Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cold Comfort Norm

is a story I will write one day.


Avatar was my most intensely emotional moviegoing experience of the year, which perhaps isn’t saying much when you consider that the ending of Revenge of the Sith made me cry. Some have called the movie unimaginative, which is not true but also misses the point, since James Cameron isn’t necessarily trying to create something new here. The story works because it’s a streamlined composite of other alien planet narratives; we’re already primed to respond to the ecstasies of a story like this. The visuals, too, work because they’re so familiar, but through the wonders of technology, more vivid, physical, full and present than ever before. Sin City and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow recycled popular images too, and while I’m not sure why I found the former’s visuals stifling and dull and the latter’s mesmerizing, or why some find Avatar chintzy, I know it comes down to a matter of taste, not aesthetic failure.

Almost as emotional: Of Time and the City

Jim Emerson calls Precious a John Waters-inspired comedy, which at least takes the movie’s peculiarity into account, but I’ve yet to find a review that accurately describes the narrative arc. It is neither a “feel-bad/feel-good story of degradation and redemption” nor a “voyeuristic lesson-movie that goes slumming and then presents itself as an inspirational triumph of the spirit” (Emerson’s expectations before he saw it). It could only be those things if by its end it gave us a protagonist completely knowable in her new happiness. But Precious, as she leaves the screen, is still unknowable, and doomed to further unhappiness, and just plain doomed. All we’ve done is see her through (some of) the worst of it. At least she has seen beyond her drawn shades into Ms. Rain’s Sapphic paradise. Did I mention I liked the movie?

Almost as cruel: Observe and Report, while not quite equal to its ambitions, is an anti-comedy about the way humans celebrate despicable people just because they can throw a punch or shoot a gun.


A Good Man Is Hard To Find by Flannery O’Connor : It’s great, and it’s as if I’ve been unconsciously channeling it for years: The Misfit’s shoulder blades in the title story; “A Stroke of Good Fortune,” which takes on, quite successfully, the losing proposition of trying to describe a character’s every physical sensation and health worry. I should begin rewriting my old stories with all this in mind, and then I will have the benefit of a touch of Flannery even if I fail in every other way.

Spin (which I spent no less than three months, off and on, reading) included some of those annoying things that SF writers do, like the way everyone refers to a human-descended Martian character as “that wrinkled little brown man” even though it undermines their plausibility as human beings. So then why did the ending have to be so satisfactory? I could kick this SF habit if I wasn’t always so pleased with the outcome and didn’t always feel I had come closer to understanding the mysteries of the universe.

Every time I go to the library and browse the new fiction shelves, I find yet another novel about music love in the modern era: characters bonding via cassette tapes, mourning the demise of a punk band, etc. Titles include The Singer, The Song Is You*, Rock Bottom, The Alternative Hero, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone. I’m curious to read all of these, though I have mixed feelings about their existence. They indicate a market, however meager, for this sort of literature, but also a literary trend that makes my own fiction less than unique. The best I can do to counteract irrelevance is to understand the way I feel about the music I like. Two more I forgot: Joe Pernice’s latest; Peter Bognanni’s forthcoming The House of Tomorrow. I think the latter will be wise about its subject. The cover is awesome, plus the protagonist joins a punk band called The Rash, which sounds like a band that would play at The Smell.


At this time of year, what I like even better than Christmas music are those songs that can almost convince you, if you’re listening to them in a dark enough room, that you have died and been buried in the cold, cold ground. The third track on Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, Moby’s “My Weakness,” among others: I think these have no greater goal than to push you right up against your fear of death when you are at your most vulnerable, locked in headphones. DJ Shadow’s (Twin Peaks-sampling) Endtroducing** might work the same way if it didn’t also have the influence of funk and hip-hop. And Moby’s “God Moving Over the Face of the Waters” might too, if it didn’t also sound like a resurrection.

Someone (me?) ought to do a comparative analysis of Atlas Sound’s “Shelia” and Girls’ aforeblogged “Lust for Life.” In both, the singer seems to be wishing not for what he says he wants, but wishing that he wished for what he says he wants. It would simplify life, to want those things.

Speaking of, I’d like to hear an Atlas Sound cover of the “Just You & I” musical number from Twin Peaks. There is much that defies convention on that show, but this sequence—in which the teenagers James, Donna, and pseudo-Laura sit in a living room and, just because they want to, sing to the sound of twinkling 50s guitar—is an especially unmotivated, and perfect, moment. Taken out of context (where it pretty much already exists) it would be one of the greatest of all music videos, the poor lip-syncing a special bonus!

