Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hummus The Hits: Choice Cuts Volume 16

In no particular order, I've selected the favorite tracks from 2017's playlists for our sixteenth annual Choice Cuts end-of-year mix.

1. Empires On Fire — BANNERS

This should be the theme song of 2017 — and on, as we continue to do very little to solve our climate change problem. Of course, it could double as an anthem to describe all of the horrible things happening right now under the Trump administration. Our empire is on fire, indeed.

2. Look At What The Light Did Now — Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White

There's something hypnotic and fascinating in the contrast between Matthew E. White's gruff vocals and Flo Morrissey's high-pitched response in their cover of the Little Wings song. I love how Matthew throws to Flo with a simple, "Flo?"

3. Stardust — Ásgeir

This is one where I already loved the light, Icelandic pop of Ásgeir. Add in the video, which seems straight out of a Wes Anderson film, and I love it even more.

4. First Time — Kygo & Ellie Goulding

A deeply personal song by Kygo, as voiced by Ellie Goulding.

5. Bike Dream — Rostam

Great track by Rostam about a complicated love affair, and breaking barriers along the way as he naturally sings about being gay and in love.

6. Never Give Up On Me — MisterWives

Catchy power pop from MisterWives, with a song that should have been a big hit.

7. The Gold — Manchester Orchestra

A beautiful song, and it's all about that harmonic chorus one minute in.

8. Noise Pollution (Feat. Mary Elizabeth Winstead & Zoe Manville) — Portugal. The Man

Everyone was all about Portugal. The Man's "Feel It Still" this year, but "Noise Pollution" was the much more interesting song — especially the vocals by Zoe Manville and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. This song takes on all the lies and propaganda coming out in the new, polluted environment. A year later, it's only worse.

9. Silence — Marshmello feat. Khalid

Khalid boasts so much soul for a singer so young. Add in Marshmello's signature drops, and this is a killer track.

10. The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness — The National

The National: dad rock at its finest.

11. Good Woman — Jade Bird

Rock on, Jade Bird!

12. Hard to Say Goodbye — Washed Out

The perfect song to simultaneously groove out on and also tap into your inner ennui.

13. Land Of The Free — Joey Bada$$

Joey Bada$$ is a bad ass, and "Land of the Free" is the perfect example of that. "The first step in the change is to take notice/ Realize the real games that they tried to show us/ 300 plus years of them cold shoulders/ Yet 300 million of us still got no focus/ Sorry America, but I will not be your soldier/ Obama just wasn't enough, I just need some more closure/ And Donald Trump is not equipped to take this country over/ Let’s face facts 'cause we know what’s the real motives."

14. So Tied Up (feat. Bishop Briggs) — Cold War Kids

Cold War Kids' Nathan Willett and Bishop Briggs go toe-to-toe, and I'm here for it.

15. Solo Si Es Contigo — Bombai feat Bebe

We heard this catchy tune non-stop while driving through Spain over the summer, and it became a must to include on this mix.

16. Ran — Future Islands

Future Islands boasts the best 1980s combined synth/bass/drum sound of 2017.

17. Fool — Fitz and The Tantrums

The Blogger Kid 2.0 couldn'y get enough of this song for a period of time in 2017, and it's not hard to see why: it's boppy, poppy fun.

18. The Game — Gabriel Garzón-Montano

Have a heart like a tangerine!

19. Holding On — The War On Drugs

Hold on to the past, or find a way to move on? The War on Drugs gives us a lot to chew on here.

20. Quiet — MILCK

An anthem for #MeToo and Time's Up, and also for anyone looking to find their voice.

21. May I Have This Dance (Remix) — Francis and the Lights feat. Chance the Rapper

Come for Francis and the Lights' Phil Collins/Genesis vibe, mixed with Chance's mellow rap, but stay for their dancing in the video.

22. This Song — RAC

Wrapping up the 2017 Choice Cuts, Rostam's back -- along with the high energy of a RAC mix.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 Mixes

December 2017

&Run — Sir Sly
So Settled — Vallis Alps
Modern Flame — Emmit Fenn
A Hearing — Slum Sociable
Come Through and Chill (feat. J. Cole & Salaam Remi) — Miguel
Glitter (feat. Ambré Perkins) — Keys N Krates
Across The Room (feat. Leon Bridges) — ODESZA
The Times I'm Not There — NE-HI
Gentle Storm — Elbow
Sweet Dreams — Angel Olsen
May I Have This Dance (Remix) — Francis and the Lights feat. Chance the Rapper
Pain — The War On Drugs
Ballad of the Dying Man — Father John Misty
Goodbye Soleil — Phoenix
Mercury — Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, James McAlister
Die Young — Sylvan Esso
The Gold — Manchester Orchestra
Day I Die — The National
Live In The Moment — Portugal. The Man
Crawl — Gabriel Garzon-Montano
On And On — Curtis Harding
Oh Devil (feat. Devin Di Dakta) — Electric Guest

November 2017

Empires On Fire — BANNERS
Bad At Love — Halsey
Done With Love (feat. Herizen) — Absofacto
Silence — Marshmello feat. Khalid
We Stayed up All Night (feat. Ardyn) — Tourist
Up All Night — Beck
Never Give Up On Me — MisterWives
First Time — Kygo & Ellie Goulding
No Roots — Alice Merton
I Know — Bayonne
Strange Feeling — WORLDS
Thunder (Official Remix feat. K. Flay) — Imagine Dragons
Lost Without You — Freya Ridings
Save Me A Place (Bridge & Mountain Remix) — Mono Mind
Burn Out — Robert Francis
Know No Better (feat. Quavo) — Major Lazer
I Was A Fool — Sunflower Bean
Feels Like Summer — Weezer
Quiet — MILCK
Far Away And Blurred — Gord Downie
Outsiders — Au/Ra
Battlecall — Zander Bleck
All The Love — Tundran
Love You Save Me — Cameron Jones
Always Ascending (Edit) — Franz Ferdinand
My Imagination (feat. dvsn) — Majid Jordan

October 2017

Redbone (Clean Radio Edit) — Childish Gambino
Holding On — The War On Drugs
Falling Back (feat. MNDR) — Oliver
Light It Up (Let It Burn) — Pickwick
Weak — Maya Jane Coles
Rainbow City — Cloud Control
Feel It Still — Portugal. The Man
Your Love — Middle Kids
Virtue — Kllo
This Year — Beach Fossils
Anywhere (Live At KCSN) — Passenger
Deadcrush — аlt-J
The World's Smiling Now — Jim James
My Bark Is Your Bite — Blaenavon
Dangerous — The xx
Summer Bummer — Lana Del Rey Feat. A$AP Rocky & Playboi Carti
O Caminho (Guy Sigsworth Mix) — Bebel Gilberto
Third of May / Ōdaigahara — Fleet Foxes

September 2017

LMK — Kelela
Porcelain — Shout Out Louds
Adrenaline — BOSCO
Standing In The Middle Of The Field — Cut Copy
Feels (vailot remix) — Calvin Harris Feat Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, Big Sean
Fool — Fitz and The Tantrums
Mourning Sound — Grizzly Bear
Hard to Say Goodbye — Washed Out
We Were Beautiful — Belle and Sebastian
Maria — The Last Bandoleros
Remember Our Love — José James
The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness — The National
Everything Now — Arcade Fire
Higher — Conner Youngblood
Learn to Let Go — IDER
Burn It Down — Daughter
Sleepy Eyes — Elohim & Whethan
We Love (feat. MNDR) — TOKiMONSTA
Higher Ground (feat. Naomi Wild) — ODESZA
Fluid — Bus Vipers
Midnight — Jessie Ware
Call It Dreaming — Iron & Wine
Preludes — Craig Finn
Summermash '17 — DJ Earworm

August 2017
Fleur de Lys — Phoenix
Lips (feat. Melodownz) — Noah Slee
Good Woman — Jade Bird
Slide — Calvin Harris Feat. Frank Ocean and Migos
Tártaro — Buscabulla
Noise Pollution (Feat. Mary Elizabeth Winstead & Zoe Manville) — Portugal. The Man
Come Be Me — Helado Negro
Tokyo — Dan Croll
Never Been Wrong — Waxahatchee
Angel Fire — Hollie Cook
Shark Smile — Big Thief
I Dare You — The xx
Move — Saint Motel
Dreams Tonite — Alvvays
Lose My Cool — Amber Mark
This Is It — Lo Moon
Just A Little Bit — Thomas Dybdahl
Lust For Life (feat. The Weeknd) — Lana Del Rey
All Night — Big Boi
Cassius — Fleet Foxes
Bike Dream — Rostam
Close But Not Quite (Ft. Sampha) — Everything Is Recorded
New York — St. Vincent

July 2017

Hey Ma (Spanish Version) — Pitbull & J Balvin feat. Camila Cabello
Galway Girl — Ed Sheeran
Solo Si Es Contigo — Bombai feat Bebe
Symphony (feat. Zara Larsson) — Clean Bandit
Despacito (feat. Luis Fonsi) — Daddy Yankee
It Ain't Me — Kygo feat. Selena Gomez
Me Rehúso — Danny Ocean
Issues — Julia Michaels
Me Enamoré — Shakira
Malibu — Miley Cyrus
Green Light — Lorde
Felices Los 4 — Maluma
Say You Won't Let Go — James Arthur
OK (feat. James Blunt) — Robin Schulz
HUMBLE. (Clean) — Kendrick Lamar
Bailarina — Maldita Nerea
You Don't Know Me ft. RAYE — Jax Jones
There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back — Shawn Mendes
Si No Vuelves — Gente de Zona
Swalla (Clean Radio Edit) — Jason Derulo f./Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign
Attention — Charlie Puth
Tu Me Obligaste — Antonio Jose & Cali Y El Dandee
Wild Thoughts (feat. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller) — DJ Khaled

