Thursday, December 30, 2010

MRML TOP 33 SONGS of 2010

A best songs of the year is inherently ridiculous when you consider the sheer number of songs released over a twelve moth period. So let us suspend our disbelief in the comprehensiveness of this blogger's listening and enjoy some ripping tunes. And ripping it must be, for this list is tightly bound by my taste for the punchy over the swishy, the pounding over the lilting, the catchy over the fancy and for just the relentless pursuit of relentlessness.
Unlike my unappreciated albums list, neither acclaim nor sales (nor the lack thereof) are a factor here - and no crossover betwixt the two lists is allowed - this time it's strictly about the songs!

In no particular order...

1. The Biters Hang Around
Races like an Exploding Heart!

2. Bad Religion The Devil in Stitches
Those melodic songs with the maddeningly allusive lyrics of Mr. Brett are always the highlight of a Bad Religion album.
Listen here

3. Frank Turner I Still Believe
I fuckin' love Rock N' Roll Retrenchment songs!

4. OFF! I Don't Belong
Really, you could pick any song at random from the The First Four 7"'s and lay waste to much of the contemporary music landscape.

More here

5. Graham Parker: First Responder
GP still knows.

6. Len Price 3 I Don't Believe You
Mod-punk lives in the UK!
Listen here

7. Candy Hearts: Don’t Go Blocking the Sunshine

More here

8. Leatherface My World Ends
By rule of custom and law all staff of The Big Takeover must adore Bad Religion, Teenage Fanclub, The Buzzcocks and Leatherface - well I'm batting .750...

9. Rev Peyton: Clap Your Hands
If every generation gets the white bluesman they deserve, perhaps the millennials will anoint Warp Tour vet Reverend Peyton (whose new album, The Wages, was produced by former Zero Boy Paul Mahern and released on Side One Dummy) their Delta man.

10. Varsity Weirdos: Why I Didn't Like August '93
Pop-punk band covers 90's East Coast indie-rock band Elevator to Hell: Goodness ensues
Listen here

11. Miniboone "Cool Kids..."
Indie gets some of it's rock n' roll back.

More here

12. Sleigh Bells Infinity Guitars
Sure hype is toxic but you just need to minimize your contact with it to avoid the ill-effects.

More here

13.Butch Walker: She Like Hair Bands
No matter his twisted history, Walker cuts a fine and clever power-pop line between Marshal Crenshaw and Fountains of Wayne.
Listen here

14. Mark Bates: Death Sucks
Catchy folk-rock song full of desperately clever lines.
Listen here

15. Vampire Weekend: Ruby Soho
Contra was a fine follow-up but I always loved the way the hipsters didn't realize that they were digging a ska band and that the band was unashamed to show it (by say, covering a Rancid song!)
See here

16. Justin Townes Earle: Harlem River
A little of his Dad, a little of his namesake, a little of the Freewheeelin' Dylan and something altogether different.
See here

17. Van Buren Boys Told You So
"I know it's only rock n' roll..."
See here

18. NoMeansNo Something Dark Against Something Light
There's still a some twisted, dark little secrets in the NMN formula.

19. The Dahlmans: Holiday Road
Lyndsey Buckingham (and Chevy Chase) move over, this song has a brand new owner!
See here

20. The Queers: Back to the Basement
Yup, the new Queers album does represent a return to "1-2 Fuck You" sorta punk rock but Joe King has a way with a tune that all the snottiness in the world can't hide.
See here

21. The Lanskies: Bank Holiday
Franco-British Cure-Meets-Futureheads goodness.

More here
22. World Inferno/Friendship Society: Paul Roebson
Ya really can't nail this band down, I mean who guessed they were holding back an A Capella e.p. recorded back in 2005?

23. The Contrast: Coming Back To Life (or "Caught in a Trap")
Such retro-sixties-ness is blatant Little Steve's Underground Garage bait but we're all the richer for it.

24. Superchunk "Crossed Wires"
A nineties resurgence I never expected
Listen here

25. The Alarm Direct Action
Mike Peters has beaten cancer and an unpleasant mid-career gulch (much of the 1990's) to hit a sustained career high in the aughts.

