Song, by Toad Festive Fifty 2009 – 11-20

11.Meursault – Love or Limb
This is almost a bloody country song, and fucking hell it’s miserable.  Like the rest of Nothing Broke, the songs really don’t seem to belong together, but they really do fit amazingly well. And one of the nicest things about this song, for someone actually involved with the release, is that it came as a total surprise – I knew nothing about it until suddenly there it was on something we were releasing.

12.Yusuf Azak – The Key Underground
Yusuf is threatening to retire from music before finishing his album.  Based on the evidence of his two EPs (free to download from his MySpace page) and this out of the blue pop gem that would be a tragedy.  It’s such a strange song, and yet so incredibly catchy.

13.Micah P Hinson – In The Pines (By Leadbelly)
Yes, I know, I don’t like this album much, and covering In the Pines by Leadbelly is an enormous cliche, but the sheer venom with which Hinson sets about this song is a bloody joy.  He just beasts the living shit out of it, start to finish.  Truly exceptional.

14.Meursault – William Henry Miller Pt1
Hmm, this song got a little lost in the debate between single versions and EP versions and all that pish, but forgetting everything else and just popping it on the stereo, it’s just a genius pop song pure and simple.  The oohs, the claps, the banjo… the fucking weird subject matter.  I defy anyone not to love this – in fact, if you are that person then all I can say is ‘Ha hahahaha – you’re an idiot.  Bad luck.’

15.Samamidon-1842-ToadSession
More banjo, and one of the most gorgeous voices I’ve heard in ages.  Sam played in Edinburgh a lot this year, and I don’t know if his second Bowery gig or his Toad Session the next day will end up being the most memorable from my perspective.  How someone can bring old folk music so powerfully to life by doing so little to it is beyond me.  The lad’s a fucking genius.

16.Withered Hand – For the Maudlin
One of the most understatedly brilliant albums I’ve heard for ages.  Almost every one of the songs on Good News should be on this list.  The only real relief for me is the fact that due to appearing on the Religious Songs EP a handful of them have disqualified themselves, otherwise Dan might fear he had a stalker.

17.Langhorne Slim – I Love You But Goodbye
I’m still getting into the album itself, but the teaser track from Be Set Free is more elaborate and involved than earlier work, but the twinkling piano and lazy strings just give this song an incredible air of indulgent, nostalgic melancholy.  If you like to wallow in your sadness yet not allow it to become too bleak, then this is the song for you.

18.eagleowl – Sleep the Winter

If you want to know what I think of this single, read this.  Otherwise just listen to the roll of the guitar refrain, the gorgeous sound of the violin and the wonderful interplay between Bart’s growl and Clarissa’s whisper – it’s just beautiful.  They make making music like this sound so incredibly easy.

19.Sparrow & the Workshop – You’ve Got it All
If I were Jill O’Sullivan’s gentleman friend I would be somewhat worried by the number of venomous, barbed songs she writes.  If I didn’t know what a sweetie she was, and just knew her by her lyrics, she’d scare the shit out of me.  This whole EP is fierce and vulnerable, but mostly fierce, and this is probably my favourite song on it.  Although… well, for now it is anyway; it’s just a great EP full stop.

20.Animal Collective – Summertime Clothes
I blow hot and cold with this album, but this track is simply a brilliant pop song.  Even I feel like a hip kid listening to this (although it’s probably eight months too late to be saying that).  But honestly, anything that makes me feel even vaguely like dancing deserves a fucking medal, and that’s what this does.

To download all ten songs as a single zip file, click here.

1-10 / 11-20 / 21-35 / 36-50

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