that after it on the album comes the song “Grown So Ugly,” and really no more good songs. Man, if that doesn’t make you crack open an ice cold Bud I don’t know what would. Oh yeah, relationship heartbreak. Duh.
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35 Dandy Warhols – “Pope Reverend Jim” (Distortland) [Dandy Warhols under exclusive license to Dine Alone Music]
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This is absolutely a classic album, there’s no other way to put it — criminally overlooked by utter putzes out there with no true ear for epochally important pop music.
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34 U-Men – “Shoot ‘em down” (Solid Action) [Chuckie-Boy]
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Da**it, this song’s not as SCARY as “Dig it a Hole”… well it is called “Shoot ‘em down,” so I guess it’ll do. Yes, this is airing of grievances day on DD.
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33 Ween – “I’m in the Mood to Move” (GodWeenSatan: The Oneness) [Twin/Tone Records]
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I promise, I no longer listen to the Jerky Boys. I’m 33, and I don’t find them funny anymore, I find them childish. Ween… is fu**ing funny. What’s more, like me, they hail from a small redneck town, presumably dealing with a high percentage of angry fu**s all the time. In “I’m in the Mood to Move,” they step into the persona of a brutish bar goer, and the result is quite the lesson in sociology.
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32 Plague Vendor – “Cursed Love, Hexed Lust” (Free to Eat) [Epitaph]
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Plague Vendor is a great British punk act… by the way, I think the British have all but abandoned even using proper grammar, let alone writing actual literature, although Rod Liddle happens to be pretty good. Good DD darling right along with Iceage.
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31 Mudhoney – “Come to Mind” (Mudhoney) [Sub Pop]
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Here we have what is possibly the quintessential grunge song — sludgy, patient and dirty, with an incessant riff and a simple drum beat over loud kicks and snares. It helps too to have a singer who snarls like a dog, when he’s not singing about dogs, that is.
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30 Sebadoh – “Flame” (The Sebadoh) [Sub Pop]
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Sebadoh are undeniable pop-masters and this is probably their best song, on easily their most underrated album, coming as it did from the arguable zenith of music awesomeness, 1998, the last year before file sharing started.
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29 Yo La Tengo – “Swing for Life” (May I Sing with Me) [Alias]
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This is one narcotic song… I’ve never met anyone out there who can take it, though I’m sure they’re out there. You just won’t notice them though, what with them being on clouds and everything.
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28 Beach House – “Walk in the Park” (Teen Dream) [Sub Pop]
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More great sympathy here from Beach House — a song about the general plight, and so, as a result, artistically every bit as big as the issue it’s tackling lyrically, the simple phenomenon of life and getting older.
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27 Pavement – “We Are Underused” (Brighten the Corners) [Matador]
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Here we have the centerpiece on the unassuming and awesome album Brighten the Corners, which acts as a perfect euphemism in life for heartbreak and rejection, something great music I suppose should already do implicitly, anyway.
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26 St. Vincent – “Surgeon” (Strange Mercy) [4AD]
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I used to get so tripped out by the crazy guitar riff during the chorus of this song… definitely sort of a leveling mechanism for the hectic times in life. Yeah, I was an Indiana guy with New York problems, you might say.
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25 Big Star – “Back of a Car” (Radio City) [Ardent]
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Stay in school, kids! I learned about Big Star initially in my IU Class “Rock Music in the ‘70s and ‘80s” and actually, this was the exact song they showcased… note the key change from verse to chorus and the overall awesomeness. Also note: Big Star actually wrote the song “Down the Street,” which Cheap Trick would go on to cover for the That 70s Show theme song (and now they have an album coming out called “We’re all alright,” must be a slow year in the whole inspiration pool… still a good band overall).
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24 The Shins – “Turn a Square” (Chutes Too Narrow) [Sub Pop]

There’s something just so hypnotic about the jangly sound of that guitar in this song and its incessant clamor over the song’s backdrop… also I love the trippy breakdown part at the end with the echo vocal. Very muscular side b tune on a classic album.
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23 Deerhunter – “Saved by Old Times” (Microcastle) [Kranky]
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This is music for kicking your feet up to: music when everything you’ve got to do is done, you’re taking a stare at yourself, taking stock and just feeding off of life’s energy with no scruples, and whatever it wants to give you you know you’ll process it right with some classic music in your mind.