May 2017

Doing It for the Money — Foster the People
Want You Back — HAIM
Sunroof — courtship.
This Song — RAC
Lights — Ced Linus
Silver — Waxahatchee
Let Me Out — Gorillaz Ft. Mavis Staples & Pusha T
1 Night — Mura Masa Ft. Charli XCX
Sweet — Little Dragon
Cave Birds — J GRGRY
Percolator — Charly Bliss
Pen to Paper — Brother Ali
Fire — Beth Ditto
Where's My Love — SYML
Bout You — VÉRITÉ
Cave (Live on Later… with Jools Holland) — Future Islands
Hyperreal — Flume feat. Kucka
Oh Woman Oh Man — London Grammar
Line Of Sight (feat. WYNNE and Mansionair) — ODESZA
Arabian Heights — Afghan Whigs
Freight Trane — Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane

March 2017

Something Just Like This — The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
Stardust — Ásgeir
Human — Rag'n'Bone Man
Wake Up — Chastity Brown
Stay — Zedd and Alessia Cara
My Emotions Are Blinding — Tennis
Shape Of You (James Carter x Levi Remix) — Ed Sheeran
Witness (feat. Mavis Staples) — Benjamin Booker
So Tied Up (feat. Bishop Briggs) — Cold War Kids
True — Jacques Greene
5 Flucloxacillin — Los Campesinos!
I Feel It Coming (Cosmic Dawn Edit) — The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk
Into The Ether — Leif Vollebekk
Do It Again — Lady Wray
Chained To The Rhythm (Joe Maz Extended Remix) — Katy Perry feat. Skip Marley
Last Kiss — Minus The Bear
Patient Zero — Aimee Mann
Freedom Is Free — Chicano Batman
Moving As One — LOYAL
Magnificent (She Says) — Elbow
Sirens of Jupiter — The Olympians
Beachwood Canyon — Jem

February 2017

Phase Me Out — VÉRITÉ
Hot Thoughts — Spoon
No Promises — San Fermin
I Dont Ever Wanna Leave California — Allison Crutchfield
Where's the Revolution — Depeche Mode
I like Orange Juice — PIKOTARO
The Game — Gabriel Garzón-Montano
Louisville — Matt Pond PA
Paradise — ANOHNI
Keep Running — Tei Shi
Told You I'd Be With The Guys — Cherry Glazerr
Land Of The Free — Joey Bada$$
Telephone — Sinkane
Say Something Loving — The xx
Directions (feat. Joseph) — Nahko and Medicine for the People
Look At What The Light Did Now — Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White
Have Some Love — Childish Gambino
Get Along — New Venusians
Show You The Way (feat. Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins) — Thundercat
Buck — Sisters
Ran — Future Islands
Why? — Rudy Willingham
Bet She Looks Like You — Nick Hakim
Familiar — Agnes Obel

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Right Back Sriracha: Choice Cuts Volume 15

In no particular order, I've selected the favorite tracks from 2016's playlists for our fifteenth annual Choice Cuts end-of-year mix.

1. "Never Going Back" -- Caveman Kicked off this year's Choice Cuts mix with a catchy tune by Brooklyn-based Caveman. "Never Going Back," the lead single from their third album, "Otero War," has been accused of sounding too much like War On Drugs' 2014 track "Red Eyes." But I think it sounds just fine on its own.

2. "Rising Water" -- James Vincent McMorrow
Powerful song made even more profound by this video. From McMorrow's third album, "We Move."

3. "Fountain Of Youth" -- Local Natives
"We can do whatever we want!" our local natives, Local Natives, sing. Great performance here, recorded at KCRW's basement studios.

4. "Blood On Me" -- Sampha
Off his new album "Process," U.K. artist Sampha weaves a story of paranoia and action in this complex tune.

5. "Here in Spirit" -- Jim James
A song for our times. Jim James' "Here in Spirit" evokes the Black Lives Matter movement in this video (shot in downtown Los Angeles), but the song also speaks to the power of resistance, and needing to speak up in a time where injustice is all around us:

If you don't speak out
We can't hear it

6. "Conrad" -- SOHN
"I can feel it coming, we can never go back... we're dinosaurs living in denial." Powerful, catchy and thoughtful. A song that alludes to climate change, and one that should haunt you.

7. "Best to You" (feat. Empress Of) --  Blood Orange
Dev Hynes -- the artist known as Blood Orange -- has become a favorite, and he's landed past tracks on my end of year "Choice Cuts" compilation. This year, he hands most of the vocals to Empress Of, and comes back with the marvelous "Best to You."

8. "Mountain At My Gates" --  Foals
This song and video actually came out in 2015, but I only discovered it until 2016 -- and it was enough of a memorable experience to end the year here.

9. "Your Best American Girl" --  Mitski One of my favorite moments in any of this year's Choice Cuts tracks is when Mitski lets it rip on the guitar, midway through this track. She doesn't need to conform to any of your closed-minded expectations!

10. "The Outsiders" --  Kweku Collins
Hailing from Evanston, Kweku Collins is a young talent to keep an eye on. A deeply personal track of discovery as he works his way up in the world -- and killer references to "The Outsiders," the novel. Stay golden.

11. "Adventure of a Lifetime" -- Coldplay
Another elaborate Coldplay video (this one using motion capture) that the Blogger Boys fell in love with. Evan became a huge Coldplay fan in recent years, and I even took him to his first major concert (Coldplay at the Rose Bowl) this summer -- so I had to include this one!

12. "I Have Been to the Mountain" -- Kevin Morby
The video doesn't really do it justice, but Morby's "I Have Been to the Mountain" was inspired by the death of Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD. "And have you heard the sound/ Of a man stop breathing, pleading?"

13. "Go! (Original Mix)" -- M83 feat. Mai Lan
French singer Mai Lan and guitar legend Steve Vai add the necessary touches to yet another 80s-inspired track from M83.

14. "On Hold" -- The xx
Mix together The xx's signature melancholy with a looped sample from Hall & Oates... add in a moody music video shot in Marfa, Texas... and "On Hold" is pop perfection.

15. "Peace Of What" -- RJD2
From those opening strings to the power of singer Jordan Brown, "Piece of What" has something to say.

16. "Pink + White" (Ft. Beyonce) --  Frank Ocean
Off Frank Ocean's album "Blonde," this song about lost love features a very subtle contribution by Queen Bey.

17. "Every Songbird Says" -- Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop
Songwriters Sam Beam (the man behind Iron & Wine) and Jesca Hoop collaborated on their album "Love Letter for Fire," which features this gem.

18. "Powerful" (feat. Ellie Goulding & Tarrus Riley) -- Major Lazer
Put together two strong voices like Ellie Goulding and Tarrus Riley, and how could you not call this track "Powerful." Another song that was actually released in 2015, but it became a frequent listen for me in 2016.

19. "What If I Go" -- Mura Masa
British electronic music producer Alex Crossan, who performs as Mura Masa, pulls off a jam featuring Bonzai on vocals.

20. "Worry" (feat. Anderson .Paak) -- Jack Garratt
I'm regretting not putting a separate track by Anderson .Paak on this mix, but I just ran out of room. A compromise: This collaboration between Garratt and .Paak is fire. Above, they perform it live for MTV.

21. "I Need A Forest Fire" (feat. Bon Iver) -- James Blake
The appropriate way to end a 2016 mix: The quiet storm of James Blake and Bon Iver. Burn it all down.

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Mixes

December 2016

Get Up — Nick Grant Ft. Watch The Duck
Somebody Else — The 1975
I Have Been to the Mountain — Kevin Morby
Younger (Kygo Remix) — Seinabo Sey
Am I Wrong — Anderson .Paak Feat. ScHoolboy Q
Unsteady — X Ambassadors
Blood On Me — Sampha
Nobody Dies — Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
Anyway — Huntar
Ketamine For Breakfast — Kate Tempest
A 1000 Times — Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam
Tremors — Sohn
Earth Is The Loneliest Planet — Morrissey
In Common — Alicia Keys
The Killing Season — A Tribe Called Quest Ft. Talib Kweli
Been To The Moon — Corinne Bailey Rae
Timmy's Prayer — Sampha
The Dreamer — Anderson .Paak Feat. Talib Kweli & Timan Family Choir
Hadron Collider — Blood Orange & Nelly Furtado
Don't Need To Be Them — The Sun Days
Fool — Frankie Cosmos
Butter — Leyya

November 2016

Come Down — Anderson Paak Ft. T.I.
Keep It Moving — Alex Newell
We the People.... — A Tribe Called Quest
Perfect Illusion — Lady Gaga
Your Best American Girl — Mitski
Sorry — Beyoncé
Voices in My Head — Bob Mould
Drone Bomb Me — Anhoni
Ivy — Frank Ocean
Night Swimming — Tacocat
Cranes In The Sky — Solange
One Dance (Ft. Wizkid & Kyla) — Drake
Un Par De Lugares (A Couple of Places) — Café Tacvba
Low Life — X Ambassadors Feat. Jamie N Commons
Studio 54 — Eloïse
I Don't Want to Be Funny Anymore — Lucy Dacus
Mystery — Boxed In
Still — Seinabo Sey
Slash/Burn — Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
Green Aphrodisiac — Corinne Bailey Rae

October 2016

Stitches — My Little Jeans
24K Magic — Bruno Mars
On Hold — The xx
Pink + White Ft. Beyonce — Frank Ocean
Starboy (feat. Daft Punk) — The Weeknd
Borderline (An Ode to Self Care) [feat. Q-Tip] — Solange
Everything Is Happening Today — Flock of Dimes
Cruel World — Phantogram
Shadowboxing — Boxed In
Florida — The Range
Bourbon — Gallant
Can't Stop the Feeling (Dunisco Ft. JeyJeySax Remix) — Justin Timberlake
Not Above Love — AlunaGeorge
4 Degrees — ANOHNI
You Remain — Kungs
Nurse Ratched — CherryGlazerr
Conrad — SOHN
U'Huh — Sinkane
Youth — Glass Animals
Scars to Your Beautiful (Joe Morgan Remix) — Alessia Cara
My Way (feat. Ariana Grande) — Calvin Harris

