Top 20 Songs of May 2014

May was absolutely absurd. The top 8 (!) songs listed were all worthy of being number 1. The rest of the top 15 could easily be top 3 songs in another month. In short, I heard and loved a bunch of stunning songs in May, and it might go down as the best music month of the year.

20. Bear Hands – Giants

Sweet chilli heat, the groove, the beat.


19. John Legend – All Of Me (De Hofnar Bootleg)/All Of Me (Tiesto Remix)

I’m not sure which remix I prefer more. I think it’s the De Hofnar one, but I can’t be sure. Tiesto came to play here.

De Hofnar Bootleg:

Tiesto Remix:


18. Eagulls – Possessed

Static electricity caught by a lint-remover.


17. The Subs f. Colonel Adams – Trapped

A bone-rattling house bang-show.


16. Lykke Li – No Rest For The Wicked/No Rest For The Wicked (Klangkarussel Remix)

The more I hear from Lykke, the more I listen. She’s got it.


15. X Priest X – Enemy Mind

I adore the bass-y house undertones in this pop marvel. Keep your friends close, keep Enemy Mind closer.


14. Manic Street Preachers – Walk Me To The Bridge

A forceful re-emergence for possibly the most underrated band around.


13. La Roux – Let Me Down Gently

I had fears La Roux missed the boat. This teaser release assuaged those fears at once. Don’t call it a comeback, even if it’s been five years.


12. Bear’s Den – Sahara Pt. 2

In a bear’s den,

you must watch your yen.

For if not, you will lose,

Something hairier than your shoes.


11. Manchester Orchestra – The Mansion/Cope

If this is Manchester Orchestra’s mansion, it’s replete with standards of fear and bushels of beards.

If this is how Manchester Orchestra cope, they’ve steel reinforced what it is to hope.

This is rock music.

This is bloody fantastic music.


10. Ask Embla – Legion

I asked Embla, and she said she must pop. (And lock in hits, like this song.)


9. Naughty Boy f. Sam Smith – La La La

Heard it. Then was Ricked it. Then listened some more. Then got on page with all else who’ve heard. This track is absurd.


8. Betty Who – Lovin’ Start

I had a lovin’ start with this Betty Who track, which then progressed into a lovin’ middle. The end is out of sight, but I’m positive it’s lovin’ too.


7. Robyn & Royksopp – Every Little Thing

“Every Little Thing” is, for my money, the best song on the EP from Robyn & Royksopp. There’s groove, there’s pulse, there’s a move, a protruding pulse. The singles from the EP, “Do It Again” and “Sayit”, don’t hit nearly as hard as this track. This song is blood and beats and mud from cleats.


6. Paloma Faith – Only Love Can Hurt Like This

Only a piece of pop dynamite as explosive as this could place this high in a month so strong. The music is irresistible and Paloma Faith lays down a mammoth vocal.


5. Beth Jeans Houghton & Samuel T. Herring – Pelican Canyon

This? From a random road trip?! I’d hate to see what these two could come up if they had endless time together. (Huge lie. I’d love to see, hear, and feel more from them.) Beth Jeans Houghton lulls like a luscious lullaby, while Sam T. Herring is the base to which the melody abides. I believe this is what the best kind of collaboration looks/sounds/feels like.


4. Marc Anthony – Vivir Mi Vida/Khaled – C’est La Vie

Is this Marc Anthony’s best ever song? It’s a legit question, and I think it might be. I really dug “You Sang To Me”, but the passion in “Vivir” exudes a freedom that I haven’t heard in any of his previous tracks. The song’s sun is so strong it leaves a full-body tan even if fully clothed, which this song makes sound completely ludicrous. This is the type of heat that never brings sorrow, only the excitement of tomorrow.

As good as Marc Anthony’s version of the melody/song/idea is, (Cheb) Khaled’s is equal to the task. This is exactly what euphoria sounds like. It’s what frolicking looks like. It’s what the the World Cup feels like. Is it too late to change this year’s official song?


3. Allie X – Bitch

“Prime” and “Catch” were the first two releases from this new artist, but I think “Bitch” is the best of the bunch. The distorted chorus is just tremendous.

“Bitch” is neither male nor female. “Bitch” is no dog. “Bitch” is of a moment, a moment where pop is transfused by electronics, enthused by histrionics.


2. La Roux – Uptight Downtown

I’d thought for quite some time that La Roux really dropped the ball by waiting so long to release a follow-up album, after all, 2009 (when they debuted) was eons ago. The duo built up so much momentum, with majestic stompers “Bulletproof”, “In For The Kill”, “Quicksand” (a.k.a. the hits) combining with “As If By Magic”, “I’m Not Your Toy”, “Cover My Eyes” (and more) to form what I felt like (and still feel now) was one of the best pop records of the decade. I thought it was a huge mistake to let that buzz dissipate — music fans can be fickle, and five years between albums is an eternity in this day and age.

Oh ye of little faith.

La Roux (now apparently just singer Elly Jackson) rendered all of that concern a waste. I can’t prove that La Roux travelled via wormhole, but it can’t be dismissed. When your comeback single is as sensational as “Uptight Downtown”, a song so current, yet so of another time, it’s hard to think about why it took so long between efforts.

