(1) Torres - "Thirstier"
I think I could convincingly argue that each of the first three Torres singles could be the best song of 2021. Just a phenomenal album.
(2) Telethon - "Positively Clark Street"
Power pop from Milwaukee, featuring what I am confident will be the best saloon piano breakdown you hear this year.
(3) Snow Ellet - "Wine On The Carpet"
Just signed with No Earbuds management, something they have in common with literally every other good band.
(4) Dim Wizard - "Whole Lotta Nothin"
Side project from David Combs (Bad Moves), it's the kind of song that just sounds like it must have been so much fun to make, which I hope it was.
(5) Spanish Love Songs - "Phantom Limb"
Putting the Good Vibes Song of the Month and the Bad Vibes Song of the Month back to back on the playlist for some reason. They're both great. I don't know if it's possible for lyrics to cause physical pain, but:
We sat in front of the TV
As the news report came in
Another fucking manifesto
I polished off the vodka, you dug for some Vicodin
Our phones lit up at the same time
You said the body count don't phase you
You're still terrified to die
Just not as much as you are used to
(6) Johnny Football Hero - "Sister Hellen"
TELL HIM HE PLAYED A GREAT GAME! TELL HIM YOU LIKED HIS ARTICLE IN THE NEWSPAPER!
(7) Strand Of Oaks - "Galacticana"
I hear an American version of The Verve, Ilana hears Jason Isbell, it's possible we're hearing the same thing.
(8) Caroline Polachek - "Bunny Is A Rider"
Surprised by the tepid response this got from TSJ (and the fact that no one referenced "Are You That Somebody"), it's probably a 7 from me.
(9) Magdalena Bay - "Chaeri"
I'm sure this makes me an elitist, but I would like this band so much more if they were actually from Scandinavia, and not just people from LA who sound like they're from Scandinavia.
(10) Sleigh Bells - "Locust Laced"
A welcome return from these blog-rock legends, and a convenient opportunity to remind everyone that "Crown On The Ground" is the perfect at bat walkup song.
(11) Lil Nas X - "Industry Baby" (feat. Jack Harlow)
Lil Nas X's actual musical output is almost beside the point by now but, to the extent that it matters, this is his best song yet.
(12) Vial - "Something More"
Would have been a strong contender for Twin Cities Achievement of the Month were it not for Suni Lee's gold medal.
(13) Alien Boy - "Nothing's Enough"
A solid argument for doing mushrooms alone.
(14) Kississippi - "Moonover"
The background percussion is specifically credited as “Lexapro shaker and Guayaki can,” so, y'know, up and down.
(15) Gang Of Youths - "Unison"
The Stereogum feature on the band was titled "Are Gang Of Youths Too Earnest For America?" and it's really one of those "if you have to ask, you already know the answer" type questions.
(16) The War On Drugs - "Living Proof"
It's hard to talk about concerts right now since it's starting to seem unlikely that any of them will ever happen, but I was surprised to see that these guys booked the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. I had no idea they were that big but hey, good for them.
(17) Illuminati Hotties - "U V V P" (feat. Buck Meek)
On the one hand, Sarah Tudzin can do no wrong. On the other hand, I could really live without the Edward Sharpe-esque spoken word section toward the end.
(18) Clairo - "Amoeba"
"strong Stevie Wonder influence" is not something I expected to say about a Clairo song, but it works.
(19) All Time Low - "PMA" (feat. Pale Waves)
I'm here for the Pale Waves far more than that All Time Low, but both bands sound great.
(20) Fortitude Valley - "Baby, I'm Afraid"
It's half of Martha! Making songs that kinda sound like Martha!
(21) Indigo De Souza - "Hold U"
Pretty much the exact opposite of her first single ("Kill Me"), and this time around I'm choosing to side with optimism.
(22) Courtney Barnett - "Rae Street"
“Time is money, and money is no man’s friend”
(23) Brandi Carlile - " Right On Time"
Just making sure Shay still reads these all the way to the end.
(24) Orla Gartland - "You're Not Special, Babe"
Just making sure Carl still reads these all the way to the end.
(25) Don McCloskey - "First In Flight"
I honestly can't tell if this song is good or not. The argument in its favor is that it kinda sounds like Paul Simon, or the new Bleachers songs that also sound like Paul Simon. The argument against is that it sounds like that cheesy eighties "Break My Stride" song that used to be in every rental car commercial. The reason why I don't care is that this is the song that plays at the end of the last episode of Mythic Quest, and I will always love it for that.