September 2016

Closer (feat. Jennie A.) — Lemaitre
Dean's Room — Allison Crutchfield
High And Low — Empire of the Sun
Cool Girl (Vana Remix) — Tove Lo
Not Easy (feat. X Ambassadors, Elle King & Wiz Khalifa) — Alex Da Kid
I Stay Ready — Cody ChesnuTT
Colors — Halsey
Bleeding Heart — regina spektor
Here in Spirit — Jim James
This Girl — Kung VS Cookin on 3 Burners
New Song — Warpaint
Sweep Me Off My Feet — Pond
Lovesick F (feat. Bonzai) — Mura Masa
33 GOD — Bon Iver
I Can Only Stare — Sleigh Bells
Edge of Town — Middle Kids
The Outsiders — Kweku Collins
Coastal California, 1985 — Math and Physics Club
Tape Machine — STRFKR
Cheap Thrills — Sia
New Person, Same Old Mistakes — Tame Impala

August 2016

Got the Love (feat. Jennifer Hartswick) — Big Gigantic
Wish I Knew You — The Revivalists
Spirits — The Strumbellas
Devotion — Savoir Adore
Pray (Empty Gun) — Bishop Briggs
Light It Up (feat. Nyla & Fuse ODG) (Remix) — Major Lazer
Sad Song (feat. Elena Coats) — We The Kings
Kid Who Stays In The Picture — Hot Hot Heat
Lost Youth / Lost You — How To Dress Well
Closer (Original Mix) — The Chainsmokers
Beat Silent Need — Júníus Meyvant
Shelter (Original Mix) — Porter Robinson & Madeon
Plastic Plant — Three Oh Sees
You Don't Get Me High Anymore — Phantogram
Fountain Of Youth — Local Natives
Give Me Something to Love — Kid Runner
Telepathic Lover — Crocodiles
California Bride — Rogue Wave
Drawn — De La Soul Ft. Little Dragon

July 2016

Life Or Just Living — Caveman
Found — Seramic
Giant — Banks & Steelz
First World Problems — Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Alaska — Maggie Rogers
This Is What You Came For — Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna
Crazy for You — Michael Franti & Spearhead
Rising Water — James Vincent McMorrow
OBLIVIUS [Radio Edit] — The Strokes
Best to You (feat. Empress Of) — Blood Orange
Villainy — Local Natives
Guru — Coast Modern
Walk Right Back — Jamie Lidell
Um Chagga Lagga — Pixies
I Took a Pill In Ibiza (Seeb Remix) — Mike Posner
Friends ft. Bon Iver and Kanye West — Francis and the Lights
Shaky Ground — Freedom Fry
Hang Me Out To Dry (with Robyn) — Metronomy
1973 — Beth Orton
The Noisy Eater (feat. Biz Markie & Jean-Michel Bernard) — The Avalanches
A Life Worth Living (feat. U-Roy and Alice Russell) — Quantic
Cada Dia Es Domingo — Mexrrissey

May 2016

Human — Caveman
What If I Go — Mura Masa
Go! (Original Mix) — M83 feat. Mai Lan
Past Lives — Local Natives
Someone That Loves You — HONNE & Izzy Bizu
Balloon — Muncie Girls
i hate u, i love u (feat. olivia o'brien) — gnash
Say It feat. Tove Lo (Built On Water Remix) — Flume
Out of Control — Lush
HandClap — Fitz and The Tantrums
Rings — Aesop Rock
Together (Ft. AlunaGeorge & GoldLink) — Kaytranada
Execution — ANOHNI
Up&Up — Coldplay
Lose It — Oh Wonder
Gonna Die Alone (Beats1 World First) — Hanni El Khatib
Every Songbird Says — Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop
Bloodline — White Sea
Sunset — Tangerine
Waiting — Vök
Changes — Charles Bradley
I Need A Forest Fire (feat. Justin Vernon) — James Blake

April 2016

Life of Pause — Wild Nothing
Guilty of Love — Unloved
Hold Me Closer — Yuck
Surprise Yourself — Jack Garratt
Sweetest Girl — Eleanor Friedberger
Say a Prayer For Me (Mazde remix) — RUFUS DU SOL
Wild Horses — Bishop Briggs
Powerful (feat. Ellie Goulding & Tarrus Riley) — Major Lazer
Your Life in the End — Prince Rama
Doing It To Death (Official Video) — The Kills
Places To Go — Yuna
Waves (RAC Remix) — Miguel
The Little Things (ft. Angela McCluskey) — Big Gigantic
Way Down We Go — Kaleo
Past Lives — BØRNS
Mountain At My Gates — Foals
Can I (Tez Cadey Remix) — Alina Baraz & Galimatias
The Trouble With Us — Marcus Marr x Chet Faker
Bang My Head (CDQ) — David Guetta Ft. Sia & Fetty Wap
Outside — Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding

March 2016

Fire and the Flood — Vance Joy
River — Bishop Briggs
When a Woman Is Around — Unloved
Worry (feat. Anderson .Paak) — Jack Garratt
Hymn For The Weekend — Coldplay (ft. Beyonce)
As I Walk Away — Yuck
Melting Block — Poliça
Never Be Like You (feat. Kai) — Flume
TV Queen — Wild Nothing
Ablaze — School Of Seven Bells
Holda You (I'm Psycho) — White Denim
Part One - Hey, No Pressure — Ray LaMontagne
Do It, Try It (Audio) — M83
What You Talking About — Peter Bjorn and John
Magnets — Disclosure ft. Lorde
untitled 03 l 05.28.2013. — Kendrick Lamar
QACHINA — Damien Jurado
He Didn't Mention His Mother — Eleanor Friedberger
Better Strange — James Supercave
Lean On (Original Mix) — Major Lazer x DJ Snake feat. MØ
Hypnotised — RÜFÜS
Netflix And Poptarts — Netflix and Poptarts

February 2016

Adventure of a Lifetime — Coldplay
Peace Of What — RJD2
Genghis Khan — Miike Snow
Love Is Blind — Låpsley
Bamboo — Hinds
Absolutely — Ra Ra Riot
Celebrate — Anderson Paak
Corvette — Shannon and the Clams
Man Without Shadow — Breakbot
Keep Me Around — Turin Brakes
Dopamine — DIIV
Lost Weekend — Pete Yorn
Never Going Back — Caveman
Tearing Me Up — Bob Moses
Be Apart — Porches
I'm in Control (feat. Popcaan) — AlunaGeorge
Every Night You've Got to Save Me — Mass Gothic
Deadstream — Jim-E Stack
Keep On Keepin On — Bleached
Wedding — POLIÇA
Moments (feat. Leo Stannard) — Kidnap Kid

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Craft Tunes: Choice Cuts Volume 14

In no particular order, I've selected the favorite tracks from 2015's playlists for our fourteenth annual Choice Cuts end-of-year mix. Here they are:

1. Overboard -- The Silver Lake Chorus

Ben Lee wrote and performs the solo in this song, from The Silver Lake Chorus-- which "performs choral arrangements of indie music." Yeah, I know, sounds so very Silver Lake-y. But Ben Lee knows how to craft an infectious pop tune, and this is one of them -- attached to a striking multi-part chorus. (Thanks to TSLC for correcting me -- that's not Ben Lee doing the solo, but one of their talented members!)

2. Wild Things -- Alessia Cara

I've been listening to a lot of top 40 radio toward the end of this year, and during a recent drive up to Sacramento, Alessia Cara's "Here" was in heavy rotation. I was drawn to the song's sample -- Isaac Hayes's "Ike's Rap II," which was the core of one of my favorite tracks of the 1990s, Portishead's "Glory Box." Cara's voice is remarkable, and "Wild Things" is a fantastic follow-up.

3. Don't Wanna Fight -- Alabama Shakes

Brittany Howard does it again -- that raw grit in her voice as she screams, "I don't wanna fight no more!" is powerful.

4. Flesh Without Blood -- Grimes

Claire Elise Boucher, better known as Grimes, has a sound that one magazine described as an "alien love-child of Aphex Twin and ABBA." I'm not sure if that's a good thing, but this song is.

5. Monster (feat. Avelino) -- Jacob Banks

Jacob Banks is part of a new wave of soul artists with a throwback '60s sound. "Monster," with its hypnotic chant, is a little more modern, and a song that will stick with you.

6. Greek Tragedy -- The Wombats

"Greek Tragedy" may be better known for its disturbing video, in which every member of the Liverpool-based band is brutally murdered. I decided to post a live-- and less graphic -- video here instead.

7. Multi-Love -- Unknown Mortal Orchestra

I don't think the term "psych-rock" does Unknown Mortal Orchestra justice. I've been a big fan of the band, led by Ruben Nielson, in the past, and their third album is well worth picking up.

8. The Emotion -- BØRNS

Spin calls "The Emotion" a "twinkling, gorgeous soliloquy." The pained chorus from Borns -- sorry, BØRNS -- is indeed beautifully haunting.

9. The Scene Between -- The Go! Team

Ten years ago, I was intrigued by The Go! Team's use of sampling and odd vocals on catchy tunes like "Huddle Formation." In 2015, "The Scene Between" kept the fun cut-and-paste sound but added more depth and maturity to the mix.

10. 40 Watt -- Elel

Technically from 2014, but "40 Watt" and Nashville's Elel reached me in 2015. One blog calls it "indie-pop cotton candy for the ears." Hey, nothing wrong with that!

11. Pay No Mind (ft. Passion Pit) -- Madeon

Passion Pit had a new CD this year, and it was... just OK. I was much more excited by the band's collaboration with French producer Madeon, "Pay No Mind." The video is trippy too.

