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Top 50 Songs of 2016

Here it is our Top 50 songs of 2016. I think I can speak for the everyone in the world when I say, “Thank god this year is over!”. This past year will ultimately be looked back upon as the year of great loss. With the passing of so many talented artists, from David Bowie, Prince, Glenn Frey, Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, Leon Russell, Phife Dawg, and on and on, a huge creative void has been created in the musical landscape.  We can only hope this void will be filled with artists and bands like the ones found on our list.  Keep hope alive!

As with any list, we know we missed a bunch of great tunes but this is what we listened to the most and liked the best. Let us know what we missed and we will follow up with a new list of “I can’t believe you left off this song, your list stinks”.  Here is looking back to the great songs of 2016.  Click on the links to hear the songs or follow the Spotify Playlist.

TOP 50 SONGS OF 2016

50. Lake Street Dive – Call Off Your Dogs

 

49. Beecher’ Fault – Life In This Light

 

48. Green Day – Bang Bang

 

47. How to Dress Well – Anxious 

 

46. Gillian Welch – Orphan Girl

 

45. Weezer – Do You Wanna Get High?

 

44. Modern Baseball – Everyday

 

43. Leopold and His Fiction – I’m Caving In

 

42. Declan McKenna – Brazil

 

41. The Strumbellas – Spirits

 

40. ANOHNI – 4 Degrees 

 

39. Woods – Sun City Creeps 

 

38. St. Paul & The Broken Bones – All I Ever Wonder

 

37. Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam – A 1000 Times

 

36. Catfish and the Bottlemen – Soundcheck

 

35. Wilco – If I Ever Was A Child

 

34. Anderson .Paak – Come Down

 

33. The Hotelier – Two Deliverances

 

32. Parquet Courts – Berlin Got Blurry

 

31. Blossoms – Charlemagne 

 

30. Nada Surf – Cold to See Clear

 

29. Charles Bradley – Changes

 

28. Kris Orlowski – Enough

 

27. Shovels and Rope – Johnny Come Outside

 

26. Whitney – No Woman

 

25. Operators – Cold Light

 

24. Flume – Never Be Like You

 

23. Brett Dennen – Cassidy

 

22. Kyle Craft – Lady of the Ark

 

21. Dawes – When The Tequila Runs Out

 

20. Sturgill Simpson – Keep It Between The Lines

 

19. Drive-By Truckers – What It Means

 

18. Lee Fields & The Expressions – Work to Do

 

17. The Avalanches – Because I’m Me

 

16. Pinegrove – Old Friends

 

15. Grouplove – Standing in the Sun

 

14. The Stray Birds – Shining in the Distance

 

13. The Front Bottoms – Joanie

 

12. Nico Yaryan – Just Tell Me

 

11. Angel Olsen – Shut Up Kiss Me

 

10. The 1975 – The Sound

 

9. Lucy Dacus – I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore

 

8. King Creosote – You Just Want

 

7. Field Music – The Noisy Days are Over

 

6. The Rural Alberta Challenge – White Lights

 

5. A Tribe Called Quest – We The People

4. Car Seat Headrest – Vincent

3. PUP – Sleep in the Heat

2. Mitski – Your Best American Girl

1. Big Thief – Masterpiece

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Top 10 Christmas Songs

Everyone has their favorite Christmas Songs, but here are ours.  Merry Christmas to all!  And yes, this is the best Top 10 Christmas Song list ever.

1. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love

2. Fairytale of New York – The Pogues

3. White Christmas – Bing Crosby

4. Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town – Bruce Springsteen

5. All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey

6. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Frank Sinatra

7. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee

8. A Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives

9. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – The Ronettes

10. Merry Xmas Everybody – Slade

 

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Top 25 Albums of 2015

1. The Districts – A Flourish And A Spoil

When we reviewed “A Flourish And A Spoil” back in February (The Districts Review), we had no idea the lasting impact this album would have on us for the remainder of the year.  We did, however, proclaim that they were not  reinventing the wheel on the surface.  “On the surface” is the key term here because as you dive more and more into these tracks, you understand why we have it as our Top Album of 2015.  Lyrically, feelings of youth, loneliness, and despair get paired with an overwhelming confidence.  Musically, unreal guitar hooks, and splattering drums get paired with emotional acoustic ballads.  Combined, “A Flourish and a Spoil” provides one of the most relatable, and connecting rock and roll albums we have heard in years.

2. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

In what is the most beautiful album this year, Sufjan Stevens gets deeply personal. A sentimental journey, Carrie and Lowell subtly portrays life and death with fierce emotion.  On a simple front, it’s a heartbreaking story of a distant mother and a lost son searching for answers.  However, on a deeper level and what we stated in our review earlier this year (Sufjan Stevens Review): It makes you appreciate life, but more so death.  It’s a reminder to not take advantage of the former nor the latter, no matter what is thrown your way.  It teaches you to be faithful, no matter the self-pity and doubt.  More importantly, it reminds you to love, and to forgive. Finally, what’s most impressive is that Sufjan touches so many intricacies, that this personal story actually becomes directly correlated to each individual listening.