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22 Sonic Youth – “Pipeline/Kill Time” (Sister) [Squeaky Squawk]
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Trippy is probably an understatement with which to describe this and many other Lee Ronaldo songs: the lyrics come in abruptly and with explicitly sinister tone and then we get the lines “I think you know the place we should meet / Don’t worry if it’s dark and I’m late”. Remember, this is pre-Juliani New York.
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21 Califone – “Sunday Noises” (Roots & Crowns) [Thrill Jockey]
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Yes, my favorite song by arguably my favorite band here, but… is that a guitar ripoff from Oasis – “She is Love”? Now I’ve seen (heard) it all. Amusingly enough, that slide guitar is actually the best aspect of this song, too.
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20 Sleater-Kinney – “Entertain” (The Woods) [Sub Pop]
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This is one of those classic rock albums I pop in on road trips… GOOD GOD I LOVE RAWK… I go Rolling Stones – Hot Rocks, Wolf Parade – At Mount Zoomer, The Hives – Lex Hives and this one… love the “Don’t push me down / I’m not fallin’ down” part at the end. You the mom, S/K!
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19 Bad Brains – “Reignition” (I against I) [SST]
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I just got word that in the 1990s Bad Brains OPENED UP for Living Colour… that would be approximately like the Beatles opening up for Oasis… just shows you the power of radio and MTV play in the early ‘90s… indeed Bad Brains were such a good black punk band that barely any others have even tried. This is their riffy sort of grunge statement right here.
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18 The Jesus and Mary Chain – “Cut Dead” (Psychocandy) [Blanco y Negro]
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Yeah, whatever… to be honest I put this list together so long ago I have no idea what I was thinking… although I guess I do love the lines “Why don’t you know / You got me movin’ much too slow / Why can’t you see / You got me chasin’ honey bees?”
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17 Lower Dens – “In the End is the Beginning” (Nootropics) [Ribbon Music]
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This is the album closeur on an absolute fu**ing classic album and even measured against the greatness of this album holistically, this closeur takes it to another level, with weird, stream of consciousness, in-and-out lyrical poetry courtesy of Jana Hunter accompanying the no-chorus epic drone-fest which is sure as a whole to change your conception of music, if not your life itself.
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16 Brainiac – “Vincent Come on down” (Hissing Prigs in Static Coutre) [Touch & Go]
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Boy did I have some rambunctious days and this was sort of the centerpiece on this raucous, frantic hard rock album, at least to me — love the “Kid with the goose step / Tell me it’s a two-step process line”, also love the song “70 Kg Man” elsewhere on this album: “So let’s all give a warm warm hand / To the 70 kilogram man”.
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15 Sonic Youth – “Hey Joni” (Teenage Riot) [Enigma]
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Ha da** I’m really buttering up Lee Ronaldo on this list.. that’s ok he’s gonna pay me under the table later. He’s gonna pay me in doggie biscuits. That’s how all the cool bloggers do these days.
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14 The New Pornographers – “Sing Me Spanish Techno” (Twin Cinema) [Matador]
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We’re at the point in this list now where we get songs like these… ah, let’s just all take a second to meditate. Take a moment of silence, if you’re reading this at home. Think about all your body and mind go through. Think about what’s important to you. Think about “The impossibility of being human,” as Charles Bukowski would say. That’s all I ask.
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13 Big Star – “September Gurls” (Radio City) [Ardent]
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This is the first song on The Best of Big Star, which, contrary to all the hipster picks, is really their best album. There, that ought to give my site some hipster cred.
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12 Nirvana – “Scoff” (Bleach) [Sub Pop]
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Some hard-nosed stuff here from Kurt and the boyz… this acts in tandem with Mudhoney’s “Shoot the Moon” as the perfect burgeoning pop/punk to go on to fully inform what the ‘90s would come to be.
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11 Beach House – “Gila” (Devotion) [Carpark]
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Haha yeah… this is just a bad broad doin’ what she does… absolutely classic song in which Victoria Legrand transforms the word “gila” into having about 10 syllables, none of which the listener is in the least bit inclined to complain about.