12. Long Way Down -- Robert DeLong

On a rare date night this year, Maria and I saw Robert DeLong perform at the Natural History Museum last February as part of its "First Fridays" series of events. Perhaps that makes me a little partial to "Long Way Down," but it's also just a strong track.

13. Hard Time -- Seinabo Sey

Writes The Guardian: "Seinabo Sey, with her motley take on pop, surely puts up with a lot of hyphenated descriptors. The singer-songwriter is Swedish-Gambian for starters, daughter of late musician Maudo Sey and his partner Madeleine Sundqvist. Then, there’s the issue of categorising her sound. As is the case with so many musicians of her age, the 25-year-old rummages around in a grab-bag of influences to make this tightly performed, if not slightly over-polished, debut." I found "Hard Time" in a blog post of songs that "public radio can't get enough of."

14. Chains of Love -- The Arcs

Dan Auerbach, the singer-guitarist-songwriter of the modern-blues duo the Black Keys, finds a lower-key (pun intended) but still soul-infused sound with side project The Arcs. Rolling Stone writes: "the bleak R&B beauty "Chains of Love," Auerbach hands the chorus to the female singers Mariachi Flor de Toloache, who haunt the space behind the beat and spindly guitars like a ghostly Shangri-Las.

15. Never Ending Circles -- CHVRCHES

From the second release from Scottish synthpop band Chvrches -- sorry, CHVRCHES -- I fell in love with lead vocalist Lauren Mayberry's sound all over again.

16. Ocean To City -- High Highs

One of my favorite songs of all time is Ocean Blue's "Ballerina Out of Control." Perhaps it's just a weird coincidence, but High Highs' "Ocean to City" has a very similar beautiful-yet-melancholy sound to it.

17. Feeling Ok -- Best Coast

As the Los Angeles Times noted, "Feeling Ok" (yes, the "k" is not capitalized here) seems on the surface to be celebrating life in California, a.k.a. the Best Coast. Yet singer Bethany Cosentino doesn't seem 100% convinced -- and that says a lot about the conflict and contradictions that come from living in our sunny SoCal world.

18. O Mother -- Son Little

2015 will be remembered for a lot of things, including how the #BlackLivesMatter movement helped finally once again shine a spotlight on the plight of young African American men and women. Son Little, who hails from Philadelphia, wrote "O Mother" while touring in Europe while headlines in the States were focused on the fates of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. “Racism and violence are global problems,” he told the New Yorker. “But our particular brand in America is what makes it hard for black men to breathe.”

19. 1998 (feat. Banks) -- Chet Faker

Producer Chet Faker originally released "1998" in 2014; this reworked version includes the equally soulful Banks picking up a verse as well. (Sorry, no relation to Taylor Swift's "1989.")

20. TV -- Colleen Green

I suppose this should be my anthem, right? "TV is my friend/ And it has been with me everyday/ From an early age/ TV is my friend/ And it has been always there for me/ In time of need"

21. Madre Tierra (Oye) -- Chayanne

Puerto Rican Latin pop star Chayanne has sold more than 30 million albums, yet I'm sure you probably haven't heard of him. I was introduced to "Madre Tierra (Oye)" because the Blogger Kid's 4th grade class at his Spanish immersion school sang the song in the spring. I figured it was appropriate to end this year's mix with the song... followed by a bonus track, below!

22. Madre Tierra (Oye) -- Franklin Spanish 4th Graders

2015 Mixes

November 2015

Wild Things -- Alessia Cara (3:09)
Water (feat. Rostam) -- Ra Ra Riot (4:40)
Times Square -- Destroyer (4:11)
Annie -- Neon Indian (4:02)
Highway Patrol Stun Gun -- Youth Lagoon (4:15)
Flesh Without Blood -- Grimes (4:25)
Electric Love -- BØRNS (3:38)
How To Forget -- Jason Isbell (4:04)
Treading on Water -- Rudimental (5:16)
Kathleen Sat On The Arm Of Her Favourite Chair -- Hooton Tennis Club (2:26)
The Buzz 2015 (Original) -- Hermitude feat. Mataya & Young Tapz (3:40)
Close To Gold -- Hippo Campus (3:11)
Since K Got Over Me -- The Clientele (3:52)
Chains of Love -- The Arcs (3:11)
Warm Blood -- Carly Rae Jepsen (4:13)
Wall Watcher -- Sunflower Bean (2:27)
Who Returned -- Arthur Beatrice (4:28)
Love for That (feat. Shura) -- Mura Masa (3:12)
Dancing On Glass -- St. Lucia (4:09)
Hotline Bling (Drake Cover) -- Alessia Cara (4:03)

October 2015

The Emotion -- BØRNS (3:45)
Here -- Alessia Cara (3:18)
Gone -- Jr Jr (3:48)
Sound & Color -- Alabama Shakes (3:02)
Never Let You Go -- Rudimental (3:55)
Sleeping Light -- El Vy (3:43)
The Fine Art of Hanging On -- The Leisure Society (3:22)
Devil's Whisper -- Raury (3:41)
No Justice -- Astronauts, Etc. (3:50)
O Mother -- Son Little (3:13)
12 Birch Tree -- Foals (4:21)
White Gloves -- Khruangbin (3:38)
Breaker -- Deerhunter (3:31)
Slumlord -- Neon Indian (5:16)
Hello -- Adele (4:56)
Lay It All on Me -- Rudimental (4:02)
Sharpness -- Jamie Woon (3:27)
Realiti -- Grimes (5:07)
Don’t Breathe Out -- Roots Manuva (3:21)
Bad Blood -- Ryan Adams (3:55)
Wait Any Longer -- Balthazar (3:22)

August 2015

After Dark -- Eliot Sumner (4:09)
Cadillac Girl -- Only Real (3:38)
Can't Feel My Face (Griffin Stoller Remix) -- The Weeknd (3:03)
Lost in a Crowd Fantastic -- Negrito (4:59)
1998 (feat. Banks) -- Chet Faker (3:44)
Outta My Mind -- The Arcs (3:35)
Will You Dance -- The Bird & The Bee (3:35)
Green and Gold -- Lianne La Havas (4:38)
No No No -- Beirut (2:51)
Woman In Rust -- Silver Torches (2:35)
Brother Sun (feat. Kimbra) -- Electric Wire Hustle (4:26)
Reality in Motion -- Tame Impala (4:12)
Nightlight -- Silversun Pickups (3:57)
Monster (feat. Avelino) -- Jacob Banks (3:53)
Laughing In The Sugar Bowl -- Veruca Salt (2:18)
Cream on Chrome -- Ratatat (4:16)
Fogged Window -- Golden Rules (3:00)
Return to the Moon -- El Vy (3:54)
Go -- Chemical Brothers (5:44)
You Work for Me -- Laura Mvula (2:48)
You Know More Than I Know -- Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell (3:29)

July 2015

What You Don't Do -- Lianne La Havas (3:41)
Overboard -- The Silver Lake Chorus (3:48)
Hard Time -- Seinabo Sey (3:29)
Pay No Mind (ft. Passion Pit) -- Madeon (4:09)
No Trouble -- The Weepies (3:30)
Restless -- New Order (3:33)
Could Be Wrong -- Fickle Friends (2:55)
Wildfire -- Mynabirds (3:12)
Never Ending Circles -- CHVRCHES (3:07)
Cranekiss -- Tamaryn (3:51)
Let You Go (ft. Great Good Fine OK) -- The Chainsmokers (3:39)
Disco Dodo -- Count Counsellor (3:08)
The Moment -- Tame Impala (4:21)
Sister of Pearl -- Baio (4:14)
Warm Like Summer -- Braids (4:24)
Masobélé -- Mbongwana Star (3:54)
Forces (ft. Airling) -- Japanese Wallpaper (4:12)
Them Changes -- Thundercat (3:09)
Lisa Sawyer -- Leon Bridges (4:07)
Drowsy/Too Long to Say Good Night -- Jay-Jay Johanson (5:26)

May 2015

Cecilia and the Satellite -- Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness (3:44)
Don't Wanna Fight -- Alabama Shakes (3:53)
Madre Tierra (Oye) -- Chayanne (3:23)
Lonely Daze -- Kate Tempest (3:58)
Can You Blame Me -- Matt & Kim (2:32)
Lo Life -- Boxed In (3:14)
Feeling Ok -- Best Coast (3:16)
The Fall -- The Seshen (3:54)
TV -- Colleen Green (3:08)
Lying Eyes -- Monophonics (2:57)
Flashed Junk Mind -- Milky Chance (4:24)
Waitress -- Hop Along (3:34)
Reflections -- MisterWives (3:09)
Peaches -- In The Valley Below (4:46)
By Fire -- Hiatus Kaiyote (2:25)
Hold Back The River -- James Bay (4:02)
Do I Wanna Know (Arctic Monkeys Cover) -- CHVRCHES (4:17)
Never Forget -- Botzy (3:23)
Turn Around -- Mikal Cronin (3:50)
Anna -- Will Butler (3:53)
The Soul Serene -- Villagers (4:10)
Fool For Love -- Lord Huron (4:37)

April 2015

To Die in L.A. -- Lower Dens (4:11)
Multi-Love -- Unknown Mortal Orchestra (4:11)
Sparks -- Until the Ribbon Breaks (3:30)
Gold Silver Diamond -- Generationals (3:25)
Greek Tragedy -- The Wombats (3:19)
Geode -- ELEL (4:18)
Buffalo -- Toro Y Moi (3:18)
I Don't Want to Let You Down -- Sharon Van Etten (4:02)
1983 -- The Weather (3:07)
Do It -- Tuxedo (4:19)
The World Ender -- Lord Huron (4:30)
I'm Ready -- Geographer (3:42)
These Walls (feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat) -- Kendrick Lamar (5:01)
Should Have Known Better -- Sufjan Stevens (5:08)
Ready (ft. RIVRS) -- Mao Ra Sun (3:28)
Current Carry -- Vetiver (3:55)
Nobody's Empire -- Belle & Sebastian (5:12)
Ocean To City -- High Highs (4:33)
Foot of the Hill -- Boxed In (2:39)
Depreston -- Courtney Barnett (4:53)
Feel The Lightning -- Dan Deacon (4:53)
Everyone's Summer of '95 -- Iron & Wine (3:12)

