Song, by Toad Festive Fifty 2010: 1-10

And now, drum roll please for the final installment of Song, by Toad’s Festive Fifty for 2010.  Woo hoo!  I am sure Liars, The National and Micah P. Hinson will be breaking out the champagne at the excellent news.  Ah well, at least The Japanese War Effort and Li’l Daggers might give a shit.

01. Liars – Scissor When this song breaks it is absolutely fucking fearsome, and it is absolutely all I can do to stop myself leaping around the room and breaking stuff, no matter when or where I am or what time of day it is.  And this is about all I need to say about the matter.

02. Micah P. Hinson – My God, My God Just utterly, utterly beautiful, with a carefree little string coda rendered completely heartbreaking by the content of the song.  Three albums of sheer genius and one that was pretty damn good – why is this man not infinitely more famous?

03. The National – England It’s not as obvious, but the piano opening of this track is every bit as emotionally gripping as Fake Empire, once it properly sinks in.  And the build is so, so slow that by the time the brass kicks in you feel like you’ve been waiting for an age.  It reminds me of Elbow’s glorious Station Approach in that sense: some of the most euphoric depressing music ever made!

04. The Japanese War Effort – Summer Sun Skateboard First the guitar is really good, then the harmony vocals are fucking lovely, then the massively scratchy lead vocal is fucking great, then the glockenspiel is fucking superb, and then half way through it peaks, and takes the rest of the song to slowly drift into a blissed out coma.

05. Micah P. Hinson – Seven Horses Seen It’s easy to explain this one: just listen to the lyrics.  Hinson can be unflinchingly fucking brutal in his writing, and this is just another example of it.  That it goes, again, hand in hand with some truly beautiful music makes it all the more poignant.

06. Jason Lytle – D.U.I. BBQ Checkpoint Officer number two is talking to the driver of the car who just pulled into the D.U.I. barbecue checkpoint. “Good evening sir, have you been drinking tonight?” “Hell yeah officer!  I cracked my first beer this morning at nine and I’m wasted right now.  Any of you fucking pigs wanna fight?’

07. Songdog – 3.30am (Small Talk) I could fill an entire review with Songdog lyrics which make me do a double-take, but let that not detract from the wry, laid back music, performed as if with one eyebrow raised and here rendered even more lovely by the conversational duet.

08. Liars – Scarecrows on a Killer Slant Erm, this is Liars again, and unlike Scissor, which makes you beg for it, this is just loud and feral.  I don’t really need to justify this choice any more than that, do I?

09. The Walkmen – Blue as Your Blood The rhythm which underpins this has you ready for the song to break, ages before they finally let it happen about two thirds of the way through.  Hamilton Leithauser has one of the most yearning voices I’ve heard, and this is my highlight from yet another great album by one of the more under-appreciated bands around.

10. Li’l Daggers – King Korpze I’ve been loving my scuzzy, garagey guitar pop this year and this four song EP is as good as I’ve heard. Picking this ahead of Ya Tu Sabe or Hungry may be a bit arbitrary, but something from here was always going on.

Click here to download all these songs in one zip file.

1-10 | 11-30 | 31-50

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