To close out 2009, I thought it was appropriate to pick a bakers dozen worth of the best songs of the year that you probably haven't heard yet. Grab these and give them a listen.
in alphabetical order
Bad Veins - "Crosseyed" This soaring, heartfelt confession of love is the best track off an incredibly impressive debut from this Ohio-based orchestral indie pop duo.
David Bazan - "When We Fell" Ex-Pedro The Lion frontman, David Bazan's first solo outing, a soul-baring look at his fallout with religion, is one of the most brilliant albums of 2009.
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears - "Get Yo Shit" The raw voice of Lewis delivers the goods in the emotional hook, as he pleads his case to stay in the house after a late night of drinking. Horns ablaze, a funky blues riff, and a great sense of humor make this one of the best surprises of 2009.
Company Of Thieves - "The Fire Song" With all due respect to XRT, Chicago's finest rock right now is Company Of Thieves. In a great year for new bands, their January release of their debut album stood head and shoulders above the rest. It is an album where your favorite track can easily change every time you put it on - at the moment, this is mine.
Kinch - "Carolina Cannonball" More great, under appreciated Arizona rock. Impossible to listen to just once.
Pablo - "By Up I Mean" I adore Pablo, and this restless acoustic number off their sophomore set shows off front man Paul Schalda's vocal charms like nothing else.
Phantogram - "Mouthful Of Diamonds" This trance-ish pop outfit out of New York is not likely to remain unknown for long. Recently signed to Barsuk Records, their label debut should land sometime in 2010, with this irresistible blipping tune off their self-released EP a great indication of their talents.
Portual. The Man - "Guns And Dogs" Soul and classic rock come together for something brilliant here. It doesn't hurt that they also put on the most memorable live show I attended in 2009, rocketing them just below The Cat Empire on my list of must-see bands.
Ramona Falls - "I Say Fever" A shaggy fever dream of a song, as strummy and acoustic as it is lush and orchestral. The vocals hit as hard as the stomping beat. I'm not saying we don't need another Menomena album, but some more Ramona Falls first would not be a bad thing.
Reubens Accomplice - "No Motion" I really wish we got the new Reubens Accomplice album this year, but the kick-ass EP they delivered did just fine. This ode to their hometown, comparing Phoenix to New York and Los Angeles, is a great listen.
Jonah Smith - "Open Up The Door" This jangling piano rocker is just one of the many charms on this singer-songwriter's latest.
The Starlight Mints - "Black Champagne" This bubbly track is the most accessible on an otherwise wonderfully strange album. As an added bonus, it seems appropriate to ring in the new year.
Wallpaper. - "Celebrity" The whole album is hilarious, but this Kevin Federline-esque jam, about gaining fame by sleeping with someone famous, is a funky pop treat whose music is just as enjoyable as the lyrics.