Playlist By:

Rap/Hip-Hop

Symphonies Remix ft. Kid Cudi – Dan Black
Notes:
One of the best hip-hop songs of the year… or perhaps the last several.  Kid Cudi proves that “Day n Nite” and “Man in the Moon” were no mere flukes with this incredibly memorable and poetic track.  But of course Dan Black definitely helps propel this track as well.  If you haven’t heard of Black, you might have heard of his old outfit — Planet Funk.

Symphonies by Kid Cudi and Dan Black

Symphonies by Kid Cudi and Dan Black

I Dont Wanna Rhyme – Diabolic
Notes:
This hardcore underground white rapper has mean delivery and some amazing verses.  This is a very aggressive rap song; it is not meant for those looking for gentler hip hop tracks.  It also has the intensity, though, that most mainstream rap so lacks.

Volcano – Anti-Pop Consortium
Notes:
An unusual and highly experimental rap four-man outfit, Anti-Pop is a fresh sound in the genre.  Their lyrics are much more cerebral then average.  That’s a blessin and a curse.  While they don’t flow off quite as naturally, the result is a rich, different sound.

This song isn’t exactly a catchy track due to the strangely sporadic beats.  However, it is a compelling listen.

Indies/Twee Pop/Chamber Pop/etc.

Paper Planes – I’m From Barcelona
Notes:
This amazing indie song is the kind of memorable material you spend weeks searching for.  The instrumentals are akin to the best chamber pop of bands like The Arcade Fire and Stars (though not as electronic).  Honestly, it’s hard to find a good comparisons to use with this track as they just don’t do it justice.  Just listen to the beguiling, upbeat rhapsody and be entranced.

Paper Planes -I'm From Barcelona

Paper Planes -I'm From Barcelona

Nada – Zoé
Notes:
This Mexican band rocks like their English peers Muse.  Psychidelic standout riffs make this single worth listening to.  This track comes off the band’s highly successful 2008 Reptiletric album which was Mexico’s top album for some time.

Je Suis un Homme – Zazie
Notes:
Carried by a driving beat and strong French vocals, this silky and bittersweet French track is a pleasant listen.  Feels like it would fit well with the 90s alternative movement, but that’s not meant as a criticism.

Ready to Start – The Arcade Fire
Notes:
I have to admit, after Funeral and Neon Bible, I was a tad bit let down by The Suburbs album.  For all the hype, it’d be quite easy to argue that it falls a bit short of previous efforts.  Of course it still has it fair share of standout tracks, like this peppy joint.  It’s hard not to love lyrics like, “I would rather be wrong/Than live in the shadows of your song/My mind is open wide/And now I’m ready to start.”

Tape Song -The Kills
Notes:
This catchy tune sounds like what would happen if the White Stripes and Tegan & Sara had a baby.  There’s a definite grunge edge to this indie track.  Superb percussion really sets up this track instrumentally.

Metal/Metalcore/Hardcore/etc.

Truly, Truly, This Is The End – Zao
Notes:
Truly one of the most quintissential metalcore tracks, Zao’s ferocity and intensity assail the ears like a meteorite colliding with a dinosaur’s version of Earth.  Mass extinction will likely result.

Catatonic – Signs of Betrayal
Notes:
Soaring vocals interspersed with bursts of screaming and rolling guitars drive this standout metal track.  The drumming style is somewhat reminiscent of older Tool tracks.  This song has a nice buildup, though it fails somewhat to fully continue to elevate the adrenaline rush created by the first minute and a half.  Still it’s a fun listen and very catchy metalcore.

The Thespian – Alesana
Notes:
More melodic than the above, this hardcore track is a well-structure mixed of lithe, catchy poppish vocals interspersed with bursting screams.  This song could definitely stick in your head.

Electronic/Dance:

Hard Times – Patrick Wolf
Notes:
You’ll likely either love this track or find it revolting.  Regardless of your impression, though, Wolf is definitely pushing music in an edgy direction.  While this track make evoke visions of David Bowie and seem like it’d be more in its element two decades ago, it’s positively captivating if you can stand it.

Hard Times - Patrick Wolf

Hard Times - Patrick Wolf

Song of Imaginary Beings – IAMX
Notes:
Pulsing and dark, this electronic composition has definite dancable overtones.  IAMX (formerly of the Sneaker Pimps) is an odd one, and here it works out great.  The black and white music video is the perfect accompaniment to the macabre melody.

Der Mond -Moonbootica ft. Jan Delay
Notes:
Ringing hollow notes light up this electro track, as they are buried under flatter grinding electronic beats.  Minimal, tasteful lyrics are thrown in the mix for housish breakdowns.

Country/Alt-Country

Out of the Rain – The Duhks
Notes:
This melancholy alt-country drawl is a good listen for when you’re a bit down or amid a rainy day.  Rocks like Amy Milan.