Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Doing these kind of ranked lists really stresses me out and makes me think that maybe I listen to too much music, especially when I have to spend hours trawling through iTunes libraries, external hard drives, radio show playlists, charts etc. to make sure there's not a forgotten gem in the digital ether. That said, I do like doing song lists, not just because they're easier compile, but because it's a chance for newer and smaller artists who might've only released a couple of tracks to get some serious recognition. Anyway, listened to so many amazing alien/garage chillin/gutter-dwelling/beach-bum/pizza party/cyborg/memory-scaping/weirdo/new age jams this year and these are my faves, enjoy!


1. Animal Collective - My Girls
from Merriweather Post Pavilion

I had a feeling this would be top even after hearing it for the first time a year ago when it totally hit on some base level and I was basically unable to stop smiling. I'm not sure what gives this song that kind of instinctual appeal, but when I saw it live the other night all manner of social stereotypes (hippies, hipsters, teen stoners, fashion chix, bros bro-ing out, older critic chin-strokers) were unified against all odds by these simple positive mantras and WOOOO!s and it was a pretty weird and amazing thing.

[Myspace / buy]

2. Tonstartssbandht - Black Country
from An When

Continually floors me; beautiful junkyard, sibling savants.

[Myspace / buy]

3. Best Coast - Sun Was High (So Was I)
from California Girls

Lo-fi aches, perfect chord changes, classic pop. Your dream girl group where the leader channels Courtney Love c. "Malibu".

[Myspace / buy]

4. Ducktails - Wishes
from Landscapes

As alluring as the city might be, this just makes me want to hang in the backyard or somewhere in the countryside or play basketball at my old primary school. I think they must sell golden syrup guitars in New Jersey.

[Myspace / buy]

5. Smith Westerns - Tonight
from Smith Westerns

Wish I could be nineteen again and release an album that's really lo-fi with this song on it cos it totally swaggers and aches with coolness. I love that slight pause just before it builds up to the hook where the singer goes "UHh".

[Myspace / buy]

6. Speculator - We Don't Give a Shit
from Friendship Bracelet Vol. 2

More new age more Peter Gabriel more warbly guitar sheen and freeway hits, more from this band plleasszzzzze.

[Myspace / buy]

7. Teengirl Fantasy - Floor to Floor
from TGIF EP

Dudes keep killing it - so many club spirits and parallel dimension glimpses lurking in the dankness between these beats and tweaks.

[Myspace / get]

8. Girls - Lust for Life
from Album

So much romance and sloppy charm squashed in here despite its fleeting duration. Best bits: when the bassline drops in second verse, and "I wish I had a pizza and a bottle of wine", always.

[Myspace / buy]

9. Luke Perry - Avon Lust
from Terminator Ecstasy

Really obsessed with all this retro-futurist weirdness that's around right now, and Luke Perry's Ryan Howe welds it hapzardly into this wonky cyborg pop hit that has been the #1 most played song in Planet Hollywoods across the world for six weeks straight.

[Myspace / buy]

10. Kurt Vile - Beach on the Moon
from God is Saying This To You

Kurt Vile is totally at his best solo, especially when he plays these super evocative desert/lost highway sketches complete with cryptic lyrics and a hook so good he uses it in three songs.

[Myspace / buy]

11. The Parasails - Skylife #2
from Skylife

Also appearing on the Ducktails album Landscapes (as "Seagull's Flight") this track fits perfectly into the pastel-hued heavens of Skylife, perhaps Matt Mondanile's most cohesive effort - totally visual and hypnotic, sounds that look like gentle gusts of wind 100 metres above the ocean.

[Myspace / buy]

12. Dirty Beaches - Low Rider
from Dirty Beaches

That bassline! Fucking so cool and oozing nonchalance. Soundtrack to driving topdown wearing wayfarers and a leather jacket with a cigarette in the corner of yr mouth. Hey Jim Jarmusch, this song is for yr next movie.

[Myspace / buy]

13. Night Control - Good Looks
from Death Control

Intercepted from yr favourite oldies AM station in 2050 in a perfect world.

[Myspace / buy]

14. Oneohtrix Point Never - Hyperdawn
from Zones Without People

There's some super interesting ideas behind OPN's arpeggiated future-memory-utopias but you don't necessarily have to understand them to feel yr chrome heart beating as rays of the three rising suns reflect off the sharp planes of yr face and form a perfect opaque triangle in the sky.