More here

26. Houseboat DC Showcase Presents: Inferiority Complex, Volume 420
As they warn, "You want novelty? Innovation? Vicissitude?!? You're outta luck!"

27. Betty & the Werewolves: Paper Thin

More here

28. Forgetters Vampire Lessons
Blake Schwarzenbach is bach.
See here

29. Magic Kids Super Ball
C'mon that's adorably ridiculous...

30. Article of Faith Back with a Vengeance
Another unexpectedly furious surprise reunion.

31 Wavves King of the Beach
"Noise-pop" is what Nathan Willliams's work gets labeled, as if The Velvet Underground, The Buzzcocks, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Pixies and Jay Reatard were all reference points, which they kinda are but with more Beach Boys (noise-surf?)

32. The Rags "Love is a Lie
Smart Irish guitar-pop.

THE RAGS - LOVE IS A LIE from The Rags on Vimeo.
More here

33. Less Than Jake TV Medley
I admit that the novelty factor and the visuals (and not the dreadful run-though of the That 70's Show theme*) got these long-running ska-punks on the list. * Yes, I know...





D) Level with us now, is thirty-three songs too damn much? (This was kinda back-breaking work and part of me wonders if I shouldn't scale it back for everybody's sake.)



  1. A).The biters, Miniboone, The contrast and The rags were a new experience to me that got me a bit interested to find out more about them.
    B + C) I consider this to be your list and not mine or anyone elses.
    D.) I Appreciate your effort and are gonna spend some time listening to the samples now.

    Other than that I also appreciate what OFF!, Nomeansno, Frank Turner, Articles of faith and what The alarm are doing.

  2. 33 is a good number. This blog has turned me on to a few things this year, so I read this list with particular interest. Already digging the Biters, so for that alone, thanks.


  3. I generally despise Christmas themed tunes, but the very recent

    Billy Bragg & Ben Sollee's 'We're Following The Wrong Star'


    Poly Styrene's 'Black Christmas'

    were both really good.

    But Jeffen, no love of Teenage Fanclub? Why for, why for?

  4. Frank Turner is awesome- I look forward to listening to your choices as I don't know so many (yes, I'm a luddite).
    Best wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy and prosperous year.
    And... never stopp being pissed off!

  5. Here's my 5 cents (adjusted for iflation) on the bands I didn't know :
    PS- I posted a compilation at my site- d/l it- you'll be glad you did (or something)

    The Biters- Great vid. Jangling old style “yellow pills” power pop. Great song, though the other song Melody kinda sucks. Plus I don’t trust any band with brand new leather jackets and perfect hair.

    Len Price- Are they paying Townshend and Weller royalties? Nonetheless, this kicks ass.

    CandyHearts – Not a big fan of cutesy pop. Though the chick is kinda cute in an Amy Adams sorta way and she knows it).

    Leatherface- Well yeah! Reminds me a bit of the Dillinger 4. And I hate Teenage Fanclub.

    Rev Payton – Nothing wrong here folks. No new ground, but so what. Sometimes it’s the traditions that are what’s perfect. I woulda liked to have seen them on Warped.

    Varsity Weirdos – Fuckin A.

    Miniboone- Why I am hoping Brooklyn is nuked.

    Sleigh Bells- I dig chicks in plaid skirts and baseball bats. The song… not so much. Sorta like that Ting Tings band. I guess they’re not that annoying for one song.

    Mark Bates – Death Sucks – Not my cup of tea but I will defend to the death his right to sing it.

    Vampire Weekend – No- Never- I hope they fucking die. And then I hope Lars and Tim and Matt piss on their graves.

    The Van Buren Boys – They remind of the Stinson era ‘Mats. No higher praise can be given.

    The Dahlmans – Any points they lose for their oh too cool bangs and the Caddyshack cover are more than made up with the “Dancing With Joey Ramone” song.

    The Lanskies – Christ, is there a school in the UK for guys that wanna sound like Robert Smith? But I like that the guy sorta looks like Lol Tollhurst after he ate too many creampuffs! That’s what we need- more hairy out of shape guys in rock!

