12. Forget That Your Young – The Raveonettes
Considering that Danish Noise Rock duo The Raveonettes is mostly know for loud guitars and vocal harmonies, they’re 5th studio album was a bit of a surprise. Strangely, the new mellow synthesizer sound fit them better than I would’ve thought. It made for some great songs this year, but it also made for a somewhat subdued show when I caught them at The Firebird in April. But I have faith that this is just a brief detour. They’ve made it on every odd year of the past ten Modern Rock discs at this point, and there’s no reason to think that this will change in the future. Looking forward to hearing from you in 2013!
13. Orono Park – The Wilderness Of Manitoba
There was a lot of Granola Rock released in 2011, and most of it was way overhyped. I thought the follow up albums by some of my past favorites like Iron and Wine, Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes were all mediocre. This song by an unknown band was better than any track on all three of those records. Let this serve as a wake up call you crazy Beardo guys!
14. Lucky Now – Ryan Adams
The last song of 2 For Tuesday in 2011 was from my least favorite pretentious asshole of the past decade, Ryan Adams. After three good albums with Whiskeytown and two good solo records, everything I’ve heard from him since 2001 has been terrible. I was not expecting to give a shit about anything he releases ever again, and then I heard this sweet and soulful track. I have no idea why he decided to drop the pretense and return to his singer-songwriter roots, but it is a return that I wholeheartedly welcome. Let’s see how long it lasts.
15. Map Of Tasmania – Amanda Palmer
I’ve been a casual fan of Amanda Palmer and her work with The Dresden Dolls for a few years, especially since my sister joined Paper Dolls. But her recent marriage to my favorite author from childhood, Neil Gaiman, has opened up a creative streak that has really impressed me as of late. While the song’s message of freedom for pubic hair is a bit silly and only redeemed by a verse from Peaches, the acoustic jam she lays down is top shelf. And the techno remix by The Young Punx is worth checking out too.
16. Video Games – Lana Del Rey
Who would’ve thought that a pretty red head with a throwback stylr could divide the indie rock community so easily. The number of words used to build up and break down the only two songs Lana Del Ray sang in 2011 was staggering considering she has yet to release an album. I happened to like her smoky, vintage sound on this track but lots of people disagreed with me. And after her less than stellar performance on Saturday Night Live last weekend, the haters have been louder than ever. But I’m still waiting to hear her debut record in 2012 to pass judgment.
17. Oh My Heart – R.E.M.
R.E.M. picked a good year to call it quits in 2011. Thirty years into a Hall Of Fame career found the band still producing the kind of glum yet radio friendly tracks that endeared a generation of fans. Bringing back a mandolin heavy song like this twenty years after their masterpiece Out Of Time was a brilliant move, and will be a great way to remember the band. Going out on a high note is always a good decision!
18. The Last Goodbye – The Kills
This piano ballad was a unorthodox addition to one of my Top 5 Albums of 2011, but is part of what made Blood Pressures so enjoyable. My hipster crush Alison Mosshart sings her heart out over some stunning orchestration by Jamie Hince. I was a bit surprised that this song didn’t get more attention until the band released a video two weeks ago. Check it out here, it’ll haunt you for the rest of your day.
19. Common Burn – Mazzy Star
While I was surprised to see the reunion of Mazzy Star after going quiet for 15 years, I was even more surprised at how little time had changed them over that period. This song captures the mellow and moody vibe they perfected in the 90s with such great success. The only difference between then and now for Mazzy Star is that back in 1996 this would’ve been all over Alternative Rock Radio, and nowadays what passes for Alternative Rock Radio no longer has any interest. Which is a perfect explanation of why it’s been fifteen years since I’ve listened to the radio. Thanks!
20. Wonderful – My Morning Jacket
At this point I’ve said so many kind things about this song that there’s not much left for me to say. So I’ll just mention that this was by far my favorite song in 2011 and leave it at that.
21. Little Black Submarine – The Black Keys
What I Said Now.
42 songs later and we’re back at where we started, with The Black Keys. It’s fitting that this is the last song, since this was the last track I picked for Modern Rock. My college roommate Eric suggested it as I was putting the finishing touches on my discs, and I knew immediately that I needed to go back and make room for it. An incredible song from a band that’s hitting its stride at the right moment, and the perfect bookend to another great year in Modern Rock.
Thanks for sticking with me all year and my Modern Rock picks and I’ll see you in February to kick off Modern Rock 2012!