I just realized that we’re fast approaching December 31 and I better kick it up a notch if I expect to get to #1 by the end of the year.
Coming in at #18 is Nicole Atkins’ “Heavy Boots.” Sadly, I missed her last show in Toronto because I was out-of-town for a very good friend’s birthday, otherwise I would have gone through hell and high water to be there. Mondo Amore is a stellar record. It’s full of great songs, however, it does have 2 or 3 outstanding tracks, which almost make the rest pale in comparison. The song’s dark lyrics and melody, coupled with the thumping drums make for an intense 4 and a half minutes. Atkins’ rather sweet voice is a nice and welcoming contrast. I simply love this song.
Number 17 is TV On The Radio’s “Keep Your Heart.” I’ve always been a huge TVOTR fan and I’ve loved every release, welcoming the band’s transitioning sound. I think with each record, they become more and more accessible. Nine Types Of Light finds this exceptional band heading in that direction. When it comes to my top-20, “Keep Your Heart” is the sexiest song to make the cut. It’s the one and only true make-out song. There’s something about falsetto that’s always sexy, I think. Also, I’m sure I’ve said it before, but if David Bowie was still making (as) relevant music as he was in the 70s, it would probably sound something like this.
Surfer Blood put out one of my favourite records in 2010 and their 2011 EP, Tarot Classics continues to position the band as one of rock music’s most exciting new bands. These post-surf rockers (is that a term?) sometimes fall off my radar. I’m not really into this whole surf rock resurgence and don’t really dig their contemporaries like Best Coast and Wavves, however I’ve been playing the shit out of “Miranda,” which sits at #16 on my list. Every time I play it I can’t help but seat dance, or proper dance/jump around my room. Sometimes, I tend to gravitate towards pretty, acoustic songs. Surfer Blood remind me I’ve not quite retired onto dad-rock yet. If I’m being honest, I feel like real rock and roll has gone to shit since the Kings of Leon revolution, but Surfer Blood and songs like “Miranda” make me think there’s still hope.
If I could swap music libraries with any music editor, it would have to be Paste Magazine’s Josh Jackson. That dude has impeccable taste. Every year, I eagerly anticipate his year-end and SXSW lists, respectively. I always find a new favourite band among them. Admiral Fallow were a SXSW pick in 2011 and I’ve fallen in love. If you dig Frightened Rabbit or Mumford and Sons, you’ll fucking love Admiral Fallow’s Boots Met My Face. They’re really wonderful lyricists: “sometimes I talk with the metre of a bingo caller’s east end drawl/who cares we’re all just trying float while everything seems set to fall/so hard, so hard.” COME ON. LOVE. Also, how many folk-rock bands can legitimately pull off flute and clarinet. FOR. REAL. Here’s my #15 track, “Subbuteo.”