March 2015

40 Watt -- Elel (2:56)
Fiend -- Iain Woods (4:14)
Sisters -- The Raveonettes (3:46)
Daughter -- The Ting Tings (3:16)
The Legend of Chavo Guerrero -- The Mountain Goats (3:00)
To Let Myself Go (feat. Ane Brun) -- The Avener (4:14)
Mother & Father -- Broods (3:08)
Back to You -- Twerps (2:32)
Watch Me Rise -- Mikky Ekko (4:05)
Compass -- Zola Jesus (4:02)
Little Ballerina (feat. Rufus Wainwright) -- Emile Haynie (4:47)
Alena -- Yumi Zouma (4:40)
The Headless Boy -- The Amazing (3:58)
Ring the Bell -- White Hinterland (4:19)
I Blew It Off -- Punch Brothers (3:07)
Dk/Pi -- Aero Flynn (5:07)
Wherever Is Your Heart -- Brandi Carlile (3:50)
Leaving Los Feliz (feat. Kevin Parker) -- Mark Ronson (4:18)
Short Movie -- Laura Marling (4:35)
The Everlasting Muse -- Belle and Sebastian (5:25)
What Happened to My Brother -- Mark Kozelek & Jimmy LaValle (5:19)
From the Night -- Stars (6:30)

February 2015

Turn It Up -- Stars (4:32)
Long Way Down -- Robert DeLong (3:54)
The Scene Between -- The Go! Team (3:53)
The Things I Regret -- Brandi Carlile (3:26)
Jackrabbit -- San Fermin (3:40)
One Way Out -- Liam Hayes (1:45)
Silver -- Caribou (5:16)
Black Is the Color -- Rhiannon Giddens (3:46)
Runners in the Night -- The Rural Alberta Advantage (3:27)
Uptown Funk (Luke Million Mix) -- Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars (4:36)
Bury Our Friends -- Sleater-Kinney (3:25)
Really Love -- D'Angelo and the Vanguard (5:44)
How Can You Really -- Foxygen (3:34)
Dearly Departed (feat. Esmé Patterson) -- Shakey Graves (3:33)
Not This Time -- The 2 Bears (4:15)
Separate Songs -- Restorations (3:38)
Leaf Off/The Cave -- José González (3:56)
Falling from the Sky -- Calexico (3:23)
Bassically -- Tei Shi (4:52)
Divinity (filous remix) -- Porter Robinson (4:07)
Violently Wild -- Horse Feathers (3:42)
i -- Kendrick Lamar (5:36)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

You Scream, I Scream: Choice Cuts Volume 13

Choice Cuts

In no particular order, I've selected the favorite tracks from 2014's playlists for our thirteenth annual Choice Cuts end-of-year mix:

1. Unkinder (A Tougher Love) -- Thumpers

Childhood friends Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jr. make up the British indie pop duo Thumpers, which released their album "Galore" in the U.S. last year via Sub Pop. I thought the classic pop sound of this track was an upbeat way to kick off this year's mix.

2. Let Go -- RAC (feat. Kele & MNDR)

André Allen Anjos, also known as the Remix Artist Collective, or RAC, partnered with Bloc Party's Kele and MNDR on this track, which comes from their EP "Don't Talk To."

3. Mean Streets -- Tennis

It was a good year for Tennis, the husband and wife band that hails from Denver. I also considered the Tennis song "I'm Callin'" for the mix until settling on "Mean Streets," which comes from their EP "Small Sound."

4. Chain My Name -- Poliça

The synthpop band from Minneapolis came up with what may have been my favorite track of 2014. There's something really memorable about this track -- the distorted sounds, perhaps? While not a hit in the U.S., this song was popular in Belgium.

5. Little Numbers -- Boy

This song, from the Swiss/German pop duo Boy, was actually a hit in Europe a few years ago, and even a part of a Lufthansa Airlines commercial. Boy's first album was released in the U.S. in 2013, but I only came across "Little Numbers" last year. It almost didn't make this year's cut, but I can't resist the chorus.

6. Luna -- Bombay Bicycle Club

I've included several Bombay Bicycle Club songs on regular playlists over the years, but "Luna" may be one of my favorites from this English indie rock band.

7. Archie, Marry Me -- Alvvays

Pronounced "Always," the Canadian duo consists of Molly Rankin and Kerri MacLellan. Yes, perhaps there's something a bit precious about this song, but it's also extremely catchy.

8. i -- Kendrick Lamar

I've been pretty frustrated that the "Saturday Night Live" performance of "i" by Kendrick Lamar isn't available for download. The SNL version was more raw and contemporary... I don't mind the original, but there was so much more urgency with the SNL performance. You be the judge: above is the original version, and below is the version from SNL.

9. Ashes -- The Belle Brigade

Another good year for sibling duo Barbara Gruska (guitar, drums, vocals) and Ethan Gruska (guitar, piano, vocals). I really like the opening and close of this song, which almost sounds like it was performed on the railroad.

10. Brain -- Banks

It was either "Brain" or "Beggin' for Thread" that would make the cut from Banks, but either way, Los Angeles-based Banks (full name: Jillian Rose Banks) was going to make the Choice Cuts mix.

11. Elevate -- St. Lucia

Originally from South Africa, St. Lucia (aka Jean-Philip Grobler) now calls Brooklyn home. This is a bright, sunny, summer song.

12. New Romance -- Azekel

According to Wikipedia, both Prince and Bastille have thrown their support behind "New Romance" and Azekel (full name: Azekel Adesuyi). I just like the sound.

13. Milkman -- Bully

You may have figured out over the years that I love female-fronted garage pop-punk, and Bully -- a new four-piece band out of Nashville -- fits the bill. "Milkman" is the lead track from their EP.

14. Artifice -- SOHN

SOHN is British musician Christopher Taylor, who has also worked with artists such as Banks (who also makes an appearance on this year's mix). "Artifice" was the lead single from SOHN's 2014 debut album, "Tremors."

15. On My Mind -- Liam Bailey

"On My Mind" is the lead single from British singer Liam Bailey's US debut album, "Definitely Now." Mother Jones calls Bailey and his unique mix of R&B, reggae and rock "sneakily addictive."

16. Looking Too Closely -- Fink

Per Wikipedia, "Buoyed by the radio success of the single 'Looking Too Closely,' the album charted in several territories, including a top 10 appearance in the Netherlands (number 8), number 25 in Germany, and at Top 30 slot on the Billboard Heatseekers album chart in the US."

17. A Little Lost -- Sufjan Stevens

Yes, "indietronica" is a word, and perhaps best describes this track from the singer/songwriter.

18. Black Out Days -- Phantogram

It was a breakthrough year for the duo, which had a breakout hit with the song "Fall In Love." I considered putting that on this playlist, but considering how overplayed that song became, I settled with "Black Out Days."

19. Coffee -- Sylvan Esso

From the debut album by the North Carolina duo. It was either this song or "Hey Mami," but I think my love for coffee won out.

20. Always Winnin -- Shad & DJ T.LO

How can you not love a song that references "Homeland," the NBC peacock, "30 Rock" and EGOT winners, among many other things? Oh, and it's also a catchy track.

21. Myth of Myself (A Ruse to Exploit Our Weaknesses) -- Fanfarlo

The epic nature of this song, complete with flute, made it the natural way to end this year's Choice Cuts mix. Until next year!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

2014 Mixes

November 2014

i -- Kendrick Lamar (3:52)
Shirim -- Melody's Echo Chamber (4:45)
Hiding In The Pale Walls -- Snake Rattle Rattle Snake (4:26)
Milkman -- Bully (2:06)
Coffee -- Sylvan Esso (4:27)
Somebody Somewhere -- Amelia Curran (3:54)
Head Games -- Lost Midas feat. Audris (3:01)
I Don't Want To Change You -- Damien Rice (5:26)
The Sneak Tip -- Oil Boom (2:46)
Autumn -- Bear In Heaven (3:00)
Lake Song -- The Decemberists (5:54)
Weapon -- Bastille, Angel Haze, F*U*G*Z & Braque (4:48)
Hundreds of Ways -- Conor Oberst (4:29)
99 -- Hollie Cook (6:24)
Young -- The Paper Kites (3:42)
Why -- Les Sins (4:05)
A Little Lost -- Sufjan Stevens (5:05)
I'm Callin' -- Tennis (3:35)
In My Teeth -- The Rosebuds (4:28)
Black Lemon -- Generationals (3:53)

October 2014

Hey Mami -- Sylvan Esso (3:22)
Divisionary (Do The Right Thing) -- Ages and Ages (4:10)
Coasting -- Kele (4:35)
Archie, Marry Me -- Alvvays (3:17)
Cool Kids (Sample Gee Remix) -- Echosmith (5:25)
Magick -- Lia Ices (4:02)
Never Catch Me (CDQ) -- Flying Lotus ft Kendrick Lamar (3:55)
I Command -- Mina Tindle (4:42)
Stranger to My Happiness -- Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (3:31)
Food for the Beast -- Nina Persson (3:21)
Her Song -- Shaprece (3:10)
Left Hand Free -- Alt-J (2:54)
Complete Surrender -- Slow Club (3:27)
No Rest for the Wicked -- Lykke Li (3:40)
Heaven Knows -- First Aid Kit (3:19)
Body -- Niia (4:53)
Parade -- The Antlers (5:12)
Torn Apart -- Bastille vs. GRADES (4:16)
Realtime -- Silk Rhodes (2:48)
I'm In Love -- Fool's Gold (4:36)
Our Love -- Caribou (5:33)