Deerhunter’s Microcastle is the highest-ranking album by a band whose members are roughly close to my own age on my still unpublished list of the best of the 00s. For this reason, and just because it sounds right, I’d say that album is the best so far produced by my generation (not the generation of 15 years ago that I used to think was mine). It features sounds that have been heard before, but the air of lethargy and illness that surrounds them is certainly a new attitude. There’s a song on the companion album called “VHS Dream,” and I think this is particular to late 80s babies: that even technologies I still use everyday I already find remote and somewhat romantic. Also see The xx, “VCR.”

But perhaps you are a serenely, uncomplicatedly, and permanently happy person and believe Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion to be the sign of the times and the sound of a generation (why do I have this attitude about AC fans even though I know it isn’t so?). If I fell in love with someone who loved them I would maybe find myself instantly agreeing, but I find there’s a troubling absence of pain in their music (probably not in the lives of the musicians, so where is it hiding? Even your standard hippie Zen anthem reveals a bit of sadness). So I’ll skip their “I wanna walk around with you” for the time being and stick with the Ramones’ “I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You.”

The songs on Top 40 radio these days are among the most culture-encrusted music I’ve ever heard. The hitmakers of today will swipe seemingly any musical gesture, and what once made sense and resonated emotionally in the context of rock ‘n’ roll, soul, funk, psychedelia, disco, punk, post-punk, hip-hop, etc., can easily be made just one more layer of cacophony in a pop song. These songs are therefore complex but also banal: so long as the lyrical sentiment is simple and works as a cipher of real human feeling where no real world context actually exists, then even a bit of overprocessed shoegazery guitar might be considered appropriately marketable. I can’t even count the number of musical trends that had to happen before The Black Eyed Peas could create something as unlistenable as “Boom Boom Pow.” How someone can respond to that song—or even be made to want to dance by it—is beyond me; I was able to respond to it twenty iterations ago when it was called “The Twist” and wasn’t carrying tons of cultural trash making it the sonic equivalent of the junked Earth in Wall-E. That said—and for those who are keeping tabs on the mixed messages I’ve been sending about her—I find Lady Gaga’s songs infinitely more palatable than anything else on Ryan Seacrest’s morning show, as the best of them are simpler throwbacks to the mid-90s club stylings of LaBouche, Crystal Waters, etc. Gaga herself is sending significantly fewer mixed messages*** than her contemporaries, by which I mean she displays a straightforward diva mentality and her music is not sonically chaotic or indecipherable.

I had a brief and unspectacular conversation with (Decemberist) Colin Meloy when he played a hometown show at my place of work on Sunday. I also learned from his Twitter that the great Vic Chesnutt has died.


I’ve read eight books published in the last 12 months (a new record!). Here they are from best to worst (i.e. great to quite good): Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor, Lowboy, Homer & Langley, The Book of Night Women, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, Stitches, Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It, Asterios Polyp.

Also, twelve great movies of 2009: Avatar, Of Time and the City, A Serious Man, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Coraline, Tyson, Bruno, Silent Light, Taking Woodstock, Julia.

*The New York Times review remarks upon the rarity of the male muse in literature, and the myth that women, if they must be poets, must serve as their own inspiration. The book is said to cleverly upend this notion, and it seems doubly clever to me as the male muse is slightly less rare in popular music.

**The central melody of “Stem/Long Stem” recently reminds me of an instrumental light pop with sax track that I used to hear on AOR radio a lot and that signified to me the world of adults and hot Miami nights. Can anyone name it?

***Unless you pay too much attention to what she says.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009



[1] A Sunny Day In Glasgow, Ashes Grammar
[2] Jeremy Jay, Slow Dance
[3] Bob Mould, Life and Times
[4] Bat For Lashes, Two Suns
[5] Idlewild, Post Electric Blues
[6] St. Vincent, Actor
[7] The Sleepover Disaster, Hover
[8] Patrick Wolf, The Bachelor
[9] Mew, No More Stories…
[10] Morrissey, Years of Refusal

This is the list that I carry with me when, in December 2009, I take the train to St. Paul (in transit I travel back in time one year) and knock on the dorm room door of Geoff, age 21, a senior at Macalester College. Younger Geoff looks at the list and immediately recognizes it as a future top ten. It is easy to surmise, because it is only likely that A Sunny Day In Glasgow will go from making the best debut of 2007 to making the best album period of 2009.

