Oh boy. I've really neglected this blog over the last few months. My apologies. Much has happened since my last entry, and if you're interested in what I've been up to since May, you can read all about it here and here.
That said, I've made you a mix tape in the form of my "best of 2010" list. I hope you don't hate it.
The top 28 songs of 2010, according to only me and with apologies to everybody else.
28)- Javelin- "Oh! Centra"
Everybody I've ever played this song for hates it. Like- hates it. I found about these guys while building out the official Lollapalooza station on Slacker. I didn't actually catch them while I was at Lolla, but Perry Farrell was very excited about these guys. Like, visibly excited. This record came out on David Byrne's Luaka Bop record label, and I love it. You'll probably hate it.
27)- School of Seven Bells- "Heart is Strange"
I like this song because I also really, really like the Cocteau Twins. Also, On! Air! Library!
26)- Active Child- "She was a Vision"
My friend Jen Scaffidi has basically condensed all of the music that I've loved over the years into one made-up genre. She calls it "Sad Bastard Music". Obviously, that's not the extent of my interests, nor am I an actual Sad Bastard. That said- this is definitely Sad Bastard Music. A former choir-boy from Los Angeles that records under the name Active Child.
25)- Tame Impala- "Lucidity"
I'm told that I would like this band even harder if I did drugs. I don't do drugs, and I still love this track. From Perth, Australia.
24)- Mux Mool- "Get Better John"
When I was a kid, I would develop allegiances to certain record labels. Like- between 1995 and 1997, Fat Wreck Chords didn't put out one bad record. From 1997-1999 it was Jade Tree records. I would buy every record that these labels put out.
And then the internet happened.
It's been a long time since I felt such affinity toward an entire label, but as of late- Ghostly International out of Ann Arbor, Michigan can do no wrong. They've just put out an incredible compilation- "We'll Never Stop Living This Way". Mux Mool is part of that crew. Let's call this..."Adult Swim-core".
23)- Bear Hands- "What a Drag"
I like this song because Modest Mouse didn't put out a record this year.
22)- Mark Ronson and the Business intl. "Bang Bang Bang"
The fact that this song wasn't a "hit" on terrestrial radio is further proof that the radio has failed you.
That said- I actually heard this song for the first time on Tim Pyles' radio show here in San Diego. Kudos, baldy.
21)- The Pains of Being Pure at Heart- "Say No to Love"
I like this because I like everything that Slumberland Records puts out. Also, because I love shimmery neo-twee. Also, because Peggy Wang is one of my favorite editors at Buzzfeed.
20)- Ke$ha- "Your Love is my Drug"
Shut up. I don't want to hear it. This is a really, really good pop song. Beyond that, I truly believe that Ms. Ke$ha is 100% in control of her image, her media machine, and her songwriting. That makes her an extremely skilled marketer in her ability to present a perfect distillation of the aspirational lifestyle and image of many, many drunk and reckless teenagers. No irony, no hipster sarcasm. I love this song.
19)- Dinosaur Pile-Up- Mona Lisa
Credit goes to my friend Jeremy Goldstein for tuning me on to this band. They're from the UK, and while they are doing a fairly straight-forward take on Nirvana, the Foo Fighters, and to a lesser extent- the Pixies- It still resonates. I could go the rest of my life without having to hear "Lithium" or "Learn to Fly" again, but this modern take on a genre that's been beat to death is actually really refreshing.
Most importantly, this reminds me of something I would have seen as a kid on 120 Minutes. Nostalgia wins.
18)- Stars- "Fixed"
I feel the same way about this record as I do about the new Shout Out Louds record. Didn't love the whole album, but there was one really good song. This is that song.
17)- Miike Snow- "Burial" (DJ Mehdi Remix)
I know- the Miike Snow record came out in 2009. But this remix is from 2010. At Slacker, I'm working on a new station that will consist entirely of songs that have received commercial syncs or that have otherwise been a part of of a marketing campaign. That's where I heard this song- it was in a Palm commercial. Music Supervisors are truly the new gatekeepers.