September 2014

Home (Leave the Lights On) -- Field Report (3:41)
Next to Me (Kendrick Lamar Remix) -- Emeli Sandé (3:56)
Eyes Of The Muse -- King Tuff (4:15)
Stun Me -- Liam Bailey (3:41)
Little Grace -- Hippo Campus (3:07)
Heartlite -- Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics (2:58)
Every Morning -- J Mascis (3:58)
Blue Moon -- Beck (4:02)
Half Crazy -- The Barr Brothers (4:53)
Pendulum Swing -- Making Movies (2:48)
Colorado -- Chastity Brown (3:20)
Shut In -- Strand Of Oaks (3:22)
Hearts -- Young Karin (2:57)
We Come From The Same Place -- Allo Darlin' (4:37)
27 -- Passenger (3:20)
Bad Law -- Sondre Lerche (3:33)
The River -- Son Little (3:33)
Mess Is Mine -- Vance Joy (3:44)
You and Me -- You+Me (3:13)
Leave Me Alone (feat. Shay Lia) -- Kaytranada (4:04)

August 2014

Pretty Girls -- Little Dragon (3:44)
Don't Call Me On The Phone -- Beach Day (2:59)
Paradise -- Tove Lo (3:04)
In Mind -- Abram Shook (4:00)
We Only Come Out At Night -- Sugar Stems (3:51)
Beggin for Thread -- Banks (4:10)
On My Mind -- Liam Bailey (3:34)
How We Be -- Sinkane (4:19)
Little Killer -- Merchandise (3:05)
Am I Wrong -- Nico & Vinz (4:07)
Elevate -- St. Lucia (5:08)
Always Winnin -- Shad & DJ T.LO (3:06)
Looking Too Closely -- Fink (3:21)
New Romance -- Azekel (3:23)
September Fields -- Frazey Ford (3:21)
Just One of the Guys -- Jenny Lewis (3:52)
Can't Be Broken -- Twin Forks (3:37)
Cut My Teeth -- Dilated Peoples (3:40)
Right Next To You -- Algebra Blessett (3:10)
All the Time -- Bahamas (3:55)

July 2014

Chandelier -- Sia (3:36)
Paris -- Little Dragon (3:24)
This Love Is Here To Stay -- Thomas Dybdahl (3:21)
We Are Explorers -- Cut Copy (4:19)
Never Work For Free -- Tennis (3:28)
Happy Alone -- Saintseneca (3:10)
Alive (Original Mix) -- Empire Of The Sun (3:25)
Try To Be Better -- THE FAME RIOT (2:52)
L.A. -- Habib Koité (5:41)
Let Go (feat. Kele & MNDR) -- RAC (4:40)
Black Out Days -- Phantogram (3:47)
Ivory -- Movement (3:42)
Cake And Eat It -- David Gray (2:34)
Hesitation -- Beat Connection (4:24)
Mean Streets -- Tennis (3:23)
Zigzagging Toward The Light -- Conor Oberst (4:05)
Everything -- FM Belfast (3:38)
Sleepwalking -- The Chain Gang Of 1974 (3:38)
Flicker -- Atmosphere (4:46)
Mash Up for What -- DJ Earworm (3:34)

May 2014

Money On My Mind -- Sam Smith (3:11)
Gold -- Chet Faker (4:45)
Slow Motion -- PHOX (4:56)
Brain -- Banks (4:42)
Spinners -- The Hold Steady (5:24)
Money Gnomes -- Arc Iris (3:43)
Artifice -- SOHN (3:36)
Palmless -- Dana Falconberry (4:04)
Repeat Pleasure -- How To Dress Well (3:36)
Avenger -- The Bamboos (3:32)
You Will Return Feat. Alice Russell (Radio Edit) -- Quantic (3:12)
Survival (feat. Oliver the 2nd) -- Jeremiah Jae (3:17)
Tamatebako -- Cuz (2:21)
To The Top -- Twin Shadow (3:20)
Bloodstream -- Exist Elsewhere (3:40)
Luna -- Bombay Bicycle Club (3:06)
Losing to the Dark -- La Sera (3:13)
Taking Chances -- Sharon Van Etten (3:51)
Diamond Days -- HABITATS (4:02)
Of The Night -- Bastille (3:33)
Love Never Felt So Good (IvanBeat Remix) -- Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake (5:02)

April 2014

Team (Mickey Valen Remix) -- Lorde (3:04)
Espeon -- PHOX (3:56)
Elusive Youth -- Elephant (3:03)
Pretty Thing -- Broods (3:17)
Seasons (Waiting On You) -- Future Islands (3:46)
Glory -- Wye Oak (4:53)
Blue Collar Jane -- The Strypes (2:51)
After the Disco -- Broken Bells (3:39)
Happy (Neus Remix) -- Pharrell Williams (4:40)
Weekenders -- Minks (4:12)
Feel the Effect -- Tokyo Police Club (3:43)
Spilling Lines -- Poliça (3:03)
Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It! -- Kishi Bashi (3:31)
Call My Name -- HAERTS (3:37)
I Might Survive -- Architecture in Helsinki (4:06)
Letter of Intent -- Ducktails (5:19)
Hold On We're Going Home -- Holy Ghost! (4:55)
Vivir Mi Vida -- Marc Anthony (4:12)

February 2014

Unkinder (A Tougher Love) -- Thumpers (3:42)
Invisible (RED) Edit Version -- U2 (3:47)
Beautiful Day -- Marie & the redCat (3:13)
Hey Brother -- Avicii (4:14)
Nothing but Time -- Lily and Madeleine (2:45)
Crueler Kind -- San Fermin (4:00)
Violations (feat. Raekwon) -- Talib Kweli (3:37)
I'm Aquarius -- Metronomy (4:02)
Vengo -- Ana Tijoux (3:12)
Shine A Light -- Cults (3:14)
Gold -- James Vincent McMorrow (3:00)
No More -- Shlohmo & Jeremih (4:35)
Are You Okay? -- Dum Dum Girls (2:51)
New York Morning -- Elbow (5:20)
Bravely -- Julie Lee (4:02)
Eliza -- Anna Calvi (3:39)
Leave The Door Wide Open -- NO (3:58)
Stay Awake -- London Grammar (3:06)
Stay Ready (What A Life) featuring Kendrick Lamar -- Jhené Aiko (1:30)
Jerk Ribs -- Kelis (4:13)

January 2014

Rescue -- Yuna (3:46)
Little Numbers -- Boy (3:42)
Luv, Hold Me Down -- Drowners (2:51)
Chain My Name -- Poliça (4:08)
Fall In Love -- Phantogram (3:44)
Radioactive (feat. Kendrick Lamar) -- Imagine Dragons (4:36)
From You -- William Fitzsimmons (3:13)
Holding Out for Life -- Broken Bells (3:57)
Silver Timothy -- Damien Jurado (3:17)
Myth of Myself (A Ruse to Exploit Our Weaknesses) -- Fanfarlo (4:28)
Ashes -- The Belle Brigade (3:47)
Honey & I -- HAIM (4:12)
Love is to Die -- Warpaint (5:15)
Song My Love Can Sing -- Doug Paisley (4:05)
The Sweet Sound of Your Name -- Gina Chavez (4:35)
Transatlanticism Remix -- Collin McLoughlin (4:58)
These Plains -- Vertical Scratchers (1:37)
I Miss Your Bones -- Hospitality (4:08)
Red Eyes -- The War On Drugs (4:58)
Better At Making Time -- De Lux (7:33)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Here's The Buzz: Choice Cuts Volume 12

Choice Cuts

In no particular order, I've selected the favorite tracks from 2013's playlists for our twelfth annual Choice Cuts end-of-year mix.

1. Falling -- HAIM

I was a bit late to getting into Haim, and only in the last few months realized that you don't pronounce their name like Corey. But the three sisters from the Valley are now inescapable. "Saturday Night Live" appearance aside, I can't pick up a magazine or read a music blog without encountering some sort of Haim love. And that's just fine by me. Their songs are so incredibly catchy, and the sisters have such a stage presence (especially the weird faces that bassist Este makes) that it's exciting to see them really take off. There were plenty of strong selections from their CD "Days Are Gone," but the lead track, "Falling," is a groove that I don't think I'll tire of.

2. Sonsick -- San Fermin

By sheer coincidence, I just learned that San Fermin composer and songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone wrote the band's first album in Banff, Canada. That just happens to be where the Franklin Avenue family took an awe-inspiring vacation this year. I was hooked on San Fermin's "Sonsick" months ago thanks to the catchy, high pitched vocals. Like the Haim song, "Sonsick" is a infectious lead single that made me want to hear more.

3. Love Don't Go -- The Family Crest

How fascinating is San Francisco-based music collective The Family Crest? Here's how they describe themselves: "We are The Family Crest, a fully independent orchestral rock band made up of people who believe that everyone can be musical when given the opportunity. 
Since we formed in 2010, our mission has been to involve as many people as possible in our music, regardless of their instrument or genre, whether they are professionals, amateurs or have never played music before at all. Presently, we have over 250 members in our Extended Family of artists. We find a place in our sound for everyone, from conservatory-trained orchestral players, to jazz musicians, metal heads and even shower singers. We believe that there's a place in music for everyone, and we've proven it by incorporating artists in hundreds of unique musical configurations." Watch the video for a good idea of how it's done.

4. Was It You -- Joy Kills Sorrow

Who let banjo into our year-end mix? Sorry, Mumford, but the truly captivating bluegrass sounds of this year came from Joy Kills Sorrow. Just listen to vocalist Emma Beaton beat out the lyrics to "Was It You."