He is happy to learn that Bob Mould will rise again. Bob never stopped making good albums, but after this year’s District Line, young Geoff thought he might be done making great ones. Perhaps it’s a matter of how vulnerable Bob makes himself, as Geoff has recently begun to suspect that he is actually a very likable man. It is also good news that Patrick Wolf, whose Magic Position delighted in 2007, will soon reveal himself to be a true artiste, and not just another pop musician capable of hitting the pleasure centers (if young Geoff had heard Wind in the Wires or listened more thoughtfully to The Magic Position, he would already know this).

Idlewild has never failed to impress Geoff. They haven’t even begun recording their next album and he has already paid his money for it. Delivered from the tyranny of a record label, they are bound to deliver. He thinks Post Electric Blues is not a great title, but it has him excited anyway. It doesn’t even matter if the album’s great; he’ll love it anyway. But it is great! (How can I convince you now that it is?) Another no-brainer: Morrissey’s career has been on an upward trajectory since supposed nadir Maladjusted, so he is due to release more of his best work. Will he soon have a trilogy for the 00s to rival ‘88-‘94’s excellent run of Viva Hate, Your Arsenal, and Vauxhall & I? (Yes.)

Geoff is also excited to learn he will have five new favorites by next year’s end. The Sleepover Disaster have a quiet reputation as great shoegaze revivalists. Why hasn’t he taken note yet? Bat For Lashes is a weird-named thing on a mix CD his sister has recently sent him. Why does he not pay more attention? Mew is too often described as prog rock, so Geoff is forgiven for thinking this label is accurate and avoiding them. St. Vincent is that lady from The Polyphonic Spree who has since asserted her selfhood outside the commune. But is she really her own person? Geoff likes that groovy Jeremy Jay single called “Alpharhythm,” but he doesn’t yet realize how emotional dancing can be.

I snag the list from young Geoff’s hand and return to Montana, where I continue to contemplate my favorite albums of 2009. The list reflects my tastes after all, not his.

I notice that bands proper make a weak showing this year. I count only three: Idlewild, The Sleepover Disaster, Mew. All are admirable rock ‘n’ roll units. The Sleepover Disaster make huge sounds (as dense and obscure as the smog of native Fresno) but never try to convince you that they’re more than a three-piece.

No More Stories is similarly grand, and not because it’s lavishly produced but because it’s so lavishly rehearsed. If time is money, then Mew spent a fortune on this one. The album contains some of the most potent and perfectly calculated musical pleasures since Sleater-Kinney’s The Woods, and you don’t arrive there through anything but hard work (and uncanny inspiration). That preternaturally high-pitched “Show me something good” over a quickly de-escalating groove sends shivers like nothing but Corin Tucker’s wail.

Alas, I hope the sort of collective art that a good functional band represents is not on the decline, but for me, 2009 was better as a year of faceless musicians serving the visions of individual artists, bringing to life the singer’s ideas about himself or herself. Actor is a woman standing on a street corner waiting for the light to change, her momentary reveries exploded into fully orchestrated songs. The Bachelor is a boy who has used up all his love and retreated to the moors, where the voice of Tilda Swinton tries to rouse him into action. Two Suns is a lover who wants to be as powerful as the narrator of Little Earthquakes but who simply can’t survive alone, even when no one is deserving of her epic love. Slow Dance is a hopeless romantic walking through the cold city, looking at you through your window. While these albums last you are these characters, or your own versions of them.

There are no characters in Ashes Grammar, but mastermind Ben Daniels similarly empowers the listener. If you’ve had a musical education at all similar to mine, this album tells you that you haven’t wasted your time, that you’ve been listening to all the right music all these years. How can a song sound like R.E.M., Slowdive and The Black Dog all at the same time and not sound like trash? Because there are times, in the lives of many music lovers, when all three are simultaneously all-important. Ashes is pure sound, and doesn’t require the comfort of conjured images to carry you through to the end. I can lie there listening in complete blind stillness and never hit the stop button; in fact I have yet to hear a fragment of this album removed from the whole. The End.

