50. I Don’t Know / Lantern
49. You Will Be Here, Mine / Will Johnson
48. On the Radio / Mind Spiders
47. Get Me in a Room / Hallelujah the Hills
46. I Want More / French Kissing
45. Am I Wrong / Mikal Cronin
44. Gone Tomorrow / Lambchop
43. She’s Like Dracula / John Wesley Coleman III
42. Always Forever / Hunx
41. Brains / Lower Dens
40. Bite My Tongue / King Khan & the Shrines
39. Master of my Craft / Parquet Courts
38. Headin’ for the Top Now / Spiritualized
37. Moonlight Mile / The Babies
36. Wind and Walls / The Tallest Man on Earth
35. Monoliths / Lotus Plaza
34. Wrecking Ball / Bruce Springsteen
33. Song for a Warrior (ft. Karen O.) / Swans
32. Become What You Are / Merchandise
31. Wildest Moments / Jessie Ware
30. Ekki Múkk/ Sigur Ros
29. Sledding / No Kill
28. Susannah / Woollen Kits
27. Numb / Andy Stott
26. I -80 / Apache Dropout
25. Do It For You / Plateaus
24. Myth / Beach House
23. Vacation / Howls
22. Lupine Dominus / Thee Oh Sees
21. Goodtime Blues / TRMRS
20. Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings / Father John Misty
19. Whispering and Singing / Boomgates
18. Kill for Love / Chromatics
17. Cats & Dogs / The Tough Shits
16. Adult / Ceremony
15. The Weight of the Sea / Great Elk (photo cred)
The lead track on Autogeography, Brooklyn indie/folk band Great Elk’s full length debut, can stand up to any mid-00s indie rock anthem and then some.
14. Impregnable Question / Dirty Projectors
Dirty Projectors turn in the year’s most disarming love song.
13. No Idea Why / TV Torso
Just got into this band’s Spoon-meets-new wave sound over the past few weeks after hearing their EPs from earlier this year. Here’s to hoping for a full length before long.
12. Thinkin’ About You / Frank Ocean
No doubt Ocean took the world by storm this year. The falsetto chorus on this song is genius. Soul music that truly bears the soul.
11. Oblivion / Grimes
Visions, as a whole, didn’t do much for me. But “Oblivion” and “Genesis” are undeniably thrilling and inventive singles.
10. Never Again / Royal Headache
I don’t think there is a band on this list whose future I am more excited about than Australia’s Royal Headache. From Shogun’s soul/punk vocals to the band’s blazing backing tracks, Royal Headache’s self-titled debut is full of brawlers and psychotic episodes so visceral they could be playing in your garage.
9. Friday Night / Spider Bags
Spider Bags’ drunken, take-no-prisoners rock & roll is best captured on this beer-soaked anthem.
8. Museum of Flight / Damian Jurado
Jurado has managed some gorgeous folk melodies in his 15 years of recording, but perhaps nothing he’s ever recorded is as purely celestial as this.
7. Heaven / The Walkmen
“Little House of Savages”, “The Rat”, “Louisiana”, “In the New Year”, “Angela/Surf City”. The Walkmen have penned some of indie rock’s most memorable songs of the past ten years. Heaven has a handful of songs that could sit alongside those classics, but none more so than the title track.
6. (tie) Thank God for the Sinners / Ty Segall (from Twins)
The Tongue / Ty Segall Band (from Slaughterhouse)
I guess I’m skirting around my self-imposed “one song per artist” rule with this one. But without that rule about 50% of this list might belong to Segall.
5. Is It Honest / Woods
For Woods, this is about as close as they come to some sort of indie-rock anthem. Bend Beyond is full of memorable songs and wondrous melodies – “Is It Honest” wins this spot by a nose over all the other gems.
4. Land I Love / Slow Country
For most of the year this song made me think of what Neil Young might sound like if he were still 24. Echoes of Buffalo Tom and Sun Kil Moon as well.
3. Oscillation / The Men
There were a bunch of contenders for this list from Open Your Heart – the muscular hard rock of “Turn It Around”, the Stonesy-romp of “Candy”, the art-punk brilliance of the title track and “Please Don’t Go Away”. But in the end its “Oscillation”, an extended, kraut-like scorcher, that most made me come back to this one.
2. Wild Desire / King Tuff
King Tuff released a handful of outstanding songs this year, a few on his self-titled Sub Pop debut, and a few on a scattering of 7”’s. “Wild Desire” is from a Suicide Squeeze single, and pretty much any other year this would be my runaway #1. It’s just such beautiful rock & roll poetry on top of a near infallible jam.
1. The House That Heaven Built / Japandroids
I wanted King Tuff to be #1 so bad, but when I heard this song for the first time sometime last spring I knew that nothing else would stand a chance. This song is just so complete, so Herculean in its every sound and movement that even a track as perfect as “Wild Desire” gets TKO’d by that first chorus.