We wanted to do something special for our 100th post on Instagram (where we essentially started doing all of this). We like to start the day with a song, (our #DAILYJAM feature) so we figured, what better way to celebrate 100 posts than with our Top Ten #DAILYJAMS of all time!
Michael's Top Ten:
Nada Surf - "Blizzard of ‘77": A haunting and harrowing song of loss featuring guitar and vocal harmonies by Matthew Caws and Daniel Lorca. This was the first song I heard after my Mother was diagnosed with cancer and it was the only thing that carried me through a blistering cold snow in Ohio as I walked to my car, just trying to think about "what the hell just happened". This track is a favorite and always will be.
The Smiths - "There is a Light that Never Goes Out": With a wonderful melody and Morrissey's signature croon, this song is The Smiths at their best. Featuring Morrissey lyrics like "And if a double-decker bus Crashes into us ,To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die, And if a ten-ton truck kills the both of us, To die by your side Well, the pleasure - the privilege is mine". Those lyrics do not seem like they would fit with the melody that accompanies it, but that's what is so brilliant about Morrissey as a lyricist.
Radiohead - "Exit Music (for a Film)": One of the greatest builds in alt-music history. Radiohead tease the audience throughout the song until close to the very end with a payoff that few can match that features Thom Yorke's signature vocals and a great deep electronic backing. There is a point in this track where the listener almost experiences sensory overload, and this is totally intentional, Radiohead know when to drive you to the ledge, but not let you fall.
Ryan Adams - "Come Pick Me Up": Another example of lyrical themes that don't quite match the melody, but it totally works. Ryan Adams is one of the best lyricist and musicians in alt-music today.
The Pixies - "Debaser": "Debaser" is an absolutely chaotic track that showcases the genius of Black Francis and Kim Deal, especially on their dueling vocal parts. This song is all over the place (in a great way) but it's just damn good fun.
David Bowie - "Life on Mars?": Some people may try to debate Bowie's alternative credentials. I would say David Bowie was alt before alt was alt. "Life on Mars?" features a build to one of the best hooks of all time and shows why David Bowie is a legend often imitated but never duplicated.
Gary Clark Jr. - "Things are Changin'" (Live): Originally an acoustic track, the version that appears on GCJ's first live album features a fantastic guitar solo that shows why he is one of the best guitarist not just in alt, but in music today.
Band of Horses - "Detlef Schrempf": Like the songs namesake (former NBA player for the Seattle Supersonics, who I will say again was the GOAT in NBA Jam for Super Nintendo) this track is underrated from the rest of BOH's work. The melody is totally spacey and keep the listener floating through the song. What puts the cherry on this song is Ben Bridwell's incomparable vocals.
The Cure - "Pictures of You": The Cure have so many great tracks, it was hard to choose just one. I ended up going with "Pictures of You" because I think it does a great job of encompassing what makes The Cure so great. Off of their masterpiece 1989 album Disintegration, "Pictures of You" features the signature percussion, guitar riffs and vocals that we've come to know and love from The Cure. To top it off, it is just a beautifully written song with great lyrics that tell a story.
The Breeders - "Cannonball": We get a double dose of Kim Deal for my list and I say why not? She is the Queen of Alt in my opinion, having contributed so much both as a member of The Pixies and The Breeders. "Cannonball" represents what happens when Deal is able to let her creative juices run free, something that has often been noted was discouraged during her time in The Pixies. That said, it's difficult to have a band with two creative geniuses without heads butting sometimes.
Sarah G's Top Ten:
The Pixies - "Where is My Mind?": The tune from the fantastic Pixies that locleveryone loves- and with good reasoning. The guitar riff is simple, repetitive and catchy, mixed with a hook of a chorus to match it. It’s got that rough around the edges, iconic alt-sound that we love.
Band of Horses - "No One's Gonna Love You": This sweet, twisted love-filled ballad has a bit of a ghostly quality with a whole lot of Band of Horse’s great sound.
City and Colour - "As Much as I Ever Could": Thick harmonies, deep dynamics, and a whole lot of space in the sound make you feel like you’re in an intimate room sinking in to this rich track of romance and yearning.
Local Natives -"Sun Hands": Galloping percussion, warm guitar, and chanting vocals make up this high energy, driving track. I promise it’ll get stuck in your head.
The Kooks - "Naive": Bright, sweet guitar mixed with the iconic British sounds of the Kooks and some simple but right on drums makes this tune top notch.
Modest Mouse - "The World at Large": This softer track of Modest Mouse pulls you in gently and tosses you in a cycling loop, just as they sing about. Another one doomed to be stuck in your brain for a while.
Father John Misty - "I'm Writing a Novel": FJM has a way with words, and this tongue-in-cheek tune is no exception. Off of his first album, this tune amongst others were the perfect introduction to the quirky, smartass genius that is FJM’s writing.
Daughter - "Winter": Filled with ambient, spacious production and sweet, haunting vocals, Daughter delivers a gorgeous track to begin her debut album with.
Sylvan Esso - "Coffee": Cycling synth met with low-key, perky beats makes this a fun and dance-y track to introduce Sylvan Esso’s unique sound.
Death Cab For Cutie - "Transatlanticism": Death Cab has so many ridiculously great tracks, so it’s hard to peg just one. This one has always stood out for me. As if you were in the center of a chamber hall with a piano, a percussionist simply playing far in the distance, and other band members slowly joining in, this ambient, spacious, beautiful piece is massive and simple all at the same time.
What are some of your top favorite alt tracks? Let us know!