If my list suggests a strong bias toward gay white men, straight white women and Jack Rabid-approved rock ‘n’ roll bands, I apologize, but I hope it also suggests a strong bias toward relevant music.

Sinful omissions: If Dinosaur Jr’s Farm is a sludgefeast, then it is only natural that it gives me a bit of a sludge bellyache. Maximo Park’s Quicken the Heart is like candy to me, and was easily my most played of 2009, but I think it was one spont (unit of spontaneity) short of being truly great. There was much I loved about Wye Oak’s debut last year, but I noted that they lacked any discernible personality. 2009 was the year to commit, and The Knot was another reason to love this band, whether or not they are interesting people.

Here’s everything else I liked this year, so I can’t be accused of forgetting anything I haven’t heard (like new ones by the eminently top-tenable Mary Onettes, Engineers, and Atlas Sound).

Asobi Seksu, Hush
Built To Spill, There Is No Enemy
Camera Obscura, My Maudlin Career
Jarvis Cocker, Further Complications
The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love
Doves, Kingdom of Rust
The Flaming Lips, Embryonic
For Against, Never Been
Adam Franklin, Spent Bullets
Maximo Park, Quicken the Heart
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Jay Reatard, Watch Me Fall
The Thermals, Now We Can See
The Twilight Sad, Forget The Night Ahead
Wye Oak, The Knot
Yo La Tengo, Popular Songs

Art Brut, Art Brut vs. Satan
Neko Case, Middle Cyclone
Dinosaur Jr, Farm
The Fiery Furnaces, I’m Going Away
The Hidden Cameras, Origin: Orphan
The Isles, Troika
Daniel Johnston, Is And Always Was
The Kingsbury Manx, Ascenseur Ouvert!
Theophilus London, This Charming Mixtape
Metric, Fantasies
Mission of Burma, The Sound The Speed The Light
A.C. Newman, Get Guilty
Sonic Youth, The Eternal
T.S.O.L., Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Free Downloads
Youth Group, The Night Is Ours

Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion
Blue Roses, Blue Roses
Condo Fucks, Fuckbook
Franz Ferdinand, Tonight
God Help The Girl
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3, Goodnight Oslo
Adam Lambert, For Your Entertainment
Lotus Plaza, The Floodlight Collective
Micachu & The Shapes, Jewellery
Obits, I Blame You
Joe Pernice, It Feels So Good When I Stop
Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Woods, Songs of Shame

Brown Recluse, The Soft Skin (3.5/5)
Death Cab for Cutie, The Open Door (3.5/5)
Deerhunter, Rainwater Cassette Exchange (4/5)
The Mary Onettes, Dare (4/5)
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Higher than the Stars (4/5)
Phillip Eno, Templestay Forever YSG (4/5)
Superchunk, Leaves in the Gutter (3.5/5)

The Champagne Socialists- “Blue Genes” (3.5/5)
Jeremy Jay- “Breaking the Ice” (4/5)
Sic Alps- “L. Mansion” (3.5/5)
Devon Williams- “Sufferer” (5/5)
Searching for the Now 5 [Liechtenstein, The Faintest Ideas] (4.5/5)
Searching for the Now 6 [The School, George Washington Brown] (4.5/5)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Unlikely, or appropriate?

Is it unlikely that the object of Mike White’s affection (obsession) in Chuck & Buck would become the director of a blockbuster about the vagaries of teen (and interspecies) love called New Moon? Or merely appropriate? That is a question for Chris Weitz.*

Is it unlikely that a man whose two best regarded albums open with songs narrated by the captain of a slave ship and a group of sons of slaveholders, respectively, would write the songs for the first Disney movie to feature an African American princess? Or merely appropriate? That is a question for Randy Newman.


When I was 14 my rampant consumption of the classics made me convinced I would be a film critic. I suppose it’s still possible—if not a viable profession, I believe film criticism will never cease to be an absolutely crucial practice—but I’m often unimpressed with my own intellectual capacity on this blog. I don’t feel any real incentive to elaborate my thoughts or take myself to task for half-formed arguments. But the blog does keep my viewing moving forward, so here are some more nuggets of lazy observation:

Let’s henceforth banish the word “whimsy” from all serious critical discussion, but before we do that, let me say that Fantastic Mr. Fox has a fair amount more of it than Where the Wild Things Are, plus a bit of the pensiveness that is the latter film’s strong suit. A dead rat is given a very haunting eulogy, and Mr. Fox often explains his bad behavior by reminding, “I’m an animal.” Which would be just as true if he was human. But what matters most is that the movie is astonishingly joyful and creative, never in the same way twice, and in ways that Where the Wild Things Are, because it is about children and not just likely to be loved by them, can’t be.