5. Kangaroo Court -- Capital Cities

Of course we still can't get enough of Capital Cities' "Safe and Sound," including the wonderful music video shot at downtown's Los Angeles Theatre. But the follow-up, "Kangaroo Court," is catchy in its own right, and Blogger Kid 2.0 is even more enthralled with this video (perhaps it's because of the disturbing end).

6. Trouble (Mr Bird Remix) -- Jose James

Jazz musician Jose James, known for infusing hip-hop into his sounds released his first CD this year on the famed Verve label. Says Billboard: "James grew up in Minneapolis, the son of a Panamanian saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist, and by his early teens was a fixture on the local jazz scene, performing with a variety of lineups and players. He attended the jazz program at the New School, studying with jazz elders Junior Mance and Chico Hamilton. But it was a chance encounter with Gilles Peterson, an influential U.K. radio personality and crate-digger with a knack for discovering raw talent, that helped move his career into high gear."

7. Recover -- CHVRCHES

It was a big year for Chvrches, which hit mainstream alternative big this year with "Recover." Funny enough, they were also known this year for covering Haim's "Falling," another one of our Choice Cuts 2013 selections.

8. Dance Apocalyptic -- Janelle Monáe

Go ahead, get up and dance. Janelle Monáe commands you to.

9. Dreams Of Cannibalism -- Typhoon

Possibly my favorite start to any of the songs on this year's list: "Unhand me, I am not a criminal/
But I've played a guilty part/
in the modern sense that one pretends their life is original..."

10. Chamakay -- Blood Orange

It's hard to pinpoint Dev Hynes, who has produced for everyone from Florence and the Machine, Arctic Monkeys and We Are Scientists to Solange Knowles and Britney Spears. But I know this: I like his sound. (As a matter of fact, his Solange track, "Losing You," wound up on my Best of 2012 "Choice Cuts" mix, so I clearly dig it.) Now recording as Blood Orange, his CD "Cupid Deluxe" is the perfect soundtrack for driving up the coast as the sun sets. Read more about Hynes here.

11. Back To The Way I Was -- Emily Bell

The Austin native mixes rockabilly, R&B and even British soul in this raucous track.

12. Ya Hey -- Vampire Weekend

Perhaps the most mainstream entry on this year's Choice Cuts selection, but that "Ya Hey" chorus is hard to shake.

13. Dissolve Me -- Alt-J

The things you learn from Wikipedia. According to the website's Alt-J entry, the band met at the UK's Leeds University in 2007. "The band's unusual sound stems from the fact that due to living in student halls, noise had to be kept to a minimum and so they were unable to use bass guitars or bass drums." Hey, whatever, it works. Alt-J has become popular with TV music supervisors; in the UK, Alt-J's music can be heard in station IDs for BBC2, while here in the US the group's song "Fitzpleasure" has been heard on "Weeds," "Suits" and "Homeland." I like "Dissolve Me," which was released as a single in 2013.

14. Don't Swallow the Cap -- The National

It's been interesting to watch The National turn into music darlings -- they even guest starred on Fox's "The Mindy Project" this season. "Don't Swallow the Cap" has a smooth, catchy chorus with that trademark haunting National sound.

15. You & I -- Crystal Fighters

Crystal Fighters describes their sound as ""fast, mesmeric and passionate," and I'd have to agree.

16. Galaxy's Skirt -- Emi Meyer

The simple piano opening builds to a powerful conclusion in this ethereal Emi Meyer track.

17. You Know You Like It -- AlunaGeorge

I can't get enough of AlunaGeorge. Aluna Francis and George Reid's "Your Drums, Your Love" made our Choice Cuts 2012 list, and now "You Know You Like It" makes this year's list.

18. Instant Crush -- Daft Punk Feat. Julian Casablancas

It wouldn't be a best of 2013 mix without some Daft Punk, right? I couldn't put "Get Lucky" here, I think we're all a bit tired of that track. Pushing "Instant Crush" over the top to land a slot here may be the rather sad music video, which, believe it or not, the Blogger Toddler 2.0 loves.

19. The Bad Days -- David Ramirez

I wonder if anyone plays this song at their wedding. If so, I give them six months. But seriously, Ramirez's track -- about his life on the road, and leaving his loved one behind -- may be the most emotional song on this year's Choice Cuts roundup.

20. SummerMash '13 -- DJ Earworm

Here's another one that made the Choice Cuts mix because of the Blogger Kids. DJ Earworm's mashup of this summer's pop tracks is just too irresistibly catchy. And yep, both "Blurred Lines" and "Get Lucky" sneak in here. Happy New Year!

2013 Mixes

December 2013

So Strange -- Superhumanoids (3:13)
That's Alright -- Laura Mvula (3:34)
Trouble (Mr Bird Remix) -- Jose James (3:22)
Grace for Saints and Ramblers -- Iron & Wine (3:36)
Love To Love -- Jonathan Wilson (4:10)
The Fall -- Rhye (3:43)
Clean The House (Moonlight Jazz Club Remix) -- Fat Freddy's Drop (3:21)
Lightning Bolt -- Jake Bugg (2:23)
You're Not Good Enough -- Blood Orange (4:21)
Ingenue -- Atoms for Peace (4:36)
Another Love -- Tom Odell (4:06)
Her Favorite Song (Oliver Remix) -- Mayer Hawthorne (4:36)
Cake -- Toro Y Moi (3:55)
Man I Need -- Jagwar Ma (3:37)
Never Run Away (Single Version) -- Kurt Vile (3:25)
Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark) -- Unknown Mortal Orchestra (2:43)
Tunnel Vision -- Maria Taylor (4:44)
Cayucos -- Cayucas (3:30)
Not Supposed To -- Guards (3:36)
Medicine -- Matt Berry (3:01)
Billie Jean (Live) -- The Civil Wars (4:32)

November 2013

Kangaroo Court -- Capital Cities (3:43)
Dónde Estás -- Diego Garcia (3:40)
Steppin' Out -- AM (4:25)
You Know You Like It -- AlunaGeorge (3:24)
Latch -- Disclosure Feat. Sam Smith (4:16)
To Dust -- Alice Russell (3:11)
Running for Cover -- Ivan & Alyosha (3:57)
Crescendo (Larry Gus Remix) -- Little Boots (5:13)
Don't Lose Your Dinosaur -- Upset (2:12)
Instant Crush -- Daft Punk Feat. Julian Casablancas (5:38)
Dance With Me -- Ra Ra Riot (2:24)
Ways To Go -- Grouplove (3:36)
Dance Apocalyptic -- Janelle Monáe (3:25)
Only You -- Ellie Goulding (3:52)
Ramona -- Night Beds (4:07)
Speak in Rounds (Bonde do Rolê Remix) -- Grizzly Bear (3:26)
Ceilings -- Local Natives (2:57)
Games -- Claire (3:47)
Put A Light on -- Generationals (3:46)
Another Day -- Strange Talk (3:57)
Comrade (All Tiny Creatures Remix) -- Volcano Choir (4:32)

October 2013

Dreams Of Cannibalism -- Typhoon (3:24)
That Alice -- Laura Veirs (3:27)
Tourniquet -- Jeremy Messersmith (4:17)
Wake Me Up (Radio Edit) -- Avicii (4:10)
Shameless -- Lissie (3:21)
This Lonely Morning -- Best Coast (2:39)
Hollow -- CLOUDEATER (4:09)
The Bad Days -- David Ramirez (4:12)
Bulletproof -- Amanda Shires (4:14)
Chamakay -- Blood Orange (4:20)
End of the World -- Hunter Hunted (4:04)
Fall Winter Spring Summer -- Carolyn Malachi (4:06)
Pompeii -- Bastille (3:53)
Byegone -- Volcano Choir (4:23)
Bus Passes and Happy Meals -- Lizzo (2:34)
Over the Edge -- Sarah Jarosz (3:20)
Death Graduates -- The Octopus Project (3:08)
La La La feat. Sam Smith -- Naughty Boy (3:40)
Dust to Dust -- The Civil Wars (3:50)
Dark Knights (feat. Wale) -- Rapsody (5:19)
Reflektor -- Arcade Fire (7:34)

August 2013

Don't Swallow the Cap -- The National (3:51)
Entertainment -- Phoenix (3:40)
The Hunter -- ON AN ON (3:18)
Holiday -- Poor Moon (2:39)
Blacktide -- Wild Cub (3:05)
U Da Best -- Wet (2:57)
Sonsick -- San Fermin (4:14)
Incredibly Still -- Sombear (4:11)
Back To The Way I Was -- Emily Bell (3:47)
White Noise (feat. AlunaGeorge) -- Disclosure (4:17)
Love Don't Go -- The Family Crest (4:24)
Seen It All -- Jake Bugg (2:51)
Wild Heart -- Matt Pond PA (4:09)
Open -- Rhye (3:42)
Ghost -- Sir Sly (3:37)
So Much More -- Tim Adams (3:42)
What's Wrong With Your Eyes -- Sin Fang (4:51)
Say Oh Say -- Courtney Jaye (3:13)
Workin' Woman Blues -- Valerie June (3:09)
Peace and Quiet -- Waxahatchee (2:38)
In the City -- Caveman (4:06)
Late Night -- Foals (5:28)

July 2013

A tout a l'heure -- Bibio (4:10)
Bells Of Cologne -- Imaginary Cities (3:12)
Lose Yourself To Dance -- Daft Punk Feat. Pharrell Williams (5:54)
All My Life -- Cali Giraffes (1:53)
All You're Waiting For (feat. Nancy Whang) -- Classixx (4:17)
Around The Block (feat. Talib Kweli) -- Pretty Lights (4:16)
One Girl / One Boy -- !!! (4:04)
Heavy Feet -- Local Natives (4:07)
Was It You -- Joy Kills Sorrow (3:39)
Designer Drug -- Mayer Hawthorne (3:33)
Trouble -- Natalia Clavier (2:37)
Watch Out For This (Bumaye) -- Major Lazer (3:20)
Royals -- Lorde (3:10)
Cant Hold Us (MMP Intro) (Clean) -- Macklemore Ft Ryan Lewis (4:57)
Weight -- Mikal Cronin (3:50)
Galaxy's Skirt -- Emi Meyer (3:37)
Falling -- HAIM (4:19)
Ya Hey -- Vampire Weekend (5:13)
How the West Was Won -- John Vanderslice (3:48)
Retrograde -- James Blake (3:42)
Graceless -- The National (4:37)
SummerMash '13 -- DJ Earworm (4:02)

