50) Pearl Jam – “Yellow Moon”
Another track off of the brilliant Lightning Bolt record. Just a slow burning number full of atmosphere and Eddie Vedder’s impassioned vocals with some gorgeous guitar work sprinkled in. I love this album so much it actually makes me want to reconsider their other work figuring I must have missed something.
49) The 1975 – “Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You”
A beautifully stark song from an album of otherwise sugary boy-pop. The first time I heard the lyrics they made me think of someone very close to me because they relate to something (in that wonderfully open-ended way music can) that person had gone through. I will never hear this song without thinking of them.
48) Black Star Riders – “Kingdom Of The Lost”
So former Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham teamed up with Irish dirt-rocker Ricky Warwick (formerly of The Almighty) and some other mid-level 80’s rock luminaries to form a pseudo-supergroup in the style of Lizzy itself. And much to my surprise, it worked, as I had never been a big fan of The Almighty. Warwick sounds completely different here, much more like the late great Phil Lynott than I thought possible. The album rocks and this number is a prime example of their 70’s style pub-rock, albeit with a new millennium polish.
47) Dawes – “From A Window Seat”
A buddy sent me this link one day, rightly surmising that I might appreciate their laid back Jackson Browne/Eagles California rock approach. And boy was he right. I jumped all over it and the album quickly made its way into heavy rotation. Simple storytelling with an equally simple delivery. Even though I generally like to rock out, well done stuff like this is often the thing I need in the morning when I’m not quite ready to kick it fast and furious.
46) Little Eye – “Better Than This”
A year ago these guys put out an awesome single and video for a tracked called “Choked Up” which I became obsessed with, primarily because of the singer’s impossibly thick Scottish accent. I waited in vain for a full-length album all year, only to have a second single slipped out late in 2013 (still no album). This isn’t nearly as good as the first, but I still like it for its bright bounce and youthful call-to-arms spirit. I won’t even make you kids get off my lawn this time.
45) John Grant – “GMF”
I love this song for two reasons: 1) the novelty quality of the lyrics (and video) which show this guy doesn’t take himself too seriously. And 2) the haunting yet comforting timber of his voice. I find the whole album strangely hypnotic at times.
44) Jenn Bostic – “Not Yet”
Every now and then I find a song that’s outside of my normal listening pattern, and this Norah Jones-esque number certainly falls into that category. A slightly smoky piano ballad that carries an inspiring message and feel. Sometimes I just want to affirm that life is a fun challenge.
43) Zodiac – “Moonshine”
The second song from these guys to make my countdown, this track is more representative of their sound, a dirty 70’s rock that’s soaked in whiskey-blues and rides a wicked chug, punctuated by some really tasty soloing. I totally love this guy’s voice and wish I had it, though I’m not sure I want to live the life he lived to get it. Meanwhile this is the kind of pure rock n’ roll that gets me right in the balls.
42) The Almost – “Ghost”
From my top summer album, this song was the debut single and the one that turned me onto the band. They straddle the line between the Foo Fighters and pure emo-metal, but they maintain a real pop sensibility to their stuff through it all. This is a little darker than the other stuff on the album. (Sadly the good studio version of the song has been taken down from YouTube, so the best I could find was this crappy live one. The album version has more weight to it.)
41) Lynam – “Cold”
Gave this EP a spin figuring it would be another in a long line of good-but-not-great guitar rock bands that I’m constantly scouring through in search of hidden gems. For me this was a case of a gem being found, Lynam’s singer/guitarist Jacob Bunton (the band is named after the drummer for some reason) dropping into a lower register than most guys in this particular musical playpen and reminding me of Andy Makin from the second Psycho Motel album (like any of you know what I’m talking about). Something about the vocal and the guitar work on this track reminds me of the band Him, minus all the creepy goth overtones.