Bright Star is a great evocation of the words of a poet, never a mere recitation. That’s an important point for a film that shows the life of John Keats, who tells his lover that there is nothing to “work out” in poetry, that the important thing is to luxuriate in the words. Bright Star is a movie you can swim through. And I’ll have to disagree with our local film critic, who believes Ben Whishaw to be too good-looking for the lead (a sensitive soul and handsome—too much insult for the common man!). He is attractive, but he doesn’t play the part that way—he is a small, sickly man, often dwarfed, even infantilized, by his lover. It’s a depiction of bodily wastage matched by Tobey Maguire’s war veteran in Brothers, whose best image shows gaunt and pale Tobey reflected in a mirror, into which he is not looking. You’d expect him to look and not recognize himself, but the moment rises above.

Speaking of…

Mirrors: I initially thought the sequence in Spike Lee’s 25th Hour in which Edward Norton speaks racial epithets into the camera was too angry and too confrontational for a film whose big city tensions are all bubbling under. But consider: He speaks them into a mirror. The sequence updates a similar and famous one from Do The Right Thing, in which the characters shout at you. In 25th Hour, the mirror mediates, and you are only implicated to the extent that you identify with Norton. It’s a subtle film, and those critics who say it’s a strong film unsubtly overlaid with evocations of 9/11 must be seeing things I’m not seeing. The only blatant reference I recall is a discussion of the contaminated Ground Zero air surrounding one character’s apartment complex. But that moment is more generally about, like everything else in the film, the impossibility of living in New York. When you can’t even breathe the air…

Last, if you thought the practice of showing the same action from two different angles and thereby disrupting narrative continuity vanished sometime after A Trip to the Moon (1902) and Life of an American Fireman (1903), when filmmakers decided continuity was all-important, look no further than turn-of-the-new-century depictions of urban despair like 25th Hour (I’ve noticed it in Homicide too), where it is used not for spectacle but for… what exactly?

Speaking of…

Our local film critic: When will he stop giving away the endings? His review of A Serious Man includes a thorough description of the final shots, and he has also recently written reviews describing the entire story arcs of Moon and The Informant! For shame!

Speaking of…

A Serious Man: I read a well-considered review of the movie on a blog I follow, and left a comment detailing some of my thoughts. Now I’ve seen the movie again, and I realize my own comments were not exactly well considered. I argued that the film employs a basic MacGuffin structure (I referred to the son’s radio as a cosmic MacGuffin) and signals its ending by reintroducing the father/son crosscutting of the opening sequence and “answering” the question of Larry’s medical tests and Danny’s confiscated MacGuffin. This is an arbitrary yet necessary way to structure a film about the search for meaning, whose only proper ending is the death of the species. Then I went on to describe the ending, in which father and son are confronted with the double spectre of death and destruction, and in which we find the son better prepared to meet the horror, but I ran into trouble by mistakenly thinking that Danny’s radio actually belongs to nemesis Fagel.

My analysis also hinged upon the awesomeness of the song “Somebody to Love,” and while I think scores and soundtracks usually ruin movies, the Airplane’s presence in the movie results in the best overuse of an overplayed song since “California Dreamin’” in Chungking Express.


I can’t really get away with watching the softcore porn vid for Girls’ “Lust for Life” at work, so I’ve only heard the song in fits and starts, but it strikes me as a forceful example of a musician singing through his romantic and social problems and packaging it into the sort of single that should come around once a month, into eternity, but probably doesn’t. I used to think this is what music was all about: bottle up your lust and longing and messed-upness and put it in a song. I don’t know if there’s been a drop-off in recent years in music as misfit therapy (for maker and listener), but if not it at least isn’t often presented in such an unfussy and happily uncool way as “Lust.” It seems only appropriate that poor internet connections around here have introduced another personal element of longing to the song, by keeping me from hearing it in its entirety and truly connecting. It’s like back in the days of radio, when you might hear part of a song that could comfort you in the long term, but you don’t catch the name and never hear it again. Wireless to wireless, heartache to heartache. I’m thankful for discs of pain that I have been able to hear, front to back and again and again, Patrick Wolf’s The Bachelor being a recent example.