May 2013

Trying To Be Cool (RAC Mix) -- Phoenix (3:40)
Next Stop -- Bleached (2:31)
Sweetheart, What Have You Done To Us -- Keaton Henson (3:30)
Ghosts and Creatures -- Telekinesis (4:05)
You & Me (feat. Eliza Doolittle) -- Disclosure (4:57)
You & I -- Crystal Fighters (3:30)
Q.U.E.E.N. -- Janelle Monáe Ft. Erykah Badu (5:12)
All Alone (Captain Planet Remix) -- Alice Russell (3:48)
Wasting My Young Years -- London Grammar (3:25)
Is It Too Much -- Ra Ra Riot (2:40)
Love They Say -- Tegan and Sara (3:34)
Get Lucky ft. Pharell & Nile Rodgers (97 Steps Edit) -- Daft Punk (4:08)
Recover -- CHVRCHES (3:46)
Be Above It (LY's 'Get Above It' 909 Edit) -- Tame Impala (4:20)
The Woodpile -- Frightened Rabbit (3:28)
Somebody Loves You -- Betty Who (3:37)
Rooftop -- Lady Lamb The Beekeeper (2:56)
She Will -- Savages (3:27)
A Tattered Line Of String -- Postal Service (2:57)
Watertreader -- The Sea, The Sea (4:04)
Roots & Vine -- Sons of Fathers (3:46)
Strictly Reserved For You -- Charles Bradley (3:43)

March 2013

If I Knew -- Bruno Mars (2:13)
Stood Me Up -- DWNTWN (3:39)
Immortal -- Kid Cudi (5:02)
Lego House -- Ed Sheeran (3:04)
Joyful Reunion -- Sweet Billy Pilgrim (5:36)
Learned My Lesson -- Jenny O (2:10)
Minute by Minute -- James Hunter Six (3:29)
Look At The Light -- Sin Fang (3:40)
Dissolve Me -- Alt-J (3:19)
Q Street (Subatomic Sound System Remix) -- Super Hi-Fi (3:56)
NewLover -- Josh Ritter (4:32)
Suit & Tie (Ta-ku Remix) -- Justin Timberlake (4:52)
Heaven -- Depeche Mode (4:06)
Stubborn Love -- The Lumineers (4:39)
If So -- Atlas Genius (3:01)
Three Years -- BellaMaine (3:35)
Metal and Dust -- London Grammar (3:28)
Disparate Youth -- Santigold (4:48)
Motorway -- Little Boots (4:03)
Make it Right -- Daniel Ahearn & The Jones (4:01)
How We Land Feat. Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) -- P.O.S. (3:55)

February 2013

Safe and Sound -- Capital Cities (3:13)
Secret Days -- School of Seven Bells (3:24)
Super America -- Bad Bad Hats (3:47)
Happy -- Robert DeLong (4:17)
Adorn -- Miguel (2:19)
I Will Wait -- Mumford and Sons (4:36)
Kingfisher Call Me -- Ruby Suns (4:21)
Color -- Wild Cub (4:00)
Stay (Feat. Mikky Ekko) -- Rihanna (4:01)
All -- Blackbird Blackbird (5:06)
Sweet Nothing (feat. Florence Welch) -- Calvin Harris (3:25)
Hold On -- Alabama Shakes (3:48)
Here I Am -- Adam Green and Binki Shapiro (3:29)
What Makes A Good Man? -- The Heavy (3:49)
Pieces of A Man -- The Lions (4:25)
A New Life -- Jim James (4:28)
Closer (The Knocks Remix) -- Tegan & Sara (4:34)
Breakers -- Local Natives (3:52)
This Is The Beginning -- Boy (3:30)
Mountain Sound -- Of Monsters and Men (3:35)
How It Ends (Live with the Colorado Symphony) -- DeVotchka (6:25)
Longevity -- Yeasayer (3:13)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Something Raw: Choice Cuts Volume 11


In no particular order, I've selected the favorite tracks from 2012's monthly playlists for our eleventh annual Choice Cuts end-of-year mix.

1. The Only Place--Best Coast

We kick off this year's playlist with a track that asks what Angelenos frequently say to out-of-towners. "Why would you live anywhere else?" demands Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino. The Los Angeles-based surf-pop band asks a good question. "We've got the ocean, got the babes. Got the sun, we've got the waves. This is the only place for me." Sold.

2. Explosions--Coco Morier

An explosion of groove at the start of Coco Morier's "Explosions" makes this track a keeper. It will get you dancing, guaranteed.

3. Beta Love--Ra Ra Riot

A late entry to this year's playlist, "Beta Love" is a bit bubblegum-y, but with a synth hook and falsetto chorus that's addictive. The kids love the robot references. Win-win.

4. That's Still Mama--Cody ChesnuTT

Forget Mr. T's "Treat Yo Mama Right." Cody Chesnutt has a new anthem for Mother's Day, a slick 1960s-style jam. Others have called him a "modern-day Curtis Mayfield," and that shines on this track. Above, an acoustic version of the song, performed at Seattle's KEXP. Listen to the regular version below.

More tomorrow!

5. Marathon Runner -- Yellow Ostrich

From New York's Yellow Ostrich comes a nice slightly mellow piece of indie rock. "Marathon Runner," a personal track from Yellow Ostrich's Alex Schaaf, is all about chasing something, even though you're not quite sure what it is.

6. Sweet Life -- Frank Ocean

It was Frank Ocean's breakthrough year, and I could have put one of several songs here. But perhaps I was brought in here by Ocean's description of the sweet life in L.A., and its references like "Ladera Heights -- the Black Beverly Hills."

7. Santa Fe -- Beirut

Technically from late 2011, this Beirut tune almost didn't make my best of 2012 list. But I didn't really start listening to this song until this year, and it's just too damn catchy not to include.

8. Here Again -- Quantic & Alice Russell

That groove! That voice! Those drums. That flute! Another near-perfect Latin soul groove from Quantic & Alice Russell with the Combo Bárbaro.

9. Your Drums, Your Love -- AlunaGeorge

Great video, great song. Triumphant chorus, coupled with that cool "Your drums" sample.

10. Anna Sun (Fool's Gold Remix) -- Walk The Moon

You've heard the original version on radio, but I prefer this brooding, melancholic version of Walk The Moon's "Anna Sun," as remixed by Fool's Gold.

11. Queen Of The City -- Joshua James

Don't let the creepy video distract you. A gem from Joshua James off his album "Willamette Mountain," this song ought to be better known.

12. Leave The Lights On (The Crystal Method Remix) -- Meiko

The Crystal Method turns Meiko's already urgent and anxious "Leave the Lights On" into an even more haunting groove.

13. Constant Conservations (St. Lucia Remix) -- Passion Pit

I liked the Passion Pit track "Take A Walk," but it's now being heard everywhere, and I can see where it might get old fast. This St. Lucia remix of "Constant Conversations" brings the tempo of the original down a bit, allowing for a more haunting, yet anthemic, quality.

14. Losing You -- Solange

Apologies, Beyonce, but Solange may be fast becoming my favorite Knowles sister. Watching her energetically perform in various South African street scenes makes for a fantastic video, and pairs nicely with the unexpected sounds of "Losing You."

15. High For This -- Ellie Goulding

I could have picked a number of Ellie Goulding tracks for my end-of-year collection, with "My Blood" a close second. But there's something about Goulding's cover of The Weeknd's "High For This" that convinced me to go this route.

16. Trip -- Vacationer

Vacationer had me the second "Trip" opens with that Martin Denny, "Exotica"-like riff. Quick, dark song that makes me want to, well, take a trip.

17. Born To -- Jesca Hoop

For once I agree with the comments on a YouTube video post. "Her voice is powerful and sensitive at the same time," one writes. Another: "I'd love to just spend one day with jesca hoop having a nice chat drinking a coffee." And another: "Can everybody else just stop making music? This is all I ever need."

18. Who Do You Like? -- Joywave

The "Live at the Strasenburgh Planetarium" version of Joywave's "Who Do You Like?" is a pretty faithful rendition of the recording. From their 2012 EP "Koda Vista," a nice slice of 80s-inspired pop. Criminal that this song isn't better known.

19. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) (Arcade Fire Cover) -- Meklit Hadero & Quinn DeVeaux

I could listen to Meklit and Quinn's quiet cover of Arcade Fire's "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" over and over again. As a matter of fact, I do. And I never get tired of it.

20. Warrior -- Mark Foster + A-Trak + Kimbra

OK, so I wasn't about to put "Someone I Used To Know" on this end-of-year roundup -- I figure we've all heard that song enough for a lifetime. But here's nonetheless your dose of Kimbra, along with Foster the People's Mark Foster and DJ A-Trak. And OK, so this song comes out of Converse's "3 Artists, 1 Song" promotion -- but other than a few glimpses of Converse shoes in the video, it's not all intrusive. It's just a catchy jam. Don't overthink it!

21. Not Giving In -- Rudimental ft. John Newman & Alex Clare

Alex Clare dominated the charts this year with "Too Close" (thanks to that ubiquitous Microsoft commercial), yet his collaboration here with Rudimental and John Newman is much more powerful. Perhaps it's because of this video, a "Slumdog Millionaire"-like tale that's based on a true story about b-boy star "Mouse's" rags-to-riches experience and shot on location outside Manila. Read more about the video here.