3. Grimes – Art Angels

Art Angels, is such an exciting piece of work.  It is mainstream when it wants to be, but eccentric when it needs to be.  Which makes the album such a relevant piece of….well, art.  Claire Boucher is a no frills, DIY genius who incorporates so many different styles of music into her own.  It makes for an exciting album which flows with anticpation.  It doesn’t harp on one subject rather multiple in which she describes such things as the industry (California), an old faded friendship (Flesh without Blood), and just pure emotion (SCREAM).  She has always seemed to be a modest individual, but Grimes should understand she is changing the industry and paving the way for others to follow.

4. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

There is a reason Courtney Barnett is one of this year’s best new artists.  Her masterful album is heartfelt, witty, and descriptive, while still maintaining all the core components to a great record.  There is bang your head guitar licks (Pedestrian at Best), faintly gorgeous riffs (Depreston) and just all out bliss (Elevator Operator).  Her songwriting is right there with some of the best this year.  Musically she proves rock and roll doesn’t need tricks and sometimes being down to earth, can make you make you badass, which is purely what this record is.

5. Roadside Graves – Acne/Ears

The title track off Acne/Ears is a prelude to a deeply intimate album.  Something new for the New Jersey rockers Roadside Graves.  Lead singer John Gleason describes physical attributes that coincide with raw emotion and continues to flow throughout the album. A quintessential blue collar NJ teacher, Gleason’s songwriting portrays what all of us middle of the road NJ loners can visualize.  The album points to seasonal mood swings “The weather affects me more than you’ll ever know so let’s go to the beach and be miserable”.  In a standout track,City”, Gleason sings “Lose myself in the land, because I can’t stand the city–die right where I am–and pretend that I am happy” swapping potential urban success with a preference of rural mediocrity.  Similar to Sufjan Stevens’ “Fourth of July”, “The Whole Night” is a haunting visual of loved ones deathbed.  It’s a gorgeous album that never relents and adds Roadside Graves to the list of NJ’s best indie bands.

6. Nap Eyes – Whine of the Mystic

7. Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free

8. FIDLAR – Too

9. WILCO – Star Wars

10. Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle

11. Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Style

12. Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy

13. Ezra Furman – Perpetual Motion People

14. Majical Cloudz – Are You Alone?

15. The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die – Harmlessness

16. Blur – The Magic Whip

17. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

18. Jim O’Rourke – Simple Songs 

19. Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon

20. Mas Ysa – Seraph

21. Dawes – All Your Favorite Bands

22. Built To Spill – Untethered Moon

23. Destroyer – Poison Season

24. Hop Along – Painted Shut

25. Leon Bridges – Coming Home

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Top 50 Songs of 2015

2015, another great year for music.  This year gave us unbelievable music from rock legends, fresh faces, guitar gods, long established bands, artists on the rise and so many more.  For everyone that says, “there is no good music anymore” take a look at our list, the music is definitely out there.

 

1.  Pedestrian at Best – Courtney Barnett

Congrats to Courtney Barnett in grabbing a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.  Unfortunately for her, she probably won’t win because of the idiotic ideals and politics of the forgotten Grammy.  With that being said, she is #1 on our list.  “Pedestrian at Best” is our Song of the Year for 2015 as its lyrically innovative, while also paying homage to good old fashion Rock and Roll.  The riff is like nothing else you’ll hear all year, and will keep your head banging for days.  Most importantly for us, it gets better with each listen, and has an ever lasting impact live.  Congrats to Courtney on a fantastic year!

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2. Young Blood – The Districts

The word “Epic” is an overused term, we get it.  Half of the time it’s not even articulated appropriately, and has even become more of a slang term.  In this instance we don’t give a shit.  “Young Blood” is about as epic as a song can be.  A 10 minute story that plays off like it’s about heartbreak between a girl and boy.  However, what it focuses in on, is lead singer Rob Grote’s personal yearning. Like all of us, we have been in relationships where love fades, for no other reason than its not new, or fresh.  It’s an interesting feeling of disappointment, but also regains your hunger for love.  It’s just like Grote states in the monster finale “It’s a long way down from the top to the bottom, it’s a long way back to a high from where I am” before the pounding drums and wailing guitar display the emotional distress, and thirst for more. 

3. Gospel Radio – Roadside Graves

Roadside Graves’s standout track off their excellent album “Acne/Ears” is a welcome change for fans of the band.  It sticks to the bands core, yet incorporates some synth work that works nicely into the final progression.   However, what really hit home for us are the poignant lyrics that deal with a broken family and a son left with a burden of trying to keep them together as best he can.  It accurately displays the difficulties of divorce, as well as the ups and downs that follow.  What it possibly best explains is the spiritual, as well as, social aspects it can have on not only the family itself, but the world around them. At the end of the track, the song appropriately switches gears, and we get chills every time we hear lead singer John Gleason heartbreakingly proclaim; “Ain’t no static on the Gospel Radio, Everybody paid, everybody paid, everybody paid for a show!!!!”

