Sunday, December 25, 2011

Best Tracks of 2010

I've decided to start a new year-end tradition.  I'm going to count down the top tracks from the previous year.  Let me be clear.  I'm reviewing the year that ended a full year ago.  I'm not counting down the just-completed year.  It's too soon, and everybody's doing the current year.  They have editors and deadlines.  I don't.  I'm going with the previous year.  I will have had time to catch up and reflect.

So, without further ado, here are the top 40 best tracks of 2010 counted down from #40 to #1:

40) Uneven Light of Day - Howe Gelb & A Band of Gypsies (from Alegrías)
39) We Want War - These New Puritans (from Hidden)
38) From The Mouth Of Gabriel - Sufjan Stevens (from All Delighted People EP)
37) When Will the Sun Shine - Blue Giant (from Blue Giant)
36) Black Venom - The Budos Band (from The Budos Band III)
35) Wagner At The Opera - Chumbawamba (from ABCDEFG)
34) No More Excuses - The Bees (from Every Step's A Yes)
33) Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) - Arcade Fire (from The Suburbs)
32) Alike - Efterklang (from Magic Chairs)
31) Here To Fall (rjd2 Remix) - Yo La Tengo (from Here To Fall Remixes)
30) Bright Lit Blue Skies - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (from Before Today)
29) Duet - Gonjasufi (from A Sufi And A Killer)
28) Tagger - Bizingas (from Bizingas)
27) October - Broken Bells (from Broken Bells)
26) Daisy - Fang Island (from Fang Island)
25) Summer Mood - Best Coast (from Crazy For You)
24) Mossy Woodland - Javelin (from No Más)
23) Tightrope (feat. Big Boi) - Janelle Monáe (from The ArchAndroid)
22) Stranger - Dr. Dog (from Shame, Shame)
21) Rill Rill - Sleigh Bells (from Treats)
20) The Cave - Mumford & Sons (from Sigh No More)
19) I Need A Dollar - Aloe Blacc (from Good Things)
18) Swim Until You Can't See Land - Frightened Rabbit (from The Winter of Mixed Drinks)
17) El Mensajero - Gotan Project (from Tango 3.0)
16) Money - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (from I Learned The Hard Way)
15) Brightest Minds - Department of Eagles (from Brightest Minds)
14) Dust Devil - School of Seven Bells (from Disconnect From Desire)
13) Monkees '67 - Gazetteers (from We Are Here)
12) He's Not A Boy - The Like (from Release Me)
11) Wor - Django Django (from Wor / Skies Over Cairo Single)
10) It Is Not Meant To Be - Tame Impala (from InnerSpeaker)
9) Barely Breathing - The Hold Steady (from Heaven Is Whenever)
8) Marz - John Grant (from Queen of Denmark)
7) King of Spain - The Tallest Man On Earth (from The Wild Hunt)
6) The Polaroid Song - Allo Darlin' (from Allo Darlin')
5) Your Hands (Together) - The New Pornographers (from Together)
4) Back Of My Mind - The Autumn Defense (from Once Around)
3) The Mountain - Wooden Wand (from Death Seat)
2) It Was Easy - Title Tracks (from It Was Easy)
1) Waterfall - The Fresh & Onlys (from Play It Strange)

Check this space in one year to see if the new tradition continues.  Honorable mentions for 2010 go to Deerhunter for "Revival, Caribou for "Jamelia", The Books for "I Didn't Know That", Let's Wrestle for "Song for Old People", and Radio Dept. for "Heaven's On Fire".

Friday, December 23, 2011

Paste Top Songs of 2011

Paste Magazine has released their top 50 songs of 2011.  I really appreciate their willingness to make it a list of songs instead of CDs.  I just downloaded the top 20 (or at least the portion of the top 20 that I didn't already have), and I'm enjoying making my own decisions about their worthiness for the list.

Follow the link for the whole list, but the top 5 are:
1) Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
2) M83 - Midnight City
3) Typhoon - The Honest Truth
4) tUnE-yArDs - Powa
5) Phantogram - Don't Move

None of these were 5 star songs on my iPod, but the Generationals, who came in at #6, do make my short list of 2011 releases with personal 5-star ratings.  Fleet Foxes has 5-star songs too, but not from 2011.  I do see the appeal of their new release, but it's just a bit bland in a late 70s CSN-ish way as opposed to the more interesting CSNY-ish vibe of their first EP.

I'm going to keep M83 and Phantogram on at least medium rotation on the iPod for a while.  I can see how their indie-oriented pop confections could grow on me, but they also might be no better than Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, just with a different target audience.  OK - I paused for a few minutes to watch a few Katy Perry and Lady Gaga videos.  I was unfair to M83 and Phantogram.  They're better than that, but I'm still not sure they belong in a top 5.

I wasn't familiar with tUnE-yArDs, even though it's music tailor-made for former free form DJs (and of course current free form DJs, but I don't know any of them).  I'm on the fence about the 2011 tracks, but I also downloaded some 2009 tUnE-yArDs tracks and I think "Sunlight" may have been one of the many late-decade omissions from my best songs of the 2000s list.  I think I may also like the older Typhoon song I downloaded better than the newer one.  Sometimes I think bands make these lists with their second best records because of critics regrets about omitting their earlier releases which were discovered too late to make any year-end lists.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2011 Year-end Best-of Lists

I feel like the best-of lists are showing up early this year.  I prefer to read them while relaxing after having finished all my Christmas shopping for others while contemplating a post-Christmas record shopping outing on my own.  No such luck this year.  I could only skim the NY Times in a fatigued and harried state before rushing off to a Chuck E Cheese birthday party this morning, but there was at least one new discovery for me.

Like most of blue-state America, I'm pretty oblivious to current country music.  I sit comfortably distant from red states listening to alt-country, but the chasm between commercial-radio country and alt-country is still something I find astounding.  There's virtually no cross-over in either direction.  I think the Pistol Annies could be an exception.  Miranda Lambert is a huge country star, and if she's ever shown up on any NY Times year-end lists, I've certainly missed it.  Her side project, however, showed up on a couple of lists this year, including Ben Ratliff's.

I was intrigued by the write-up and figured it wouldn't be too hard to find a video, and it wasn't.  I hope things slow down enough during the holidays that I can explore the rest of the list and many others as well.  I was very happy with this first discovery.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Zagat's Top 12 Punk Records

Zagat's, the restuarant guide folks, decided to do a music guide a number of years ago.  The copy I have is from 2003.  I don't know if it was ever updated, but this list is from the original 2003 guide.  The guide has the Zagat voters' top 1000 albums of all time, and, like the restaurant guide, there are also lists of the best in various categories.  Here's the top 12 for punk.

The Clash - London Calling
The Ramones - Ramones Mania
The Ramones - Ramones
Patti Smith - Horses
The Clash - The Clash
Television - Marquee Moon
Buzzcocks - Singles Going Steady
X - Wild Gift
The Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks
MC5 - Kick Out the Jams
Bad Brains - I Against I
Patty Smith - Easter

The misspelling of Patti on that last one is a direct transcription from the guide.  I decided to retain it.  It's a good list, but it's also a kind of bland list.  The two surprises were "I Against I" and "Singles Going Steady".  Most of the list is from the late 70s.  The Bad Brains "I Against I" from 1986 is 5 years less old than anything else on the list.  I agree it's their best album, and has a legit claim to be on this list, but it's often overlooked in favor of their earlier records.