    World Inferno- I dated a girl who did a-capella music years ago. I broke her heart. Therefore, I disqualify myself from the conversation.

    The Contrast – Smithereens redux? They’re OK, but compared to Len Price or The Van Buren Boys, it’s not even close.

    Houseboat- I like the way they screw around with the overdubs and the channel switching-

    Betty And The Werewolves – Hey let’s put together a band at the sorority. I would hate this even if I was nailing one of them. In fact, I’d have to break up with her just on general principles. It would be too embarrassing to go to one of their shows and admit to being the boyfriend.

    The Forgetters- Definitely hear Jawbreaker or Jawbox or something. And that’s all good.

    Magic Kids – Chocolate soup for diabetics. The violin wins the day. Damnit- I really wanted to hate this.

    Wavves – I hate fake drums. This is a song in desperate need of a chorus.

    The Rags – The Virginia Wolff vid is cool. The song is cool too. Sorta of an electrified Frank Turner.

  6. Your link for the Never get Out Of The Boat blog is old. They ran him out of Dodge again. The new link is

  7. Thanks for reminding me of The Contrast. Thanks for introducing me to The Rags and Frank Turner. A lump of coal might be winging its way to you for including that Less Than Jake thing though. Seriously, thanks for one of the best blogs going. Happy 2011.

  8. Frunk
    I gotta eliminate question C) next year but I do love to hear what OT add!
    Glad you found some new stuff here!

    Happy to know people are digging in and finding the new, that's our raison d'etre here!

    Cool to see the survivors of '77 still have something to add. ((The Poly video was esp. cool.)
    Re: Teenage Fanclub
    No hate, in fact I once owned 'Bandwagonesque'. I've just never been much moved by anything thereafter. That might change one day...

    Listeiong to the toonage ri' now and am enjoying (especially happy that the Sublime song turned out to their Bad Religion cover!)

    Y'know sometimes your comments are better than my posts and I laughed about twelve times during your spot-on commentary ("the guy sorta looks like Lol Tollhurst after he ate too many creampuffs! That’s what we need- more hairy out of shape guys in rock!" would be but one example)

    P.S. Thanks for reminding me about the Frank Turner, I might have overlooked it without your review.

    I'll get on that.

    Mr. Sauve
    Yeah I actually like LTJ but there are some gory spots in that bit of novelty fluff - I'll take the coal (and the good words!!)

  9. I need to hear more of the Dahlmanns, apparently. They took a pretty decent song and made it into a pop punk classic.

  10. I'll recommend that you listen to 'Deep Fried Fanclub' for the four cover songs alone.

  11. CallPastorJerkfaceJanuary 3, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Thanks for the continued blogging my good friend.

    I loved your picks by The Biters, Frank Turner, OFF!, The Van Buren Boys, The Alarm, Betty & The Werewolves, Magic Kids, Articles Of Faith and The Rags.

    You chose the wrong Sleigh Bells song tho'. It's "Tell 'Em" that was their top track of '10.

    And you know my love of Teenage Fanclub runs way deep. I'll see you digging them the same day you say to me, "Man, that second Badfinger album rocks my world!"

  12. Len Price 3 is Killer!

    The Biters Rock

    Frank Turner's "I Still Believe" is Fun

    GP is well, GP!

    Reverend Peyton is Infectious

    Sleigh Bells: Liked it. Don't know why...

    Mark Bates Blows

    Vampire Weekend are pooftahs

    Justin Townes Earl was better than I expected

    The Van Buren Boys have a great attitude

    that is all for now.

    thanks for the primer on 2010!


  13. Tyler Pistol
    Had to have a "Tyler song" on the list!

    Though CallPastorJerkface (my source for all things TF) had never heard of it, I shall track it down.

    Loved the way you enjoyed the twee stuff and the Rock - it's still 1994 somewhere!

    Glad to have dropped some knowledge on ya and that no one dug the Mark Bates is unsurprising but damn it had some great lines.


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