I don't normally like doing the whole list-making thing -- I don't even think I did one for best songs/albums of last year -- but procrastination breeds, uh... random lists... and I had seen a couple lists and discussions lately that got me thinking. So here is it.
Not surprisingly, it's pretty local and/or Canadian-centric... but to be honest, nothing much international has caught my attention so far this year. A few things just came out, and I have my eye on a few more, but this is what I've got so far.
And why 26 you ask? I counter that question with another question: why 25?
Apocalypse Pop Song by Memphis
Exactly what the title implies, a near-perfect pop song with Torquil's usual brand of excellent lyrics. (and optimism.)
Blood by The Dears
From the first time I heard this, I loved it. And every subsequent time, I loved it more. Definitely one of my top-favourites of the year thus far.
Bystander by Jets Overhead
A couple years ago, JO did an acoustic show here. They played this. I loved it but could never find it. And then the EP came out and I was happy.
Growing Old in the City by The Liptonians
Great all around album, but this vaguely sinister, horn-and-accordion-fueled chant is such a fun song.
Happy New Year by We Are The City
So hard to pick just one off this EP. Can I put them all?
I'd Never Climbed A Mountain by Portage & Main
I loves me a song with a good build up, and this has that in spades.
Mischievous Moon by Jill Barber
Adore the strings. This song (and whole album) makes me want to be drinking fine whiskey in a dimly lit room, while about to start of a wild romance.
No Future Shock by TV on the Radio
Exactly the kind of awesomeness you would expect from TVOTR.
One By One by The Trews
Another song I immediately loved. A bit softer than usual from The Trews, but amazing harmonies.
Ride This Out by Imaginary Cities
What was that about songs with a good build up? Another perfect example, from another album packed with excellent songs.
Stagger by Jess Hill
Recorded live off the floor, yet another good build, a stellar voice and damn catchy. Were I ranking these, it would be near the top.
Suicide Demo for Kara Walker by Destroyer
Would put Bay of Pigs had it not been on the EP last year, but this one is just so hauntingly beautiful.
Problems by Mother Mother
If you hate The Stand's quirkiness... you'll probably hate this too. But it's such a fun song.
This Is Why We Fight by The Decemberists
Another top-favourite I was immediately taken by. If I am ever in a battle of epic proportions, I want this to be my song. It would be playing while I charge through a field, sword in hand, towards my foes.
Tiny Valentine by Peter Elkas
The hooks... the hooks! I dare you to not get this stuck in your head after hearing it.
When I Get Grown by Treelines
I don't think I expected anything this... well, beautiful and heartbreaking from Treelines. But there it is.
Yer Fall by Hey Rosetta!
Another tough-to-choose-from-a-great-album, but you know when there is one single, small moment in a song that most people will miss, but makes you love the song? This has one of those for me.
Zombie Delight by Buck 65
It's Buck. With a song about zombies. How can you not love it? (Also, the video is pretty sweet)
(the following are pre-album songs, and there is a chance I'll like another song better when it comes out)
Circuital by My Morning Jacket
It feels like it's been way too long since new MMJ, and this has me so excited for the eponymous album.
Empire by Rococode
First time I saw them I had this stuck in my head for days. Same as every other time after that. Glad it's finally out, but still very much looking forward to the full album.
I Feel You by Sam Roberts Band
The song seems like it is simultaneously exactly what you'd expect, and creeping into interesting new directions. Hopefully the rest of the album is like that (my favourite Sam Roberts song sounds nothing like the rest)
In A Place of Lesser Men by Matthew Good
I would be the first to admit I'm a Matt Good fanboy, but I really liked the single. Something about a song that combined flute, lap steel, piano and guitar... and pulls it off.
Shut Up & Kiss Me by Wide Mouth Mason
Been waiting forever for new WMM, and it did not disappoint. Especially with Gordie Johnson now the full time bass player.
The Prime Minister's Daughter by Library Voices
"Pop as Fuck!" indeed, Library Voices. A catchier song will be hard to find.
Trembling Hands by Explosions In The Sky
There needs to be a new word for "epic" to describe EITS. What "epic" is to normal music, they are to "epic".
(the following are not yet released in any format, and I have only seen live and/or because I'm special)
No Game by Redbird
This song does not even appear anywhere on the interwebs, apparently. I have heard it live with a full band and acoustic, and both -- which are pretty different -- are quite awesome, and features one of my favourite lyrics of the year thus far.