I was disappointed, but unsurprised, to find Husker Du, the Minutemen, and Pere Ubu missing from the list.  The Bad Brains were the only inclusion on the punk list who weren't on a major label.  Husker Du's "New Day Rising" is in the top 12 on Zagat's Garage/Underground list.  Production values were one of 3 Zagat's ratings categories, which had to really hurt the earlier Husker Du records.

The other record that surprised me was "Singles Going Steady".  Compilations are mostly ignored on critics lists.  This one is unique because this is the only full-length LP that included most of these singles, but it's still a compilation.  There are a lot of other less ambiguous compilations that show up on the Zagat's best of lists.  The Jam's "The Jam Collection" is, for instance, #3 on the list of top 12 new wave records.  Bo Diddley's "The Chess Box" is #2 on the oldies list behind Elvis's 1968 TV Special.

Like the restaurant guide, there are pithy comments from the vast pool of raters.  One of my favorite comments describes The Jam as "perhaps the greatest British band to completely strike out in the U.S."  So true, so true.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

100 Greatest Rock Guitarists

Rolling Stone magazine is out with a list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists.  I saw the issue in the 7-11 the other day, but I bought some beer instead.  Listology is a site I have not explored, but I think I should.  Here's some commentary somebody posted on the 100 guitarist list, and I expect it may be at least as interesting as whatever Rolling Stone had to say.

I agree with the commentator that Rolling Stone put Kurt Cobain too high and put Eddie Van Halen too low.  It's a list of best guitarists, not a list of which band put out more schlock.  I was a little disappointed that the commentator didn't have more to say about Link Wray at #67.  I think that's too low.  I also agree that David Gilmour is too low at #82.

It's interesting that Greg Ginn and D. Boon make the list, but Bob Mould does not.  This was not noticed by the commentator, who did not know who D. Boon was.  I think it's quite magnanimous of me, really, to be saying so many nice things about a commentator who doesn't know D. Boon, but indie credibility is pretty unimportant for evaluating a list of rock guitarists.  I could make a case for Nick Salamon (Bevis Frond) being on the list or maybe Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo) or Doug Martsch (Built to Spill), but I don't feel all that strongly about it.  Fred Frith and Gary Lucas should both be there, but you can't fault a mainstream publication for ignoring the avant-garde.

Oops - just did a bit more exploring and I find that the commentary on listology is from 2003.  The new 2011 Rolling Stone list appears to be pretty different from the 2003 list.  I'll need to come back to this with more commentary later.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Top 25 Jazz Albums of All Time

Here's a list of the top 25 jazz albums of all time.  When I eventually get around to making my top songs of the 60s list, the relative ranking of jazz and pop songs is going to present one of the biggest challenges.  There were a few jazz tracks that made my 80s list, and most of them were admittedly somewhat obscure.  I think there were even fewer from the 70s, which I do not generally consider to have been a good decade for jazz.  Fusion started out with terrific potential with tracks like Miles Davis's "Right Off" from "A Tribute to Jack Johnson", but it rapidly turned into mush.  Some artistically interesting shifts were taking place in experimental jazz, but not much of it translated to individually great tracks.

The late 50s and early 60s, on the other hand (after the peak of Sun Records and before the British Invasion) was a time when many of the very best records of any genre were jazz records.  The list to which I provided a link doesn't have dates for every recording, so I'll do that in re-listing their top 25 below.  It's not totally clear that their list is ordered, but I'm going to assume it is.

1) Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (1959)
2) John Coltrane - A Love Supreme (1965)
3) Dave Brubeck - Time Out (1959)
4) Duke Ellington - Ellington at Newport (1956)
5) Charlie Parker - Jazz at Massie Hall (released 1967, recorded 1953)
6) Herbie Hancock - Headhunters (1973)
7) John Coltrane - Blue Train (1957)
8) Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto - Getz/Gilberto (1964)
9) Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um (1959)
10) Errol Garner - Concert By The Sea (1956)
11) Miles Davis - Bitches Brew (1970)
12) Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus (1956)
13) Art Blakey - Moanin' (1958)
14) Clifford Brown - Clifford Brown and Max Roach (1955)
15) Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane - At Carnegie Hall (released 2005, recorded 1957)
16) Hank Mobley - Soul Station (1960)
17) Cannonball Adderly - Somthin' Else (1958)
18) Wayne Shorter - Speak No Evil (1964)
19) Miles Davis - Birth of Cool (1956)
20) Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage (1965)
21) Vince Guaraldi - A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1964)
22) Eric Dolphy - Out to Lunch (1964)
23) Oliver Nelson - Blues and the Abstract Truth (1961)
24) Dexter Gordon - Go! (1962)
25) Sarah Vaughan - Sarah Vaughan and Clifford Brown (1955)

Not counting the two releases for which the recording and release were more than a decade apart, that give us 12 records from the late 50s (55-59), 7 records from the early 60s (60-64), 2 from the late 60s (65-69), and 2 from the early 70s (70-74).  The absence of records from before 1955 reflects, I think, the era of the album.  In fact, the inclusion of live Parker and Ellington recordings here feels a tad forced, recognizing that their absence would be noticed even though their heyday preceded the heyday of the record album.

The near absence of the 70s and complete absence of the 80s and 90s, I believe reflects quality, but it also reflects that the best jazz of the 80s never found a mainstream audience.  To the extent that any jazz is mainstream, everything on this list is well within the mainstream.  Later artists such as David Murray and Cassandra Wilson had some mainstream success, but their really great records did not have any mainstream success.  Sun Ra was one of the few artists from the 50s and 60s who stayed creative into the 80s, but there's not much of a case to include his 80s work when the earlier work is also absent here.

All in all, I would say this is a very fair list and virtually every record here has the potential to contribute to my own 60s and 50s lists when I get around to making them.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Brazil Top 100

While record shopping at Amoeba today, I saw that they had posted Rolling Stone Brazil's top 100 Brazilian records of all time.  I was excited to see that the records I recognized were all ones that I also think are great, and disappointed to find that, even at Amoeba, the others weren't in stock.  Maybe too many other before me had seen the list and rifled through the CD rack.

I found the list on the internet here.  Unlike the sign at Amoeba, the list doesn't have the years of the recordings, but it's dominated by recordings from the early 70s and late 60s, the peak of Tropicalia.  Jorge Ben, Caetano Veloso, Os Mutantes, Rita Lee, and Gal Costa are the artists I already know and love that are in the top 20.  I have a feeling my boycott of Amazon might make it hard to track down some of the others, but I'm going to try.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

NME's Top 150 Tracks of the last 15 years (1996-2011)

NME has posted their top 150 tracks of the past 15 years.  It's an interesting list, in part, because of how badly the last two decades are underrepresented in Rolling Stones top 500 song list, even in the 2010 update.  As one might expect, it's overly dominated by British guitar bands, especially ones that were edgy enough to stay off the US pop charts, but not edgy enough to stay off the UK pop charts.

Among the top 10, we find the Libertines (not in the Rolling Stones top 500), the Verve (#392 RS greatest songs of all time), Amy Winehouse (RS #194), Hot Chip (not on RS list), The White Stripes (#286 RS with a different song), The Killers (not on the RS list), The Strokes (RS #478), Outkast (RS #182), Arcade Fire (not on the RS list), and Radiohead (#257 on the RS list).  I was surprised the Arctic Monkeys didn't make the top 10 for NME, but they're right there at #11.  They don't make the RS list.  They should.

Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" the only song on the RS top 500 from the last 15 years (coming in at #100 no less) is at #32 on the NME list.  So the fair comparison here is that RS puts Crazy at #1 for the last 15 years vs. NME putting it at #32.  It was at #27 on my own list of the top 300 of the 2000s, but most of the songs and artists ahead of it aren't on either the NME or RS lists.  If we restrict to the sorts of artists that RS and NME care about, I think RS came closer to getting that one right ('cuz you know there's a right and wrong here, right?).

The NME webpage is nice if you want links to youtube videos and you want to view it as a countdown ten songs at a time.  If you want to skim the list with fewer clicks, it's available in more of a list format at Vinyl Surrender.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

One Hit Classic Rock Wonders

For all the interest in one-hit-wonders, the topic is always narrowly defined as artists who had one big top 40 hit.  I've always wondered about those bands who were mostly album rock bands, who toured a lot, and had a following, and weren't generally flash in the pans, who have just one song regularly played on classic rock radio.

Towards this end, I've gone through the bonus section on Classic Rock Tracks (1964-1980) from Joel Whitburn's "Rock Tracks" book.  The book is mostly a compilation of the chart histories for the Billboard "Mainstream Rock" and "Modern Rock" charts.  It's not actually clear how the Classic Rock Tracks list was compiled, but I think it's a nice list.  Here is every artist that is listed once and only once on that list with a classic rock track from the 60s or 70s (in alphabetical order).

Ace - How Long (75)
Gregg Allman - Midnight Rider (73)
Amboy Dukes - Journey to the Center of Your Mind (68)
Argent - Hold Your Head Up (72)
Average White Band - Pick Up The Pieces (74)
Elvin Bishop - Fooled Around and Fell In Love (76)
Black Oak Arkansas - Jim Dandy (73)
Blind Faith - Can't Find My Way Home (69)
Blue Cheer - Summertime Blues (68)
Blues Image - Ride Captain Ride (70)
Blues Magoos - (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet (67)
Brownsville Station - Smokin' int he Boys Room (73)
Bubble Puppy - Hot Smoke & Sassafrass (69)
Climax Blues Band - Couldn't Get It Right (77)
Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen - Hot Rod Lincoln (72)
Crow - Evil Woman Don't Play Your Games With Me (69)
Rick Derringer - Rock and Roll, Hootchie Koo (74)
Dire Straits - Sultans of Swing (79)
Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show - The Cover of Rolling Stone (73)
Dr. John - Right Place, Wrong Time (73)
The Easybeats - Friday on My Mind (67)
Dave Edmunds - I Hear You Knockin' (71)
The Electric Prunes - I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night (67)
David Essex - Rock On (74)
Fever Tree - San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native) (68)
Five Man Electrical Band - Signs (71)
Focus - Hocus Pocus (73)
Dan Fogelberg - Part of the Plan (75)
Free - All Right Now (70)
Ace Frehley - New York Groove (78)
Frijid Pink - House of the Rising Sun (70)
Gary Glitter - Rock and Roll Part 2 (72)
Golden Earring - Radar Love (74)
Norman Greenbaum - Spirit in the Sky (70)
The Hollies - Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress) (72)
The Ides of March - Vehicle (70)
Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (68)
It's a Beautiful Day - White Bird (69)
Joe Jackson - Is She Really Going Out With Him? (79)
Tom Johnston - Savannah Nights (79)
Rickie Lee Jones - Chuck E.'s in Love (79)
King Crimson - Court of the Crimson King (69)
Lighthouse - One Fine Morning (71)
Nick Lowe - Cruel to Be Kind (79)
MC5 - Kick Out the Jams (69)
McGuinn, Clark, & Hillman - Don't You Write Her Off (79)
Don McLean - American Pie (72)
Lee Michaels - Do You Know What I Mean (71)
Molly Hatchet - Flirtin' With Disaster (79)
Mott the Hoople - All The Young Dudes (72)
Mountain - Mississippi Queen (70)
Graham Nash - Chicago (71)
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Mr. Bojangles (71)
Orleans - Dance With Me (75)
Pure Prarie League - Amie (75)
Question Mark and the Mysterians - 96 Tears (66)
Quicksilver Messenger Service - Fresh Air (70)
Rainbow - Since You Been Gone (79)
Ram Jam - Black Betty (77)
Rockets - Oh Well (79)
Roxy Music - Love is the Drug (76)
Leon Russell - Tight Rope (72)
Sanford/Townsend Band - Smoke From a Distant Fire (77)
The Seeds - Pushin' Too Hard (67)
The Shadows of Knight - Gloria (66)
Carly Simon - You're So Vain (73)
Small Faces - Itchycoo Park (68)
Patti Smith Group - Because the Night (78)
Sniff 'N' The Tears - Driver's Seat (79)
The Status Quo - Pictures of Matchstick Men (68)
Stealer's Wheel - Stuck in the Middle With You (73)
Al Stewart - Year of the Cat (77)
Strawberry Alarm Clock - Incense and Peppermints (67)
Sugarloaf - Green-Eyed Lady (70)
Ten Years After - I'd Love to Change the World (71)
Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back in Town (76)
Thunderclap Newman - Something in the Air (69)
Pat Travers Band - Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights) (79)
T. Rex - Bang a Gong (72)
The Troggs - Wild Thing (66)
Vanilla Fudge - You Keep Me Hangin' On (67)
Wet Willie - Keep On Smilin' (74)
The Youngbloods - Get Together (67)

Because of the criteria I chose, there are definitely some artists that don't make sense on this list.  This would include individuals or groups that made it big previously or later as part of a group or as a solo act.  It also includes artists that had other hits that just weren't rock hits and a number of artists that avoided one-hit-wonder status by having more hits in the 80s.  Nonetheless, I think this is an interesting collection of songs and artists, many of whom have interesting stories, stories that won't be told on VH1 due to the lack of video evidence.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Best New Wave Albums: US vs. UK Voters

Rate Your Music has a feature that allows users to see the average ratings for albums ranked not just by genre, but also by the country of the voters.  Because ratings are always being added by RYM users, this is not a static list, so you may see slightly different results than I'm talking about here when you click the links, depending on when you're reading this.

I was curious about the best new wave albums as voted by US versus UK voters.  If you look at the US voting, there are 3 Talking Heads records and 3 Elvis Costello records in the top 6.  The Cars come in at #7 and The Pretenders at #8.  The highest The Jam charts is #23.

If you look at the UK voting, I was amazed that Talking Heads still manage 3 of the top 6 albums with Ian Dury, Blondie, and New Order rounding out the top 6.  Elvis is 7th in the UK.  The Jam are there at #8 followed by XTC and The Stranglers.  The Cars show up at #52 in the UK while New Order shows up at #41 in the US.  Ian Dury just barely manages to creep into the top 100 (at #100) in the US.

Talking Heads are also #1 among German voters, and The Feelies (!?) are #2 in Germany with the B-52s at #4.  Japan also gives Talking Heads the top spot and 4 of the top 7 spots.  Japan comes in at #24 in Japan.  Talking Heads are way on top in Australia as well and Split Enz surprisingly couldn't manage any better than #24 there.  In New Zealand, Split Enz come in at #2.