“Uptight Downtown” sounds like a wave, and the wave is warm and unrelenting. Some may find this track repetitive. Some might not see its utter, complete, eargasmic dominance. Some may be in tune. Some may be before the zoom. Some might be after it. Whatever to some, here’s the sum: this track is one that sounds like it’ll battle the test of time with conviction.

La Roux knows the streets are lined with people, people who want to move, move, move.

The people always want to dance, even if they’ve changed their shoes, shoes, shoes.


1. Manchester Orchestra – Trees

Rock. Song. Of. The. Year.

That riff. That fucking wall and plaster and stone and foundation shattering riff. That attention to melody and rock out to the point of felony. Those insurmountable mountains of hooks. Those shadow stealing nooks.

This is why I love music.

My Top 10 Songs of April 2013

March was such a good month for music it couldn’t help but bleed into April. I took my time getting to know March songs, taking them out for coffee, flirting with them, skirting the line of appropriateness between a guy and his songs, and before I knew it, the end of April had arrived and burst our little love bubble (April’s a killjoy, no wonder there’s always so much rain). As such, my list of the Top 10 Songs of April is heavily indebted to March, with a few new releases peppered in for flavour.

I also found myself listening to a few older songs — a lot. To shine a light on these tremendous older/oldish songs that captured my ears and attention so, I’ve made a mini list (directly below), and followed that with my favourite newer/newish songs.

Silversun Pickups – The Pit

The only song I found to be immediately and eminently gratifying on SP’s latest, Neck Of The Woods, was “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)”. It took months over months to finally click to the pretty awesome, brooding, and electronic-tinged “The Pit”. Better late than never.


Thee More Shallows – Oh Yes, Another Mother

From 2007, it’s still the number one song on Saturn’s Titan. Criminally overlooked here on Earth. A crying shame.


Pat Benatar -We Belong

Sing it Pat. Still sounds great almost 30 years later.


Green Day – Redundant

In my top 3 Green Day songs of all-time. Quite possibly the most vulnerable Billy-Joe’s ever sounded lyrically. Replete with an awesome, mind-funking video, featured below.


Biffy Clyro – Many of Horror

I’m convinced this is one of the best songs of the past five years. I’ve recently discovered that Biffy Clyro have a jaw-droppingly good back catalogue. Still, “Many of Horror” is their crowning achievement, and I bet it always will be. That riff. My god. (Check out the unbelievable live performance of the song below.)


Top 10 newish:

10. Demi Lovato – Heart Attack

It doesn’t break any new ground, but it’s catchy as hell. Good lead single in an ultra-competitive environment.


9. The Knife – Raging Lung

I’m still developing my thoughts on the incredible, difficult, political, dense, off-putting, personal, beautiful new Knife album, Shaking The Habitual. What I do know though, is that in such a (fracking) fluid environment, “Raging Lung” weighs the whole experience up (gravity does not apply in The Knife’s world) like an anchor. It’s a masterpiece, sure, but it’s also much, much more. I’m just not sure what else to call it. Exactly how The Knife want it.


8. How To Destroy Angels – How Long?

My favourite tune on Trent’s latest effort. I like it more every time I hear it. Mr. Reznor has a preternatural ability with synthetic sound.


7. We Are Wolves  – Sun

So flipping catchy. The explosion at the end seals it for me. I can say without pause this is and will be one of the best songs released in 2013.


6. Surfer Blood – Demon Dance

The guitar work. The melody. Sen-bloody-sational. I can’t seem to get enough of this song. Like its cousin (in name and vibe) below, it’s been on repeat for weeks and weeks.


5. Wavves – Demon To Lean On

Wavves have made a splash before, but they’ve never released a tsunami like the one they roll in on here. The guitar riff. The playful vocals. The sound of summer, and the sound of not giving a shit that it’s summer. The live version, featured below, from Letterman, is also a fantastic experience.


4. Psy – Gentleman

I wondered how in the world he’d follow up his ubiquitous, galactic smash. The answer is relatively simple: with something even bigger. “Gentleman” is so catchy he’s already blown way past any reasonable categorization as a one-hit wonder. He’s at two mammoth tunes and counting. And he looks like he couldn’t be having more fun doing it.


3. Muse – Panic Station

“Panic Station” is several months old now, but I’ve fallen so deeply for it only recently. I’d liked it before. Now I love it. Maybe it’s that it sounds nothing like anything else on The 2nd Law, or any other Muse song for that matter. Maybe it’s the unmistakable 80’s gitch. Maybe it’s the pomposity. Maybe it’s the guitar riff. Maybe it’s Bellamy. (It’s always Bellamy.) The whole proposition just got a shit-tonne more weird by the release of the absurd, hideous, car-crash-like, balls to the wall video, featured below.


2. Phosphorescent – Song For Zula

I would issue strong odds that “Song For Zula” will end up the most beautiful song released in 2013. Or maybe any year. I have such a voracious appetite for, and commit the time that I do to, finding new music because once in a while — once in a blue moon — something like this finds my ears. Simple, haunting, wondrous aural magic.


1. Daft Punk – Get Lucky

It was never going to be anything else. The kings are back — finally. And to boot, “Get Lucky” is unquestionably their catchiest/best song in over 12 years. The wait was unbearable. The joy is immeasurable.