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10 Man or Astroman? – “Preparation Clont” (A Spectrum of Infinite Scale) [Touch & Go]
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Speaking of pop/punk, here is its continuation: and in fine instrumental form, too — remember, this is alien surf music, they don’t know English! But boy can they surf, and shred. Concise little statement of coolness here to beat the band like a motherfu**er.
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9 Oxford Collapse – “Children’s Crusade” (Bits) [Sub Pop]
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Slowly, slowly as I unwind from a workday, I’m able to relax, and I’m able to let this song sink into me, knowing all the while that someone else has felt my pain — someone else has felt the seemingly insurmountable obstacle of life and done something about it. “Children’s Crusade” is also the alternative title to Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse-Five.
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8 Mudhoney – “When Tomorrow Hits” (Mudhoney) [Sub Pop]
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Trippy is probably an understatement with which to refer to this song and to say I say crap like that on this blog is probably an understatement… with which… to refer… I mean if you were into referring… I mean you know it alters the moon phases before your very eyes (time is relative) hoo look over there.
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7 Wolf Parade – “Grounds for Divorce” (Apologies to Queen Mary) [Sub Pop]
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Perfection. I couldn’t write about this song if I tried. And trust me, I didn’t. I remember they played it at the Boulder, Colorado show though (thanks for nothin’, setlist.fm).
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6 Belle and Sebastian – “For the Price of a Cup of Tea” (The Life Pursuit) [Rough Trade]
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Raucous rocker… although the official term is rockin’ rawker. No, the official term is… everything in life sucks except for listening to this fu**in’ song. There, that’s more like it.
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5 Liz Phair – “Shatter” (Exile in Guyville) [Matador]

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Denver. The Fed Ex Store girl. More copies of more sh**. Endless sunny days. Endless buses, trains, people walking fast, the whole of everything, the emptiness of nothing, being, not being, the perfection, the sallow, the 1990s Chicago indie rock artist. There’s a time and place for everything.
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4 Tilly and the Wall – “Bessa” (Wild Like Children) [Team Love]
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Wow, I’d hate be this “Bessa” broad who they’re tellin’ “You better move along now / And make yourself scarce”… but then, I take those words to heart myself… it’s always best to keep movin’ in life… these girls are from Omaha, NE and it’s nice to see them doing their thing with a tap dance instead of a drummer, and nothing bad has happened yet. At least not with Tilly and the Wall. Not with Tilly and the Wall.
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3 The Dismemberment Plan – “Back and Forth” (Emergency & I) [De Soto]
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Yeah this, song is great, I really listen to Gnarls Barkley and pour hot wax on my nips, I love the culturally chic use of the metaphoric method of… BLAH! THIS IS THE STARTLING INTERRUPTION OF THIS BLURB! FU** EMERGENCY & I! A BUNCH OF PITCHFORK READING A**HOLES LISTEN TO THAT SH**! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD LISTEN TO UNCANNEY VALLEY! HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU FU**IN’ DUNDERHEADS!
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2 The New Pornographers – “Chump Change” (Electric Version) [Matador]
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Admittedly, I have ripped on Dan Bejar in a recent post (he’s no longer in the New Pornographers, also I expressed the opinion that A.C. Newman should have put out another solo album)… anyway the phrasing in this song is something to marvel at, and I personally love the simplicity, as well as the ingenious lines “Wipe that look from your face / The world is that which is the case / It’s ok to be seen / Don’t dethrone the drama queen / Just for putting everybody in their place”.
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1 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “Over and over again” (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) [Wichita]
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This song got me through some sh*… all those George W. Bush years… I won’t comment on it.. oh well I have to comment on it… I ranked it first. I really must have a reason. But everything seems the same right now. Everything’s dead. If you get something out of this song, listener at home, that’s more power to you. At the end of the day, it’s like Celine said, “The only role one man will accept in another is that of obedient lap dog.” I suppose there’s a New York charm about this song. There’s a certain zeitgeist of the city: the neon lights, the prostitution and the dirtiness, the sense that nothing matters. That’s what great music does: it’s like a narcotic. And then, all of a sudden, the morning comes, and we need more. And who knows if we’ll get it?

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