I don't really understand how RYM makes its charts.  Even in Ukraine, Talking Heads are #1, but there's a band with a name I can't spell with the english alphabet that has 4 albums in the top 10 with higher ratings.  I guess their algorithm must involve both average rating and number of ratings.  Anyway, the Talking Heads global dominance in this category is simply astounding.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

1977: List and Music

The narration in the audio for this list isn't in English, so I'm not sure if it's a countdown or a best-of list or if it's just a thematic internet radio show, but I do like it.  It's quite a good mix of some of the very best songs from 1977.  There are too few lists out there that have the likes of Bill Withers, Johnny Paycheck, Suicide, and Peter Gabriel all together, but that's what you need to do if you're going to capture a year.  You can find other years on the same site.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The 30 Best Rock Songs of the 1960s

It's strange that YouTube is the easiest place to find most songs on the internet.  As a result, I often provide links to songs on YouTube, lacking other good alternatives.  I have also, myself, uploaded a number of videos to YouTube with photos of records.  I may find YouTube aesthetically displeasing, but I'm a pragmatist.

In an ideal world, with more music for listening and fewer videos for watching, I think I would still appreciate YouTube's potential for countdowns.  I've always loved countdowns.  They are not simply lists, but lists with drama and suspense.  Just this morning, I enjoyed this 8 minute YouTube video counting down the top 30 rock songs of the 1960s.

I think I'll hold my commentary on it back for a little while in case any readers wish to enjoy the suspense of the countdown themselves.  I will say that almost all of the songs in the top 30 are ones I will be seriously considering for my own top 300 or top 500 once I get up the energy and gumption to tackle the 60s, as I have already done with the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Paste Magazine's Best Albums of the 2000s

Paste magazine published a list of the top 50 albums of the 2000s (2000-2009).  Sadly, we have to specify the exact range of years because it's the decade that never got named.  Here's their top 10 with Sufjan Stevens at #1.  I have a lot of trouble thinking about the best albums of the 2000s because I stopped listening to albums early in the 2000s.

In fact, some of the last CDs that I listened to over and over again all the way through are from 2000 or 2001.  Even then, I mostly only listened to single CDs when I was somewhere the speakers connected to my 400-CD-changer couldn't reach.  There should be a museum of the most rapidly obsolete technology for items like that 400-CD changer.

Anyway, back in 2000 or maybe 2001, when I was digging a hole for the sump pump in the crawl space of our new house, I had a boom box that I listened to under the house.  Ryan Adams' "Gold" and the Old 97's' "Satellite Rides" were my digging music.  Nothing really says "I just spent all my money and left the city and now I'm getting muddy and my back hurts" like major label alt-country CDs.  Ryan Adams' "Heartbreaker" make the Paste list at #23, and that is a good record, but "Gold" was better digging music.

I think Paste left off Neko Case.  Maybe I just don't understand the Paste demographic, but I think Neko Case had at least two CDs, if not 3, that could have been strong contenders for best of the decade.  Sharon Jones and Calexico are also surprisingly absent.  I'm not saying this just because they would have been on my own list.  I'm saying they seem like the sort of artistis who belong on a Paste list.  I'm interested in their selection of Outkast at #8 with Stankonia.  Would that have made their top 10 if Outkast hadn't broken through commercially with "Hey Ya" later in the decade?

In any case, CDs just don't work well for me as the unit to be ranked, especially for the 2000s.  That's why when I made my list I made it a best 300 songs list.  Nonetheless, the Paste list did remind me of a number of records I've been meaning to get around to listening to someday.  Rufus Wainright is on their list at #16.  I assume from what I read about him that I'd like Rufus, but I've just never gotten around to buying any of his stuff.  Maybe if I do I'll feel he was cheated out of a spot on my own best of the decade list.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Best Prog Rock Albums

This site is ambitious, fascinating, and not always successful artistically, much like prog rock itself.  Like Vinyl Surrender, another site that I like, the rankings are based on site member votes, so the list is not static.  Unlike Vinyl Surrender, this is a deep, deep dive into one musical genre and it's many sub-genres.  In addition to seeing the top prog rock albums, you can subset by subgenre to just see the top albums from the Canterbury Scene, or from Krautrock, or from RIO.

As of today (Sept 11, 2011), the top 10 prog rock albums on the site are:

10) Godbluff - Van Der Graaf Generator
9) King Crimson - Red
8) Pink Floyd - Animals
7) Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
6) King Crimson - In The Court of the Crimson King
5) Genesis - Foxtrot
4) Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
3) Genesis - Selling England By The Pound
2) Jethro Tull - Thick as a Brick
1) Yes - Close To the Edge

I have to say that I'm disappointed that even when I subset on Rock In Opposition (RIO), Henry Cow's "In Praise of Learning" only comes in at #115.  Keep in mind that the list changes as the votes come in, so it may be a little higher or lower than #115 when you read this.  Their later album "Western Culture" fared better, but I've always preferred the three sock albums, and I've always felt that Henry Cow was the archetypal RIO band more so than any other.

Prog rock has a lot in common with Metal in terms of being a critically maligned and/or ignored genre.  They are also genres with relatively few female fans and overwhelmingly white audiences.  Maybe rock critics, who are also disproportionately male, are trying to hide from their music geekdom by rejecting these genres.

There was a good bit of prog rock on my best of the 70s list, but I also left out some major prog rock bands entirely.  I'm not entirely sure what makes the difference between complex and challenging RIO that's enjoyable and complex and challenging commercial prog rock that's annoying, but this site has plenty of both to explore.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day

I found this list of work songs that somebody posted for a previous Labor Day.  Some are better than others, but there are some good ones I hadn't thought of myself (e.g. Dylan's "Maggie's Farm").

Some more obscure choices I would add to the list are:

Spot 1019 - Wild Wild Workweek
Nothing Painted Blue - Swivel chairs
Vehicle Flips - Expendable You
Lou Reed and John Cale - Work
Robert Wyatt - Age of Self
Redskins - Go Get Organised
Billy Bragg - Which Side Are You On
Pete Seeger - Which Side Are You On
Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys - I'm Working On a Building
Eggs - Government Administrator

Lastly, an honorable mention goes to the Bill Laswell instrumental "Work Song" that was the WRCT radio calendar music for much of the 1980s.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Top 25 Indie Rock Albums

Here's a list of the Top 25 Indie Rock Albums.  It's not an individual's list.  It was based on solicited votes from blog readers.  I don't particularly care for the fact that 3 bands show up twice, but I don't think the compiler/poster of the list liked that that much either - it was an earnest attempt at democracy.  It's reasonable that Pavement was one of the 3 to make the list with two albums.  It's unsurprising that Modest Mouse was one of the 3, and I still just don't get the Pixies.

Nonetheless, it's a pretty good list.  Identifying the best indie rock can be a bit challenging because some of the best bands reached a point where they weren't quite so indie.  You can take a look at the list yourself if you want to see the actual albums, but the top 10 were from these artists:

10) Minutemen
9) Pavement
8) Pixies
7) Postal Service
6) Belle & Sebastian
5) Sonic Youth
4) Modest Mouse
3) Arcade Fire
2) Pavement
1) Neutral Milk Hotel

I guess you can make a case for the Minutemen on this list in the same way that you can make a case for the MC5 or the Stooges on a list of great punk bands, but D. Boon had already died before the term "indie rock" was in regular use.  Sonic Youth also doesn't work for me on this list even though they did thrive into the indie rock era.  You can call them noise rock or underground rock or maybe even college rock, but they just don't fit my definition of indie rock.