Correction: What did I mean when I said The Twilight Sad are wearing their influences more proudly on their latest album? I mentioned Joy Division, but who did I really think the Sad sound like? The Chameleons? No. Joy Division? Not really. This is a thoroughly unique band, at least in the way that such a committed band can seem to exist in the absence of any context other than whatever emotion they’re channeling. I’d compare them to Slint, but only because they’re a similarly intuitive rock band. The shades and textures in the music are spontaneous eruptions and don’t fit into a neat grid. They’re storytellers, I suppose.

Youth Group’s The Night Is Ours is the least of their albums, but they remain firmly committed to creating strong melodies. Many albums go by and leave in their wake not a single memorable or convincing melody; this isn’t one of them. Add to that the fact that singer Toby Martin’s voice has grown into a siren reminiscent of James’s Tim Booth, and this is an album well worth hearing.

Joe Pernice’s latest album It Feels So Good When I Stop is dubbed a “novel soundtrack,” so does that make the corresponding book a “soundtrack novel”? The album is a collection of covers, pleasant if not revelatory, but its chief comfort is my suspicion that Pernice writes fiction for the same reasons I do. The album suggests a novel that pieces pop songs into a coherent narrative, a novel that had to begin life as a soundtrack before it could become a soundtrack again.

For Against are the greatest band to ever come out of Nebraska, and that’s no dubious distinction. It goes a little way toward explaining why they sound so unlike their American contemporaries, and the band’s latest, Never Been, sustains its mood of wintry dawn in a way that’s only possible when you spend twenty-odd years recording in your hometown (and a desolate one at that). The band was still great before guitarist Harry Dingman III rejoined after a 20 year absence, but everything about these last two, including 2008’s Shade Side Sunny Side (4 a.m. to Never Been’s 6 a.m.), suggests a renewal of purpose and a clear artistic vision—from the spare white album packaging to the impressionistic use of guitar and keyboard. The latter is what unites the two albums, despite the first’s post-punkish intensity and the new one’s more somber, painterly, classical approach.**

The band called Shout Out Louds, who once sounded a lot like The Cure, have a new anthem called “Walls” from the forthcoming Work. It’s my favorite song of 2010, and I’m telling you this now before it ends up on TV ads for which it seems destined. Any attempt to appropriate the song for the purpose of selling the triumphs of American industry to young people will certainly be a misreading, however, as the hook (“Whatever they say we’re the ones building walls”) is a sentiment not nearly as triumphant as the exuberance of the playing suggests. Also, the band is Swedish.

*I've been trying to come up with a Twilight equivalent for Chuck & Buck's most quotable, poetic, and unprintable line, but I should probably stop trying.
**Remember my post about the Minneapolis label Words on Music, how they only seem to release new For Against albums and Lucy Show reissues? I went back to their website after a six month absence and found they have two new releases...this latest For Against album and another Lucy Show reissue!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Macromix 09

It's my disc-length playlist comprising the best songs of 2009! Hint: Songs are in reverse favorite order. Albums list coming soon.

1/ 20 Atlas Sound, “Walkabout”
2/ 19 Jay Reatard, “Rotten Mind”
3/ 18 For Against, “Different Departures”
4/ 17 The Kingsbury Manx, “Well, Whatever”
5/ 16 No Age, “You’re A Target”
6/ 15 St. Vincent, “Actor Out Of Work”
7/ 14 Patrick Wolf, “Vulture”
8/ 13 Metric, “Help I’m Alive”
9/ 12 Doves, “Kingdom Of Rust”
10/ 11 The Thermals, “Now We Can See”
11/ 10 The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, “Young Adult Friction”
12/ 9 Maximo Park, “A Cloud Of Mystery”
13/ 8 Idlewild, “Take Me Back To The Islands”
14/ 7 Alicia Keys, “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart”
15/ 6 A Sunny Day In Glasgow, “Shy”
16/ 5 Mew, “Introducing Palace Players”
17/ 4 Devon Williams, “Who Cares About Forever”
18/ 3 Bat For Lashes, “Daniel”
19/ 2 The Sleepover Disaster, “Funnel Cloud”
20/ 1 Morrissey, “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris”

Also see the updated sidebar tabs.