16)- The Thermals- "I Don't Believe You"
The Thermals are a lot like Ted Leo for me, in that they represent 100% pure, straight ahead rock and roll with great intelligence and no pretense. Im sick of everybody taking themselves so seriously, including myself. Video stars Carrie Brownstein, cameo by Issac Brock.
15)- Dirty Gold- "California Sunrise"
So, based on what I'm told: This is a band of high school kids from here in San Diego. La Jolla, specifically. They made this record in their bedrooms. They got signed before they ever played a show. They are going to have to be escorted in and out of their first proper show because they are not yet 18.
I found this out from Andrew Rowley, who appears to be the only media dude in San Diego that is paying attention to the incredible debut song from this band. Kudos, tiny hands. Kudos, San Diego.
14)- Land of Talk- "Quarry Hymns"
This whole album is incredible. Reminds me of winter time growing up in the Sierra Nevadas. That's all.
13)- Superchunk- "Digging for Something"
Superchunk, God bless them, did something remarkable this year. They returned after a 9 year hiatus and did exactly what their fans wanted them to do. They made a classic Superchunk record. It's not as good as "Foolish", but because it's highly unlikely that Mac and Laura will get back together, break up again, and write a record about the process- it was unlikely that we were gonna get a record like that again. Second best video of the year from one of my all-time favorite bands.
12)- Shout Out Louds- " Fall Hard"
Oddly enough, their 2010 release-"Work"- is my least favorite Shout Out Louds record yet. That said, this song is aces. I feel like the video actually kinda detracts from the song, but enjoy nonetheless.
11)- Crystal Castles- "Not in Love"(ft. Robert Smith)
Too many biases here for me to disclose. I love the Crystal Castles record. Robert Smith was my first musical hero. Put them together and it's like hot dogs and spaghetti from Jollibee. This track has been around since October. As soon as radio gets hip to it next year, you'll get totally burnt out on it- so enjoy it now.
10)- Pomegranates- "50's"
At Slacker, we recently gave Jimmy Eat World their own station to curate and host. They turned us on to this band, having toured with them previously. The world needs smarter, less angry rock and roll. This is a good start. Also- I think that they've been based in Cincinnati for many years without ever moving to Brooklyn. So theres that.
9)- Yeasayer- "O.N.E."
I interviewed these guys at Austin City Limits this year, and they were the most unpretentious, down to earth, and honestly funny Brooklynites (via Baltimore and Philly) that I've ever met. They are way more normal and approachable than their videos would suggest. This is a great love song. Or not.
Forget "California Gurls", this was the Summer Jam of 2010. Thurston Moore provides the intro.
7) the Soft Pack - "C'mon"
This is a band of real dudes from San Diego that are influenced by The Fall (band) and The Padres (baseball team). In 2010, they put out an incredible Rock and Roll record, toured the world, made people everywhere fall in love with them...and got very little love from the major music outlets in their own hometown. For shame, San Diego.
6)- Freelance Whales- "Hannah"
Owl City ruined everything. Now, anything vaguely twee gets lumped into this "too precious" category. This is certainly twee, and joyful, and somewhat child-like at times...but consider it a necessary cure for the hangover that was brought about by a decade of Papa Roach, Linkin Park, and 30 Seconds to Mars.
5)- Here We Go Magic- "Collector"
I love so many things about this song, but the video! It's another video that reminds me of watching VHS copies of 120 Minutes circa 1994. Also, dude kind of looks like Gordon Gano, no?
4)- the War On Drugs- "Comin' Through"
Music that gets described as "somber" often makes me very "happy". Maybe it's because I grew up in the freezing cold mountains and listened to the Cure all the time when I was a kid. Either way- this song makes me smile. And in the end- that's all you can really ask of music, yeah?
3)- Phantogram- "Mouthful of Diamonds"
I'd like to make it through this entire list without using the phrase "haunting melody"....so instead, i'll say USA! USA! USA! USA!
2) Ted Leo and the Pharmacists- "Bottled in Cork"
This is the best song that Ted Leo has ever written. That's extraordinary, considering the man's body of work. This is also the funniest video of the year. With the best cameos. Perfect.
1)- Twin Shadow- "I Can't Wait"