I need to dig through my old issues of Option, Sound Choice, and Forced Exposure that I've held onto all these years to see if any of them were using the term indie rock in the 80s.  The term independent was definitely in widespread use, and I can't quibble with the notion of indie bands, but I just don't remember anybody talking about "indie rock" in the 80s.  Could those of you that remember the 80s weigh in here?  I'd like some comments on this.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Most Rockin' Rock and Roll Songs

I stumbled upon this interesting list of 15 songs today (link temporarily removed because it isn't working properly).  I like the idea of selecting the most rockin' songs as opposed to the best or greatest or most important.  It's a good criterion for putting songs head to head and making a choice about which one comes out on top.  You might think such a list could lack of diversity, but here's the list of the 15 artists on the list:

Iggy and the Stooges
Bo Diddley
Jimi Hendrix Experience
Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Howlin' Wolf
The Groundhogs
The Ramones
The Kinks
Little Richard
Sly and the Family Stone
Black Sabbath

Entertainingly the list, billed as the 15 Most Rockin'..., actually has 16 entries.  I think it might be like the Spinal Tap amp that goes to 11.  As the one obscure entry on the list, and a band I didn't know, I thought the Groundhogs might have been a current local band that the list author just happened to know and like, but the song is from 1966 and I have to say it does rock.

There's no hardcore on the list, so it doesn't include Minor Threat, Husker Du, Government Issue, Bad Brains, or Black Flag among other potential contenders.  On the classic rock end of the spectrum, it doesn't include Zeppelin, The Stones, or The Who.  As much as I love the Kinks, I don't think you can really include them at the expense of the others.

I thought the AC/DC choice was interesting, and I was pleased to find affirmation in this video of somebody's top 10 AC/DC songs, which does not include "It’s A Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock n Roll)".

The list had more proto-punk (MC5 and the Stooges) than punk (Ramones), and I think the Ramones "Blitzkrieg Bop", while a perfectly peppy punk rock classic, is not as rockin' as the most rockin' New York Dolls, Clash, Jam, Pere Ubu, or Dead Boys from roughly the same period.

On the early end of the time spectrum, I was glad one commenter mentioned Link Wray.  What could be more rockin' than an instrumental so menacing it was banned.

 I'm not sure what to think of the lack of metal on the list, apart from Sabbath and Motorhead.  I guess a real metal head would have made it an all-metal list, and I find few people who only have a passing interest in metal.  I still would have had to give Metallica and Judas Priest some consideration.

Lastly, I must consider the Beatles, because I always, always consider the Beatles.  The candidate Beatles songs for such a list are probably "Come Together", "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", and "Helter Skelter".  It's tempting to consider "Revolution" on the strength of the opening scream alone, but I am aware of the need to keep my Beatles-bias at least partially in check.

Then again, this is a list without Zeppelin, The Who, or The Stones.  I know I already said that, but I think you've got to figure out where they fit in before contemplating the Beatles.  Seriously, it's a very good list, but no Zeppelin.  I was feeling a lot better about the unusual inclusion of the Groundhogs before I began to stew about Zeppelin.  No Cream either.  You've got to think about Cream I think.  I'll stop now.  You could start though if you wanted.  This page is now open for comments.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How Not to Make a Top Ten List: Brian Wilson in His Own Room

The Rolling Stone Magazine special issue with the 500 greatest songs of all time includes top 10 lists from a number of individuals.  One of those is Brian Wilson (from the Beach Boys, not the SF Giant's blackbearded closer).  Here's his top 10:

1) The Ronettes - Be My Baby ('63)
2) The Righteous Brothers - You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' ('64)
3) The Ronettes - Walking in the Rain ('64)
4) The Crystals - Da Doo Ron Ron ('63)
5) Ike and Tina Turner - River Deep, Mountain High ('66)
6) The Beatles - She's Leaving Home ('67)
7) The Beach Boys - California Girls ('65)
8) The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations ('67)
9) The Beach Boys - I Get Around ('64)
10) The Beach Boys - Surfer Girl ('63)

There isn't a Kanye West list in the issue, but one imagines that even Kanye might have resisted including 4 of his own songs in the top 10.  Then again, maybe not.  It would be a healthy competition for a future issue.  Of the 6 non-Beach Boys songs on the list, 2 are from one artist and five of the six were produced by Phil Spector, so we're left with a top 10 list with 5 total artists or just 3 total artists depending on how much you consider Phil Spector the actual artist for the songs he produced.

The magazine doesn't list the dates, so I looked them all up to confirm my suspicion that the list only covers a five year span.  There's a strong case to be made that the quality of pop/rock songwriting and recording peaked in the mid 60s.  Almost 40% (195 out of 500) of the magazine's 500 greatest songs are from the 60s compared to only 55 from the 1980s and 21 from the 1990s.  I wonder though if these are really the greatest songs or simply the songs that most of us know.  The divergence of pop culture into niche markets, even the current cult of Brian-Wilson-worshipping indie bands, makes it hard to for any song to achieve "greatness" on the scale of the 60s classics.  The songs and recordings may be extraordinarily good, but "great" has a certain weight to it.

Brian Wilson clearly carries his own heavy weights and probably doesn't manage the load all that well.  I feel a bit like a playground bully, therefore, critiquing his list making.  It's nearly as unfair as it would be if he critiqued my songwriting.  Of course, I needn't worry about that since he apparently quit listening to music when I was still a toddler.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Searchable Database of the 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made

I've mentioned before that I'm a statistician.  As a result, I do a lot of SAS programming, and every so often I've presented a paper at one of SAS's conferences.  You may ask what in the world this has to do with a list of the 1001 greatest singles ever made.  Lex Jensen has created a fascinating home page with lots of information about two different areas.  One part of it is totally SAS focused.  There's a way to search for papers presented at any SAS conference.  I was able to track down my own papers more easily through this site than I possibly could have going through my own computer files.  He's also created a lot of cool links to music lists, especially one particular Dave Marsh list.

Among the many music references on my shelf, I do not have Dave Marsh's book on the 1001 greatest singles ever made.  Dave Marsh comes from a generation of music critics that overvalues 60s soul at the expense of rock music (and specifically at the expense of rock, as opposed to rock and roll).  That's fine.  There are plenty of others who place far too little value on 60s soul, but you have to accept that Marsh's rankings come with that bias.  Even among better known white artists, Bruce Springsteen manages to crack the top 25, while the Beatles do not, and I have to assume it's because Bruce does that soulful thing that Marsh digs better than the Beatles.

Anyway, back to Lex Jensen.  He's created a really neat searchable database of Dave Marsh's list, so I could quickly verify that there were 3 Beatles songs in the top 100, 3 Aretha Franklin songs in the top 100, and 3 Marvin Gaye songs in the top 100.  Dave Marsh also has a pretty heavy pro-American, anti-British bias.  The fact that Bob Seger has 4 songs on the list while The Jam have none makes that case reasonably well, but he does let The Clash in with 3 songs.  It's a really, really, big list.  I haven't digested it all yet, but that's what makes Lex's database so nice to have available.  Have some fun doing some searching on your own (for either music lists or SAS papers - it's so rare you have the choice, so use it wisely).

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Top Ten Beatles Songs

One of the many challenges I expect to face when I eventually get around to making a top 500 of the 60s is ranking Beatles songs.  It was challenging enough just having to size up the one new Beatles recording from the 70s against the rest of that decade.  I ended up placing Let It Be at number 5 for the decade in my best-of-the-70s list behind four punk era songs, but if I had had more than one Beatles album to choose from, it's tough to guess how they would have fared in head to head competition with the best that early punk had to offer.

