The third part of our epic countdown of our favourite songs of the past ten years.
160 The Pink Mountaintops – North Hollywood Microwaves (2014)
Filthy, snarling, primal rock’n’roll featuring some pornographic rapping from Annie Hardy (ex-Giant Drag). A case of the bite being much worse than the bark.
159 Calexico – Two Silver Trees (2008)
Atmospheric and relaxed, Two Silver Trees meanders on a river of accordion, keys, hushed guitars and seductive vocals.
158 Mountain Man – Animal Tracks (2009)
A perfect combination of old-timey acoustic guitars and lilting, reverbed harmonies. And that chorus was made for a campfire late in the evening.
157 Wire – One Of Us (2008)
One of Us is a coiled spring of minimalist musical tension. Taut, melodic and streamlined, it is a post-punk classic.
156 The Willard Grant Conspiracy – Preparing For The Fall (2009)
Set to a vivid strummed guitar, Robert Fisher sings a sprawling apocalyptic tale about the soul of man with a voice rich in world weary resignation. “And I see the devil sitting in my favorite chair / he says he wonders why I’m, I’m still here / And I say that I’m having trouble finding the door / And he says if we wait a little longer / Won’t have trouble anymore / And I’m just preparing for the fall”
155 Dr. Dog – Bring My Baby Back (2017)
Laying a yearning, plaintive vocal over the top of a perfect mix of pop, gospel and psych rock, the nigh on perfect Bring My Baby Back majors on themes of betrayal, repentance, solitude, and revenge, wrapped up in a perfectly strummed acoustic guitar. It was the most innocently beguiling tune of 2016.
154 Whalers – That Rabbit (2010)
What. A. Riff. A wonderfully straightforward blend of thudding, bass-heavy rock that makes us think of the best bits of QotSA melded with the Black Angels and then given some 60s style reverb treatment.
153 Van William – Revolution (2017)
Van William is a return to the folksier roots of his previous band Port O’Brien. Add in a mournful trumpet and the gorgeous harmonies of First Aid Kit and this lovely record is suddenly elevated to another plane altogether.
152 Tom Williams & The Boat – Get Older (2011)
Get Older is a musical storm of thumping bass drum, growled, restrained vocals and a stunning violin-led riff – it all combines to deliver an energy and edginess that is on a par with its catchiness.
151 Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – Nikorette (2009)
Riding in on the back of a classic rock groove, and morphing into a loping country rock shuffle, Nikorette sounds like a brilliant lost outtake from a late-era Clash album.
150 The Black Angels – Don’t Play With Guns (2013)
Their trademark psych-drone is matched to provocative lyrics, a big, ominous organ groove and an even bigger riff. Wonderful stuff.
149 The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin (2008)
Haunting and lachrymose, Ben Knox’s pitch perfect falsetto weaves a sad tale on the back of tranquil beauty.
158 Chad VanGaalen – Cries Of The Dead (2008)
I can hear the cries of the dead / Maybe it’s your neighbour beating his dog in the basement. Emotive vocals and a twee, but never saccharine harmony tinged with sadness, sets this fractured slice of indie-pop apart from the also-rans.
147 Middle Brother – Daydreaming (2011)
From the simple picked guitar line and weary, melancholy opening lyric, the scene is set for a raw, unflinching excursion courtesy of McCauley’s craggy vocals and beer-soaked romanticism. Loneliness never sounded so…well, lonely.
146 Arborist – Twisted Arrow (2015)
A fabulous slice of rolling, countrified folk and Kim Deal’s hushed and plaintive vocal adds weight to a familial tale of detachment and is the perfect counterpoint to Mark McCambridge’s sharp delivery.
145 Tom Williams & The Boat – See My Evil (2011)
Menacing, righteous fury set to threatening percussion and a thick, pulsing bass-line.
144 Sparks – Let The Monkey Drive (2008)
Ultra catchy surreal tale of a couple so eager to consummate their love that they’d let a primate steer the car while they fumble in the back seat. And it has one of our favourite lyrical couplets of the past ten years too: “Let the monkey drive, and it’s only fair / It’s the monkey’s car and he hates to share”
143 Titus Andronicus – Titus Andronicus (2008)
Huge drums start thumping behind the rhythm guitar, throw in bass, piano and a wicked harmonica as frontman Patrick Stickles thrashes through the song. All together now “Your life is over / your life is over“.
142 TRAAMS – Succulent Thunder Anthem (2015)
Traams at their absolute, unstoppable motorik best. Propulsive, urgent, threatening.
141 Pontiak – Shell Skull (2008)
A serrated rhythmic stomp and slow crawling groove captures the ghosts of Black Sabbath and the Doors in this bass heavy rocker.