Read Part 1 here
13. In the New Year – The Walkmen
Hamilton's snarl is so damn sexy and menacing. The way he sings “I know it’s true –it’s gonna be a good year” is like a threat. Year, you better be good or I’ll choke you with my bare hands. Meanwhile the shambolic guitars teeter as if on the brink of cautious optimism.
12. Sleepyhead – Passion Pit
Incredibly disorienting on the first listen, but upon closer examination this total mindfuck of electro-pop reveals layers upon layers of hooks. In my utopian world, this is what the future sounds like, or at least it should.
11. Lovecraft in Brooklyn – the Mountain Goats
John Darnielle finally gets his metal on--albeit in a highly literary, detailed narrative of paranoia in the city. Novelistic imagery of switchblades and brains in mason jars abound to genuinely frightening affect. The nearly meta-lyrics ring true: like John, we too are “like genuinely afraid.”
10. 5 Years Time – Noah and the Whale
The whistling intro, the clap-along melody, the Wes Anderson homage video – no doubt about it, this song is what it says: Love, Love Love.
9. Oh My God – Ida Maria
The Norwegian fireball defies you to “find a cure for her life” with raging grrrl power riffs and a smidge of vulnerability. Let us know if you.
8. Little Bit – Lykke Li
Sometimes the most minimal arrangements are the most effective. The sparse cyclical percussion, the whimpering puppy dog vocals that only a Swede can utter, plus those gutsy lyrics about “keeping your legs apart to forget about your tainted heart” all synergistically culminate in an anthemic confessional for the ages.
7. My Year in Lists – Los Campesinos!
Britain's cheekiest youngsters possess the wit or Art Brut and the twee-ness of Architecture in Helsinki and in under two minutes create one of the catchiest, cleverist melodies of the year.
6. Lights and Music – Cut Copy
This song is like a prism that shines rainbows on the dancefloor. It’s a technicolor wonderland of dance-y 80's goodness. How did New Order not record this song?
5. Light of Love – Music Go Music
Abba is reincarnated as a Californian indie-pop band, and sound a whole lot better this time around. The sugary chorus soars with this weird thing called optimism.
4. L.E.S. Artistes – Santogold
Pure empowerment from an electro-new-wave-hip-hop goddess. It’s the very definition of fierce.
3. Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? – She & Him
Old-timey adorableness with a contemporary snap. Makes me wanna hike up my skirt and bat my eyelashes, though somehow I doubt I could beat Zooey in the coy, come-hither department
2. Blind – Hercules & Love Affair ft. Antony Hegarty
Very few songs move me. Even fewer songs get me to move. It is an extremely rare thing when a song accomplishes both. Antony’s operatic vocals humanize the icy synths and bleating horns into six full minutes of pulsating pathos.
1. Lost Coatlines – Okkervil River
This is everything I believed this band could be. With a delicious “Lust for Life” baseline, a lingering coda of “la, la, las”, not one, but two of the sexiest male voices in existence, this is a smart, sad wallop of a song. It won over my heart, my mind and my toe-tapping feet and is best heard in darkness alone.
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