As reported by CNN, Rolling Stone magazine took on the task last year of ranking the top 100 Beatles songs, and the CNN report lists the top 10.  Two George Harrison songs make the top 10, which I think is at least one too many.  I'm reasonably satisfied with "A Day in the Life" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" at #1 and #2.  Apart from "Come Together" at #9, the rest of the list is overweighted with their quieter songs.  It seems bizarre to say, but I think the Beatles are really underappreciated as a rock band.  McCartney's ability to write phenomenal pop songs and Lennon's ability to think globally and act (write) introspectively, particularly in their later years, leads to lists like this one that are heavy on what I think of as Blue Album material and light on Red Album material.

The blue and red albums, a pair of double albums released by Capitol in 1973, were actually called "1962-1966" and "1967-1970" respectively.  When I was a kid, I owned the Blue Album and my best friend owned the Red Album, and I think I thought of myself as more of a Blue Album kind of guy up until at least the early 90s.  The early Beatles made a big resurgence in my personal music rankings in the mid to late 90s.  The CD set "Live at the BBC" and the movie Backbeat, both released in 1994, were major tipping points.  Joining a band around the same time also gave me a new appreciation of the effort required to be a good unit, as opposed to merely being a collection of creative individuals.  The early Beatles were the former and the later Beatles were the latter.

It's interesting that Rolling Stone notes that "A Day In the Life" was among the finest collaborations between Lennon and McCartney, while ranking it #1, yet little else on the list reflect their true collaborations because of the dominance of the later material.  The collaborations also get fewer spots because of the decision to give George Harrison two slots.  For those interested in who actually wrote what in the later years of The Beatles, Walter Everett's book The Beatles as Musicians is a nice reference.  The Beatles of the Blue Album were undoubtedly more sophisticated, and in many ways a lot more interesting, but at the end of the day when ranking songs, I think the Red Album Beatles got short shrift.

Early Beatles songs are currently coming out slightly better at Vinyl Surrender, but I Want to Hold Your Hand in inexplicably absent from the top 10 for the moment.  Sometime within the next year or so I'll make my best-of-the-sixties list, and we'll find out if I'm a hypocrite or not.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The 250 Greatest New Wave Songs

Having made my own 80s list and having perused the web for other 80s list, one confounding factor in the ordering of such lists appears to be the issue of whether a song was a really good song that happened to be made in the 80's versus whether or not the song exuded eightiesness, however one might choose to define eightiesness.  I think there are at least three schools of how eightiesness can be archetyped.  There's the 80's archetype of big hair pop metal bands like Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Ratt, etc.  There's the 80's archetype of mid-80s MTV megastars like Madonna and Michael Jackson, and then there's the 80's archetype of early 80's MTV new wave bands.  The latter category is probably the only one I find terribly interesting.

Though not explicitly defined as an 80s list, and though the #1 song is actually from the late 70s, I was impressed with this post on the 250 Greatest New Wave Songs.  There are short comments on the first 45 songs on the list, most of which I thought were right on target.  I wouldn't have put the Talking Heads in the top 5 myself.  They would be in my no-wave top 5 [correction Apr 2013: that would have been wrong, but this is why I've always been confused], but this list quite reasonably views new wave a bit more broadly.  I'd also have the Human League higher up than #22, probably in the top 5.  Heaven 17 is missing from the list itself, but they're well represented by commenters.

I found Safety Dance at #6 affirming.  There was a brief time that that was my very favorite song.  In the short run, it did not stand the test of time well at all, but in the long run, it turns out that it may legitimately help define an era.  The Smiths at #13 and The Violent Femmes at #16 are a bit questionable on account of them not being new-wavey enough to chart so high, but I'm surprisingly unbothered by The Clash at #17 with "Rocking the Casbah".  I would have balked at earlier Clash songs making the list, but they were pretty indistinguishable from a new wave band by the time they were on MTV with "Rocking the Casbah".

Flock of Seagulls is way too low at #134.  I realize it's a song list and not a fashion list, but their sound is synonymous with their new wave hairdos for me.  David Bowie's "Let Dance", a top 10 contender in my opinion, is missing, but other songs from the album make the list, and I can't complain about lists that try to avoid oversaturation with individual albums.  The Psychedelic Furs show up only once (at #49 with the wrong song), and Bauhaus and Siouxie and the Banshees are mysteriously absent.  Cross-over to commercial radio may have been a bigger factor in the rankings than I would have made it.  Martha and the Muffins are also missing from the list, but they show up in a couple of comments.

What do you think?  If it's a new wave list as opposed to an eighties list, who moves up the chart the most?  Who is borderline for making it as a new wave act?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Top 200 Songs of the 1980s from Vinyl Surrender Voters

When I look at other sites with music lists, particularly best-of-the-decade or best-ever type lists, I mostly look at two things.  I'm interested in the amount of overlap with my lists and I'm interested in their approach and the care they put into developing the lists.  Recently, I was looking at a site called Vinyl Surrender, especially the Top 200 Songs of the 1980s compared to my list of the Top 500 Songs of the 1980s.

In terms of care and approach, this is a really excellent site.  He's even got an FAQ, and the links to other music lists are quite handy.  I gather that the top songs of the decades lists incorporate site member voting.  That explains why some very, very popular songs are at the top, but it makes the oddities all the more difficult to explain.  I'll say a bit more about that shortly.

In terms of the comparison, I think the Vinyl Surrender list is not static due to ongoing voting, so this could change after I post this, but for now here's how his top 10 stacks up against my overall list and visa versa.

At #1, #2, and #3 on the Vinyl Surrender chart, U2's "With or Without You", Guns'n'Roses "Sweet Child of Mine", and Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" did not make my list at all, but other songs by all 3 artists do appear on my list.  At #4, inexplicably ranked among other megastar artists, the Stranglers make the Vinyl Surrender list with "Golden Brown".  I had it at #239 on my list and I agree it's a great song, but I was startled to see it here so high.  He's got Tom Petty and #5, and I apparently don't have any Tom Petty on my 80s list.  That feels like a possible oversight on my part, but he is at least on my 70s list.

Rounding out the top 10, Vinyl Surrender (as of July 24, 2011) had The Cure, U2 (again), Michael Jackson, The Cure (again), and Phil Collins 1989 track "Another Day in Paradise".  Phil Collins' "Something in the Air" just missed the cut on my top 500 list, but none of the dreck he made in the late 80s got any consideration on my list.  Michael Jackson did make my list, but "Billie Jean" lost out due to my one-song-per-album restriction.

The Cure also makes my 80s list, but "Boys Don't Cry" (#6 on the Vinyl Surrender list) is not on my 80s list.  It's a great song, so why isn't it on my 80s list?  It's #94 on my 70s list!  I guess it's an issue of US vs. UK release dates and/or 7-inch versus LP release dates.  I had trouble with this issue for a number of tracks on my lists with turn-of-the-decade songs.  At #11, we come to the first song on his list that made the top 100 on my 80s list (The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams", which came it at #81 for me).

