|Artwork credit: Alyssa Shapkoff|
Click here to see the entire list, from 100 – 1.
25 Sufjan Stevens – From the Mouth of Gabriel
The most classic Sufjan song of the 2010 onslaught of Sufjan songs, “From the Mouth of Gabriel” is haunting and just plain beautiful. Flutes and clarinets, plucking guitars and lyrics that could be either deeply religious or just on the cusp. Either way – thank God we got to hear this.
[buy the album] [more from Sufjan Stevens on Speakers]
24 Josh Ritter – Change of Time
“Your shoulder blade, your spine/ Were shorelines in the moon light.” This Josh Ritter guy can sure write a song.
[buy the album] [more from Josh Ritter on Speakers]
23 Frightened Rabbit – Yes, I Would [listen] This isn’t a band sleeping through life; this is a band that creates music and acknowledges the darkness that surrounds us all but is smart enough to realize that it’s not all a dead end.[buy the album] [more from Frightened Rabbit on Speakers]
22 Vampire Weekend – Horchata
Literally the perfect summer song,”Horchata” is the indie rock equivalent of “Margaritaville,” but also completely different in that it’s not ungodly horrible. Picture yourself on white sand somewhere with your Ray Bans on.
[buy the album] [more from Vampire Weekend on Speakers]
21 LCD Soundsystem – Home
James Murphy & LCD Soundsystem’s 2010 record This is Happening may be their last, but it also may be their best. “Home,” an 8 minute epic anchor to the LP, starts gently and gradually builds to an expertly layered and complex dance instigator.
[buy the album] [more from LCD Soundsystem on Speakers]
20 The Black Keys – Everlasting Light
“Everlasting Light” dips, drives, and plunges, a series of pelvic thrusts under a fuzzy falsetto.
[buy the album] [more from The Black Keys on Speakers]
19 Neil Young – Walk With Me
“I feel the patience of unconditional love,” Young sings over his thunderous electric guitar. It’s passionate, it’s raw, it’s vintage Neil Young.
[buy the album] [more from Neil Young on Speakers]
18 Surfer Blood – Take It Easy
Thankfully, Surfer Blood’s debut LP, Astro Coast, was well warranted of the buzz the band stirred up at SXSW earlier this year. And the standout among all the standouts on the album is the smooth yet, at times, gritty “Take it Easy.”
[buy the album] [more from Surfer Blood on Speakers]
17 The Drums – Me and The Moon
Of all the outstanding songs on The Drums’ mesmerizing eponymous debut LP, “Me and the Moon” captures the all of the new-wavey and post-punky elements that makes the band so great.
[buy the album] [more from The Drums on Speakers]
16 Yeasayer – O.N.E.
The single “O.N.E.” has a global vibe topped off with a ready-for-the-dance floor beat that brilliantly ebbs and flows.
[buy the album] [more from Yeasayer on Speakers]
15 The Tallest Man on Earth – Like the Wheel
Every word, every guitar sound Kristian Matsson produces always sounds so delicate, even if he’s singing as if he’s been stabbed by the King of Spain.
[buy the album] [more from The Tallest Man on Earth on Speakers]
14 Harlem – Gay Human Bones
It’s catchy as hell without trying too hard: raw, fun and with an abundance of attitude.
[buy the album] [more from Harlem on Speakers]
13 Crystal Castles – Celestica
Toronto’s Crystal Castles have embedded this absolute noise-dance gem in its 2010 sophomore LP, Crystal Castles II. Some may chide the eccentric duo for becoming more “accessible” with tunes like “Celestica,” but we prefer to call it evolution.
[buy the album]
12 Beach House – Used to Be
On “Used to Be,” Victoria Legrand’s wistful vocals smolder beautifully under the weight of wanting. Ah, longing.
[buy the album] [more from Beach House on Speakers]
11 The Morning Benders – Excuses
“Excuses” opens with the glorious crackle and pop of a needle dropping on vinyl, scene-setting for the ’50s copping California pop vibes, the doo-wop break, the string section that colors this song’s loping, waltz-time strum, paean of love, and sticky sweet, technicolor melody.
[buy the album]
10 Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks
With coolly lackadaisical whistling and muffled vocals, this song creeps along until its infectious chorus contaminates our brains (in a good way, of course).
[buy the album] [more from Foster the People on Speakers]
9 Future Islands – Tin Man
Singer Samuel T. Herring’s raspy but refined Tom Waits-like voice backed by synthesized steel-drum infused instrumentation blusters with all the energy and atmosphere that a coastal night out has to offer.
[buy the album] [more from Future Islands on Speakers]
8 The Mynabirds – Numbers Don’t Lie
This track is sleepy southern, and it transports that ’60s soul era into a modern setting with grace and ease.
[buy the album] [more from Mynabirds on Speakers]
7 Local Natives – World News
Throw a digital dart at Local Natives’ Gorilla Manor, and you’ll strike a great tune. “World News” combines “oh oh ohs” and “do do dos” with deft songwriting (they work in “Sunni marketplace”) and a sonically rising arrangement to create a masterful centerpiece of a brilliant debut record.
[buy the album] [more from Local Natives on Speakers]
6 Sleigh Bells – Rill Rill
The untouchable, listless beat, purposefully aloof vocals, laidback “ahhhs,” and cutesy lyrics is a nice break from the band’s otherwise “punishingly loud” approach.
[buy the album] [more from Sleigh Bells on Speakers]
5 Tokyo Police Club – Favourite Color
This song is everything we love about the music we love. A wonderful medley gives way to some pretty raw emotion as the song breaks, and quiet is replaced with loud. If we were asked to define the genre of indie rock, this would be our most recent example.
[buy the album]
4 Arcade Fire – We Used To Wait
There is something about this song, something taunting, perhaps. Our society may have gotten itself in a big hurry, but, thankfully, we’ve still got Arcade Fire to calm us down or fire us up at our own pace.
[buy the album]
3 Cee Lo – Fuck You
Cee Lo Green’s middle finger throwback was, indeed, the hottest of summer anthems. But, six months later, we’re still joyously dropping F-bombs right and left.
[buy the album]
2 Freelance Whales – Generator ^ First Floor
The song beautifully showcases a melding of genres and sounds: delicate xylophones, slowly-plucked banjos, sweeping reverb, frenetic electronica, and wistful vocals.
[buy the album] [more from Freelance Whales on Speakers]
1 The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio
“I never thought about love/ When I thought about home,” Matt Berninger sings. Dance to it, sing to it, exercise to it…do whatever you please. This is our song of the year.
[buy the album] [more from The National on Speakers]