4. Should Have Known Better – Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens’s career has been wildly unpredictable, but also exceptional.  The journey he takes us down on this years “Carrie and Lowell”   is his best work to date.  It is an extremely personal story between a distant mother and son.  At times existent and other times wishful, these thoughts are translated in to one of the most private stories one has ever put on record.  “Should Have Known Better” best describes that heartbreaking journey, but unlike most of “Carrie and Lowell”, also provides a glimmer of hope or “illumination” as he describes in the end.    More importantly, Sufjan doesn’t shy away from stating that suffering is real and life is hard, and no matter what you should have done, death is imminent.  You need to move on living.

5. Flesh Without Blood – Grimes

Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, may be the most impressive artist on our list this year.  While we continue to live in a pop society that’s dictated by zero talent, she is about as refreshing to this world as one could be.  She single handily writes, produces, and successfully experiments with various music styles, while other pop “artists” relay on a team to do so.  The result is one of the best albums of the year in “Art Angels” and what we think is the staple track “Flesh Without Blood”

6. Dream Lover – Destroyer

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7. Pretty Pimpin – Kurt Vile

8. Speed Trap Town – Jason Isbell

9. No Fear of Hellfire – Nap Eyes

10. Depreston – Courtney Barnett

11. How Could You Babe – Tobias Jesso Jr.

12. Look Up – Mas Ysa

13. 6 AM – The Districts

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14. Julia – Fast Romantics

15. West Coast – FIDLAR

16. Blurred Time – Total Babes

17. Magnetized – Wilco

18. Coming Home – Leon Bridges

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19. Living Zoo – Built To Spill

20. Something – Julien Baker

21. Howling At Nothing – Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

22. Corner – Night Beds

23. In Films – Chromatics

24. Something Soon – Car Seat Headrest

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25. Cutting My Fingers Off – Turnover

26. Aerobed – Cymbals Eat Guitars

27. Night of the First Show – Nap Eyes

28. Lonesome Street – Blur

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29. Sedona – Houndmouth

30. Loud Places – Jamie xx

31. Lover Come Back – City and Colour

32. Lousy Connection – Ezra Furman

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33. Silver Car Crash – Majical Cloudz

34. I Don’t Mind – Twerps

35. Let It Happen – Tame Impala

36. Lock All The Doors – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

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37. City on the Hill – Desaparecidos

38. The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment – Father John Misty

39. Highway Patrol Stun Gun – Youth Lagoon

40. Fired Up – Titus Andronicus

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41. Willow Lane – Ryan Adams

42. Things Happen – Dawes

43. Realiti – Grimes

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44. Wastes of Time – Elvis Depressedly

45. 24 Frames – Jason Isbell

46. Margarita – Mas Ysa

47. Bad Blood – Ryan Adams

48. Let It Go – James Bay

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49. Silent Key – Frank Turner

50. Trouble – Keith Richards

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Top 10 Quotes from Noel Gallagher’s Esquire UK Interview

Noel Gallagher continues to be the best interview guest ever.  You can find no better Rock star, or any celebrity for that matter, that provides so much entertainment and humor in an interview.  The self proclaimed Last Rock Star sat down with Esquire UK to give one of the best interviews I’ve read in along time Full Esquire Article.  If you have ADD or just want the footnotes here are Noel’s 10 Best Quotes from the interview. (more…)

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Top 10 Blur Songs

Blur take the stage for the first time ever tonight at Madison Square Garden and  we could not be more excited. For some reason Blur never really caught on in the US while other Britpop bands like Oasis and Bush did in the 90’s.

For one of the most influential British bands ever, it has always baffled me as to why their popularity never translated here to the US. Although most of their hit songs are relatively unknown to most Yanks, you will be hard pressed not to be familiar with their only hit song in the US, Song 2 which is played at pretty much every sporting event. We’ve all sung along to the “Woooo Hooo’s” of Song 2 at some point in our lives.

While Song 2 gave them recognition in the US, it made them more of a one hit wonder. Fear not, it’s not too late to jump on the Blur bandwagon. If they keep releasing albums like this years Magic Whip, there still might be some chance that the US finally warms and accepts another British rock import as one of their own. Here is a crash course on the Top 10 Blur songs.

10. There’s No Other Way

9. Country House

8. No Distance Left To Run


7. Beetlebum 

6. Parklife

5. End Of A Century

4. Boys and Girls

3. The Universal

2. Song 2

1. Tender

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Top 10 James Bond Themes Of All Time

Sam Smith released the new Bond theme song, “Writing’s On The Wall” for the upcoming Spectre film today. This immediately had us thinking, “Where does this rank all-time in the Bond theme song hierarchy?” Immediately we started rummaging through the eclectic Bond catalog, and decided to rank the Bond theme songs to determine Sam Smith’s place. Unfortunately for Sam Smith, his new song did not crack the Top 10. Here is our definitive Top 10 Bond Theme Songs of All-Time. What do you think? (more…)