So let's see how the matches go when we turn it around the other way.  As I noted in my interview, the best punk songs rose to the top of my list in head to head matchups with the best non-punk songs, and punk doesn't fare so well with the voters at Vinyl Surrender.  From my top 10, Husker Du, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, and Mission of Burma (#1, 3, 5, and 8) don't have any representation at all on the Vinyl Surrender list.  My #2 ("Love Will Tear Us Apart" from Joy Division) is #15 on the Vinyl Surrender list, which I believe gives it the highest combined ranking of any song on the two lists.  My #4 (The Jam's "That's Entertainment") comes in at #124 on the other list, although The Jam makes the top 40 of both lists because "A Town Called Malice" is at #31 on the Vinyl Surrender list.

The Violent Femmes are in my top 10 and absent from Vinyl Surrender.  R.E.M. and The The, part of my top 10, make the Vinyl Surrender list with different songs, other than those in my top 10.  Skeleton Crew, far and away the most idiosyncratic choice in my top 10, is unsurprisingly absent from the Vinyl Surrender list.

I'm looking forward to doing this comparison with the other Vinyl Surrender lists another day.  If you love music lists, this site is highly recommended.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Top 300 Songs of the 2000s

This is the fourth decade list I'm posting here, but it was the first one I made. In blatant disregard for the end of 2009, I finished the list around October 2009. Like the 90s list, I posted it first on Amazon listmania. I also made a CD of the top 40 countdown for a small group of friends.

As with the other lists, the rules are no more than one song per album and no artist can appear in the top 40 twice. In all its subjective glory, here's the 00s countdown:

300 Art Brut - DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake
299 Plus Ones - All The Boys
298 Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot
297 Minus The Bear - Memphis And 53rd
296 Built To Spill - In Your Mind
295 Cut Copy - Midnight Runner
294 Jets To Brazil - The Frequency
293 John Cunningham - Losing Myself Too
292 Luna - Malibu Love Nest
291 Frank Boscoes - Steel Cube Sculpture
290 Finn's Motel - Arizona Sandstorm
289 Fujiya & Miyagi - Ankle Injuries
288 Tapes 'n Tapes - Cowbell
287 The Octopus Project - Truck
286 Some Velvet Morning - The Madness of Crowds
285 Shearwater - Rooks
284 Spoon - My Little Japanese Cigarette Case
283 Wolf Parade - Grounds For Divorce
282 Gomez - Hamoa Beach
281 Panda Bear - Good Girl / Carrots
280 Rapture - Heaven
279 Aloe Blacc - Long Time Coming
278 Calexico - Black Heart
277 B-Sides - Two Beautiful Beaches
276 Tortoise - Seneca
275 Psapp - Rear Moth
274 M's - Banishment Of Love
273 Schlammpeitziger - Quietschquarklaute
272 Howe Gelb - But I Did Not
271 The Blue Meanies - All The Same
270 Tindersticks - People Keep Comin' Around
269 Antipop Consortium - Bubblz
268 Cursive - Sink To The Beat
267 White Stripes - You're Pretty Good Looking (For A Girl)
266 Kiosk - Agha! Nigah Dar
265 Belle & Sebastian - Act Of The Apostle
264 Okkervil River - Blanket And Crib
263 Luna - Renee Is Crying
262 Sam Prekop - Something
261 Carolyn Mark & The New Best Friends - Chantal And Leroy
260 Jeff Wave - Uptown Downtown
259 LCD Soundsystem - North American Scum
258 Tranzmitors - Why Don't Boys Cry
257 Milk Cult - Mystery Oasis.
256 The Mountain Goats - Pigs That Ran Straightaway Into The Water, Triumph Of
255 Devotchka - The Enemy Guns
254 Organ - Brother
253 The High Strung - Standing at the Door of Self Discovery
252 Secret Machines - Marconi's Radio
251 Tulsa - Mass
250 The Gaslight Anthem - Miles Davis & The Cool
249 Mystery Jets - Inside Four Walls
248 The Bad Plus - Tom Sawyer
247 The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Tenure Itch
246 Ekstrak - Mass Dampers
245 Mushroom - I got blisters on my fingers
244 Sunset Rubdown - The Taming of the Hands That Came Back To Life
243 Clinic - Internal Wrangler
242 Padded Cell - Are You Anywhere ?
241 Neko Case - If You Knew
240 Citay - People Person
239 Yeasayer - Sunrise
238 Beach House - Master of None
237 Mates Of State - Ha Ha
236 Sloan - Gimme That
235 Komeda - Victory Lane
234 Red Snapper - Bussing
233 Department Of Eagles - Herring Bone
232 Calexico - Alone Again Or
231 Delgados - I Fought The Angels
230 The Submarines - Modern Inventions
229 Gui Boratto - Hera
228 Say Hi To Your Mom - These Fangs
227 Pluxus - Djurens kavalkad
226 Datarock - Computer Camp Love
225 St. Vincent - Apocalypse Song
224 The Boggs - Poor Audrey James
223 Shins - Know Your Onion!
222 Capitol Years - Jewelry Store
221 The Evens - Cut From The Cloth
220 The National - Fake Empire
219 Lonesome Organist - The Moon Fugue
218 Slowreader - I Like You Most
217 Japancakes - Far From Here
216 The 1900s - When I Say Go
215 Ultrababyfat - Bored In Paris
214 Futureheads - Favours For Favours
213 Old 97's - The Fool
212 Duotang - Rise And Fall Of The Gqbc
211 The Mountain Goats - San Bernardino
210 Nada Surf - The Way You Wear Your Head
209 Aavikko - Oxaca (Oriental Baby MCD)
208 Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - This Summers Been Good From The Start
207 The Format - Dog Problems
206 Dogs Die In Hot Cars - Godhopping
205 Woven Hand - Cripplegate (Standing On Glass)
204 The Black Keys - Things Ain't Like They Used to Be
203 The Heavy Blinkers - All That's Left Are Waves
202 Ryan Adams - Goodnight Rose
201 The Pipettes - It Hurts to See You Dance So Well