[Myspace / buy]

15. Jeans Wilder - Tough Guys
From Tough Guys/Up All Night split 7"

This might be pretty unrepresentative of Jeans Wilder's oeuvre (super downer sparse guitar songs, which are excellent too), but when he takes that ethos and adds a bouncy reggaeton preset it becomes a loner, downer, weirdo, undeniable pop hit.

[Myspace / buy]

16. Lotus Plaza - Sunday Night
from The Floodlight Collective

Once I went on a night bike ride listening to this and it sounded exactly like my sleepy suburbia, moths fluttering around yellow street lights and dreams rising through humming powerlines.

[Myspace / buy]

17. Blondes - Spanish Fly

"Effortlessly cool, this anti-club track from Brooklyn duo Blondes whisks you away from crowds and strobes to a dark V.I.P. corner where the distant beats actually sound better and the tempo is slower -- there's space to think here, to gaze at the club dust hanging mid-air through yr private disco ball lights, sweat condensing on concrete ceilings above."

[Myspace / buy]

18. Neon Indian - Should've Taken Acid With You
from Psychic Chasms

Pretty sure that twinkling loop and those shooting star synths are what it actually sounds like in the Milky Way. I'm too much of a wuss/nerd to take acid but this song makes me wish I wasn't.

[Myspace / buy]

19. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Can't Hear My Eyes
from Can't Hear My Eyes 7"

As much as I love the blurred soupiness of the 'hypnagogic pop sound', it's nice that Ariel Pink renders his 80s cultural totems and aesthetics with a greater degree of clarity. The cock-rock riffage on "Flashback" could equally take this spot, but I'm a sucker for late night lovesick love songs.

[Myspace / buy]

20. Fluffy Lumbers - Harry Dolland's
from Harry Dolland's 7"

"... these hazy guitar lines echo like half-remembered punk pop hitz heard while cruising yr suburban neighourhood, sadder on reflection with all their lost and mixed associations."

[Myspace / buy]


Darlene Brown said...

Thanks!!! Yours is probably the only list I'll pay attention to ^_^

JeffGoldblumLife said...


sarah said...

ooooh. a handful of things ive been meaning to pay attention to but haven't gotten around to yet. def more motivated to now, thanks! :)

Mr Indie Slut esq said...

Thanks Shea...I'll have a listen..if I get 'round to one, it most likely won't be as interesting as yours.

Jade Leonard said...

This is great! I am an independent singer songwriter and I learn a lot from reading blogs like this - thanks so much for sharing.

racher david said...

I am thrilled by Shea's top 20. Music is very soothing. Thanks to shea. We do have INNA collections of beaded bracelets, bags, cuffs, belts and artwork. please visit www dot innanyc dot com

shea said...

darlene: nooo totally check out everyone else's too! rad stuffs
jeffgoldblum: yes! yr right, will add linkk
racher: sweet, been wanting some beaded cuffs and artwork~#~#~!

Gareth said...

Rlly enjoying these lists. Looking forward to Richard's too!

Ahhh I think I just don't have the patience to sift through all the new music that you guys do, honestly, so it's nice to have the best stuff picked out and served up to me on a shiny, rosey plate like this. Basically keep up the good work!

how to dress well said...

as an independent singer songer writer your list ....

nah just playin. your list is excellent! so stoked to have that a. pink mp3! i go to see him this weekend in köln, de!

check out my tunes on my blog sheas!

Jamesss said...


LiquidHeaven said...

First list I've seen with 50% of stuff I totally love and 50% of stuff I've never even heard of.

New to ur blog, but I'LL BE BACK.

Adding you to my blogroll.

Emmanuel said...

A very good list Shea ! Thanks...

Anonymous said...

thanks guys!!


Anonymous said...

please let me know how to get ahold of more luke perry music! im addicted & it looks like the label has no updates since september? if at all possible, please!!! thnx for turning me on to his stuff-

shea said...

thanks again everyone!
ann: hey cool glad yr stoked on it too!
don't think you can purchase anything yet, but the split with twins should be out soonish? i guess just keep an eye out on his myspace page for any info. i'll no doubt be posting any new info/tunez i get too. you can also grab some tunes at blogg too. choice!

Anonymous said...

that tonstartssbandht song is terrible! Just a distorted rip-off of Big Country's "In A Big Country." YUCK.

Anonymous said...

tonstartssbandht said...

yea youre right we sampled the beginning of big country, slowed it down and did our thing

jessica said...