40. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Ffunny FFriends”
Can a song live by guitar hook alone? Sure, there’s more to this song than just the guitar line, but that’s the part that’s drawn me in and put the song on repeat. I mean, really, there are words here, but can you hear any of them other than “funny friends”? Doesn’t matter to me. I’m hooked.
Link to free download: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/15539-unknown-mortal-orchestra/
39. Wild Beasts – “Thankless Thing”
Blows my mind a little bit that this track didn’t make Wild Beasts’ actual studio album, instead hitting the web as a single. The blend of electronics, percussion, and guitar make this sort of minimalized psychedelic piece, perfect for the pensive evening with your headphones.
Link to download: http://stereogum.com/816852/wild-beasts-thankless-thing/mp3s/
38. James Blake – “The Wilhelm Scream”
So much praise has been heaped upon James Blake and his stripped down take on dubstep; “post-dubstep” apparently is now a term. I may have not fallen as hard for dubstep or post-dubstep as some people, and I found only some songs on his album worth owning, but “Wilhelm Scream” trumps all. You might not even know you love this song until you catch yourself singing “all that I know is I’m falling, falling, falling, falling…” repeatedly. It’s definitely a song I appreciate more with every listen.
37. Sarah Jarosz – “Come Around”
My strange taste for bluegrass-pop (“newgrass” apparently?) surprises even myself. But Sarah Jarosz has the chops to heal the most wounded of Nickel Creek fans, and “Come Around” is her best work, combining her obvious musical abilities with the most pleasant of melodies.
36. The Head and the Heart – “Down in the Valley”
In need of a travelin’ song? As a frequent military migrant and misser of home, I have a special place in my heart for road songs such as this one. “I know there’s California/Oklahoma/And all of the places I ain’t ever been to” they sing, but in the end they are “on my back to where I started”. The Northwest indie-folk band grew in popularity this grew, and in my mind, this is their best track by far.
Link to download: http://tinyurl.com/c4vv5lw
35. Library Voices – “The Prime Minister’s Daughter”
I am usually the last to love the political song, but I make an exception for this one. First, it’s Canadian, so call me a poli-sci nerd, but I have fun singing a refrain like “parliament’s making cuts!”. Second, it’s just so darn peppy, which makes for a whole lot more fun than the typical sky-is-falling political song we so often hear. So go ahead and enjoy this Shins-y track from Library Voices, even if the gist of the song is that parliament is making budget cuts.
Link to download: http://www.softsignal.net/2011/08/the-prime-minister%e2%80%99s-daughter/
34. Radio Dept. – “Never Follow Suit”
For a couple odd weeks I was entranced by Swedish band Radio Dept., and their best track is the dreamy, catchy “Never Follow Suit”, the kind of track that perfectly blends an interesting sound with pop sensibility.
33. NEEDTOBREATHE – “White Fences”
Why do I like writing my own blog? Because in the end, I get to decide what I like and what I’ll plug, even if it may break from convention. So here I present “White Fences”, which can be classified anywhere between mainstream rock and Christian rock, but with definite Southern Rock flair. It is in no way indie, and it’s not even really alt rock either. But boy is fun to sing, soaring thanks to some great vocals from Bear Rinehart and great grasp on melody.
32. Switchfoot – “Restless”
Let’s just keep it rolling on the pseudo-Christian rock front, where crossover rockers Switchfoot continue to show their penchant for the slow building, emotional rouser. Front man Jon Foreman’s delivery is impeccable as ever as he hits the major swelling point on “Restless”.
31. You Won’t – “Television”
If #33 and #32 weren’t your cup of tea, then you’ll probably gladly welcome You Won’t and their ultra-simple “Television”. Handclaps and piano; no more, no less. For a track that is so endearing, it’s amazing how little goes into it, and it’s better for it. You’ll be wanting to hear it again the minute it ends.
Link to download: http://prettymuchamazing.com/mp3/you-wont-television-three-car-garage