200 Quasi - Master & Dog
199 Tunng - Mother's Daughter
198 Phoenix - Consolation Prizes
197 Rex Aquarium - Rex Aquarium
196 Midlake - Roscoe
195 Gretchen Wilson - Redneck Woman
194 Bobby Conn - A Taste Of Luxury
193 Cold War Kids - We Used to Vacation
192 Brendan Benson - The Pledge
191 The Books - That Right Ain't Shit
190 Sloan - Too Many
189 Gazetteers - Twenty-Four Hour Ska Festival
188 Amor Belhom Duo - Introduction
187 The Starlight Mints - The Killer
186 Sleepy Jackson - This Day
185 Vigil - Silverstone
184 Prefuse 73 - Uprock And Invigorate
183 Citay - A Riot Of Color
182 Neko Case - Prison Girls
181 Smog - White Ribbon
180 Scissor Sisters - Lovers in the back seat
179 Son Volt - Medication
178 Gorillaz - Clint Eastwood
177 Tullycraft - Wild Bikini
176 Mexican Institute of Sound - El Microfono
175 Earl Zinger - Saturday Morning Rush
174 Monolith - Heart Like a Diamond
173 Crystal Stilts - Love Is a Wave
172 Dr. Dog - Alaska
171 Jett Brando - Well Well
170 Calexico - Fractured Air (Tornado Watch)
169 Ambulance LTD - New English
168 Peggy Honeywell - Green Mountain
167 Sam Roberts - The Gate
166 Mr. Scruff - Beyond
165 Santogold - Say Aha
164 Triangle - Political Song
163 Emma Pollock - If Silence Means That Much To You
162 Haiku D'Etat - Kats
161 Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)
160 Jurassic 5 - Swing Set
159 Amerie - 1 Thing
158 Jenny Lewis - The Next Messiah
157 Headlights - TV
156 M. Ward - Chinese Translation
155 My Brightest Diamond - Golden Star
154 The Good, The Bad & The Queen - The Good, The Bad And The Queen
153 Iron & Wine - The Rooster Moans
152 Menomena - Running
151 The Knife - Forest Families
150 Beirut - Postcards from Italy
149 Strokes - Last Night
148 Maxïmo Park - Graffiti
147 The New Pornographers - The Bleeding Heart Show
146 Carolyn Mark And The Room-Mates - Country in the City
145 Jens Lekman - Black Cab
144 Waco Brothers - Walking on Hell's Roof Looking at the Flowers
143 King Geedorah - Monster Zero
142 The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age Of The Understatement
141 The Concretes - Song For The Songs
140 Field Music - You Can Decide
139 Colossal Yes - Just Like a Mademoiselle
138 Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You
137 Calexico - Letter To Bowie Knife
136 The Evens - All These Governors
135 Vampire Weekend - Ladies Of Cambridge
134 The Raconteurs - Steady, As She Goes
133 Blackalicious - Powers
132 Landslide - The Jupiter Effect
131 Cotton Jones Basket Ride - Gotta Cheer Up
130 Broadcast - Colour Me In
129 Jurassic 5 - What's Golden
128 Von Bondies - C'mon C'mon
127 Paul McCartney - Mr. Bellamy
126 Dismemberment Plan - Ellen and Ben
125 Arcade Fire - Keep the Car Running
124 Carey Ott - To Get Lost
123 Rilo Kiley - Does He Love You?
122 The Aislers Set - Emotional Levy
121 Yo La Tengo - Black Flowers
120 Zutons - Havana Gang Brawl
119 Pest - Chicken Spit
118 Spoon - Something To Look Forward To
117 Department Of Eagles - Noam Chomsky Spring Break 2002
116 Vert - Velocity
115 Sufjan Stevens - For The Widows In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti
114 Mountain Goats - Oceanographer's Choice
113 Maroon 5 - This Love
112 Atari Logic produced by El Rasoul - Therapeutic
111 The Aliens - The Happy Song
110 Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - The Dap Dip
109 Libertines - Can't Stand Me Now
108 Pink Martini - Hang On Little Tomato
107 Groove Collective - Some People
106 Hawksley Workman - Jealous Of Your Cigarette
105 Let's Wrestle - I Won't Lie To You
104 Linda Hoyle / Gracious / Nirvana / Aphrodite's Child - Morning For One / Introduction / Modus Operandi / The Battle Of The Locusts
103 Josh Ritter - Girl in the War
102 Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
101 Kaiser Chiefs - The Angry Mob

100 Travis Morrison - My Two Front Teeth II & III
99 Luna - Astronaut
98 Blue Giant - Clean the Clock
97 Asa-Chang & Junray - Hana
96 Oranges Band - White Ride
95 Versus - You'll Be Sorry
94 Lindstrøm - Cane It For The Original Whities
93 Robbie Fulks - It's Always Raining Somewhere
92 Belle & Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress
91 Babyshambles - La Belle Et La Bête
90 Ha Ha Tonka - Up Nights
89 Franz Ferdinand - This Fire
88 Beulah - A Good Man Is Easy to Kill
87 Decemberists - 16 Military Wives
86 Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins - You Are What You Love
85 Calexico - Sonic Wind (instrumental mix)
84 Scott Miller - Absolution
83 Pinback - Fortress
82 Neko Case & Her Boyfriends - Mood To Burn Bridges
81 Up, Bustle & Out - Coffee Contamination
80 Elope - Pride Approaching
79 Incredible Moses Leroy - Beep Beep Love
78 Kid Koala + Dynomite D - Third World Lover (Kid Koala & Dynomite D)
77 Sloan - If It Feels Good Do It
76 Interpol - Obstacle 1
75 White Stripes - Fell In Love With A Girl
74 TV On The Radio - Hours
73 The Bees - Got To Let Go
72 Sprengjuhöllin - Worry 'til Spring
71 Yo La Tengo - Let's Save Tony Orlando's House
70 Pink Martini - Hey Eugene!
69 Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Miles Away
68 Chris Difford - Tight Rope
67 Jets To Brazil - Pale New Dawn
66 Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
65 The Tallest Man On Earth - I Won't Be Found
64 The Bad Plus - Smells Like Teen Spirit
63 Outkast - Hey Ya!
62 The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic
61 Futureheads - Decent Days And Nights
60 King Changó - I Don't Care
59 Blackalicious - Do This My Way
58 Stephen Malkmus - The Hook
57 Love Is All - Turn The Radio Off
56 Giant Sand - The Beat Goes On
55 Evangelicals - Snowflakes
54 Camera Obscura - Dory Previn
53 The Coup - My Favorite Mutiny
52 Delgados - Coming In From The Cold
51 Kiosk - Afsoos
50 American Princes - TV Keeps Me Up
49 Handsome Hank And His Lonesome Boys - Black Hole Sun
48 Von Bondies - Shallow Grave
47 Great Lakes Myth Society - Midwest Main Street
46 Archer Prewitt - Tear Me All Away
45 Shins - Fighting In A Sack
44 The Mighty Underdogs - Victorious
43 Bright Eyes - Bowl Of Oranges
42 The Mountain Goats - Woke Up New
41 or, the whale - Call and Response
40 Beta Band - Lion Thief
39 Fleet Foxes - Mykonos
38 Maxïmo Park - Russian Literature
37 Peter Bjorn & John - Amsterdam
36 Noisettes - Scratch Your Name
35 Arctic Monkeys - Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured
34 Gotan Project - Una Música Brutal
33 Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - How Do I Let A Good Man Down?
32 Elope - Misbehaving In The Summernight
31 Hazeldine - Miss Ordinary
30 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Over And Over Again (Lost And Found)
29 Josh Fix - Jethro
28 Sufjan Stevens - Chicago
27 Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
26 Blackalicious - 4000 Miles
25 Art Brut - Emily Kane
24 Amy Winehouse - Rehab
23 The Starlight Mints - Black Cat
22 Dr. Dog - The World May Never Know
21 Jens Lekman - You Are The Light (By Which I Travel Into This And That)
20 Calexico - Ballad of Cable Hogue
19 Spoon - Everything Hits At Once
18 The Mountain Goats - Dance Music
17 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?
16 The Hold Steady - Teenage Liberation
15 Go! Team - Bottle Rocket
14 The Push Kings - Runnin' From Something
13 Rilo Kiley - Go Ahead
12 Blomkrag - Aalwyne, Aalwurms En Aavoels
11 TV On The Radio - Satellite
10 Aqueduct - Growing Up With GNR
9 Ryan Adams - Gonna' Make You Love Me
8 Beachwood Sparks - Silver Morning After
7 Dengue Fever - Tiger Phone Card
6 The Bees - Punchbag
5 Old 97's - Up The Devil's Pay
4 The New Pornographers - The Laws Have Changed
3 The Delgados - Accused of Stealing
2 Elliott Smith - Son of Sam
1 Neko Case - Things That Scare Me

This is the list most in need of revision. It needs revision because I probably missed a lot more stuff in the 00s than the other decades due to being less plugged into the music scene. It also needs revision because there are a lot of great songs from the end of the decade that I didn't discover until after I made this list.